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170th year: Liberia opens new passport office in Abuja

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Babatunde Opalana 

The Ambassador of Liberia to Nigeria, Prof. Al-Hassan Conteh, on Thursday on behalf of his Foreign Affairs Minister, Excellency Madame Marjon Kamara, commission a Passport Application Center (PAC) at the Embassy in Abuja.

Conteh said the dedication of the PAC, is in commemoration of the 170th Independence anniversary and Flag Day of the Republic of Liberia. Liberia became independent of the American Colonization Society (ACS) July 26, 1847, thus making the country the first African Republic.

He noted that holding a valid Liberian passport is one key aspect of faithfulness to the nation in asserting their nationalities as citizens of Liberia in their work, relations, travel and residencies abroad.

According to him, the Foreign Minister Kamara hopes that the new PAC in Nigeria would ameliorate the difficulties faced by Liberian citizens in processing and renewing their passports.

Delivering the Foreign Affairs Minister’s message to the elated Liberians that witnessed the inauguration ceremony, he said, “She has also asked me to encourage you to invest in your skills while in Nigeria, so that you can one day transfer them to Liberia.  She encourages you to seek partnerships with Nigerian businesses for investment in Liberia. The Government of Liberia is actively addressing your other concerns of dual citizenship and Diaspora Voting.  Many African countries have made strides on these matters to benefit their citizens in the Diaspora and economic development through remittances at home.  Liberia is learning the best practices for possible implementation in the near future”.

Mrs. Beatrice Sherman, Counselor/Consul at the Liberian Embassy, explains the process of passport acquisition for Liberians in Nigeria
A cross section of Liberians, including the Liberian Ambassador, listen to the process of acquiring passport for Liberians in Nigeria
HE Al-Hassan Conteh, Liberian Ambassador, cuts the ribbon to the Passport Application Center

With the new Center, he said the Embassy looks forward to working with the Liberian Community in Nigeria to better their lives in Nigeria. He, therefore, encouraged all Liberian community leaders to register their members with the Embassy and ensure that they have valid passports at all times to facilitate their residencies in Nigeria.

The Ambassador disclosed that the Liberian passport platform which is a tripartite arrangement involving the Liberian Government, United Bank of Africa (UBA) and a Ghanaian company, Bulk Press.

“The features of these platforms include online renewal of passports, tracking of revenue, and improved service delivery and consular services.  The United Bank of Africa (UBA) has been contracted by the Government of Liberia to operate the system with respect to the receipts of payment.  The Government also contracted Buck Press, a Ghanaian company, to set up the PACS in Ghana, Nigeria and China.

 

“At the Abuja Mission, a representative of Buck Press installed the passport processing equipment and conducted the training for the Passport Application Center (PAC) from June 15-17, 2017.   Four diplomatic staff of the Abuja Mission undertook the training and evaluation on the following topics: operation of the equipment and the software, using the PAC server, data transfer, biometric capture, document scanner, management and administration. The staff had previously undertaken training on citizenship and interview methods in April, 2016, he stated.

 

During a power point presentation of the platform, Mrs. Beatrice. Sherman, Counselor/Cousular Embassy of Liberia, said the process for the renewal of passports is explained at the Government of Liberia’s Passport web site: http://www.liberiapassports.com.

“According to website, applicants are required to submit their demographic information, and upon completion, to provide payment by valid credit cards, and booking an appointment at the Passport Application Center.

At the Center, photographs, fingerprints and signature will be taken. Applicants in Nigeria are expected to present a prepaid self-addressed Fed Ex, UPS, or DHL express mailing envelope for the return of their new ECOWAS Passports”, she explained.

 

 


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