The Nigerian embassy in Canada has been shut down following an attack launched against its staff.
The comission in a statement shared on its official website, said it had devised a system in which citizens with emergency cases were attended to strictly by appointment that allowed a limited number of people into the chancery at a time, in compliance with the laid-down rules of physical distancing.
Recounting how a female staff member was allegedly held hostage and subjected to physical abuse, the commission accused citizens of showing up without an appointment, acting in an unruly manner and disturbing the peace at the chancery.
The statement read;
THE HIGH COMMISSION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA IN CANADA WISHES TO INFORM NIGERIAN COMMUNITIES IN CANADA AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC THAT THE MISSION REMAINS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC. THE SPECIAL INTERVENTION ARRANGEMENT WHEREBY EMERGENCY CASES WERE BEING HANDLED ON A DISCRETIONARY BASIS IS HEREBY SUSPENDED.
WE WOULD LIKE TO DRAW ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING PERTINENT FACTS:
1. DIRECTIVES FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN NIGERIA AND PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDELINES ISSUED BY THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO INFORMED BY THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, INDICATED A NEED TO CLOSE THE MISSION TO THE PUBLIC AND WORK FROM HOME WHICH IS HOW MANY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ARE PRESENTLY OPERATING.
2. THE MISSION REALIZED THAT A NUMBER OF OUR CITIZENS HAVE COMPELLING PASSPORT RENEWAL REQUESTS AND WE WANTED TO BE ABLE TO ASSIST SUCH INDIVIDUALS IN A RESPONSIBLE MANNER.
3. WE DEVISED A SYSTEM IN WHICH CITIZENS WITH EMERGENCY CASES WERE BEING ATTENDED TO STRICTLY BY APPOINTMENT ON DESIGNATED DAYS OF THE WEEK. THIS ENABLED US TO ADMIT A LIMITED NUMBER OF PEOPLE INTO THE CHANCERY AT A TIME AND OBSERVE THE LAID DOWN RULES OF PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL DISTANCING.
4. OUR CITIZENS FOR SOME REASON CHOSE TO ABUSE THIS SYSTEM, THEY WOULD SHOW UP AT THE CHANCERY WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT AND INSIST ON BEING ATTENDED TO EVEN ON DAYS WHEN WE WERE NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC AT ALL.
5. ON A NUMBER OF OCCASIONS PEOPLE SEEKING PASSPORT RENEWAL CAME TO THE CHANCERY WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT AND ACTED IN A MOST UNRULY MANNER, DISTURBING THE PEACE AND ACTING IN AN ABUSIVE MANNER, BANGING WINDOWS ETC.
6. MATTERS CAME TO A HEAD ON FRIDAY AUGUST 14, 2020 WHEN A GROUP SHOWED UP AT THE HIGH COMMISSION AND REFUSED TO ALLOW THE EMBASSY STAFF MEMBERS TO ATTEND TO THOSE WHO HAD APPOINTMENTS. THEY INSISTED THAT WE HAD TO ATTEND TO EVERYBODY WHO SHOWED UP. THEY WENT AS FAR AS HOLDING A FEMALE STAFF MEMBER WHO WENT TO ADDRESS THEM HOSTAGE FOR OVER TWENTY MINUTES AND SUBJECTED HER TO PHYSICAL ABUSE.
7. THIS KIND OF CONDUCT IS CONSIDERED UNNECESSARILY HOSTILE AND TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE AND NO EMBASSY WOULD TOLERATE CONDUCT THAT PUTS THE LIVES OF ITS STAFF MEMBERS AT RISK.
8. WE ARE CLOSING DOWN THE EMBASSY AND WE SHALL BE CONSIDERING WAYS TO MAKE OUR PREMISES MORE SECURE AND LESS SUSCEPTIBLE TO UNRULY BEHAVIOUR AND VIOLENT MOB ACTION.
9. WE WOULD ALSO LIKE TO DRAW ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT WITH THE CLOSURE OF THE AIR SPACE OUR ABILITY TO BRING MUCH NEEDED PASSPORT BOOKLETS INTO THE COUNTRY HAS BEEN IMPAIRED. THIS IS ANOTHER AREA WE INTEND TO FOCUS ON.
10. OUR ENGAGEMENT WITH IMMIGRATION REFUGEES AND CITIZENSHIP CANADA HAS REVEALED THE FOLLOWING CONCERNING INDIVIDUALS TRYING TO RENEW WORK AND STUDY PERMITS:
a. APPLICATIONS FOR RENEWALS SHOULD BE MADE ONLINE
b. AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME APPLICANTS WOULD BE ASKED TO SUBMIT APPROPRIATE DOCUMENTATION
c. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A VALID PASSPORT WHEN THIS HAPPENS YOU MAY ASK FOR A 90 DAY GRACE PERIOD WHICH WOULD BE GRANTED
d. NIGERIAN CITIZENS WHOSE STUDY OR WORK PERMITS HAVE EXPIRED SINCE MARCH 2020 AND WHO DO NOT HAVE A VALID PASSPORT HAVE A GRACE PERIOD THAT LASTS UNTIL DECEMBER 31ST 2020. BY THIS TIME WE EXPECT TO HAVE RESOLVED SOME OF THE CHALLENGING ISSUES THAT COVID-19 HAS CREATED.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT THE IRCC WEBSITE (LINK BELOW) FOR PERIODIC UPDATES:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for international students
PLEASE NOTE THAT ANYONE WHO SHOWS UP IN PERSON TO THE HIGH COMMISSION WOULD NOT BE ATTENDED TO, AS WE ARE CURRENTLY CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION AT THIS TIME.