The Nigerian High Commission in Ottawa, Canada, has shut down activities indefinitely.
The high commission in a statement posted on its website said it was suspending consular activities indefinitely until further notice due to lack of passport booklets and unruly behaviour of applicants.
It 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.
But it said some citizens chose to abuse the system by showing up without appointment.
“On a number of occasions, people seeking passport renewal came to the chancery without an appointment and acted in the a most unruly manner, disturbing the peace and acting in an abusive manner, banging windows,” it said.
It further stated that things got worse on August 14, when a group of applicants caused mayhem at the embassy, refusing people entrance and holding a staff member hostage for several minutes.
“Matters came to a head on Friday August 14, 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 20 minutes and subjected them to physical abuse,” the statement reads.
While acknowledging that the closure of the airspace was limiting its ability to bring much-needed passport booklets into the country and is an area it will work on, the Nigerian High Commission disclosed that it was considering ways to make our premises more secure and less susceptible to unruly behaviour and violent mob action.
“Nigerians whose work or study permits have expired since March 2020, and who do not have a valid passport, have a grace period that lasts until December 31.
“By this time, we expect to have resolved some of the challenging issues that COVID-19 has created,” the statement added.