The UK Government opens a temporary Visa Collection Office in Enugu, the political capital of Southeast Region.

The office will open for business on 13 September, two days from today, officials said.

The Enugu Centre will be offering twice-a-week service, the British High Commission said in a statement today, 11 September 2023.

The Embassy hitherto offered visa services at three locations – Abuba, Lagos, and Port Harcourt.

According to the statement, the Enugu Centre will operate from a new hotel in the upscale Independence Layout, Enugu.

It named the facility as Omedel Luxury Hotel, located on 4/6 Link Road, off Pascan-Jake Bus stop on Independence Avenue.

Benefits for UK Visa Applicants

The Enugu Centre solves one of the challenges of those attending visa interviews, namely, having to wait in Abuja and Lagos to collect their passports after processing of their visa application.

Additionally, the Enugu Visa Collection Centre will come in handy for those who do not have to physically visit any of the Visa Application Centres located in Abuja and Lagos.

Those scheduled for interviews will however still travel to any of the two locations to complete the processing of their visa applications, including biometrics capture and interview.

The temporary nature of the Enugu Centre and its location in a hotel implies that, for now, this is a passport collection Centre.

The High Commission statement did not indicate whether the temporary Centre will eventually grow to an office that offers any of the major UK visa processing services.

Ohanaeze Request

The Enugu Centre may be a far cry from what the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo requested from the new British High Commissioner to Nigeria.

Ohanaeze tabled the request for a “Visa Centre” to the Ambassador, Dr. Richard Montgomery, when he visited Enugu Secretariat of Ohanaeze Ndigbo on 27 June.

Ohanaeze however quickly commended the High Commissioner for the gesture in a statement signed by spokesperson, Dr. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia.

In a statement, the spokesperson disclosed how the request was made by Ohanaeze leader Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.

“After the kola nut ceremony, the Igbo Leader emphasized that the southeast zone accounted for over sixty percent of Nigerians traveling to the United Kingdom daily.

“He therefore wondered the rationale and the unfairness of subjecting the Igbo to the inconvenience of traveling to Abuja or Lagos to obtain their UK visas.

“(Chief Iwuanyanwu) seized the occasion to highlight the longstanding relationship between the South East of Nigeria and the United Kingdom which spanned the religious, education and culture.”

Iwuanyanwu cited the role of the Church Missionary Society (CMS), a Scottish religious body that arrived Onitsha for evangelism in 1857.  

He also reminded the High Commissioner that there was a British Council in Enugu that was surprisingly closed ”without sufficient reason.”

Opening a UK visa office in Enugu, he said, will promote bilateral collaborations that will enhance the growth and sustainable development of the southeast region’s economy.”

The preeminent Igbo sociocultural association however expressed “profound gratitude” to the Ambassador for the gesture.

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