News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Tuesday October 17th 2017

Nigerian consulate leaves travellers in the lurch

Caitlin Ross

Dozens of people due to fly to Nigeria this past weekend were unable to obtain visas because the embassy in Johannesburg apparently ran out of visa stickers.

On Friday at least 200 people, many of them with business appointments in Nigeria, crowded inside the embassy desperately trying to collect their visas.

“There are about 200 people in there right now who have got flight tickets for this weekend,” said Jan Schavemaker, owner of visa company Republic of Service Excellence (ROSE).
“But they’re not going to be going to Nigeria this weekend. Some of these guys are top business executives going over there to do big business. There are three or four flights out there a week, so you can only imagine how empty the flights are going to be,” said Schavemaker, adding that the embassy has also lost the passport of one of his clients who travels two to three times a month.

“They just sort of shrug. That embassy is a law unto itself,” he said.

The visa bungle is just the latest incident a string of complaints directed at the embassy over the past few months.

Since the beginning of the year, people returning from Nigeria have been unsuccessfully trying to reclaim their R6000 deposits from the embassy. The deposits, for first-time travelers, were introduced by the consulate at the beginning of November last year.

Attempts to claim the deposits were met with “vague instructions to come back at a later date”, said Brian van Tonder, the managing director of Rose.

Arcus Gibb, a large engineering and science consultancy company that has been working on a project in Nigeria for a number of years and frequently sends staff to that country, is owed “a huge amount of money”, said Irene Pillay, executive PA at the company. She said the company that handled their visa applications had informed them there was “no guarantee” the company would get the money back.

“We have a huge project underway in Nigeria and so there is lots of travelling. They are just messing around with us. If they have received the money it is the right thing to do to give it back.

The consulate’s failure to refund deposits has led to visa companies taking the unprecedented move of singling the consulate out in disclaimers – apparently a first in the South African travel industry.

Van Tonder said that since the beginning of the year the company had asked first time travelers to Nigeria to sign a disclaimer absolving ROSE of any responsibility for retrieving their deposit. ROSE is one of SA’s largest visa companies and services 1500 travel agencies nationwide,

Nonhlanhla Andover, a visa consultant at MDS Visapak, said the company no longer dealt with visa refunds, and this was now the client’s responsibility.

“We don’t know why, but people are struggling to get their money back. So now we ask our clients to do that themselves,” she said.

Attempts to get comment from the Nigerian consulate and the Department of International Relations were unsuccessful.

Tags: Nigerian consulate, Republic of Service Excellence, visas, Vispak

Reader Feedback

7 Responses to “Nigerian consulate leaves travellers in the lurch”

  1. Wanda Pretorius says:

    Reference is made to the article that appeared in the WEST CAPE NEWS 09/02/10 (author; Caitlin Ross) article Nigerian Consulate Leaves Travellers in the Lurch.

    We refute making the said comments that are attributed to one of our employees since GIBB generally has good service from the Nigerian Consulate.

    Based on the above, GIBB distances itself from the said comments that were falsely attributed to one of our employees.

    In light of the above, we also urge you to publish the above as a matter of urgency in the West Cape News.

    Editorial Contact
    Wanda Pretorius
    GIBB
    011 519 4600
    wpretorius@gibb.co.za
    http://www.gibb.co.za

  2. Kehinde says:

    Just came across this article, even though it was almost 1 year old article. I cannot imagine how Nigeria Government cannot anticpate the need for more visa stickers to lose all business potentials for the country.

  3. Evalina says:

    To whom it concern,
    I went to Nigeria the first week in May and return to South Africa on the 6 th of May.. R6000 was paid in to the Nigerian embassy’s Standard bank account by the visa company Republic of Service Excellence based in Cape Town(See attached document). On return, my passport was sent to Nigerian Consulate Pretoria as proof that I am back as well as the necessary documents to claim the money back. The passport was return to me.
    It is now the fifth time I make inquiries about refunding of the deposit. This morning, I spoke to Tammy at your facility and told her that I don’t want to join the rest of South Africa to inform society how bad your facility is when it come to refund clients’deposit back-this is surely not what you want/can afford because negative comments/publicity is not good/healthy for the image of a company, because it send a negative message to the world .Therefore, I rather contact you to request you to please furnish me with the answer why did I not received my deposit back as yet, as well as when will it be paid back. Please see attached documents and the email I send you on Wednesday, May 09, 2012 1:47 PM-no response-poor management skills, if a person not open and responds to your emails. After reading the public’s negative comments/experiences, now is a time for you to proof them wrong, and if your service is above the norm, I will make sure that I write a message on the web in a attempt to restore your name.
    Please respond asp.
    Dr EvWijk 0827842417

    From: Leon van Wijk [mailto:didier@telkomsa.net]
    Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2012 1:47 PM
    To: ‘cgjhb@nigeria.co.za’; ‘nhcp@iafrica.com’
    Cc: ‘Luke Samuel’; ‘katherine.davidson@flightcentre.co.za’
    Subject: Re R6000 rand deposit

    To whom it concern,
    I paid R6000 rand in to the embassy’s Standard bank account when applying for a visa to Nigeria (The R6000 was a deposit and not part of the required visa fee of 58 USD) I got my visa from the Pretoria office –prompt service without any delays well done and thank you to all the officials .Why? because I have a travel agent that know the procedure and through his knowledge I obtain the correct documents!!). and adhere to the requirements below:
    **All FIRST time APPLICANTS have to deposit R6000.00 repatriation fee
    DIRECTLY INTO the NIGERIAN CONSULATE bank account – The NIGERIAN
    Authorities will refund the amount but this must be arranged by the
    applicant on his or her return
    The original deposit slip must be submitted with the application but please
    make sure to keep a CERTIFIED copy
    Banking details:
    Nigerian High Commission
    Standard Bank
    Account number 254 549 489
    Although many people wrote horrible stories on the web how they struggle/never get their money back, I firmly believe that if you follow the correct steps a person will not have any trouble. Now I am back in South Africa(visa was issued and valid from 2-6 th of May 2012). I return to South Africa on the 5 th of May 2012 and will therefore, appreciate it if you can tell me the correct steps I should follow to claim the money (R6000 rand) back and I promised I will left a comment on the web that people from South Africa must stop telling lies about your institution
    Yours sincerely,
    Dr E van Wijk

  4. Evalina says:

    After Numerous calls and emails this is the arrogant response I received from the consulate.

    Are you threaten us or what are you are trying to say, your south Africa high commission in Nigeria are doing worse things to Nigeria despise you people are in our country , we don’t complain,
    so by this relax, we are not eating your R6000 let them verify the document before you get pay. Okay!!! If you write a message on the web to insult us we too we will respond to your comment on web. Lack of manners and no educational etiquette.
    Regards.
    13/6/2012

  5. Evalina van Wijk says:

    To whom it concern,
    It is now 6 months later and I am still struggling to get my money back. Each time the embassy have a different story, why the money take so long to be paid out.If a person give them the correct answer on this what they said is the reason why the money is not paid out, they have suddenly another excuse. Are there perhaps other persons that experience similar difficulties?
    Evalina

  6. Concerned says:

    Evalina,
    Im sorry that you are a victim of diplomatic difficulties caused by Southafrica.
    It is on record that more southafricans visit Nigeria than the Nigerians visiting SA.
    The Southafrican govt and people are the most hostile to foriegners in the whole world.
    SA have been taking R6000 from Nigerians many years before Nig started taking from Southafricans.
    Have you paid tax on the money you earned on your short visit to Nigeria, you havent said a thing about that, have you?
    Well, you have been to Nigeria and seen that Southafricans are treated well in Nigeria, no Southafrican has been killed in Nigeria but many Nigerians are killed in Sa.
    You ought to be telling your people to treat others well instead of complaining about your $600 usd.
    You still want to go to Nig to join your other south africans in looting the country dont you?
    You are paid more for little or no work in Nigeria than you will ever hope to be paid in Nigeria.
    You said you went to Nig on first week of May and returned on 6th may, it seems you are still in Nigeria and sent your passport back to claim the money.
    Why dont you go personally to collect your money?
    The world is more civilized than you think.

  7. Neil Roberts says:

    I went to Nigeria at the end of 2014 to do a job they requested. I had to pay the repatriation fee on behalf of one of my crew and am STILL waiting for the refund nearly 2 years later. I took all the correct documents to the office in Sandton, about 10 visits so far. Still nothing, just shrugs and vague promises of the payment being in the system. Unsurprisingly the client has also not paid his final invoice either. The lesson in this is to avoid having anything to do with Nigerians, they are not people of honour. Does anyone have an email address on this thread for the Embassy? I haven’t been back in about 6 months to try and get my refund.

Leave a Reply