There are strong indications that the South African consulate in Lagos might have shut down, trapping hundreds of passports belonging to visa applicants.
It was gathered that the consulate had failed to release the passports of many Nigerians who applied for South African visas for the past two weeks.
Our correspondent gathered that a firm, VSF Global, which processes visa applications for the South African High Commission, had failed to return hundreds of passports received from its Lagos and Port Harcourt visa application centres.
The firm stated on its website that the processing of each application took a minimum of six working days.
Some applicants complained to SUNDAY PUNCH that the visa application centres had failed to communicate to them about the status of their applications or return their passports.
Despite paying N30,000 visa fee, the visa applicants expressed uncertainty over the long silence from the VSF Global.
A businessman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that he submitted his passport to the visa application centre in Lagos about two weeks ago, adding that he had yet to receive his passport, noting that his plan was already in jeopardy.
Speaking to our correspondent on the telephone on Saturday, he said, “I submitted my Nigerian passport to the visa application centre about two weeks ago, but till date, I have not heard a word from the Embassy or VSF Global.”
Another applicant explained that his findings indicated that the South African mission was issuing visas only to applicants in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“The official told me that the issue may be sorted out this week, but there has been no official communication from VSF Global,” he stated.
When contacted about the development, an embassy official in Abuja, said he was not aware of the situation at the consulate in Lagos, adding that he could only get a clear picture of things during the week.
The South African High Commission could not be reached for comment as it has no spokesman. VSF Global has yet to respond to an email sent to its official email address on the delay in visa application processing.