Laro told the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the Consulate was proud of the contributions of Nigerians to the U.S. and also to their homeland.
The Consulate was established in 1998 to strengthen the long existing relations between Nigeria and the U.S. with jurisdiction in the 17 South-eastern States of the U.S. and territory.
These are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.
Laro said: “As a Consulate, we are extremely proud of our citizens here and that’s why we engage closely with them and we know what they do.
“Nigerians here in Georgia are definitely law-abiding, hardworking and they contribute to enhancing the image of Nigeria, their country, through their actions.
“Nigerians are really doing a lot here.
“We have Nigerians running NGOs and with the recognition within the State of Georgia and so on.
“They are highly united under different organisations and we have an umbrella body, which is called the ‘Organisation of Nigerians in Georgia’.
“This umbrella body accommodates all or a good number of the various Nigerian organisations and associations in the State of Georgia.
“I’ve been around all those states and I have to encourage them to do similar things’’.
He, however, said there could be isolated cases of deviants, like in any human group.
“Occasionally, there will be the case of someone get arrested for drunk driving or driving under the influence of one thing or the other.
“But one would not take it lightly because everybody has to keep within the law and by and large, the majority of Nigerians are really law abiding,’’ he said.
The envoy said the relations between the Consulate and the Nigerian community was cordial, friendly and mutually beneficial.
According to him, the relations between the Nigerian community and the Consulate is one that can be described as a very close engagement.
“My colleagues and I demonstrate this, not just by what we say but also through our actions.
“ We get invited to events and we show up.
“We also invite members of the community, whenever we have functions,’’ the envoy said.
He said the Consulate received between 1,200 and 1,300 passport applications and between 350 and 500 visa applications monthly.
Laro added that the figure had not changed even with the introduction of the electronic visa.
“On average, we get 350 to 500 visa applications monthly and even before the introduction of the e-visa arrangement, that’s about the same range that we had.
“The average number of applications we get monthly ranged between 1,200 and 1,300.
“We noticed that at certain times of the year, there might be a slight increase, especially when schools are on holiday.
“That’s when parents would have the time to bring them to the Consulate for the biometrics,’’ he said.
The envoy lauded the Federal Government for upgrading the nation’s visa to the electronic type, saying this has upgraded Nigeria’s visa application procedure.
“It’s in line with current best global practices and it has enhanced the security of our visa,’’ Laro said. (NAN)