Olufemi Hakeem Gbajabiamila a Nigerian lawyer, All Progressives Congress Leader, and Speaker of Nigeria’s 9th House of Representatives. have invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, to a meeting next week over an order by his ministry to Nigerian foreign missions not to implement a provision in the 2022 Appropriation Act which allows embassies and high commissions to embark on capital expenditure without recourse to the headquarters.
Kasimu Maigari, A member of the House, had moved a motion of urgent public importance to raise the alarm, urging the chamber to ensure that the ministry complies with provisions of the Act.
It was titled ‘A Motion Calling on the Federal Government to Mandatorily Compel the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Implement the Provision of the 2022 Appropriations Act (S.11), which Empowers Nigeria Embassies/ High Commissions Across the World to Spend the Capital Components of their Budgets Without Recourse to the Headquarters of the Ministry.’
Consequently, the House unanimously adopted the motion, directing the ministry to “expressly comply with the provision of Section 11 of the 2022 Appropriations Act (Power of Nigerian Embassies and Missions) and report such compliance to the House within one week.”
The House also asked the ministry to “rescind contents of the letter countering an earlier letter written by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to the Honourable Minister and the embassies/high commissions to request compliance with the provisions of Section 11 of the 2022 Appropriations Act.”
Not satisfied with the adopted prayers, Gbajabiamila asked the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Affairs, Buba Yakub, to invite Onyeama to a meeting at his (Speaker’s) office on Tuesday he said…
“Please, Honourable Buba, have the Permanent Secretary and the Minister of Foreign Affairs also see me on Tuesday in the office. And I will like to have you in attendance as well,”.
Moving the motion, Maigari noted that for a very long time, the ministry’s headquarters had been “steeped in various practices, actions and inaction that have negatively affected quality service delivery in the ministry and, especially, at the post, where the nation’s image has been largely impugned by untoward media reports and other negative realities in the public domain.”
The lawmaker said the reports revealed the inability of Nigerian Ambassadors and High Commissioners, who are representatives of the President, to settle ground rents, pay utility bills, purchase vehicles or rehabilitate dilapidated infrastructure in chancery buildings and quarters occupied by Foreign Service officers across the globe.
According to him, Nigerian Foreign Missions and Service officers have been at the receiving end of the negative effects of the actions and inaction of the ministry.
This, he said, sometimes resulted in hiring taxis for diplomats on official duties and forceful ejection of Ambassadors or High Commissioners and other Foreign Service officers from rented apartments, with their personal effects and other property thrown into the streets of capital cities of the world, even when such embassies or high commissions have budgeted capital funds lying unutilized in various bank accounts.