Breaking:  Nigerian Embassies in a Sorry State

Breaking:  Nigerian Embassies in a Sorry State

Nigerian Embassies Sorry State – The sorry state of the nation’s embassies and missions across the world was yesterday exposed during the 2019 budget defence session of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs.

While it was specifically pointed out that the toilet of Nigerian Embassy in Moscow, Russia, was in ad shape due to non-functional closets, it was also noted that the N4.123 billion of the N7.6 billion capital votes proposed for the missions for the 2019 fiscal year can only cover 30 out of the 110 Missions abroad in dire need of  funding .

The level of dilapidation of the affected embassies it was disclosed were basically due to recurring inadequate funding.

Explaining to the Senate Committee, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ambassador Mustapha Suleiman, lamented that the N4.123billion  capital votes proposed for the 110 missions abroad, was a far cry from N11.333 billion earmarked in 2018 , signifying  reduction of N7.209 bn representing 64% difference.

He said: “As a result of this, only 30 missions could be considered out of 110 missions for purchase of representational car, renovation/completion of ongoing projects.

“Distinguished Senators on a general note,  it is pertinent to mention that the Capital Budget proposal for the Ministry is grossly inadequate to cater for the line items .

“It is imperative to state that the budget ceiling brought down the capital budget from the 2018 Appropriation level of N20.198bn to N7.618bn representing a 62% reduction .

“In particular, Headquarters 2018 Capital Budget of N5.717bn as compared to the sum of N2.553bn in 2019 proposal means a reduction of N3.163bn (55%)

“This will affect the operation of capital projects, postings and return entitlement of Ambassadors and officers, UNGA, AU and contribution to International Organisation etc, for the year 2019.”

Suleiman, has, however, said that a committee had already been set up by the Presidency to tackle all the embarrassing issues raised, adding, “all the issues raised are being critically addressed by a special committee set up for that purpose by the presidency. There  will be lifeline for both the Ministry and the missions at the end of the day.”

Reacting to the budget submission of the Ministry, the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Shehu Sani (PRP Kaduna Central), noted that government over the years have not been serious about her responsibility, adding, “year in, year out, based on budgetary proposals and poor implementations, the government   at the centre has not been serious about her responsibility as a country.

“No responsible nation that has clear cut development- driven and visionary foreign policy, will deliberately underfund her foreign missions.

“For the past four years this committee has been over sighting  this ministry in terms of budgetary appropriations and other assistance, no significant progress can be said to have been made.

“Most of our missions are in sorry state by not being able to pay their electricity or water bills and even  the nation’s diplomats too, in a state of hunger and indebtedness based on information gathered or practical experience witnessed.

“Many of the diplomats cannot pay their children’s school fees particularly in Brussels (Belgium) and the worst are the conveniences of Nigerian embassy in Moscow,  Russia that is not catered for due to non functionality of its flusher, embarrassingly making anybody that uses it to flush it  with bucket of water fetched from adjoining embassy.

“It is saddening that from all indications and based on budgetary proposals tabled before this committee, government is not making any serious attempt in tackling the global ridicule that far  smaller countries like Cuba, Jamaica etc, are not facing.”


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