Reps to probe alleged deplorable state of Nigeria’s foreign missions
Following allegations that the country’s missions abroad were becoming increasingly deplorable, the House of Representatives yesterday resolved to investigate the claims towards ascertaining the state of affairs of all the missions.
The lower legislative chamber also resolved to commence direct oversight exercise on the nation’s foreign missions as a way of closely monitoring their activities as well as the activities of Nigerian diplomats and the utilisation of appropriated funds.The House therefore mandated its committee on Foreign Affairs to conduct a public hearing on the matter and report back in eight weeks for further legislative action.
The resolutions followed a motion on notice titled, ‘Deplorable State of Nigeria’s Foreign Missions and its Consequences on the Nation’s Foreign Policy’, sponsored by Hon. Nnenna Elendu Ukejeh (PDP, Abia) and 21 others.
Hon. Ukeje who led the debate on the motion informed the House that Embassies, High Commissions and Missions were the most dependable vehicles for the implementation of a Nation’s foreign policy and protection of the country’s image.
She said: “Some of the contributory factors to the deplorable conditions of the nation’s Embassies and High Commissions, including Chanceries and Residences of the Ambassadors and High Commissioners in cities like Washington D.C., New York, Geneva, London, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Brasilia, Juba and Johannesburg are poor funding and often times, late remittances of approved funds”.
“The funding challenges of the Missions are affecting their operations, thereby resulting in unpaid allowances of home based officers, huge debts owed to service providers, poor representation, low productivity and morale of officers posted to those Missions”, Ukeje argued.
She worried that the situation where children and wards of the foreign officers were being sent out of schools for non- payment of school fees and the officials denied medical services due to non – payment of insurance premium amounted to total embarrassment for the country.
Ukeje therefore urged the House to make annual budgetary allocation to enable the Committee on Foreign Affairs carry out oversight functions over the Missions.Recall that the Senate had similarly adopted the resolution on Tuesday where it strongly condemned the state of affairs of Nigerian Missions broad.
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