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Reps to Probe Activities of Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The House of Representatives has resolved to conduct an in-depth investigation of the actions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to ensure that the mandate for which it was established is met.

The House expressed displeasure that several Nigerians are subjected to untold hardship outside the country while several others are serving jail terms under harsh conditions.

This followed a motion of urgent public importance brought betore th House by the House Committee.

On Foreign Affairs on the urgent need to ensure effective implementation of the government reforms in the ministry, Nigerian mission abroad and the foreign policy agenda of the government.

Moving the motion on behalf of the sponsors, Ben Etanabene (LP, Delta) described the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a body recognized by law to ensure the implementation of the foreign policy objectives of government exercisable through the various foreign missions.

According to him, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs equally plays other specialized roles that promote and regulate how Nigeria and Nigerians are perceived across the global community, especially through activities in the Embassies and High Commissions which carry out Consular and Diplomatic functions in all areas of our national life.

He explained that the government has set in motion reforms for effective service delivery in the Ministry of foreign Affairs, Parastatals and the Missions and has put in place a clearly defined Foreign Policy thrust of Democracy, Development, Demography and Diaspora known as 4Ds to usher in a new foreign policy focus for the country.

He said that the House has taken several steps to ensure that the reforms and policy thrust comes to fruition for the good of the country, adding that inspite of the efforts of the House, Nigerians around the world are faced with general and urgent Consular Services Challenge.

He disclosed that many Nigerians are illegally held or imprisoned in foreign countries and often under harsh conditions that may lead to loss of lives if urgent actions are not taken.

He maintained that many Nigerians students are stranded in foreign land over issues that can be resolved while many Nigerians owned businesses around the world helping in contributing to the economy of those countries and sending remittances back home are suffering harassment and sabotage.

He said fuether that many Nigerians go through extreme difficulties to secure visas for legitimate travels including Government Officials and Legislators after paying exorbitant visa fees.

He disclosed that many embassies, in a bid to ease visa application processes have resulted to outsourcing the processes to agent whose cost of services are born by Nigerians.

He said “several modes of visa applications are in force including express services with huge cost paid by applicants who are sometimes denied visas after such payments.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in addition to budgetary allocations, benefits from intervention  funds, for running the affairs of the ministry and missions as well as the internally generated revenue by several missions around the world with questions over effective and efficient utilization over the years.”

He said further that the committee on foreign affairs had received several complaints regarding issues of employments in the ministry and missions, appointments, postings, redeployment and disciplinary issues that affect morals and service delivery.

He said the country has properties and assets across the world under various missions, many underutilized and several others abandoned which if properly audited and harnessed will enhance efficiency of our Foreign Service Officers and increase the revenue that is generated by the federal government.

He expressed concern that in a lot of missions, local staff ceiling has been exceeded due to violation of rules and in some instances, the ceiling of Foreign Service Officers.

This has further resulted to indebtedness in the respective missions.

He said if these issues are not investigated and appropriate and urgent actions taken by the House, it may lead to loss of lives and properties, further difficulties in visa and consular services home and abroad, malfeasance and waste, inefficiency and loss of revenue, poor implementation of the government reforms, 4Ds policy thrust.

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