With 110 missions in various countries of the world, Nigeria is well represented to have a foothold in world affairs and cater to the interests of its citizens who are also found almost everywhere.
There is no gain saying that, some Nigerian Foreign Missions have been in the limelight for both the good and bad reasons.
This reflects the nation’s struggle to maintain a positive image outside and the need to put its foreign missions in order both in operations and structures.
The report presented by the Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Buba gave detailed observations after the committee visited the Nigerian Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia in United States of America (USA) and Kingston, Jamaica.
Summing up its observations, the committee stated thus: “With the benefit of discoveries and knowledge garnered by members of the House delegation for the oversight visits under review, it is the opinion of the delegation that what we have seen in Atlanta, Georgia in USA and Kingston, Jamaica, are a fair representation of what actually obtains in almost all Nigeria Foreign Missions across the globe”.
The committee revealed in the report that, its delegation has discovered that over 70% of Nigeria’s Foreign Missions across the world have for several years received zero allocation in their capital budget year in year out.The report stated: “As a result of the above, this reality has led to infrastructural and other decay in each of the missions.
“The above has caused a situation where Foreign Service Officers prefer to rent houses than staying in the missions owned properties due to their dilapidated state.“Considering the problem posed by the above, funding is needed to put the issue of renovation and sundry works at almost all missions abroad to rest.”
Similarly, the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has summoned the Minister of Interior, Ra’uf Aregbesola, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry and the Acting Comptroller General (CG), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to appear on Wednesday, December 22 over alleged loss of revenue through passport production and issues outsourced to foreign consultants.
Chairman of the Committee, Wole Oke lamented that the outsourcing of visa and passport production and handling was causing a lot of revenue losses to the country and should be stopped. He said the practice should be stopped since there were adequate personnel trained for the purpose and ways should be found to produce passports locally.
And Nigeria is bleeding through this window and we would continue to borrow money to finance our budget and one person sitting down in the corner of his room is making $90 on each applicant. It would not continue.
The Committee on Foreign Affairs in its consideration contained in the report believes that the problems associated with shortages in the required number of passports for Nigerians abroad can adequately be mitigated by the termination of existing contracts for printing abroad while commencing production l
It stated that: “The delegation, in the course of its assignment, discovered very serious and unhealthy rivalry among officers of these bodies/organisations, who are serving at each of the Embassies/High Commissions abroad.
“Although roles are seemingly defined, as per the nature of services offered citizens of Nigeria on other lands, the clashes that sometimes occur appear likely to cause more serious problems than already seen
The report cited a case where the military attaché left an embassy building to rent office space elsewhere and Immigration officers started to issue visas without the vetting of the Mission’s Consular Officer (usually, NIA Officers).
The report stated that the observed anomalies can be addressed by a clear definition of roles and the establishment of boundaries or precincts of duty for officers at post no matter the agency or department they come from.
It purposely visited Jamaica as a result of pressure being mounted by the international community on the Nigeria Mission in Kingston and other Nigerian authorities.
The committee recommended that the Ministry of Aviation and other relevant bodies should work for the provision of a direct flight from Nigeria to Jamaica to service all Caribbean countries which should be made part of the agenda of the Bi-national Commission meeting to be hosted by Nigeria.
The report by the House Committee has exposed the state of affairs in Nigerian Foreign Missions which has been on for years.It is not only out to inform about the situation, but it is a reminder of what had been reported at various times and a call for action to make things better and address the challenges.
But, to worsen the situation,