The House of Representatives has lamented that over 70 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign missions across the world have for several years received zero allocation in their capital budget.
The House made this known after the adoption of recommendations of its Committee on Foreign Affairs report following its oversight visit to the Nigerian Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America, and the Nigerian High Commission in Kingston, Jamaica.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Yusuf Buba laid the report before the House at the plenary yesterday, saying the zero allocation in capital budget had led to infrastructural and structural decay in the missions.
The House said: “From realities on ground, the delegation discovered that over 70 per cent of our Foreign Missions across the world have for several years received zero allocation in their Capital Budget year in year out. As a result of the above, this reality has led to infrastructural and structural decay in each of the missions.”
The lawmakers further the findings had created a situation where Foreign Service Officers prefer to rent houses than staying in the Missions owned property due to their dilapidated state.
The House stressed that funding was needed to put the issue of renovation and sundry works at almost all missions abroad to rest.
It also decried the cases of indiscriminate postings above the approved ceiling of the President for Foreign Service Officers.
It noted that this had led to overstaffing and wastage of resources that ought to have been used for the maintenance of other staff, the mission buildings and general infrastructure.
The House lamented that shortage required by Nigerians in the Diaspora had continued to be a major issue at our Missions.
It said: “The reality on ground indicates that the Nigerian Standard Passport and others are still being printed outside the shores of our country.
The delegation in its consideration, 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 the printing abroad, while commencing production locally.”
The House stressed that the foregoing would enable Nigeria as a nation service the increasing need of its citizens, especially, those abroad.
The Green chamber lamented lack of synergy among sister agencies including Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigerian Immigration Service, National Intelligence Agency, Nigerian Military and Accountants from Office of the Accountant General of the Federation at the duty post.
It further decried the unhealthy rivalry among officers of these bodies/organisations, who are serving at each of the Embassies/High Commissions abroad.
It added: “In spite of the fact that 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;
“There was even a case where the delegation (Committee) was informed that the military attachee at post left the Embassy building to rent office space elsewhere and, again, where Immigration officers started to issue visa without the vetting of the Mission’s Consular Officer (usually, NIA Officers).”
The lawmakers noted that all these anomalies could be addressed by a serious definition of roles and the establishment of boundaries (or precincts of duty) for officers at post no matter what body, Agency or department they have come.
Specifically, the House said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must, as a matter of urgency and for face-saving measures, lift the ban on the continuation of the construction project of the Haiti Model School.
It said it would ensure that investigation on the mismanagement of the funds continue, adding that the above has become necessary in the face of pressure being mounted by the international community on the Nigeria Mission in Kingston and on other Nigerian authorities.
The House urged the Ministry of Aviation and other relevant bodies to promote the introduction of a direct flight from Nigeria to Jamaica to service all Caribbean countries.