Nigeria Closes 3 Foreign Missions Over Insufficient Funds
Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama, has announced the closure of the country’s foreign missions in Czech Republic, Sri Lanka, and the Republic of Serbia while that of Ukraine was downsized owing to insufficient funds.
While speaking on the activities of the ministry in the last three years in Abuja on Tuesday, Onyeama explained that the closure of the missions was occasioned by inability of the ministry to maintain them due to insufficient funds. Although he noted that the reduction of Nigeria’s foreign missions remains one of the agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
“Every embassy has written to us about their huge financial demands and when we go to these embassies we see clearly very unattractive state that does not reflect well on the country.
“Very often the staff of the embassy really find things extremely difficult. Clearly, if we want to operate on the scale and scope in which we are at the moment with over a 100 missions around the world, we need to spend a lot more.
“What I am saying is that rather than having this terrible circle of inadequate funding for missions, headquarters and so forth we have to reduce the scope.
“We should have foreign missions that we can fund, we might not necessarily close the embassies per se, it might be reducing the number of staff in the embassies.
“Because what we found out is that it is more expensive to close the embassies than operating them,” the Minister clarified.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mustapha Suleiman, had said in April that there was no budgetary provision for 80 foreign missions.
He said there was a 64 percent cut on the capital votes proposed for the missions in the 2019 budget, when compared to the N11.3 billion earmarked in 2018.
Nigeria had 119 foreign missions before the closure.
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