Reps invite Onyeama over ‘poor service delivery at foreign missions’

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The house of representatives has invited Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, and Gabriel Aduda, permanent secretary of the ministry, to answer questions on the financing of Nigerian embassies.

Onyeama and Aduda are to meet with Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house, on Tuesday.The invitation followed a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Kassim Maigari, a lawmaker from Taraba state, during plenary session on Thursday.Leading the debate on the motion, Maigari said the lawmakers had included a clause in the 2022 Appropriation Act to tackle “poor service delivery” at the nation’s embassies and foreign missions by allowing them to spend their capital component without requesting the ministry’s approval.

According to him, the clause was added in the appropriation bill to eliminate the “bureaucratic bottlenecks” affecting the effective operations of the embassies.The legislator, however, said the ministry wrote letters to the nation’s embassies requesting that they disregard the law.“That section of the 2022 Appropriation Act, which was carefully crafted by the legislature and assented to by Mr. President to address the rot, lethargy and official inertia that have been identified as bane to the development of our foreign service and missions, is now being challenged by some officials of government and unpatriotic individuals at the ministry of foreign affairs headquarters,” he said.

If the effrontery and impunity of those officials in the ministry of foreign affairs that are so flagrantly challenging a law signed by Mr. President, using diverse means, including writing of letters to counter provisions of an existing piece of law, are allowed to go unaddressed, we may wake up one morning, God forbid, to hear that the national assembly has been sacked by the mere letter of one senior government official in one ministry of government.

The motion was unanimously adopted after it was submitted to a voice vote by Gbajabiamila.The lower legislative chamber subsequently directed the ministry to “expressly comply with the provision of section 11 of the 2022 Appropriation Act (Power of Nigerian embassies and missions)”.

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