The House of Representatives has invited the Minister and the Permanent Secretary in the Foreign Affairs ministry to appear and explain a directive, allegedly issued by the ministry that flouted the 2022 Appropriation Act.
The Speaker of the house, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, announced the invitation following a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Bello Maigari (PDP-Taraba) at plenary, on Thursday.
Moving the motion earlier, Maigari said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs played specialised roles that promoted and regulated how Nigeria and Nigerians were perceived across the global community.
He said that the ministry, through the activities of embassies and high commissions, carry out consular and diplomatic functions in all areas of our national life.
According to him, for a very long time the ministry’s headquarters had been steeped in various practices, actions and inactions that had negatively affected quality service-delivery.
The lawmaker said the nation’s image had been largely impugned by untoward media reports and other negative realities in the public domain as a result.
He said it had revealed the inability of ambassadors and commissioners to settle ground rents, pay utility bills, purchase vehicles or rehabilitate dilapidated infrastructure in chancery buildings.
The missions and service officers had been at the receiving end of the negative effects of the actions and inactions of the ministry’s headquarters, he added.
“Sometimes it resulted in hiring taxis for diplomats on official duty and in the forceful ejection of ambassadors/high commissioners and other officers from rented apartments, with their personal and other property thrown out on the streets, while budgeted capital funds lie unutilised in various bank accounts.
“A section of the 2022 Appropriations Act, which was carefully crafted by the Legislature and assented to by Mr. President to address the rot, lethargy and official inertia had been identified as bane to the development of our foreign service and missions.
“This section is now being challenged by some officials of government and unpatriotic individuals at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters.
“If the effrontery and impunity of those officials, who so flagrantly challenge 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 had been sacked by a mere letter by one senior government official in one ministry,” he said.
The house said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters should expressly comply with the provisions of Section 11 of the 2022 Appropriations Act within one week.
The lawmakers also said that the ministry should withdraw the contents of the letter countering an earlier letter by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to the minister, embassies and high commissions, to request compliance with the provisions of Section 11 of the 2022 Appropriations Act. (NAN)