“A Lot of Our Embassies are…. a Huge Embarrassment”- Foreign Minister

Nigeria has now become a laughing stock in the international community. Not long after the country has been embarrassed in some countries where her embassy building were treated with disdain, the government is telling another embarrassing story. Geoffrey Onyeama, the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, while defending 2021 budget of his ministry at the House of Representatives in Abuja on Tuesday, November 3, said the Nigerian Embassy in Hungary might be ejected from the property they occupy.
Onyeama said one of the challenges the ministry is facing is the movement of officers, ambassadors and their families and that the ministry needs N1.6 billion to move ambassadors and pay officers N3.7 billion, making a total of N5.3 billion for the whole movement.

According to NAN, Onyeama said “Just on Monday, the Ambassador in Hungary called to say they are going to throw them out from the chancery building.” The reason is that Nigeria is owing the landlord and the embassy there does not have the money to pay f its rent.

The minister added an icing on the sugar when he said, “We get that from a lot of missions across the world and that is not a sustainable way of running Foreign Service.

“Then this exchange rate differential with the CBN is really something we need to address once and for all.
“It is not so easy, all of these things are computed in naira and all the payments abroad are in dollars and once the exchange rate is changed, it never goes the other way, it always goes up, it never comes down vis-à-vis the dollar. This means immediate shortfall for all our missions.”
Onyeama cuts a pitiable sight when he said further, “We are just owing monies left and right and it is not even good for the image of the country.”
According to the minister, a lot of Nigeria’s missions are eyesores, as there is no money to maintain them. He told the legislators that letters forwarded to his ministry by the National Assembly asking for the settlement of claims and judgements cannot be done because of dearth of resources, just as financial responsibilities to staff cannot be met for the same reason.
Hear him: “We have a big challenge with clothing allowances, as you know, all officers in our missions from grade level 7 and above are entitled to $2,500 clothing allowance per annum.
“In the 2021 budget, about 1,312 officers will be expecting the payment of these allowances and if you take at the CBN official rate, we are looking at N1.2 billion.
“What we have available is N762 million for that, to be able to pay the clothing allowances, we still need an additional sum of N500 million.”

Geoffrey Onyeama Photo
Geoffrey Onyeama
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