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House of Reps to investigate Ministry of Foreign Affairs activities, missions

Despite the efforts of the House, Nigerians around the world are faced with general and urgent Consular Services Challenge.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas. [Twitter:Omoruyi]

This followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Ben Etanabene (PDP-Delta) during plenary in Abuja on Thursday. Moving the motion, Etanabene noted that the government had set in motion reforms for effective service delivery in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Parastatal agencies and the Missions.

He expressed concern that the House had taken several steps to ensure that the reforms and policy thrust of the ministry came to fruition for the good of the country. He said despite the efforts of the House, Nigerians around the world were faced with general and urgent Consular Services Challenge.

According to him, many Nigerians are illegally held or imprisoned in foreign countries and often under harsh conditions that may lead to loss of lives if urgent actions are not taken.

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“Many Nigerians go through extreme difficulties to secure visas for legitimate travels including Government Officials and Legislators after paying exorbitant visa fees.”

He said Embassies in a bid to ease visa application processes have resulted in outsourcing the processes to agents whose cost of services is borne by Nigerians.

The lawmaker said several modes of visa applications were in force including express services with huge costs paid by applicants who are sometimes denied visas after such payments.

He said the Ministry in addition to budgetary allocations, benefited from intervention funds, for running the affairs of the ministry and missions as well as the internally generated revenue by several of its missions.

He said the committee received several complaints regarding issues of employment in the missions, appointments, postings, redeployment and disciplinary issues that affect morals and service delivery.

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He added that a lot of local staff ceilings in some missions had been exceeded due to violation of rules of employment and in some instances, the ceiling placed on the number of Foreign Service Officers.

This, he said had further resulted in indebtedness in the respective missions. Adopting the motion, the House mandated the Committee on Foreign Affairs to carry out a holistic investigation and report back to the House within three weeks.

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