Pulse.ng logo
Go

Uhomoibhi UN envoy advises Buhari not to reduce Nigeria's foreign missions

He said that Nigeria was too big to embark on reduction of number of foreign missions, saying that there was virtually no country in the world where Nigerians were not found.

  • Published: , Refreshed:
President Muhammadu Buhari play

President Muhammadu Buhari

(Daily Post)

The UN Joint Special Representative for Darfur Hybrid Operation, Amb. Martin Uhomoibhi, on Thursday, appealed to President Mohammadu Buhari not to reduce the number of Nigeria’s foreign missions.

Uhomoibhi, who heads African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, said that reducing the number of the mission would have negative effect on Nigeria’s foreign policies and relationship with the affected countries.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the sidelines of the 4th Annual Lecture of Society for International Relations Awareness, in Abuja, that rather than close some missions, Federal Government should introduce "smart missions’’.

He explained that a "smart mission’’ only had an ambassador, one diplomatic staff member and local staff.

"Mission closure is not the best, smart mission is the key,” he said.

Uhomoibhi said that it was not prudent to cut down the number of foreign missions "because closing them down is not cheap’’.

According to him, reducing number of missions is expensive than to maintain them.

He said that Nigeria was too big to embark on reduction of number of foreign missions, saying that there was virtually no country in the world where Nigerians were not found.

He said that such action may also amount to policy somersault as another government could come and reopen the closed missions.

Uhomoibhi added that closing down foreign missions could also send wrong signal to affected countries, pointing out that the implication was that the countries were not important.

"The message simply means that they are of no importance and they also will be waiting for the right time to get back at us.

He said that the action was capable of creating enemies for Nigeria because concerned countries would take it that they were of less importance to Nigeria and may be waiting for the right time to get back at us.

"They will use that against Nigeria when it comes to voting for any issue concerning Nigeria in international affairs.

"Nigeria cannot afford to lose the support of those countries in the name of cutting cost when what is spent on foreign mission is not up to one per cent of the nation’s budget,’’ he stressed.

The diplomat argued that other African countries, including Egypt and South Africa, spent up to nine per cent of national budget on foreign missions and were not thinking of cutting it down.

He added that South Africa and Egypt still had more foreign missions than Nigeria, explaining that South Africa had 130 missions, Egypt, 160 missions, and Nigeria, 119 missions.

He advised that instead of closing down some missions, the government should find a way of reducing the over-bloated staff "in the name of federal character’’ in foreign missions.

"The value of ambassador is to reach the president of the country, not a show off.

"Rather than pursue a mission of closure of missions, there should be a better management structure that understands the value of smart mission.

"Nigeria cannot afford to have a reclusive foreign policy in the name of closing down mission,” he insisted.
He called for intensive capacity building for staff of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"We have to engage in intensive capacity building, using experiences of former ambassadors, use the available resources to equip the young ones so that legacies could be passed to others,” Uhomoibhi said.

NAN recalls that the president had in September, ordered a review of Nigeria’s 119 foreign missions on the grounds that it had become too expensive to maintain them in view of prevailing economic downturn.

Buhari had stated that a presidential committee would be constituted to carry out the review. He had stressed that the country must keep only what it could manage.

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Nigeria?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +2349055172167, Social Media @pulsenigeria247: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng. More information here.