Nigeria shuts three foreign missions, downsizes others to save money
London, May 22, 2019 (AltAfrica)-In her bid to save scarce foreign exchange and judicious use of available resources, Nigeria has closed three foreign missions considered as “expendables” while one was seriously downgraded
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama who made the announcement on Tuesday in Abuja while speaking on activities of the ministry in the last three years said the affected missions were those of Czech Republic, Sri Lanka and Serbia missions
Onyeama disclosed further that Nigerian mission in had been seriously downsized, all due to insufficient funds.
Before the closure, Nigeria had 119 foreign missions.
Onyeama added that the reduction of Nigeria’s foreign missions remains one of the agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He explained that the closure of the missions was occasioned by inability of the ministry to maintain them due to insufficient funds.
“Every embassy has written to us about their huge financial demands. and when we go to these embassies we see clearly very unattractive state that does not reflect well on the country.
“Very often the staff of the embassy really find things extremely difficult.
“Clearly, if we want to operate on the scale and scope in which we are at the moment with over a 100 missions around the world, we need to spend a lot more.
He said though Nigeria has spent a lot, it was not enough, compared to what other countries around the world spend
“What I am saying is that rather than having this terrible circle of inadequate funding for missions, headquarters and so forth we have to reduce the scope.
“We should have foreign missions that we can fund, we might not necessarily close the embassies per se, it might be reducing the number of staff in the embassies.
“Because what we found out is that it is more expensive to close the embassies than operating them,” he said.
The announcement came after almost four years when president Buhari first hinted of a comprehensive review of foreign missions abroad
Speaking in September 2015 after being briefed by the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bulus Lolo, President Buhari said a presidential committee would soon be set up to undertake a review of Nigerian foreign missions to determine those that are really essential.
The president said the review would determine the number of essential missions Nigeria needs to maintain abroad so that appropriate standards and quality could be maintained.