The House of Representatives has called on the federal government to provide funds for the country’s missions abroad to enable them to deliver on their mandate.
The lawmakers made the call on Tuesday while adopting a motion moved under matters of urgent national importance by the Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Buba Yakub (APC, Adamawa).
The lawmaker moved the motion tagged “Urgent Need for the House to Save Our Nation the Embarrassment Emanating from Our Missions Abroad by Evaluating the Status of these Missions and Acting Promptly.”
He said the zero-budgetary allocation for capital expenditure for over 100 missions abroad in the last few years had affected their performances.
“This is especially in relation to our economy and citizens diplomacy, which are the very planks of the present administration’s foreign policy agenda.
“The House is disturbed that the condition of our missions abroad has become a sad caricature of what they should be and a laughing stock in the eyes of a world that prides us as the Giant of Africa.
“In the midst of their challenges, these missions can neither attract any Foreign Direct Investment into our nation nor possess what it takes to address the yearning of the nation’s citizens abroad.”
The lawmaker said many of the missions abroad operate from dilapidated buildings and rented properties.
“This is with long unpaid rents, unpaid utility bills, poor and moribund communication infrastructure, dingy furniture, no utility cars and sometimes with no cars for the Ambassador or HIigh Commissioner to even fly the official flag of our country in their places of assignment.”
He also expressed concern that so much was generated as revenue through visa and passport issuance, ”but none went to the coffers of any of the missions”.
Adopting the motion, the house urged the federal government to allow the missions partake of the revenue generated from activities within their domain to enhance their work.
“These include visa and passport issuance fees and others.
“This will, no doubt, enhance the work environment of the missions and make for a positive change in their outlook.”
The lawmakers also called on the federal government to encourage the strict implementation of the Smart Mission Concept in all of its missions abroad.