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The Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives today inaugurated four Sub- Committees at the House of Representatives to tackle what is perceived as the deep rot at the nation’ s Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters and at the Foreign Missions.

Speaking at the venue of the inauguration, Chairman of the Committee,Rt. Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub, condemned in strong terms all the continuous sad assaults on Nigeria’s image abroad, stressing that it had become necessary to revamp the poor image Nigeria and Nigerians continue to carry about anywhere they are seen across the world.

He lamented the fact that even the Diplomatic Passport of the country’ s Officials have become worthless in the eyes of officials and other citizens of the world ,who daily treat Nigerians with disdain in their countries.

He pointed out that some of our Embassies/High Commissions do not accord Nigerians the necessary quality consular services and respect they desire,while also stressing the general lack of effective coordination of activities in most of these Embassies and High Commissions. He said in many cases,the Foreign Missions cannot even pay the school fees of foreign mission staff’s children and wards. They owe rents,ground rents and utility bills on properties Nigeria either owns or the Foreign Mission is renting. While promising to leave no stone unturned in the Committee’ s quest to ensure that funds are applied to what they have been allocated and that things work better at the Foreign Missions ,the lawmaker urged the necessary Committees to carry out all the needful in order to achieve results. Rt. Hon. Buba,also used the occasion to call on all Nigerians outside the shores of our country to always do the right things, knowing that they remain Ambassadors of our nation. He enjoined them to always register with the Embassies/ High Commissions whenever they arrive a country.

Rt. Hon.Buba,on a special note,thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the funds released to actualise the reforms the President had earlier approved in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters and at the Foreign Missions. He promised that the Committee would through its oversight ensure that the funds would be judiciously applied to the intentions of Mr. President,while warning all those who were said not to favour the reforms to hold their restrictions in check.

While highlighting the necessity of the Sub- Committees,the Adamawa- born Parliamentarian said the inauguration of the four (4) Sub- Committees in the House Committee was to ensure that hope returned for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,which, he observed, ought to have been considered the most important Ministry in the nation ,since the entire world is now a global village and the perception of the world would always be necessary to drive the country’ s economy and general progress. It was for the above reason,he said,that the Chinese President chairs the Foreign Affairs Commission in his country.

The inaugurated Sub- Committees include;the following:

1.The Sub- Committee on the Investigation of Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Finances in the Headquarters, Missions and the Implementation of Approved Reforms by Mr.President. This is headed by Hon. Kasimu Maigari;

2.The Sub- Committee on Foreign Missions’ Liabilities and Interventions ,which is headed by Hon. Ahmed Jaha;

  1. The Sub- Committee on Missions Properties Abroad,which is headed by Hon.Miriam Onuoha and,finally,
  2. The Sub- Committee on Retreat and International Conference,which is headed by the Deputy Chairman of the Committee,Hon. Timehin Adelegbe.

Accepting the mandate to head his own Sub- Committee, Hon. Maigari said the Sub- Committee would do whatever was necessary to succeed. He pointed out that there had been a reform in the past at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the Obasanjo Administration,but its intended gains were overshadowed by the internal resistance it witnessed at the time.. He promised not to witch hunt anyone,but also assured that the Sub- Committee would spare none in its activities.

On the other hand, Hon. Jaha said the treatments that are daily meted out on Nigerians across the world are public knowledge.While promising to do the needful in the course of the Sub- Committee’ s investigations,the Borno- born lawmaker assured all that members of the Sub- Committee would justify the confidence reposed in them.

Communicating her willingness to chair her own Sub- Committee, Hon.( Princess) Miriam Onuoha thanked the Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman for yet again providing Members the opportunity to earn and showcase knowledge. She said the issues emanating from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were worrisome, especially coming at a time Mr. President had just demonstrated unusual magnanimity at tackling underlying problems bedevilling the Ministry. The former equity banker pledged to offer total commitment to the assignment at hand.

While promising to deliver on the mandate given to him and members of the Sub- Committee on Retreat and International Conference,Hon.Timehin Adelegbe said the whole intention was to ensure that the Nigerian State became better. He said the nation’ s foreign policy and so many of the basis for engagements with the outside world were in dire need of total overhaul and that the Sub- Committee would do its best possible to drive the process of systemic reviews that would place the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the right pedestal to achieve targetted results.

Nkem Anyata-Lafia
Special Adviser to the Committee Chairman on Media and Public Affairs.
November 16,2020

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