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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY LAMPOONS FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY OVER NEGLIGENCE

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The House of Representatives yesterday directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to withdraw the letters it wrote to Nigerian embassies asking them not to obey a section of the 2022 Appropriation Act.

Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila gave the directive when the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and officials of the ministry appeared before him over the alleged breach of the 2022 Appropriation Act by the ministry.

The ministry had written to Nigerian embassies and missions not to obey Section 11 of the 2022 Appropriation Act which empowers them to spend the capital components of their budgets without recourse to the ministry.

Gbajabiamila described the letters as illegal, unconstitutional and disrespectful to the National Assembly, saying they must be withdrawn forthwith.

“They (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) need to comply with the law as passed until such a time when that law is revised. Now, the ministry is not different from any other ministry and I’m sure in other agencies, they don’t need to return to the ministry. So, why should it be different with the embassies which we all know are actually suffering?”

According to him, if the ministry is not comfortable with the Act, it should seek for possible amendment rather than disobey the law.

The House of Representatives had, at its plenary on Thursday, expressed worries that many Nigerian embassies and High Commissions were in a dilapidated state owing to the refusal of the ministry to allow Ambassadors/High Commissioners access the capital components of their budgets to carry out needed facelifts.

Onyeama said the ministry would always work to promote the best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.

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