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Nigerian Embassies, Consulates in sorry state, soiled by corruption – report

Nigerian Embassies and Consulates are in a sorry state and soiled by corruption, according to a report by #OurVotesCount (OVC), an initiative of the National…

Nigerian Embassies and Consulates are in a sorry state and soiled by corruption, according to a report by #OurVotesCount (OVC), an initiative of the National Association of Seadogs, NAS.
The independently funded report on some selected Nigerian missions, titled “State of Nigerian embassies and consulates, 2022” was presented by a former Nigerian Ambassador to Mexico, Ogbole Amedu-Ode, at an event in Abuja on Friday.
“Although not in high proportion as with the case in most public institutions at home, the research found that some Nigerian Embassies and Consulates are also soiled by corruption.
“There are reported cases of visitors being asked to pay non-official fees for services that should either come for free or cheaper,” the report stated in part.
Besides, the report noted that Nigerian Embassies and Consulates are poorly funded, stressing that most of them are housed in unbefitting structures.
The report also noted non-digitisation of services, unavailability of courier services, outdated queuing procedure and biometric-related insufficiencies, lack of good physical infrastructure, poor internet and information technology facilities, limited level of interaction between embassy officials and Nigerians in the Diaspora and poor staff attitude.
The report recommended the elimination of bureaucratic bottlenecks and delays that make it possible for corrupt tendencies, especially with regard to the imposition of extra charges for express services.
Also, it recommended more budgetary allocation towards the acquisition of befitting Embassies and Consulate buildings and maintenance of existing infrastructure in Nigeria’s foreign missions and the establishment of a special trust fund for the acquisition, equipment and maintenance of Nigerian Embassies and Consulates in order to reduce the dependence on the annual national budget, among others.
Earlier in his speech, the NAS Capoon, Abiola Owoaje, said the report has the ultimate objective of raising citizens’ awareness of the enormous powers at their disposal to influence the priority of the government.
He also said the report is meant to stimulate appropriate conversations at the highest levels of government that would turn around the situation of Nigerian Diplomatic Missions.
Owoaje said: “Nigerian Foreign Missions, like other facets of life in our dear country, are often afflicted by the lack of responsible leadership, and have suffered declining fortunes.
“Conversations about the state of Nigerian Embassies and Consulates should agitate the minds of any patriotic Nigerian. One point to note is that while it is true that some of the challenges bedevilling our diplomatic missions captured in the report are known to Nigerian diplomats, it should be our concern that serious efforts are not being deployed to ameliorate the situation. We should be concerned that our Foreign Missions, once centres of excellence, have been reduced to decrepit Missions.”
Daily Trust was unable to get a reaction from the government as calls put through to the known phone number of the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Franca Omayuli, were not picked up or returned. A message sent to her number was also not responded to.
Recently, the Federal Government, through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, inaugurated a presidential committee to review the state of Nigerian diplomatic missions worldwide.

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