President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government has reportedly extended the stay of Nigeria’s envoys and ambassadors by three months....CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>
This comes five weeks after President Bola Tinubu recalled all of Nigeria’s career and non-career ambassadors and asked them to return to the country on or before October 31.
Sources said that the extension was granted due to delays in the release of AIEs (Authority to Incur Expenditures) for the envoys’ passages back to Nigeria.
“The AIEs have been released but there was no cash-backing, hence the extension of their stay till January 2024,” a source told Vanguard.
Some ambassadors, however, expressed concern that the three-month extension may not be adequate to complete the process of recalling and replacing ambassadors, which they said takes about six to eight months.
“If the envoys take their leave by November 1, all the Nigerian missions will be without heads for a long time because it takes quite some time to nominate, vet, screen, confirm and receive bilateral agreement from host countries before envoys assume duties at their respective posts,” an ambassador said.
The ambassador added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had written an advisory to President Tinubu, pointing out the consequences and seeking a three-month extension to enable some housekeeping to be done for the recalled envoys.
An insider in the ministry said the extension was granted to “save Nigeria from an impending national and international embarrassment.” However, the insider added that it is doubtful that the extension will be adequate, as the agreement between the sending and receiving states can take more than six months to finalise.
Another ambassador concurred, fearing that the missions may be without ambassadorial leadership for eight months, with dire consequences for Nigeria.
The implication is that without an ambassador, the embassies will be headed by a Charge d’Affaires (CDA), a level 12 officer who cannot see any officer higher than a director in any diplomatic gathering. This means it would be difficult for President Tinubu to make appointments in other countries, as only an ambassador can go to the prime minister and arrange meetings and other engagements for the president. CDAs cannot arrange such meetings.
It is also revealed that the Federal Government has not released allocations to the missions since June, which is another challenge that needs to be addressed.
The source said, “As every country does, the way out is to put forward your nominees, security agencies will screen them, and they go to the Senate for confirmation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will send letters of agreement to the countries they are being posted and ask, ‘do you agree?’
‘’The other countries will start their own investigations. Sometimes agreement takes between six to eight months. The least is two months for African countries because they will ask their security agencies to carry out thorough screening as ambassadors enjoy immunity.
“Sometimes, they will screen your children. The other countries allow their serving ambassadors to serve while doing the Agreement so that if the outgoing ambassador leaves this week, another ambassador will come in next week because the appointing country does not have control over the agreement.”.…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>