A Civil Society Organisation, Mandate for National Values and Integrity in Nigeria (MNVIN), has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to intervene in the current row between the Foreign Affairs Minister, Amb. Yusuf Tuggar and Nigerian Ambassadors and High Commissioners in various Foreign Missions.
While describing the development as a national embarrassment, the organization said the back and forth over the stay of the envoys could have been well managed in the overall interest of the nation.
The group took the stand in a statement made available to DAILY POST on Friday signed by Malam Abdul Aliyu and Melford Nwokike, the national coordinator and the national secretary, respectively.
It accused the Foreign Affairs Minister of mismanaging simple diplomatic procedures and pushing President Tinubu’s government through a messy process.
DAILY POST reports that there is currently a stalemate between the Minister and the recalled Envoys who are currently stranded in their various Missions.
This was blamed on the alleged inability of the Ministry to give them the required notice (three months) and also pay them their passage allowance.
However, the CSO described as “disturbing” the claim and counterclaims, urging the President to call the Minister to order.
The group wondered what was the difficulty in the Ministry granting the Envoys their request for extension of terminal date to December 31 as against October 31, even when funds were not available to pay their passage.
The group noted that the extension, aside from providing the opportunity for the ambassadors’ wards to take their promotion exams and consequently streamline the academic calendar in order not to truncate their education by dropping a year, would have tallied with the three-month notice as required by the regulation.
“We, therefore, join other well meaning Nigerians to query the true intention of the Minister and why he appeared to be in a hurry to dispense with the Envoys even when it will take not less than four to six months to replace them.
“We are also worried that the Minister in an earlier statement stated that the Presidency was not convinced with the excuse given to extend the stay of the Ambassadors. We now ask: is Mr. Tuggar saying that the education of our children and financial crunch in the Missions are not enough reasons for such extension?
“We are worried that Tuggar, who until recently was an Ambassador to Germany, could not deploy his weight of experience in the management of the Foreign Affairs Ministry positively.
“Our investigation shows that the Foreign Service Regulation provides three months’ notice to diplomats to wind up at post when recalled but on the contrary, two months was given to the Ambassadors,” the statement noted.
“We call on His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to intervene and sack the Minister if he fails to resign in order to stop this macabre dance.
“We saw a memo directing junior officers at the Foreign Missions to lock out the diplomats from their residences and offices as well as stop them from using their official vehicles.
“This is to say the list, very appalling and reprehensible and indeed capable of ridiculing the country in the comity of nations.
“We also have it on good authority that Regulation 26.3, stipulates that three months notice should be given to an officer before they are posted abroad or back home to enable the officer to wind up their affairs; and that Regulation 26.4 stipulates that such recall shall be such a time as to coincide with the school year to enable the officer arrange the school programme of their children.
“We have it on good authority that the diplomatic imbroglio is already taking a toll on Nigeria’s business and diplomatic affairs and thereby stalling the realization of the 4Ds (Democracy, Development, Demography and Diaspora) foreign policy strategy under the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr. President,” the group claimed.