The House of Representatives on Thursday urged the Federal Government to stop its planned recall of the Nigerian heads of chancery from the nation’s foreign missions abroad.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance titled, “Urgent Need to halt the move to recall all Nigerian heads of chancery from Nigeria’s Foreign Missions abroad,” moved by the member representing Makarfi/Kudan Federal Constituency, Kaduna State, Mr Umar Ajilo.
On September 2, 2023, President Bola Tinubu recalled all Nigeria’s ambassadors, both career and non-career, asking them to return to the country on or before October 31, 2023. Nigeria has no fewer than 300 foreign missions.
The recall was communicated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar.
Leading the debate on the motion on the floor of the Green Chamber on Thursday, Ajilo noted that the core functions of the Nigeria’s heads of diplomatic missions abroad are “The representation of the government of Nigeria in the receiving countries, presenting the policies of the Nigerian government to the host countries, safeguarding the interests of Nigeria nationals in the host countries whether visiting or residing and the provision of public services for their Nigerians in the host countries including assisting with documentation and citizens evacuation from dangerous locations.”
He also noted that in a worrisome development sometime in 2023, “Nigeria recalled all her Ambassadors in a major diplomatic shakeup that affected both career and non-career Ambassadors; a development that was met with mixed reactions by Nigerians, particularly scholars of international affairs as many viewed it as a sign of instability.”
The House he said, is aware “Of a current plot or move to recall all heads of chancery from all Nigerian foreign missions abroad; also aware that the heads of chancery are responsible to the High Commissioners/Ambassadors whose major functions include the general administration of the mission which entails ensuring effective communication link between the headquarters and the rest of the world, preparation of the mission’s budget and secretary to the mission’s tender board amongst others.”
The lawmaker also noted that “Considering the important roles of the heads of Chancery to Nigerian Foreign Missions, the recall of all Nigerian heads of chancery at a time when Nigeria has no Ambassadors, having earlier withdrawn all her ambassadors in her foreign missions will give credence to the dangerous assertion of political instability back home and that will be hazardous to Nigerian diplomatic relations with other countries and a huge disservice to Nigerians abroad who may need their services.”
Following the adoption of the motion, the House urged the Federal Government to put on hold “Any proposed plan to recall the heads of chancery from Nigeria’s foreign Missions abroad.”
It also mandated the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to liaise with the Minister of Foreign Affairs “To resolve all issues in respect of Nigeria’s foreign missions and report back to the House for further legislative actions.”