The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a motion urging the federal government to increase funding for foreign missions.
This was a sequel to a motion by Rep. Nnena Elendu-Ukeje (Abia-PDP), which was co-sponsored by 22 other lawmakers.
Moving the motion, she expressed worry that poor funding of the missions was affecting their operations.
The lawmaker added that the poor funding had resulted in unpaid allowances of home-based officers, huge debts owed service providers and the poor representation of officers posted to those missions.
She also emphasised that some of the contributory factors to the deplorable conditions of the nation’s Embassies and High Commissioners in cities like Washington D. C, New York, Geneva, Frankfurt and Johannesburg were due to low funds.
Elendu-Ukeje prayed the House to also urge the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Accountant- General of the Federation to ensure direct and timely remittance of funds to Nigeria’s Missions.
The lawmaker, also the chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Relations also expressed concern over the denial of medical services and non-payment of school fees of the children and wards of foreign officers.
“I am concerned about a situation where children and wards of foreign mission officers are sent out of schools for non-payment of fees and the officials are denied medical services due to non-payment of the insurance premium.’’
In his contribution, Rep. Jones Onyereri (Imo-PDP) decried the condition of the missions as well as the hardship facing the foreign officers.
He said that there was the need for the country to come up with solutions and also determine whether it was necessary for the government to pay the insurance premium.
Also, Rep. Nnanna Igbokwe (Imo-PDP) urged the House to conduct a public hearing to enable the house aggregate the problems being faced by the missions in order to find lasting solutions to them.
Also contributing to the motion, Rep. Zakari Mohammed (Kwara-APC) said that unless the anomalies were corrected, Nigeria would remain a laughing stock in the comity of nations.
He stressed the need for more funds to be appropriated to the missions.
In adopting the motion, the House also called for an increase in the budgetary allocation to the Committee on Foreign Relations to enable it to carry out its oversight functions on the missions.
The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
The House, therefore, mandated the Committee on Foreign Affairs to conduct a public hearing on the deplorable State of Nigeria’s Foreign missions and report back within eight weeks for further legislative action.
The motion is coming at a time that the Executive is preparing to submit the 2018 budget.