House of Reps summons minister, perm-sec for allegedly flouting Appropriation Act

House of Reps summons minister, perm-sec for allegedly flouting Appropriation Act

The House of Representatives has invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry to appear and explain why a directive, allegedly issued by the ministry, contravened the 2022 Appropriation Act.

The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, announced the invitation, following the unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Bello Maigari (PDP-Taraba) at plenary on Thursday.

Moving the motion, Maigari said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs played specialised roles that promoted and regulated how Nigeria and Nigerians were perceived across the globe.

He said that the ministry, through the activities of Nigeria’s embassies and high commissions, carried out consular and diplomatic functions in all areas of national life.

He moaned that for a very long time, the ministry’s headquarters had been steeped in various practices, actions and inactions that had negatively affected quality service-delivery.

Maigari said that the nation’s image had been largely impugned by untoward media reports and other negative realities in the public domain as a result of the development.

He said that it had revealed the inability of Nigeria’s ambassadors and high commissioners to settle ground rents, pay utility bills, purchase vehicles or rehabilitate dilapidated infrastructure in chancery buildings.

The missions and service officers had been at the receiving end of the negative effects of the actions and inactions of the ministry’s headquarters, he added.

Maigari said: “Sometimes, it resulted in hiring taxis for diplomats on official duty and in the forceful ejection of ambassadors/high commissioners and other officers from rented apartments, with their personal and other property thrown out on the streets, while budgeted capital funds lie unutilised in various bank accounts.

“A section of the 2022 Appropriations Act, which was carefully crafted by the legislature and assented to by Mr President to address the rot, lethargy and official inertia, had been identified as bane to the development of our foreign service and missions.

“This section is now being challenged by some officials of government and unpatriotic individuals at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters.

“If the effrontery and impunity of those officials, who so flagrantly challenge a law signed by Mr President, using diverse means, including writing of letters to counter provisions of an existing piece of law, are allowed to go unaddressed, we may wake up one morning, God forbid, to hear that the National Assembly had been sacked by a mere letter by one senior government official in one ministry,” he said.

The House said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters should expressly comply with the provisions of Section 11 of the 2022 Appropriations Act within one week.

The lawmakers also said that the ministry should withdraw the contents of the letter, countering an earlier letter by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to the minister, embassies and high commissions, to request compliance with the provisions of Section 11 of the 2022 Appropriations Act.

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