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  • News - North Central - FCT
  • Updated: October 25, 2023

Federal Government Extends Stay Of Envoys, Ambassadors

Federal Government Extends  Stay Of Envoys, Ambassadors

The Federal Government has reportedly extended the stay of Nigeria's envoys and ambassadors by three months.

This comes five weeks after President Bola Tinubu summoned all of Nigeria's career and non-career ambassadors and requested that they return to the nation by October 31.

According to sources, the extension was granted owing to delays in the delivery of AIEs (Authority to Incur Expenditure) for the envoys' return 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, voiced worry that the three-month extension would not be sufficient to finish the process of recalling and replacing ambassadors, which they estimate takes six to eight months.

An ambassador stated, "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."

The ambassador went on to say that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had issued a recommendation to President Tinubu outlining the repercussions and requesting a three-month delay to allow for some housekeeping for the recalled envoys.

According to a ministry insider, the delay was given to "save Nigeria from impending national and international embarrassment." However, the insider noted that the delay is unlikely to be sufficient because the agreement between the sending and receiving governments can take more than six months to conclude.

Another ambassador agreed, worried that the missions would be left without ambassadorial leadership for eight months, which would be disastrous for Nigeria.

Without an ambassador, embassies will be led by a charge d'affaires (CDA), a level 12 officer who will not be able to see any officer higher than a director at any diplomatic meeting. 

This makes making appointments in foreign nations difficult for President Tinubu, as only an ambassador can go to the prime minister and organise meetings and other engagements for the president. Such gatherings cannot be organised by CDAs.

Another issue that has to be addressed is that the Federal Government has not provided resources to the missions since June.

“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", the source stated.

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