Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama has called on the newly appointed envoys to have zero tolerance for corruption and impunity.
He also urged them to change negative narratives of missions and the ministry in their countries of deployment.
Onyeama made the call on Tuesday, February 16, in Abuja during the opening of the three-day induction for Ambassadors-Designate, Consul-General, and Charge d’ Affaires.
He said the call to shun corruption should be taken seriously as the House of Representatives “is beaming the searchlight on the ministry and the missions following negative perceptions’’.
He said that as representatives of President Muhammadu Buhari, they should promote Nigeria’s national interest and image in their countries of deployment.
Onyeama further urged them to leverage the foreign policy thrust already built by Buhari, which had improved Nigeria’s relations with all countries and getting the required support from them.
The minister said that on assuming duty in 2015, the president articulated the foreign policy thrust of his administration dubbed the “Buhari Doctrine”; which he believed should be the framework for diplomatic constructive engagement with all countries.
“The result of the Buhari doctrine is that Nigeria is on good terms with every country in the world. This will make your jobs as envoys of Mr President much easier.
“Mr President is one of our strongest national brands; so I will urge you all to leverage that brand and goodwill to promote Nigeria’s national interest and image in the countries to which you have been deployed.
“There is a strong and persistent narrative from within; and without the ministry on corruption and poor governance in the ministry and missions.
“The House of Representatives is beaming the searchlight on the ministry and the missions.
“We see trending clips on social media portraying our missions in a negative light. So, you have to have zero tolerance for corruption and impunity
“Remember that you are also service providers, especially consular services; so your staff and missions have to be sympathetic and responsive to the needs of clients; and not subject them to hardship and arbitrary decisions and actions.
“Be good ambassadors. Your actions and inactions will impact on the success or otherwise of Nigeria’s foreign policy,” Onyeama said.
Hon. Yusuf Yakub, the Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs charged the envoys to do everything possible; to ensure Nigeria’s Foreign Missions function optimally and be prepared to solve problems.
Yakub said that Foreign Service representation would no longer be business as usual; but time to think outside of the box for quality service delivery.
He said the House of Representatives was bothered about the nation’s foreign service; as it no longer attracted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI); and had failed to improve the poor perception of Nigerians, home and abroad.
“Our Foreign Missions are in dire need of rescue and even revival; and these are not the best of times for the Nigerian State to entertain any wastage.
“I call on you to prepare yourselves for the challenges that you will confront; and your ability to address some of these challenges will mark you; as either a hero or a tea-drinking diplomat,” Yakub said.