By INNOCENT ODOH, Abuja
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has admonished the ambassadors-designate to shun corruption and impunity, and project Nigeria’s image to the outside world in positive light with their conduct.
Onyeama also tasked them to change the negative narratives of Nigerian Embassies and Missions and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in their designated countries.
The Minister gave this urge at the opening of a three-day induction programme for ambassadors-designate, consul-generals and charge d’affaires in Abuja, stressing that the envoys must not jeopardize Nigeria’s interests with acts of corruption.
He said that the House of Representatives is closely watching activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the missions following negative perceptions about the ministry.
He also directed the ambassadors-designate to take advantage of the foreign policy thrust of the country already built by the President Muhammadu Buhari,which has made Nigeria to be in good terms with all countries and getting required support from 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 on 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 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.
In his remarks, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Hon. Yusuf Yakub, admonished the envoys to do everything possible to ensure Nigeria’s foreign mission functioned optimally.
Yakub, who said that service representation will no longer be business as usual, noted that it was time to think outside the box for quality service delivery.
“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.