In a startling turn of events, the Minister of Foreign Affairs issued a directive on Friday, ordering the eviction of Nigeria’s Ambassadors and High Commissioners from their official residences and offices. This controversial directive, outlined in Circular No. S. 124 dated 03/11/2023 and signed by Permanent Secretary Ambassador Adamu I. Lamuwa, has raised serious concerns within the diplomatic community. At the heart of this unfolding crisis is the Ministry’s failure to reimburse the Ambassadors for their return passages, a situation that has pushed the envoys to vow resistance against any attempts by the Foreign Affairs Minister to deploy junior officers to jeopardize Nigeria’s image on the international stage.
The Ministry’s directive to evict the country’s diplomats from their posts while the return passages remain unpaid is unprecedented and in violation of established international norms. It is customary for foreign service officers to continue enjoying their privileges at their respective posts until their return passages have been duly cash-backed by the headquarters. This practice is not exclusive to Nigeria but is adhered to globally, highlighting the puzzling nature of the Minister’s decision. It leaves one wondering whose interests the Minister’s actions serve, given that the Ministry has yet to settle the Ambassadors’ return passages.
This dire situation has placed a significant strain on these dedicated diplomats who, for the past five months, have been grappling with the absence of their mission allocations. The Ambassadors have been forced to dig into their personal savings to keep the missions and embassies running, all while facing the looming threat of legal actions by service providers. This precarious state of affairs not only reflects poorly on the treatment of Nigeria’s diplomats but also raises questions about potential breaches of the regulations that govern their assignments.
The repercussions of this crisis have now transcended national borders, making Nigeria a topic of discussion among the global diplomatic community. The contentious situation has captured the attention of foreign governments and international organizations, who are closely watching how this dispute unfolds. The plight of Nigeria’s Ambassadors has drawn international sympathy and raised concerns about the country’s commitment to its diplomatic corps, further tarnishing its reputation on the world stage.
As this crisis continues to unfold, the unity and determination of Nigeria’s Ambassadors stand as a testament to their unwavering dedication to serving their country. The Ambassadors’ vow to defend their rights and resist any attempts to undermine their role in foreign missions is indicative of their commitment to representing Nigeria with honor and integrity, even in the face of adversity.
With the diplomatic community worldwide now keeping a close eye on this unfolding drama, it remains to be seen how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ambassadors will resolve this impasse. The urgent need for dialogue, adherence to established regulations, and timely payment of entitlements cannot be overstated, as Nigeria’s reputation and the well-being of its diplomats hang in the balance.