Nigerian ambassador-designates will be posted to the country’s various missions abroad in May, Daily Trust has gathered.
Since the federal government ordered the recall of all the ambassadors appointed by the previous administration in 2015, Nigerian foreign missions have remained without substantive heads.
The missions are being manned by chargé d’affaires or, in some cases, counsel-generals.
Daily Trust had exclusively reported that all the 47 career ambassadors cleared by the Senate had been assigned portfolios.
The Red Chamber is yet to approve the nominations of the non-career diplomats.
After approval by the Senate, the federal government has to secure “agreemo” (approval) from host countries before posting the envoys to the various missions. The period differs from country to country.
Speaking to Daily Trust in an exclusive interview, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama said the country’s foreign missions would have substantive heads in May.
“Realistically, we would be looking at the next three months from now,” Onyeama told our reporter.
The minister, however, admitted that lack of substantive ambassadors at the various missions affects bilateral relations with host countries.
“There will always be an impact if you don’t have an ambassador in a country, even from the point of view of perception because the host country will always feel slighted that you are not given it the respect and that you are not engaging with it at the level that it should be especially if they have an ambassador in your country,” he said.
He noted that it is easier for an ambassador than a lower official to have access to a highest level of government in host countries.
On pruning down the number of foreign missions due to the nations’ plummeting economy, Onyeama said eight missions had been identified for closure but the final decision has not been taken as discussions are still ongoing.
“There are about eight missions initially identified. And there are ongoing discussions as to whether all the eight should be closed. So, I would not want to name those missions in those countries because the final decision has not been taken,” he said. Daily Trust. M