Reps ask Foreign Affairs Ministry to obey Appropriation Law on capital spending by embassies

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Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Rep. Mukhtar Betara; Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Yusuf Buba Yakubu; Speaker, House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila; Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama; and Permanent Secretary, Foreign Affairs Ministry, Gabriel Aduda at a meeting between the Speaker and the Ministry over the Ministry’s implementation of the 2022 Appropriation Act at the National Assembly.

The House of Representatives has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to comply with a provision of the 2022 Appropriation Act, which gives express permission to Nigeria’s embassies to spend their capital votes in order to speed up foreign operations without seeking the approval of the Ministry.

This was made known at a meeting on Monday between the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, and officials of the ministry led by the Minister, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, accompanied by the Permanent Secretary Gabriel Aduda and senior directors from the ministry. Also in attendance were the Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Rep. Mukhtar Betara, and the Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Yusuf Buba Yakubu.

The House said compliance with the law was not negotiable until a possible amendment was passed by the National Assembly. Gbajabiamila had convened the meeting on the heels of the discovery by the House that the ministry had issued letters to the embassies instructing them not to spend any money not approved by the ministry, a directive the House termed an “affront” to the Appropriation Act.

Speaking shortly after the meeting, the Speaker described the ministry’s directive as “illegal and unconstitutional”, insisting that it was in the interest of the image of Nigeria and the ministry to allow the embassies to spend their votes to reverse the state of dilapidation of the country’s foreign missions.

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