By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA—Federal Government, yesterday, warned members of the diplomatic community against what it described as “unguarded utterances” over the postponement of the general elections.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali, while addressing the envoys, said Federal Government would no longer tolerate the excesses of such heads of mission.
Wali, who restated the reasons the electoral umpire gave for the polls’ shift, said: “No country, no matter how well-intentioned, can love Nigeria more than Nigerians.
“It is in the forgoing context that the Federal Government finds the comments already made by some of our friends and partners on this matter judgemental, precipitate and unwarranted.
“What we need at this time is not to be hectored or lectured as to the conduct of Nigeria’s internal affairs, not least the deepening of democracy in our country.
“Let me also seize this opportunity to express the strong displeasure of the Federal Government with the conduct of some Heads of Mission who have continued to behave in an imperial manner and in clear breach of the channel of the diplomatic communication.
“A situation where a Head of Mission takes on the role of a government, seeking to impose the views and perspectives of his government and making unguarded utterances on matters that are strictly within the domestic jurisdiction of the host country, is totally unacceptable.
“It is only in this country that some envoys, who have taken it upon themselves and without recourse to the government, embark on social causes and political advocacy that are totally unrelated to conventional diplomacy and representational duties of ambassadors. Certainly, Nigerian envoys abroad do not behave in this manner.”
The minister, who responded to a question by Richard Young, the representative of the European Union, EU, delegation to Nigeria, the denial of international media access to cover the elections, said the Federal Government had already issued over 300 visas for interested foreign journalists.
He said: “Already, over 300 visas have been issued and we have agreed that visas will not be issued 48 hours soon after the necessary procedure has been completed. So that is already settled.”