The National Association of Seadogs, Pyrates Confraternity, has disclosed why Nigerian foreign missions are underperforming.
According to the organisation inadequate budgetary provision, corruption, low competence among Nigerian diplomatic staff, inadequate staff strength, the politicisation of Foreign Service, the appointment of non-professionals or political diplomats and lack of synergy between the diplomatic missions and the headquarters are some of the issues hindering the optimal service delivery of the embassies.
Pyrates Confraternity in the report titled ‘State of Nigerian Embassies and Consulates Report 2022’ under the #OurVotesCount initiative as part of activities to commemorate its Platinum Jubilee declared that the issue of Nigerian embassies has constantly been a source of concern to Nigerians in the diaspora, Nigerians at home, and friends of Nigeria who are embarrassed by all manners of stories about the situation and services at the embassies.
The NAS Capoon, Mr Abiola Owoaje in his remarks while nothing that the Pyrates Confraternity is not interested in blame games, emphasised that the publication of the report “is to stimulate appropriate conversations at the highest levels of government that would turn around the situation in Nigerian Diplomatic Missions”.
Owoaje said the association would be happy that findings from the report helps the recently inaugurated presidential committee set up to review the state of diplomatic missions worldwide.
“We would be happy if the presentation of this report and the conversation around it could lessen the burden of their job. It is no longer helpful to be indifferent to the deplorable state of our Diplomatic Missions, their shameful condition is a collective burden, and we must all join hands to redeem the situation.”
In the executive summary, the association listed the following embassies or consulates as part of the report: Embassy of Nigeria, Washington DC, Consulates in Atlanta, and New York, Embassies of Nigeria in Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Japan, and Australia.
Others are Nigerian High Commissions in Ottawa, London and Consular Affairs Annex, London; Pretoria and the Consulate in Johannesburg.
As part of recommendations, the National Association of Seadogs called for the establishment of a special trust fund for the acquisition, equipment, and maintenance of Nigerian embassies and consulates adding that calls for at least 20 percent of revenues generated from consular services domiciled in it is long overdue as it would help reduce the over dependence on the annual national budget.
It also called for the increment in budgetary allocation towards the acquisition of befitting embassies and consulate buildings and maintenance of existing infrastructure in Nigeria’s foreign missions is imperative and timely.
Amongst others, the report advocated for the removal of the quota system in the employment of embassy and consulate staff, saying that employment in that area should be strictly based on merit.
The keynote speaker, Amb Ogbole Amedu-Ode commended Pyrates Confraternity for the initiative to publish the report.
Also former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb Joe Keshi, , Secretary- General of the Association of Foreign Relations Professional of Nigeria(AFRPN), Amb Ridhwan A. Mustapha and Amb Martins Cobham lauded the initiative of Pyrates Confraternity.
A copy of the report was presented by Owoaje to Mrs Zuwaira Buckley who represented the office of the Secretary to the Federation.