FG plans to shut down five foreign missions

Geoffrey-OnyeamaThe federal government has concluded arrangements to shut down five of its foreign missions.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, made disclosure on Thursday during a briefing on the achievements of the ministry in the past two years.

But he added a caveat to the effect that the affected missions though had already been identified, the process of winding them down would only commence if the president gives the go-ahead.

The affected embassies were however, not disclosed by the minister.

“We do not want to indicate the embassies that will be closed yet because we are in the process of submitting the proposals, the cost analysis and also the political analysis we did to the president.

“When he sees that, he may or may not want to close some, so we have not yet reached the stage of closing some,” he said.

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Onyeama however, admitted that closing missions abroad could be “extremely expensive.”

“The expense, costs of closing embassies is so high and prohibitive but in the long run it will be more economical,” he said.

The minister, had at various fora, the closure of Nigeria’s foreign missions was in line with the agenda of the administration.

The country currently has 119 foreign missions.

Meanwhile, on the plight of some Nigerians in prisons in China over various alleged offences, Onyeama, disclosed that the federal government is working out a prisoners’ transfer agreement with China.

“The issue of Nigerians in prisons in China is something we are dealing with and the prisoner transfer agreement is something we have to have an agreement on with China.

“We are working to have one in place. We have taken that on board and we are trying to get our prisoners to serve the rest of their terms here,” Onyeama stated

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The minister disclosed that government had stepped in to plead for commutation of prisoners on death row in the Asian nation.

The federal government has also on several occasions reiterated that it would be impossible to get Nigerians on death row in different countries repatriated.

This is based on the fact that they do not fall within the prisoner transfer or exchange agreements.