By Emeka Nze
Nigerian diplomats stranded in foreign lands, after the expiration of their tour of duty and retirement, have sent a save our soul message to the federal government as well as the National Assembly to prevail on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to effect their return.
Our reporter gathered that some of the countries where these diplomats were stranded are New York (Permanent Mission), Washington, Caracas, Brasilia, Hanoi, Luanda, Bucharest, Havana, amongst others.
In a telephone interview monitored by our correspondent, one of the diplomats, who would not want his name in print for fear of victimisation, lamented that their families have been subjected to severe suffering in foreign land after they were disengaged from their national assignments.
While lamenting their plights, the diplomat said a recent Cirtel by the Deputy Director in charge of posting, Mr S.O. Olaniyan had “mandated the affected diplomats to handover to their successor where applicable and were further directed to disengage from their mission’s activities.”
Equally, the diplomat further lamented that the Authority to Incurs Expenses (AIE) sent to the missions since June 2016 were not cash backed thus compounding the plight of the affected officers.
“Further to Cirtel Nos132 of 14 August 2017, the Permanent Secretary has directed that all officers who have either retired or completed the tour of duty should wind down their affairs, disengage from mission’s activities and return to the headquarters immediately, Olaniyan said.
Reacting, the spokesman of the Ministry, Dr Tiwatope Adeleye Elias Fatile, told our reporter that it is a routine tradition for officers to be posted to foreign missions for duration of 3 years after which they return to the country.
“It is routine tradition in the ministry to post and withdraw diplomats at the end of their mission. People are posted and after 3 years their duty elapses and they hand over to their successors and come back to the country,” he said.