Government’s Prolonged Silence
It has been five weeks since President Bola Tinubu initiated the recall of Nigerian ambassadors, yet the federal government has not provided any updates on the next steps.
Despite a remaining 21 days before the October 31 recall deadline, speculation abounds that the government may be reconsidering the recall policy.
President Tinubu’s decision on September 2 led to the recall of all of Nigeria’s ambassadors, including both career diplomats and non-career envoys.
Nigeria maintains over 300 foreign missions globally. However, in the five weeks since the recall was initiated, the federal government has maintained silence, leaving ambassadors in a state of uncertainty.
Mixed Signals and Ambassador Perspectives
Sources within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have indicated that there is no intention to reverse the recall.
However, an anonymous ambassador contradicted this assertion, stating that there has been no tangible groundwork laid for the envoys’ return by the end of October.
Missing Preparations for Return
According to a senior staff member of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, there has been no visible effort to facilitate the return of the envoys.
Typically, by this point, envoys should have received their Authority to Incur Expenditures (AIEs), detailing the financial aspects of their return, including travel arrangements and related expenses. This lack of preparation is atypical and raises questions.
Ambassadors Left in the Dark
Amid the uncertainty, a female ambassador expressed her desire to return home and reunite with her family.
However, she highlighted the prolonged uncertainty around funding, suggesting that even if she attempted to return independently, it might take years to receive reimbursement from the government.
Government’s Past Practices
It’s not uncommon for the federal government to delay payments to envoys after their recall.
This practice has drawn criticism, as it leaves diplomats in precarious financial situations while awaiting reimbursement.
As the October 31 deadline approaches, the government’s ambiguity regarding the recall persists.
While diplomats are expected to prepare for their return, the absence of clear communication and financial arrangements from the government has left many envoys in a state of limbo.
Diplomats hope that the government will address these concerns promptly to ensure a smooth and well-organized recall process.