House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs has launched investigation into alleged malpractices in diplomatic posting by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and racketeering in issuance of Nigerian passports by the Nigeria Immigration Service.
Declaring the hearing open, Speaker of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, lamented that there were series of complaints against the Foreign Affairs Ministry by diplomats and the general public on the rot in diplomatic posting and other issues.
Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, said the Foreign Ministry, its departments and agencies had been involved in the alleged malpractices adding that the House had resolved to investigate the matter owing to the number of petitions it received from the diplomats and the general public on it.
The Speaker noted that the Foreign Ministry is responsible for framing the country’s foreign policy and the way the world see our nation stressing that it is a tragedy if what it portrays is opposite of its policy.
Earlier, Chairman House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr Buba Yakub said the probe is in tandem with the President Muhammad Buhari’s avowed stand on zero tolerance for corrupt practices by public office holders.
He maintained that the plan was to beam searchlight on consular services offered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigeria Immigration Service to citizens of Nigeria at home and in diaspora.
The Commitee Chairman also urged the leadership of foreign Affairs to ensure postings of staff are done in accordance with the laid down principles noting that the ministry is the mirror through which citizens see what happens around the world.
Also speaking, Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service, Alhaji Mohammed Babandede told the committee that the new visa policy had allowed citizens to have dual citizenship and had contributed to the ease of doing business in the country.
He confirmed that the agency had removed visa processing from embassies and high commission and introduced temporary passport for Nigerians abroad to enhance their movements.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Geoffrey Onyeama said Nigerians in diaspora would be provided with a 24 hours call centre where they can call and feel free to discuss any issue of concern.