Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari considering closing some Nigerian embassies

Nigeria could see a reduction in its foreign missions after President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday ordered a review of the country's diplomatic postings overseas.

A presidential committee will look at "the number of essential missions Nigeria needs to maintain abroad so that appropriate standards and quality can be maintained", a statement from his office said.

Buhari, 72, took over as head of Africa's biggest economy and most populous nation in May and is keen to tighten government spending to reduce a yawning deficit caused by a slump in global oil prices.

He said the need for some of the missions was "questionable" and asked whether keeping embassies and consulates "with dilapidated facilities and demoralised staff" was wise.

No specific missions were mentioned.

"Let's keep only what we can manage. We can't afford much for now. There's no point in pretending," he said after meeting senior foreign ministry officials in the capital, Abuja.

Buhari has built a reputation as a no-nonsense campaigner against corruption and has sought to crack down on excesses that have built up over the years in government and state-run companies.

In June, the president vowed to "restore sanity to the system" after claiming the previous administration had left the treasury "virtually empty" through graft and mismanagement.

He also said on Tuesday action would be taken against former government ministers and others using diplomatic and official passports illegally.

"Something has to be done so that we can get back our respectability as a country," he said.

"Some people carry official passports and get involved in all sorts of negative acts. We need to do something about it."


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