Minister of Foreign Affairs threatens to sanction non-performing Nigerian ambassadors

Five new ambassadors got their postings on Monday.

Viola Onwuliri

The acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri, has threatened to sanction any Nigerian ambassador found wanting in the discharge of their duties, particularly in cases involving Nigerians.

Ms. Onwuliri gave the warning at the presentation of letters of credence to ambassador-designates to France, Austria, Romania, Venezuela and Gabon.

She urged the newly appointed ambassadors not to disappoint President Goodluck Jonathan and the confidence reposed in them by all Nigerians.

She said the ambassadors must be carriers of the present government’s  ”Transformation Agenda’’, which she said had rapid economic growth and advancement of the country as core pillar.

“There are many pillars to the transformation agenda but if you an ambassador, you are carrying the entire package because you will be talking about petroleum, aviation, labour, terrorism, employment and more,” she said.

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She called on the ambassadors to maintain the soaring profile of Nigeria in the comity of nation and strive “to take it to the next level’’.

“You must work hard and read a lot, because when international journalists face you, you cannot tell them you do not know what is happening in the agricultural sector,” she said.

Ms. Onwuliri urged the ambassadors to give priority to citizen diplomacy, adding that the ministry frowned at cases where ambassadors would deliberately shun Nigerians in their host country.

“You must put you staff on notice that they have been posted to take care of Nigerians in their host country; if Nigerians are not living there we have no business having an embassy in that country,’’ she said.

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She also expressed delight that the five newly appointed ambassadors are career diplomats who had spent more than three decades in the ministry.

She expressed the confidence that they would bring their long years of diplomatic experience to the new position.

The ambassadors are Abel Ayoko (Austria, and concurrent accreditation to Slovakia Republic), Okechukwu Muoh (Romania and Bulgaria) and Hakeem Suleiman (France and the Principality of Monaco).

Others are Rabiu Dangari (Venezuela and concurrent accreditation to Ecuador and Columbia) and Bassey Archibong (Gabon), who received their Letter of Credence in absentia.

Responding on behalf of his colleagues, Mr. Ayoko thanked President Jonathan for the appointment and promised that they would not disappoint Nigerians.

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