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Reps investigate malpractice in diplomatic posting, immigration

The House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs is investigating alleged malpractices in diplomatic postings by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and alleged passport racketeering in the Immigration Service.

Announcing the resolution at a public hearing, the Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, said there was series of complaints against the Foreign Affairs Ministry by diplomats and the general public on the rot in diplomatic posting and other issues.

Mr  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.

The Speaker noted that the Foreign Ministry is responsible for framing the country’s foreign policy and the way the world see the nation, stressing that it is a tragedy if what it portrays is opposite of its policy decision.

The Chairman House Committee on Foreign Affairs Mr Buba Yakub said the probe is in tandem with President Muhammadu Buhari’s zero tolerance to 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 Controller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service Alh Mohammed Babandede, informed the committee that the new visa policy has 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.

The 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.

IBRAHIM SHEHU

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