Diplomatic Missions Abroad Still Functional, Says FG

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Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye

By Adedayo Akinwale

The federal government has said that all the country’s diplomatic missions abroad are still discharging their essential duties amidst the current challenging situation caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

It also revealed that it gets up-to-date information about the conditions of Nigerians in their respective host countries as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the world.

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ferdinand Nwonye, in a statement issued on Thursday however said that all Nigerian missions are expected to adhere strictly to all safety guidelines by host authorities in their respective posts, in order to protect officers, members of their families and others from the risk of exposure.

According to him, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to reassure all Nigerians that amidst the current challenging situation caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the country’s diplomatic missions abroad are still discharging their essential duties.”

Nwonye noted that the country’s missions have continued to liaise with other countries, as well as international organisations and render reports on key developments, with a view to boosting the domestic efforts back home.

He also said that the country’s heads of mission have maintained communication with the leadership of the ministry at this period, to keep the ministry informed of the conditions of Nigerians in their respective host countries.

Nwonye added: “As regards the federal government’s initiative to provide necessary airlift assistance to stranded Nigerian nationals abroad who require emergency evacuation, the ministry wishes to inform that staff of the missions are reaching out to Nigerians in their respective host countries and in due course, the necessary details provided will enable the federal government work out the logistics for proper implementation.”

He recalled that in order to ensure the safety of members of staff following the spread of the coronavirus, the country’s missions were requested to take appropriate measures to facilitate the continued discharge of their official duties, despite restrictions, adding that only officers responsible for strategic duties are to report to the Chancery on the basis of exigencies, while others are to perform essential assignments from home, to minimize contact at the office.