The federal government is promising Nigerians abroad the delivery of more efficient consular services just as Nigerian Ambassadors and Heads of missions are being given standards of service delivery to the Nigerians in their posted countries.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Olugbenga Ashiruwho spoke in New York over the weekend at the signing of performance contracts with heads of Nigerian diplomatic posts in the US - the Nigerian Ambassador to the US, Prof. Ade Adefuye and the Consul-General in Atlanta, Ambassador Geoffrey Teneilabe.
At a brief ceremony at the Nigeria House, Ashiru said the federal government is keen to ensure that the resources being poured into Nigeria's diplomatic posts are being properly utilized for the benefit of Nigerians abroad.
According to the minister, "all heads of Nigerian missions abroad are to enter into the performance contracts, so that Nigerians abroad can enjoy from the resources."
For instance one of the targets sets for Nigeria missions abroad including here in the US is that visas and passports should not take longer than 48 hours, if it falls short of a same day procedure.
Also embassies have been asked to report how many visa and passports Road Shows are held in the countries posted for the benefits of Nigerians not based in capital cities or wherever the Nigerian consulates are located. Such shows will bring those consular services close to Nigerians living outside the capital for a few days at a time.
On that score both the Minister and Nigeria's Ambassador to the US noted that this was already being attained in Nigerian missions including here in the US.
Also, Ashiru added that “the era of Nigerians calling our embassies abroad and no one returning their calls is over."
All correspondence to the missions must be responded to and all Nigerian embassies must organize investment forums to support the economic transformation agenda of the federal government, according to the minister.
He added as well, that embassies will now have to disclose in reports as part of the new performance contract how many Nigerians in prisons are visited and how many Nigerians in distress abroad are being assisted.
Ashiru said "any diplomatic officer unable to live up to the standards will find it difficult to operate in the ministry."
He disclosed that having signed in August a performance contract himself with President Goodluck Jonathan, he has been doing the same with all his own unit heads both in Abuja and acorss the world.
Responding after the signing of the contract, Professor Adefuye, Nigeria's Ambassador to the US expressed delight at the idea of the performance contracts, saying " it will reveal our fulfillment of the president's objectives."
Adefuye who has been noted as one of the most accessible Nigerian Ambassadors abroad, also received kudos from the Minister, for being at the forefront of hosting investment forums. So far, the Nigerian Embassy in the US has held several investment forums on power, agric and infrastructure leading to a number of foreign investors starting businesses in Nigeria.