The Tinubu-led Federal government has remained silent on its next move, five weeks after it recalled ambassadors.
Even though there are still 21 days before the October 31 deadline for their return, speculations are that the federal government might have made a U-turn to extend its policy on the recall.
It would be recalled that President Tinubu, on September 2, recalled all of Nigeria’s ambassadors, both career and non-career envoys. Nigeria has no fewer than 300 foreign missions.
Five weeks after this, the federal government has remained silent, and this has left envoys in a fix as to what is happening.
According to Vanguard, sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said there was no going back on the recall, But an ambassador who pleaded anonymity told the platform that there is nothing on the ground to facilitate the envoy’s return on or before October 31.
A senior staff of the Foreign Affairs Ministry who craved anonymity said: “So far, no machinery has been put in motion for return of the envoys.
“Under normal circumstances, each envoy who is expected to return by the end of this month, by now, should have received his or her AIEs (Authority to incur Expenditures) for his or her passages.
“it is traditional and very important to have swiftly sent these AIEs to ambassadors and other envoys because you don’t expect an ambassador to wake up one morning and just jump into a flight without advanced booking as well as making arrangements to airfreight his or her belongings home.”
She said the government might have had a change of heart, “if not, by now, they (envoys) would have equally received cash backing.”
The AIE explains the details of the entitlement of each envoy in terms of their passages and other travel arrangements to return to Nigeria.
Meanwhile, a serving female ambassador told the platform, she was yearning to come home to reunite with her family, but she can’t because even if she did on her own accord, it might take her about five years to get her money from the government.
She said, “We are in the dark over the whole issue. I asked some foreign affairs ministry officials, one of them said” “Why don’t you stay there? Why are you in a hurry to return?
‘’They don’t expect you to trek home. Stay put until the government makes up its mind to send you money to come back or extend your stay.
“Some of them advised us to stay put until the government does the needful by sending us AIEs for our passages.”
Another diplomat, who pleaded anonymity, said he expected the ministry to be tidying up the arrangement by now.
Asked if the October 31 date would be met, even as the ministry is yet to conclude the official document, he said: “They (envoys) were given October ending, so they should be preparing by now. That is part of the bureaucracy, but that shouldn’t be a problem.
“The ministry has the right to ask the officer to come back, but the ministry also has the obligation to pay before they come back.”
However, this platform learned that the federal government has an attitude of owing envoys after they have been recalled back home.
Commenting on that, a diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the ministry has a penchant for such behaviour.
He said: “The ministry had been doing that for years, but it is wrong that an officer will be on course and he has not been paid for nine months.
“How does the ministry expect the officer to feed himself and his family and do other things? The ministry is right to ask the officer to come back, but the ministry also has the obligation to pay them before they come back. Is the ministry going to pay them in dollars or naira when the expenditure is in dollars?”