We can’t communicate directly with our foreign missions – Onyeama

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The Federal Government has decried it inability to have direct and secure communication channels with the Nigerian embassies and high commission.

The government blamed this on inadequate fund to acquire latest Information and Communication Technology for transmission of confidential information between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foreign missions.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, made this known in Abuja on Thursday when he appeared before the House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs to defend the 2020 budget proposal of the ministry.

Onyeama lamented that poor funding was preventing the ministry and Nigeria’s foreign missions from operating maximally.

He said, “When we also look at the headquarters, we also have huge challenges – funding challenges. We have a huge debt burden. A foreign ministry really has to function in a global community of the 21st Century and this requires certain architecture, especially Information and Communication Technology.”

“When you are operating a hundred offices around the world, communication becomes absolutely key – real time communication – when you are also dealing with sensitive information, the capacity to also maintain that confidentiality. And in all honesty, the infrastructure that is in place is certainly not 21st Century infrastructure.”

“In the ministry, we don’t have direct linkage with our embassies around the world and even the most basic technology that will provide that is not even there. Even if we look at just within the ministry, the intranet system for communication has also become a real challenge.”

The minister, while noting that Nigeria runs about 100 embassies, high commissions and consulates around the world, said the main “challenge that we have is that the funding that is provided – capital and other funding – has been a perennial problem for the ministry and, indeed, for the country.”

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