By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu, has ordered a major reduction of travel delegations for all Federal Government official trips within and outside the country, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Ajuri Ngelale announced at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja.
The directive means a 60% slash across board and affects all MDAs, including the office of the President, Vice president and the First Lady, Ngelale stated.
The government had come under criticism in recent times, arising from large number of state-sponsored delegates for foreign troops in a country where cost of governance remains high.
The country spent an estimated N2.7 billion to sponsor delegates to attend the United Nations’ annual climate summit, COP28 in November last year.
Nigeria had 1,411 delegates, ranking third among countries with the highest numbers of delegates at the meeting.
Only the host country, UAE (4,409), and Brazil (3,081) had more participants than Africa’s most populous country.
The Nigerian government however denied sponsoring all delegates.
According to Ngelale, when any international travel is being approved, the following limits have been placed on all ministers of the Federation — four members of their staff, appointees and the like will be allowed to travel with a minister on official trip.
“For heads of agency that will be limited to two members of staff allowed to travel on an official trip.”
“The President has now approved for official travel that no more than 20 individuals be allowed to travel with himm” the Special Adviser said..
That number will be cut down to five in the case of the First Lady. Additionally, the number in the entourage on official international trips for the Vice President will be cut to five, the number that will be placed as a limit on the wife of the Vice President is also five.
“In terms of local trips, a new limit of 25 members of staff are to accompany him on domestic trips within the country.”
“Similarly, President Tinubu limited the number of those to accompany the First Lady on official trips within the country. to 10 staff members.”
Ngelale revealed on behalf of the President that “The Vice President will be limited to 15 members of staff on official trips within the country, while his wife will be limited to 10 members of staff on officials within the country, the same as the first lady,”
“It is pertinent to note that there is a difference between the number of members of staff allowed to travel with the presiding officials on international trips and those that are allowed for domestic. You will find that the numbers on international trips are less than those allowed on domestic trips. This is because international trips are far more expensive across the board and the President is determined to bring total sanity and prudence to the management of the Commonwealth of our people..”
“As a result of this, the President has directed that every federal MDA also including the office of the president itself and the Office of the Vice President as well as the offices of the first and Second Ladies, are affected and bound by this directive of the president..”
“Henceforth, the President is insistent that the notion of government wastage, the notion of recurrent expenditure being in excess, the notion that government officials will be allowed to conduct their affairs in a way that is different from what we are asking of Nigerian citizens concerning prudence and Cost Management, those days are over..”