Nigerians In Guinea Bissau Seek Probe Into Abandoned Embassy Building

Guinea-Bissau, one of the smallest countries in West Africa has been plagued by chronic political instability. Since independence in 1974, the country has four successful coups, with another 16 attempted coups. 

The Umaro Sissoco Embalo-led government is the fifth since the 2014 elections. However, the government is still unable to present its political program to the National Assembly, which has not opened in almost two years.

The United Nations has expressed its determination to support Guinea-Bissau in creating a better environment for the holding of legislative and presidential elections in 2018 and 2019, the reform of the Electoral Code, and the promulgation of a new law on political parties that would enhance parties’ autonomy and internal democracy. These reforms would be a step toward the creation of an environment conducive to national reconciliation.

But some Nigerians in that country are unhappy with activities of its embassy.
In a release by the Concerned Nigeria Group (CGN), based in Guinea Bissau, its president, Mike Omelo said in the country’s 2014 election, Nigeria made provision of 35 Hilux vans to help the crisis-ridden nation. “The assistance from Nigeria has been countless. Now the elections are here again. What has Nigeria really gained? We cannot boast of a befitting embassy structure in Guinea Bissau, yet our government keeps doling out millions of dollars to the crisis-ridden nation,” he said.

Omelo said in 2012 when former president Goodluck Jonathan visited the country, he was sad by what he met on the ground and told the then ambassador, Ahmed Maigida Adams that his administration would give a $2 million donation for the completion of a befitting embassy. “We are informed that the pledge has long been redeemed but the structure is yet to be completed. It is sad that embassy staffers are housed in a rented building, with millions paid as rent annually. The abandoned embassy project which is besides the United Nation building, located at the heart of the country’s capital has become an eyesore as it is now home for rodents and insects,” he said.

The statement added: “As the November 18 parliamentary election draws near with pledges from different bodies to assist in a successful and peaceful polls, we are asking if it is proper to continue to dole out funds when successive embassy officials cannot account for the millions of dollars given for the completion of an embassy building in Guinea. It is time the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, with its anti-corruption drive beam its searchlight into embassies finances, because a lot of monies are not properly accounted for.” 

But in a reaction, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tope Adeleye Elias-Fatile said the $2 million released by former president Jonathan was an initial payment and that the balance of $1.5 million is till being awaited to complete the project.

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