Tinubu heeds Peter Obi’s advice, stops ministers, other appointees from foreign travels

Tinubu heeds Peter Obi’s advice, stops ministers, other appointees from foreign travels

President Bola Tinubu has directed a ban on all public funded international trips for ministers, officials and heads of agencies, according to a lette

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President Bola Tinubu has directed a ban on all public funded international trips for ministers, officials and heads of agencies, according to a letter from his Chief of Staff Femi Gbajabiamila addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume.

The directive places a three-month embargo on foreign travel by government officials starting April 1, 2024, in a move aimed at reducing cost of governance and ensuring fiscal responsibility.

“Mr. President has concerns about the rising cost of travel expenses borne by Ministries, Department and Agencies of Government as well as the growing need for Cabinet Members and heads of MDAs to focus on their respective mandates for effective service delivery,” part of the letter reads.

The letter cited the “current economic challenges and the need for responsible fiscal management” as reasons for the temporary ban on international travel funded by taxpayers.

In the letter, Tinubu’s Chief of Staff said, “I am writing to communicate Mr President’s directive to place a temporary ban on all public funded international trips for all Federal Government officials at all levels, for an initial period of three (3) months from Is April 2024.

“This temporary measure is aimed at cost reduction in governance and intended as a cost-saving measure without compromising government functions.”

While the ban is in effect, any proposed official trips abroad must receive explicit approval from President Tinubu at least two weeks prior to travel after being deemed “absolutely necessary.”

The cost-cutting measure comes barely months after Tinubu’s challenger in the 2023 presidential election, Peter Obi, called on the current administration to stop all foreign trips for government officials until insecurity and other challenges facing the nation were addressed.

The Labour Party former presidential candidate had said no foreign investor or partner would invest in Nigeria given the country’s situation.

Quoting Obi, “As terror attacks, banditry, kidnappings and violence continue to rage through the country, it is more concerning now with the surge of violence spreading through the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

“The recent killings of two abducted young girls in Abuja make it more depressing and urgent. It is now time for we, the leaders, to take all forms of serious measures to tackle the situation. It is unfortunate that President Muhammadu Buhari, in 2015, campaigned and won the elections on three items; Security, Economy and Corruption (SEC).

“After his eight years in office, the situation has worsened in all three areas. The present administration, on assuming office, promised to deal decisively with the same situation – Security, Economy and Corruption. Today, however, the situation is getting even worse than ever.

“At the Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association held in Lagos in August 2022, the then Vice Presidential candidate, Sen Kashim Shettima, categorically stated that if APC is elected, he as Vice President would be in charge of security, while the President as an expert in economy would handle the economy.

“Nigerians, therefore, now implore them to fulfil their campaign promises. Even if they do not achieve 100% results, we want to see 100% effort.

“It is now time to stop all forms of foreign trips from people in government until we deal with the ugly situation facing us at home. No foreign investor or partner will like to invest in Nigeria, with the situation we now find ourselves in.

*We must make sincere efforts to end the spread of violence and insecurity in our nation in order to make any meaningful progress.”