President Bola Tinubu has banned ministers, heads of agencies, and other government officials from embarking on public funded foreign trips.

This was contained in a letter dated March 12, 2024, signed by the Chief of Staff to the president, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila; and addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr George Akume.

The ban will last for three months in the first instance and will take effect on April 1, 2024.

President Tinubu had earlier issued an order to reduce the number of people accompanying him on both local and foreign trips, noting that his delegation members should not exceed 25 for local travels and 20 for international trips.

He also mandated that security agents at his destination should provide his protection instead of being accompanied by many security personnel from Abuja.

This came following the backlash he faced during and after the last twenty-eighth Conference of Parties (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates, which about 590 Nigerian officials attended.

Responding to the public outburst, the government said it provided funding for only 422 out of the 590 individuals in the delegation.

The letter indicating the ban read in part that 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.

The ban, according to the letter, was aimed at reducing costs in governance.

It says all government officials who intend to go on any public funded international trips must seek and obtain presidential approval at least two weeks before embarking on any such trip, which must be deemed absolutely necessary.

Punch/Rasheedat Makinde

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