Few days ago, Godfrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, disclosed that the landlord of the building where the Nigerian Embassy in Hungary is located is threatening to evict the Embassy.
Onyeama made the shocking revelation while defending the ministry’s 2021 budget at the House of Representatives in Abuja on Tuesday.
To many here especially government officials, it is nothing. Like some will say, that's the way we roll here. It is part of our unique makeup as Nigerians. But it is rather unfortunate.
I am really surprised that the Minister waited till his budget defense before making this known. I'm equally shocked to say the least that, common matters like rent payment will drag to the point of embarrassing Nigerians and Nigerian government.
Even if the Minister did not tell us how much the rent owed amounted to or how many years rent the embassy or Nigeria owes her landlord in Hungary, he (Minister) cannot tell us that the rent is not or has never been captured in previous budgets. So is he telling us that the landlord is threatening to eject our Embassy just for the rent of the year 2020?
I am not an accountant neither am I an economist but I just think like an ordinary Nigerian who equally pays rents that if, the rent of the building housing our Embassy in Hungary is always paid for annually, the landlord should see us as credit-worthy not to threaten ejection for just a year's rent when the year had not even elapsed.....except we have been owing backlogs of rents which the Minister did not state anyway....or we failed to pay at the beginning of the year which is the norm in today's business world anyway.
Some things are highly embarrassing. It is not only stealing that brings shame when the thief is caught red-handed. Things like this is equally embarrassing. How can a nation like ours owe common rent of or for a building harbouring our Embassy?
This was the same way, we woke up one morning few months ago to hear that part of the structure of our Embassy in Ghana was pulled down. Some reports said the businessman who ordered for the malicious act claimed that the Embassy encroached into his land.
Though, Ghana President would later step into the matter and apologised to our government after our outrage but the damage had been done in the form of the embarrassment the act caused Nigeria before the international community.
Enough of these embarrassments!!!
Desmond Ekwueme is one of Nigeria's topshot journalist based in Lagos.