Reps Moves To Reposition NIIA
By: Gboyega Onadiran
Stakeholders have thrown their weight behind a bill for an Act to repeal and re-enact the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA).
The stakeholders expressed their support, at a one day public hearing on a bill for an Act to repeal and re-enact the Nigerian Institute of International affairs, organized by the House of Representatives committee on Foreign Affairs
In their separate presentations, the stakeholders decried the present state of the institute, saying that it had become a ”shadow of itself”.
Supporting the bill, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, commended the lawmakers for looking into the plight of the institute and providing a legislative intervention to reposition the agency.
Represented by Director, Office of the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Ambassador Mobolaji Ogundero, the minister pledged the support of the ministry to the institute and the process to reposition the agency to better fulfill its mandate.
Also speaking NIIA’s Director-General, Prof. Eghosa Osaghae, said the world had moved from where it used to be in the 1960s and was now being ruled by the internet, leaving the institute behind.
Osaghae said that the 2021 budgetary capital allocation to the institute was only 46 million naira, noting that the amount explained the dilapidation of the organisation.
He said that the NIIA was supposed to provide capacity for Nigeria and other African countries, to be able to effectively engage in the global community.According to him, the institute only had 78 members of staff, out of which only nine, including the director-general, were researchers.
The NIIA boss said that the institute needed special funds to be able to carry out research, meet its mandate and to surpass its glory days.
On his part, Chairman, Association of retired career Ambassadors, Suleman Dahiru said there was need for restructuring and to ensure good management of the institute.
Dahiru said that the NIIA used to be a centre of excellence, but lamented that it had deteriorated due to poor management.
”No law is perfect but the success is largely dependent on the management,” the ambassador said.
He further said that whatever the lawmakers do, the institute should remain an agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Earlier, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, canvassed support for the National Assembly in its bid to reposition the institution.
Gbajabiamila urged the stakeholders to reach down to the depth of their experiences and careers and come up with ideas that would help the parliament achieve its aim.