• ‘Pays $70 million yearly as subscriptions’
• Moves to recover looted funds stashed in Switzerland, UK, U.S., UAE
• Minister dismisses critics of Buhari at UN, says speech was in order
The Federal Government has announced the decision to withdraw its membership from 90 international organisations owing to the country’s inability to meet its financial obligations.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, disclosed this yesterday after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Adeosun said the decision came following the recommendation of an inter-ministerial working committee on the status of Nigeria’s membership of international organisations and associated financial obligations.
The minister, who said there was need to tighten up the procedures of committing Nigeria to any form of subscription or donations to international organisations, said Nigeria is a member of 310 international organisations and has not been able to pay subscriptions and meet its other financial obligations, a development that has caused embarrassment to the country and its image abroad.
She stated that the commitments made to some of these international organisations by former Presidents were not cash-backed, and had caused embarrassment when Nigeria’s delegations turn up at those organisations.
She said the subscription to those organisations was $70 million yearly and “there are lots and lots of arrears.”
Adeosun said the committee is due to return to Council in the next two weeks with the final figures and that the ministers had been asked to “look at the recommendations of those international organisations which we want to withdraw from and ensure that they are in support of those decisions before we will finalise the work on this issue.
Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has justified President Buhari’s presentation at the just-concluded 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 72), saying his speech, rather than dwell more on the problems besetting Nigeria at the global stage, was skewed towards the international community.
He said the President’s speech was in order as he spoke to an international audience addressing global issues, including three priority areas of security, anti-corruption and the economy, which also covered all the things that affect Nigeria as a country.
The minister, who spoke on the funds illegally stashed in other countries, stated: “Even Western countries themselves have a lot of problems and it took them a lot of time to discover the Panama papers. Nobody knew about all those funds illegally stashed in other countries until the revelations under the Panama papers.
He said President Buhari had, among others, co-operated with David Cameron when he was the Prime Minister of the UK to organise a global conference on anti-corruption He said Nigeria is collaborating with some of the Western countries to facilitate the recovery of funds looted from the nation.
“We are engaged with a number of countries in that process. Switzerland, the UK, the Jersey Island of the UK, the United States as well as the United Arab Emirates where we have identified stashed funds.