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By Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abuja

In furtherance of the efforts by the Federal Government at tackling the barrage of consular challenges facing Nigerians abroad and the continued drive for attracting greater inflow of Foreign Direct Investment as espoused by Mr. President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs (HMFA), Ambassador Olugbenga A. Ashiru, MFR, today opened a two day Regional Seminar of Heads of Nigerian Missions in Asia and the Pacific holding in Beijing, China. At the seminar which had the Honourable Minister of State I, Professor (Mrs) Viola Adaku Onwuliri, 13 Ambassadors and 2 Consuls General in attendance, the HMFA noted that it was essential to constantly self - assess and review foreign policy initiatives so as to enhance effective service delivery for the benefit of Nigerians, both home and abroad.

While Nigeria enjoys excellent political and economic relations with most nations, consular matters arising from the activities of a few compatriots had served to pose irritants to Nigeria's relations. This Seminar would adopt positions to effectively tackle such irritants and ensure that genuine cases of maltreatment of Nigerians by foreign countries are identified and appropriately resolved. While noting that inadequate funding of Missions continues to hamper effective discharge of the mandate of Missions, the Honourable Minister implored participating Ambassadors to accord priority attention to consular responsibilities within the limit of available resources.

Key issues covered on the first day of seminar include; the welfare of Nigerians in prisons or detention centres broad, Prisoner Exchange and Transfers, as well as Drug and Human Trafficking, that have all reached an alarming proportions in the region.

The second day of the Seminar would focus on investment promotion strategies by the Missions in the Asia and the Pacific region.

It will be recalled that the first of the six regional Seminars was held in Accra, Ghana from 26 – 27 March 2013 for the West African sub-region and Nigeria's neighbours.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
4th April, 2013