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President Bola Tinubu Implements Three-Month Ban on Publicly Funded Foreign Trips for Nigerian Officials

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President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria has announced a temporary suspension on publicly funded foreign trips for ministers and government officials, slated to last for three months starting from April 1st. This decision stems from concerns expressed by the president regarding the escalating expenses associated with official travels.

The directive, communicated by Tinubu’s chief of staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, aims to curb excessive spending amidst Nigeria’s prevailing economic challenges. Tinubu’s administration has faced criticism, particularly on social media platforms, for its frequent overseas excursions. Notably, the government sponsored a large delegation to the COP28 climate conference in Dubai, sparking public outcry.

Since assuming office in May 2023, President Tinubu has undertaken over 15 foreign trips, leading to significant expenditure. Reports suggest that expenditures on domestic and foreign travel during the initial six months of his presidency exceeded budgetary allocations by 36%.

Gbajabiamila emphasized that the travel ban is a prudent measure to address Nigeria’s economic woes, with a focus on responsible fiscal management. The country currently grapples with a severe cost-of-living crisis, exacerbating public discontent.

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Under the new directive, government officials will only be permitted to embark on foreign trips deemed absolutely necessary, subject to Tinubu’s approval at least two weeks prior to departure. This move aims to ensure officials prioritize their core mandates for effective service delivery.

While Tinubu’s administration tightens controls on official travel, there is no indication whether the president will reduce his own overseas engagements. Despite criticism, Tinubu and his representatives have defended his foreign trips as crucial for addressing economic challenges and advancing the nation’s interests.

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