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Donor funds: Minister’s threat to sue UN portrays Nigeria in bad light, says ex-diplomat

Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye, minister of women affairs Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye, minister of women affairs

Babafemi Badejo, former deputy special representative of the United Nations secretary-general for Somalia, says Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, the minister of women affairs, should be more “coordinated”.

The ex-diplomat spoke on Tuesday in reaction to the minister’s threat to sue the United Nations for allegedly mismanaging donor funds meant for Nigeria.

Badejo said while it is “very proper” for the minister to ask for “accountability and transparency”,  her approach can “portray Nigeria in a bad light”.

He said the minister should have been apprised of the importance of diplomatic and functional immunity that the UN and its officials enjoy.

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He said President Bola Tinubu “needs to have his ministers coordinated and appropriately socialised into their respective duties”.

“Experience shows that some UN officials are corrupt, and some have accordingly been jailed. However, there are laid down arrangements for such requests by a sovereign nation. Not following the laid down procedure and embarking on media grandstanding can only portray Nigeria in a bad light. Nigeria is telling the world that it lacks the requisite leadership and structures for appropriate operation in the community of nations,” the statement reads in part.

“The United Nations system’s counterpart in Nigeria is the ministry of foreign affairs. Even, if the minister of foreign affairs, after exhaustive dialogue within his department of international organisations has decided on the need to request for transparency from the UN, it is expected that he would take the case to the federal executive council (FEC) before articulating, if at all, such a weighty position at a media show.

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“In which court is our minister of women affairs intending to embark on her frolic? What would be the charges? What is the expected outcome of such a litigation process?

“The minister of women affairs will do well to address corruption in her ministry by collaborating with the ongoing probe, by at least one of Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies.”

The former diplomat called on Kennedy-Ohanenye to “make a big difference” in her ministry by building processes to empower women and “thereby reduce national poverty”.

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