Nigeria President, Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday confirmed the plan by his administration to reduce the number of ministries in the country.
There have been media reports that the President’s transition committee, led by Ahmed Joda, had recommended a drastic reduction in the number of ministries.
That plan is said to be one of the reasons behind the delay in the formation of his cabinet.
Buhari confirmed the plan at a meeting he had with members of the Nigerian community in Benin Republic on Saturday evening.
He was responding to a request for the creation of two more Nigerian consulates in Benin Republic.
He said despite the planned reduction, however, he would direct the Nigerian ambassador to make the request through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The President said, “I think I will direct your ambassador to make the request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that by the time we are doing the next budget, it would be included.
“Although we are trying to cut down on the number of ministries, the morale of Nigerians in diaspora must be considered. This is because we are so many.
“We are aggressive, whether in business or other facets of life. So, we as a government will do everything possible to look after Nigerians wherever they are.”
When members of the community requested to know what his administration is doing to facilitate their return home, Buhari told them to remain where they are.
He said he would not want them to come and add to the problems at home by the time they will be unemployed.
“I believe a lot of you are doing well and are better off here. So, the question of facilitating you coming home does not arise.
“We don’t want you to come back home and be unemployed. Don’t come and add to our problems.
“If you have something doing here please continue doing it.”
While warning them to remain law-abiding, the President regretted that Nigerians in South Africa have been engaging in activities that do not portray the country in good light.
“I have always told the Nigerian communities to respect their hosts culture and obey their laws.
“There are a number of problems in South Africa which did not portray us in good light as Nigerians.
“Some of them are in prison for committing a number of crimes. But for you who are so close to home, you should do your best in being good ambassadors of the country,” he said.
On whether there is any cooperation between Nigeria and Benin Republic in fighting Boko Haram, Buhari said the country had identified with the countries of Lake Chad Commission which comprises of Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria.
He said President Boni Yayi had made an undertaken of providing a number of troops to the joint task force troops of the Chad Basin Commission countries to fight the Boko Haram.
“As you know, Nigeria is expected to make a bigger contribution. By yesterday (Friday), we were supposed to take the troops off the ground.
“So, Benin Republic, through the President, is participating in fighting Boko Haram,” he said.
On their request for the opening of National Open University in Benin, the President asked them to pass their request through the ambassador who will formally write the Ministry of Education.
He said the possibility of expanding the facility to them would be considered.
Responding to the question on how the government would help improve their businesses, the President again referred them to their ambassador.
“If the embassy sends a reports from your representatives, I believe the Ministry of Commerce and Industry will examine it and whichever suggestion they raise, the Federal Government will look at them.
“The Federal Government here in Nigeria will ensure that people don’t just earn their salaries but that they do exactly what they are paid for,” he added.