President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday confirmed, for the first time, 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.
The plan is said to be one of the reasons behind the delay in the formation of 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 the 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 was doing to facilitate their return home, Buhari told them to remain where they were.
He said he would not want them to come and add to the problems at home by the time they would be unemployed.
“I believe a lot of you are doing well and are better of here. So, the question of facilitating you to come 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 had engaged in activities that did 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 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 has 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 are 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.