Uganda’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amb. Nelson Ocheger has appealed for the support of Parliament to provide funds for the construction of the country’s permanent High Commission in Abuja.
Ocheger last week met Opposition MPs at the rented High Commission building located on Mandara Close, off Mambilla Street in Abuja.
Ocheger said the government of Nigeria had given land to Uganda for the construction of its mission and the High Commissioner’s residence.
The land allocated for the High Commission is located in Central Area, Diplomatic Drive in Abuja, while the High Commissioner’s residence, which has since been built, is located in Maitama, Abuja. The land was given to Uganda in 1991.
“When the issue of the High Commission in Nigeria comes up, please support us. We want to develop the land such that we stop spending money on renting,” Ocheger said.
He added that Nigeria has handed over the land title to government in Kampala. The Opposition MPs included Santa Alum (UPC, Oyam district), Angeline Osegge (FDC, District woman Soroti), Fred Tumuheirwe (FDC, Rujumbura) and Silas Aogon (Independent, Kumi Municipality).
The MPs were in Abuja, Nigeria for a benchmarking training on strengthening the capacities of the opposition in the Parliament of Uganda. The workshop is being held at the National Institute for Legislative Studies, Abuja.
Ocheger said when the initial designs were done, it was estimated that the construction of the High Commission building would cost about $43 m (sh154.8b), which has since gone up. Of this, government provided sh250m in the 2017/2018 financial year.
Ocheger also said that there was need to scale up efforts in trade, tourism and investment between the two countries for the benefit of the people. He said that there was a high potential to increase trade between the two countries.
He said that Uganda enjoys cordial relationship with Nigeria and that the administration of the Nigeria National Assembly had scheduled a trip for October to learn from the operations of the Parliamentary Commission.
The MPs agreed with the High Commissioner’s position and promised to support the cause during the next cycle of budgeting according to a statement from the Parliament of Uganda.
“It has been our position and recommendation as Parliament, for Uganda to own its property and stop renting. You have our backing; we shall provide the necessary funds while appropriating funds,” said Hon. Santa Alum.