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Audit of the Canadian High Commission, Abuja, and the Canadian Deputy High Commission, Lagos

(September 2003)

Executive Summary

An audit of the General Relations (GR), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Lagos and Abuja during the period April 22 to 25, 2002. This is the first audit of these offices since they were reopened in the Summer of 1999 after a two-year absence of Canadian representation in Nigeria. DFAIT reopened Lagos and opened Abuja following Nigeria's return to civilian government in the Spring of that year.

As a departure from our normal practice we have prepared a single report covering both offices because of the interrelationship of issues and recommendations. In subsequent audits we will report on each office separately.

Management of the Mission

*** Abuja has country-wide responsibility for the GR Program while the IBD Program for Nigeria is run out of Lagos. Although these programs are functioning in the relevant office, administration in Lagos was severely under-resourced, and almost non-existent in Abuja. Until each office can provide an effective support platform for its Programs, administrative support will have to be provided from Headquarters and other Canadian Missions in the region. All administrative areas need improvement, especially transportation/vehicles, financial management, and Locally-Engaged Staff (LES). Without a stable delivery platform for the Missions' Programs, and without additional resources in the IBD and GR Programs, it is difficult to see how the Africa Bureau's objectives for Nigeria can be achieved. Beginning shortly after the Audit, four support visits were initiated for the Summer months of 2002; three from HQ and one from Nairobi. The MCO position was transferred from Lagos to Abuja, and a DMCO position was approved for Lagos, and will be staffed during the 2003 Summer posting season. Until that time, Lagos's Administration and Consular needs were addressed by a number of temporary duty assignments from Headquarters.

Management of the Mission - Detailed Report

General Relations Program

The General Relations Program is delivered from Abuja, the national capital, by the HOM and the Counsellor (Political). Beginning with the re-opening of the Mission, civil society contacts had to be re-established and new contacts established with the recently elected parliamentarians. With the Canadian presence now at a high level, interaction with the National Assembly, federal ministries and local official organizations is ongoing and productive. Owing to the demands on his time of other Mission Programs in Abuja (Administration, Consular, Visa), the Counsellor (Political) estimates he has devoted approximately one-quarter of his time to the GR Program. This should change significantly with the move of the MCO position to Abuja. If the recommended junior FS position is created in Abuja, and devoted half to IBD and half to GR, then approximately one Canada-Based Staff Full-Time Equivalent (CBS FTE) should be available for GR work.

General Relations Program - Detailed Report

International Business Development (IBD) Program

The IBD Program is well managed by the Trade Commissioner, who opened the Program on his arrival in Lagos in March 2001. Although well focussed on core services, approximately three-quarters of the Program's effort is devoted to verifying the bona fides of local Nigerian companies in response to requests by Canadian companies (Local Company Information). Pro-active work is not undertaken because the IBD resources in Lagos are insufficient to deal with the additional workload thus generated. The LES resource base is not stable. The Commercial Officer and Commercial Assistant positions should be converted to indeterminate status. There are no dedicated IBD resources in Abuja. Lobbying parliamentarians and senior federal officials on IBD matters is very labour intensive, and cannot be conducted from Lagos. A junior FS position should be created in Abuja, devoted half to IBD and half to GR.

IBD Program - Detailed Report

Consular Program

The Consular Program was managed by the MCO in Lagos and supported by an LES Consular Assistant. The Counsellor (Political) in Abuja assisted with cases as needed in that region. The MCO having been moved to Abuja will still maintain overall management of the Consular Program, but the Program will continue to be delivered mainly from Lagos under the supervision of the CBS there. COSMOS training is required, and greater attention should be devoted to reporting COMIP data.

Consular Program - Detailed Report

Administration Program

The process of addressing the Mission's critical resource shortage in the Administration Program was signalled by the HOM, carried forward by GAM, and is supported by the Audit Team. It includes four temporary duty support visits over the course of the Summer, and continues with the move of the MCO position to Abuja. The support visits are taking place with respect to Management (Nairobi), Finance (Ottawa/SMFF), Human Resources (Ottawa/HRL), and Security (Ottawa/ISRA). Much needs to be done in the Administration Program including setting goals, objectives, plans and service standards for both Lagos and Abuja.

  • The appropriate number and type of vehicles should be acquired (and drivers hired) to support all Mission activities, including provision for redundant capacity on safety grounds.
  • Accountant positions need to be created in both offices, and the Mission budgeting, financial management and bank reconciliation processes need to be significantly improved.
  • The LES complement requires rationalization for both offices.
  • Abuja needs its SIGNET platform upgraded and an SSA position created.
  • The LES RSA position in Lagos needs to be created and staffed.
  • All employer/employee situations and one expatriate pay situation should be regularized.
  • Land acquisition needs to be completed with the Nigerian Government for the construction of a new Chancery and Official Residence in Abuja.
  • Outstanding SRSF Maintenance Report recommendations for Lagos should be implemented.
  • Surplus Crown assets in Lagos should be sold.
  • SXD should issue a policy and instructions on the use of satellite telephones for emergency and essential communication purposes.

Administration Program - Detailed Report

Recommendation Status

Of the 50 recommendations contained in this report, 31 have already been implemented and 19 are scheduled for completion by March 2004.

Management Of the Mission

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 Operating in Nigeria is difficult in every respect and for all Programs. Personal security concerns are real and ever present, particularly in Lagos. They impact negatively and significantly on how staff live and work, and affect all aspects of mission operations in both locations. ***

1.1.2 Nevertheless, Canada has been represented in Nigeria almost continuously since its independence from Britain in 1960. Nigeria has a population of approximately 120 million and is the most populous country in Africa. It is also the tenth largest exporter of crude oil in the world, and has the world's tenth largest proven reserves of natural gas. According to the Africa Bureau (GGD) Business Plan, Nigeria, together with South Africa, is one of the two major Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) powers, and hence Canada's most important trade and investment partners in the region. The Nigerian head of state is one of the three SSA leaders (including Senegal and South Africa) selected for NePAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development) focus.

1.1.3 Against this background, we observed two dynamic recently-reopened offices working hard on day-to-day activities as well as on special events, such as the visit by the Prime Minister to Abuja two weeks before the start of the audit. All Programs have now been established and are functioning. These two offices have undergone a dramatic growth period since Lagos reopened in the Spring of 1999 and Abuja opened in the Summer of 1999. Further expansion is planned in 2002, including the addition of Development and Administration staff in Abuja, and the addition of a Military Security Guard and other Administration resources in Lagos. The Immigration Program, which currently only does Visitor visa work, is also expected to grow soon, but no decisions have been finalized.

1.1.4 As the Mission nears the completion of this start-up phase, it is an appropriate time to take stock of progress made to date and to address tasks still to be completed. The HOM drew the situation in the Mission to the attention of HQ and requested the audit. It was obvious that the Administration Program in both offices was not sufficiently resourced to support the Mission's Programs, and would be further stretched with the planned expansions. The Africa and Middle East Area Management Office (GAM) visit, three weeks before the start of the audit, catalogued many resource needs which are supported as set out in this report.

1.1.5 It was evident that the two offices were not equipped with the administrative tools and resources to operate effectively in such an environment. Lagos has one armoured vehicle that is often unavailable due to breakdowns and lack of maintenance. There are too few vehicles and drivers and its fleet is too old to provide reliable service. The telephone system does not work well anywhere in Nigeria. There was no MCO nor Accountant in Abuja. In general, the pressure of dealing with ongoing workload in both offices has precluded the development of normal administrative procedures in the Finance, Human Resources, Physical Resources/Maintenance, and IT Programs. Projects for the construction of a Chancery and an OR in Abuja need to be put into action. With this unstable delivery platform, combined with insufficient resources in the IBD and GR Programs, it is difficult to see how the Africa Bureau's objectives for Nigeria can be achieved.

1.1.6 Missions operating in such difficult environments require the best support that DFAIT can provide and the greatest attention from Headquarters. Administrative capacity not available in Lagos or Abuja because of resource shortages will have to be provided from HQ (or other Missions) until such time as these two offices can support themselves. During the course of the audit we identified a number of required temporary duty visits, as listed below. All but the ISRA visit took place on the dates given.

  • Nairobi - an experienced MCO to establish priorities and develop work-plans (June & August 2002);
  • SMFF - a finance team to reconcile accounts, train staff, and develop appropriate financial procedures for both offices (July 5-19, with report issued August 20, 2002);
  • HRL - an LES personnel team to review the LES complement, as well as pay and benefits concerns raised by the staff (July 2002, with report issued September 30, 2002); and,
  • ISRA - to ensure staff and the offices are adequately protected (planned for the Fall of 2003).

1.1.7 In addition to the visits on this list there was the GAM visit mentioned earlier, a Consular visit to Lagos by JPE in March 2002, and an SRSF visit to Lagos the previous year (May 28 - June 1, 2001), the recommendations from which were still outstanding at the time of the audit. SRSF did a follow-up visit in January 2003.

1.1.8 Lagos and Abuja are separated from one another by at least a half-day's travel by road and air. Both are multi-program offices with country-wide responsibilities. These facts, when taken together with poor infrastructure, militate against centralizing administrative support in one office, as is the case at present. The modus operandi is 'one Mission, two offices'. Abuja is the High Commission, and has the HOM, Political, Development and Public Affairs Programs. Lagos is the Deputy High Commission and has the IBD, Immigration, Consular and Administration Programs. Both offices require their own administrative support capacity.

1.1.9 The two offices have positive elements to work with. LES of good quality can be hired inexpensively. Lagos has an excellent compound containing a Chancery, a recreational facility, one staff quarter (2 + 1) and two transit flats. At one point, consideration was being given to building more SQs on the compound to take greater advantage of its excellent facilities, to reduce commuting time and to provide good security. At present there are no plans to this effect.

1.1.10 Mission Committees include the CMM, a Contract Review Board and an LES Committee. The LES Committee met once before meeting with the Audit Team. There is a Housing Committee but it has never met. The HOM divides his time appropriately between Abuja and Lagos.

Resourcing - Administration and Consular Management

1.1.11 Given the foregoing difficulties, a Mission of this complexity is in need of a seasoned and senior MCO to manage the Administration and Consular Programs. Historically, Lagos has not been able to attract MCOs of this profile and the Assignments Division (HPF) will continue to be challenged in finding MCOs to fill positions in Nigeria. Without a senior, seasoned MCO in place, GAM and HQ functional units as mentioned earlier will need to pay far greater attention to these offices and be prepared to visit regularly to provide expertise and support. MCOs need to be posted to both Abuja and Lagos. The MCO position has already been transferred to Abuja, given its current and projected growth pattern, and a Deputy MCO position has been approved for Lagos and will be staffed in the Summer of 2003. From the Fall of 2002 to the Summer of 2003, Lagos's Administration and Consular needs were addressed by temporary duty assignments from HQ.

1.1.12 Given the difficulties inherent in the short term in the creation and filling of a DMCO position in Lagos, other resourcing alternatives need to be considered. With a move of the existing MCO position to Abuja, on-site Canada-based supervision of Consular and Administration in Lagos, especially of Finance and Property, will still be required. The IBD and Immigration program managers are fully occupied with their own programs. Negotiations have been initiated with DND for the secondment of an officer with the appropriate skills (e.g., a PPMO), to complement the assignment of the new MSG to arrive this Summer. At the time of writing, however, no PPMO officers were available.

Resourcing - IBD and GR Programs

1.1.13 The International Business Development (IBD) Program has CBS resource requirements as outlined in the IBD Section. In particular, as there are no IBD resources in Abuja, we are recommending that a junior FS political officer position be created there to undertake IBD lobbying activities and ongoing GR duties.

1.1.14 Given the Missions' current unattractiveness as a posting preference, finding suitable CBS candidates for assignment to Nigeria has proved challenging, as mentioned above. The Department needs to address prospective and current CBS concerns and apprehensions in areas of personal security, transportation, program support, accommodation, and quality of life.

General Relations Program

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The General Relations (GR) Program in Nigeria is conducted by the HOM and the Counsellor (Political), both of whom are based in the High Commission in Abuja.

2.1.2 There being no dedicated Administration, Immigration or Consular resources in Abuja at the time of the Audit, the Counsellor (Political) indicated that he allocated his time approximately as follows: one-third Administration, one-quarter Visa, 15% Consular, and the balance, approximately one-quarter, to the GR Program.

2.1.3 The Mission in Abuja was opened during the Summer of 1999, and inaugurated by the Prime Minister during an official visit in mid-November 1999. Beginning with the arrival of the Counsellor earlier that Summer, the GR Program consisted of rebuilding contacts with traditional civil society interlocutors and opening new contacts with newly-elected public officials. At that time Nigeria had recently (May 29, 1999) returned to civilian government following a long period of military rule, in connection with the latter part of which, Canada had closed diplomatic relations for a period of approximately two years. Initially, the HOM and the Counsellor had to compete for contacts and for local official attention primarily with their American and British counterparts, whose much larger Missions had never closed. With the Canadian presence now at a high level, interaction with the National Assembly, federal ministries and local official organizations is ongoing and productive.

2.1.4 In the IBD section of this report is a recommendation for the establishment of a junior political officer position in Abuja whose duties would consist of half IBD work, with the balance being devoted to political and public affairs work. The genesis of this recommendation was a critical need for IBD resources in Abuja, as well a similar need for additional political/public affairs resources. Dealing with Nigerian officialdom in the poor communications infrastructure and different cultural environment is extremely labour intensive. The Nigerian Parliament, federal government ministries and the 36 state government offices are all covered from Abuja.

2.1.5 Between the existing Counsellor (Political) position (now without significant administration duties), and given the creation of a new junior political officer position, approximately one CBS FTE of political resources should be available to the GR Program.

International Business Development (IBD) Program

3.1 Background

3.1.1 The IBD Program in Nigeria is managed by an experienced CBS Trade Commissioner resident in Lagos, which is the commercial capital. He is assisted by a term LES Commercial Officer (CO) and a Commercial Assistant (CA) on contract. This is a new Program that was opened when the Trade Commissioner arrived on March 1, 2001. New business processes, contacts and networks have had to be established following Nigeria's return to civilian government. Some commercial activity had been carried out by other incumbents of the term CO position in the interval between the re-opening of the Mission in 1999 and the arrival of the Trade Commissioner. As there are no dedicated IBD resources in the High Commission in Abuja, the national capital, essential IBD work in Abuja has been carried out by the HOM, or by the Trade Commissioner during visits from Lagos.

3.1.2 The IBD plan for Nigeria is linked to the Africa Bureau (GGD) Business Plan. Flowing from this, annual objectives are agreed upon with the HOM. In terms of the IBD potential, Nigeria, according to the Business Plan, is the second most important country in Sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa.

3.2 Operating Conditions

3.2.1 The process of establishing the Program on a sound footing and setting up ongoing IBD operations has been well managed by the Trade Commissioner. Progress to date has been accomplished in the face of major local infrastructural and cultural challenges, as well as Mission resource and information technology problems. One of the objectives for Nigeria in the Africa Bureau Business Plan is to "evaluate and address some of the extraordinary obstacles which prevent the bilateral business relationship from approaching the magnitude which would otherwise be suggested by Nigeria's population and resources".

3.2.2 The Program is being delivered under very difficult local security conditions, in terms of criminality and armed violence. The air and road transportation and the telecommunications systems are sub-standard. Travelling from centre town Lagos to the international and domestic airports is especially dangerous. As Nigeria operates on a cash economy, cash and valuables being taken to and from the airports are attractive targets for robbers.

3.2.3 Nigerian business people and companies are treated with caution by the Canadian business community because of the widely publicized Nigerian fraud and scam track record on the Internet and elsewhere. Bona-fide Nigerian business people generally lack the sophistication to present their companies' products and services professionally in the North American market, ***.

3.3 Program Delivery

3.3.1 The resource base of personnel and equipment is not stable. The term CO position was staffed again in November 2001 when the previous incumbent resigned for personal reasons. The CA has been retained on a contract basis using a series of trade project funds. Lagos/Abuja was converted to Classic SIGNET in June 2001. The new CO only received her SIGNET account in February 2002. The CA does not have a PC that will support WIN EXPORTS Online. Because the fax rarely works owing to land line problems, documents that have to be faxed must be scanned and sent as e-mail attachments. WIN Online is very slow after noon local time which requires that all such activity to be done in the morning. The tracking of services delivered in the WIN Online system was begun in March 2002 and is continuing on a regular basis. Because of a history of SIGNET system instabilities, desktop tools are not completely trusted and duplicate alternative systems are maintained. The IBD Program has been functioning to date without indeterminate locally-engaged resources and, until recently, without serviceable desk-top tools.

3.3.2 The five-day service standard is being respected, in that almost all requests receive a response the same day. Approximately three-quarters of IBD activity is focussed on the core service of Local Company Information. Nigerian companies are adept at contacting Canadian companies on the Internet, who in turn contact IBD/Lagos to determine if the Nigerian company is bona fide. Canadian businesses are wary of scams, and the Mission is wary of visa applicants. This is a labour intensive service because of the previously mentioned communication problems and the Nigerian lack of sophistication with respect to company profiles. The balance of IBD activity is devoted to the core services of Face-to-Face Briefing, and Market Prospect, with a small amount of miscellaneous activity mostly associated with scams.

3.3.3 With respect to market access information, even well established Canadian export-ready companies require additional coaching about the labour intensive nature of doing business in the difficult Nigerian market. Canadian companies are particularly anxious about Nigerian methods of payment. The Trade Commissioner has researched and prepared a specific guide to doing business in Nigeria which contains vetted contacts in many sectors. This is distributed electronically in response to requests and a print copy became available locally in April 2002 ("Working in Nigeria: A Guide to Business Service Providers"). Soon it will appear as a link on the InfoExport web site. Nigerian trade directories and trade fair listings either do not exist or are inaccurate and not comprehensive.

3.3.4 The Program is currently dealing with 200 Canadian companies, 80 of which are based in Nigeria (half through a local agent, half with their own company office). As of the end of April 2002, service delivery to 83 companies had been tracked in the WIN Online database. The goal is to ensure that all 200 companies are entered in the system by August 2002. In June 2002 both the CO and CA received two days of training on WIN EXPORTS Online in Abidjan.

3.3.5 Pro-active work is not undertaken because of current operating conditions. There is a high degree of local interest in Canada and the Trade Commissioner feels that any promotional work or advertising in Nigeria or Canada would generate a volume of work that could not be accommodated currently. Once the Program is fully established, however, approximately 350 Canadian companies could be served with the existing resources and current operational style.

3.3.6 Given Nigeria's importance to IBD in Sub-Saharan Africa, it is difficult to see how the objectives and expected results outlined in the Africa Branch and bilateral trade work plans can be achieved without, at the very least, indeterminate locally-engaged resources.

Recommendation for TBX

3.3.7 Establish the locally-engaged IBD resources in Lagos on an indeterminate basis by:

  • converting the existing CO term position to indeterminate status; and,
  • creating a CA position, thereby regularizing the current employer/employee relationship that exists with the existing contract CA.

TBX Response

3.3.7 Funds for the CO position were not provided to Lagos.

GAM Response

3.3.7 MJM has agreed to fund these two positions in lieu of TBX funding.

Recommendations for the Mission

3.3.8 Provide the CA in Lagos with the desktop capacity to input in WIN EXPORTS Online.

3.3.9 Update the information on the Trade Commissioner Service InfoExport Internet site.

3.3.10 Provide LES New Approach and Outreach training for the CO, and the CA as resources permit.

Mission Responses

3.3.8 Completed.

3.3.9 Completed.

3.3.10 Completed.

3.4 IBD Resources - Abuja

3.4.1 Abuja is sufficiently distant from Lagos in time and distance to warrant separate resource consideration. The Nigerian Parliament, all the federal government ministries, and ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) are located in Abuja. Therefore, activities such as calling on federal government officials and parliamentarians regarding trade issues must be conducted in Abuja. Because of the difficulties described, it is not seen as workable in the long term to cover IBD interests in Abuja from Lagos. As mentioned earlier, essential IBD work in Abuja must be undertaken either by the Trade Commissioner on visits, by the HOM or sometimes by the Political Officer. Unfortunately, high level access to senior officials is generally only available to diplomatic officers. A locally-engaged officer or a non-diplomat would be unlikely to have the access required. A new junior CBS political officer whose duties would include political, public and economic affairs and trade could undertake this work, including the file work-up beforehand, and follow-up afterward. The bulk of such work should fall to this officer, whose IBD duties would take place under the direction of the Trade Commissioner. As there are currently no IBD resources in Abuja, the Mission together with the Africa Bureau should address this issue.

Recommendation for the Mission and GGTT

3.4.2 Review IBD resource requirements in Abuja with a view to establishing a dedicated Program delivery capacity under the direction of the Trade Commissioner in Lagos. Such capacity should include the establishment of an incremental FSDP position.

Mission Response

3.4.2 Mission review completed and forwarded to GGTT.

GGTT Response

3.4.2 GGTT supports this recommendation, and has included it in the Africa and Middle East Branch Business Plan. Should funding not be available GGTT would support establishing a LES Commercial Officer position in Abuja.

Consular Program

4.1 Management of the Program

4.1.1 The Consular Program is managed by the MCO in Lagos and supported by an LES Consular Assistant. The majority of the Canadian and the expatriate communities are located in Lagos and Port Harcourt, the petroleum centre for Nigeria. The Counsellor (Political) in Abuja provides assistance as needed for cases that require activity in that region.

4.1.2 The Consular Assistant is responsible for assistance to Canadians, maintaining consular records, as well as processing applications for passports and citizenship. The Consular Assistant and MCO work closely together in all aspects of the Program's delivery.

4.1.3 The HOM in Abuja stays in close contact with the MCO regarding any ongoing case work. Both are proactive in addressing cases by discussing strategy, contacting local authorities and companies, and working through problems as they arise. The MCO and Consular Assistant should update case notes more regularly so that Headquarters is kept fully informed of developments. A review of CAMANT notes indicated that the Mission provides limited case information generally, usually in response to Headquarters prompting.

Case Management Statistics (COMIP)

4.1.4 The Mission began using COSMOS again in 2001 but had not scheduled training through JPC. The Mission did not use COMIP, a feature of COSMOS, to report case management time until a month before the audit visit. During the March 2002 visit by JPE, both the MCO and the Consular Assistant were shown how to use COMIP and had the importance of maintaining these records impressed upon them. Nevertheless, when we arrived, the Consular Assistant was still not using COMIP, and the MCO was tracking both of their time on his COMIP reports. This is an example of problems that could be alleviated if the Mission were to receive complete training on all aspects of COSMOS/CAMANT. Both the Consular Assistant and the MCO have full access to COMIP and should be maintaining separate electronic COMIP records. The MCO is responsible for the monthly roll up and reporting of both sets of records when the COMIP statistics are filed electronically.

Recommendations for the Mission

4.1.5 The Consular Assistant and MCO should maintain separate daily case logs in COMIP and the MCO should file the monthly roll up of records.

4.1.6 In consultation with JPC determine COSMOS training requirements for the MCO and Consular Assistant, and schedule the appropriate training sessions.

Mission Responses

4.1.5 To be completed by September 2003.

4.1.6 Completed.

4.2 Service to Canadians

Consular Work Load

4.2.1 A review of CAMANT case activity and interviews with the Consular staff at the Mission provided a view of the consular work load in Lagos. In 2001, there were 78 cases entered into CAMANT, of which 28 were active at the time of the audit. Most cases involve Canadians living or working in the country who require either intervention on their behalf by the Mission or active monitoring of their situations. Such cases tend to be complex and time consuming for the MCO and other Mission staff. A large proportion of the case work is general assistance, followed by passport and citizenship processing, which is handled well by the Consular Assistant. The MCO and the Consular Assistant were managing this case load effectively.

Consular Emergency Contingency Plan

4.2.2 During the Consular visit mentioned above, the JPE officer assisted the Mission with the development of its Consular Emergency Contingency Plan. The Plan has been drafted and was sent to Headquarters for review in May 2002. Additional information is required in order to complete it in final form. Many aspects of the Plan require the Mission to maintain closer liaison with other Foreign Missions resident in Nigeria and to develop the sharing of warden networks and communications. JPE has provided the Mission with direction on additional input required.

Recommendation for the Mission

4.2.3 Complete the Consular Emergency Contingency Plan.

Mission Response

4.2.3 To be completed by September 2003.

4.3 Passport and Citizenship Services

4.3.1 Approximately 150 passport applications are accepted annually at the Mission. Since reopening in 1999 the Mission has not had the facilities to issue passports or perform passport related services. Only Emergency Passports could be issued. Passport applications submitted in Lagos are forwarded to Accra for processing, which results in a delay of several weeks and reduced service levels. It has taken considerable time for Lagos to acquire all the materiel necessary to begin issuing passports. At the time of the Audit the last of the required materiels had finally arrived. The Mission planned to have a Consular employee from Accra visit to assist in the implementation of the COSMOS Passport Management Program. The Mission should ensure that all necessary training on the use of the Passport Management Program (PMP) is provided.

Recommendation for the Mission

4.3.2 In conjunction with other Consular training needs, ensure that all required PMP training is provided.

Mission Response

4.3.2 Completed.

4.4 Honorary Consuls

4.4.1 The Mission used to have an Honorary Consul in Port Harcourt, where most of the large oil companies operating in the Niger Delta are located. The position became vacant when the former incumbent retired. Although an Honorary Consul situation is still authorized, the Mission has not attempted to select a new incumbent. Given that the position has been vacant for some time, it is up to the Mission in conjunction with JPD to determine if the appointment of an Honorary Consul in Port Harcourt is warranted.

Recommendation for the Mission

4.4.2 Determine the need for an Honorary Consul in Port Harcourt, in conjunction with JPD.

Mission Response

4.4.2 JPD advised that an Honorary Consul is needed in Port Harcourt. The Mission is looking for a suitable candidate.

Administration Program

5.1 Management of the Program

Goals and Objectives

5.1.1 In conjunction with the basic Administration resourcing questions outlined earlier, the process of planning and objective setting needs to be pursued. Establishment of goals, objectives, work plans, operational procedures, standards and levels of client service is required for both offices and for all administration services. Regular schedules of office visits should be set for services and supervision provided from one office to the other. This process should be managed by the MCO in Abuja, should have the participation of all Program Managers, and should address the needs of all staff; CBS and LES alike.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.1.2 Prepare goals, objectives, plans, operational procedures, and standards and levels of service for all administrative services for both offices.

Mission Response

5.1.2 To be completed by September 2003.

Recreation and Health Issues

5.1.3 In an environment where the usual individual mobility is limited because of security precautions, the need for recreational outlets is increased. The British and Americans have day beach huts in Lagos and a cottage inland. Abuja, being a newly developed city has very few recreational facilities and opportunities. The HOM has raised recreational program issues for Lagos and Abuja at the ADM level (with MSL and MKM), as well as at divisional levels. The Mission should follow up with GAM and SERV on possible options for a recreational program.

5.1.4 The Regional Medical Officer in Nairobi visited Lagos and Abuja in September 2000. In his report he recommended that the Mission approach the U.S. Embassy and the Tocaro Private Clinic regarding the provision of medical services to CBS. The recommendation remains outstanding. The Mission should follow up with the U.S. Embassy and Tocaro medical services as soon as possible. A Medical Officer visit is planned for 2002.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.1.5 Continue to develop and pursue recreational options for both offices.

5.1.6 Follow up with the Tocaro Clinic and the U.S. Embassy regarding the provision of medical services to CBS.

Mission Responses

5.1.5 The Mission is pursuing various possibilities with help from HQ.

5.1.6 The U.S. Embassy and British High Commission will provide medical services to CBS.

5.2 Human Resources

LES Discussions

5.2.1 At meetings with the LES Committee and individual LES the following issues surfaced:

  • earlier start and close times to avoid Lagos' worst traffic;
  • the Accountant and the SSA role should be divided;
  • suggestions to improve benefits were provided; and,
  • more information on pensions and retirement benefits was requested.

5.2.2 The issues above were presented by the LES to the CMM for consideration in February 2002. The LES also raised the following issues with the Audit Team:

  • Staff in all Programs are overworked.
  • There is a need for more training especially for staff in Administration and Immigration.
  • Contract staff should be regularized.
  • Salaries are being eroded by high inflation.
  • The LES Handbook is out of date.
  • There is no career planning or career path.
  • Poor phone and fax services were impairing Mission effectiveness.

5.2.3 These issues were brought to the attention of Mission Management and a copy was provided to HRL for their July 2002 visit.

LES Complement Rationalization

5.2.4 The Audit Team attempted to reconcile the present LES complement with the data in PeopleSoft, the Personnel Utilization Reports (PUPS), the Pay list, and the 1999 Organization Chart dating from before the Mission was closed. Discrepancies were found in all documents, none of which matched with one another. The Mission, GAM and HRL are not clear as to what positions actually exist, to which Program they belong or in which positions present incumbents are assigned. There are 14 LES on the current pay list. The 1999 Organization Chart indicates that prior to closure of the Mission there were 17 LES positions, all with assigned position numbers. At present these positions are assigned to either Abuja or Lagos, except 4 positions from the 1999 Organization Chart which do not appear on any of the other records: an Electrician; a Mechanic; a Driver; and an Expatriate Liaison Officer. The Consular Assistant was originally in an ASST-05 position but is currently paid at an Expatriate rate (see Recommendation 5.2.17). One position that was originally a Commercial Officer now appears to be designated as a Property Officer, according to the PUPs. In addition, there are also three new position numbers assigned to Abuja and Lagos, two of which appear to be vacant. It is not clear what position numbers actually exist.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.2.5 In consultation with HRL, GAM, and SMSS determine which positions remain active from the 1999 Organization Chart, and reconcile this determination with the new positions created recently.

5.2.6 Ensure that funding exists in the Mission Reference Levels for all positions, once they are confirmed.

5.2.7 Staff all vacant positions for which a continuing need exists.

Mission Responses

5.2.5 To be completed by September 2003.

5.2.6 To be completed by September 2003, when the results of the LES position reconciliation is received in HQ.

5.2.7 All vacant positions are currently staffed.

Employer/Employee Relationships

5.2.8 The Mission has addressed its staffing requirements through local contracting. In Lagos, the Trade Commercial Assistant, Protocol Officer, Assistant Accountant, and Gardener are on contract. Lagos routinely contracts for cars and drivers. In Abuja, a Gardener and Cleaner are on contract. All these contracts clearly establish employer-employee relations as they have annual leave and medical coverage included therein. There is no doubt that most or all of these positions will be required on a permanent basis. The Mission should staff these positions on an indeterminate basis.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.2.9 Regularize all employer-employee situations.

Mission Response

5.2.9 To be completed by September 2003.

LES Staffing Practices

5.2.10 Both contracted and staffed positions are generally filled with individuals known to the LES and are generally brought in without competition. While this can be expedient and while LES recommendations can provide a good degree of assurance on employee quality and potential, there are also negatives to this hiring and contracting approach. Management should formalize its staffing processes wherever possible to ensure that the best candidates are hired, to promote transparency, and to ensure that the limited career paths available to LES are properly managed.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.2.11 Ensure that transparency is observed and due process is followed when hiring or retaining on contract LES.

Mission Response

5.2.11 Transparency and due process will be incorporated in future hiring practices.

Diverse HR Issues

5.2.12 The Consular Assistant, a long serving employee, remains on an expatriate pay scale (USD). We see no basis for continuing this arrangement. HRL should review this situation during their visit and find a reasonable remedy.

5.2.13 Many staff have not been appraised over the past two years. Staff should be appraised annually and have up-to-date job descriptions.

5.2.14 A review of employee files showed that many were incomplete in one respect or another. Most were missing job descriptions, some were missing ERCs, and others were missing Oaths of Office and Security. HR files should be properly set up, with one file for the classified position, and a personnel file for each individual.

5.2.15 There is a critical need to update the Mission Report, since the last one dates from 1995. This is a key document to present clearly both the positives and the negatives of postings to Nigeria so that individuals considering a posting to Lagos or Abuja can make informed decisions.

5.2.16 As a growing Mission with new staff, a training plan should be developed with appropriate funding.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.2.17 Convert the expatriate pay position to local salary pay.

5.2.18 Update job descriptions and conduct regular performance appraisals.

5.2.19 Set up a proper LES personnel filing system, and keep the files up to date with all required documentation.

5.2.20 Update the Mission Reports for both offices and submit them to SERV.

5.2.21 Establish a Mission training plan.

Mission Responses

5.2.17 Completed.

5.2.18 To be completed by September 2003.

5.2.19 Completed.

5.2.20 To be completed by March 2004.

5.2.21 A training co-ordinator has been appointed, and staff are being trained in Canada, at other locations, and by distance learning.

5.3 Physical Resources

Maintenance

5.3.1 An SRSF maintenance visit to Lagos was conducted between May 28 and June 1, 2001. This was a combined routine maintenance inspection as well as an inspection of the newly constructed Chancery. A commissioning report had been prepared previously by the SRSF Technical Section in February 2001. The SRSF Maintenance Visit Report of August 8, 2001 listed a number of items remaining for the building contractor to resolve, and made a series of recommendations for Mission action. Although the Military Security Manager on TD completed some of the Mission action items (first aid kits, fire extinguishers, Lagos compound lighting), the majority of the SRSF recommendations remain outstanding. Of particular importance is the hiring of an LES Property Manager, who would be responsible for overseeing maintenance operations in both offices. Although the Lagos Chancery is new, it has a number of complex building systems that need to be kept in working order. As assets generally deteriorate rapidly in salty, hot, humid environments, constant attention is required.

5.3.2 Mission staff indicated concern that they would not be able to fill a new LES Property Assistant position with a competent incumbent unless the position was considered an Expatriate position. The Mission has not tried to staff this position and has no detailed information on the availability of qualified candidates. The Mission should staff this position with an LES, appropriately qualified candidate who can be readily trained in the duties of the position.

5.3.3 At the end of January 2003, SRSF conducted a follow-up property and maintenance inspection of both Lagos and Abuja. The inspection report will be available by the end of May 2003.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.3.4 Implement all outstanding recommendations and other work to be done as described in the Lagos SRSF Maintenance Report of August 8, 2001.

5.3.5 Hire an LES Property Manager.

Mission Responses

5.3.4 Completed.

5.3.5 Under review with HQ. The new DMCO position in Lagos will provide greater supervision of Property matters.

Abuja - Chancery and OR Construction Projects

5.3.6 Long term capital plans are in preparation within SRD for the construction of a Chancery and an Official Residence in Abuja over a period of three to five years. At present villas have been leased for both purposes. A feasability report for the OR was prepared by SRSR in March 2001.

5.3.7 Although a fair amount of preparatory work has already been done, both projects need to be set up on a managed project basis, complete with milestones and completion dates. The identification of plots of land needs to be completed with the Nigerian Government and their purchase price confirmed. Once land for building has been acquired, the construction projects can be planned in detail.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.3.8 In consultation with SRD, complete the process of land acquisition with the Nigerian Government in order to launch the Chancery and OR construction projects.

Mission Response

5.3.8 Completed.

Disposal of Assets

5.3.9 The Lagos Compound has various assets being stored, including an old generator and furniture, that are occupying valuable space. These assets are not in the Mission's inventories. The Mission also plans to sell its 1995 Suburban (currently broken down). The Mission should explore disposal options and sale of surplus assets.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.3.10 Dispose of surplus Crown assets according to established procedures.

Mission Response

5.3.10 Completed.

Property Management Systems and Procedures

5.3.11 Property management systems and procedures, especially preventive maintenance ones, are not in place in either office. Lagos is spending significant amounts on maintenance and repairs by hiring contractors on an ongoing basis. In Abuja, the lack of skilled tradesmen and qualified contractors is a particular problem.

5.3.12 It is apparent that Lagos and Abuja require increased property staff to ensure that vital regular maintenance is undertaken in the office and SQs. The MCO and the Administrative Assistant in Lagos have not been able to ensure that regular maintenance is undertaken in either office.

5.3.13 When a Property Manager is in place, it would be advisable to hire a handyman or trades person for both offices. The 1999 Mission Organization Chart shows that prior to closure there were two non-office ASST-00 property positions: a Mechanic and an Electrician. Neither of these positions has been staffed since the Mission reopened. PeopleSoft has no record of these positions and it could not be confirmed by GAM, HRL or the Mission whether or not they still exist. The status of these positions should be determined, and if they exist their funding should be confirmed.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.3.14 Develop property maintenance systems and procedures, including preventive maintenance, for both Lagos and Abuja.

5.3.15 Hire handymen or trades people to carry out routine maintenance work in both Lagos and Abuja.

Mission Responses

5.3.14 Completed.

5.3.15 Under review with HQ.

Drivers and Vehicles

5.3.16 Given Nigeria's security situation (especially between Lagos and the international and domestic airports), and the condition of the road transportation infrastructure, the Mission requires the appropriate number and type of reliable vehicles, and the corresponding number of trained drivers. A needs analysis should be undertaken incorporating staff increases, and the operational demands of all Mission Programs in both offices, including HOM regional travel. The Lagos situation will be dominated by the security situation and airport runs, and Abuja primarily by regional travel. In both situations the risk of highway breakdowns must be reduced to an absolute minimum. The needs assessment should incorporate redundant capacity to accommodate emergencies, extra program demands, breakdowns, and the Nigerian environment. It should also include a vehicle replacement policy, e.g., for Nigeria, every two years. Finally, all vehicles must be subject to a regular servicing schedule to keep them road-worthy.

5.3.17 At the time of the Audit, the active Mission vehicles included, in Abuja, a 4x4 and HOM sedan, and in Lagos, an armoured van (not working), and a 4x4. A 4x4 van was awaiting customs clearance at the port. The Mission met its immediate needs by hiring contract vehicles and drivers for both offices. This is an unacceptable situation for security and operational reasons. The contract vehicles do not have diplomatic registration plates, which are recommended and in certain cases required for security and for access purposes. The competence and reliability of contract drivers in difficult situations are subject to chance. The Mission is planning to hire additional drivers as already ordered vehicles become available for use. Use of contract vehicles and drivers should be kept to a minimum.

5.3.18 Mission drivers should receive defensive driving training, either in Canada or in South Africa, where similarity of driving conditions and vehicle types are available.

5.3.19 Lagos has one particular demand on its vehicular resources. Official visitors destined to Abuja invariably land at the international airport in Lagos and must be transferred by Mission staff to the domestic airport, a few kilometres away. It is highly inadvisable for visitors to make this journey on their own because of the security situation and the fact that international flights usually arrive and depart at night. Although the airports themselves are only a short distance apart, a Mission vehicle must drive to one of the airports, complete the transfer to the other airport, and then return to the Mission on the far side of Lagos. There are very few direct flights to Abuja from Europe (i.e., British Airways - three times a week).

5.3.20 Vehicle logs should be maintained for all vehicles according to established departmental practice. The information generated by the logs will support the vehicle needs analysis, and generate petrol consumption rate data for vehicle efficiency determination.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.3.21 Conduct a vehicle needs analysis for both offices embracing all programs needs, and based on its results, acquire the indicated number and type of vehicles.

5.3.22 Provide defensive driver training for all drivers.

5.3.23 Maintain vehicle logs for all vehicles.

Mission Responses

5.3.21 Completed.

5.3.22 Included in the Mission training plan.

5.3.23 Completed.

Transit Accommodation

5.3.24 The Chancery in Lagos has two identical bachelor apartments that are used as transit accommodation, primarily by Mission staff visiting from Abuja but also by other Departmental employees on temporary duty devoted to Lagos's Programs. When the Chancery was renovated, the top floor was left in its original, although redecorated, residential configuration. At one time these apartments were used as SQ accommodation for single staff members, but they are now considered too small for such use. They are approximately the size of a hotel housekeeping suite (one bedroom) and are ideal for temporary duty accommodation. The CMM has established policy for their use along the foregoing lines, and HOM approval is required.

5.3.25 Alternative use of the space occupied by these apartments has not been considered for the short or medium term, although it is conceivable that they could be converted into either additional office space, or one larger SQ. Neither alternative is considered workable in the short term.

5.3.26 Use of these transit apartments for their intended purpose considerably reduces the cost of TD, and is undoubtedly convenient. Hotel accommodation in Lagos is very expensive, and not plentiful. Ferrying TD visitors staying in hotels to and from the Chancery is similarly expensive, as well as being time consuming. Although the Department basically does not provide staff accommodation outside the FSDs, a variety of precedents exist for the use of available Crown accommodation for TD on a temporary basis. The Department, however, does not have a policy or guidelines governing the use of Crown accommodation for temporary duty purposes. Missions will continue to make such use of space which is in excess of their current needs, and which cannot be disposed of. At the very least, the Department should establish guidelines governing the use of transit accommodation for TD purposes, to ensure a reasonable level of consistency of practice.

Recommendation for SRD

5.3.27 Develop guidelines for the use of transit accommodation for temporary duty purposes.

SRD Response

5.3.27 To be completed by September 2003.

Construction of Accommodation on the Chancery Grounds

5.3.28 As part of a feasibility study for the old Lagos OR (SRSR, April 2001), a proposal was made to develop CBS housing on the Chancery grounds. Sufficient space exists in the grass field behind the tennis court and swimming pool for additional SQ construction. The SRSR proposal was for the construction of three 3+1 town houses. Judging from the sketch in the SRSR Report, and from our own tour of the grounds, it would appear that the shade trees in the recreational area would have to be removed if the SRSR recommendation were to proceed as illustrated. Building on site would be economical in the short term and would also allow for improved security and more use of the Chancery recreation facilities. The Audit Team would like to stress, however, that any construction of SQs on the Chancery grounds should ensure that the maximum amount of trees and green space is maintained. Safe and environmentally friendly green facilities are almost non-existent in that neighbourhood, and the Chancery site provides a haven of greenery. In November 2002, SRD advised that they had no long term plans to construct housing on the Lagos Chancery compound.

Diverse Physical Resources Items

5.3.29 Given the local ambient temperature range and staff tendency to be in the office before and after working hours, it would provide a higher comfort level if the air conditioning system could be reprogrammed to have the working hours settings extend from 05:30 to 19:00 hours.

5.3.30 Although there is ample office space in the building, no space has been allocated as a staff lunch room.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.3.31 Liaise with SRSF in order to have the building air conditioning time settings reprogrammed.

5.3.32 Consider allocating suitable office space to serve as a staff lunch/meeting room.

Mission Responses

5.3.31 Completed.

5.3.32 Completed.

5.4 Finance

Overview

5.4.1 Financial organization, procedures, and resources are being reviewed over the course of the Summer 2002 by two temporary visits (Nairobi/MCO and Ottawa/SMFF), with guidance provided by GAM. The following actions have been taken, or are in progress:

  • In Lagos the Accountant and SSA roles are being separated into two distinct LES positions.
  • The MCO position has been moved from Lagos to Abuja, and a senior accountant position is being created in Abuja.
  • A DMCO position is being created in Lagos, and the junior (now full-time) Accountant position will remain in Lagos.
  • In IMS, the fund centre for Nigeria has been re-named Abuja (H30400), and a cost centre has been set up for Lagos (30400).

Thus the centre of financial management will move to Abuja from Lagos. Previously, all financial resources and operations were centralized in Lagos, where the accounting workload had grown to the point where one individual could no longer do both Information Technology and Financial work. A contract accountant was hired to do bank runs. Abuja had only a petty cash account, and did not have an MCO, an Accountant, a bank account or access to IMS.

5.4.2 The aim of the foregoing measures and visits is to improve the Mission's financial management and budgeting processes, and services to clients. As described in the following sections, the Mission budget had been overspent significantly, bank accounts were not being reconciled properly, and Mission Program Managers were not given the detailed financial reporting they require to manage their funds.

5.4.3 With respect to budgeting, Mission expenditures exceeded operating funds last Fiscal Year (2001-2002) by $546,000. The Audit Team analysed the expenditures over two years and found that although advance lease payments could account for a portion of this overage, expenditures for many other items had also exceeded their budgets. In addition, expenditures occurred on other items for which there was no budget. It is also possible that there was inadequate reference level funding provided at the time of the Mission's reopening. GAM provided extra funding to the Mission in order to complete FY2001-2002. The Audit Team recognizes that the Mission's operations are still evolving and expanding. Nevertheless, its budgeting practices need to be improved significantly, as illustrated by the next recommendation on lease payments.

Lease Payments

5.4.4 The Mission has 6 Crown-Leased Staff Quarters (SQ) and leases the Chancery in Abuja. The total annual cost of these leases is $376,000, but because of advance lease payments, this is not the amount that is expended each year. Many of the leases have advance payments of one to two years, which creates an irregular cash flow. In the years when lease payments are due, extra funding is required, and should be provided for in that year's budget. In subsequent years, because the leases have been pre-paid, the Mission would not require a lease budget. The table below shows the actual lease payments. There was a surplus in the FY 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 and a deficit in the FY2001-2002. The surpluses have been spent on other items, and GAM covered the deficit, as mentioned earlier.

 FY 1999-00FY 2000-01FY 2001-02FY 2002-03FY 2003-04
Crown Leases199920002001200220032004
PR3040062 67,226 67,226 67,226
PR3040063117,647   117,647 
PR3400066 62,184 62,184 62,184
PR3400068  272,000 272,000 
PR3400069  96,000 96,000 
PR3400064   35,28035,28035,280
PR3400067  33,60033,60033,60033,600
Actual Lease Payments117,647129,410401,600198,290554,527198,290

5.4.5 As the actual lease payments are known items of expenditure, the Mission should base its lease budget each year on the actual lease payments that will occur during that year. This will eliminate surpluses and deficits in this budget item.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.4.6 Base the lease budget on actual expenditure forecasts.

5.4.7 Generally, improve budgeting accuracy for all items of expenditure.

Mission Responses

5.4.6 Completed.

5.4.7 Completed.

Financial Controls

5.4.8 The Mission maintains two bank accounts (USD and Nigerian Naira). These accounts have not been reconciled properly since March 2001, as required by DFAIT's financial guidelines. The Mission's reconciliations contained complex adjustments for transactions not entered in IMS. In the case of the USD bank account, transactions for every month since April 2001 were not entered in IMS. In addition, many of the adjustments are being carried forward unresolved to subsequent months. One such unresolved adjustment has been carried forward since September 2000. Similar irregularities were found in the Nigerian Naira bank reconciliations. Proper financial controls must be maintained, insuring that all transactions are entered in IMS before payment is made, and that monthly reconciliations are completed. The Mission should ensure that all adjustments are cleared appropriately prior to the next month's reconciliation.

5.4.9 The Mission has not been forwarding its bank reconciliations to SMFF in Ottawa as required. As a result, HQ was not aware of this situation, and corrective action that should have taken place did not take place.

5.4.10 Generally, the Mission's accounting office lacks defined procedures for its activities, which has led to backlogs, the inability to reconcile bank accounts, inability to produce financial reports, different levels of service for the two offices, and procedural inefficiency. Disorganization and backlog pressure have led to frustration for accounts staff and clients alike. Activities such as bank runs, document entry in IMS, cheque writing, petty cash disbursements, and month-end reconciliations require defined steps for correct and systematic execution. Procedures need to be developed and documented, and service standards need to be established and promulgated. With the foregoing in place the accounting staff in both offices should have sufficient dedicated time to process and complete all transactions.

5.4.11 The SMFF financial team addressed the bank reconciliation situation, and established proper financial procedures for both Lagos and Abuja. The SMFF report dated August 20, 2002 provided details of their activities and results.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.4.12 With SMFF's assistance:

  • establish and maintain financial control procedures for bank reconciliations; and,
  • develop, document and promulgate procedures and service standards for all financial activities.

Mission Response

5.4.12 Completed.

Consular Change Float - Lagos

5.4.13 The Consular Assistant uses recently received Consular revenues to make change for subsequent clients. She should be provided with a change float (standing advance) for purposes of making change, thus keeping Consular revenues entirely separate from other types of transaction. Consular revenues are deposited weekly ***.

Recommendation for Mission

5.4.14 Create a change float for the Consular Assistant.

Mission Response

5.4.14 Completed.

5.5 Information Management

5.5.1 For Lagos and Abuja, technology infrastructure problems are not confined to local Nigerian systems, e.g., telephones. MITNET and SIGNET have both been down a number of times. Except for Solar and Short Duration outages, MITNET in Abuja has been down 19 times in the April 2001-2002 period, and Lagos similarly 11 times, including two extended outages of 9.1 and 7.3 days respectively. In each of these cases equipment had to be sent from London, and a Departmental technician (usually the resident EL in Accra) had to travel to install it. During the same period the Server in Lagos was down 43 times. Clients tend not to distinguish between causes when the effect is the same - no functionality of Mission-critical systems.

5.5.2 In July 2002 for approximately one month Lagos's server operation was limited to office hours only, owing to the breakdown of the Mission's generator, and the unreliability of a temporary replacement. This was a considerable inconvenience for IBD and Immigration staff who need their desktops during the quiet period after the office is closed to complete their work for the day. This underscores the need for proper maintenance capability for systems and machinery in Lagos.

5.5.3 SRSF has approved the purchase of a new generator for Lagos. Nevertheless, the frequent electrical power outages and unclean, fluctuating power supply continue to cause problems for the servers, which are very sensitive to uneven power. They require clean, regulated, uninterrupted power to function effectively. In conjunction with the above generator problem, from June 26 to July 12 the account server and the resource server were down together or separately 29 times. The Mission should consult with SRSF to arrange for the installation of the appropriate voltage regulation equipment. The Regional Technician in Accra and the Regional Systems Manager in Nairobi should be consulted regarding the installation of upgraded uninterruptible power supply equipment, as necessary.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.5.4 Arrange for the installation of the appropriate voltage regulation and uninterruptible power supply equipment.

Mission Response

5.5.4 Completed.

Systems Administration - Nigeria

5.5.5 At present Lagos is a classic SIGNET Mission and Abuja is a Micro-Mission that accesses network services through Paris. Lagos has a SIGNET Support Assistant (SSA) who at present is also the Accountant. The Counsellor (Political) in Abuja has been acting as the SSA there. Both of these individuals have been drawing on the Regional Systems Administrator (RSA) in Abidjan for support.

5.5.6 Given the current and potential growth of both of these offices, especially that of Abuja which is now the larger office, the foregoing SIGNET systems administration profile should change. By the Fall of 2002 Abuja will be well past the threshold of number of knowledge workers to qualify as a Small Mission. Abuja should therefore have an LES SSA with the appropriate aptitude and interest. GAM feels that the platform in Abuja should be upgraded to match that of Lagos.

5.5.7 In Lagos, it has already been determined that the Accountant position should be fully devoted to financial matters. As the servers are located in Lagos, the main SA capability should remain in Lagos, at least for the short and medium term. Africa and Middle East Branch approval has already been provided for a LES RSA position to be set up in Lagos to serve both offices. This position has been created and staffed.

Recommendations for SXD

5.5.8 Upgrade Abuja's SIGNET platform from Micro-Mission to Small Mission or Classic Mission, as appropriate.

5.5.9 Establish a SIGNET Support Assistant for Abuja.

SXD Responses

5.5.8 Abuja will be changed to Small Mission IT architecture.

5.5.9 Completed.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.5.10 Initiate the process to create and staff a LES Regional Systems Administrator position serving both Lagos and Abuja.

5.5.11 Ensure that the new LES RSA and SSA receive formal SIGNET training.

Mission Responses

5.5.10 Completed.

5.5.11 Completed.

Satellite Telephone Emergency and Essential Communications Policy

5.5.12 As part of its Y2K preparations in 1999, the Department (SXD) sent Inmarsat Mini-M satellite telephones to all Missions and Honorary Consuls. The intent was to provide an alternative means of telephone and limited e-mail communication in the event that MITNET, local land line and cell-phone capability failed on January 1, 2000. Detailed instructions were issued at that time for the set-up, testing and operation of these units in anticipation of Y2K related problems.

5.5.13 After January 1, 2000 the special Y2K communication channels and procedures were discontinued, and Missions (including Honorary Consuls) were instructed to retain the units for emergency communications purposes. Procedures for reprogramming the units for using normal commercial satellite channels were issued.

5.5.14 Since the Spring of 2000 no other policies or procedures on the use of these units have been issued, other than the statement that the Inmarsat Mini-M satellite telephones are the replacement for the PSatCom equipment previously deployed for emergency satellite communications purposes.

5.5.15 The Mission has four of these Inmarsat units, two in Lagos and two in Abuja. Their use by both offices is covered by the general description below that was derived from observations in a number of Missions.

5.5.16 Our audit experience indicates that while some Missions are using their units as intended by the Spring 2000 SXTT instructions, many more are not. In such cases the units are usually (a) stored in their cases in technical equipment rooms not having been used since Y2K, (b) with batteries not charged, (c) not programmed for commercial channel use, (d) not regularly tested, and (e) with no one readily familiar with their use. As a result, their use for emergency and essential communications purposes is largely defeated.

5.5.17 SXTT has recently embarked on a pilot project at three Missions that involves the semi-permanent establishment of the Inmarsat unit within Missions to provide communication by satellite in the event of MITNET failure. Once this concept has been proven and its application authorized for all Missions, the appropriate instructions and policies covering the new configuration will be issued. This SXTT initiative is an essential communications contingency measure, but there are broader aspects of Inmarsat satellite telephone operations in the field that also need to be addressed by departmental policy.

5.5.18 At the present time there is no departmental policy governing the use and required state of readiness for Inmarsat satellite telephones to cover emergency and essential communications in the following situations:

  • During the interval before the SXTT within-Mission configuration of the Inmarsat units is rolled out to all Missions,
  • Use of the units outside Mission premises for personal safety and essential communications purposes during natural and human caused disasters, and for regional travel where other means of telephone communication are unavailable.
  • Use of the units inside Mission premises, but external to the SXTT configuration, e.g., in the Consular or Trade Sections by LES.

5.5.19 Such policy should cover the setup and regular testing of the units, the number of individuals who should be readily familiar with its use, the state of readiness of battery packs for external use, necessary ancillary equipment (e.g., adaptors for using motor vehicle power), and other risk-based factors, such as the number of units that should be maintained by Missions.

5.5.20 It should be noted that regular testing was required previously for the old PSatCom units, and for the current Inmarsat units during the Y2K period, as mentioned above. Also, Mission Consular Emergency Contingency Plans list the presence of satellite telephones and their telephone numbers. JPE additionally ask if they have been tested recently, and if relevant individuals are familiar with their use.

5.5.21 In times of very high risk, Missions will purchase satellite cellular telephones on their own initiative. In such cases periodic testing and user training would be unnecessary if they are in regular use. The intent of the recommended policy is to establish levels of operational readiness Missions should maintain when the need for satellite communication is unpredictable.

Recommendation for SXD

5.5.22 Issue policy governing the operation and the state of readiness required to be maintained by Missions regarding the use of satellite telephones for emergency and essential communication purposes.

SXD Response

5.5.22 The policy and directive were revised and issued by SXTT on December 16, 2002. It is in the process of being updated by SXTV.

Diverse IT Issues - Lagos and Abuja

5.5.23 The air conditioner for the SIGNET servers in Lagos's DCC room does not restart automatically when there is a power interruption. This occurs most frequently when the mains power ceases and the generator starts up after several seconds delay. When this happens after hours on Friday, the air conditioner would not normally be restarted until the first working day after the weekend. Such an interval without air conditioning in the tropics is not advisable for the servers. Auto-restart capability is required for the air conditioner, either by retrofit or by replacing the unit.

5.5.24 The telephone system functionality in both offices is very poor and needs to be upgraded to the extent possible given the local telecommunications infrastructure. Both wireless and land line solutions need to be explored, in conjunction with advice received from the EL in Accra. Additional lines have been requested from the local telephone company, but without success. The lack of a reliable facsimile capability is particularly problematic for the IBD Program, where documents requiring facsimile transmission have to be scanned and sent as an e-mail picture attachment. A facsimile machine could be configured to work with a cellular phone. It has been suggested that a cellular base station be set up, so the Mission's telephone system would become wireless. Problems with the switchboard PABX programming need to be addressed during the next visit of the EL from Accra, as well as installing the auto-attendant feature.

5.5.25 In the Lagos office, the scanner should be moved to a location where it will be more accessible to frequent users. If necessary a second scanner could be purchased. A photocopier should be installed on the second floor.

5.5.26 A complete inventory of all IT hardware and software in both offices should be carried out, and Techserv should be updated accordingly.

5.5.27 After the LES RSA position has been staffed, the Mission should set up a web site serving the needs of both offices and all programs. The set up will be governed by departmental templates and guidelines, including complete firewall protection. The web site should relieve some of the pressure on the telephone system by means of FAQ and 'contact us' features, and posted notices.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.5.28 Install auto-restart capability for the air conditioner in the SIGNET server room.

5.5.29 Explore and adopt locally available advanced technology solutions to Mission telephone functionality problems.

5.5.30 Improve scanner availability and install a photocopier on the second floor in Lagos.

5.5.31 Conduct an IT inventory for Lagos and Abuja, and update Techserv accordingly.

5.5.32 Set up a Mission web site according to departmental guidelines and templates.

Mission Responses

5.5.28 To be completed by March 2004.

5.5.29 To be completed by March 2004.

5.5.30 Scanners and photocopier purchased. Scanner technical problems will be addressed during the next regional SA visit. To be completed by March 2004.

5.5.31 To be completed by March 2004.

5.5.32 To be completed by March 2004.

Appendix A - Mission Resource Fact Sheet - Lagos

Personnel (FTEs)

 CBSLESTotal
International Business Development123
Immigration134
Consular 11
Administration145
Total31013

Physical Resources

AssetsCrown LeasedCrown Owned
Chancery *01
SQs21
Vehicles02

* The Chancery compound includes recreational facilities, 1 SQ and 2 transit flats.

Financial Information 2001-2002 (Includes Lagos and Abuja)

Les Salaries (N012)$196,700
Operational (N001)2,044,300
CB Overtime (N011)22,000
Capital (N005)145,000
Total$2,408,000

Appendix B - Mission Resource Fact Sheet - Abuja

Personnel (FTEs)

 CBSLESTotal
HOM2 2
CIDA112
International Business Development---
General Relations10.51.5
Consular---
Administration 3.53.5
Total459

Physical Resources

AssetsCrown Leased Crown Owned
Chancery1 
OR1 
SQs3 
Vehicles 2

Office of the Inspector General

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Date Modified:
2008-11-26