The Nigeria House in London which houses the Nigerian Embassy owes £7.1m ((N3.3bn) in congestion charges and parking tickets. This was disclosed by the United Kingdom’s foreign office on Tuesday. A breakdown of the debts showed that £7, 063, 965 was for congestion fees while £47, 165 was for parking tickets. The high commission’s 2020 budget is N1.6B, a quarter of the debts accumulated.
London charges a daily congestion fee of £11.50 ((N5, 405) if one drives a car within the central zone at any time between 7am and 6pm on weekdays. The fee is to discourage use of private vehicles within work hours given the area’s superb transportation system. Incidentally, London is the favourite destination of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), where he has spent not less than 240 non-consecutive days in the last five years mostly on health grounds, private matters and investment summits.
In 2017, Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, said the aircraft which was at the service of the President cost £1,000 (N470,000) per day in airport charges.
The silver lining for the Nigerian High Commission however is that they are not the only debtors around. The UK Foreign Office said the United States Embassy in London was also owing £12m in unpaid congestion charges, which is the highest among the five countries listed. The Japanese Embassy comes second at £8.51m while Nigeria was listed as third.
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