October 16, 2019

Nigeria Celebrates 59thYear of Nationhood

H.E. Mr Oji N. Ngofa, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria , his mother in law and spouse Mrs Diepriye Oji Ngofa.

By Roy Lie Atjam.

The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria H.E. Mr Oji N. Ngofa and spouse Mrs Diepriye Oji Ngofa organized a reception marking the 59th Independence Anniversary of the Republic of Nigeria on Thursday, 3rd October 2019.

The official Independence Day is on 1st October 1960. Ambassador Ngofa thanked them for being there. Nigeria aspires to achieve an egalitarian society founded on social justice, equity and rule of law.

Ambassador  Ngofa expressed “I am sincerely honored by your presence at this occasion where we show loyalty and devotion to our country. I regard you all as true friends of Nigeria.”

 Lets take a look at some of the remarks made on this festive occasion. “Permit me to inform you that since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Nigeria and the Netherlands in 1966, the cordiality as accentuated by high level visits between us has grown in leaps and bounds. His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari was here last year while the Prime Minister, His Excellency Mark Rutte is scheduled to visit Nigeria in November. These high level visits are catalysts for business opportunities and networking.

Nigerian ladies, during the National Day celebrations.

In order to have structured bilateral relations, Nigeria and the Netherlands signed mutually beneficial instruments to guide their interactions. The active ones especially on investment protection, bilateral consultations, migration etc will be reinforced while dormant ones will be resuscitated. It is gratifying to note that the Netherlands has continued to be one of our major global trading partners. We do not take that for granted as we are poised to leverage on Dutch legendary expertise in food and agriculture, security and water management to expand frontiers of our business relations. 

Ambassador Ngofa further related, It may interest you to know that Nigeria is Africa’s leading consumer of rice, one of its largest producers and simultaneously one of the largest importers in the world. However, coupled with other plans and the Anchor Borrowers Programme of our Central Bank, the narrative is changing. According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), rice production in Nigeria has increased from annual average of 7.1 million metric tonnes between 2013 and 2017 to 8.9 million metric tonnes in 2018. The revolution in agricultural sector is geared towards attaining food self-sufficiency and entrenching export promotion and import substitution regimes.

Rights steps have been taken by the present administration to make Nigeria investment friendly and competitive. This includes setting up of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) which has seen the upscaling of the country in 24 places from 169thposition to 146thin World Bank’s global Ease of Doing Business index. Therefore, it is not a coincidence that Nigeria is ranked among top 20 improvers in Doing Business for the year 2020 by a World Bank Report that will be released on 24thof this month.

A cake for Nigeria’s anniversary.

Nigeria, like the rest of the world is confronted with global security challenges of terrorism, cybercrime, etc. Peculiar security challenges to Nigeria and its immediate neighbours are clashes between farmers and herders. Nigeria addresses the problem through international cooperation and setting up of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) aimed at combating trans-border crime and insurgency.

 Our gallant military officers have inflicted crushing defeat on Boko Haram and have considerably curtailed their activities in the North-East of the country. The administration, apart from other measures, is also adopting traditional mechanism with cooperation of traditional rulers to resolve disputes between cattle rearing communities and farmers.

The economy of a country also thrives if the canker of corruption which unjustly enriches a few and deprives many is reduced to its barest minimum. The anti-corruption crusade of government flagged off fiscal sector reforms to plug leakages. The whistleblowing policy, increased oversight of MDAs, Treasury Single Account System, creation of Asset Tracking and Management Project as well as bilateral agreements with friendly countries for repatriation of stolen funds have been levers of hope against accumulation of ill-gotten wealth.

I would like to use this opportunity to acknowledge and commend the government of the Netherlands for ongoing development cooperation projects across Nigeria. Equally remarkable is capacity building initiative of awarding Nuffic scholarships to Nigerian students, lecturers and professionals in relevant disciplines at various institutions of higher-learning. It is also apposite to commend the decision of the Dutch government for upgrading its Embassy Office in Lagos to a Consulate. 

In the comity of Nations, Nigeria reaffirms her commitments to the maintenance of international peace, rule of law, fair trade precepts of WTO, achieving carbon emission targets, reform of the UNSC and global partnerships in the fight against organized crimes, irregular migration and human trafficking.

Last but not the least, allow me to mention that, we have a robust Nigerian community of professionals, businessmen/women and students making enormous contributions individually and collectively to the socio-economic development of Nigeria and the host community. The Nigerian community has been a pillar of support to the Embassy complementing fulfilment of its mandate by also attracting investment to Nigeria through business fora it has created. The establishment of the Nigeria Diaspora Commission by the government is a recognition of your immeasurable contributions.”

A performance by children depicting Nigerian’s diversity, a vocalist and a Nigerian dinner-buffet concluded the festive evening attended by many ambassadors and diplomats, Dutch friends of Nigeria and the Nigerian community.

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