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‘Don’t allow people to kill your ideas’

- Nigeria High Commissioner to S/Leone

By: Murtala Mohamed Kamara 

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H.E. Asuquo making a statement

Nigeria High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, His Excellency Eyo Asuquo, has told Nigerian student graduands not to allow anyone to kill their ideas, noting that ideas are changing the world and young people are at the heart of these changes.

H.E Asuquo was speaking at the Nigeria High Commission at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua crescent last Saturday to Nigerian students in Sierra Leone that recently graduated. He said “ideas rule our world today” and urged the graduands to be innovative and create jobs for themselves and others. He said youth employment is a global problem and therefore called on them to be creative.

The envoy thanked the Nigerian Students Union in Sierra Leone for putting together the initiative. “All of you here are worthy ambassadors of Nigeria,” he said, adding: “You have followed the footsteps of Adjai Crowther who came to Sierra Leone to study but later became Principal of FBC.”

He said they are very proud of the graduands and assured them of government’s support. “It is the duty of the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to take care of their citizens everywhere,” he said.

Ambassador Asuquo stressed the importance of the Nigeria-Sierra Leone relationship. “Our relationship with this country is a very special one,” he said. “Our nationals fought and died here to bring peace to Sierra Leone.” He said Nigeria spent over US$5 billion in Sierra Leone to return the country back to peace, and recalled the contributions of other Nigerians who invested in Sierra Leone during the war.

The ambassador highlighted Nigeria’s support to the educational sector in Sierra Leone. He said the Federal Government of Nigeria has been very supportive to the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (COMAHS), noting that his government is also committed to the rehabilitation of Fourah Bay College. He stressed the importance of a joint commission between Sierra Leone and Nigeria as, according to him, it would fast-track much development between the two countries. He said the commission should be expected between the first-quarter of 2014.

Ambassador Asuquo also paid tribute to former South African President Nelson Mandela. He said: “Africa has lost a great son; we will never have a leader like Mandela again. I urge young people to emulate the former president.” A minute silence was observed for the fallen African hero.

Architect Abel Onomake also congratulated the graduands on their achievement, saying they have just completed the first part of their struggle and now entering the other part. He urged them to be innovative and start their own businesses, while reminding them that the private sector is challenging.

“To survive in the private sector is like surviving in the jungle. From now on you have to be far more creative. You have to think, use your head constantly. Opportunities are everywhere,” he said.

Madam Lola Aforo, Public Relations Officer of the University of Sierra Leone, also congratulated the graduands. She said the University of Sierra Leone also contributed greatly to their successes.

Head of Chancery, Oluyele Onafalujo, also gave words of advice to the graduands who later received certificates from Ambassador Asuquo.

The graduation reception ceremony was organized by the Nigerian Students’ Union in Sierra Leone at the Nigerian High Commission.