February 6, 2018 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The Nigerian High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Dr. Habiss Ibrahim Ugbada, has called on all Nigerians in Sierra Leone to eschew violence in the period leading to the forthcoming presidential, parliamentary and Local Council elections, thus admonishing them to respect the laws of Sierra Leone while going about their legitimate businesses.
“It is important that I comment on the forthcoming presidential and general elections and to request everyone to respect the laws of the land and stay away from trouble while going about their legitimate business,” he admonished his compatriots.
Dr. Ugbada made the call last Saturday (3rd February) at the Chancery Building, Hill Cut Junction in Freetown, while addressing hundreds of Nigerians in Sierra Leone during an interactive gathering organised by the Nigeria High Commission.
According to him, he received very warm and cordial reception from Nigerian residents in Sierra Leone the very first day he arrived in the country, adding the reception at the airport was one that cannot be forgotten in a hurry and that he had since been eager to meet with his brother and sisters in this part of the world.
He told a large audience that after the presentation of his Letter of Credentials in September 2017, various groups and individuals have paid courtesy visits to him at his office and residence, but that it had been his desire to meet with all of them in a gathering and interact.
He said that since his assumption of duty last September, has spent great time repositioning the mission and by extension the image of Nigeria in the eyes and minds of the government and citizens of host country.
“I have come with clean hands and an open mind to work with you and further concretise the already existing cordial relation between Nigeria and Sierra Leone. It is our civic responsibility to build positively the image of our dear beloved country Nigeria,” he said.
The top Nigerian envoy in Freetown noted that for five months now he’s been tinkering as to how to move their country forward and reposition her to assert its position, not only in West Africa or Africa but in the League of Nations, adding that the High Commission was exploring new horizon of bilateral relations with the host country.
Dr. Ugbada furthered that the mission was currently working on resuscitating the joint commission agreement on trade and investment between both countries, and that if achieved, it would usher in a new dawn for business.
The experienced Nigerian diplomat added that he came in peace and craved the indulgence of his compatriots to join hands with him and his officers, who are very dedicated and ever willing to work with them all, in moving their country forward.
He said they have adopted an open door policy, thus calling on every Nigerian to come up with useful ideas on how to better their lots and improve the image of their country.
He said the mission was happy with the Federal Government Initiative for introducing Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) – a body which has been introduced in Sierra Leone – to help coordinate activities of compatriots in terms of welfare and other essentials under strict mission supervision for the purposes of accountability.
In his opening remarks earlier, Counsellor and Head of Chancery, Sona A. Charles, said it was a great pleasure to have Nigerians in Sierra Leone come together to interact with the High Commission.
Mr. Charles said the gathering was meant for the Nigerian High Commissioner to Sierra Leone to meet and interact with compatriots and to listen to their challenges, so that together they could find solutions to those challenges.
He said since the arrival of the High Commissioner last September, and his subsequent presentation of Letter of Credence to President Ernest Bai Koroma, the latter had been eager to meet with Nigerians in the country because he was impressed by the warm welcome they gave him on his arrival.
Heads of Nigerian organisations in Sierra Leone expressed that they have been working with the High Commission to ensure that the image of the commission and their country was well represented.
They advised that they should come together to discuss issues of importance that will, at the end of the day, benefit all Nigerians living and doing business in Sierra Leone.