Buhari Mourns Chief Trade Negotiator

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Francis Ndubuisi in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with the family of Nigeria’s Chief Trade Negotiator and Director General of the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe.

The President’s condolence message was communicated through a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja.

Osakwe passed on in a Swiss hospital after a brief illness.

A separate statement issued yesterday by the Head, Strategy and Communications, NOTN, Emenike Chibuzor said Osakwe passed on in the early hours of Sunday, September 22 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was receiving treatment.

The late Osakwe was appointed as the pioneer DG of NOTN on June 6, 2017.

The President noted that the passing of Osakwe had created a gulf in the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations, which he served as pioneer Director General.

He said the deceased had brought and exhibited invaluable experience, knowledge and skill in setting up and motivating the operations of the agency that was established in 2017.

Buhari commiserated with all friends, relations and professional associates of the deceased.

He acknowledged that Osakwe served the country for many years as Foreign Service Officer, before joining the Word Trade Organisation, and later accepting to return to the country as a Trade Adviser to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and Director General of NOTN.

The President affirmed that the intellectual depth, fervour and sense of patriotism that Osakwe handled responsibilities would be sorely missed, ”especially the frontline and historical role of chairing the Negotiating Forum of the African Union (AU) from June 2017 to March 2018.

He said it was during this period that the negotiations were concluded on the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

President prayed that the almighty God would receive the soul of the cerebral diplomat, scholar and administrator, and comfort his family.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) confirmed the death on Sunday in a tweet.