By Deji Elumoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the country’s new envoys to project Nigeria as a great country and an attractive investment destination in their various places of assignment.
The president, who gave the charge Tuesday, while virtually declaring open an induction programme for Ambassadors-designate, reminded the diplomats ready to be posted to serve as the country’s representatives abroad, to be exemplary in their conducts.
He said: “The primary responsibilities of Nigeria in the countries you are posted rests on you. I urge you to go out and serve with uttermost dedication and pride. You must not forget that you have been posted to respective bilateral and multilateral missions, to represent and project Nigeria as a great and indivisible nation and a very attractive investment destination.
“As Ambassadors of our country, your comportment, courage, conduct and ability to multi task must be exemplary. Humility and firmness are attributes that can earn you and your country respect and recognition. These attributes must remain with everyone of you in fulfilment of your duties.”
Buhari reminded the new envoys of his administration’s nine priority areas of building a thriving and sustainable economy, poverty reduction, food security and fight against corruption among others, which will help attain sustainable development as well as guide its foreign policy objective.
He further charged them to be guided by the priority goals as they represent Nigeria in foreign lands, adding that government expects them to also protect the interest of Nigerians residing in those countries.
“I therefore urge all of you to be guided by these identified priority goals as well as your various station chatters which highlight specific mandates and guidelines on government’s expectations. We expect you to fight hard for Nigeria and Nigerians abroad.
“You must strive to promote trade, human capacity development, foreign direct investments and other areas of cooperation with countries at national and multilateral levels, to support our national growth and development,” he said.
President Buhari reiterated how COVID-19 has ravaged the world and the need to thread carefully and embrace the new norm.
“You all are aware that for some time now, national and global resources have continued to shrink, a situation compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. One event, one virus, has changed the world order. Our world will never be the same again. But we will continue to innovate and cope with the new norm in order to contain the catastrophic consequences of this pandemic,” he said.
According to him, the world must resolutely commit itself to global concerted actions to fight and defeat COVID-19 which is the common enemy together, adding that Nigeria’s diplomacy must make specific contributions to common global challenges on how this health pandemic should be contained and eventually defeated.
The president stressed that Nigeria is still facing the challenges of terrorism, violent extremism, climate change, poverty, population explosion, cybercrime, proliferation of arms and many others, which have negatively impacted the country and other parts of Africa.
He, therefore, emphasised that the nation’s level of diplomacy must help address bilaterally as well as multilaterally these continuing challenges.
Buhari also urged the new ambassadors to leverage on their goodwill as the country’s principal representative abroad to help deliver prosperity to millions of Diaspora Nigerians in the countries they find themselves.
He said: “You are required to attend to all Nigerian citizens who come to our missions with utmost dignity, respect and promptness; providing necessary assistance with courtesy, commitment and efficiency.”
The president had in January, 2021approved and directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to post the 95 new Ambassadors to serve in the country’s missions abroad and are expected to resume their tour of duty at the end of their induction exercise.