Nige­ria scales up as­sis­tance to ACP coun­tries

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - POLITICS & POLICY - From Niyi Bello, Abuja Bureau Chief

IN a bid to sus­tain SouthSouth co­op­er­a­tion as an im­por­tant pil­lar of Nige­ria’s for­eign pol­icy, the Direc­torate of Tech­ni­cal Aid Corps (DTAC) of the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs has ex­panded its op­er­a­tions to in­clude part­ner­ing other de­vel­op­ing coun­tries to tackle their spe­cific chal­lenges.

The new ini­tia­tive which is an ad­di­tion to the Direc­torate’s core ob­jec­tive of pro­vid­ing up­per and mid­dle level man­power needs for African Caribbean and Pa­cific (ACP) coun­tries through de­ploy­ment of

Nige­rian pro­fes­sional vol­un­teers to these na­tions, in­cludes part­ner­ing De­vel­op­ment Agen­cies to pro­vide suc­cour to some of the de­vel­op­men­tal bur­dens of the ben­e­fit­ing coun­tries.

Al­ready, the Direc­torate is at the verge of sign­ing a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MOU) with the Is­lamic De­vel­op­ment Bank on the treat­ment of Ob­stet­rics Fis­tula in two West African coun­tries of Gam­bia and Sierra Leone in part­ner­ship with the Nige­rian Fed­eral Min­istry of Health.

The Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of DTAC, Dr. Pius Olakunle Osun­yikanmi, who dis­closed this at the week­end dur­ing a brief cer­e­mony to mark the be­gin­ning of his five-year se­cond ten­ure as the head of the Direc­torate, said the new ini­tia­tive would in­vari­ably serve as a pro­tec­tive shield for Nige­ri­ans at the long run. He cited the out­break of Ebola epi­demic in other African coun­tries and how Nige­ri­ans were ex­posed to the scourge.

Osun­yikanmi dis­closed that the new ini­tia­tive, which he said, was tak­ing the coun­try’s for­eign pol­icy to the next level, also in­clude as­sist­ing needy coun­tries to ac­quire ex­per­tise in the ar­eas where Nige­ria has ex­celled, in­clud­ing artis­tic de­signs and film pro­duc­tion.

While re­mark­ing that Nige­ria’s pres­ence is be­ing felt in over ten coun­tries with many oth­ers sig­ni­fy­ing in­ter­ests, the DTAC chief ex­ec­u­tive said: “In the Caribbean our part- ner­ship with Ja­maica is work­ing par­tic­u­larly in the area of skill trans­fer in Batik mak­ing and wood carv­ing.

“We are in the process of col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Na­tional Film and Video Cen­sor Board to Sign an MOU where we would be send­ing upon the re­quest of Ja­maica for the best amongst over Nol­ly­wood Ac­tors and Ac­tresses to go and train Ja­maican Ac­tors and ac­tresses in their quest to cre­ate their own ver­sion of Hol­ly­woodJam­wood as you might want to call it. Our en­gage­ment with Belize is as strong as ever.”

Osun­yikanmi lauded Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari for pro­vid­ing sup­port for the Direc­torate to ex­cel de­spite the economic down­turn Nige­ria is fac­ing, stress­ing: “This ad­min­is­tra­tion, more than the ones be­fore it has been truly com­mit­ted to deep­en­ing the goals of the Direc­torate through im­proved fund­ing, and ex­pand­ing Nige­ria’s sphere of in­flu­ence in the ACP coun­tries. See the re­main­ing part of this ar­ti­cle on www­guardian.ng for fur­ther read­ing

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