Abuja -The Liberian Embassy in Abuja last week Wednesday celebrated the country’s 169th Independence Day and National Flag Day jointly.
A dispatch from the Liberian Embassy in the Nigerian Federal Capital says the joint elaborate event was held on August 24th at a continental hotel in Central Abuja.
The dispatch adds that the colorful event was attended by the officials of the Nigerian Government, the Diplomatic Corps, heads of international and multilateral organizations including ECOWAS institutions, members of the Liberian Community, other distinguished guests and members of the Nigerian media.
Ambassador Al-Hassan Conteh, Liberia’s Ambassador to Nigeria and Permanent Representative to ECOWAS in his Independence and Flag Day remarks stated that despite the many adversities Liberia has faced, the country has been resilient under a dedicated leadership, vibrant community response, and support from the international community.
Ambassador Conteh stated that the dynamic leadership of Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf since 2005 has led to more than US$4 billion in debt relief, and the lifting of UN trade sanctions that gave Liberia access to the international market.
“Her administration solidified relations with regional partners and the international community, attracting significant foreign direct investment in mining, agriculture, forestry, and off-shore oil exploration”, he added.
The Liberian Ambassador noted that since the WHO declared Liberia free of Ebola on May 9, 2015 and twice subsequently, Liberia has embarked on a post-Ebola development strategy within the context of the country’s development strategy known as the Agenda for Transformation (AfT).
He said, “The priorities of the AfT include rebuilding the health system, infrastructure development, and consolidating the progress towards the transformation of Liberia, in order to reverse the negative trend in falling economic growth. This will renew Liberia’s momentum of sustainable development that would enable the country to attain middle income status by 2030.
Liberia is now open for business and investment. “
On Liberia-Nigeria relation, Ambassador Conteh said it remains excellent: “Following her visit to the historic inauguration of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2015, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf paid a State Visit to Nigeria in February 2016, during which the bilateral relations between the two fraternal states were further discussed within the context of the Nigeria-Liberia Joint Commission, which was inaugurated on July 14-15 2015. T
he Joint Commission focuses on bilateral trade and cultural cooperation, collaboration in geology, mining, mineral processing and metallurgy, educational cooperation, and the training of Liberia Foreign Service Officers.”
He emphasized that the Government of Liberia has opened the market of the country to Nigerian businesses, including banking, insurance, spare parts and aviation. Many Nigerians continue to reside peacefully in Liberia and vice versa.
The Liberian Envoy also informed his audience of the recent visit to Nigeria of Vice President Joseph N. Boakai during which he discussed issues of bilateral cooperation with his Nigerian counterpart, His Excellency Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
Ambassador Conteh used the occasion to also inform the Liberian Community that the Embassy looks forward to working with them to better the lives of Liberians living in Nigeria: “Concrete plans are now underway to establish a Passport Application Center at the Abuja Mission.
This will facilitate the application and renewal of passports for all Liberian citizens in Nigeria. I encourage all Liberian community leaders to register their members with the Embassy, and acquire their Consular IDs.”
At the same time, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Geoffrey Onyeama, remarked that Nigeria continues to enjoy great diplomatic relations with Liberia.”
Speaking through his representative Mr. Haliru S. Shuaibu at the joint occasion marking Liberia’s 169th Independence and National Flag Days in Abuja, the Nigerian Foreign Minister said,
“The celebration of national day is like giving accountability of the journey so by the government to the people.
The most important thing is that Liberia has stabilized now and there is peace. There could not have been development and economic growth without peace and like I said, Liberia has stabilized. We also enjoy and continue to enjoy great diplomatic relations with Liberia.”
Also representing Mr. Marcel Alain de Souza, President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Kalilou Traore who is the Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion revealed that ECOWAS recognizes Liberia as one of the most supportive countries for the integration process in the sub region.
“As you very well know that the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government is now chaired by Liberia, this is an opportunity as ECOWAS citizens for us to better known Liberia and to better discover Liberia”, Commissioner Traore stated.