President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the newly appointed ambassadors to fight hard, and protect Nigerians living abroad.
Buhari made this known on Tuesday during the Induction/Orientation Exercise For Ambassadors-Designate, Consuls-General, and Charge’ D’ Affaires Entitre held at the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) auditorium.
The President who joined the event virtually, urged the new ambassadors to go out and represent the nation with utmost dedication and pride.
He said: “You have all been nominated and appoint after a rigorous selection process, with due consideration to your personal and professional qualities. 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 every one of you in fulfillment of your duties.”
Buhari said the Federal Government has identified nine priority areas to guide its foreign policy- cutting across health, corruption, transportation, security, education among others, urging the ambassadors to be guided also by these.
“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.”
President Buhari made reference to 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.
“The world must resolutely commit itself to global concerted actions to fight and defeat this common enemy together. Nigeria’s diplomacy must make specific contributions to common global challenges on how this health pandemic should be contained and eventually defeated,” he said.
President Buhari said traditional challenges of terrorism, violent extremism, climate change, poverty population explosion, cybercrimes, the proliferation of arms, and many others, which have negatively impacted Nigeria and other parts of Africa, remain part of our nation’s critical challenges.
“Our levels of diplomacy must help address bilaterally as well as multilaterally these continuing challenges. I implore all of you to pay due attention to all of these in order to register successes for our country and citizens as Nigeria engages the world,” he said.
Furthermore, he urged them to leverage on their goodwill as the country’s principal representative abroad to help deliver prosperity to millions of Nigerians in the countries they find themselves.
“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,” he advised.
In his remarks, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, commended the President’s effort at fostering peace and a good bilateral relationship with the international community, which according to him cuts across security and trade.
He said the relationship has also seen Nigeria receiving money looted from the country, adding that Nigeria is on good terms with every country in the world, with no exception.
The minister said President Buhari has leveraged on the goodwill of his foreign policy to secure the re-election of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala among other Nigerians holding key positions in international organisations.
He noted that the newly appointed ambassadors are 94, eight Consul Generals, and five Charge D’ Affairs. 43 of them are career ambassadors while 53 others are political ambassadors.