The Federal Government has inaugurated a magnificent edifice in highbrow Asokoro, Abuja to house the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
The Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is one of the over 100 Nigerian Diplomatic Missions across the world.
The request for the establishment of the Mission was approved by President Goodluck Jonathan, in 2012, in compliance with the provisions of Article 8(1a&b) of the ECOWAS 2010 Supplementary Act which defined the Roles of the Permanent Representatives of Member States to ECOWAS and mandated all Member States to accredit a Permanent Representative to the Institution.
This Mission, which is similar in function to the United States Permanent Mission to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and the Ethiopian Permanent Mission to the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, amongst others, is unique as it is based in Abuja and enjoys diplomatic status.
Since its establishment, this strategic Mission has been headed by three substantive Ambassadors namely: Sunday Omoigiade, pioneer Permanent Representative; Babatunde Anyinla Nurudeen, immediate past Permanent Representative; and Musa Sani Nuhu, incumbent Permanent Representative.
The edifice was commissioned at the weekend by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who acknowledged the importance of having a befitting building to provide office space for the Nigerian team at the ECOWAS Commission.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada who further explained the importance of the edifice, insisted that Nigeria being a foremost country in West Africa should lead other countries from the front and with the new building the country has shown the importance it attached to ECOWAS.
He said that the office would afford the officials of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to ECOWAS space and convenience to work in a conducive atmosphere.
The Permanent Representative of Nigeria to ECOWAS, Ambassador Musa Sani Nuhu told journalists that given the importance that Nigeria attaches to developments in the West African Sub-region, the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to ECOWAS is considered one of Nigeria’s most strategic diplomatic Missions, as well as an important platform for advancing its foreign policy objectives.
He said: “Therefore, the Mission is considered critical for the articulation and advancement of Nigeria’s positions and engagements with other West African Member States on multilateral issues and Community Institutions, on matters of regional importance. In order words, the Mission serves as a think tank for the administration of Nigeria’s foreign policy in the sub-region.”
He disclosed that although the Permanent Mission was originally designed to be a smart Mission, made up of only the Ambassador and the Finance Attaché, efforts have been made, in the last three years, to reposition the Mission and make it function as a full-blown multilateral Mission, similar to the Nigerian Missions in Addis Ababa, New York, and Geneva.
He noted that with the unfolded strategic plans for the Mission, measures were adopted to enable it keenly monitor all ECOWAS activities through the introduction of a cluster system and Officers at the Mission were trained to be conversant with each thematic/sectoral issue in ECOWAS. The Mission has also began regular but diplomatically appropriate interface with relevant Nigerian MDAs, particularly those with the mandate on ECOWAS matters, for the cross fertilization of ideas in the formulation of national positions on ECOWAS issues.