Oct 2, 2009, 5:06 AM
At a diplomatic reception held at the Sheraton Hotel and Resort and Spa on the occasion of the 49th Independence anniversary celebration of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Her Excellency Mrs. Esther John Audu, Nigeria's High Commissioner to The Gambia thanked everyone in honour of their country's National Day. She extended greetings from President Yar'adua.
"Nigeria is proud to be a close ally and development partner of The Gambia in global affairs, manpower development and technical assistance in the legal/judicial and health sectors as well as the agricultural sector in support of President Yahya Jammeh's "Back to the Land" programme for food self sufficiency", she emphasised.
She also seized the opportunity to advised her fellow citizens to be law abiding and engage in legitimate activities and to be good ambassadors of Nigeria in the diaspora so that they can able to stay comfortably in The Gambia.
In his speech on behalf of the Gambia government the Hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ousman E. Jammeh expressed his sincere felicitations and best wishes to His Excellency President Umaru Musa Yar'adua and Nigerian government, the entire Nigerian community in The Gambia for their 49th independence anniversary.
"The commemoration of Independence day therefore affords Nigeria and Nigerians the opportunity to celebrate the various political and economic achievements over a period of forty-nine years and also enables them to take a crucial look at the challenges their beloved country faces in an increasingly globalizing world.
"Gambians and Nigerians consider themselves brothers and sisters. Therefore today's ceremony do not only offers us the opportunity to meet as brothers and sisters, but it also affords Gambians the opportunity to express sincere thanks and appreciation to the government and people of Nigeria for the assistance rendered over the years in various vital sectors", he further elaborated.
Nigeria and The Gambia emphasized more on strengthen the long-term cordial bilateral and fraternal ties they shared together, says the two diplomats.
Both countries welcome the visit of Nigeria's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bagudu Hirse just last August to signed the new TAC Country Agreement. The Technical Aid Volunteers are to be deployed to the Gambia before the end of 2009 in the sectors of doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, teachers, farm engineers, crop and animal scientists whose entitlements and allowances will be borne by the Nigerian Government while in The Gambia. On the other hand, the Gambian Government will be providing accommodation and other logistics for them.
The two countries acknowledge the increment of Nigerian private businesses and investment through the banking, insurance, airlines sectors, which created job opportunities for many young Gambians which have long term effect of wealth creating and capacity building.
Also part of the celebrations, Africell full of surprises came up once again with a surprise raffle package of two return tickets to Nigeria by their Marketing Manager Mr. Papa Leigh. Everyone at the reception was invited to participate by writing their names and Africell telephone numbers on a piece of paper and was put in a box for a draw. The two lucky winners of the draw were two elegant ladies, Ramzia Diab and Madame Briget.
Present at the reception was the Chief Justice Agim, ambassadors, ministers, members of the judiciary, cross section of dignitaries and the Nigeria community with their families, friends and well wishers.
Niansarang Jobe also contributed to this story.