Jun 23, 2008, 7:06 AM
Flankedby Gambia’s vice president Isatou Njie Saidy and High Commissioner Esther Audu, the visibly impressed Nigerian leader described the magnificent edifice as a facility not just for the use of Nigerians, but Gambians and the world at large, to a tumultuous cheering from the crowd which included Cabinet ministers from both countries and diplomats.
Earlier High Commissioner Esther Audu gave the history of the new embassy building project, thanking President Yahya Jammeh who allocated the plot of land for the start of construction in 2008.
She conveyed gratitude to the Federal Government of Nigeria for the funding of the project and promised that details of the next phase of the project, the finishing would be communicated to the President and the federal government.
Esther spiced up the mood among the crowd by mentioning the victory at the Under 17 World Cup by the Golden Eaglets.
There was immense delight among the Nigerian community over the new diplomatic complex. Michael who came from the regions, described the building as a home from home.
‘‘This is a good facility, well located and big enough to be in line with a giant African nation’’.
Emmanuel, a teacher, said the new High Commission building is a remarkable development and by far a better place than the former ‘conerside’ in Bakau.
“This one is a giant structure in the most visible part of the country and I was fortunate to tour the inside with the President, and we all feel at home here. I want to thank the Gambian people and our able Madame High commissioner for this initiative’’.
A large group of people including traditional music groups and multitudes of Nigerian and Gambian school children lined the road leading to the diplomatic compound to cheer the Nigerian leader.
President Jonathan meets Nigerian Community in The Gambia
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturdaytold his compatriots living The Gambia thathe felt delighted to be in their midst, and thanked them for welcoming him with so much love and colour.
Addressing the Nigerian community in The Gambia at the new embassy complex, Jonathan also dealt with the issues raised by the community ranging from the insecurity at home, his “transformation agenda”, to harassment faced by Nigerians traveling through most West African states.
These issues were raised by Hyacinth Ekulide, the president of the Nigerian Community in The Gambia, in an inspiring speech during a short, but frank meeting with the President.
Ekulide in presenting members ofhis audience,said they are opportune to have President Jonathan in their midst.
He announced that Nigerians are generally living peacefully in The Gambia where the well known adage “Gambia No Problem” symbolized the friendly nature of its citizens.
He then went on to highlight the general problems faced by Nigerians abroad, as well as the troubling unrest in the home country.
President Jonathan then took time to reply. On the menace of Boko Haram, the president reported that continuous efforts are ongoing to free the nation of these home terrorists and, in fact, some of the south has been cleared of the terrorists now and God willing the problem would be solved.
He also dwelt on the economy andreiterated his governments’ commitment to“Transformation Agenda”, cornerstoned on education that seeks to get jobs and self reliance skills for Nigerians to live dignified lives whether at home or abroad.
The President replied to a request for a national carrier by saying that government projects in area of national carrier never work.
“Rather it is the private ones that work, so we do not want to go into something that does not work. All the same, we shall consider this with importance, but I cannot promise it soon. Whenever I do, the aircraft would almost already be available,’’ he told the audience.