Sierra Leone has expressed gratitude to Nigeria and some other West African countries as it marked its 60th anniversary of Independence.
Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo represented Nigeria at Sierra Leone’s 6oth Independence celebration held on April 27 in Freetown.
Speaking before several other West African leaders including Osinbajo, the President of Sierra Leone, Julius Bio, mentioned how Nigeria and other countries in the subregion have been helpful in the course of the peace and development of his country.
Historically, both Nigeria and Sierra Leone have shared cordial relations at least right from colonial times.
The relationship has continued and evidenced in the socio-economic, technical, and security cooperation over the years, including the deployment of Nigerian troops in Sierra Leone to uphold the peace and preserve democracy.
In a show of appreciation and gratitude, President Bio honoured Nigeria and the other countries that stood with Sierra Leone, a nation that survived an 11-year civil conflict from 1991 to 2002.
Bio, at the celebrations in Freetown, decorated a number of West African leaders through their leaders that attended the celebration.
Besides the Nigerian Vice President, others decorated with Sierra Leone’s insignia of honour and dressy tokens were the Presidents of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, Guinea, Alpha Conde; Liberia, George Weah and Gambia, Adama Barrow.
Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam of Guinea Bissau and a Special Envoy of the President of Ivory Coast were also in attendance at the event.
Speaking with newsmen in Freetown afterwards, Osinbajo said it was a worthwhile celebration.
“Especially considering all of what Sierra Leone has been through in the 11 years of civil war and they have emerged from that terrible experience, much stronger, a united country and developing every day economically and socially.
“It is a very happy event and we are all extremely proud of what the Sierra Leoneans have been able to do.
“We were very warmly hosted by President Bio and all the members of his cabinet and the good people of Sierra Leone.
“It has been a very exciting, warm, and joyful event,” he said.
On arrival yesterday morning at the Lungi Airport in Freetown, Osinbajo was received by his Sierra Leonean counterpart, Vice President Mohamed Jalloh.
Osinbajo returned to Abuja late on Tuesday.