President Muhammadu Buhari has conferred the title of Ambassador-in Situ on 115 foreign officers for their contributions to the nation’s development and economy.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, presented the letters of conferment on behalf of the President.
Those who were presented with the award on Friday are serving Officers who have attained the rank of Deputy Director.
Onyeama said that Buhari was recognising and honouring the Foreign Service Officers for their sacrifices, hard work and role in attracting foreign investments to grow the nation’s economy.
He said with their efforts in galvanising Nigeria’s foreign policy and diplomacy, Nigeria has excellent relations and at peace with every country of the world.
He said: “It is a recognition of work done and achieved.
“Some of those who were honoured today are serving foreign officers, others are retired.
“So Mr President has decided to recognise all those who have attained a certain level in service, notwithstanding the fact that they are retired and also confer on them the title of Ambassador-in-situ.
“The sacrifice that required of you to serve in different countries around the world very often for a relatively short period of time.
“And then you come back for three years and then go out again.
“Also, very much appreciate economic sector investments that you have helped to bring into the country.
“The role you play in consular services, looking after the interest of individual Nigerian around the world.
“And I always tell people, one aspect of our foreign policy and diplomacy that a lot of people take for granted and do not appreciate sufficiently is the fact that we have excellent relations with every single country on earth.”
The newly appointed Ambassadors appreciated President Buhari for the recognition, which they said will spur them to do more in projecting the good image of Nigeria.
Kabiru Musa, current Charge D’affaires, Nigerian Embassy in Libya, said to deepen collaborations with host countries and facilitate engagements with Nigeria, especially in security and economic development, was a must for them.
Musa, who also gave the vote of thanks on behalf of other recipients, assured that they will give their all to deliver on the foreign policy thrust of the government, and the core mandates of the Ministry.
He said: “I am extremely happy because this is what we all aspire to be.
“Because it is a mandate that we have, we will project the image of Nigeria, protect its image.
“With the policy of the government to diversify our economy, we will look for investment.
“We have a lot of youth that are unemployed so this is a good opportunity for us to work harder, and make sure that we get the necessary investors that will be interested in coming into Nigeria.
“We will also seek partnership and cooperation of outside world those that have experience and expertise, especially in the fight against insecurity that we are facing in the country.
“We have a citizen diplomacy, which means taking care of our brothers and sisters outside, so we are there for them.”
Ambassador Ibiyemi Ajiboye-Roberts pledged to use her position to ensure Nigerians get better treatment in the diaspora.
Ajiboye-Roberts said: “Oh, I need to work harder.
“I need to put Nigeria on the world map in positive ways.
“I also need to you know, make our citizens outside there feel more comfortable relating with us in the embassies abroad.
“We have to put in new policies to help strengthen the nation’s policies, especially in terms of foreign affairs.”
Ambassador Saidu Dahiru-Mohammed said the Nigerian state has done a lot globally, especially with a foreign policy centred on Africa, pledging commitments to making Nigeria’s foreign policy to be at par with those of developed countries.
Dahiru-Mohammed said: “This government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is already doing a lot and what we will do is to ask for more because the Nigerian foreign policy has always been centred on our African brothers.
“We are not doing badly.
“Nigeria is already doing well.
“There is a need for us to strengthen more on this relationship if possible.
“The most important aspect that I want is to see a foreign service that is at par with any country of the world be it America or Europe or China.
“I want us to be at par with these countries.”