FG challenges ambassadors-designate on safety of Nigerians abroad

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, on Thursday, challenged ambassadors-designate on safety of Nigerians abroad.

He gave the challenge in Abuja at the opening of a five-day induction course for 44 non-career ambassadors-designate.

The minister said the welfare of Nigerian citizens abroad was one of the thrusts of foreign policy of the country.

He added that “we have seen some of the things that happened to our citizens in countries like South Africa and of recent in India; So, we have to do a lot to ensure their safety.

“When they are in difficulties, it lies upon us to address those situations in those countries where we want to go and serve. So, citizen diplomacy will be our policy thrust.”

Onyeama also urged the ambassadors-designate to work toward attracting foreign investors and enhancing Foreign Direct Investment into the country.

He said “we want countries to invest in Nigeria; we want to diversify, so economic diplomacy is going to be our thrust also.

“We also need to make Africa the centrepiece of our policy trust because we are Africans.

“The world is a global village and our success will depend largely on how we are able to relate with other countries and leverage on your key positions to extract benefits for our country.”

The minister also urged the ambassadors-designate to sustain the rebranding efforts and image building of the country by President Muhammadu Buhari

He said government believed in sustained efforts to project the image of the country, adding that “we have to do a lot of work to rebrand.

“As ambassadors, you carry the mandate of Mr President, as his ears and eyes in the various countries which you will be serving. This is in addition to engaging fruitfully with foreign governments and envoys.

“Government has a number of priorities and you will be agents to achieving these
goals, including Foreign Direct Investment and promotion, as well as
propagating the image of the country in positive light.”

The induction course was to expose the ambassadors-designate to basic rudiments of diplomacy, taking into account their wealth of experience.

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