You are here
Nigerian president for Emancipation visit
Nigerian president Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan and a 70-member delegation will be the Government’s specially invited guests for next week’s Emancipation celebrations. At yesterday’s post-cabinet media briefing, acting Foreign Affairs Minister Suruj Rambachan announced the visit of the Nigerian team—from July 31 to August 2. Jonathan, 55, will be accompanied on the visit by his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan. The delegation will arrive at Piarco Airport at 5 pm next Tuesday. Rambachan said Jonathan’s Emancipation visit—the Nigerian president’s first to T&T—comes as a result of talks Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar held with Jonathan during last year’s Commonwealth leaders’ conference in Australia.
Rambachan said T&T has increased ties with Nigeria on trade issues and had sent an energy delegation to Nigeria last year. On arrival on Tuesday, Jonathan will be given a welcome at Piarco by a military guard of honour and will be greeted by President George Maxwell Richards and Persad-Bissessar. On August 1, Jonathan and his delegation will participate in the Emancipation Camboulay celebration parade. That day also, Jonathan will pay courtesy calls on President Richards and the Prime Minister. During the visit with the PM, they will hold bilateral trade discussions on energy and other matters, including possible air links between Nigeria and T&T, in which Nigeria has expressed interest. At 4 pm on August 1, the Nigerian team will visit the Emancipation Village at the Queen’s Park Savanah, Port-of-Spain, and will attend a state banquet hosted by the Prime Minister at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s. On August 2, the Nigerian visitors will head to the Pt Lisas Industrial Estate.
Rambachan said 57 Nigerian students are expected to graduate from training programmes at Pt Lisas Skills Training centres and some 80 more will be undergoing courses there also. Dame Patience will visit children’s homes on August 2. The team will also attend an Emancipation luncheon at the Diplomatic Centre before leaving T&T at 3.30 pm. Speaking at the Diplomatic Centre yesterday, Rambachan said the Government is committed to foot the bill for the visit, since the Nigerian contingent was invited by the State. Costs are still being worked out, he added. Jonathan, Nigeria’s 14th head of state, has been president of Nigeria since May 2010 when he succeeded former head of state Umaru Yar’Adua who died of heart failure. Jonathan was elected to the post of president when elections were held a year later. A member of Nigeria’s ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Jonathan, a Christian, is a zoologist by profession. He entered politics in 1998 and has a background in several environmental sectors. His tenure has not been without issues. Jonathan’s administration has faced challenges including widespread vociferous protests in Nigeria, following removal of that country’s fuel subsidies in January. Nigeria has also faced security problems after several bomb blasts there in 2011. Rambachan said T&T has a Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria, involved in healthcare, trade and energy issues and has been deepening ties with African states through the intervention of T&T’s high commissioners in Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar is expected to visit South Africa later this year.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.