State House, Freetown, Wednesday 20 June 2018 – Sierra Leone chapter of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO), a worldwide body that looks after their nationals living abroad, today paid a courtesy visit on His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio at State House.
Its president, Ernest Udeh, congratulated President Bio on his assumption of the highest seat in the land and expressed hope that with the new dispensation, Nigerians in Sierra Leone would feel comfortable. He noted that the two countries have had a long-standing relationship that was built on mutual benefit.
“This is the first time we are meeting with the President of Sierra Leone and we feel at home. These two countries have cultures, languages, and traditions that are similar. Nigeria has supported the development process of Sierra Leone in diverse ways, especially in the education, health and financial sectors,” he said.
Mr. Udeh also noted that they were impressed, so far, with the actions and directives of President Bio and the vision encapsulated in his New Direction agenda. He said the Nigerian community in the country was loyal and committed to supporting the programmes of President Bio that they believed would positively transform the country.
“The New Direction is the foundation for sustainable development in Sierra Leone. We see ourselves as part of the agenda to move Sierra Leone further. Your Excellency, let me pledge our unflinching support to your administration and vow to provide the necessary support whenever needed because we believe that with your policies, Sierra Leone is on the pathway to progress,” he promised.
Udeh also presented a staff of honour to President Bio, a form of respect they said was extended as a sign of gratitude only to a hero who had conquered.
On his part, President Bio thanked the visiting Nigerians and expressed his appreciation to the government and people of Nigeria for their support to the country over the years. He said Nigeria had always stood by Sierra Leone in times of difficulties and acknowledged the plethora of investments in the country. He assured them that as President he would provide the conducive environment that would encourage more investments from Nigeria.
“There has always been a clear line of relationship between our two countries which we will play our part to maintain. The New Direction promises to deliver on the wishes and aspirations of our people. In doing so, we need the support of the private sector. As the President, I want to assure you of my support to creating the enabling environment for investments to thrive, while also ensuring that there is security in the country that will encourage a productive business climate,” he stated.
The President also thanked the delegation for the gift that came in the form of a staff, which he said was indicative of the fraternal relationship between the two countries.