By Oswald Hanciles in Abuja, Nigeria.
President Ernest Bai Koroma has arrived in Abuja, the Federal Republic of Nigeria yesterday to attend the 40th ECOWAS Summit. He was greeted at the Nnamdi Azikwie International Airport by Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and Investment – a symbolic gesture as to how the Nigerians perceive President Koroma, and the primary purpose of his non-ECOWAS visit to Nigeria.
At the Abuja residence of Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Henry Macaulay, President Koroma briefed Nigerian, and international journalists, about his country’s Agenda for Change – which included briefs on the Smallholder Commercialization Programme which is dramatically transforming agriculture in Sierra Leone, and presents opportunities for large scale investors in agriculture; the innovative Free Health Care programme in the country; the Transformation Programme of his government, which include incentives for investors, several of whom have taken advantage of investment opportunities in the country and have already invested billions of dollars in Sierra Leone.
President Koroma affirmed his firm commitment to the ideals of ECOWAS, which includes the free movement of people and goods across West Africa’s borders; and stressed the readiness of his government to implement the economic incentives in ECOWAS protocols.
He used the opportunity to express his gratitude to Nigeria for sending its armed men to fight in Sierra Leone’s civil war for almost a decade, and pointed out that this gesture is being reciprocated with the open hands that his country today receives Nigerian investors, small business people, and Nigerian citizens generally. The mutual respect and symbiotic relationship between Nigeria and Sierra Leone should be further strengthened, the President said.