Sequel to presentation of his Letter of Credence to the President of Ghana, H.E Nana Akufo Addo on August 18, 2017, Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E Olufemi Michael Abikoye, immediately hit the ground running.
Determined to further cement the relationship between Nigeria and Ghana, the High Commissioner, has embarked on courtesy visits to key stakeholders that will be instrumental to the realisation of his agenda.
H.E Abikoye, within few days after taking his instrument of office, paid courtesy call on allies of Nigeria in the diplomatic community.
He also paid courtesy call on key government officials that will be instrumental to accomplishing his goal in the country such as, the Inspector General of Police, David Asante Apeatu, the DG, Ghana Immigration, Minister of Interior, Mr. Ambrose Dery, DG of Ghana Prisons, the Director State, Protocol and the Chief of Protocol among others.
Since assumption of office, Ambassador Abikoye, had visited five out of the 10 regions of Ghana. He held town hall meetings with Nigerians in Ashanti Region, Brong Ahafo, Central, Western and Greater Accra Regions.
These town hall meetings afforded the High Commissioner the opportunity of meeting Nigerians at the grassroot level, garnered information about various challenges confronting them and it also served as a platform of informing the communities of the development back in Nigeria.
Aside the Nigerian Communities in these regions, His Excellency also had interface with officials, as well as Nigerian students in various tertiary institutions in the regions, i.e Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST), Garden City University, Kumasi, Catholic University College of Ghana, Sunyani, Brong Ahafo Region Cape Coast University (Central Regions) and University of Ghana, Legon (Greater Accra Region).
With the officials of the Schools, the High Commissioner negotiated the downward review of fees, as this was a major challenge raised by the students; and management of the various institutions have assured of looking into this and giving positive feedback
It must also be noted that the visit of the High Commissioner to the Ministers, Mayors, Regional Police Commanders, the paramount traditional rulers in the various Regions paved the way for greater collaboration between Nigeria and Ghana.
It is good to note that the 7th Ghana- Nigeria Permanent Joint Commission was held between 18th and 20th October, 2017. This was a major landmark achievement of H.E. Abikoye as this had been pending for a long period, but his arrival made the meeting a reality.
The deliberations hope to cement and foster both at bilateral and multilateral the unique relationship that exist between Ghana and Nigeria. The other leg will be held soon in Nigeria.
It is worthy to note that the two countries are expected to sign nine (9) MOUs and seven (7) agreements, including, Economic, Finance, Trade and Investments, Diplomatic Consultations, Immigration Service, Food & Drugs control as well as Treaty on Prison Transfer, Youths and Sports, Education, Culture , Transportation and Air Service developments.
Another major achievement of H.E is the revival of the website of the Mission www.nigerianhcaccra.org. This website is aimed at bringing Nigerians in Ghana closer to the Mission.
As the success of the youths is so paramount in the High Commissioner’s agenda, in the last three months, he has taken turn to visit all Nigerian owned institutions in the Country to entreat them to absorbing Nigerian students and their Ghanaian counterparts during their holidays for internship, in order for them to be engaged productively during the period and further canvassed for permanent placement on graduation for them.
Ambassador Abikoye is also committed to issuance of Nigerian Passport/Visas within 48hrs; and immediate production of passports for Students and Nigerians from far away Regions.
With discussion with the DG, Ghana Immigration, the visitor’s visas for Nigerians is expected to be reviewed from 60 days to 90 days.
Also, in the last three months, the High Commissioner has visited all major companies with Nigerian interest in the country. The banks i.e GT, UBA, Zenith, First Atlantic, Access, Energy, the Insurance Companies- RegencyNem, Equity, WAPIC, others were, SIFAX Agency, Dangote Cement Ghana, Sahara Group etc, admonishing them all to be good ambassadors in their dealings and to continue diligently in flying the flag of the nation higher in their respective businesses.
The first 100 days of H.E Abikoye, as the High Commissioner to Ghana have been eventful and laced with landmark achievements. According to him, it can only get better in the months ahead.