The Nigeria High Commissioner to Sierra Leone Godson O. Echegile, Friday May 1, told visiting senior officers on course at the Nigerian Staff and Command College Jaji, that his country is considering a multi-sectoral aid package worth $300m to support Sierra Leone’s deployment objectives this year.
The envoy further disclosed that the resolution of certain issues between the two countries will help to hasten the package even though approval has already been granted for the development of 133 members of the Nigerian Technical Aid Corp, (TAC) comprising mainly of medical doctors, nurses and lecturers among others.
The High Commissioner also said the aid corps whose involvement will cost Nigeria about six million dollars will receive no financial assistance from the Sierra Leone Government besides the provision of accommodation facilities.
The military officers from several countries including Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Lesotho among others were on study tour of Sierra Leone when Chief Echegile hosted them to an interactive lunch at his Hill Station residence.
The team leader of the group Brig. Gen. Adeyemi had earlier introduced the officers to the envoy while briefing him on the activities and syllabus of the college which the officer noted extend beyond the military discipline.
Responding, Chief Echegile narrated the historical and excellent relationship between Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The envoy also dilated on the anti Nigerian sentiments in Sierra Leone raised by a member of the visiting team.
On the anti-Nigerian sentiment, he said the activities of a few Nigerian residents had been fuelling such sentiments, adding that his consultation and rapport with the Nigerian community has helped to reduce the criminal engagement of the few members of the community and consequently the resultant sentiments.
On the economic front, he disclosed that the Nigerian investment in the financial sector of Sierra Leone now stands at the enviable height of sixty percent. He enumerated other opportunities in the agriculture, fishing and manufacturing sectors among others.
The Nigerian High Commissioner who took time to explain the intended Nigerian government aid to Sierra Leone totaling $300m in the current year revealed that Nigeria’s decision to help Sierra Leone has always been informed by social reasons than economic.
He went further to add that Nigeria’s deplorable infrastructure is as a consequence of the huge amount of money the country committed to the peace campaigns of Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The visiting officers and other attendants of the ceremony were in high spirits as they enjoyed the palatable meal supplied by the Infinity Home Food Restaurant.