The Nigerian High Commissioner to Sierra Leone Habiss Ibrahim Ugbada has presented 8 (6 male and 2 female) Technical Aid Corps (TAC) volunteers to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS), at a Cocktail dinner at Golden Tulip Essential Kimbima Hotel. The TAC volunteers are expected to be in the country for 2 years assisting the Ministry of Health and other health officials in their deployment areas across the country as part of already signed bilateral agreements between the two countries, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, some 20 years ago, by late President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah. Since the agreement was signed more than 300 medical volunteers have been deployed across the country over varying periods. Chairman for the program Dennis Marke expressed gratitude to the government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and in particular to the High Commissioner in Sierra Leone for their big brother role. Given an overview of the TAC program between the two countries Suliaman Foday Musa highlighted that it all started in 1999 after the War when former President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah through a bilateral agreement requested for supports of health personnel in the health sector of the country. The Nigerian High Commissioner revealed that the recent 8 volunteers are a set of the second batch of TAC volunteers that have arrived in Sierra Leone this year, after the coming of an initial 18 immediately after his appointment to the country.
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His Excellency Ugbada said there would have been 14 volunteers for that visits but due to some minor human and natural errors only 8 made it for the trip as the remaining 6 are due soon. He promised that he will ensure the requested 80 TAC by the government is delivered by 2020. He reminded the volunteers that they are ambassadors of Nigeria and they are to behave as one stating that they should not look at their posting environment or be thinking of huge expectations. In his keynote address the Senior Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Abdul Rahman Fofanah, said if only Africans can think positively towards sharing the resources in the continent together there is no need to go begging for foreign aid. Fofanah said the continent has begun to galvanize especially with bilateral agreements like that between Nigeria and Sierra Leone and between other countries, there is no need to depend on foreign aid. Fofanah appreciated the Nigerian High Commissioner for his support to the country. He assured the coordinator of the TAC volunteer program of ensuring the full deployment of the volunteers as well as ensuring they have good working relationship. The team lead for the 8 TAC volunteers Adejayan Olaoluwa thanked the Nigerian government through the embassy for making it possible for their trip stating that they are committed to ensure to work with the authorities and local in their respective deployment areas. He assured the High Commissioner that, “We are going to be an ambassador and worthy TAC members.”
By Mohamed Kabba
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