The Point (Banjul)

14 February 2013

Gambia: Nigeria Reaches Out to Gambia

The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Tuesday 12th February 2013 made a handsome donation of relief materials to the Government of The Gambia.

The materials, which included rice, maize, millet, sugar, flour, among others, were handed over to The Gambia government, through the Vice-President, Aja Dr. Isatou Niie Saidy, at a ceremony held in Jeshwang.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony, on behalf of the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Muhammed Sani Sidi, the Nigerian High Commissioner to The Gambia, Mrs. Esther John Audu (ORG) expressed delight at the gesture, which he said, has been approved by President Goodluck Jonathan of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

She explained that the relief materials were delivered by NEMA, the service delivery agency of Nigeria, from The government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to the government of The Gambia.

"The occasion once more proves the sustenance of the laudable cooperation between our two sister nations linked with a common geographical, cultural definition and historic experiences," she stated.

High Commissioner Audu recalled that in March, 2011, a high-powered delegation, led by the Permanent Secretary at the office of the Vice-President visited NEMA, accompanied by the Gambian High Commissioner to Nigeria.

"During that visit, officials of NEMA and the NDMA agreed in principle to work together, share experiences and assist each other to improve their capacity and expertise in emergency preparedness, response, mitigation and humanitarian service delivery," she noted.

That meeting, she added, culminated in a study tour in April, 2012, by NEMA to The Gambia during which both officials of the agencies noted the capacities and challenges faced by the NDMA.

"They also appreciated their efforts at taking disaster risk reduction and promised to provide the necessary technical support to the agency and its stakeholders," she stated, adding that the presentation of the relief materials is a fulfilment of that commitment on mutual support and cooperation between the Agencies.

The Nigerian High Commissioner to The Gambia further dilated on the final MoU on the exchange of personnel between NEMA and NDMA.

The Nigerian diplomat used the opportunity to reiterate the full commitment of NEMA towards supporting NDMA on capacity-building emergency preparedness, response and mitigation in line with existing bilateral cooperation protocols between Banjul and Abuja and the terms of reference of the MoU.

She also commended President Jammeh for the wonderful hospitality extended to them during their stay in The Gambia and commended the management and staff of NDMA for their zeal and commitment towards sustaining the friendship and mutual support with NEMA, Nigeria.

In receiving the materials, Vice-President Njie-Saidy, who commended the government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the gesture, said it symbolises the laudable relationship between The Gambia and Nigeria.

"If you look at the judiciary, teaching field, health sector and all other areas, you realise that we have a lot of Nigerians and we hope the cooperation will go further," she stated.

According to her, The Gambia and Nigeria are shining examples and other countries should follow suit.

"We need the experience of their expertise, and are looking forward to receiving those coming," she added.

"We appreciate the efforts of High Commissioner Esther Audu, because she has been strengthening the relationship between the two countries like any other ambassador has done," the Vice-President remarked.

The occasion was witnessed by officials of both the Gambian and Nigerian governments.

Meanwhile, the list of relief materials are as follows: Millet (100kg) 350, Guinea Corn (100kg) 350, Maize 350, Rice 700, Couscous 350, Spaghetti 350, Flour (50kg) 350, Vegetable Oil (20 Litres) 300, Powdered Milk 250, Sugar 250, Milo 250, Tomatoes Puree 213, Salt (25kg) iodized in 1kg\500gms 200, Blanket (GB 36H) 300, Nylon Mats 300, Omo Detergent (250grm satchet) 300, Bathing Soap (Joy/Lux) 300, Plastic Bucket (21 litres) 300, Plastic cup 300, Plastic Spoon 300, Plastic Plates 300 and Cooking Pots 300.

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