President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday mourned the death of the Director-General of the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations, Chiedu Osakwe.
A statement by the presidency described the late diplomat has a Nigerian who had "intellectual depth" and demonstrated professionalism and patriotism in all the trade agreements he negotiated for the country.
PREMIUM TIMES had earlier on Monday reported the death of Mr Osakwe.
He was Nigeria's Chief Trade Negotiator and Director General of the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations. He also chaired the Negotiating Forum of the African Union (AU) from June 2017 to March 2018, during which time the negotiations were concluded on the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
On Monday, a statement by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Mr Buhari, Garba Shehu, noted that the president sent his condolence to Mr Osakwe's family on behalf of Nigerians.
"The President notes, with deep pain, that the passing of Amb. Osakwe has created a gulf in the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations, which he served as pioneer Director-General, bringing invaluable experience, knowledge and skill in setting up and motivating the operations of the agency that was established in 2017," the statement said.
"President Buhari commiserates with all friends, relations and professional associates of the deceased, who served the country for many years as Foreign Service Officer, before joining the World Trade Organisation, and later accepting to return to the country as a Trade Adviser to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and director-general of NOTN.
"The President affirms that the intellectual depth, fervour and sense of patriotism that Amb. Osakwe handled responsibilities will be sorely missed, especially the front-line and historical role of chairing the Negotiating Forum of the African Union (AU) from June 2017 to March 2018, during which time the negotiations were concluded on the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area.
"President prays that the Almighty God will receive the soul of the cerebral diplomat, scholar and administrator, and comfort his family."
The late Mr Osakwe was at a time an official of the World Trade Organization Secretariat (1998-2017) during which he was a director of a number of WTO divisions. Prior to the WTO Secretariat, he was a Nigerian Foreign Service Officer (1979 to 1998).