By John Okeke
The Nigerian Ambassador to Japan, Ambassador Abubakar Moriki Husaini has congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerians residing in Japan on the occasion of Nigerian Independence.
In a statement made available to The AUTHORITY from Embassy of Nigeria,Tokyo, Japan the envoy said the occasion marks the 61st anniversary of Nigeria-Japan diplomatic relations.
“On the occasion of the 61st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria, I wish to congratulate His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, the Government and People of Nigeria, and Nigerians residing in Japan.
” I arrived Tokyo with my family on Wednesday, 23rd June, 2021 as the new Ambassador of Nigeria to Japan. Today, 1st October, 2021 is Nigeria’s National Day – the day the country secured its independence from its Colonial Masters. It is interesting to note that, today also marks the 61st anniversary of Nigeria-Japan diplomatic relations. The day is also special to me because, it marks 100 (one hundred) days of my stewardship in Japan as the new Head of Mission in the Embassy. These one hundred days have been eventful for me, notwithstanding the restrictions occasioned by the highly-commendable efforts of Host authorities to fight the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.”
He said,” i presented the Copie d’Usage of my Letter of Credence to the ViceMinister of Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday 12th of July, 2021. The subsequent presentation of my Letter of Credence to His Majesty Naruhito
Emperor of Japan at the Imperial Palace, on Friday, 27th of August, 2021 marked the official commencement of my representational duty in Japan.
I assured His Majesty Naruhito of my resolve to strengthen and deepen the existing cordial relations between our countries during my tenure. I specifically assured him that, I would work for the promotion of closer friendly relations between our two countries in the areas of trade, economic, investments, culture, security, etc. “.
He continued, It is also noteworthy that, within these one hundred days, I have met with the leadership of the Nigerian Union in Japan (NUJ), the Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan (NCCIJ) and the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO). In addition to the briefings I received from officers in the Embassy when I arrived; and my engagements with these organisations, I am happy to observe that most Nigerians residing in Japan are projecting the image of Nigeria in the Host country, positively. This has further strengthened my resolve to express keen interest in the welfare of Nigerians in Japan. Interestingly, during this period, one hundred and forty (140) passports were issued and I did not receive any negative report from Nigerians who visited the Embassy for passport issues and consular services.
“The positive image for Nigeria in Japan was further consolidated by
the brilliant performance of Team Nigeria that participated at the recently concluded Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games from middle of July to early September, 2021. The Team was led by the Honourable Minister of
Youth and Sports Development, Honourable Sunday Dare along with the former Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Nebolisa Anako and the President of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Engr. Habu
Gumel. I met each of the athletes during their camping in Kisarazu City; to receive/welcome them, attend to their welfare, address their challenges and encourage them to perform excellently at the games.
At the end, they made us proud. Nigeria participated in ten Olympic Games – Athletics, Rowing, Swimming, Basketball (Male & Female), Table Tennis (Male & Female), Taekwondo, Badminton, Wrestling, Canoeing and
Powerlifting. We won two Medals at the Games, comprising one Silver and one Bronze Medals. Sequel to this, the Embassy arranged a reception for the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, officials of the Ministry, NOC
officials, the athletes and the Olympian Medalists. Afterwards, Nigeria participated in the Paralympic Games with twenty-two Paralympians in four Games – Para Table Tennis, Para Powerlifting, Para Athletics and Para Rowing. At the end, Nigeria won ten Medals consisting of four Gold, one
Silver and five Bronze Medals.
Notwithstanding the foregoing cheering news, there is no gainsaying qthe fact that I assumed office at a very critical time, during which the qcoronavirus pandemic had impeded socio-economic activities and affected the smooth running of official engagements. On the part of the Embassy, we qhave employed various measures to adhere to the Covid-19 protocols instituted by Host government.
” I wish to sincerely thank the Government of Japan for facilitating the vaccination of officers and staff of the Embassy and for their steadfastness in the fight against the dreaded virus.
One important conclusion I have reached based on my engagements
with government officials in Tokyo within this period of my stewardship is that, Japan is keenly interested in strengthening bilateral relations with Nigeria by according greater attention to issues that affect our two countries with greater vigour and enthusiasm. I am happy to note that, this period has opened a new vista in the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Japan.
The Embassy is strongly committed to this too. In this connection, it is my pleasure to report that, Nigeria supported Japan’s candidate, Mr. Metoki Masahiko, who was appointed as the Director-General of the International Postal Union (IPU), after the successful election process on August 25, 2021.
We shall continue to demonstrate our commitment to improve on the existing relations between both countries in all ramifications and in the spirit of reciprocity.
Our policy on visa application is liberal enough to attract business community from Japan to Nigeria. In the past one hundred days, there was an increase in visa applications that were processed by the Embassy. Sixtyone (61) biometric visas were issued during the period. This is an indication of the renewed interest by Japanese business community to engage in trade and investment in Nigeria, despite the pandemic.
To further express my commitment to strengthen diplomatic, economic and trade relations with Japan, I had meetings with top government functionaries and very senior officials of some important organisations in the country. Strategic decisions were reached during the meetings. The officials I visited included the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry; the DirectorGeneral of African Affairs in Host Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Chief Executive Officer of Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) and many others are in the pipeline, including the Chief Executive Officer of Toyota Tsusho and the Chairman of Honda.
“In addition, I participated at the Seminar organised by NEC Corporation and had meetings with the Chief Executive Officer of NS JEMICON Company Limited, officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as well as top officials of ITOCHU Corporation and Albanex Company Limited. I would pay a visit to the President of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) within this month. The Embassy participated at the opening of two bids in JICA on behalf of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Power and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Indeed, I believe that in due course, we shall begin to see the fruitful results of our engagements with all these and other organisations in Japan.”
“It is equally important to add that within these past one hundred days, I had visited the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and the Ambassador of San Marino in Japan; the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corp and Ambassador
of Eritrea in Japan; the Dean of ECOWAS Group and the Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire; and the nine Ambassadors from ECOWAS countries accredited to Japan, to pay homage to them, register my presence in Japan and seek for their cooperation during my tenure of office. I had featured in some Japanese and Nigerian-based media organisations. They include the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), other electronic and print media in Nigeria as well as the NIKKEI incorporatedNewspaper and “The Japan Times.” My response to the different media interviews I granted them explains the clear path I intend to thread to move relations between Nigeria and Japan to a new level during my tenure,” he said.
He added,” In conclusion, I like to seize the occasion of the 61st Independence Anniversary of our country to re-assure Nigerians residing in Japan that the Embassy would continue to ensure that issues related to their welfare are accorded high priority. I would count on their support to achieve the aspirations before me as Ambassador of Nigeria to Japan, at this time. I also thank the Government and People of Japan; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of Japan; and indeed, all those who sent messages of Goodwill to our Embassy on the occasion of the 61st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria.”