His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio is one of three West African Presidents at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of the new headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.
He joined other colleague leaders of the regional economic and political bloc, in the Nigerian capital, today for their sixty-second session under the aegis of the Chair of Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government and President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, His Excellency Umaro Sissoco Embalo.
President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Omar Alieu Touray, welcomed the Heads of State and Government at what occasion he described as historic, before thanking host President, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, the community people for providing the 7.2 hectares of prime land area and the Government of the People’s Republic of China for funding the project.
“After the 1993 treaty and the expansion of her mandate, ECOWAS has grown. This complex, once completed in 26 months as part of our 4-year strategic plan, will enhance the Commission’s operational efficiency and increase productivity with all its staff located in one area,” he said.
The revised treaty, signed in Cotonou, Benin Republic in July 1993, by the heads of state and government of the now 15 member states, is said to have further bound the sovereign states into agreeing on 93 different Articles, including to work together as a single regional economic block.
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, accredited to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Cui Jianchun, said as the fourteenth ambassador he was happy to have been part of the reopening of a new chapter in the friendship between China and Nigeria and ECOWAS.
“This is sincere and trustworthy support from China that will serve as a driving force for lasting peace and sustainable development among member states. This complex will be of high quality with cutting-edge technology,” he said.
The host, President Buhari, said it was a great day for ECOWAS and the China/ECOWAS cooperation, adding that the complex would bring together the Commission, the Court of Justice and the ECOWAS Parliament in one place.
“This will effectively consolidate all operations in one complex and it will represent unity from all member states and commitment to regional integration. I can confirm that I have directed all ministries, departments and agencies of government to give the ambassador all the support he needs. I have no doubt in their ability to deliver,” he concluded.
At the climax of the event, President Bio joined President Embalo and President Buhari to do the turning of sod by scooping out of a small bowl some pre-mixed mortar with hand trowels and doing some symbolic brickwork.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Republic of Sierra Leone State House.