The scene at the Presidential Wing of the Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was a gale of ECOWAS spirit when the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, handed the key to the Federal Capital City to a visibly delighted President of Cote D’Ivoire, Alassane Gramane Ouattara, Monday, October 30, 2017.
Making the presentation to the Ivoirian President, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, the FCT Minister, declared that the token conferred on the Ivoirian President, Honorary Citizenship of Abuja, with all the rights and privileges appertaining thereto. He also noted that it was a testament of the strong friendship and cordial relationship existing between the people of Nigeria and Ivoirians.
Receiving the key to the City of Abuja, President Ouattara, asked the FCT Minister to convey to Mr. President, his sincere appreciation for the kind gesture.
To further bear testimony to the bond of friendship between the two countries, a throng of Ivoirians resident in Abuja were on hand in the airport to welcome their President.
President Ouattara’s plane touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport by exactly 11.02 am Nigerian time. Upon arrival, The President was received by the Nigerian Minister of Information, Alh. Lai Mohammed, who escorted the President to inspect a guard of honour mounted by men of the Guards Brigade of the Nigerian Army.
Fielding questions with newsmen, the Ambassador of the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire to Nigeria, Her Excellency, Mrs. Toure Maman Nee Kone said her country’s President was in Nigeria to felicitate with his Nigerian host, President Muhammadu Buhari, on his recovery and return from London where he went on a medical vacation.
This visit, she remarked, is the third in the life of this Administration and buttresses the strong economic, cultural and political relationship between Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire as members of the Economic Community of West Africa States – ECOWAS.
A leader of Ivoirian people resident in Abuja and a staff of ECOWAS Dr. Guevera Yao noted that the Ivoirian people resident in Nigeria are happy with the country. Said he, “Nigeria is a great country; it’s a beautiful country. I’ve been here for almost eight years and Nigerians are a very warm people, a welcoming place. We are here to work and to contribute our effort to the integration of West Africa.
“ECOWAS is a very big and very vibrant institution. As you know, we have 15 countries in ECOWAS. Each country taken individually does not have the strength that it actually requires. So, putting ourselves together is actually very good. It gives us more opportunity to face the outside world. The ECOWAS is actually a very good institution. A lot has been done and we still have more to do.”
Another Ivoirian Yusuf Doso disclosed that many of the Ivoirians in Nigeria in their private capacity were are into various kinds of works especially as fashion designers and tailors. He said Nigerians have been welcoming.