By Cecilia Ologunagba
New York, July 7, 2022
Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Amb. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande has urged Nigerians working within the UN headquarters to project the good image of Nigeria and be committed to its development.
Muhammad-Bande made the call when the 2022 Executive Committee (EXCO) members of UN Staff Recreation Club (UNSRC), Nigerian Association, New York, led by its President Mr. Bolade Sobola paid him a courtesy call at Nigeria House.
The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the aim of the visit was to introduce the EXCO members to the Nigerian envoy and discuss areas of support with the Permanent Mission.
The EXCO members are Mr. Abdulsalam Aliyu, Secretary, Ms. Annette Imohe, the Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Ms. Hauwa Umar and the Assistant Treasurer, Ms. Oluwatosin Akingbulu.
Muhammad-Bande said the members of UNSRC should be reminded that they are Nigerians first, though working at the UN, urging them to offer their services to their homeland.
“You have to also canvass for the rights of Nigerians in the UN, knowing that it is a humanitarian organisation and it has its own limitations,’’ he said.
He, however, assured the members of good working relationship with the Permanent Mission and various UN Committees in the mission.
Muhammad-Bande told his guests that one of the challenges of some Nigerians not getting jobs in the UN was the inability to be bilingual, urging Nigerians interested to work in the organisation to learn any of the official languages of UN.
The UN official languages are English Language, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Russian and French.
The Nigerian diplomat argued that having a firm understanding of English Language and any other language would give an applicant advantage and they would be able to compete for top positions apart from the entry points.
According to him, timely information is needed for Nigerians to be able to take advantage of the entry points such as UN Volunteers Scheme and Internships.
He further tasked the association on providing timely and accurate information for Nigerians to be able to take advantage of job opportunities in the system.
Earlier, Sobola acknowledged the openness and honesty of Muhammad-Bande in addressing the issues presented before him and his fatherly role to the association.
The president said the EXCO members had been working to improve the strength of the membership to continue promoting the positive image of Nigeria in the organisation.
“As you said, we work for the UN, but we are still Nigerians, and they are certain work of the UN where there is no distinction whether you are Nigerian or a global citizen.
“That is the value we as an association are promoting and to look for ways to offer our expertise and assistance to the mission in so many areas in which UN covers.
“The EXCO members are trying to do skills mapping of colleagues and match them with committees at the Permanent Mission and interact with the Ministers to offer their expertise,’’ he said.
According to him, the members of UNSRC are willing to offer themselves in any way to assist and partner with the Mission.
The president, however, lamented poor representation of Nigerians working in UN, urging the envoy to liaise with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on ways to take advantage of Internships and Volunteers programmes of the organisation.
“There are certain ways that Nigerians can get to the system through the entry points that we feel they are not hearing enough about, and I don’t know how you can be of help.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs needs to publicise the opportunities at home, so that some of our people can begin to apply for these programmes,’’ he said.