The Director of Monitoring, Evaluation and Resources for the Directorate of Technical Aid Corps (DTAC) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ambassador Haruna Ginsau, has paid a courtesy call to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara at the Ministry’s Tower Hill office, Freetown.
The purpose of the visit is to assess and review the progress of the Nigerian Volunteer Corps with a view to determine the technical aid needs, and to further deepen and broaden the bilateral cooperation with the Government of Sierra Leone.
Giving a brief background of the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps, Amb. Haruna Ginsau said, the TAC was established in 1987 to share Nigeria’s know-how or expertise with other African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. The TAC, he maintained, is presently assisting in a mutually beneficial way 35 African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries. Sierra Leone is one of the beneficiaries. He also stated that the ultimate goal of the programme is to breach the manpower gap in key sectors of the recipient countries. ‘The TAC gives assistance on the basis of the assessed and perceived needs of the recipient countries; promotes cooperation and understanding between Nigeria and the recipient countries; and facilitates meaningful contacts between the youths of Nigeria and those of the recipient countries’, the Director added. He further ascertained that to date, the TAC has deployed about 15 medical personnel working in various medical establishments across the country.
Amb. Haruna Ginsau highlighted key responsibilities of the TAC to the volunteers that include: monthly allowances, airfare (to-fro), and settlement allowances. The recipient country, he said, should be responsible for providing a modest accommodation, pay utility bills (electricity), transportation (from place of residence to place of work), and free medical. ‘The team would meet with other MDAs in Sierra Leone to identify key areas for intervention and cooperation’, he concluded.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara on behalf of His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the Government and people of Sierra Leone, welcomed the Ambassador and delegation from DTAC, noting the significance and timeliness of the visit. Dr Samura Kamara lauded Nigeria’s cordial relations with Sierra Leone, particularly as a major contributor of troops during the civil war and Nigeria’s role in the formation of ECOWAS.
The Foreign Minister underscored the significance of the TAC volunteer scheme which could be institutionalised at multilateral level within ECOWAS and the African Union. The technical assistance of the TAC on education, he said, should be extended to children with special needs in the country. He assured the delegation of his Ministry’s commitment to work with the Nigerian DTAC in enhancing their scheme in Sierra Leone.
Present at the ceremony were: the Director of Programmes –DTAC, Mr. Jinoh Oduniyi; the Deputy Director General for Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Assistant Deputy Director General for Policy, Directors of various Divisions and Heads of Sections of the Ministry.