Kaduna City, July 31, 2017: Liberia’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Professor Al-Hassan Conteh has disclosed that a Passport Application Center (PAC) is now ready at the Liberian Embassy pending official dedication.
A release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says Ambassador Conteh made the disclosure over the weekend when he served as keynote speaker for the 2nd National Annual Convention of the Organization of Liberian Communities in Nigeria (OLICON) held in Kaduna City, Kaduna.
The Liberians in Nigeria also used the National Convention to observe their country’s 170th Independence Day.
“The Embassy is actively addressing consular and immigration issues of Liberian communities in Nigeria. I am very pleased to announce that the Passport Application Center (PAC) at the Abuja Mission is now ready for the online renewal of passports of Liberians resident in Nigeria and adjoining countries”, he said, amidst cheers and jubilations from hundreds of Liberians who had gathered for the convention.
According to the release, Ambassador Conteh however disclosed that the PAC will be inaugurated at a date to be announced soon as a special celebration of Liberia’s 170th Independence Anniversary in Nigeria: “This is a key deliverable of the Administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to address the welfare of Diaspora Communities….The PAC will address the many immigration issues that some compatriots have been facing in Nigeria, especially with respect to the acquisition of residence permits and documentation for registration at educational and other institutions.”
The Liberian Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made PAC’s available in the United States, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Ghana. Another PAC is expected to soon be established in Beijing, China, the Liberian Ambassador added.
Speaking on the theme “Consolidating Sustainable Liberian Communities in the Diaspora”, the Liberian Envoy encouraged his Diaspora compatriots to take advantage of opportunities in their host country: “Liberian Diaspora Communities are often located in places of great opportunities. Their opportunities and strengths include their capacities to provide remittances for transnational household support, access to information, education and skills training.”
Ambassador Conteh tasked the Liberian communities in the Diaspora to maintain equilibrium between their receiving and sending countries’ responses to their needs, “while keeping abreast with the evolving policies and developments back home.”
Urging them against the threat of disunity in organizational matters, he added: “When communities organize themselves into a Union, as you have done in Nigeria, the elected leaders should ensure that the Constitution and By-Laws of the umbrella group is scrupulously implemented with respect to the welfare of Chapter organizations.” Ambassador Conteh encouraged the leadership of OLICON to adopt good governance, transparency and accountability as the consolidating mantras and practice to strengthen Liberian communities.
According to the release, he said the remaining concerns of Diaspora Liberians, including Diaspora voting, dual citizenship, and political issues at home require concerted efforts by both Diaspora Communities in concert with the Government of Liberia.
Ambassador Conteh encouraged Liberia Diaspora Communities to strive to educate themselves about the relevant issues and laws and make their own objective decisions: “They should avoid emotionalism, provincialism and pursue nationalism and patriotism in influencing their constituent voters back home in making balanced decisions for benefit of their families, communities and the nation.”
“We should encourage no more space for ethnic epithets in our relations”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Executive Governor of the State of Kaduna, His Excellency Malam Ahmad Nasir El-Rufai encouraged Liberians resident in the State and as well as throughout Nigeria to take advantage of investment opportunities in Kaduna. The Executive Governor, speaking to Liberians through his Deputy Chief of Office Staff, Honorable Bala Yunusa, also advised them to obtain the state residency card. He then thanked OLICON for selecting his state as the venue for this year’s annual national convention.
For his part, Mr. Daoda Kanneh, National President of OLICON, recounted some of the achievements of the organization in its one year span.
Goodwill messages also came from Justice Micah Wilkins Wright, the Vice President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, and other officials of the Kaduna State Government who graced the occasion.
At the same time, delegates have selected the State of Ogun for the organization’s next year’s annual event, the release concludes.