The Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows Alumni Association, Nigeria, (COSFAN), has called for partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to assist in implementing programmes of the Ministry geared towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Association made the call during a courtesy visit on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama on Thursday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that COSFAN is a non-profit organisation consisting of eminent Nigerians who have benefitted from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC), United Kingdom, through the British Council in Nigeria.
Dr Biola Adimula, President, Board of Trustees of the Association, said the partnership will be mutually benefitting, especially as COSFAN was equipped with professionals and experts in various fields.
She said that members of the association with the indigenous and foreign trainings are making commendable contributions towards strengthening their communities and advancing overall national development.
“The reason for this meeting is to propose synergy, partnership and collaboration in common events and one of the common event is the celebration of the commonwealth day.
“We have read on the pages of the newspapers what you have been doing in the past and every year we also celebrate the common wealth day.
“The 70th anniversary was last year and we had a very big event and that is what we do every year and we believe we can come together and organise the programme together.
“And we are also looking at the possibility of entering into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and in so doing, we may need a desk officer that we will be interfacing with in this ministry.
“And most importantly is to make available COSFAN’s pool of experts for ministry’s programmes and projects.
“All of us are well trained and our skills have been sharpened by the Nigerian government and the British government through various trainings in and out of the country.
“We also believe that with effective collaboration the association can assist in planning, designing and implementing, capacity building and training for the Ministry and also to serve as advisers and consultants in the Ministry’s programmes and projects.
“We can also serve in any other area that the Ministry will like to collaborate with COSFAN.
“The interesting thing is that we are in all the locations that you can think about because our members are professionals in different fields and they are consultants too,” Adimula said.
The president said COSFAN’s programmes and activities are targeted toward achieving the SDGs in the six thematic areas of focus of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, UK.
Adimula said the association would also like to collaborate with the ministry to facilitate a high-level summit with all Commonwealth High Commissioners in Nigeria, with joint planning committee members ahead of the 2021 Commonwealth Day.
Responding on behalf of Onyeama, Mr Zayyad Abdussalam, Head, Global Institution Unit of the Ministry, said the Ministry was ready to collaborate with the association in areas under its mandates.
Abdussalam said the Ministry would also bring in the association where necessary in the planning of subsequent Commonwealth day events.
“Let me assure you that the Ministry is opened for anything or assistance from the Ministry.
“For the issue of desk officer, the department is in charge of common wealth activities, so, if the Ministry is opened to you, the department is also opened; so, feel free to come and we can discuss.
“For the MoU; it is good but we have to sit down and see the specific areas you want to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry.
“But take note, anything that has to do with education, we have a Ministry that is in charge of everything that has to do with education.
“We will do our own part but when it comes to education issue, we will refer issue to the Ministry of education.
“You want the Ministry to collaborate with you on the annual commonwealth day celebration, we do not have an issue with that, we will invite you for this annual event.
“Also, look at areas that if we feel the need for you to make your contributions we will inform you and see how you can come in in that aspect,” Abdussalam said.
Edited By: Felix Ajide