Mrs Claire Ireland, Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria has sought the support of Zazzau Emirate to strengthen bilateral relations with Nigeria.
She stated this during a visit of the `Australian Alumni Association to the Emir of Zazzau, Dr Shehu Idris in in Zaria, Kaduna State on Friday.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the Emir of Zazzau is the Chairman, Kaduna State Council of Emirs and Chiefs.
The High Commissioner, who was represented by Dr Zainab-Kwaru Muhammad-Idris, North-West Coordinator of the association, said that the visit was meant to foster smooth relationship between the two countries.
She said: “It’s great honour to promote the Australian relationship and I look forward to working with you in the future to further strengthen Australia/Nigeria bilateral ties.”
Ireland assured the Emir that the embassy held him with high esteem, hoping that he would play a vital role in terms of providing the alumni with wisdom as a pioneer alumnus of the Australian State.
“We were very delighted when we found out that you are one of our alumni, we felt that this is home and that is why the Annual General Meeting of the association is brought to Kaduna.
“Currently, the alumni has over 190 members and we are still counting because every year the Australian Government identifies, selects individuals that apply to go on scholarship.
“And a lot of us have benefited from their programme and the partnership that we currently have between the government of Nigeria and government of Australia is getting stronger by the day due to the work that we do,” Ireland said.
She explained that the growing relationship was as a result of the contribution of alumni members in both private and public sectors of Nigeria.
On his part, Dr Ayoola Shoyombo, the Alumni Vice President said the association comprised of different people who had travelled to Australia to study for their first degree, masters or PhD. levels.
“On return to Nigeria, we were usually tasked in Australia to give back to the society in whatever capacity and to see how we can simulate things we see in Australia here in Nigeria.
“Every year, we normally have our Annual General Meeting and this year’s meeting has been scheduled to hold in Kaduna and we deem it fit to pay homage to the Emir of Zazzau to seek royal blessings.
“And more importantly, he is an alumnus of Australian State, he has passed through what we have just passed through and that’s why we are here today,” he said.
Dr Josephine Alex-Abedo, an official of the association appreciated Australian government for offering scholarship to them to acquire education.
She said going by the culture and mentorship received in Australia, she established an NGO, “May and Global Initiative” with the sole aim of training women on different skills.
“We train them on how to recycle products such as polytene bags, tins and bottles, we teach them using simple techniques without necessarily the use of any machine.
“We also teach them knitting, sewing and key holder making. As at now, we have trained over 200 women at different places within Kaduna.
Responding, the Emir appreciated the High Commissioner and members of the alumni association for the visit and urged them to feel at home in Zaria.
While urging them to keep the relationship, the Royal Father recalled that he was in Australia in 1967 where he spent his time at Canberra and South-West University, Sidney.
“I remember my time in Australia because I made many friends. So, I want you to feel at home. Unfortunately after we returned, we lost the Prime Minister of Australia.
“I could still vividly recall that the then Prime Minister was the one who addressed us at the Parliament while we were students.”
Edited & Vetted By: Ismail Abdulaziz