Nigeria’s Federal Government and the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire have both discussed ways of repositioning the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in order to achieve the main objectives of the sub-regional organisation.
The development took place during a bilateral meeting between the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and the Ivorian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kandia Camara, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States.
Speaking after the meeting, Onyeama said issues discussed were centred on bilateral relations between Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire and in particular also, with regards to ECOWAS.
Onyeama stated that the sub-regional organisation is going through a process of reform, noting that Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire are amongst the big countries of ECOWAS.
He said: “So, we were discussing the various developments that are about to take place and we are just making sure that we are all on the same page to ensure a smooth reform process of the organisation.”
Onyeama also disclosed that during the meeting, Camara conveyed the message of the President of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Quattara to President Muhammadu Buhari to reiterate the support of Côte d’Ivoire to Nigeria and welcomed the strong relations and cooperation between Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria.
He added that Côte d’Ivoire expressed continued wish and effort for both countries to work together and strengthen ECOWAS and make the process of integration a real one and for it to be, not just integration of the government, but an integration of the peoples of the ECOWAS zone.
Also speaking during a bilateral meeting with Onyeama, the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya, Ambassador Raychelle Awuor Omamo, expressed the admiration of Kenya towards Nigeria’s role in ECOWAS, particularly the engagement of ECOWAS in situations in Gambia, Mali and currently in Guinea.
“I think you have been able to manage them much, much better than we do in our region. I think you people are much more homogenous in the actions to restore peace and security,” Omamo said.
Omamo further said Kenya was very keen on deepening ties with Nigeria in different sectors which will be mutually beneficial to both countries, while also saying that there were a lot that both countries can learn from each other.
Earlier, the Republic of Algeria, represented by its Foreign Minister, Ramtane Lamamra, also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and discussed ways of deepening cooperation between Nigeria and Algeria.
On the sidelines of the General Assembly, Onyeama also met with the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed and discussed areas of collaboration between the United Nations and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Michael Olugbode in Abuja