Nigeria’s manpower assistance to African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries under the operations of the Directorate of Technical Aid Corps (DTAC) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has increased tremendously in the last three years, chief executive of DTAC, Dr Pius Olakunle Osunyikanmi, has disclosed.
The Directorate is an agency of the federal government saddled with the task of recruiting and deploying high and middle level Nigerian manpower to needy ACP countries on request in the spirit of South-South cooperation among developing countries of the world.
Osunyikanmi who made the disclosure during the weekend at the commencement of his second five-year tenure as the director general of the body said the scope of DTAC operations has been widened and that many countries in Africa and the Caribbean are signifying intentions to participate.
According to him, there are requests for more than 200 Nigerian professors to strengthen the academics of a number of African countries while Liberia has signified an intention to have 100 teachers and nurses from Nigeria to assist the country in education and healthcare delivery.
Speaking further, Osunyikanmi said, “Today, we are present in about 10 countries and deployment is currently ongoing. We are currently engaging Liberia on revamping their education sector. The request from Seychelles is receiving our attention.
”Nigeria’s involvement in restoring democracy to the Gambia is being matched with corresponding manpower particularly in the University of the Gambia and the Judiciary. As of today, we have 32 senior Lectures and Professors in the University and three High Court Judges.
“Similarly, we have about seventy senior academics in Uganda and Rwanda. The Nigeria Flag is equally flying in East Africa as evident in our outstanding presence in Zanzibar. In the Caribbean, our partnership with Jamaica is working particularly in the area of skill transfer in Batik making and woodcarving.
“We are in the process of collaborating with the National Film and Video Censor Board to Sign an MOU where we would be sent upon the request of Jamaica for the best amongst over Nollywood Actors and Actresses to go and train Jamaican Actors and actresses in their quest to create their own version of Hollywood-Jamwood as you might want to call it. Our engagement with Belize is as strong as ever.”
He, however, gave kudos to President Muhammadu Buhari for facilitating the process of expansion of the operations of DTAC saying “his administration, more than the ones before it has been truly committed to deepening the goals of the Directorate through improved funding, and expanding Nigeria’s sphere of influence in the ACP countries.
“President Buhari from the hindsight of experience knows that the peace of our African brothers in their countries has a direct correlation with the peace of Nigeria. He knew that it is more profitable to deploy our human resources; our brains to maintaining peace across the region rather than putting our booths on the ground.
“You can imagine the cost to Nigeria in bringing an end to the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Today, rather than sending soldiers and tanks, we send teachers, professors, and experts. Education has replaced Ignorance in these countries.
“It may interest you to know that under President Muhammadu Buhari, we have received unprecedented requests for high caliber professionals across the ACP countries. His leadership qualities have endeared those countries that had previously opted out of the programme to now demand inclusion. Countries like Antigua and Barbuda, Fiji Island, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe amongst others are currently reviewing our country agreement.”
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