President Muhammadu Buhari led a high-powered delegation of African leaders on Sunday to perform a ground-breaking ceremony of the new China-aided the Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS) headquarters building in Abuja.
Buhari in his statement at the event noted: “that today is a great day for the Sub-Regional Organisation.”
He said it is also a great day for China-ECOWAS Partnership as the community has waited for this day, since the 10th of July, 2019, when ECOWAS and the Peoples’ Republic of China signed an implementation agreement for this diplomatic gift to the West African States and this no doubt represents China’s commitment to our sub-regional organisation.
Buhari, therefore, expressed profound gratitude to the government of the People’s Republic of China for committing to building a befitting new complex to house the Sub-Regional Organisation.
“This arena, where today’s ceremony is taking place when completed, would house the three major ECOWAS institutions, namely the ECOWAS Commission, the Community Court of Justice and the Parliament, which China is committed to building.
“The agreement between the People’s Republic of China and ECOWAS has been a long and slow process, which started with a vision, to build the EYE OF WEST AFRICA. This was envisioned as an all-inclusive architectural phenomenon. The building would represent the three hundred and eighty million West African citizens. And would remain a befitting edifice to the region and the continent”.
The President further disclosed that the Nigerian government and the ECOWAS Institutions in Abuja had agreed to consolidate ECOWAS operations in one complex as a departure from operating at three different locations.
“The new complex would represent the unity and brotherhood of the member-states, as well as signify a re-commitment to progress and regional integration. It will be our home and a regional rallying point.
“I want to extend my warmest appreciation to the government of the People’s Republic of China, for their financial and technical contribution to ensuring that a monument of this nature, is built on behalf of our region.
“I also want to thank the previous and current management of the ECOWAS Commission for working in collaboration with China and Nigeria towards the realization of this project.
“I wish to confirm to you that I have given directives to the various relevant Nigerian ministries, departments, and agencies, under the coordination of the Nigerian Ambassador and permanent representative to ECOWAS to the ensure smooth facilitation of the project.”
The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Nigeria, Cui Jian Chun also said since its establishment in 1975, ECOWAS, with 15 member states and nearly one-third of Africa’s total population, has pursued strengthening regional integration and promoting development and cooperation among the region as It has become a driving force to foster lasting peace and sustainable development of the region and Africa at large.
He added that China is a steadfast proponent and committed partner of ECOWAS ad the past decades have witnessed strong growth of cooperative relations.
“To sponsor and construct the new ECOWAS Headquarters is a vivid reflection of China’s support to the work of ECOWAS as well as the traditional! the friendship between China and the West African countries,” He added.
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