Kano - Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Nurudden Muhammad on Thursday reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to the integration of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
He expressed this in Kano at a sensitisation campaign on exploring the opportunities in the ECOWAS integration process and programmes, for accelerated national development.
Muhammad said the ministry was making efforts to have Nigerians fully involved in the economic potentials of the region in terms of the various protocols, conventions and action plans signed by the country.
The minister, represented by an Under-Secretary in charge of Administration and Finance, Amb. Kabir Garba, said Nigeria was committed to the objectives of the establishment of ECOWAS.
``I must underscore the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has remained active in this whole process both at the ECOWAS Commission and in the country.
``However, it is strongly argued that the benefits accruable to Nigerians are not commensurate with the huge materials and human investment being made by the country in running ECOWAS.’’
He described as abysmal, access to the opportunities and funds within ECOWAS by Nigerians, adding that the workshop would address the matter by sensitising stakeholders.
‘’This will stimulate interest among stakeholders to begin to explore and maximise opportunities in the West Africa sub-region under the auspices of ECOWAS. As a result, it will enhance the transformation and empowerment of Nigerians.’’
The minister said the the workshop would deepen understanding of ECOWAS’ various integration programmes and encourage individuals and institutions to explore such available opportunities.
In his speech, Amb. Martin Uhomoibhi, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, called on state, local governments and the organised private sector to explore the ECOWAS opportunities in trade.
He said the ECOWAS Special Development Funds such as the Agriculture and Infrastructure Fund, were areas that should be tapped to promote the various Nigerian products in the region.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was attended by various bodies including chambers of commerce, Federation of Muslims Women in Nigeria and businessmen from the North West geopolitical zone.