The Federal Government has pledged its continued cooperation, collaboration and friendship with UNESCO through the Nigeria-UNESCO Special Plan of Cooperation established in 1999.
Speaking Thursday at the State House, Abuja , when he received in audience, the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, expressed “confidence in UNESCO to continue to expand its programmes and activities to humanity to achieve a peaceful world through the elimination of injustice and development of quality education, especially in least developed, developing, and small islands in developing states”.
He thanked the Director-General for the mutual progress made in the cooperation, especially in the areas of reform of the country’s education system, strengthening of science education in Nigeria, especially TVET, where Nigeria’s leading role and achievements have been widely acclaimed and adopted by the ECOWAS.
He also thanked the DG for support in the revitalisation of the science, technology, engineering and innovation systems of Nigeria which has become a model for other developing countries as well as the establishment of the Institute for African Culture and International Understanding (IACIU) at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State, as an International Category II Centre under the auspices of UNESCO.
Commending Ms. Bokova on her successful tenure as the first woman Director General of the organisation and her vision for a “new humanism for the 21st century”, Sambo said “Nigeria has made commendable achievements during her tenure by the MoU between the country and UNESCO on the $6.4 million Self-benefiting Funds-in-Trust for the Revitalizing Adult and Youth Literacy in Nigeria; establishment of two UNESCO category 2 Centres: the Regional Centre for Integrated River Basin Management (RE-IRBM) at the National Water Resources Institute in Kaduna; International Centre for Biotechnology at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; election of Nigeria into UNESCO Executive Board and International Bureau of Education and selection of Abuja as one of the five new UNESCO Multi-sectoral Regional office in Africa”.
He added that most of the UNESCO programmes in the country are in line with the Transformation Agenda of Government as infrastructural deficits in the power, education, tourism, aviation and transport sectors are being addressed. Sambo stated that “Only yesterday Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a new government policy in addressing the problem of child labour in Nigeria”, which also seek to enhance quality education in the nation.
Earlier, the Director General of UNESCO, Ms. Bokova, expressed happiness for being in Nigeria and the support of government for UNESCO programmes. She extended invitation to President Jonathan for a UNESCO conference in December this year. She said it is important that Nigeria’s position is strongly supported by its presence, adding that UNESCO programmes are to serve the dynamic community of Nigeria for its sustainable development, peace and betterment of the rights of citizens.
Bokova also said the scientific, technical education and other programmes are to help Nigerian people and especially as the country is becoming one of the top economies in the near future, UNESCO is to support Nigeria in this regard.
Some of those in the meeting were Ministers of Education, Water Resources and Culture and Tourism as well as Nigeria’s Ambassador/Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, M. Y. Katagum; UNESCO Assistant DG, Lalla Aicha Ben Barka; Assistant DG (Bureau for Strategic Planning), Hans D’ Orville; UNESCO Director of Cooperation, Robertine Roadnimahary and others.