Nigeria has taken a move to establish a consulate in Pointe Noire, the commercial city of the Republic of Congo.
Nigeria Ambassador to Congo, Deborah Iliya made the announcement when she paid a visit to Nigerians living in Pointe Noire.
Iliya said her visit to pointe Noire was not just to commission the new Nigeria office but also serve as a fresh start for Nigerians living in pointe Noire.
Well it is progress and it all depends on when the headquarters respond to that but we are working on it and we keep on reminding them.
She reiterated that it is wise to have a consulate in Pointe Noire to enable Nigerians living in the city make the necessary transactions easy for the people.
“Well it is progress and it all depends on when the headquarters respond to that but we are working on it and we keep on reminding them because the good thing is that they asked us the population here which is used as a consideration to have such an office here. We have more that enough Nigerians living here. And as you can see, the distance between Pointe and Brazzaville where the embassy is very far. It takes almost an hour flight which so many people may not be able to afford,”
Speaking on the host country Congo, the Ambassador said Congo people are warm, hospitable, organised and also patriotic to their country noting that it is something she would like leave the place with.
“Despite the fact that they are small in number, when you arrive in Congo at the Airport, the first thing you notice is the clean environment also the way and manner the people drive. There are certain things in Congo that I admire a lot, also the environment is peaceful and the government here is trying as much as possible to ensure that foreigners have a conducive environment to operate,” she added.
Iliya said she plans to instill discipline during her tenure in office adding that people who leave in a foreign land should learn how to abide by the rules of the land. She urged Nigerians living in the Congo to ensure that the name, Nigeria is upheld in high standard.
“As you know, Nigerians are major dealers in spare parts in this country and we want to see how this can be inculcated into the children that are here,”
She also called on Nigerians in the country to avail themselves of the opportunity and visit home regularly and add value to the system back home.
The interim Chairman, Nigeria Community Association, Pointe Noire, Tagbo Chike while recounting the experience over the years noted that the relationship between Nigerians and the host community has improved in the last few years adding that there has been a better co-existence with the Congolese people.
“I believe this is to show case to Nigerians living in Pointe Noire that we have a liaison office that will help us relate well with the authorities of the host community and at any point in time we have misunderstanding, they have a place to come and address the issue. I believe that from now, Nigerians here will begin to have a sense of belonging and proudly identify themselves as Nigerians.,”
Speaking on the former status of Nigerian community in Pointe Noire, he said Nigerians were not well organised, adding that some were involved in illegal deals which gave concern to the host community.
“This administration will be very open to all and maintain a good communication with the Nigerian embassy in Brazzaville which are mandated to take care of our welfare in the land.s The office commenced 6 months ago, and we have been trying to bring Nigerians together in harmony,”
He revealed that a Nigerian was recently shot by the Congo police in Pointe Noire but that they are yet to confirm if he was involved in any dubious act. He however disclosed that the victim claimed not to be guilty of any offence.
According to the Ambassador, there are approximately 5000 Nigerians in the Republic of Congo and about 3000 are based in Pointe Noire.
The new office in Pointe Noire is expected to ensure a permanent communication with Nigeria consulate in the capital, Brazzaville for effective and efficient co -existence of Nigerians in Congo.