The European Union Delegation in Nigeria has called on Nigerians to build on things that unite rather than divide the country, in spite of its diverse cultures and religions.
The Head of the EU Delegation in Nigeria, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, gave the advice in a broadcast in Abuja to celebrate Nigeria’s 60th independence.
He said the EU was proud that Nigeria has remained united despite its diversity.
“The amazing and rich diversity of Nigeria in terms of culture, language, religion, and ethnicity is simply unique, and a vital strength that should make every Nigerian proud,” Karlsen said.
According to him, togetherness is what defines the potential of Nigeria as a nation.
The envoy said although Nigeria still faces a number of challenges, the important achievements recorded in the 60 years should not be taken for granted.
He said the uninterrupted democratic rule for more than 20 years is worth celebrating too but must be nourished.
While calling for the inclusion of women, youths, and the disabled in the scheme of things, Karlsen said. “History will always judge us by our ability to protect those in our societies that are most in need.”
He said the treatment meted out to women, youth, people with disabilities, as well as the poor and vulnerable in general, would determine the quality of the Nigeria of tomorrow.
The envoy hailed Nigeria’s COVID-19 response, emphasising that the pandemic had demonstrated that investing in people and securing basic social services for all is the most vital priority of any thriving society.
“We have seen that in the swift response to the COVID-19 crisis in Nigeria. When the disease was raging the most within our own borders, we did not forget about our Nigerian friends, and provided massive support when it mattered the most: More than anywhere in the world outside of Europe,” he said.
Karlsen said the EU remains the leading trading partner of Nigeria and the largest investor, just as he reiterated the commitment of the nations that make up the EU to continue to partner with Nigeria and provide ample development and humanitarian aid because “Nigeria matters”.