14th January 2024

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...As Embassy Host Fashion Show ‘TORLOWEI’ in Abuja


The Kingdom of Belgium is a much-loved and respected country whose influence and affluence continues to place her among leading nations and global decision makers. A notable Power House in Europe, Belgium proudly hosts and promotes significant gatherings, deliberations and declarations that advances regional and world-wide peace, prosperity and progress.

Ambassador Leenknegt presenting his Credence Letter to President Tinubu

Broadly reputed as a friend of many nations and dependable ally, Royaume de Belgique multi-faceted partnerships, impactful, contributions and growth outreaches are yielding profitable outcomes that are benefitting many. Despites national security threats faced by many countries, the nation zero tolerance on (all forms of) criminality and aggressive confrontations on practices that harms peoples, and the environment (including terrorism) makes it a preferred place of visitation and safe abode for dwellers and travellers alike.

Various handlers of the country are committedly ensuring Konigreich Belgien remains relevant to global advancement agenda with exemplary and responsive leadership that are ensuring citizenry comfortability, rapid development realisations and humanity improvements.

H.E Leenknegt during his remarks at TORLOWEI fashion show, on his right is Ms Patience Torlowei and daughter (L)

Koninkrijk Begie is a blend of history (the Battle Field of Europe) and modernity with vast commercial activities, improvements efforts and humanitarian interventions that reaches most part of the world including Africa. Nigeria, the continent’s giant, is also a beloved friend of Belgium with existing and rewarding relations that have spanned over 6 decades’ of engagements and still waxing stronger. This enviable association is committedly and continually enhanced by efforts of the two countries leaderships and the good citizens of both lands.

Being a priority partner of Nigeria, envoys after envoys are doing their best in building blocks of unity and expanding vital reachouts that helps in solidifying ongoing diplomatic ties. Kudos therefore to past and present ‘Team Belgium in Nigeria’ and especially the current Head of Mission, Ambassador Pieter Leenkgnet for continuing the great works on ground.

Vast array of Guests at the Fashion Show at the expansive Ambassador residence

Ambassador Leenkgnet is a well-qualified, well-exposed and cerebral envoy with vast experience in diplomacy and human relations matters. A proud Belgian and worthy chief representative of his country in Nigeria, whose widely accepted and much-loved leadership is making Belgium.

  • An increasingly and indispensable ally of Nigeria.
  • An invaluable companion in defence and security partnership,
  • A crucial economic growth partner,
  • A climatic change advocate and environmental improvement promoter, and
  • An education, culture, fashion, entertainment and media growth collaborator among other growth activities.

In addition to these, the two sisterly nations share many valued collaborations and connexion as His Excellency Leenknegt headship continues to enhance high-level governmental and people-to-people interactions. The High-Income country is a core and strategic business partner of Nigeria with over 40 Belgian firms engaging in various trade commodities such as: motor vehicles and spares, chemicals and pharmaceuticals products, machinery, (also in feed mill and poultry machineries), plastics, precious stones/diamonds, foods, textile products, iron & steel, among other imports to Nigeria.

Some of TORLOWEI textile products on display

During the presentation of his Credence Letter to the Nigerian President at the State House in Abuja, Ambassador Leenkgnet further assured Mr. President and the great Nigerian People of Belgium’s deepened cooperation in investment growth opportunities, the administration lofty pursuits and ongoing national development strives, even as President Tinubu canvassed for more Belgium-Nigeria maritime industry collaborations.

ANIM staff both males on white with Mrs Gill Lever (center right), UK Deputy High Commissioner, Abuja and another attendee at the show

Since assuming office as Ambassador in Nigeria, His Excellency Mr. Leenknegt is gradually opening more gates and expanding more gaits for a bolstered relationship with Nigeria and other development agencies in the country. He is actively reaching out to relevant stakeholders, productively aligning with interested key players and increasing Belgium visibility in the country. He is also known among other foreign missions and colleague ambassadors as a friend, dependable partner and nation-building supporter.

SPRING SUMMER 2024 PRESENTATION-An Introduction to the world of TORLOWEI:

The Belgian Mission in Nigeria is known and applauded for its ‘Art and Culture’ promotions among other admirable initiatives involvement in the country. In this light, the Embassy in Abuja under Ambassador Leenkgnet leadership hosted one of its end of the year events, a fashion show, TORLOWEI, that witnessed the presence of many distinguished attendees. The open house show which elicited accolades from the public took place at the Ambassador’s residence in Abuja featured the fast rising, award winning and internationally renowned fashion designer Ms. Patience Torlowei

Patience Torlowei is a celebrated fashion designer known for creating the “Esther dress”, the first piece of couture ever to join the Smithsonian institution’s national museum of African art’s permanent collection in Washington DC, USA. The elegant and down to heart lady is the founder and creative director of Torlowei, a fashion house based in Lagos. She is also applauded for designing and producing sustainable, timeless, and ethical pieces. Patience Torlowei was featured in legendary American vogue editor Andre Leon Talley’s memoir.

During his opening remarks Ambassador Leenkgnet praised the efforts, resilience and accomplishments of Torlowei in the Creative and Fashion Industry, stating that the Mission is proud to associate with her, her works, positive societal impacts and exemplary strides particularly as she models the new generation and other fashion designers on innovations, creativity and passion for progress.

Ambassador Leenknegt with ANIM staff Tunde Adejuwon at a Spanish Art show in Abuja

During her brief speech the radiant and amiable Belgian-Nigerian fashion sensation TORLOWEI who also graced the occasion in the company of her daughter, a core partner and co-contributor of her works, thanked the Embassy for organising the event in her honour and appreciated all those who came to celebrate with her. She noted that hardwork, focus, discipline, integrity and right networks are some of the hallmarks that has brought and sustained the admired success witnessed. She urged upcoming stars and practitioners in the industry to reach for the top in their strides, believe in their worth and continue to recognise and promote excellence at all times.

ANIM Boss, Olumide Ogunlade and Ambassador Leenknegt displaying magazine during media outfit courtesy call at the Belgian Embassy in Abuja

As a friendly foreign mission with cross-cutting alliances in the country, Friends of the Embassy trooped out in excitement to attend the Open House show displaying some of the celebratory products of this Creative Mind.  Some of the invitees includes: H.E. Mrs Emmanuelle Blatmann, Ambassador of France to Nigeria, H.E. Kim Young Chae, Ambassador of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea to Nigeria, Mrs Gill Lever OBE, British Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission, Abuja, Others include fashion enthusiasts, business/men and women, top government officials, CSOs, Art & Culture lovers, distinguished members of the press, etc. It was a time of excitement, interaction, sight-seeing, inspiration and refreshment.

ANIM Editor-in-Chief with Nigeria Ambassdor to Belgium, H.E. Obinna Onowu at the Nigerian Embassy in Brussels, Belgium

Special salute also to Mrs Veronique Bernard, Belgian Embassy Deputy Ambassador/Consul, a woman of dedication, hardwork and salutary strides and the Team Belgium in Nigeria for their continued contributions towards making the Belgium-Nigeria Bilateral Ties, a perpetual gain and alliance of pride.

Acclaim Nigeria International Magazine (ANIM) attended and covered the event.


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