As a growing international media organization and one of the few African media with privileged membership of the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD), Brussels, Belgium, Acclaim Nigeria International Magazine (ANIM) continues to promote diplomacy and development works of critical development players across the world. Its journalistic searchlight again beamed on one of Nigeria finest Envoys, a proud son of the soil blazing the trail and making the nation proud in Belgium, Europe and globally through his laudable works. Towards this, ANIM crew recently visited him at the Nigeria Embassy in Brussels, Belgium. The (instructive and inspiring) visitation led by the Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Olumide Ogunlade, further assured that our great and beloved country is on the right track in her foreign policy drive, overall growth pursuits and global respectability positioning.
“OUR DUTY HERE IS PROMOTING NIGERIA FIRST, STRENGTHENING RELATIONS WITH HOST COUNTRIES, PRODUCTIVELY ENGAGING WITH RELEVANT STAKEHOLDERS AND FOSTERING GLOBAL BEST PRACTICES IN ALL OUR DIPLOMATIC AND DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES” …Amb Obinna Onowu.
Since independence and when Nigeria began to establish diplomatic relations with other nations of the world, the country is fortunate and blessed with best envoys: men and women who are salutary, selfless and sacrificial in the advancement of the country’s success and sustainability. These indispensable and intelligent (career and appointive) diplomats at all spheres of global representations (both past and present) across the world are making the nation proud, placing her in the league of top-rated sovereignties through their admirable inputs and deliveries. And one of such Envoys breaking the barrier of impossibility, raising the bar of excellence and providing sound and invaluable headship in his various Tour of Duty and responsibility is H.E (Amb) Obinna Chiedu Onowu.
Ambassador Onowu, the 17th and current Ambassador/Head of Mission of the Embassy of Nigeria in Belgium, Luxembourg and European Union is a worthy representative and pleasant Envoy that has risen through the ranks and meritoriously served in various diplomatic assignments, He is a man with unalloyed love for his country and countrymen/women, hardworking, a proudly Nigerian diplomat that is taking the Nigerian Mission in Belgium to greater heights and impact thus bringing increased recognition, relevance and respectability to the nation abroad.
It takes wits, tact and inventiveness to foster and sustain Nigeria’s foreign policy thrust and the nation is endowed with seasoned and untiring diplomatic corps vanguarding these international growth realizations. As a senior serving career diplomat with vast roles and reachouts, Ambassador Onowu continues to promote Nigeria’s interests in all ramifications and tasks undertaken; deepening ties with critical development stakeholders; enhancing strategic relations with host countries, organizations and institutions; expanding profitable networks; ensuring gainful outcomes; and bringing honors to the Mission and nation in no small terms.
The Embassy of the Federal of Republic Of Nigeria in The Kingdom of Belgium, Grand Duchy Luxembourg and the European Union advances in gaits and glory with enviable feats that are earning Nigeria accolades in the Heart of Europe. It is an engaging Mission equipped with competent officers and staff with lots of beneficial programmes and projects ongoing and His Excellency, Ambassador Obinna Onowu is providing the needed direction and support for the Embassy optimal performance.
The Ambassador is also working closely with the European Commission, The European Council, the Secretariat of the Organization of Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS), African Union, ECOWAS, Nigeria’s Technical Aids Corp program (TAC), the Department of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA), Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), A-Law: an international law firm facilitating foreign direct investment and training Nigerian Judges and Lawyers, Belgium-Luxembourg-Nigeria Chambers of Commerce, BLNCC, other diplomatic missions and a host of other organizations including the media. His efforts at the Embassy are positively turning things around and rapidly bringing gains in the following areas:
EFFECTIVE CONSULAR & IMMIGRATION SERVICES
Consular and Immigration services provision is one of the core duties of any diplomatic mission, and the Nigerian Embassy in Belgium is leaving no stone unturned in the discharge of its responsibility in this special area. A visit to the Mission testifies of the superlative works going on. During ANIM recent visitation, the media is pleased to note the decency, decorum and dedication of the Consular and Immigration Team in the discharge of their duties. Special salute to these indifatigable Nigerians (including Nigerian Merit Award recipient and Immigration Attache Mr. Dokoro G. Samaila) for their devotions and nationalistic service delivery at the Embassy.
Passports processes and issuance are orderly and seamless at the Embassy, and every step in the application and collection are fully automated and transparent. From booking appointments, official online payment, capturing and biometrics activity and visitation for collections depicts excellence all the way. By these, the Embassy now prides itself as a trusted hub where Nigerians in Europe sees and calls home and are happy that no matter the challenges encountered there are helping hands and listening ears that cares.
Speaking to Ambassador Onowu on this, the Envoy attributes the excellence observed in Consular and Immigration progressions to leadership vision, foresight, supervision and commitment from all staff and assures they are not resting on their oars on the level of success achieved. He also wants more seamless visa payments processes from the company handling it on behalf of the Federal Government to enable speedy payment and more visa provision opportunities for the teaming applicants at the Embassy.
“Nigeria First’ is not only a priority but also a civic responsibility for all Nigerians far and near”…Amb Onowu.
PROMOTION OF CULTURAL INTEGRATION AND ENHANCED RELATIONS
Ambassador Onowu is a detribalized Nigerian, whose efforts in the unity, prosperity and continuity of Nigeria are captivating. The mix of staff, love and respect for visitors demonstrated at the Embassy speaks volume, making the Mission a comfy center with the Man at the head lovable and easy to relate with.
For him social cohesion, cultural integration, compassionate leadership and people’s interaction are crucial for work efficiency and national development, and being a bridge-builder, he is bringing people together and productively enhancing people to people ties. Through his regular contacts with Nigerians in Diaspora especially those living, working and studying in Belgium and Luxembourg, attending their town hall meetings, listening and swiftly taking actions on their complaints, honoring invitations to religious and social functions/programmes, interacting with leadership of NIDO, NIDCOM and other key representations, and ensuring excellent human relations, the Embassy is moving positively forward in its mission and objectives.
EHANCING TRADE AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Nigeria is a key trade center and desirable partner globally; with her massive population, huge market, diverse resources, strategic location, emerging business opportunities and economic cooperation the country is a needed commercial ally. Nigeria is the largest trading partner of the European Union, accounting for 60% of EU’s trade with West Africa with trade Oil & Gas dominating the trade.Trade relations between Nigeria and Belgium is rapidly growing and both nations are burgeoning efforts on both sides to continue and upscale the trend. Since inception as Head of Mission at the Nigerian Embassy in Belgium nearly two years now, and, in line with the country’s economic diversification and ease of doing business drive, varied economic activities are taking place regularly.
Ambassador Onowu is strengthening partnerships with existing and new business structures while evolving newer initiatives and unions. In his maiden ‘Meet and Greet’ session with the Belgium-Luxembourg-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce (BLNCC), H.E Onowu used the opportunity to further introduce to the international community the national development efforts of the present administration and its desires to promote sectors other than Oil & Gas in Nigeria, thus using the platforms to galvanized interests and bolster supports for trade investments attainments in Nigeria.
And, over the years, the Envoy has progressively built rapport germane to both nations economic diplomacy with Nigerian business group visiting Belgium and Belgian investors visiting Nigeria to foster trade trusts and alliances.
The 2023 Nigeria-Belgium-Luxembourg Business Forum:
In furtherance therefore, the Embassy is organizing the 2023 Nigeria-Belgium-Luxembourg Business Forum in conjunction with the Belgium-Luxembourg-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce (BLNCC), Afrinex West Africa, Diplomatic Vista and A-Law International Firm, scheduled to take place on the 7th-9th, 2023 at the Novote Luxembourg Center, 35 Rue du Laboratoire-Luxembourg and in Belgium from 8th-9th 2023 at Tangla Hotel, Avenue E. Mounier 5, 1200 Brussels, Belgium.
The high-level get-together of key Industry players will be focusing on the agric-business, health, construction/infrastructure, renewable energy, financial services, etc. it will also be featuring plenary/ thematic session, panel discussions, country/sector presentation, B2B meetings among others.
The extraordinary forum among others is also expected to:
- Improve the level of interaction between businesses in the three countries in the non-oil sector.
- Increase bilateral trade relations between Nigeria and Belgium/Luxembourg.
- Promote investments opportunities and platforms among the three countries
- Develop and share knowledge on innovative business and financing models, to support private sector engagement in the priority sector of the Nigerian economy.
- Building sustainable business partnership between the government and private sectors of Nigeria, Belgium and Luxembourg
Various presentations will be made on the opportunities for investment in Nigeria by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and insights from Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and other Government Agencies.
FOSTERING GLOBAL GOOD AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
During the media visit and discussion, Ambassador Onowu an avid advocate of youth advancement and global good promotions also used the opportunity to briefly dwell of matters of international concerns calling on global leaders and citizens alike to rise up and collectively confront disheartening global challenges, such as: illegal immigration, crimes at all levels, terrorism, kidnapping and extra-judicial killings, climatic problems, gender inequality and discriminations, corruption, human rights abuse and bad governance, political instability, unwarranted wars and other dire global development troubles.
ANIM Editor-in- Chief with some members of staff at the Nigeria Embassy in Belgium
He also urged Nigerian and African youths to be growth-minded, innovative and better ambassadors of the continent; to desists from illegal immigration and embarking on desperate and dangerous journey (across seas, forests and desert) to Europe that could abruptly end their lives and aspirations. For him, Nigeria is a land of huge potentials and development opportunities, and her youths should continually look inwards to maximally benefits from the goodness inherent in the land and become exemplary and pace-setters in the region.
Making the planet a place of peace, prosperity and progress is a priority for all peoples. …Amb Onowu.
A leader with an open-door policy, he urged Nigerians (including students) in Belgium and Luxembourg (and in Europe) to be law abiding, live according to the rules and regulations of the land, perfect their various papers and documents where and when necessary, be part of the moving forward affairs of the Nigerian House in Belgium, because it belongs to them.
Kudos Mr. Ambassador, Keep The Goods Works Up, Nigeria Salutes Your Strives And Strides!