The Secretary-General, National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM-UNESCO), Mr. Olagunju Idowu has said the Commission under his watch will work tirelessly to ensure that ministries and agencies of government in Nigeria access available benefits from UNESCO activities.
Olagunju made this known on Tuesday, April 13, 2020 when the Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mallam Ado Muhammed Yahuza led other Directors of the Institute on a courtesy visit to his office.
According to him, Nigeria as a strong member state that has been up to date in paying its dues should not be allowed to miss one single benefit from UNESCO and NATCOM-UNESCO is there to ensure ministries and agencies that are supposed to benefit from the little support coming from UNESCO in terms of funding and human capacity do so.
His words “NATCOM-UNESCO serves as a liaison office that interfaces in issues that has to do with UNESCO and ensure that Nigeria benefits as much as possible from all UNESCO programmes and ideals. At NATCOM, we are ensuring that there is no lacuna anywhere and where there will be any, we will stand and ensure that they are filled up as at when necessary”.
He commended NICO for consistently living up to expectations of UNESCO in terms of participation in activities as well as meeting up requirements for accessing funds. “I know NICO has at one time or the other, enjoyed one or two things from UNESCO, especially in participation programmes where UNESCO supports and Nigeria makes its contribution and these are ways of ensuring there is peace everywhere because the main thing UNESCO is preaching is peace”.
“If there is an agency that NATCOM UNESCO has had very good working relationship with is NICO. Since I came on board, I have heard very good things about NICO. We have never had any issue with NICO because anytime we send anything to NICO, we get response on time and UNESCO programmes are always time bond and if you don’t act on time, you are likely to lose that very programme”.
“As at present, there is one that has already been approved for NICO. Last time NICO had an opportunity and this time again, NICO has an opportunity so it tells you that NICO is up and doing and I give it to NICO as one of the best we are having on ground and we are proud of you. By the grace of God and with the kind of new ES in NICO, I think he is a very good person to work with and it also makes me to be sure that we are going to have a robust working relationship”.
While urging the Management of NICO to also package the promotion of indigenous languages for funding support in their subsequent presentations to UNESCO, the Secretary- General said the Institute should feel free to draw up programmes to be submitted to UNESCO and ensure the Commission is carried along so as to give the necessary support when UNESCO the time comes even in absentia.
In company of the Executive Secretary during the visit were: Mr. Alex Omijie (Director, Orientation & Cultural Affairs); Mr. Michael Ekoko (Director, Research & Documentation); Mr. Damilola Adegbite (PA-ES); Mr. Jonathan Nicodemus; Mr. Caleb Nor; and Miss Njideka Dimgba while on ground to receive the NICO delegation alongside the Secretary-General were; Mrs. Winifred Ehi-Amadin (Deputy Sector Secretary of Culture); and Mr. Tony Asielue.