More countries seek Nigerian professionals under DTAC
More countries have signified their intention to benefit from Nigeria’s initiative of manpower assistance through the Directorate of Technical Aid Corps (DTAC), which sends professionals and experts to needy African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to boost their human resource base.
In the last three years, the cooperation, which is a pillar of Nigeria’s foreign policy, and designed to project the country as a middle-level power in the comity of nations, has increased tremendously, Chief Executive of DTAC, Dr. Pius Olakunle Osunyikanmi disclosed.
The Directorate is an agency of the Federal Government saddled with the task of recruiting and deploying high and middle level Nigerian manpower to needy ACP countries on request in the spirit of South-South cooperation among developing countries of the world.
Osunyikanmi who made the disclosure at the commencement of his second five-year tenure as the Director-General of the body, said the scope of DTAC operations has been widened and that many countries in Africa and the Caribbean are signifying intentions to participate.
He listed the new countries to include Antigua and Barbuda, Fiji Island, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe stressing that the new interests was made possible by the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to make a success of the programme.
According to him, there are requests for more than 200 Nigerian professors to strengthen the academics of a number of African countries while Liberia has signified intention to have 100 teachers and nurses from Nigeria to assist the country in education and healthcare delivery.
Speaking further, Osunyikanmi said: “Today, we are present in about 10 countries and deployment is currently ongoing. We are currently engaging Liberia on revamping their education sector. The request from Seychelles is receiving our attention.
”Nigeria’s involvement in restoring democracy to the Gambia is being matched with corresponding manpower particularly in the University of the Gambia and the Judiciary. As at today we have 32 senior Lectures and Professors in the University and three High Court Judges.
“Similarly, we have about seventy senior academics in Uganda and Rwanda. The Nigeria Flag is equally flying in East Africa as evident in our outstanding presence in Zanzibar. In the Caribbean our partnership with Jamaica is working particularly in the area of skill transfer in Batik making and woodcarving.
“We are in the process of collaborating with the National Film and Video Censor Board to Sign an MOU where we would be sending upon the request of Jamaica for the best amongst over Nollywood Actors and Actresses to go and train Jamaican Actors and actresses in their quest to create their own version of Hollywood-Jamwood as you might want to call it. Our engagement with Belize is as strong as ever.”
Apart from giving Nigeria the required leverage in the diplomatic circles by providing support for the country when needed at the global stage, Osunyikanmi said the scheme has also exposed Nigerian professionals internationally and the experience gained cannot be quantified.
He explained: “Those who teach in the universities are shaping the worldview in their students and these are people who would grow to be decision makers in their countries in the nearest future. They cannot but think favourably about Nigeria.“Interestingly too, the scheme has virtually eliminated the hostilities that our traders and small scale business men usually experienced in those countries. We have through the scheme change the narration that Nigeria is made up of bad elements.
The outstanding performance of our volunteers has erased the narrative and interestingly a number of our volunteers are being sought for.”He gave kudos to Buhari saying, “this administration, more than the ones before it has been truly committed to deepening the goals of the Directorate through improved funding, and expanding Nigeria’s sphere of influence in the ACP countries. President Buhari from the hindsight of experience knows that the peace of our African brothers in their countries has direct correlation with the peace of Nigeria.
“He knew that it is more profitable to deploy our human resources; our brains to maintaining peace across the region rather than putting our booths on the ground. You can imagine the cost to Nigeria in bringing an end to the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra
Leone. Today, rather than sending Soldiers and tanks, we send Teachers, Professors and Experts. Education has replaced Ignorance in these countries.
“It may interest you to know that under President Muhammadu Buhari, we have received unprecedented requests for high calibre professionals across the ACP countries. His leadership qualities have endeared those countries that had previously opted out of the programme to now demand inclusion.”
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