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Nigerians, other Africans form support system in SVG

Nigerians, other Africans form support system in SVG

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Nigerians and other Africans residing here, over 420 of them, have created a support system for themselves in the form of the Nigerian Association of St Vincent and the Grenadines (NASVG).

NASVG was inaugurated last Saturday, September 24, during a ceremony held at the Russell’s Auditorium at Stoney Ground.

Addressing the gathering of African students, government representatives and members of the constabulary, among others, president,{{more}} of NASVG Folunsho Ayanleke said that he and all Nigerians were very appreciative of the local democratic institution that allowed them to form NASVG.

Ayanleke noted that NASVG’s objectives are to respect and appreciate the cultural values of Africa and SVG, to promote development and achieve social, economic and educational equity of its members, to help foster peace and coexistence with SVG, to give back to SVG and to help educate persons.

He said that of the 420 Nigerians living here, 90 per cent are medical students, while the other 10 per cent are residents and persons who have married Vincentians. The NASVG president also used the opportunity to thank persons who supported them last year when a Nigerian student died here because of medical complications.

“The good people of SVG stood by us and gave us sympathy and empathy we needed,” said Ayanleke.

Also speaking at the inauguration, group member Cynthia Okoro said that living here has been an arduous but interesting and inspiring journey. She said that NASVG was born out of a suggestion by Nigerian missionaries who visited last year after a student lost his life because of meningitis.

She stressed that NASVG was formed with the intention of looking out for every Nigerian and African living in SVG, as well as to serve Vincentians in a unique way.

The inauguration ceremony also heard from masters of ceremony Ighodaro Adesuwa and Ifeanyi Duru, Minister of Education St Clair ‘Jimmy’ Prince and Commissioner of Police (COP) Reynald Hadaway.

During her interaction with the audience, Adesuwa said that Nigeria has over 500 languages and over 200 different cultures with different foods and dress. She is hoping to share some of these things with Vincentians.

In his address, the Minister of Education commented, “the rhythm of Africa beats well in our bones and we are proud of that and that is why we are happy to welcome you to St Vincent and the Grenadines and we hope that the education you would get here would last throughout your life.”

Prince also thanked the students who had assisted locals medically at times and urged them to find time to share their experiences and culture with us, because locals are curious about Africa.

He added that the image of Africa that we have is not the best, stressing that the students are at the forefront of helping us change the way we see the motherland.

The Commissioner of Police said that he and the entire police force are hoping that the Africans have the most pleasant stay possible and the police will do their best to make sure they are safe in their respective communities.

The COP said that the safety of students, like that of every Vincentian, is paramount, “and we will do our best to protect you.”

He also stressed that the police alone cannot ensure citizens’ safety, “…you must also ensure you are safe.”

The ceremony saw entertainment in the form of poetry, violin pieces and dancing, while there was also the cutting of the inaugural cake.

The group is headed by president Ayanleke, with the other executive members being secretary Isaac Ejesieme, treasurer Goodnews Etinbuk and vice-president Lacristo Ujebe.(LC)

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