The African Diplomatic Group in Nigeria has called for proper investment in the development of the youths, to promote peace and unity in the continent.
The Dean of the group, Mr Salaheddine Abbas Ibrahima, made this call while donating sports equipment on behalf of the group to youths at the Abuja Tennis Club.
The event seeks to mark the 2018 African Day, with the theme: “Fighting against Corruption in Africa” as an annual commemoration of the founding of the African Union (AU).
Ibrahima, also High Commissioner of Cameroonian in Abuja, said the need to invest in the youth had become important to encourage social interaction among them.
According to him, as Africans we do not have to be separate from our host country, wherever we are in Africa, we have to be citizens of that country.
Ibrahima said, “Generally people see tennis as a game of the elites, but when we see less privileged children playing the game, it is a duty for us to help them grow.
“This is the motive of our action, it is the reason we gave them support to promote interaction among youth, which is key instrument to develop unity in our continent.
“Africa has been divided for so long by various conflict and misunderstanding; it is important to take children from their early ages to know each other, interact and exchange values.
“By so doing we will achieve the desired goal and make meaningful progress in the continent.”
He further commended the signing of bilateral agreement by African countries on youth development, saying that it is a right step in the right direction.
Also speaking, the President of Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), Ifedayo Akindoju, appreciated the group’s gesture being the first of its kind in the FCT and Nigeria at large.
He said that the beneficiaries were orphans between the ages of seven and ten years, adding that the donation of the sporting equipment is a good impartation to humanity.
According to him, it is the first time it is happening and it shows that the diplomatic community in Abuja is sensitive on how sports can affect youths positively.
“These children live around the Stadium, some are even children of Fulani herdsmen, who reside in hamlets with their parents and cattle.
“They have been playing tennis from the age of five and we did selection by identifying them all along, we know them as part of the tennis community in the national Stadium.
“It was based on their performances and their background we did the selection,” Akindoju said.
He urged well-meaning Nigerians to support less privileged children to encourage peaceful co-existence in the country.
He, however, thanked the group for giving them a sense of belonging and promised to live up to their expectations in tennis game.
It could be recalled that OAU was founded on May 25, 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, when 32 African states that had achieved independence at that time agreed to establish the body.
Also, 21 states joined to arrive 53 when African Union (AU) was created in 2002, meanwhile the figure currently stands at 54 since South Sudan became AU member on July 9, 2011.
The African Diplomatic Group in Nigeria comprises all African Diplomatic Missions accredited in Nigeria.