Nigeria-Italy Relations: To Soar higher as Abam resumes duty

By Raphael Oni

Nigeria-Italy relations will witness unprecedented turn around as His Excellency Mfawa O. Abam has been posted to Italy as Nigeria’s new Ambassador. Abam, the first career diplomat in recent times to head our mission in Italy will be bringing his expertise on table to ensure that high level diplomatic activities are visible between Nigeria and Italy.

Abam arrived in Rome, Italy couple of days ago, warmly received by Officials from the host Government, Senior Staff of the Embassy as well as members of the Nigerian Community. However, the Airport reception was low-key owing to COVID-19 restrictions.  

Abam was the Chief of Protocol in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, Nigeria before his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari. During his screening exercise before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, this humble public service was asked to take a bow and proceed to await his posting. This is as a result of some principal committees members took turn to speak on his professionalism as they have at one time or the other work with him.

In recent time, one can hardly point to  high level exchange of visits between Nigeria and Italy, unlike the other European countries when compared to the frequency of visit from countries like Germany, Netherland, United Kingdom to mention a few. With Ambassador Abam now as the Principal Representative of Mr. President, one will indeed begin to see positive outcomes of the brilliant decision of Mr. President sending him over to Italy in question of weeks.

Italy has an Embassy in Abuja Nigeria and also maintains a Consulate in Lagos Nigeria; with this kind of composition of diplomatic channels one will certainly expect more than what we currently see. The diplomatic channels will be more active now with Abam on board. As a trained and well experienced Foreign Service Officer who rose through all the ranks, one will certainly see professional touches especially with the good hands on staff already on ground at our Mission in Rome. He is a man that is ever ready to work with everyone that comes his ways.

Nigeria maintains a vibrant Embassy in Rome.  The work of the Nigerian Embassy is to co-ordinate, promote and protect the national interests of Nigeria within Italy in ways that contribute to the enhancement of Nigeria’s security and socioeconomic prosperity. Duties conducted by the Embassy include: Consular and Welfare matters, Immigration affairs, Legal and Education, Bilateral.

As a way of settling down to office and getting the ball rolling, Ambassador Abam met with members of the Nigerian community at a dinner. The dinner reception was held at the Ambassador’s Official Residence a step that reveals bring other Nigerians to himself.

While making a speech at the event, Ambassador Abam said he deemed it fit to begin his assignment by getting to meet and identify with the Nigerian community, and he solicited for their cooperation. He pledges that welfare of Nigerians living in Italy will be top on his priority list. Abam assure the people that he will ensure their rights are protected.

The Ambassador promised to live up to expectation; he called on members of the Nigerian community to ensure they are always on the side of the law, not found on the other side of the divide. In his words, “let us therefore reassure ourselves that at this period of our history, we are able and capable of regrouping with transformed pledges to be faithful, loyal and honest to Nigeria, our fatherland”.

His Excellency Abam has assumed duty and has presented copies of his Letters of Credence to Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Chief of the Diplomatic Protocol of the Italian Republic, in accordance to diplomatic protocols.

Abam started his career in 1993 as a Third Secretary in the Nigerian Foreign Service Academy, Lagos. He has had a consistent career spanning over twenty eight years. Abam served in various capacities both at the Headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign and our Foreign Mission.

Among the strategic positions he has held are Protocol Officer in the Office of the Chief of General Staff(the Vice President), 1996-1998; Third Secretary, Embassy of Nigeria, Cotonou, Republic of Benin(On Attachment)-1998-2000; Personal Assistant to the Special Presidential Envoy on Conflict Resolutions and Ecowas Special Representative on Côte d’Ivoire and the Mano River Union, 2000-2003; Counselor/Head of Chancery, Embassy of Nigeria, Tel Aviv,Israel, 2003-2007; Chief Protocol Officer to the wife of the Vice President, 2007 – 2009; Chief Protocol Officer to the wife of the Acting President, 2009 – 2010; Director of Protocol to the First Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2010-2015; Assistant Director, First United Nations Division, International Organisations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja, 2013; Deputy Director (Appointments, Promotions, Establishment and Discipline Division), 2015 – 2016; Minister/Head of Chancery, Embassy of Nigeria, Washington DC, United States of America 2016-2018; Minister/Head of Political Department, Embassy of Nigeria, Washington DC, United States of America, 2018-2019; Chief of Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2019-2020.

Abam attended the University of Calabar, the University of Dakar(Institute de Français pour Etudiants Etrangere), and the Nigerian Foreign Service Academy, Lagos is married to Ifeoma Abam, and they have three children.

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