Mayor of the US city of Newark, Ras Baraka, has praised the can-do spirit and contributions of members of the Nigerian community to the city’s development.
Baraka gave the commendation when the Nigerian Consul General in New York, Benayaogha Okoyen, paid him a courtesy visit.
He said Nigerians were very hardworking and goal-oriented people, hence their inclusion in the city’s administration.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that a Nigerian, Ugochukwu Nwaokoro, is the city’s Deputy Mayor for International Relations and Diaspora Affairs.Mildred Crump, another Nigerian, is currently the President of the Newark Municipal Council, the first black woman to hold that office, and also to be elected into the council.
Others include: Jude Nkama, who serves as a judge in the Newark Municipal Court, and Innocent Okemezie, a commissioner in the office of the Mayor African Commission.
Later at a meeting with members of the Nigerian community, the consul general could not hide his excitement over the success of Nigerians based in Newark.
He added: “I feel very excited that Nigerians are doing well in the city of Newark, not just here alone, but in different other communities and states in the US.
“That is the story we are telling everyone that when you give a Nigerian an opportunity he will always excel.
“So, it is important for us to always conduct ourselves in this manner so that we will show the world the stuff we are made of.”
At the meeting were Nwaokoro, the deputy mayor; Crump, the council president; Nkama, the Newark court judge, and Kazeem Bello, President of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation, among others.
Crump announced plans by members of the council to send a delegation on a visit to Nigeria to explore business, trade and investment opportunities.
Bello said Nigeria and Nigerians had a lot to gain from Newark, which hosts many industries that depend on agricultural raw materials such as cocoa and cashew produced by Nigeria.
Okoyen assured members of the Nigerian community of the consulate’s commitment to the speedy issuance of passports, visas and other travel documents to facilitate their journeys to Nigeria.
He said: “The consulate is open to relate with you on any area, whether you are doing a small or large-scale business. Whatever issues you have, bring them we are willing to partner with you.
“We will not discriminate against anyone, and we are not doing you a favour by rending those services, it is your right.
“Always demand for our services. We run an open government. It is important we know these things.”
The CG was accompanied by Nicholas Ella, Consul (Trade and Investment); Nini Okey-Uche, Consul (Immigration and Community Relations), and Leornard Asekhame, Consul (Welfare).