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Cablegate: Nigeria: Inaugural Ceremony for Eddi

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000601

SIPDIS


INFO NSC WASHDC
AID WASHDC
ECOWAS COLLECTIVE


STATE FOR AF/W AND AF/RA
NSC FOR FRASER
AFR/SD/EDDI FOR DR. SARAH MOTEN
AFR/DAA FOR KEITH BROWN


E.O. 12958 : N/A
TAGS: EAID SCUL KDEM NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: INAUGURAL CEREMONY FOR EDDI
COMMUNITY RESOURCE CENTER IN ABUJA


1. A highly successful inaugural ceremony for
the first of six EDDI Community Resource Centers
CRC) was held on Tuesday, February 19, at the
National Center for Women's Development in Abuja.
Ambassador Jeter gave the opening address, in which
he explained the genesis of the Community Resource
Center Initiative and our hope for what it will
mean for Nigeria's future information technology
development, distance learning, and greater
opportunities for the physically challenged.
The Director General of the National Center for
Women Development welcomed the gathering of over
two hundred guests.


2. President Obasanjo's keynote address was delivered
by the Minister of Science and Technology,
Professor Turner Isoun. Professor Isoun noted the
President's gratitude for this assistance to
Nigeria and for the sizeable stake EDDI has devoted
to Nigeria. He called the decision to name the
center after Chief Justice Ige "highly thoughtful,
visionary and commendable." The First Lady, Stella
Obasanjo, who attended as the special guest of
honor, welcomed the initiative. Dr. Sarah Moten,
EDDI Coordinator, spoke about EDDI activities in
Nigeria and said that this outreach represented our
belief in being inclusive and engaging all segments
of Nigerian society. Dr. Moten also noted that
Nigeria is blessed with tremendous opportunities
and that the U.S. is prepared to help ensure a
strong, united and vibrant Nigeria.


3. Following the program, the officials present
presided at a ribbon-cutting and commissioning
ceremony at the entrance of the Community Resource
Center. The Center is named the Chief Bola Ige
Information Technology Center, in honor of the
contributions to law, education and development of
the late Minister for Justice, who was assassinated
on December 23, 2001. The ribbon-cutters were the
First Lady, Professor Isoun as the President's
representative, Ambassador Jeter, Dr. Sarah Moten,
and Ige's widow, Justice Atinuke Ige.


4. This group was then led on a special tour of the
facility, which includes a specially equipped room
for the physically challenged. In tribute to the
First Lady's work on behalf of these disadvantaged
persons,the room is being called "The Stella
Obasanjo Enabling Technologies Room". The First
Lady was visibly moved by the gesture and impressed
by the fact that persons with disabilities,
including one who was severely vision impaired,
were actually using the equipment.


5. Other services demonstrated included independent
computer learning, classroom computer instruction,
Internet use, and video-conferencing. As part of
the program, a special video conferencing session
was arranged between the Minister of Education and
Minister of Science and Technology and the
President and academic leaders of North Carolina
Central University.


6. The CRC opening received highly favorable media
coverage. The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA)
broadcast a 30-minute documentary on the
commissioning of the center on Wednesday, February
20. The station also carried a three-minute report
of the event in each of the three segments of its
news broadcasts. Minaj Broadcasting International
(MBI) carried a two-minute report on the center,
saying "The United States of America has taken the
initiative in honoring Nigeria's former Justice
Minister and Attorney General, the late Chief Bola
Ige." Most of Nigeria's major dailies and radio
stations also reported on the inauguration.


7. The Ambassador wrote to several members of Congress
and Department officials informing them of the
planned opening of the CRC. JC Watts of Oklahoma,
John Lewis of Georgia and William Jefferson of
Louisiana - sent letters of congratulations to the
Embassy for the launch of the first CRC, and
offered strong support for EDDI programs in
Nigeria.


JETER

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