Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ambassador Sanders' Remarksb at the Handover Ceremony of Nuclear Radiation Detection Equipment

Remarks as prepared for delivery
U.S. Ambassador Robin R. Sanders
Handover Ceremony of Nuclear Radiation Detection Equipment
Benue Room, Hilton Hotel, Abuja
November 18, 2008

Good Afternoon! I am honored to be with you today as part of this very important workshop on radiation detection and recovery. And I regret that, due to a conflict in my schedule, I was unable to join you at the opening ceremony yesterday. Please know that I am very supportive of this training, and of the work that you are doing for the benefit of your country.

Let me again recognize and congratulate Professor Elegba for his strong leadership and commitment to the development of Nigeria’s regulatory and institutional framework. I would also like to recognize and congratulate each and every one of you for your continuing dedication to ensuring that radioactive nuclear materials are safe, secure, and used for their intended peaceful purposes.

On May 26, 2004, the United Sates Government established the Global Threat Reduction Search and Secure Project to train nuclear regulatory agencies, such as the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, to locate, identify, and protect abandoned radioactive sources. So far, this project has benefited 23 nations and I am very pleased that by taking part in this training program, Nigeria has become a member of this select group. I am confident that this workshop will help you improve upon your already existing skills and techniques to more effectively and efficiently do the meaningful work that you do.

In this regard, the people and government of the United States, through the U.S. Mission in Nigeria, are pleased to partner with the people and government of Nigeria to assist the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority and other concerned agencies, in building the necessary professional and institutional capacity to ensure that radioactive nuclear materials are used safely and securely.

I am also very pleased to see that this workshop has brought together Nigerian professionals from across various agencies with a common goal of instituting a sound program for monitoring and safeguarding radioactive materials. I encourage you to nurture these networks as they will open vital lines of communication and foster valuable synergies that will advance your country’s vital interest in this area.

On behalf of the people and government of the United States of America, it gives me great pleasure to handover to the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority this nuclear radiation detection equipment.

I look forward to our continuing partnership, and I encourage you to take full advantage of the expertise available to you as evidenced by the skills, knowledge and experience of the participants in this room today.

I wish you luck as you complete your training and I am confident that you will continue to succeed in the very important work that you do, and in the exciting opportunities that await you in the future. Thank you.

Ambassador Sanders' Closing Remarks at the Aviation Safety and Security Workshop

Closing Remarks
U.S. Ambassador Robin Renee Sanders

Aviation Safety and Security Workshop
Hilton, Abuja
November 18, 2008

Good evening. I am honored to be here with you once again as you wrap up this workshop focused on making the skies safer for air travel in Nigeria. Over the last two days you have challenged yourselves, and each other, to create an atmosphere that allowed each and every one of you to understand what it takes to move toward the Category 1 status you are seeking, and, more importantly, to work together as you move forward to attain that status.

I am very impressed with the results of the workshops and with the commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm you have shown throughout. From what I have been hearing, you seem to have fully embraced the "Changing times, changing strategies" theme aimed at making the skies safer in Nigeria.

To fully realize the benefits of this conference, we need to make sure that we move forward together- as partners- to operationalize what we have learned in the many workshops over the past two days. Please know that the U.S. Mission in Nigeria supports you in this effort. As partners in aviation, we are also partners in the future of Nigeria. I commend you for what you have accomplished and have full confidence that as we move forward, together, we will achieve our shared vision of truly safe skies for Nigeria.

Ambassador Sanders' Remarks At a Workshop on Aviation Security and Safety

Welcome Remarks of U.S. Ambassador Robin Renée Sanders

Workshop on Aviation Security and Safety

November 17-18, 2008 – Abuja, Nigeria
All protocols duly observed.

Good morning and welcome to the Aviation Safety and Security Workshop which is highlighting the Changing Face of Aviation and Security in Nigeria. Some might rephrase by saying, Safer Skies for Nigeria. The U.S. Mission to Nigeria congratulates the Government of Nigeria as well as the private sector in the quest to attain the Category 1 status from the United States Federal Aviation Authority and thanks our partners in planning this workshop, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, and the Boeing Company.

The intent of this workshop is to create an atmosphere that allows each and every attendee to fully understand all the steps necessary for any country, including Nigeria, to attain Category 1 status, and as importantly, to keep it. I want to also thank all of you who have stepped up to participate by sponsoring talks, workshops, tea and lunch breaks. This type of public- private partnership is indeed the cornerstone to Nigeria’s future success in the global economy, because it brings all sectors together for a better understanding and an agreed way forward—while pooling resources and creating synergies that make a whole which is greater than the sum of the parts.

On the African continent the United States has been working with since the late 1990s to implement and manage a Safe Skies for Africa program. This is a U.S. presidential initiative, and it aims to increase the number of sub Saharan Africa countries that meet the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, improve safety at airports in the area, and improve regional air navigation services in Africa by deploying modern technologies. Additional U.S. government agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), U.S. Customs Service, Department of Defense and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) also support the initiative. Dr. Demuren can be the best speaker on how these programs have benefited Nigeria.

As partners, along with our sponsors and government leaders, we are offering this Workshop to focus on the eight key Category 1 areas that the U.S. is working on with Nigeria through its Federal Aviation Authority. Those are:
- Legislation
- Qualified technical personnel
- Regulation
- Licensing and certification
- Civil air authority structure and oversight functions
- Continued surveillance obligations
- Technical guidance
- Resolution of safety issues

These are presented here in four concurrent workshops on
- Safety and Security
- Environment
- Infrastructure
- Capacity Building

The message from us to you during this Workshop is that the United States, as a friend and partner, wants Nigeria to do well. We recognize that you face important challenges and crossroads, but we want you to know that we are with you in your efforts and will continue our vigil to partner with you to achieve your goals.

So thank you, friends, for joining us for this Workshop, enjoy your two-days, ask good questions, participate vigorously, please take this opportunity seriously.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ambassador Sanders' Policy Speech on U.S. Election Watch 2008

Policy Speech

U.S. Election Watch 2008: Transitions and Traditions

Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Robin Renée Sanders
As prepared for delivery.
November 4, 2008
Abuja, Nigeria

All protocols duly observed.

Good evening and welcome to the U.S. Mission’s 2008 Election Watch Celebration, a celebration of democracy. I want to begin my formal remarks by saying something to our democracy partners from civil society and the Nigerian media, and of course to our American private sector sponsors.

To our civil society and media partners who are working with us tonight, you are here because you, more than any other entity, are the voice of the people and the voice of the voiceless. This is what democracy is all about. For the private sector, democracies cannot flourish without your creativity, commitment to transparency, and willingness to be side-by-side with government in providing good jobs with fair wages. To Civil Society, the Press as the fourth estate, and the private sector, you are all here with us tonight because you play key roles in any democratic society, and you are important pillars in any democratic process.

For me, there are several key phrases that are symbolic, more than any others, which reflect the fundamental principles of any democracy. They are, “we the people,” and, “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Tonight, more than any other night, I believe that as the world watches this historic election taking place in the United States, these two phrases, in some way, are being thought about by Americans, Nigerians, and people all over the world. These two democratic principles are resonating and have meaning as people seek, want, and expect their democracies to help them achieve “a more perfect union” for their respective nations.

We all know that there are things that democracies should and must do for their people. Among them are: freedom of speech and assembly; free, fair and transparent electoral systems, which must be organized by an election commission committed to transparency; and freedom for the press without fear of reprisal or censorship. The U.S. Mission to Nigeria works with all of these partners in Nigeria- civil society, the press, and the private sector- through our four pillars of governing justly, which includes anti-corruption, investing in people, which includes education and health programs, economic development and trade, and peace and security in support of your efforts to make Nigeria a “more perfect union.

We all recognize that we live in a global village in challenging times. These times have added, in my view, another important component to the respect for democracy. That is, respect for diversity, without which a nation cannot move forward. As 27 millions Americans have already cast their vote, and another 120 million Americans are expected to go to the polls today, they will be voting for the most diverse spectrum of American candidates in the history of our nation, representing diversity in age, gender and race.

Whomever Americans elect as they exercise their right to vote will be entrusted with the responsibility to ensure that we continue our tradition of working toward a more perfect union. This election night watch is an opportunity for us, as Americans, to celebrate and share our deeply-rooted traditions of democracy with our friends in Nigeria.

We have all been touched by the interest of Nigerians and other citizens from around the world, in this year’s U.S. Elections. The message from us to you this evening is that the United States, as a friend and partner, wants you to do well. We recognize that you face important challenges and crossroads at this time in your history, but we want you to know that we are with you in your effort to have good governance free of corruption, respect for the rule of law, improved development, and peace and security throughout Nigeria and particularly in the Niger Delta. The U.S. Mission is supporting you in your efforts to achieve a democracy that truly works for you- the people of Nigeria.

So thank you, friends, for joining us this evening as we celebrate democracy. Stay as long as you like, or come back in the morning, as we will be here until the election results come in. Together through this Election Watch, we are sharing in one of the key pillars of democracy: a dynamic, exciting, and transparent election. We have this for America, and for Nigeria we know that the complex, creative, dynamic, intellectual, hard-working, innovative, energetic, talented, resilient, formidable, diverse spirit that is this nation, will choose- no will insist- on a democracy that is truly reflective of who you are and what you want from your government to make Nigeria a more perfect nation.

Thank you for coming, enjoy your evening, and may God bless the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

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