December 3, 2013 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s first lady Mary Ayen Mayardit has been honored by the Nigerian community at a colorful ceremony held in the capital, Lagos last week.
- Owusi Patgrace who represented the Nigerian community (L) presenting the gift to South Sudan’s first lady (Photo credit: Larco Lomayat)
Ayen, who had visited the West African nation, received a gift with a sword inscribed at its edge. The accolade reportedly symbolised a weapon capable of defending South Sudan’s sovereignty from external threats.
The first lady, largely speaking through a translator, thanked the Nigerian community for the unique gift and vowed to spearhead stronger future relations with them.
In a separate development, Ayen and her Nigerian counterpart, Patience Goodluck Jonathan discussed how new nation could join the African First Ladies’ Peace Mission (AFLPM). Formed in 1995, AFLPM strives to promote peace and harmony on the continent.
The South Sudanese first lady also toured the AFLPM secretariat in Abuja and later discussed with her Nigerian counterpart prospects for stronger future relations.
While in Abuja, Ayen also met the South Sudanese community in the country and encouraged them to promote the good image of the world’s youngest nation.
Parmena Makuet Riak, South Sudan’s head of mission in Nigeria described the first lady’s visit as a "real" boost to the new nation’s image in the West African country.
Nigeria was one of the first African nations that recognized South Sudan’s independence when it seceded from Sudan on 9 July 2011. A member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Lagos reportedly played a major role in peace efforts that ended two decades of the north-south Sudan civil war.