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Nigeria’s envoy to the United Nations (UN) on Monday called on those of Africa descent to make 2019 a year of re-engagement with their African identities.

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, permanent representative of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the United Nations, made the remarks at the commemorative plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly to mark the International Day of the Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

In recognition of the 400th Anniversary of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, the African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government at the last Assembly held in February this year recalled the depredations and evils of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and its industrialization of racism, dispossession, discrimination and dehumanization, Muhammad-Bande said.

The leaders highlighted the strong spirit of resistance to the slave trade and reaffirmed their commitment to the unity of the African people, building an integrated Africa, as well as forging strong cultural, political, social and economic ties that will further the Pan-African dream among all peoples of African descent.

Celebrating the “Year of Our Return”, the AU places special emphasis on the Diaspora and its contribution to development in Africa. It also pays tribute to the role of civil rights movements in shaping the continent in the struggle for liberation and independence during the early 1960’s, he said.

The “Door of Return” is one pan-African initiative emblematic of an African Renaissance. It seeks to launch a new era of cooperation between Africa and the Diaspora in the 21st century.

The objective of the Door of Return initiative, spearheaded by Ghana, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, is to advance African economic development in areas of tourism, infrastructure and renewable energy, the African diplomat said.

The year 2019 should be a galvanizing one that will propel a surge of energy, and lead people of African descent to reconnect with Mother Africa, and vice versa, he said.

There is no doubt that a decade of return must begin, as we replace the “Door of No Return” with “the door of our return”, the African diplomat said, adding: “We must all work together to make 2019 a milestone moment in the history of Africans; and therefore in world history, as Africa is but a part of this exciting world.” Enditem

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