Ambassador Riitta Korpivaara arrived to Nigeria in September 2011 and on 24th July 2014 she paid a farewell visit to the H.E. the President of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan. The Ambassador of Finland to Nigeria is accredited also to Benin, Ghana, Liberia and ECOWAS. The first Honorary Consulate of Finland in Nigeria was inaugurated in the autumn of 2012 in Lagos.
Promoting trade and economic relations
Bilateral relations between Nigeria and Finland have always been excellent and it is the priority of the Finnish Embassy in Nigeria to keep the relations outstanding. Another focus area of the Embassy is to promote trade and economic relations between Nigeria and Finland. Finland has a trade office FINPRO in Lagos, which is ready to assist Nigerian and Finnish companies with their contacts and knowledge to enhance commercial co-operation between the two countries. During Ambassador Korpivaara's tenure of office two road-shows were organized in Finland to promote various opportunities of doing business in Nigeria. There were more than 300 Finnish companies participating in these events and showing interest towards Nigeria and towards Africa in general. Finland also participated in the EU-Nigeria Business Forum in Lagos last autumn. The Forum was an excellent event for networking and experience sharing about the business possibilities in Nigeria.
Ambassador Korpivaara organized together with other Nordic Embassies a three-day Nordic Business and Cultural Event in Lagos in February 2012. The event “Nordic Spirit in Culture and Business” was a great success and gave the participants an excellent opportunity to experience Nordic countries with all their senses. The Nordic Business was presented in a wide range of Nordic world known companies. Finnish companies were of course among them; Nokia – one of the global leaders in ICT, Nokia-Siemens Networks and Wärtsilä representing power generation sector.
Immigration affairs, including prevention of human trafficking and illegal immigration, are also one focus area of the Embassy as it covers almost twenty West African countries. In 2013, the Embassy initiated a successful professional visit of Nigerian delegation consisting of authorities of NAPTIP (Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other related matters), Nigerian State Security Service (SSS), Nigerian Immigration service and Nigerian police to Finland. They had a great opportunity to exchange good practices in the field of human trafficking, border control and other related matters. The Embassy looks forward to fruitful continuation of the cooperation in signing the Memorandum of Understandings on the Law Enforcement Cooperation in Preventing and combating trafficking in persons together with NAPTIP and the Ministry of Interior of Finland in the near future.
Finnish Embassy has also been very active in promoting basic education in Nigeria during Ambassador Korpivaara's tenure. Nigerian education experts have visited Finland during the past years to observe and learn about Finnish Education system and to identify Finnish partners to assist them in reforming the Nigerian Education system. Ambassador Korpivaara was delighted to hear that these visits have been useful for reforming Nigerian Education system, which will benefit all Nigerian children. She has also participated in many Nigerian educational conferences as a guest speaker promoting education as bedrock of development in all nations, of which no country wants to be left out. Also empowering women has been very close to Ambassador’s heart. Human rights issues are very important to Finland and the Embassy has participated actively to celebrations of Human Rights Day and other human rights events and discussions.
The Embassy has organized recently seminars on security for the Nigerian security authorities. These seminars were very successful in providing platform to share views and experiences on capacity building, power development on health security, humanitarian intervention, combat and practical equipment, emergency response and lifesaving skills of Nigerian Security Authorities.
During her tenure several official visits took place in Finland and Nigeria. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Erkki Tuomioja paid an official visit to Abuja meeting with H.E. the President of Nigeria and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria. The visit took place in January 2012. H.E. the Deputy Minister of Power, Mr. Darius Ishaku visited Finland and other Nordic countries with his delegation in spring 2012 and met i.e. with Finnish Energy and Power companies. The Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria, Finland, Sweden and Norway was signed earlier in 2011. H.E. the Minister of Trade and Investment O. Aganga with a Nigerian business delegation made an official visit to Finland in December 2012 and met with the large group of Finnish businessmen, The President of Finland and his counterpart the Minister of Foreign Trade of Finland. These visits were accompanied by the Ambassador of Nigeria to Finland and Ambassador of Finland to Nigeria and they both were highly successful. The senior class of Nigerian Defense College visited Finland in the spring of 2012 for one week to learn about environmental protection among other things. The special envoy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland in the field of Peace Mediation visited Nigeria in May 2012.
During her tenure Ambassador had a chance to visit among other places Lagos, Port Harcourt, Lokoja, Ibadan and Osogbo with some of her colleagues. She found these trips to different states being extremely intriguing and important. Visit to Port Harcourt was an eye-opener for the oil and gas industry in Delta region. Visits to Ibadan and Osogbo were not only interesting journeys to Yoruba culture and history but also visits to very prominent University of Ibadan and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. This year Ambassador Korpivaara with her family visited privately Cross River State, Obudu Mountain resort and found it extremely beautiful.