Envoy calls for deeper bilateral relations between Nigeria, Spain

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The new Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Juan Sell, said on Thursday that Nigeria and his country needed to build on existing bilateral relations for sustainable growth.

The envoy made the call at a news conference in Abuja, to announce a Spanish writer, Ana Briongos and the team of `LagosPhoto’ to present the cultural project “Unpacking the Suitcase”.

Newsmen reports that “Unpacking the Suitcase” was derived from a true life experience of a Nigerian student called Prince Adewale Emmanuel, who studied in Barcelona in the 60s.

Sell said that on his arrival in Nigeria, he noticed that both countries had long-standing relations in both diplomatic and economic.

The envoy, who said that deepening the existing bilateral relations would be his priority, said that he would work with the relevant stakeholders to achieve it for the benefit of both countries.

Newsmen reports that Nigeria and Spain have collaborated in the fight against illegal immigration, holding meetings on the subject and numerous exchanges.

Both countries have participated in various seminars and conferences in Spain by experts of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and the National Agency for the fight against Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

Speaking also, Briongos, a Spanish writer and the custodian of the suitcase, said that after her mother passed on; many attempts to return the suitcase to Prince Emmanuel proved abortive.

Briongos said that she decided to open the suitcase, adding that the content of the case tells a story of two countries.

According to the writer, in 1967, Prince Emmanuel enrolled as a student at the art school Escuela Massana in Barcelona.

She said that three years later, Emmanuel and his wife Elizabeth decided to leave Barcelona for London and left a suitcase and the content with her mother  who passed away in 2016. she said that she was resolute in her quest to return the suitcase to Prince Emmanuel or his family in Nigeria.

“The material found in the suitcase points to different social and cultural moments in the history of Nigeria and beyond: the Nigerian civil war, the cultural ties between two countries.

“Also, in it had Nigeria and Spain, the legacy of the artist, the story of emigration, Nigerian studio photography of the ’70s,” she said.

Mr Azu Nwagbogu, Director LagosPhoto, said nothing encapsulated the bond of friendship between people and countries and that was what was found in the suitcase of Emmanuel.

He added that the project had made him thought of restitution of recovering one’s identity, adding that “the archive in the suitcase cumulates’ 1967 to 70 and it tells about so many stories at the time.”

Nwagbogu urged lovers of art, writers, photographers, and the general public to come for more interpretation of the content in the suitcase during the 2022 LagosPhoto Festival scheduled to hold in October.

Newsmen reports that items found in the suitcase were candles, 600 photos, 100 letters both written and received, paintings, classical drawings among others.

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