Nigeria’s foremost and one-time Minister of Foreign affairs Ambassador Oluyemi Adeniji is dead. He died in London at the weekend at the age of 83.
National President of the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN), Ambassador Dapo Fafowora, who broke the news, said yesterday in a message: “I have received with sadness, the news of the death of Ambassador Olu Adeniji in London last Sunday.”
Ambassador Adeniji was an iconic figure in the foreign service rising to the position of a permanent secretary and later foreign minister.”
No immediate family member of the former minister could be reached at press time last night.
Adeniji was born on July 22, 1934 in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State.
A career diplomat who began his sojourn in July 1960, Adeniji rose through the ranks in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was for five years, the Special Representative of the United Nations General Secretary with the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).
He served in Nigerian embassies in Washington, D.C., Freetown and Accra, Ghana. He retired from service in 1991 after serving as the Director-General of the Ministry of foreign affairs.
For five years, he was the Nigerian Ambassador to France.
Adeniji was the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA). The mission was responsible for providing security in Bangui and for coordinating the legislative and presidential elections held in 1998 and 1999.
He was appointed Foreign Affairs Minister by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He served between July 2003 and June 2006, when he was moved to head the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
He was then appointed the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for Sierra Leone and Head of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).