Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, BN Reddy, has affirmed that the diverse potentials of Nigeria and its population make it attractive for investments, as his country plans to make Nigeria its business hub in West Africa.
The envoy said this while fielding questions from reporters during the series of ongoing cultural events to mark the 60 years of India- Nigeria bilateral relations at the Indian High Commission in Abuja. The events were spiced up by the Haryana cultural dance troupe from northern India sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to foster and strengthen cultural relations and understanding between India and Nigeria.
The High Commissioner recalled that in October, the India –West Africa regional Conclave held in Abuja brought in a 70-member business delegation that included some of the most important Indian private sector companies, which discussed and set out modalities to assist Nigeria and other West African countries to address the challenges of infrastructure, agriculture, education tourism and health with expertise from India.
“They came to connect with the business groups in Nigeria. Nigeria is a hub in the whole of West Africa. So we are trying to promote this concept of Nigeria as a hub such that any investor coming from India will come to Nigeria first and thereafter look at West Africa. Similarly we had events in Lagos also where we had the First and Second Indo -Africa ICT Expos. So we are doing a number of things in different areas, each will have some influence one the other. There is an integrated and well -connected meaning in whatever we do in the bilateral context,” he said.
He added that India has enjoyed cordial bilateral ties with Nigeria, which started in November 1958 two years before Nigeria’s independence. He said “Today, India and Nigeria are in a very important month which is November, it is in this month sixty years back that India and Nigeria decided to establish a diplomatic engagement at which time Nigerian was not yet independent in 1958. Two years down the road Nigeria became an independent country and then we established our High Commission.”
He said that it is very important that both countries celebrate this relationship through the medium of culture and also to review the engagement of sixty years and see how both countries can take this engagement to the next level. “As you will all recall we already have a strategic bilateral partnership with Nigeria, we are trying to see it in different context whether it is economic and commercial engagement, cultural engagement, people to people contest, defence cooperation and all other areas. We are going to review all these engagements of 60 years.
“We have cultural exchanges because Nigeria is so rich in its diversity, so rich in its traditions, arts and crafts that it is very important for us to see how we can connect with Nigeria better by bringing in something which is a similar nature,” he said.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on India-Nigeria Relations, Shehu Usman Aliyu Yammedi, told reporters during the events that both countries have strengthened ties over the years adding that the National Assembly is encouraged to make laws regarding bilateral relations.
Innocent Odoh, Abuja