BY Kenneth Ehigiator
Canadian government has pledged to assist the Federal Government of Nigeria in the fight against terrorism in the north of the country, while restating its commitment to strengthen the ties between both countries.
Canadian Foreign Minister, John Baird, who made the pledge in a statement in Abuja shortly after concluding his official visit to Nigeria, noted the mindless killing of innocent persons by terrorists in the north and said his country would not abandon Nigeria in her hour of needs.
Baird said: “Sadly, Nigeria is dealing with a deadly insurgency by radical extremists in the North, who are bent on using a warped reading of religion as a pretext for cowardly violence. I pledged Canada’s support in the struggle against the scourge of terrorism.”
On the Bi-National Commission between both countries, he said: “I was honoured to inaugurate the Bi-National Commission, which is evidence of our cooperation as mature partners and friends. I’m confident that it will lead to real action and new opportunities for political, economic, security and development advances.
“We are prepared to announce today the start of exploratory talks toward a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement to encourage more Canadian businesses to come to Nigeria.
“Our discussions were productive and brought home just how much our two governments have in common: both are focused on creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for our peoples; both understand that prosperity and security are inextricably linked; and both are committed to religious pluralism.”
Baird also met with the business community in Lagos, including representatives of the newly-formed Canada-Nigeria Business Association.
He expressed the satisfaction of his government about the expansion of Canadian business interests in the country, especially in the areas of oil and gas, aeronautics, electricity and information technology.
He said: “Our government recognises the importance of forging deeper ties with countries like Nigeria, whose economies are booming and where Canadian companies can expand and succeed. Canada’s ties with Nigeria are strong and getting ever stronger, and that’s good news for both our countries.”