By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said Nigeria enjoys a steadily growing and economically rewarding relationship with the Republic of India, describing the country as “Nigeria’s biggest trade partner.’’
Receiving Letters of Credence from the High Commissioner of India to Nigeria, Mr Abhay Thakur, at the State House, Abuja, President Buhari called for a closer and stronger partnership that will be mutually beneficial to the citizens.
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He said, “Our two countries are very close. India has helped Nigeria in many ways, and we are very grateful. In trade, you are, today, our biggest customer in crude oil purchase.”
Recalling his experience at Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India, in 1973, the President noted that Nigeria’s relationship with India has been long and upwardly rewarding for individuals, institutions and the country.
“I want you to maintain the standard we have attained, and improve on it,’’ President Buhari told the High Commissioner, who listed some areas of bilateral interest that deserved more attention.
Thakur said India will continue to stand with Nigeria “shoulder to shoulder in all areas of mutual interest, including security’’, assuring the President that he will work hard on encouraging meetings that focused on reducing double taxation and attract more Foreign Direct Investments, actualize Nigerian airline, Air Peace’s dream of two weekly flights to Bombay and open up the visa regime more.
At the ceremony, President Buhari, who received Letters of Credence from Ambassador of Kuwait, Mr Abdulaziz Mohammad Al Bisher, said Nigeria’s continuous support of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) policies, sometimes, discourages assistance from developed countries, with wrong assumptions that the country is rich.
The President told Al Bisher that Nigeria had been pigeonholed as an influential and wealthy member of OPEC, adding that the country will appreciate support in education, technology, infrastructure and projects that directly impact on livelihood of people.
“Welcome to Nigeria. Thank you for supporting our country in some strategic areas. We look forward to greater understanding and cooperation,’’ he said.
The Ambassador said Kuwait Project had 560 developmental interventions spread over many African countries, assuring that Nigeria, which had been left out since the project started in 1961 will be captured.
He said Kuwait Chamber of Commerce had agreed to meet with Nigeria’s business community, noting that his country also runs a charity that can be explored.
Receiving Letters of Credence from High Commissioner of Republic of Namibia, Mr Humphrey Desmond Geiseb, President Buhari said the country had consistently and steadfastly supported Nigeria in all international meetings, “bringing respect and comfort’’.
The Namibian Ambassador said his country remains grateful to the Nigerian government and citizens for the support to achieve its independence, promising to improve relations in trade and exchange of people and ideas.