By Cecilia Ologunagba
Nigeria’s High Commissioner to India, Maj.-Gen. Chris Eze (Rtd), has urged India to take advantage of the economic reforms embarked upon by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to strengthen its businesses in the country.
Eze made the call at an event in New Delhi to mark the 58 Independence Anniversary of Nigeria and 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Nigeria.
Nigeria is already India’s largest trading partner in Africa and Indian companies are now the second largest foreign investors in the Nigerian economy.
The High Commission had organised an event to celebrate Nigeria’s independence anniversary with the Nigeria community in that country on Oct. 1.
However, the celebration was shifted for diplomatic reasons.
The envoy said that Nigeria had reclaimed its position as the largest economy in Africa after the recession that she suffered in 2016 due to the collapse of oil prices.
“That reclamation is largely due to President Buhari reforms which among other successes increased our foreign reserves, restored macro- economic stability, kicked started the diversification of the economy.
“It has enabled Nigeria to rise 24 and 25 per cent respectively in two successive years in the World Bank Global Ease of Doing Business ranking.
“I am happy that Indian businesses are already present in Nigeria and I hope they will increase their presence in the Nigerian economy,’’ he said.
According to him, Buhari has achieved tremendous strides in the fight against corruption and his effort has earned him recognition in the Africa Union.
He, however, thanked the Indian government for inviting Buhari to visit the country due to the recognition of his purposeful and effective leadership.
Meanwhile, the Ghanaian High Commissioner to India, Mr Michael Oquaye congratulated Nigeria on the occasion, saying “ Ghana and Nigeria are one.
“Ghana has always taking a principle that we do not want Africa countries to be split, we are always on the side of Nigeria when they have any issue to discuss with Indian government,’’ he said
According to him, in terms of Africa strategy, most Asian and European countries tended to deal with Nigeria and Ghana as foremost partners.
In addition, he said that the two countries had played vital roles in ECOWAS’ progress and would continue to strengthen their ties with India.
Similarly, Ambassador-Designate of The Gambia to India, Ms Jainaba Jagne, congratulated Nigeria on the anniversary and wished the country success and peace in its upcoming elections in 2019.
Jagne said The Gambia had always viewed Nigeria as a “big brother”, adding that her country had always seen Nigeria as a forward-moving country.
“We always wish to emulate Nigeria in some policies so the country is our mentor and also a mentor to a lot of countries in Africa.
“Nigeria should be aware that we (Gambia) follow behind her in a lot of policies strategies and plan put in place by its government.
“Also, Nigeria is a host country for ECOWAS, the country should be aware that whatever she does, it is done in the name of ECOWAS,’’ she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 50 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) had been signed between the two countries since Nigeria-India diplomatic relations was established 60 years ago.
India opened a diplomatic office in Nigeria, which later became a High Commission in 1958, two years before Nigeria secured independence.