Nigeria and Pakistan share many commonalities such as population, culture, economic growth, membership of international organizations, development of infrastructure including roads, railways and powers, etc.
These similar features of their culture, geography and economies have contributed to establishment of strong bilateral relations between Pakistan and Nigeria and the two countries are are engaged in a number of areas including military, trade and agriculture cooperation.
High Commissioner of Nigeria Maj Gen (R) Ashimiyu Adebayo Olaniyi viewed this while addressing a reception hosted to mark 59th Anniversary of the Independence of Federal Republic of Nigeria at a local hotel here Tuesday.
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Khan Swati was the chief guest on the occasion.
The reception was attended by a good number of diplomats, parliamentarians, members of civil society in-service and retired personnel of the armed forces of Pakistan, scholars and intellectuals.
Ambassadors and diplomats of the African countries along with Palestinian envoy were seated on the stage with the chief guest and the Nigerian high commissioner. Nigerian nationals along with their families also attended the independence anniversary reception.In his speech Nigerian ambassador spoke on a wide range of subjects including military cooperation, trade relations, both countries’ counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations etc.
October 1 is the date when in 1960 Nigeria proclaimed independence from the British rule. In Nigerian envoy’s words, two years after Nigeria’s independence, Pakistan recognized the country and Nigeria became the 47th country to establish bilateral ties with Pakistan.
“This ‘47’ is very important for Pakistan as in 1947 Pakistan came into being by getting independence from the British,” said Maj Gen (R) Ashimiyu Adebayo Olaniyi. Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been that of friendship, brotherhood and mutual trust, said the high commissioner.
Bilateral trade between Pakistan and Nigeria ‘stood at US$500 million, nevertheless there has been an improved level of engagement with government functionaries and business community of both countries especially members of various chambers of commerce & industry,” said the high commissioner of Nigeria.
He termed Nigerian Rural Development & Agriculture Ministry’s engagement with Millat Tractors and University of Agriculture Faisalabad a giant leap in bilateral cooperation.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan have the similar vision of corruption free society, fight against terrorism and improving the economy of their countries, he said adding it will definitely enhance trade initiatives. In 2016, though Nigerian economy experienced recession but later experienced a steady growth and its External Foreign Reserves grew from US$ 23 billion in 2016 to US$42.5 billion in 2018, the high commissioner noted with joy.
Additionally, signing of Africa Continent al Free Trade Area agreement by African leaders and the full implementation of the Engage Africa Policy Initiative of Pakistan government are positive signs for a joint venture between businesses of both the countries, the high commissioner concluded. Minister Azam Swati in his brief remarks said Pakistan looked forward to increasing engagement with Nigeria in order to have access to other African countries thru Nigeria.
Nigeria, he said was a country of multi-ethnic and multi-lingual population and its diversity is its real strength. Both Pakistan and Nigeria have the potential to move forward from industrial growth to Science & Technology and there is a need to further bilateral relations in textile, agriculture and other areas. At the end, a cake was also cut on the occasion and national anthems of both the countries were played. The guests were treated with traditional Nigerian food. A documentary on Nigeria was also screened on the occasion.