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Nig. should be welcoming to embassies — Wike

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By Mercy Kelani

Wike aims to attract significant financial contributions from Indian investors.

Nyesom Wike, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has emphasized the importance of creating a welcoming environment for all embassies operating in Nigeria. It is crucial for the government to provide a conducive atmosphere that allows embassies to effectively carry out their duties and functions. Wike is eager to attract significant financial contributions from investors based in India in order to accelerate the growth and progress of the country’s capital city. During the visit on March 26, 2024, in Abuja, the assurance was given by him to the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Shri Balasubramanian.

Also, Wike noted the large number of Indian businesses operating in the nation, with a significant presence in sectors such as petrochemicals and fertilizers. His words echoed with optimism as he expressed the desire for a similar relationship to blossom in Abuja. Referencing the noticeable enhancements in security and infrastructure in the city, he attributed these changes to President Bola Tinubu’s vision of a Renewed Hope agenda. The two countries will explore additional topics that will pique the interest of both India and Nigeria, with a focus on the city of Abuja.

Nigeria is home to a multitude of Indian businesses.

The priority of the administration led by Tinubu is to create a welcoming and safe environment for all foreign Embassies operating in Nigeria under the jurisdiction of the FCT Administration, allowing them to effectively carry out their duties. Balasubramanian previously mentioned that the longstanding bond between India and Nigeria has been well established for a significant period of time. The Ambassador detailed how India initiated its diplomatic ties with Nigeria in 1958, laying the foundation for their relationship even before the country gained independence.

This beginning was marked by the establishment of a diplomatic office in Lagos by India. According to him, Nigeria is home to a multitude of Indian businesses, amounting to over 155 companies. These companies have collectively invested a substantial amount of over 27 billion dollars across a wide range of manufacturing sectors. In every sector, he listed a variety of companies that spanned from plastic production to steel manufacturing, as well as oil and pharmaceutical industries, among others. He stated that Indian companies are a major source of employment, ranking second only to the Nigerian government in terms of labour force engagement.

Many Nigerian groups have had the opportunity to showcase their talents.

More so, the country has established a strong level of engagement, particularly in political relationships of the two nations, which have proven to be quite beneficial. Nigeria has fostered a strong bond of cooperation between Nigeria and India on a cultural level. Several Nigerian groups have had the opportunity to showcase their talents and participate in a wide range of exhibitions and cultural events in India. The Embassy is extremely pleased with the wide range of facilities being provided to the country. Nigeria is thrilled with the level of service and hope to nurture this partnership further.

India and Nigeria, two members of the Commonwealth of Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement, have developed strong strategic and commercial partnerships. India has representation in Nigeria with a High Commission in Abuja and a Consulate in Lagos, while Nigeria has a High Commission in New Delhi. Indian businesses have invested approximately $15 billion in Nigeria, further solidifying their economic relationship. Nigeria has not disclosed the extent of its investments in India, while India has emerged as the primary investor in Nigeria, boasting an investment base of approximately $20 billion.

Related Article: India to Invest 14bn in the Nigerian Economy

Both countries are endowed with a variety of natural and economic assets and stand as the biggest economies in their own regions. India currently provides Africa with a concessional line of credit totalling nearly $9 billion, with ongoing projects utilizing $7.4 billion of that amount. In 2018-19, the trade between India and Nigeria reached a total of $13.89 billion. Despite the challenges posed by the Nigerian groups Boko Haram and the Black Axe mafia, Indian companies remain the second largest employers in Nigeria, following the Nigerian Federal Government.

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