Solomon Chung, Japan
The Nigerian Ambassador to Japan, Professor Mohammed Yisa has suggested that due to the infrastructural need of the country, it would be a great idea to seek co-operation with Japan in that area.
The Envoy believed that the two countries have a strong relationship that can leverage upon to expand the frontiers in terms of infrastructure, energy, agriculture among others.
In an interview with Voice of Nigeria correspondent in Japan on Friday, the Ambassador said on assumption of duty he ensured that the negative image Japan may have had of Nigeria was changed for good.
According to the Envoy, Nigeria and Japan have been doing business so long in the area of automobile, electrical/electronic equipments and oil and gas infrastructural provision.
“Japanese are experts in infrastructure development as well as technology .In Nigeria it would be recalled that the Japanese built the Kaduna refinery in Nigeria, the Lower Usuma dam in Abuja among others and they can replicate same top class jobs when given the opportunity again.
The power generation in Japan is superb in coal power generation with the least emission in can imagine. They have 56 power plants presently all on coal. They generate 1,200 mega watt of power from just 2 turbines. In fact, one of the turbines generates 599 out of 600 capacity, that is 99 percent.
It is also on record that the Japanese have one of the best rail systems in the world. So these are areas Nigeria can benefit from.
We come a long way with Japan, hitherto, we had just 2 Japanese companies in Nigeria but presently we have 43 and counting. Not just that, a lot of Japanese companies are always willing to come and do business in Nigeria being the largest economy in Africa.
Through the Japanese government’s business facilitation forum, business relationship has increased tremendously between the 2 nations.
When President Mohammadu Buhari visited Japan earlier in the year, for TICAD7 that visit increased a lot of opportunities.
The Japanese government used the opportunity of the last visit of Mr President to discuss a lot of other partnerships,” he said.
Professor Yisa said there were so many other fora where the Nigerian government was knitting other opportunities with Japan.
Such was seen when the Secretary to the Government of the Federation came for the Africa Union Parliamentary League, he took time to explain most of the situations at home especially those issues that have been given negative publicity by the western media or those blown out of proportion.
The SGF did thorough explanation and in the end, the Japanese authorities were satisfied with the analysis and explanation, he said.
According to the Envoy, about 8 thousand Nigerians live and work in Japan and most of them are doing economically viable, thus contributing to the Japanese economic growth which is acknowledge and appreciated by the authorities.
Professor Yisa revealed how he made frantic effort to bring the much needed unity back home to Japan, where he ensured that the different tribal associations revived the former single umbrella body called Nigeria Union in Japan and that is the body the embassy deals with officially, even though those smaller tribal or regional associations still exist.
He said there are other areas of collaboration in education. Nigeria has about 176 students in Japan.
In area of trade Nigeria benefits more with $5bn of export mostly in gas products and some in agriculture while Japan on the other hand imports about $700million.
The Envoy revealed that the travelling traffic to Nigeria has increased, during the last Lagos international trade fare about 37 Japanese companies attended.
“Beside business there are other areas diplomatic issues like prisoner exchanged, double taxation, outstanding MoUs among others that are being discussed at the highest level for the benefit of both parties,” he said.
The Professor also decried the activities of the disgruntled members of the proscribed IPoB. He advised them to desist from attacking legitimate high profile government officials on state assignments outside of Nigeria.
He said the Embassy would always liaise with the host authorities to protect Nigerians on official visits in Japan, so nobody should be afraid.
He also mentioned the negative stories on social media as bad for the country’s image.
He advised the media at home to be nationalistic and patriotic in their reportage.