Nigeria and Pakistan to strengthen economic, military ties

Adoba Echono, Abuja


Nigerian Government has said that its joint commission with Pakistan would be revamped as a veritable platform to strengthen economic and trade relations between both countries.

The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olukunle Bamgbose, stated this when the Pakistan High Commissioner designate to Nigeria, Major-Gen Wqar Ahmad kingravi (rtd) visited him in Abuja.

Ambassador Bamgbose noted that the Joint Commission is normally used as the platform to discuss the issue of mutual interest of both countries.

“Of course we also need to resuscitate the joint commission between the two countries and we have the last one in Pakistan and the next one suppose to be in Nigeria soon, Ambassador Bamgbose disclosed.”

While expressing satisfaction with the level of defence and military cooperation between both countries, Ambassador Bamgbose however, said that there was need for improvement in the area of trade and economic relations.

“The two countries have been collaborating in the area of defence, there have been exchange programmes between the armed forces of the two countries especial in the area of training,” he said.

The Pakistani High Commissioner, Major-General kingravi said that he was in Nigeria to strengthen the economic and military relations between the two countries.

“We have long term relations in all things especially in the areas of political and military, but in trade and commercial relations we are lacking behind I will say, explained the envoy.”

“However there is a lot of room for improvement in the field of trade and commercial, cultural exchange, agricultural, medical and education.

“We have trade relationship in the area of agriculture and finished products with Nigeria.”

Major-General kingravi however expressed concern on the volume of trade which he said was not encouraging due to certain restriction on the importation of rice into Nigeria.

“The volume of trade is not much but we would like to further increase that,” he said.

The envoy pointed out that there were still lots of areas collaborations that both countries could explore.

“We can cooperate in other areas such as infrastructure development, in the field of oil and gas, agricultural equipment and medical field.”

So, there are many fields that we can have our cooperation,” he said

He said in the last few years there have seen more collaboration between the two countries in the area of fighting the insurgency because they are both faced with similar problem.

“We are facing issue of terrorism and Pakistan has a lot of experience in the last 15 years of fighting this problem.”

He noted that Pakistani armed forces are ready to share their experience with the Nigeria armed forces in this area in fighting the Boko Haram and any other militancy.