By John Okeke , Pakistan
Nigeria and Pakistan established a bilateral relations for over five decades and the bilateral relations found over the couple of areas. First is the Defense and the Military cooperation . It has been very excellent. Pakistan has a High Commission in Abuja and Nigeria has an embassy in Islamabad, as well as a Consulate-General in Karachi.
Relations between Pakistan and Nigeria are friendly, affable and strong.Pakistan efforts and the Nigeria efforts have been collaborating very well . The challenges we have in the Northeast it was Pakistani Air force that supplied us the Super Mushshak Aircraft which actually helped us in degrading insurgents there. On that front military cooperation is very excellent.
Throughout the relationship, meetings have taken place between the defence ministries of Pakistan and Nigeria, including those between Defence Ministers themselves and high-ranking military officials.
Though there are areas that needed to be resuscitated such as trade and investment , education among other.
There is also the need to increase students exchange programs , business ties between both countries.
However, the tour to Pakistan recently by Nigerian journalists sponsored by the Pakistani High Commissioner in Abuja brought the need to further strengthen bilateral relations and close the gaps.
Speaking , the High Commissioner of Nigeria in Pakistan , Maj. Gen (R) Ashimiyu Adebayo Olaniyi said his commission was committed to revamping the trade relations between the two countries.
“Trade relations is also there but more needs to be done . We are working on that very very rigorously. We have interacted with a lot of Chambers of commerce and industries here such as Islamabad Chambers of Commerce , Lahore and Karachi Chambers of commerce etc. and I have interacted with a lot of business community here in Pakistan. For example, about two months ago , I was in Lahore for Millart tractors where they produced e tractors which is used in the agricultural sector of the Pakistan economy. You will recall that a Pakistani agricultural sector contributes about 21% to its GDP while Nigeria agricultural sector contributes 23% . So, in terms of agriculture we have so many things in common and I am happy to note that we had to write a letters to some of the state governors in Nigeria and the ministry of agriculture. And happy to report that we got response from federal ministry of agriculture through our foreign ministry and some states governors have also responded to our request that they should come and collaborate with these companies in the name of establishing what we called mini plants, so that ate the end of the day it will become something that technology could be transferred so that one day Nigeria can also benefit from producing some tractors . We are yet to get there as to when the states governors or the federal minstrel of agriculture officials will visit Pakistan. That is where we are .”
He said the trade volume between the two countries remains about $1 billion .
“As at today the trade volume between the two countries is over $1 billion . I want a situation where it can go as far as over $2 billion . The steps we are taking now it’s going to get to that level .”
” In the past there are a lot of people that Pakistani taught in Nigeria . I am always exposed by people taught by Pakistani such as Doctors, agronomists, teachers in Nigeria but for sometime now that people to people has not been there but I must emphasize that the relationship between Nigeria and Pakistan in terms Military , defence capability is excellent. If there is any word better than excellence I would have used it.”
Chief Minister, Lahore Province Pakistan, Hassan Askari Rizvi said the both countries have a lot to do to increase the bilateral trade relations.
“We have a lot to do increasing trade between the two countries because both have a lot of population and the big markets are there. I think that can be done firstly at the government level . The two governments need to talk to each other and see that trade facilities and procedures are available are taken care of . Second, they need to encourage the trade and investment of both countries, that is the business and the trading class. They should visit each other delegations from business people. That is business people level . They can now sign a business contract of all trading . Secondly, Pakistan and Nigeria both should send their official missions to see what kind of Nigerian products and good can be absorbed in Pakistan and similarly Pakistan can send its delegations to do the same . The continent of Africa and Asia want to modernization and develop. They need to help each other. There is a need to make more effort and if there is a real efforts trade can increase.”
On education, he said ,”I think in the past there is a lot of Pakistani teachers in Nigeria . There is a need to make exchanges for example the students from Pakistan to come to Nigeria and same to Nigeria teachers here . Civil servants from Pakistan can go to civil servants training institutions and Nigerian civil servants come to our own institution . And media is very important because media holds the projects. If these kind of projects are initiated we can increase greater interaction.”
Rizvi also noted the two countries have experienced terrorists challenges adding Nigeria can learn from Pakistan in terms of dealing with the challenges.
“I think the challenges of Terrorism exist in both countries even in various degrees and we can definitely learnt from each other because when you are dealing with terrorism, you are actually dealing with human beings and their mindset, orientations and groups. And so in this respect we can definitely learn from each other and how Pakistan had dealt with terrorism because Pakistan faced a very serious problem of terrorism and now the situation has improved a lot but still universal degrees exist today . So how do you be a voice as a political instrument . Then for a long time stability you need to address the issues and problem of society , it becomes a kind of two prob policy . One , how do you address or reduce violence ? Second , from long term point of view how do you change mindset? Why people indulge in extremist and the ideology in an extremist matter ? There is a two answer to address this.
“We need to address social and economic problems in the society not only by governments but also the society have a to play . How to socialize people into modernization , into political commendation and into understanding and deal with social and economic problems. So, Pakistan has done some of these things and I think Nigeria can learn from Pakistan experience. Then we know that Nigeria has faced this extremism generated problem and how Nigeria can deal with this issue . What kind of strategies both to condemn violence, to deal with mindset and to deal with orientation do they have? So, I think it is something we can help each other.”