By Fortune Abang
Mr David Neives Velasquez Caraballor, the Venezuelan Ambassador to Nigeria, has said that the country is determined to strengthen relationship with Nigeria for meaningful growth.
He said the two countries shared common interests in areas such as oil and gas, agriculture andmining.
“Nigeria as the giant of Africa is a very important economy to us and we have similar capacity in oil, mining and agricultural sectors, which are special areas.
“We look forward to improving relationship with Nigeria in big capacity in these sectors and we hope to invest in these areas of economy, to promote our bilateral trade.
“We have a historical relationship with Nigeria; Venezuela and Nigeria are members OPEC, now Nigeria holds the Secretary-General position.
“We are now working energetically in the oil sector corporation; we are working to solve similar problems.
“In Venezuela we have more than 20 Nigerian students studying Medicine; two years ago we had more than 16 of them in the Agricultural field and other areas.
“Our position now has further deepened in in terms of foreign and individual relationships; we are working to establish a new level of bilateral relations with the Ministry of Foreign, ” he said.
He said agreement had been established between the two countries in area of fight against illicit drugs through ECOWAS.
He noted that more than 500 Nigerians were resident in Venezuela, while less than 120 Venezuelans live in Nigeria.
The envoy said that 19 Venezuela Embassies had so far been established across Africa and that efforts were ongoing to improve on the number.
He added that efforts were being made to ensure direct air flights from Nigeria to Venezuela and vice versa.
“We do not have any direct flight; we do have agreement to have a direct flight between Venezuela and Nigeria or other African countries, we are working on this area.
“Also, we will continue with the social plans on partnering with Nasarawa State in the promotion of social cooperation in the area of education.
“We are working to increase the number of Nigerian students in Venezuela, to improve the mechanism for recognising their certificates and also working to improve on our cultural bilateral cooperation.”
He identified health, education and sport as priority areas Nigeria could benefit from in the relationship.
“We have planned to increase to a high level the bilateral relation between Venezuela and Nigeria, this year we hope to have a joint commission meeting to check all these agreements.
“This is to ascertain what has been signed or pending to sign or on need for new proposal, to promote our bilateral relations,” he added. (NAN)