“No work permits or trading licenses are issued to Nigerians in India whereas we issue on an average of 6000 visas per year to Indians with more than 80% of these being issued along with work permits. Indians live in Nigeria for multiple generations but Nigerians here are often facing harassment from the Foreigner Regional Registration Offices (FRRO).” said H.E. Mr. Chris Sunday Eze, High Commissioner of Nigeria to India. The High Commissioner was giving a talk titled ‘New India meets a New Nigeria: Creating an Indo-African Growth Story’ recently at New Delhi’s India International Center.
He observed that India and Nigeria have traditionally been close diplomatically with deep rooted economic ties “Nigeria became independent in 1960 yet India had established diplomatic relations with it in 1958 itself. Both the countries were partner members of the Non Aligned Movement and at the forefront of anti Apartheid struggle. India is the biggest market for Nigeria’s crude oil as of now volume of trade stands at 9.4 billion dollars.”
Pointing out that several Indian companies operate in Nigeria but Nigerians are not adequately represented in the middle and upper level management of these companies he suggested employing India trained Nigerian students as management trainees. “Nigerian students who have studied in India can be employed as mid level management trainees as these students have imbibed Indian work Ethic.”
The Ambassador also felt that Indian companies should start production plants in Nigeria and become more active in corporate social responsibilities “Crude, pharma and basic machinery are some of the main sectors of cooperation between the two countries. Indian pharmaceuticals are particularly appreciated in Nigeria. The new Nigeria is looking east, it is not looking for aid but wants trade and FDI” he said.
He highlighted the partnership between India and Nigeria ties in the arena of defense “Many of our high ranking officers have trained in India including our present President Muhammadu Buhari who had part of his military training in India. The Nigerian Defence Academy was established by an Indian training team lead by Brigadier SK Verma in 1964. Till date Brig Verma remains the only military officer whose bust is mounted in that Institution. We have modeled our Defense Research and Development Bureau (DRDB) which is coming into existence on the lines of India’s Defense Research Development Organisation (DRDO), an MOU between these two have been signed and cooperation between them is taking place.”