Gaborone — Botswana/Nigeria continue with their efforts to deepen and broaden the scope of their bilateral cooperation, says Acting Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Mr Nonofo Molefhi.
Speaking at the 58th Anniversary celebration of Independence of Nigeria in Gaborone on Wednesday, Mr Molefhi, who is also the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration said the two countries' bilateral cooperation needed to be deepened, more especially in the areas of agriculture, science and technology, youth empowerment, law enforcement and defence.
He said Nigeria has, in the last 58 years, gone through tremendous economic and political transformation and as a result, it was one of the biggest economies in Africa and religiously held democratic elections every four years.
Mr Molefhi said the country would host the fourth session of their Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation (JPCC) in Abuja next week, which would also further cement the two countries' bilateral cooperation.
The minister described the JPCC as an important platform for engaging and exchanging views on how to further enhance the two countries' bilateral cooperation, as well as to track implementation of agreed commitments, with a view to improve the livelihoods of their nationals.
Nigerian High Commissioner to Botswana, Mr Umar Salisu said the relations between the two countries were strengthened in 1971 when they formally established diplomatic ties. He said since then, the relations had been strengthened.
He said the prosperous relations between Nigeria and Botswana dated back to the liberation struggle era in the 1960s. As a result, Nigeria gave immediate recognition to Botswana at the occasion of her independence in 1966.
Mr Salisu said as part of technical assistance, Nigeria availed Botswana, immediately after independence, the services of her experienced professionals, including legal luminary, late Justice Akinola Aguda, who was Botswana's Chief Justice for many years.
He said Nigeria, as the most populous country in Africa, had tremendous interest in the welfare of the African people and therefore, put herself in the forefront of the liberation struggle.
He said students from the Southern Africa countries were also admitted into Nigerian secondary schools and universities, including developing key arms of the Botswana Police and subsequently the Botswana Defence Force (BDF).
<i>Source : BOPA</i>