By Ismaila Chafe, Abuja.
Nigeria and Poland have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on agriculture, while pledging their willingness to enlarge the fields of economic cooperation in the energy and manufacturing sectors.
The agreement was signed on Tuesday in Abuja place during the State Visit of President Andrezej Duda of Poland, the first by a Polish leader to Nigeria since the establishment of diplomatic relations between both countries in 1961.
Addressing a joint press conference with the visiting Polish leader, President Muhamamdu Buhari said that Nigeria was gratified by the existing fruitful cooperation with Poland in the fields of maritime, education and defence.
On agriculture, he said that cooperation in this area would be a win-win for the two countries, especially in the context of global food insecurity occasioned by the conflict in Ukraine.
Buhari said that in view of the numerous global challenges, Nigeria would like to develop new mechanisms for cooperation, including regular strategic dialogues and political consultations to cover, not only bilateral relations, but also regional and international issues.
‘‘Our cooperation in education has a long history.
“We wish to encourage the extension of that cooperation to the sharing of knowledge and experience between our educational institutions.
“These are in areas such as science and technology as well as Information and Communication Technology, in order to help drive innovation in our countries in this competitive global knowledge economy,’’ he said.
While describing the two-day visit of the Polish president as significant, Buhari underscored the cordial relations existing between the two countries,
He commended the efforts of the Government of Poland in providing assistance to the large number of refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, including a significant number of Nigerians.
‘‘I also wish to express our sincere gratitude for the kind and generous support extended during our government’s evacuation of our fleeing nationals.
‘‘We also appreciate greatly the opportunity given to some of our nationals to remain in Poland to continue with their studies.
‘‘As regards trade relations, we would like to see an increase in the level of trade, as it remains relatively low in spite of the long period of relations between our two countries,’’ he said.
The Nigerian leader welcomed the hosting of a dialogue that would bring together various members of the business sectors of Nigeria and Poland, during the state visit.
According to him, it is an excellent initiative to increase the level of trade between both countries.
Duda said that Nigeria was the only African country Poland had signed an agreement of strategic dialogue with, which included the MoU on agriculture cooperation.
‘‘What was pivotal in our conversation today both in our tete-a-tete, as well as the plenary session was how to provide food and energy security.
‘‘It is important to us to strengthen the relations between Poland and Nigeria, and the MOU we have signed is very important for the future of both nations on food security,’’ the Polish president said through an interpreter.
On energy security, Duda lauded the delivery of liquefied natural gas to Poland from Nigeria, as well as shipments of crude oil.
‘‘We want to further this cooperation and we want to increase the supplies from Nigeria to Poland and by this way. we want to contribute to the development of economic cooperation between the two countries,’’ he said.
According to him, Nigeria and Poland have enjoyed excellent bilateral relations in the last 60 years, buoyed at the people-to-people level with the presence of many Nigerians in Polish higher institutions of learning.
Duda also acknowledged the input of Polish engineers and scientists in the building of infrastructure in Nigeria.