Nigeria and the UK Government are seeking ways to exploit the potential of Nigerians living in the UK to promote cultural, trade and economic ties between the two countries.
The UK with a population of 60 million is home to about three million Nigerians.
Dr Dalhatu Tafida, NigeriaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s High Commissioner to the UK, made the disclosure at a reception to mark NigeriaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 51 Independence Anniversary in London. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The two governments have also sought to explore the huge potential of the Nigerian Diaspora in the UK in promoting deeper cultural ties, friendship and economic relations,Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Tafida said.
The envoy explained that the mutual desire to improve bilateral relations and increase trade and investments between the two countries had been demonstrated by the frequent exchange of visits and high-level consultations by their officials at all levels.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The high-point of these engagements was the visit of Prime Minister David Cameron, who led a strong economic and trade delegation to Nigeria in July,Ã¢â‚¬Â he noted.
Tafida said that Nigeria was marking this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s anniversary against the backdrop of the positive changes that took place in the political, economic and social landscape of the country within the the year as well as in the sphere of international relations.
He explained that with the successful general elections, the current administration was re-dedicating itself to the liberalisation of the economy by implementing needed reforms in the domestic economy. The envoy assured the audience of mainly diplomats, British businessmen and women as well as notable Nigerian professionals of the resolve of the Federal Government to deal with the current security and development challenges, including power supply and employment creation.
He assured British and other foreign investors of the safety of their lives and investments in Nigeria. Tafida also gave a reassuring performance of the Nigerian economy, saying that the economy was growing at 7.8 pe rcent per annum and declaring also that Nigeria was set to meet its MDG goals if current reform efforts were sustained.
The Vice Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps and Director of Protocol of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr Simon Matin, who represented the British Government at the occasion, commended role played by the High Commissioner in the conduct of the presidential elections in Nigeria last April.
He further lauded the excellent relations existing between Nigeria and Britain, assuring continued cooperation and support of the British Government for NigeriaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s development endeavours.
Some Nigerians at the occasion expressed optimism that in spite of the current challenges, Nigeria would stay the course and become stronger in the years ahead. Mr Kayode Ogunsola, Chairman of the UK Chapter of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), said that if the agenda of the current administration was fully implemented, Nigeria would be one of the countries that would determine the course of the global economy by 2025.
He appealed to government to create an enabling environment for Nigerians living in in the Diaspora to bring their skills and expertise Ã¢â‚¬Å“unhinderedÃ¢â‚¬Â to the development process of the country. Also, Ms Remi Ayella, a lawyer who described Nigerians as Ã¢â‚¬Ëœvery resourcefulÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, said that Nigeria was currently well positioned to attain its economic greatness.