By Temitope Ponle
Abuja – The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Abhay Thakur, says 50,000 Indians, comprising professionals, investors, technically skilled, medical doctors and educationists are plying various trades in Nigeria.
Thakur gave the figure on Tuesday at a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.
He reiterated that India was Nigeria’s largest trading partner globally with bilateral trade between both countries at nearly $12 billion and Indian companies investing in projects worth $10 billion
“India has contributed meaningfully to Nigeria’s economy and growth wherever it can.
“India is the largest functioning democracy in the world at 1.3 billion people with an electorate of 900 million and Nigeria is the largest democracy of Africa. This is something that really brings us together,” he said.
The envoy said the political developments happening in India and Nigeria would not slow down the pace of bilateral cooperation between both countries.
The Indian Government has congratulated Nigeria on the successful completion of general elections on Feb. 23 and March 9.
Local and foreign observers adjudged the presidential and National Assembly elections free, fair and relatively peaceful and commended the turnout of Nigerians in voting process.
They, however, criticised the low voter turnout in the governorship and state assembly elections and pockets of violence that led to death during the general elections.
The observers also called on the relevant authorities to investigate allegations of violence and bring perpetrators to justice in accordance with the laws.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had, however, conveyed a congratulatory letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on his re-election which had earlier been handed over by Thakur.
“Allow me to compliment the government and people of Nigeria on very successful round of elections both presidential and gubernatorial.
“Our Prime Minister has sent his congratulations, his heartiest greetings to the re-elected President Muhammadu Buhari and even as these political developments in India and Nigeria are happening.
“India is going into elections next month and we would probably be completing and actually having our new respective governments in place, both countries together, in the last week of May.”
The 2019 general election in India is scheduled to hold in seven phases from April 11 to May 19 with the counting of votes and declaration of results to be done on May 23.