ABUJA – The governments of Nigeria and Liberia on Monday in Abuja inaugurated the Nigeria-Liberia Joint Commission with a view to strengthening bilateral relations between both countries.
The Minister of State II for Foreign Affairs, Dr Nurudeen Mohammed, led the Nigerian delegation while Mr. Augustine Ngafuan, the Liberian Foreign Affairs Minister, led his country’s delegation.
In his remarks, at the inauguration, Mohammed said that the trade volume between both countries was low, saying that the joint commission would develop a framework that would improve the trade relations.
“The joint commission would serve as a platform for both countries to further deepen bilateral relations between the two countries.
“The volume of trade between the two countries is very low and since we are in the era of economic diplomacy, I believe at the end of this joint commission, we would have a robust framework to increase the volume of trade between Nigeria and Liberia.
“Nigeria is fully committed to the promotion of democracy, rule of law, human rights and good governance at both regional and continental levels.
“Whatever we are about to do should be in the spirit of promoting peaceful coexistence and economic development in the sub region in general.”
The minister also commended efforts made by the ambassadors of both countries in ensuring the inauguration of the joint commission.
In his address, Ngafuan reiterated the need for both countries to take advantage of the opportunities that existed to foster bilateral relations between both countries.
He assured increased economic ties between both countries.
“We have come to take a giant leap forward on the path to rekindle, deepen and consolidate the already rooted ties between Nigeria and Liberia.
“We have come to renew our commitment to development and to reactivate the joint commission with instruments that will solidify the bilateral bonds between our two nations and economic development by forging stronger ties between the private and public sectors of both countries.
“This joint commission will result in heightened cooperation in many areas, including education, sustainable agricultural development, commerce, trade and industry, regional peace and security, the rule of law, transport and civil aviation and health.”
Ngafauan also expressed the determination of the Liberian Government to cooperate with Nigeria in the fight against terrorism.
“On behalf of the president of Liberia, we want to condemn, in strongest terms, the barbaric, inhumane terror attack on innocent Nigerians including the group kidnapping of over 200 innocent girls in Chibok, Borno State on April 14.
“We call for the unconditional release of the kidnapped girls.
“Liberia is in full solidarity with the government and people of Nigeria as they grapple with this scourge of terrorism.
“Terrorism anywhere is a threat to peace everywhere so we call for a concerted, robust and sustained actions on the part of the international community aimed at assisting Nigeria put an end to this menace.”
He also thanked the Federal Government for its donation of 500 thousand dollars to assist Liberia in tackling the Ebola virus.
The two-day inaugural meeting is expected to review relations in the areas of trade, defence, rule of law, agriculture, science and technology, transport and civil aviation, education, immigration, mines and steel among others.
The commission is also expected to consider agreements and memorandum of understanding in trade and investment, peace and security cooperation, educational cooperation, cultural cooperation and agricultural development and food security. (NAN)