Nigeria and Senegal have agreed to strengthen their bilateral relation in the areas of economic, trade and industry tourism, security, defence, energy, agriculture and education, among others, Senegalese Foreign Minister, Sidiki Kaba said.
Kaba said this in Dakar after a meeting with his Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama, who was on a working visit to Senegal to enhance the two countries bilateral relations.
While expressing concern on the inability of the two countries joint commission to meet in the last 20 years, he stressed the need to build on the existing relations between them.
He said: “We have identified very strategic and important sectors of cooperation on which we would like to focus on.
“We emphasise on petroleum sector, security, tourism, banking, agriculture, industry, trade and investment, justice and education, to say a few.
“I will like to seize this opportunity to state my readiness to work with you to strengthen the relation between Senegal and Nigeria.
“The inadequacy and obsolescence” of the legal framework for cooperation between Dakar and Abuja, which has only five agreements.
“I am convinced that our two countries must and can do more, We need to work now to reverse this trend.”
He called for the involvement of the private sectors of both countries in order to “pull” the Dakar-Abuja axis to a level of strategic cooperation.
Onyeama said that his visit to Dakar was to develop a “roadmap and strategy” to strengthen cooperation among ECOWAS member countries.
He said: “The bilateral relations between our two countries are good, strong and solid as you have correctly stated there is a lot more that we can do and we should be doing.
“The purpose of this visit is partly to reignite that relationship, we have a joint commission that have met only twice close to 20 years ago.
“We have a great opportunity and we would work together to reignite the joint commission and use that as a frame work to form stronger links and cooperation between our two countries.
“As you have identified there are many areas in which we can cooperate, in the field of textile we share a common dress sense in our `booboo’, our `agbada’ and so forth.”
According to him, there are lot to undertake in the field of commerce which include small and medium enterprises, cooperation in the fields of petroleum, fishery, agriculture and industry, among others.
“The field is large we really can and we should do a lot more, there are so many other areas including diplomacy and sports in which our two countries excel.
”We are determined to have a strong framework in which we can develop strong relations and full potentials of our people, and we are determine to achieve this together.”
Onyeama noted that the two countries which also cooperate in the framework of ECOWAS, sub-regional cooperation, also share a common vision of greater integration.
He said that two countries should not allow artificial boundary to be a barrier in promoting integration between them.
He said: “Our relation and ECOWAS is an initiative to promote integration among ourselves, integration that has always been there before the period of colonialism.
“We are working very closely together in the framework of ECOWAS to promote and achieve that integration, single monetary union, economic integration, ultimately political integration, building the infrastructures, road.
“Also in putting off the obstacles and hurdles to free movement of our people among ourselves and the right of doing business in the sub-region.”
He commended the country efforts in assisting Nigeria to fight Boko Haram.
He added: “We appreciate very much the positive roles our countries are playing in the region to promote democracy and good governance and to fight terrorism.
“We appreciate very much the support of your country in our fight against Boko Haram.”