Abuja – Israel has pledged to continue to show support to Nigeria and strengthen its bilateral relationship with Nigeria.
Mr Guy Feldman, Ambassador of Israel to Nigeria, made this known in an interview during the Israeli National Day celebration at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja on Thursday.
The envoy who spoke on the existing relations between Nigeria and Israel, called for more collaboration in agriculture with better irrigation techniques.
“Some parts of Nigeria have similar arid land features as Israel therefore, Israel and Nigeria have a lot to share in terms water management.
“Israel is 60 per cent desert, but with high technology, it is today pumping over 80 per cent of its waste water back to the sea, while losing only two per cent of water.
“These practices are being taught to Nigerians to help those in areas with arid land to improve their agriculture with better irrigation practices.
“Israel is determined and willing to help Nigeria attain economic development and we are achieving that by training Nigerian professionals and sharing our vast knowledge in important segments that will help Nigeria further develop.
“There are many Israeli company managers and operators in Nigeria who are focused on helping Nigerians to improve the performance of agriculture, water management and security within the country, ’’ he said.
Dean of Diplomatic Corp and High Commissioner to Nigeria, Salaheddine Ibrahima, told NAN that it was nice to have countries come together to support other countries celebrate their growth.
“It is nice to see that we are supportive of each other and that we see the need to celebrate our countries as a way to improve our relationships.
“ We are happy for Israel and wish them much more growth and success in the years ahead,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Israel and Nigeria established diplomatic relations in 1960.
During the 1960s and early 1970s, Israel played a significant role in the development of Sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria.
Hundreds of Israeli experts and volunteers were sent to help in the development and modernization of agriculture, education, medicine and technology training, and hundreds of Nigerian farmers, experts, educators, academicians, students, doctors, community workers and engineers were trained in Israel.
After the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Nigeria severed diplomatic ties with Israel.
Diplomatic relations were restored in September 1992.
Since April 1993, Israel has maintained an embassy in Abuja and Nigeria has an embassy in Tel Aviv.
Over fifty Israeli companies operate in Nigeria in the spheres of construction, infrastructure, hi-tech, communications and IT, agriculture and water management. In turn, there are over 5,000 Nigerian companies and organizations that operate in Israel.
Trade and commerce are promoted by the Israeli Export and International Cooperation Institute, the Nigerian-Israeli Chamber of Commerce (NICC) and the Israel-Africa Chamber of Commerce.
In 2006, a Nigerian-Israeli Business Forum was inaugurated in Abuja.
That year, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which Israel and Nigeria agreed to consult on issues of bilateral relations and other regional and international issues of mutual interest. The first round of consultations took place in Jerusalem in November 2006.
In 2013, President Goodluck Jonathan became the first Nigerian President to visit the State of Israel.
He had gone on a pilgrimage and signed bilateral air service agreements with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (NAN)