By KEMI KASUMU
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has called for the implementation of the various MoUs between Nigeria and Namibia, especially in the areas of culture and tourism, to ensure that they translate into economic benefits for the two countries.
The Minister made the call in Abuja on Thursday when he received the Namibian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Humphrey Geiseb, on a courtesy visit.
He observed that the bilateral cooperation between the two nations, which dates back to 1992 on the platform of the 1st Nigeria-Namibia Joint Commission, expired without implementation, and expressed the hope that the MoUs will be revived for implementation this time around.
“Because the agreement on tourism cooperation between both countries suffered from lack of follow-up, a separate MOU on tourism cooperation was decided upon during the 3rd session of the Joint Commission in 2008, and signed six years later, in 2014.
“Unfortunately, the MOU, which had a lifespan of five years, has expired and, until then, nothing was done by our two countries. I am aware that efforts are on to renew the MoU for another five years. Hopefully, this time, we will act to implement the MoU,” Alhaji
He promised to encourage a working relationship between Nollywood and the Namibian Film Industry, against the background of the interest expressed by a talented Namibian actress to feature in Nollywood movies as a way of further honing her professional skills.
The Minister, who welcomed the support offered by Namibia to help improve Elephant conservation in Nigeria, stressed that with global warming and poaching, African wildlife is in danger of extinction.
He thanked the Namibian Government for supporting Nigeria with 279 wildlife animals in line with the signed MoU on Cooperation in the area of wildlife with the Government of Bauchi State.
“The animals, which comprised of 10 Giraffes, 53 Burchell’s Zebras, 14 Elands, 23 Blue Wildebeests, 21 Red Hartebeests, 24 Oryx, 26 Kudus, 52 Springboks and 56 Common Impalas, were placed at the Sumu Wildlife Sanctuary, which is located in Ganjuwa Local Government Area of Bauchi State. We remain grateful to the Government and people of Namibia for this,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
In his remarks, the High Commissioner went down memory lane to recount the support which Namibia received from Nigeria in its struggle for independence, and said the Namibia-Nigeria Joint Commission, which last met in 2010, will meet next month to consider all the various areas of cooperation between the two countries.
He listed additional areas of cooperation to include creative industries, beef infrastructure, animal conservation, tourism and oil and gas sector.