October 8, 2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement as he concluded his first official visit to Nigeria:
“I would like to thank Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru and the Nigerian people for their warm hospitality.
“Our discussions were productive and brought home just how much our two governments have in common: both are focused on creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for our peoples; both understand that prosperity and security are inextricably linked; and both are committed to religious pluralism.
“Sadly, Nigeria is dealing with a deadly insurgency by radical extremists in the North who are bent on using a warped reading of religion as a pretext for cowardly violence. I pledged Canada’s support in the struggle against the scourge of terrorism.
“I was honoured to inaugurate the Binational Commission, which is evidence of our cooperation as mature partners and friends. I’m confident that it will lead to real action and new opportunities for political, economic, security and development advances.
“We are prepared to announce today the start of exploratory talks toward a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement to encourage more Canadian businesses to come to Nigeria.
“In Lagos, I met with Canadian and Nigerian business leaders, including with representatives of the newly formed Canada-Nigeria Business Association. Canadian companies see the potential in the Nigerian market, and I was pleased to see the breadth and expansion of Canadian business interests in Nigeria, from oil and gas, to aeronautics, to electricity, to information technology.
“Our government recognizes the importance of forging deeper ties with countries like Nigeria, whose economies are booming and where Canadian companies can expand and succeed. Canada’s ties with Nigeria are strong and getting ever stronger, and that’s good news for both our countries.”
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