By E. Hartman Reckord
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Bilateral relations between Jamaica and Nigeria could be further strengthened in the areas of banking and agriculture, according to outgoing Nigerian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Her Excellency, Janet Omoleegho Olisa, during an interview with JIS News.
“We are interested in having a Nigerian Bank here in Jamaica. Another area is agriculture. So, apart from the usual science, education, and sports, which we have always had, we want to add banking. We want to also add agriculture,” she said, adding that immigration will also be on the agenda for discussion.
The High Commissioner, who leaves the island this month, said that the new areas of cooperation would be discussed at the Jamaica-Nigeria Joint Commission, which should have taken place earlier this year in Nigeria.
She pointed out that the Joint Commission, which governs the framework for cooperation between the two countries, was postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The Joint Commission would enable different stakeholders to come to the table and negotiate and have agreements that would open the doors for different things,” she said. “That I believe should be the next step in ensuring that we strengthen our bilateral relations and our friendship,” the High Commissioner added.
She said it is important for a trade mission to visit Nigeria, pointing out that “there is a lot of negative information about the country that doesn’t really portray who we are”.
The outgoing High Commissioner said that Jamaicans and Nigerians have benefited through the many cultural exchanges during her tenure. She pointed out that cultural exchanges and heritage workshops for students were facilitated by the High Commission.
“I had the privilege of going around the parishes educating the students on the Nigerian culture. We had a good cultural exchange. […] We had the Nollywood (Nigerian film industry) in 2018,” she said, adding that three Nigerian designers came from Lagos, Nigeria, to participate in the Pulse-presented Caribbean Fashion Week 2019.
Additionally, she said that Nigeria’s Technical Aid Corps, an international volunteer programme, had helped with the teaching of batik and tie and dye to Port Royal entrepreneurs. The High Commissioner also mentioned her participation in the annual Seville Emancipation Jubilee at the Seville Heritage Park, in St Ann.
“I would say, yes, we have been able to achieve all that. I was at Seville for the past three years talking about our heritage,” she noted.