The volume of trade between Nigeria and the United Kingdom (UK) has increased to about £7.2 billion (N1.8trillion), with the balance of trade still in favour of Britain.
The High Commissioner of Nigeria to the United Kingdom, Dr. Dalhatu Tafida, disclosed this during the celebration of the 53rd Nigeria Independence anniversary in London.
However, no further breakdown was given on the figures and the exact period the increase covered.
The independence anniversary celebration attracted members of the diplomatic corps, Nigerians in Diaspora and other friends of the country from different countries and embassies, was well attended.
Tafida noted that relationship between Nigeria and the UK has continued to deepen and widen in all spheres including political, economic, consular, trade and other areas of bilateral relations.
“The high level interaction between the two governments has had a domino effect on the sphere of trade and foreign direct investment, where Nigeria has remained the second largest British investment destination in Africa. Though the balance of trade still remains in favour of Britain, the country is determined that in the foreseeable future to reverse the trend,” Tafida said.
A good indicator of healthy bilateral relations, according to him, is the high level visits between both countries. He cited all the trips made by either President Goodluck Jonathan, the vice president, Mohammed Namadi Sambo or President of the Senate, Mr. David Mark as good examples.
On the other hand, he said the UK prime minister, David Cameron and Jonathan, had discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including security in the West Africa sub region, the petroleum industry bill and human rights situation in the country.
Tafida maintained that the federal government, in transforming the economy, would take the lead where indicators were already bright in the count down to the country’s Vision 20:2020.
He, however, urged Nigerians, especially professionals in Diaspora to continue to plough back in the economy and society. He said the Mission has continued to engage the Nigerian community in the UK through various relevant associations.
He used the opportunity to tell the gathering several proactive roles Nigeria had played to maintain peace in the sub region, including ECOWAS, African Union (AU) and towards peace keeping and other support in logistics in the resolution of the stand-off in Mali, the political log jam in Guinea Bissau, the crisis in Republic of Congo and the Central Republic, among others.
He said the 53rd anniversary dovetailed into country’s programme of activities marking the commemoration of the Centenary of Nigeria’s nationhood. “We are therefore celebrating today within a celebration, as 100 years in the life of a nation, which is by no means a mean achievement,” he said.
Projecting the image of a country in which he represents as a high commissioner, he said the aim of the Abuja centenary city concept will not only serve as a monumental arcade, but also to celebrate the uncommon success recorded by a complex country in the 100 years of its existence.