(From Lizzy Okoji, NAN)
Mr Abhay Thakur, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, has said that the government of Indian was ready to supply its COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria after it is rolled out next week.
Thakur, who made this known on Saturday, in Abuja, at the commemoration of the 16 Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PDB) convention, also known as the Indian Diaspora Day, said the vaccines would be made available on concessional terms after completing all the necessary registration requirements with the Nigerian regulatory authorities.
“We will be rolling out next week as the vaccines are already announced, so we will be quite keen to be applying for the necessary registrations, with the regulatory authorities of Nigeria.
“And we will be very happy to supply, on either concessional terms or any other needs that may be projected by the government of Nigeria.
“In fact, we will like to go out and engage the external world, particularly because we have performed well not only during the COVID period but in earlier pandemics and contributions to anti-AIDS drugs for Africa.
“We will be ready to collaborate when the registration process, as may be required, is completed, and I am sure this will be an important area of collaboration between our two countries.
“We will have to discuss this with the government of Nigeria. Let it be registered first, and we will have to get the approval process,” Thakur said.
He said this exchange would further strengthen the existing relations between India and Nigeria, adding that the Indian Community in Nigeria had supported Nigeria immensely in its fight against COVID-19.
Thakur said that the pandemic had further shown the strength of the linkages between both countries, as resilient partners, noting that bilateral and business relations had continued even amid the pandemic.
Speaking on the essence of the PBD, Thakur said the Indian diaspora in Nigeria had adopted Nigeria as their second country, ”seeing India as the country of their birth, while Nigeria as the country of their work..”
The High Commissioner said the Indian community and companies had consistently contributed to the welfare of Nigeria, lauding the recent cash donation of over N100 million by the Indian Community Organization.
“They have been constantly contributing not only to Indian welfare but more importantly to Nigeria, which is our message to the Indian community that they must contribute to the country in which they live and perform their duties.
“And I am very happy to say most recently the Indian Community Organization raised over N100 million and actually earmarked a 50-bed hospital and donated it, with the equipment and facilities there, to the department of health of Lagos, which has been highly appreciated”, the envoy said
Thakur said that to further strengthen bilateral ties, both countries could work out linkages between the Indian professional, cultural associations and Indian companies, and leading Nigerian businesses, in trade and investments.
In a virtual message, Mrs Abike Dabiri, Chief Executive Officer, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) also reiterated the need for stronger collaborations between the diasporas of the two countries.
Dabiri pledged that in fulfilment of its mandate, NIDCOM would ensure a powerful collaboration between the two counties.
“There should be a strong collaboration between the Indian diaspora and the Nigerians diaspora.
“Imagine the India diaspora excelling all over the world, it can’t be enough and you can be a Nigerian diaspora excelling all over the world and it still can’t be enough.
“But imagine both coming together, that will be a powerful collaboration and we can achieve it, “ Dabiri said.
Mr Selva Elvis Panner, President, Indian Cultural Association, Abuja, said the Association had continued to advocate Indian diaspora to be disciplined, law-abiding and imbibe peaceful habits in the country.
Panner said the community would continue to contribute to the Nigerian society economically, socially and culturally, pointing at the PBD celebration as a fine indicator of the strengthening ties of the Indian community with their motherland.