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Illustrative picture. PHOTO: SHIPS & PORTS archive

The Nigerian Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, Toko Gongulong has advised Nigerians travelling to that country or other countries to endeavour to visit the country’s missions to register their presence.

Gongulong gave the advice in an interview with newsmen in Malabo.

He said visiting the Nigerian missions would allow for easy interventions should they encounter any difficult situation during their stay.

“We are not going to monitor you or your activities; it is just for us to know that you are around.

“Again, the event you are attending, if it is difficult for you to do so, we can assist you to facilitate easy attendance and also ensure access to most organisations and media as well.

“In Equatorial Guinea, when you visit, we can assist you to access many places and things you need to do,” he said.

The envoy said the Nigerian community in Equatorial Guinea had largely reduced from more than 100,000 in the 1960s prior to the country’s independence to about 2,500.

Gongulong attributed the reduction to the government in power at the time.

“Prior to independence of Equatorial Guinea in 1968, there were more than 100,000 Nigerians here.

“After independence, the first Equatorial Guinea president was so hostile to Nigerians, and they were so xenophobic that they exploited Nigerians forcing them to leave.

“Nigerians have been part and parcel of the development of Equatorial Guinea.”

He further advised Nigerians intending to travel to or already living in Equatorial Guinea or other countries to abide by the laws.

The envoy added that abiding by the laws of the countries they found themselves will make the jobs of Nigerian missions’ officials easier.

“You came in here, nobody forced you, so come here and obey their laws, respect their culture and live by their laws, that is the only way we can help you out.

“If you are living by their laws and culture and you are still arrested or harassed, then you can come to us and we will assist to protect your interest.

“That is the main function of any ambassador but you also have to help us by living by their laws, it will make our task easier.”

On the volume of trade between the Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, the ambassador said most of the trade between both countries was informal.

He added that businessmen intending to invest were usually informed of investment prospects and expectations.

“Trade between both countries is small because the market here is a small one.

“We always let Nigerians know so that they do not get into trouble with their Equatorial Guinean partners here.”

He advised that Nigerians planning to invest in Equatorial Guinea should do a feasibility study to know what areas to invest in.