The Nigerian Navy and Canadian Navy on Friday said that they would continue to strengthen the cordial bond between them as they mark 60 years of bilateral diplomatic relations.
The Acting High Commissioner to Canada, Kelvin Tokar said Nigeria and Canada had lots of cordial linkages between them and those linkages had continued to grow over the years.
Tokar made the assertion during the visit of Her Majesty Canadian Ship (HMCS) GOOSE BAY and HMCS Moncton to the Western Naval Command, Apapa, Lagos State.
“This auspicious visit is timely because it coincides with the 60th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations between Canada and Nigeria which dates back to 1962 when they were first established.
“The ships are in the region to participate in exercise Obangame Express, where they will be working alongside the Nigerian Navy as well as other regional and international naval partners.
“The goal of the exercise is to strengthen cooperation to improve maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea where Nigeria plays a leadership role,” he said.
Tokar said that the visits would give the Canadian Navy a chance to speak with the local officials and interact with the communities of some of West Africa’s most important coastal cities.
“These visits are really a great opportunity to learn from one another and to strengthen our bond so that we can work together to address shared challenges in order to achieve results.
“As two former British colonies, we have a lot in common and our bilateral relationship is growing stronger year by year.
“In addition, Canada has a thriving Nigerian community and many members of the Canadian Armed Forces are of Nigerian decent,” he said.
Also speaking, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Adm. Yakubu Wambai, said both countries had participated in several foreign courses and peace keeping missions together.
“This has enhanced relationship between the two states and we hope that some day, our own fleet will be able to pay similar port calls to Canada to foster and cement the existing relationship,” he said.
Wambai said that there had been a reduction in maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea in the last twelve months
“This can be attributed to the existing partnership between the Gulf of Guinea coastal states and foreign partners like you that come in, exercise and patrol our waters.
“Your experience and strategic location at the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean and northwards to the Arctic Ocean will be of immense benefit to us,” the FOC said.
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