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NIGERIA, ISRAEL BOOST TIES, SAYS ENVOY

By NBF News
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NIGERIA and Israel have boosted bilateral ties in agriculture, education and culture, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

Israeli Deputy Head of Mission to Nigeria, Mr George Deek, who said this in Abuja yesterday, against the backdrop of the cordial relations between the countries, noted that the private sector played a key role in the various areas.

Deek said that through Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation, more than 8000 Nigerians had been trained in different fields of agriculture in the past 50 years, noting that the main focus currently is on water management, drip irrigation and agric-technology.

'You will recall that Lagos State signed an agreement with an Israeli company to establish an agriculture university.

'At present, 100 graduates are produced per semester, and also in Osun State, we have built primary and secondary schools, as well as science laboratory from the scratch, using a simple pattern which works without the conditions for electricity,'' he said.

According to him, the agency adopts the 'learning-by-doing initiative'' to impart practical knowledge to trainees, with a view to creating sound foundation.

Deek also said that the agency was involved in community building, with emphasis on gender

The envoy said that Israeli journalists have documented the Osogbo Festival and published a magazine on it in Hebrew.

'These are all efforts to expose the Nigerian culture to Israel. We also have an Israeli singer, who is teaching children music under the classic-kids project''.

While listing other areas of cooperation to include security, the envoy said that Israeli expertise had become relevant to the Nigerian situation, stressing that emerging forms of crime like the Boko Haram phenomenon, kidnapping and bomb blasts were issues 'we have been dealing with in Israel''.

He said that both countries would continue to cooperate to further strengthen their bilateral ties, spanning over many decades.

NAN reports that more than 1,000 Israelis, mostly professionals in construction, manufacturing and agriculture, reside in Nigeria