The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, has called for economic ties with Nigeria, particularly in the area of oil production.
The call was made during a bilateral meeting between the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and the Foreign Minister of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Félix Plasencia, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States.
Speaking during the meeting, Plasencia noted that Venezuela, like Nigeria, is an oil producing country and a regional leader, saying that Venezuela and Nigeria should get closer.
He recalled the visit of the Secretary General of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, to Venezuela where he instructed that Venezuela should work hard.
Plasencia stated that Barkindo decided to visit Venezuela as a founding member of OPEC, in commemoration of the 61st anniversary of the founding of OPEC and urged member countries to come together.
He particularly said Barkindo had during the visit, emphasised on the need for Nigeria and Venezuela to strengthen their relationship and for Venezuela to be the best partner of Nigeria in Africa.
Plasencia, during the bilateral meeting, mooted the idea of flight connectivity with Nigeria, particularly with local airlines in Venezula which it is currently doing with Russia, Iran and under discussion with China.
Plasencia further mentioned the need for Venezuela and Nigeria to cooperate in the field of medicine through the training of medical students from Nigeria.
Also speaking, the Vice-Minister for Africa of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Yuri Pimentel, recalled that Venezuela received Nigerian students in the past in the field of medicine and other areas.
Pimentel however said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the programme was delayed, but that Venezuela is currently working with Nigeria to open scholarships for Nigerian students.
Earlier, Onyeama told the Venezuelan Foreign Minister of the challenges bedevilling the country such as terrorism, kidnapping, banditry, herders-farmers conflicts and militancy in the Niger Delta region.
Onyeama also said the reduction in the price of oil has affected the country economically and coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, which he said, were real economic heat for the country.
He further told the Venezuelan Foreign Minister that Nigeria was in the process of seeking to diversify its economic before the developments.
Onyeama however said nevertheless, there have been a lot of efforts by President Muhammadu Buhari in investing, especially in infrastructure.
“We are pushing ahead in that area, prioritising agriculture also, which is where we are going,” Onyeama said.
Michael Olugbode in Abuja