NIGERIA and Portugal have signed several Memoranda of Understanding (MiU) for cooperation in different sectors to strengthen bilateral relations between both countries.
The MoUs signed include Political Consultations, Diplomatic Training, Research and the Exchange of Information and Documentation, Cooperation in the Fields of Culture, Women and Girls Development, Empowerment and Gender Affairs, Youth, and Sports.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari described the signing of the agreements as an excellent foundation for increased bilateral trade for the benefit of Nigeria and Portugal.
Buhari also used the opportunity to speak on his administration’s efforts towards diversifying the country’s economy beyond oil and gas, noting that the country had recorded successes in agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructure development.
He urged prospective investors to consider Nigeria a top destination for investment.
Mayor of Lisbon Fernando Medina, commended Nigeria’s ability to turn diversity into greatness and expressed optimism towards enduring partnerships with the African Continent.
The signing ceremony was done by cabinet-level officials from the two countries.
In another development, Nigeria and Germany on Friday in Berlin signed a historic joint declaration that will pave the way for the return of 1,130 Benin Bronzes 125 years after they were stolen during the Benin Expedition of 1897.
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed noted that the return of the artefacts would become the single largest repatriation of artefacts anywhere in the world.
“I have no doubt in my mind that this pace-setting action by the Federal Government of Germany will become a harbinger of more repatriation of cultural property to their place of origin, as other museums and institutions are expected to take a cue from what Germany has done,” Mohammed said.
Also speaking, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Annalena Baerbock, said it was wrong for his country to take the Benin Bronzes and to keep them for so long.
“It was wrong to keep them for 125 years. This is the beginning to right the wrong,” she said.
In a symbolic gesture signifying the impending return of the artefacts, two of the Benin Bronzes were handed over to Nigeria at the signing ceremony.
The signing was witnessed by top Nigerian and Germany government officials, including the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany Yusuf Tuggar, and the Director-General of Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments Abba Tijani.