The Cross River State Government on Thursday took a proactive step towards deepening cooperation cooperation and partnership in areas of mutual interest with the province of Ontario, Canada.
The interest of the state government was made known in a presentation by the Director-General, Migration Control Agency, Cross River State, Comrade Prince Michael Nku Abuo to the acting Canadian High Commissioner and Head of Cooperation Development, Mr Kevin Tokar at the Canadian High Commission headquarters in Abuja.
In his presentation entitled, REQUESTING FOR DEEPENING COOPERATION DEVELOPMENT ACTIVTIES IN CROSS RIVER STATE, ESTABLISHMENT OF PARTNERSHIP AND TIES BETWEEN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO, CANADA AND CROSS RIVER STATE, NIGERIA, Me Abuo stated that, the primary purpose of visit is to deepen the outreach of the development cooperation in Cross River State and to advance for the establishment of ties and partnership between Cross River State and the province of Ontario.
His presentation reads, “Mr Toka Sir, I bring you tidings of goodwill from the over 5million citizens of Cross River State, Nigeria and His Excellency, Sen. Prof Ben Ayade, the Executive Governor of Cross River State.
Firstly let me appreciate the cooperation development department for their contributions in advancing good governance, human rights, gender equality,environmental sustainability, economic well being and social development in Nigeria nay the world.
The primary purpose of visit is to deepen the outreach of the development cooperation in Cross River State and to advance for the establishment of ties and partnership between Cross River State and the province of Ontario.
Several correspondence has been sent by my office to the office of the High Commissioner and of the Premier of Ontario and response received from the premier office to that of the Nigerian High Commission in Ottawa and yours for a follow up which was done and plans were in order until COVID happened.
Now that things are getting normalized we hope to bring this proposition to fruition. Considering the tides of globalization and partnership drive for international development and mutual cooperation, our state-Cross River State has carefully studied the history and strides of the province-Ontario and would love to forge an alliance of mutual economic and social benefits.
Like Ontario, Calabar the Capital of Cross River State plays and played a critical role in the establishment of Nigeria with a population of over 200million and one of the world’s best developing economy having served as the first capital of the country and a major trading and administrative base of Britain during the colonial era. We acknowledge the sophistry and resilience of the province of Ontario and would love to forge an alliance with her for the advancement of her interest and ours in the following areas thus:
1. Agriculture: Ontario has the largest concentrations of farms in Canada and Cross River State has a total area of approximately 20,156 km2 which are arable but more than 50% of this arable land are fallow and others are farmed subsistently. We are willing and proposing partnership in this regards to provide land for commercial farmers of Ontario origin to set up standard farms, livestock, diary/ranch and production centers as well as exchange program to boost the capacity of our farmers in modern farming methods( As regards this, certain farms in Ontario has been shortlisted and contacted for this initiative). Secondly, Nigeria is one of the fastest growing economy in the world and one of the world’s biggest consumers, our state is willing to provide a base for operations towards the introduction of agricultural products in terms of export/sales in Nigeria.
2. Manufacturing: The administration of Sen Prof Ben Ayade, has been involved in several industrialization drive and has created an industrial park with incentives to manufacturers to set up their production facilities, therefore, our state is willing to provide a platform for manufacturers to set up and operate to penetrate the huge Nigerian, West African and African market. Therefore, this platform will provide an oversea base for expansion, market penetration and pocket friendly pay for workers etc.
3. Our state university and college of education would love to secure educational partnership in terms of deepening her research and exchange programs with tertiary educational institutions in Ontario.
4. Calabar is the tourist hub of Nigeria/West Africa due to our rich cultural, ethnic and rich heritage as well as natural empowerment such as our hosting one of West Africa’s largest virgin rainforest reserve and Africa’s largest street party. We will therefore love to partner the province of Ontario in order to explore the development of our tourism potentials and organize tours for interested tourists from Nigeria to Ontario.
5. Mineral Survey/Exploration: Cross River State is rich in several deposit of solid mineral resources which due to lack of machineries and partners are yet to be mined. We will love to partner Ontario based mining companies to survey, extract, process and utilize/export these minerals.
6.Infrastructural Project: Currently the Cross River State has gotten license to set up one the nation’s largest/biggest deep seaports and superhighway and we therefore are looking for serious Ontario/Canadian based investors that will partner to implement this project basically on the principle of Build Operate and Transfer.
7. Science, Technology Development and Skill Transfer initiative/Exchange Programs for our youths.
Going forward Sir, I have the permission of His Excellency, Sen Prof Ben Ayade, the Executive Governor of Cross River State to request an invitation for members of the Cross River State Government for an official visit at the premier’s office in Ontario,Canada for the last week in November,2021 as against the earlier proposed date of 12th to 17th of March,2020 and for the Canadian High Commissioner and his team to pay an official visit to the state on the second week of November, 2021 inorder for him to meet with the Governor for the deliberation, presentation and will involve interaction with relevant stakeholders in areas specified above.
Thank you for your strides in deepening the gains of the common wealth.We look forward to your visit to Cross River State for our warm hospitality. Please find attached a copy of the previous letter sent and a softcopy of this letter.
In his response, the acting Canadian High Commissioner, Mr Kevin Tokar, who appreciated the visit, commended the Cross River State government’s giant strides and assured of Canada’s support especially in the area of climate change.
With the DG Migration Control Agency during the visit is the special assistant to the Governor on Print Media Comrade Ebriku John Friday, who in a closing remarks thanked the acting Canadian High Commissioner for the opportunity.