By Magnus Effiong
Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State has called for a closer diplomatic ties, particularly in areas of economy and security, with Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon.
Otu said this in Calabar, Thursday, while playing hosts to the Consul General of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, His Excellency Iideonso Ondo Mchama as well as Patrice Onana, Consul General of Cameroon for the South-South, South East and Benue State.
He disclosed that plans were underway for the commencement of flight operations as well as marine transportation to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea
“Our main aim is for us to build stronger ties with the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. We are planning to get some international flight that would be flying direct from Calabar to Equatorial Guinea. I believe it will do our commerce a lot of good.
“Statistically, Nigerians are the highest number of immigrants in the Equatorial Guinea; and flying through Calabar to Equatorial Guinea is about 20-25 minutes, unlike other longer routes.
“The marine economy is also something that is majorly lacking. And what we need is a vessel that would convey cargo between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea directly. And there is a lot of cargo movement between these two countries,” he stated.
Speaking earlier, the Equatorial Guinea envoy, Mr. Mchama, said the visit was to identify with the Cross State government for its hospitality and how to strengthen the relationship between his country, Nigeria and Cross River in particular.
Similarly, the Governor told the visiting Cameroon Consul that Nigeria and Cameroon have had long standing relationship and there was need to strengthen it in the face of security threats that has undermined trade and commerce between both countries.
He said the state was keen on boosting security especially along its maritime corridor and noted that Nigeria would not harbor separatist elements in the country. He challenged Cameroon to work hard on border control.
In his remarks, Onana described Governor Otu’s leadership style as exemplary and maintained that the long maritime border between both countries require robust security collaboration to safeguard and boost trade and business.