There is no doubt that the diplomatic relationship between Nigeria and South Korea has benefited the two developing countries immensely and of great importance. The achievements cannot also be over-emphasized looking at the exchange of developmental projects to the benefit of their citizens. There is the need therefore for the two counties to sustain the long-age relationship.
For almost 40 years, Nigeria and South Korea have entered into such cordial and cooperative relationship and from all indications it has become a veritable channel where the two countries exchange ideas on many developmental projects that have positive impact on their citizens. Apart from establishment of infrastructural projects, South Korea and Nigeria have kept the relationship to their chest and are proud of keeping on to the agreement without looking back. Both countries emphasized that the relationship is not just for training and capacity building of their citizens, but also for business and leadership empowerment for all cadres.
Since its establishment of diplomatic relationship with Nigeria in February 1980, South Korea has kept on with the relationship even when the economy of Nigeria nosedived looking forward to its recovery. For many years, South Korea remained a loyal ally and has done a great deal to support Nigeria. It has committed enormous resources to the Nigerian economy in areas of security, education and health.
Apart from supporting the economy, South Korea built an everlasting relationship across all strata of the Nigerian society including those in authority, business community and the general public.
Recently, in conjunction with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) South Korea facilitated the training of EFCC officials by their Police Detectives on modern ways of combating internet fraud through forensic intelligence gathering.
Another major footprint of the diplomatic relationship is the establishment of the Nigeria – Korea Model Primary and Junior Secondary Schools in Abuja at a cost of 15 million US dollars, which was provided by South Korea. South Korea also provided multi-media equipment to the school recently.
Also, the Nigeria – Korea Friendship Institute of Vocational and Advanced Technology in Kogi State which the two governments said will become a first class citadel of knowledge and a beacon of excellence for research as well as moral and capacity building. It is generally believed that if the concept is properly manned, it will go a long way for the growth of education and to offer exchange programmes in many areas between the two countries.
These institutes are not just a training and capacity building Institutes, but can be rely upon as one to teach management, professionalism and independence, if properly manned with qualified personnel. Apart from sending over 72 school teachers for training in South Korea for the school projects, other areas have been exploited to make the schools a model and productive institutions of learning.
The South Korean Government’s faithfulness to the diplomatic relationship is evidenced by the fact that every agreement entered into has been followed to the letter.
South Korea in recent time donated vehicles to the Nigerian Customs Service and Ministry of Water Resources to boost their activities.
Apart from government exchanges and cooperation it was also instrumental to the Samsung/Vision care activities to assist those with eyes defects, K-pop and Taekwondo events and many other areas where remarkable progress were recorded.
Similarly, the South Korea has provided assistance through projects and training programmes including Master’s Degree Scholarship and short training programmes for qualified candidates as well as emergency relief aid when necessary.
South Korea’s hard work and goodwill has attracted attestation from the current Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, and the anti-corruption czar of Nigeria and acting boss of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu. They both commended South Korea for keeping to the letter of friendship and pledged their organisation’s support at all times.
According to the minister of state, South Korea and Nigeria have progressively fostered closer relationships which are paying off today and need to be sustained. She pledged that the Nigeria – Korea Model School in Abuja will be considered for all the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria between the two countries in the nearest future. Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu and Ibrahim Magu promised to continue to promote the Nigeria – South Korea relationship for the interest and development of both nations.
Unlike some countries pursuing their own interests, South Korea has contributed immensely to develop the potential and manpower of Nigeria.
Both countries must continue and further the mutually beneficial relationship for many years to come.
Tijjani writes from, Kaduna, Kaduna state, Nigeria.