St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister visits Nigeria, calls for enhancing ‘strong bonds of friendship’

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (second from the left) with Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Arch. Mohammed Namadi Sambo; Deputy President of the Senate, His Excellency Ike Ekeweremadu and Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, the Hon. Edem Duke at the State Dinner.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon.Dr. Denzil Douglas (right) and President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency David M. B. Mark
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (right), Deputy President of the Senate, His Excellency Ike Ekweremadu and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Elvis Newton (left).
All photos by Erasmus Williams

ABUJA, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, NOVEMBER 28TH 2012 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis and the Republic of Nigeria can look forward to a closer working relationship as a result of a visit by St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas to the largest African nation in the World.

Prime Minister Douglas, who is accompanied by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Elvis Newton and Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, Mr. Erasmus Williams was greeted at the Airport early Monday morning by Deputy President of the Federal Senate, His Excellency Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

Dr. Douglas and his delegation attended during the afternoon, the Boat Regatta event of the Abuja National Carnival and was invited to speak to the thousands of participants and onlookers,

In his address, the St. Kitts and Nevis leader noted the similarity in culture of the Nigerian people and St. Kitts and Nevis.

He pointed to the colour, pageantry and fun displayed on the water and on land by the participants representing several of the Nigerian states.

He also noted the rich history between Nigerian and West African States and St. Kitts and Nevis and other Caribbean countries pointing out that both peoples are not only proud but interdependent.

“I believe that the masquerades are a common feature in the cultural art form of St. Kitts and Nevis and Nigeria. and said that the St. Kitts and Nevis officially celebrates Carnival from December 26th to January 2nd each year.

“It demonstrates a message of celebration, royalty, dance and pageantry,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who noted that the central theme of the Abuja National Carnival from 24th to 27th November called on the peoples of the State of Abuja and the Federation of Nigeria to take a stand against violence and support peace and harmony.

“It is a powerful message. The people of Nigeria and the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Caribbean are one and the same. We need to promote peace and harmony,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

In welcoming Prime Minister Douglas, the Nigerian Senate Deputy President said the presence of the St. Kitts and Nevus leader “will no doubt go a long way to inspire international confidence in our culture-tourism sector and open new opportunities for influx on investment and visitors that will take the sector to greater heights.”

On Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Douglas visited the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria where he held separate discussions with the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency David M. B. Mark and Deputy President His Excellency Ike Ekweremadu.

Dr. Douglas was also formally welcomed by Senate President Mark during a meeting attended by Parliamentarians, several of whom are chairpersons of Standing Committees of the Senate.

President Mark, who said he has visited St. Kitts before on cruise ships, used the opportunity to invite the Speaker of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly, the Hon. Curtis Martin to visit Nigeria as his guest.

He also said the Senate was inviting St. Kitts and Nevis parliamentarians and officers of the National Assembly to attend conferences, workshops and seminars offered by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Prime Minister Douglas thanked the Senate President and Deputy President for the hospitality since his delegation’s arrival and noted that St. Kitts and Nevis is the smallest independent nation in the Western Hemisphere just as Nigeria can boast as the largest black democracy in the world.

“There is so much we can learn from each other,” said Dr. Douglas who noted that a large number of Nigerian students are attending off-shore medical and nursing schools in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Pointing to the new planks of the St. Kitts and Nevis economy since the closure of the near 350-year old sugar industry in 2005, Prime Minister Douglas issued an invitation to Nigerian businessmen to invest in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Formally inviting the Nigerian Senate President to visit St. Kitts and Nevis, Prime Minister Douglas also invited the Nigerian senators to visit the twin-island Federation “to enhance the very strong bonds of friendship that exists between St. Kitts and Nevis and Nigeria.”

President Mark presented Prime Minister Douglas with regalia worn by Senators and presented him with a Senate publication “The Lawmakers, Federal Republic of Nigeria 2011 – 2015.

On Monday evening, Prime Minister Douglas was Special Guest at a Presidential Dinner in honour of the Abuja National Carnival 2012 at State House and was invited to speak.

The Command Performance saw cultural groups from across Nigeria as well as Namibia, Cuba and Egypt on stage.

The Presedential Dinner was hosted by Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Arch. Mohammed Namadi Sambo as President His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was absent due to a death in the family.

On Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Douglas travelled to Akwa Ibom State and later in the day to Lagos for a series of meetings and events.

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