Nigeria and Algeria have about 50 bilateral agreements in place, visiting Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sabri Boukadoum has said.
Boukadoum, who is on an official visit to Nigeria, however, said not all the agreements are running as some are still at the level of negotiation.
He spoke in Abuja during a meeting with his Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama.
Be as it may, he said the two countries are currently involved in projects of immense benefits to their citizens.
He cited the gas pipe line project, the Trans Saharan road and the fibre optic project as some of the infrastructural works both countries are involved in.
According to him: “On what we are doing together, I think we have about 50 agreements -bilateral agreements with Nigeria some have been implemented and other are at the point of negotiation.
“I will say on the business side we have to work hard together and I would say that we will increase the speed and we will do it. I have committed myself to doing it as soon as possible.
“In the area of infrastructure, the trans-saharan road from Algiers to Lagos, the fibre optic from Algiers to Lagos the gas pipeline, this is infrastructure, they are huge investment that we have to make. I mean linking physically the two countries.
“We need to understand what we are building, I mean that we need a special relationship that must exist between Nigeria and Algeria,” he added.
Boukadoum, who is positive about Nigeria and Algeria impact on the entire continent, emphasised the needs for Nigeria and his country to take the lead in championing African issues.
Boukadoum said as two great powers in the continent, the onus is on two countries to be in the forefront in addressing the region challenges.
The Algerian Minister said his country and Nigeria should take the lead on issues that affect peace and security amongst other challenges.
Besides, the minister said one of the reasons for his visit was to see how both countries can improve on the current working relationship for the betterment of the continent at large.
He stressed that Nigeria is definitely too big to be ignored on any matter in Africa, and hence the need for the country to continue its usual roles in the continent.
He said, “No I have’nt said that Nigeriaa has not been taking the lead in African issues, I am saying in the future, we and Nigeria should take the lead on all African issues.
“On peace and security issues that we are confronting, for example the challenges in the Sahel. No one can diminish the role that Nigerian forces are doing in fighting terrorism but what we can do it together and taking the lead in the field because the reason is also politically, how can you pass on the message to others.
“If we speak together, the way we strategise our work with others, try to express how we can diminish for example terrorism threat. Working on terrorism first but then going into the root causes that we can do with Nigeria.
“When I said we need Nigeria, definitely we need Nigeria as we did in the past for independence of many African countries, you have to continue this role. Nigeria should continue this role. Working together hand in hand, it is not dominating or trying to dominate.
“Of course Nigeria is the largest county in West Africa and it is openness between us to confront others. This is why I am here and we are calling for that we have to discuss and that is what we are doing with my brother Geoffrey and I think we are succeeding as we have no problem at all.”
Onyeama said Nigeria-Algeria relationship dates back from independence of the country.
He said: “Our relationship goes back from independence of Nigeria. We had what we will call Algeria is one of the countries that we have special relationship with and our Presidents have always been very close and you will recall for instance the new partnership for Africa development which is very important mechanism that was created to address African development going forward, at the core of that, the conception and the bringing in to be, you had two presidents, Algeria and Nigeria who were really at the core of that really showed that we considered that partnership as the engine for African growth and development, that is how close we are.”