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Israel, Nigeria strengthen 60 years of ties with boost in start-ups, agric, others

The State of Israel and Nigeria are commemorating sixty years of diplomatic relations between both countries this year with an increased collaboration to boost start-up businesses in Nigeria as well as enhance Nigeria’s productivity in agriculture, business promotion, tourism and education.

Indications to this development emerged during the flag-off of the Third National Bible Contest for the 2020 edition, tagged “Dwelling  Together in Unity,” held in Abuja on Tuesday.

The Ambassador of the State of Israel to Nigeria, Shimon Ben-Shoshan, in his remarks, said that both countries “together in peace will succeed in turning challenges into opportunities.” He added that the “Bible has served as the moral compass in faith uniting human kind despite various challenges.”

Deputy Head of the Israeli Mission to Nigeria, Yotam Kreiman, told reporters in an interview that in agriculture innovative seminar held last year, fifty different Nigerian start-up companies were expected but about   1,100 companies showed interest. He added that Israel ended up having 90 start- ups companies to which it has given training, adding value to their skill among other investments.

“We have seen the growing interest to collaborate with Israel and we are going to accommodate all of them this year.  We are seeing more pilgrims coming to Israel not only Christians go to the Holy land of Israel  to follow what we have in common from the Bible. We are looking forward to having bigger cooperation and more projects,” he said, adding that sixty years of ties is a millstone to many more years of fruitful relationship in the future.

On the question of collaboration to tackle the insecurity ravaging parts of Nigeria, the envoy said “We are definitely seeing the challenges Nigeria is facing. Israel is dealing with similar challenges from the day it was re-established and created in 1948, so, we know that these challenges exist. When it comes to tackling these challenges there are different approaches and Israel is trying to collaborate. Some of the collaboration is not something that will be mention loud,” he said.

He added that a different approach that could address the security challenges smoothly should be adopted because in that way more lives can be protected and saved.

The General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Joseph Daramola, said Nigeria stands in solidarity with Israel, stressing  that the innovative and creative power of the Israelis have made them resilient and unbroken in the face of the hostile forces ranged against them . He admonished Nigerians to learn from the imaginativeness of Israel adding that “Israel is the spiritual umbilical cord of every Christian.”

The 3rd edition of the Bible Contest is organized by the Christians United for Israel prayer Outreach (CUFI); Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN); Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC); Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and Aso Villa Chapel in collaboration with the Embassy of Israel in Nigeria.

The contest will commence in all states of Nigeria on March 4, 2020; it is open to candidates from 18 years and above and it would be held at the state, zonal and national level with 2 finalists from each stage proceeding to the next level to compete against the others. The final would be held in Abuja in November this year.

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