Don’t be affected by small incidents: Ansari to Indians in Nigeria

New Delhi: Vice President Hamid Ansari has asked Indians living in Nigeria not to get disheartened by an incident “here or there” following some instances of attacks and kidnappings in the African country.

Talking to members of the Indian community at a reception in Lagos on Wednesday night, he said, “Small and sporadic incidents take place. Don’t be disheartened by an incident here or there”. He also said that these problems are not the making of the government.

Some Indians have been affected by criminal incidents especially kidnappings and armed robberies in various parts of Nigeria.

Apart from kidnapping of Indian nationals from time to time, there was an incident of sea piracy off Nigerian coast in February when 18 crew members of a merchant vessel including 11 Indian nationals were taken hostage by pirates. However, all of them later got released with the help of Nigerian Navy.

There is an approximate 35,000-strong Indian community in Nigeria. Ansari lauded the role of Indians, particularly teachers and doctors, saying they have been contributing immensely to the national developmental work.

There is a CBSE-affiliated Indian language school in Lagos with 2,500 students. Over 100 Indian companies have made Nigeria their base to operate in West Africa, employing the largest number of Nigerians after the Federal Government, and covering diverse sectors of the economy.

It is estimated that the Indian investments have exceeded $10 billion (around Rs 66,900 crore) so far, and another $5 billion (around Rs 33,450 crore) are committed. Indian investments are in diverse sectors such as communications, power, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, automotive sector and oil, among others.

The vice president and his wife Salma Ansari also interacted with the members of the Indian community and posed for photographs. Ansari had attended a similar event in Abuja. He inaugurated the High Commission of India Chancery complex, the foundation stone of which had been laid by the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003.