NASSAU, The Bahamas, 23 January 2012/ BIS/ Anguilla News: The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the Federal Republic of Nigeria are seeking to forge ties in tourism and other areas of economic development. These areas of development were announced by H.E Sir Arthur Foulkes, Governor-General as he accepted Letters of Commission presented by H.E Laraba Elsie-Bhutto, accrediting her as Non-Resident High Commissioner from the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas during a ceremony at Government House on Thursday, January 19.

"Today begins another chapter in the continued development of strong,mutually-beneficial bilateral relations and cooperation between our two countries", he stated.

Our two countries share historical commonalities that cannot be denied, and which will continue to be promoted," he said. Regarding Nigeria as one of Africa's leading countries, Sir Arthur also described it as a leader in the establishment of the New Partnership for African Development, the creation of the Economic Community of West African States, and significant contributions to the United Nations Peace-Keeping Forces in Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

He also congratulated Nigeria for its recent contributions to the international community as a Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council. Notwithstanding the difference in size, The Bahamas and Nigeria have partnered politically in several major international fora such as the UN, the African Caribbean Pacific Group and, the Commonwealth, Sir Arthur said.Also, both countries are committed to the ideals of democracy, human rights and sustainable development. "Our two countries share historical commonalities that cannot be denied, and which will continue to be promoted. We too are aware and share with your country many concerns as they relate to the environment, security and energy," he said.

Nigeria was also acknowledged for making "significant strides" in confronting environmental challenges on an international, federal and local level and is actively exploring methods of producing renewable and sustainable energy. "In this regard, I commend the efforts of your government in your country and, in particular, for programmes aimed at mitigating the adverse effects of climate change," Sir Arthur said. And, he also applauded the Government of Nigeria for its efforts to be among the 20 most developed countries in 2020, despite formidable obstacles. As The Bahamas is known for its robust tourism industry – the mainstay of its economy, he said the country would welcome opportunities to strengthen its relations with Nigeria in this sector.

"It is our hope that, moving forward with these proposals, we can see the fruit of our labour manifest in meaningful progress for both Nigeria and The Bahamas," Sir Arthur said. High Commissioner Bhutto thanked Sir Arthur for receiving her Letters of Commission, and accepting the Letters of recall of her predecessor, His Excellency Senator Segun Bamigbetan Baju. She also offered condolences from Nigeria's President His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebeke Jonathan and the people of Nigeria, on the passing of Sir Clifford Darling, former Governor-General of The Bahamas. The High Commissioner also paid Courtesy Calls on Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham; and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Brent Symonette.

(Pictured from left: Dr Patricia Rodgers, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; High Commissioner Bhutto; His Excellency Sir Arthur Foulkes, Governor General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas; and Joan Lady Foulkes. BIS/Derek Smith)

– Lindsay Thompson, Bahamas Information Service