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Overall Relations:

India and Nigeria enjoy warm, friendly and deep rooted bilateral relations.Both countries were in the forefront of international anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggle and closely collaborated in various international fora. India established its diplomatic Mission in Lagos, Nigeria in 1958, two years before Nigeria became independent in 1960.

A landmark visit to Nigeria in September 1962, Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and his interaction with Nigeria’s first Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa had created mutual goodwill, respect and friendship between our two countries and leaders.

During the historic State visit to Nigeria by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in October 2007, India and Nigeria adopted the Abuja Declaration for Strategic Partnership, which gave a new impetus to our bilateral ties.

Two Nigerian Presidents visited India as the Chief Guests at India’s Republic Day i.e. in 1983 by President Shehu Shagari and in 2000 at India’s 50th Republic Day celebrationsby President Olusegun Obasanjo. Nigerian leadership regularly visited India –with President Obasanjo in November 2004, Vice President Goodluck Jonathan (who later served as President from 2011-2015) in November 2007 and also to the first India-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi in April 2008. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari visited New Delhi in October 2015 to participate in the Third India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-III).

India as the largest democracy in the world and Nigeria as the largest in Africa emerge as natural partners. India and Nigeria share common perspectives on international political, social and development issues as manifested in various meetings at the United Nations, World Trade Organisation, etc. The two countries are victims of terrorism and are strongly opposing all forms of terrorism.

Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa and India is its largest trading partner. India is also the largest buyer of Nigerian crude oil.Over a hundred companies are owned and/or operated by Indians or Persons of Indian origin in Nigeria. It is said that Indian owned/managed industry is the largest employer in the country after the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The presence of a large Indian expatriate community of about 35,000 the largest in West Africa adds value to the importance of our long standing relationship.

Bilateral Visits

Both countries have nurtured the relationship through periodic interactions. Important bilateral visits at the level of Heads of State or Government are given in the table below.

Nigerian Dignitary to India Period & Event
President Shehu Shagari January 1983 Chief Guest Republic Day celebrations.
President  Gen Sani Abacha March 1994 [to attend the G15 summit]
President (Gen.) OlusegunObasanjo April 1999
President (Gen.) OlusegunObasanjo State Visit to India from January 24-28, 2000 as the Chief Guest at India’s 50thRepublic Day celebrations.
President Gen. OlusegunObasanjo Transit Visit to India from November 2-3, 2004
  Vice President Goodluck Jonathan November 5-7, 2007 for the Federalism Conference.
April 2008- led a large delegation including Delta & Bayelsa State Governors and MOS (Gas) for the India-Africa Summit in April 2008.
President Muhammadu Buhari October 26-30, 2015 for the Third India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi
Indian Dignitary to Nigeria Period and Event
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru 23-27September, 1962
Prime Minister AtalBihari Vajpayee To attend Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, Abuja December 2003.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh October 14-16, 2007

Recent Visits:

Visit of MOS(IC) for Petroleum & Natural Gas: ShriDharmendra Pradhan, Hon'ble MoS (IC) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, accompanied by his PS visited Abuja on May 28-29, 2015 to represent Government of India at the inauguration ceremony of Nigerian President-elect MuhammaduBuhari.

Nigerian President’s visit to India: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) visited New Delhi, India for the India-Africa Summit-III from October 26-30, 2015. Apart from Summit level meeting, PMB called on our Hon’ble Prime Minister. He was accompanied by a 121-member delegation consisting of Governors of Kano State, Mr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and Delta State, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa; National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd); besides Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries of Defence, Power, Communications Technology, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs and Industry, Trade & Investment.

11th CII-Exim Bank Conclave: A large Nigerian delegation led by Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Dr. Enelamah Okechukwu, visited India to attend 11th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave held in New Delhi on 14-15 March, 2016 as a partner country. The delegation included 35 Nigerian businessmen from various quarters.

Institutional Dialogues

Foreign Office Consultations(FOC): The first round of India-Nigeria Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) was held in Abuja in December 2003 on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Summit. The second scheduled in August 2014 in New Delhi has been postponed, and it is expected to held soon.

Joint Commission Meeting (JCM): The Joint Commission was set up between the two countries in 1979. The First meeting was held in 1981. The second meeting was in August 1989 in New Delhi. The third Joint Commission mechanism between India and Nigeria was held when EAM Shri Jaswant Singh visited Nigeria. The fourth meeting was held in New Delhi in October 2003. The fifth meeting was held in New Delhi in March 2011. The next JCM is expected to be held soon.

Defence Relations

India has played a significant role in the establishment of prestigious Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna in 1964 and provided Indian training team till 1973. India has assisted in setting up two IT labs in Lagos and Kaduna which are already operational.

After signing of a bilateral MoU on Defence Co-operation in October 2007, visits at high-level took place and bilateral interaction for cooperation has increased. The primary focus has been in the field of counter terrorism, sea piracy, intelligence sharing and exchange of visits between training institutes. The first meeting of the Joint Defence Coordination Committee (JDCC) was held in New Delhi in April 2013 and the second was held at Abuja in May 2014.

Trade and Investment Relations

India is the largest trading partner of Nigeria and Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa. Indian owned/operated companies are the 2nd largest employer in Nigeria after the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

More than 100 Indian companies are estimated to have footprints in Nigeria, e.g., BhartiAirtel, Tata, Bajaj Auto, Birla Group, Kirloskar, Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, etc. India plays prominent roles in Nigeria’s pharmaceuticals, power transmission and Iron and steel sectors.

The bilateral trade during the year 2015-16 registered US$12.17 billion as against US$16.36 billion recorded during the year 2014-15 due to sharp decline in oil prices.After a steady increase of India’s exports to Nigeria for the past few years,the period April 2015 to March 2016 recorded US$2.22 billion. India’s imports from Nigeria in 2015-16 amounted to US $ 9.94 billion, with crude and petroleum products accounting for a major share. India is the largest importer of Nigeria petroleum products. In recent years, Nigeria has been one of the main sources of crude for India. Nigeria is important for India’s energy security matters as imports account for 12% of India’s crude requirements.

Though in terms of quantity, our petroleum imports have increased by nearly 6 million tonnes during the period 2015-16 compared to the period 2014-15, in USD terms it marked a reduction due to fall of crude oil prices in the international market.

Trade Statistics Since 2010-11

India-Nigeria Bilateral Trade Statistics

Value in US $ million

2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
India ’s Export 2259 2700 2738 2668 2681 2222
India ’s Import 10788 14623 13826   14098 13683

Indian Companies Active in Nigeria: Over 100 Indian owned and/or operated companies are estimated to have footprints in Nigeria. Prominent among them are Tata, BhartiAirtel, Bajaj Auto, Birla Group, Kirloskar, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, NIIT, ApTech, New India Assurance, MECON Ltd.; Prestige Assurance Plc.; Bhushan Steel, KEC, Dabur, Godrej; some Super-speciality Hospitals; and around 15 companies in the Nigerian Power Sector. Nigeria’s pharmaceuticals, steel and power transmission sectors are dominated by Indian companies. Nigeria-based Indians are economically active in consumer manufacturing & retailing as also in construction and services.

HCI, Abuja and Office of HCI, Lagos regularly participates at various International Trade Fairs organised by Nigerian States by displaying Indian catalogues and products. HCI, Abuja also organises “Free Medical Camps’ during Trade Fairs to show-case our excellence in this field. HCI, Abuja also organises inter-active meetings Nigerian businessmen and Indian businessmen in various fields in order to promote Nigerian business in India and Indian business in Nigeria.

Pharmaceuticals: India is traditionally the largest source of pharmaceuticals to Nigeria, supplying over a third of the country’s demand. 30 Indian or India-linked companies are active in importing or/and domestic manufacturing of pharma products in Nigeria. The Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) organized IPHEX (International Exhibition on Pharma& Healthcare) in Lagos on February 18-19, 2016. In recent years, India has emerged as a destination of choice for Nigerians looking for medical treatment. During 2014-15, India’s Pharma exports have reached to $414 million as against $382 million during 2013-14 with an increase of 8% and in 2015-16, it slightly increased to $428.52 million. India is the largest exporter of pharma products to Nigeria.

Power Trading Corporation: A delegation led by Chairman and Managing Director of the Power Trading Corporation of India Ltd, visited Abuja in July 2014.

India Show in Lagos: The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in association with the High Commission of India and supported by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, GOI, organised “The India Show,” in Lagos on August 25-27, 2015. The event with the theme “Enhancing Trade and Investment between Indian and Nigeria” was inaugurated on August 25, 2015 by High Commissioner along with the Deputy Governor of Lagos State and Deputy Governor of Benue state. Over 100 Indian companies participated in the event showcasing their products looking for trade and investment opportunities in Nigeria.

Nigeria Chapter of ASSOCHAM launched: Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment Dr. Okechukwu E. Enelamah, President of ASSOCHAM Mr. Sunil Kanoria and High Commissioner, jointly launched the Nigeria Chapter of ASSOCHAM in Abuja on June 28, 2016. Vice President of Africa Region of World Bank and Managing Director of Dangote Cements and President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria also attended the launch event.

Auto Components Show: The Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) in association with the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, GOI and the High Commission of India organized ACMA Auto Show and Buyer-Seller meet in Lagos on July 18-19 2016 with an objective to showcasing the growing capabilities and products of the Indian Auto Component Industry on offer. Mr.LuqmanMamudu, Director, Policy & Planning, National Automotive Council of Nigeria, Mr. Sunil Arora, Chairman-ACMA (Northern Region) and the High Commissioner attended the inauguration of the event. B2B meetings between the India and Nigeria auto components distributors and manufacturers were also held.

Development Cooperation:

EXIM Bank LOC: The GoI-supported Lines of Credit (LoCs) amounting to US$ 100 million was extended to Nigeria during the visit of the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in October 2007. India’s EXIM Bank is in the process of handing over US $ 60 million as the LOC for two projects viz. Kaduna – US$ 30 million for solar power, and Cross Rivers – US$ 30 million for transmission and electrification purposes.

India’s offer for Food Testing Laboratoryunder IAFS-II has been accepted by Nigeria. ICRISAT &NAFDAC are the lead Indian and Nigerian Agencies respectively for implementing the project.

ITEC: India offers 200 training slots under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) to Nigeria. During the period 2015-16, 176 Nigerian officials attended short to medium terms training programmes in diverse subject ranging from IT to Parliamentary studies.

Interaction between the Think Tanks

Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) and Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), which have a MoU for cooperation and collaboration signed in 2007, jointly organized the second India-Africa Academic Conference at Lagos in March 2012. The event was attended by 80 academics, along with an eight member ICWA delegation led by its Director General Shri S.T. Devare.


ICCR Chair: An MoU between Indian Council for Cultural relations (ICCR) and Lagos Business School (LBS) for continuation of the India Chair at LBS was signed in Lagos in September 2014. Dr (Ms.). M.Thenmozhi, Professor from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai, has joined at the Lagos School of Business.

ICCR offers 20 scholarships to Nigerian students to pursue their Bachelor and Post Graduate studies in India.

About 5000 Nigerian students are pursuing bachelor and PG level courses in India.

People-to-People Contacts

The people-to-people ties between Nigeria and India are vibrant and growing. Nearly 30,000 Nigerians travel to India as students to pursue Bachelor and PG level courses, for medical tourism and for business. Number of Nigerian students going to Indian for education is also rising. Many Indian football clubs have Nigerian professional players.

NRI/PIO Community: The Indian community in Nigeria is estimated to be about 35,000 persons - about 25,000 Indian nationals and about 10,000 Persons of Indian origin holding other nationalities. A generation of Nigerians today in their forties to sixties have been taught by Indian teachers, treated by Indian doctors and have grown watching Indian movies and Indians and India in Nigeria enjoy goodwill and respect in Nigeria. There is a CBSE affiliated Indian Language School in Lagos with 2,500 students. It also has two temples in Lagos and a number of cultural and ethnic associations, most prominent of which is Indian Cultural Association (ICA).

Cultural Relations

Visit of ICCR Cultural Troupe: For the two years in succession in 2010 and 2011, India participated in the Abuja Carnival. ICCR sponsored Rajasthan folk troupe visited Nigeria in 2010 and Theyyam Group from Kerala entertained Nigerians in Abuja Carnival 2011. These troupes also performed in Lagos and other Nigerian cities. A Rajasthani folk dance troupe sponsored by ICCR, New Delhi visited Nigeria from 17-21 September, 2015. During their visit, they gave performances in Lagos, Abuja and Kano cities of Nigeria.

Indian Films: Indian films are quite popular in Kano, Kaduna and other Northern States and local channels regularly telecast Indian films.

Yoga Day: High Commission of India, Abuja celebrated second International Day of Yoga on June 19, 2016(Sunday). Around 250 people including Indian community and some prominent Nigerians participated in the celebrations. Minister of State of Civil Aviation, Federal Government of Nigeria, Mr.HadiSirika and Chief Judge of Federal High Court Justice Ibrahim Auta were among the distinguished guests at the event. Similar event was celebrated by HCI Lagos office in Lagos on the same day. Over three hundred people attended the function. Honorary Consuls in Benin and Cameroon also organised Yoga day event on June 21, 2016.