By Onyekwe Samuel
Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Lagos, Mr. Jan Van Weijen, assumed duty on Monday with a courtesy visit on Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The visit, the envoy said, was to officially inform the Governor of the upcoming visit of the Netherlands Prime Minister to Nigeria in November for bilateral meeting, noting that Lagos would be one of the places the visiting Dutch leader would stop.
Van Weijen said it was necessary to meet Lagos Governor ahead to discuss cooperation between the Netherland and Lagos on areas of mutual interests, which include inland waterway administration, intermodal transportation and efficient public health services.
Sanwo-Olu mulled partnership with the Dutch country, given that Lagos shared common realities with Amsterdam – the Netherlands’ most populous city and capital.
Like Amsterdam, the Governor said Lagos is 5 metres above the sea level, noting the State had started studying the model used by the Netherlands to bring about solution to transportation on its waterways. He said his government was looking forward to activate collaborations that could bring about Foreign Direct Investment in Lagos to boost capacity of transportation in the State.
He said: “Netherlands is beautiful country that has preserved its legacy in innovative governance over the decades. It is not out of place for Lagos, as a big city in Nigeria and African, to learn from the Amsterdam examples, given common realities we share. Nature has endowed both cities, but these endowments must not be burden. This is why we must take the opportunity to discuss cooperation and partnership.
“We will be working with your team. We will be planning further engagement to ensure that our partnership is mutually beneficial and rewarding to both countries and to our citizens. We are open for business and open to have a conversation around Lagos development and to make it a great and a megacity than what it is today.”
Van Weijen said the Netherlands government was ready to partner with Lagos in delivering the key objectives in the six pillars of development programmes of the Sanwo-Olu administration known as Project T.H.E.M.E.S.
He said: “I will like to officially inform you of the visit of Prime Minister of the Netherlands to Lagos State and Abuja, which is coming up at the end of November. We will be showcasing our cooperation with Lagos and consolidating on the progress we shared for more investment drive.
“We are looking at cooperation in transportation, exploring the Lagos waterways to alleviate the pain of road transportation. Netherlands has achieved much progress in this area; we request Lagos to study the solution we proffered in order to solve its transportation problems. Lagos is the city for the next millennium. Given our interest Project T.H.E.M.E.S. of the Lagos Government, we have excellent opportunities to mutually benefit from cooperation, which will also get the Dutch business involved in regenerating the metropolis of Lagos.
Mr Weijen was accompanied on the visit by Deputy Consul-General, Mr Ayinole’ Kohndou, and Adviser on Economy, Trade and Investment Affairs, Ms. Sonia Fajusigbe.