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The Nigerian ambassador to Japan on Thursday called on Japanese companies to invest in his country, particularly to make better use of its natural gas, much of which is wasted due to a lack of technology there.

Japan’s help in this area is vital not only to increase gas production, which may be exported to Ja-Otiotiopan, but also to create jobs and help solve environmental problems caused by its production, said Oseimiegha Emmanuel Otiotio during his visit to The Japan Times.

Otiotio said that during his nine months here he has been busy “selling Nigeria” to Japanese officials and businesspeople. He said he is seeking their support for the democracy and freedom his country achieved last year with the election of Olusegun Obasanjo as Nigeria’s first civilian president after 15 years of military rule.

What his country needs is a partnership with Japan based on investments, rather than handouts, he stressed. However, he expressed hopes for Japan’s cooperation in improving Nigeria’s infrastructure through the resumption of yen loans and investment.

Japan’s investment in the gas and other formerly government-controlled sectors, such as transportation and telecommunications, would stabilize his democratic government by improving its impoverished condition, raising the level of technology and expanding its economy, the ambassador said.

The new government has introduced various programs focusing on free education for children from elementary school to age 18 and poverty alleviation, he said, in order to deliver the “dividend of democracy” to the people.

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