The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has sought the support of the United Kingdom’s Parliament in the area of insecurity, Parliamentary diplomacy, and political and economic prosperity in Nigeria.
Gbajabiamila said Nigeria remains a key player in global affairs and that its Parliament plays an important role in addressing issues through legislation.
He spoke during a visit to the Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, in Westminster on Tuesday, saying the Nigerian House had used Parliamentary diplomacy at different times and it worked.
“We intend to work in close collaboration with your Parliament,” Gbajabiamila noted, adding that Nigeria and the UK have “a rich history between them.”
Speaker Gbajabiamila emphasised the need for the Parliament to come in whenever there is a government-to-government arrangement.
“We try to use Parliamentary diplomacy to achieve certain things,” he added.
He said the House had at different occasions intervened on the issue of xenophobia in South Africa, the dispute involving Nigerian traders in Ghana and also ensured the evacuation of Nigerian students from Ukraine recently.
“In a nutshell, it’s a noble idea that we come around to seek your collaboration. We know you’ll buy into this and support us for the Parliament to take its rightful place”, he said.
Gbajabiamila noted that the issue of security is very important as Nigeria is currently grappling with insecurity challenges.
He said whatever happened to Nigeria “has a ricochet effect on other countries.”
Gbajabiamila also stated that Nigeria’s general elections would come up next year and that the National Assembly did its part by giving the country “a near-perfect electoral law.”
He added, “It’s in our best interest to work together for economic and other reasons.”
The Speaker sought to know the rationale behind deporting refugees to Rwanda, saying, “It’s noble, but it will be nice to know the intricacies and how it affect Nigeria and the African continent.”
He also touched on his initiative, in collaboration with some of other African Speakers, to set up the Conference of Speakers of African Parliament (COSAP), which amongst other things, seeks to address the issue of debt cancellation.
Accompanied by some members of the House, Gbajabiamila said he took the initiative of coming up with the Committee on Legislative Library to have a befitting library for the Nigerian Legislature.
Speaking, Sir Hoyle lauded the idea of legislative diplomacy, saying he was also disposed to soft diplomacy, which he said Parliaments across the world should consider as a different approach.
He said Nigeria is a crucial country to have such diplomatic ties with.
The speaker promised to help where necessary to speak with the officials of the British government as regard some of the issues discussed.
He noted that peace and stability are priceless, stating that the ballot box is the answer to political instability.
“It is very important to support each other,” Sir Hoyle added.
Reporting for 9news Nigeria.