The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has sought the support of the United Kingdom’s Parliament in the area of insecurity, parliamentary diplomacy, as well as political and economic prosperity in Nigeria.
He believes Nigeria remains a key player in global affairs and that its Parliament plays an important role in addressing issues through legislation.
Gbajabiamila spoke during a visit to the Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons, 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 was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide, Lanre Lasisi.
Stressing that Nigeria and the UK have “a rich history between them,” he emphasised the need for the parliament to come in whenever there is a government-to-government arrangement.
The speaker said the House had on different occasions intervened on the issue of xenophobia in South Africa, the dispute involving Nigerian traders in Ghana, and 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,” he said. “We know you’ll buy into this and support us for the parliament to take its rightful place.”
Gbajabiamila noted that the issue of security was very important as Nigeria was grappling with insecurity challenges, adding that whatever happened to Nigeria “has a ricochet effect on other countries.”
He 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.”
“It’s in our best interest to work together for economic and other reasons,” the speaker said while seeking to know the rationale behind deporting refugees to Rwanda.
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.
Hoyle, in his remarks, 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.
According to him, Nigeria is a crucial country to have such diplomatic ties with. The Hoyle promised to help where necessary to speak with the officials of the British government as regards some of the issues discussed.
He described the peace and stability of any nation as priceless, stating that the ballot box was the answer to political instability.
“It is very important to support each other,” Hoyle added.