By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, Tuesday emphasized the use of parliamentary diplomacy to tackle insecurity and promote political and economic growth.
Gbajabiamila canvassed the view during a visit to the Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, in Westminster.
Seeking the support of the United Kingdom’s parliament, the speaker said that Nigeria was still a key player in global affairs and that its Parliament plays an important role in addressing issues through legislation.
He said that the instrumentality parliamentary diplomacy had worked in Nigeria at different times and urged parliaments across the world to also use it when the needed arose.
“We intend to work in close collaboration with your Parliament. Nigeria and the UK have a rich history between them. 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 was important as Nigeria was currently grappling with security 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 affects 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 was 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 were priceless, stating that the ballot box was the answer to political instability.
“It is very important to support each other,” Sir Hoyle added.