Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said there is a need for closer bilateral relationships between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirate (UAE).
The Speaker, who received the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirate to Nigeria in his office during a courtesy visit on Thursday, assured that expedited legislative action would be taken on outstanding bilateral agreements aimed at enhancing cooperation between the two countries as soon as the House resumes from its annual vacation.
Stating that Nigeria is a country that seeks cooperation with other countries for the benefit of the people, the Speaker noted that UAE is a model State with remarkable growth, which Nigeria hopes to replicate.
He said: “For us, we always look for cooperation, we always look for friends who can enhance and grow our relationships as a legislature, even as a country.
“Of course, yours is a model State, your remarkable growth and development over the years is something we all look to replicate here in Nigeria.
“There’s is no doubt or question that we want to open up new shores, new avenues, new frontiers beyond our traditional trading partners and UAE obviously is already calling and yearning for investments and bilateral relationships that cut across borders between the two countries.
“On the Agreements which you talked about, I’m well aware that we have domesticated some, you said about six of them, two are outstanding, we will take these up as soon as we get back from the annual vacation.
“We will fast track the process to make things easier between the two countries.
“I just want to encourage you, as we encourage ourselves that we need to cement the areas with some grey areas.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has been there because he is interested in exploring avenues for good working and bilateral relationships between our two countries.”
The Speaker also expressed the desire of the House of Representatives to work closely with the UAE legislature after its November national election, adding that both can benefit from each other.
“We look forward to your elections and looking forward to the parliamentary relations,” he added.
Earlier in his remarks, the Ambassador said the courtesy visit was intended to seek closer ties with the House of Representatives considering several engagements and opportunities between the two countries in the past.
This, he said led to the signing of six Agreements between the two in 2016, with four ratified before President Buhari’s visit to UAE in April 2019 which led successful outcomes on economic, investment, climate change, humanitarian and other sectors of the two countries.
He informed the Speaker of the six bilateral Agreements between the two countries and the need to domesticate those that have been ratified while soliciting for expedited action of the outstanding ones.
According to the Ambassador, the Agreements have implications on the economy, investments and for people who would want to establish themselves in Nigeria or UAE and access global markets.