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Nigerian Senate, UK Parliament pledge collaboration on democracy


Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and British High Commissioner, Dr. Andrew Pocook

The Nigerian Senate and the United Kingdom (UK) parliament on Thursday pledged to collaborate towards deepening the nation’s democracy and strengthening the ties that exists between both countries.

Photo: Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and British High Commissioner, Dr. Andrew Pocook

The pledge was made when United Kingdom parliamentarians in the International Development Committee led by Mr. Stephen Twigg visited the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, in Abuja.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President, Sanni Onogu, in a statement in Abuja said Saraki urged the UK through its Department for International Development (DFID), to extend their attention to parliamentarians in Nigeria, saying such move will make the legislators more assertive, autonomous and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the Nigerian electorate.

He called on the parliamentarians to assist the country in building the capacity of her legislators and their aides in order to boost their skills in the act of legislation and support services respectively.

Saraki said: “I will appeal to you through DFID to also focus on the legislative arm of government because the changes that we want to happen in this country will depend largely on what we do here in the parliament both on the short, medium and the long term.”

He told the delegation that the National Assembly has taken it upon itself to provide an enabling environment that is conducive for doing business in the country.

“One of the things we have realized apart from the macro economic factors is the quality of our laws as regards to doing business. One of the first things we did in the Senate is to look at our existing laws and see how they are in sync with the ease of doing business.

“The World Bank report on ease of doing business does not rate Nigeria very well. So what we have done is to identify those laws that are both necessary and important and that if we review them will go a long way in making us more favourable to investment.

“It is key for us to create that enabling environment for investments that will create job opportunities for our youths,” the Senate President told the UK parliamentarians’ delegation.

In his remarks, the leader of the United Kingdom Parliamentarians in the International Development Committee, Stephen Twigg, said the visit was meant to evaluate the work of DFID in Nigeria and also to look into some of the big challenges confronting Nigeria in terms of economy, health, education and security.

Twigg said: “We are looking at the work of DFID – the Department for International Development – in Nigeria and we are also looking at some of the challenges that you face in terms of economy, health, education and security situation.

“I want to really say how much we value the relationship between our two countries – the partnership between Nigeria and the United Kingdom and part of our purpose in being here is to celebrate that relationship and to look at how we can strengthen and to deepen those ties,” he said.

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