By ADEBIYI ADEDAPO |
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila yesterday said that Nigeria’s foreign policy in a fast-changing world must interrogate funding of terrorism and climate change.
The speaker said that the nation’s foreign policy should seek to engage other nations in finding solutions to new challenges and threats so that, collectively, they can address them.
Specifically, the speaker cited climate change, easy flow of capital/funding of terrorism, and the rapid growth of technology as some of the new challenges altering the way the world functioned in the past.
Gbajabiamila, while speaking at the opening of a three-day Conference on the Review of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy in Abuja, noted that the country should define the terms of its foreign policy by engaging the rest of the world to address the different manifestations of the challenges.
The conference was organised by the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“To do this, we must establish the values that underpin and motivate our foreign policy as this is necessary to determine everything else, including how we protect our country from the downside of globalisation while ensuring our people benefit from the opportunities that abound”, the Speaker told the session.
For instance, Gbajabiamila said Nigeria today faced threats of insecurity and huge unemployment, which it must find solutions to internally and tailor its foreign policy to address both.
Gbajabiamila explained further, “Today in Nigeria, we face two existential threats of insecurity and unemployment that have caused a deep loss of faith amongst our people.
“All our governing efforts must be geared towards finding solutions to these problems. Whereas the rest of the government looks inwards, it is the mandate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to look outward. It is not an easy task.”
Pledging the support of the 9th House under his leadership and the entire National Assembly to achieve this, the Speaker recalled how the resort to ‘parliamentary diplomacy’ in recent times by the Legislature helped to douse tensions between Nigeria and some African countries, notably the xenophobic attacks in South Africa and the trade dispute between the authorities in Ghana and Nigerian traders in Accra in 2020.