President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Monday called for more engagement between Nigeria’s National Assembly and the Egyptian parliament, with a view to sharing ideas that will address the challenges common to the two countries.
“We have opportunity to share ideas. Of course, the challenges are common,” Lawan said while receiving in audience the visiting Speaker of the Egyptian Parliament, Dr. Ali Abdellah.
“So the two parliaments – the Egyptian Parliament and Nigeria’s National Assembly should engage more to enable us support our governments with legislations that will help create sustained job opportunities for our youths,” Lawan said.
Lawan said African problems can better be resolved by Africans, adding that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is one agreement that will enhance the economy of African countries.
“Presently, trade volume between Egypt and Nigeria is not too high; we need to work harder to make the trade between the two countries better.
“I believe with the signing of the AfCFTA, there is room for us to increase trading activities between the two countries and also with other African countries,” Lawan said.
Lawan said Nigeria has a lot to learn from Egypt in the fight against terrorism, adding “Egypt has for long been fighting terrorism even before we started having terrorism in Nigeria”.
“So, we have a lot to learn from your experience in fighting terrorism. Our terrorism started like it was domestic, but now it is no more domestic, it is international.
“So, we will continue to have bilateral and multilateral engagements to find the best way to overcome terrorism in our countries, and we have a lot to learn from your experiences,” Lawan said.
Lawan expressed appreciation to the Egyptian Government for the training of some Nigerian security personnel in the art of fighting terrorism but lamented that “we still have a lot of challenges of weapons and ammunition coming into Nigeria through North Africa because of the fall of Libyan Government of Muammar Gaddafi.”
While describing the situation as a “big problem to us,” the Senate President said “this international dimension means that Nigeria must continue to talk to its friends like Egypt, and our neighbours, Benin Republic, Cameroon, Niger and Chad, so that we can work together to overcome the challenge.”
Earlier, Abdellah, who was accompanied on the visit by Egyptian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Assem Hanafi called for collective efforts in fighting terrorism in Africa.
He said, as international phenomenon, terrorism could not successfully be tackled locally and called for a common position by African Parliaments for presentation to International Parliamentary Union (IPU) for adoption.