…Britain Congratulates Saraki, Pledges Security, Economic Aids To Nigeria
THE British Government yesterday formally recognised Bukola Saraki as President of the Senate as it congratulated him for emerging the 14th Senate President since Nigeria’s independence and the 8th since 1999.
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Andrew Pocock, who paid a courtesy visit to the Senate President at the National Assembly yesterday, however, stated that Britain would not dabble into the political issues generated by Saraki’s election, pointing out that it they were party affairs.
Pocock said: “We came for two reasons—we came to congratulate the new Senate President on his elevation to the job and to make a commitment to him and to the Nigerian Senate that the British government and the British High Commission here in Abuja will continue to work very closely with the Senate on a whole range of areas in which we can help.
“We discussed capacity building for the Senate both in general terms and also in areas of particular interest and difficulty, complex pieces of legislation.
We discussed how we might help with some ideas about the management of the Nigerian economy, areas in which the UK can make a contribution and we briefly discussed some of the security inputs that we might make to help with the stabilisation of the security situation in the North East.”
Pocock added: “We agreed that the basic structure of Nigeria’s economy needs to change a bit. That while the huge potentials exist here in terms of revenue streams for the government, it is still too dependent on one commodity.
So, we discussed how that commodity in our industry is better managed on the one hand and how the economy is better diversified on the other and how the National Assembly, in this case the Senate, can make a contribution through legislations, through oversights, through monitoring to the fundamental economic changes needed. While we didn’t come up with instant solutions, we had a very substantive discussion.
We are going to come back to the Senate and to Senate President for further ideas.” On the political crisis being generated by Saraki’s election, Pocock said: “We are not going to get drawn into discussions of party affairs. We are not here to play politics. We are here to do substantive business.”
In his remark during the courtesy visit, Saraki expressed delight about the continued bilateral relationship between Nigerian and the UK while assuring that the present administration was determined to fulfill its obligations to the betterment of the nation.
He commended Pocock for reinvigorating the mutual understanding that exists between the two countries. Saraki stressed that Nigeria would always look forward to Britain in areas of infrastructural development and social security.
“I am very delighted to receive Your Excellency in my office barely 48 hours to my resumption to office. This shows the level of commitment the British government has towards the course of Nigeria. “We look forward to a very good working relationship in order to move our dear country forward. Nigerians deserve the best of governance,” Saraki added.
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