The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has called for stronger socio-economic and political ties between Nigeria and Sao Tome & Principe in the spirit of African brotherhood.
Gbajabiamila said both countries could partner in the areas of agriculture, tourism and commerce.
He spoke in Abuja on Friday when he received the President of the Parliament of Sao Tome and Principe, Hon. Delfim Santiago Das Neves, who paid him a courtesy call at the National Assembly.
The Nigerian Speaker, who noted that he had looked forward to such a meeting, added that the world had become a “big village” where countries must work together closely to harness their areas of common interests.
Gbajabiamila cited an example with the 9th Assembly, which he said had deliberately embarked on “parliamentary diplomacy” since 2019 to help build friendships between Nigeria and other countries, especially on the African continent.
He explained that such parliamentary friendship groups helped to resolve issues through legislative interventions and dialogues.
“I am excited because this meeting will strengthen and deepen economic and socio-political ties between Nigeria and your country…
“Sao Tome and Principe is rich in agriculture and tourism. This is an area Nigeria can tap into.
“In our house here, we have, since 2019, embarked on parliamentary diplomacy.
We have established friendship groups with many countries and I use this opportunity to invite Sao Tome and Principe to be part of this process”, he added.
The Nigerian Speaker also invited Sao Tome and Principe to join the Conference of Speakers of African Parliaments, which would hold its inaugural meeting later in October this year.
Sao Tome Principe goes to the polls on July 17 to elect new political office holders, and Gbajabiamila seized the opportunity of Das Neves’ visit to wish the country luck and pray for the success of the exercise.
Speaking earlier, Das Neves said Nigeria and his country were one, as he recalled that the first settlers in Sao Tome and Principe actually came from Nigeria.
He called for improved relations between the two countries, which Das Neves admitted had not grown much in the last 10 years.
Das Neves called for a partnership to promote free trade zones and the establishment of a joint maritime security force to protect people and goods on the Gulf of Guinea.
Das Neves, who said he was happy to visit Nigeria, also solicited Nigeria’s support for the upcoming general elections in Sao Tome and Principe.