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Reps. Speaker  calls for stronger diplomatic collaboration with Canada

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Chinazor Megbolu

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has called for stronger diplomatic collaborations between Nigeria and Canada.

He said this when the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Nicolas Simard, paid him a courtesy visit in his office on Friday.
He noted that the existing relationships between the two nations, which led to a significant rise in trade, education, and technology over the years has been awesome.
Gbajabiamila also noted that, there was  need for Canada to explore areas of security, cybersecurity, biosafety, energy as well as parliamentary diplomacy that would benefit the two countries.
“This is important because Nigeria and Canada go back a long way in terms of symbiotic and beneficial relationships.
“It is important that we sustain and continue these engagements to the benefit of our countries. As we know, the world is a global village now, and everybody feeds off everybody and we are all interdependent one way or the other.
“The National Assembly prioritises certain issues, not only for the development of the country but also in conformity with global demands,” he said.
Gbajabiamila pointed out that the issue of security, gender parity, violence against persons, rape, in addition to the economy are well articulated in the 9th House Legislative Agenda to help drive the attainment of the set goals of the Green Chamber.
He also averred that the House has taken bold steps to address the gender issue through legislative means, as well as the ongoing constitutional review exercise.
“Gender parity is an area that this 9th National Assembly, I think more than any past Assembly, focuses seriously on. We are not just talking, we are walking the talk,” he said.
He posited that the country is facing serious security challenges like other countries, saying the assistance of Canada towards addressing it would be of benefit to both countries.
Meanwhile, Simard, told the Speaker that the strong bilateral relationship between Nigeria and Canada had yielded more than $1 billion trade exchange between the two countries in 2020.
He added that about $115 million per year came in form of humanitarian and development assistance from Canada to Nigeria to several sectors has been given.
He further stated that Canada is ready for more robust engagement with Nigeria, and inquired about how Nigeria is dealing with issues of women empowerment and inclusion as well as human rights situation and what steps the House was taking towards the issues.
Simard lauded the country on the adoption of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act and its domestication by several states.
He, however, maintained that a bilateral and bi-national commission of both countries would soon take place, saying that Canada is ready to offer assistance in the area of security and biosafety.

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