Chris Steven, Abuja
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has said that the National Assembly would give priority to legislations that will provide legal framework for the actualization of the bilateral agreements between Nigeria and Morocco.
A statement by Saraki’s Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Mohammed Isa, said Saraki gave the assurance at separate meetings he had with President of Moroccan House of Councilors (equivalent of the Nigerian Senate), Abdelhakim Benchamach and President of the House of Representatives of Morocco, Habib El Malki at the weekend in Rabat.
The Senate President recalled that several bilateral agreements were signed between the two countries in areas of agriculture, energy and gas, trans-African gas pipeline project and many more during the last visit of the King of Morocco to Nigeria.
“Those agreements, particularly the trans African gas pipeline, if actualized will be a big victory and catalyst of development not only of the two countries but of the entire African continent. As legislators, we have a great role to play in supporting this initiative of our leaders in providing legal framework for the actualization of those agreement”, he said.
Saraki said the Senate, and the National Assembly in general, have resolved to give such legislations the required urgency for immediate take off and implementation of agreements that would benefit the nation’s economy and strengthen co-operation with other African nations.
“The foundation for strengthening the historical relationship between the two countries has been laid by the two leaders, and it is now our responsibility as lawmakers to begin the process of building it for the benefit of our people and Africa in general.
“It is good to note that both President Muhammadu Buhari and King Muhammad VI have developed a close relationship which is a new chapter in the history of our countries, and it is our duty to support them to achieve the desired result,” he said.
The role of Africa in the world economy, he said, is crucial and it could only be achieved when the African economy is strengthened, a feat he noted, could only be realised with the strengthening of the relationship between Nigeria and Morocco, two major economic powers in Africa.
Saraki further stressed the need to create Nigeria-Morocco legislative forum to address areas of common interest to the two countries, such as economy and culture.
Responding, the President of Councilors of Moroccan parliament, said Morocco recognised and appreciate Nigeria’s leading role in addressing the challenges facing Africa’s development.
Benchamach expressed the determination of Morocco to partner with other African countries to address the continent’s economic challenges. “During the cold war Africa paid a high cost and now it is time to make our voice heard and demand for our rights,” he said.
On his part, President of the House of Representatives, El Malki said because of the importance attached to the bilateral agreements with Nigeria, the King of Morocco had already set up a committee to oversee their implementations, and expressed confidence that the visit by the Nigerian lawmakers was an indication that the conventions would soon be a reality.
While calling for Nigeria’s support for Morocco’s application for membership of Pan African Parliament, El Malki said Nigeria had for a long time been a pillar of support to Morocco in international organisations.
Saraki was accompanied on the visit by Senators Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Adamu Abdullahi, Phillip Aduda, Dino Melaye and Albert Bassey.