By Femi Ogunshola
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has called for the strengthening of economic and political ties between Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe.
He made the call when the President of the Sao Tome and Principe parliament, Delfim Santiago, visited him at the National Assembly Complex on Friday in Abuja.
Gbajabiamila said both countries were yet to explore fully the extent of the relationship that could be established between them.
He said that the policy of isolation would no longer work anymore, adding that Africa is a global village and there is need to feed off of each other and enjoy a symbiotic relationship.
He added that there is a lot Sao Tome and Principe has to gain from Nigeria and vice versa.
He described Nigeria as very rich in terms of agriculture and had done a lot in terms of tourism with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about $355 million.
He said to him, it was something that should be tapped into, stressing that there was need to also tap into the strength of Nigeria population.
“In establishing and deepening our relationship, economic, political and social ties, the 9th Assembly of the House of Representatives for years has developed a policy of parliamentary diplomacy.
“A lot of things in today’s world are achieved through back channel discussions between parliaments of bilateral and multilateral parliamentary discussions.
“And I hope that our relationship would not be any different,” Gbajabiamila said.
President of the Sao Tome and Principe parliament, Delphim Santiago, said they would like to work with the parliament of Nigeria to bring more incentives to the free trade zone between the two countries.
He spoke Portuguese and it was interpreted to English by Jorge Correia.
Santiago said that his country would also like to see the possibility of Sao Tome and Nigeria coming together to have maritime security to secure trading
He also added that he would also like to secure the lives of people that navigate the waters between both countries.
“ I will look forward to working with Nigeria for the mutual benefit of both countries,” he said. (NAN)