Senate President Ahmad Lawan has urged the South African authorities to reciprocate the Nigerian government’s gesture by ensuring that the commercial interests of Nigerians in South Africa are secured.
Ezrel Tabiowo, his special press assistant, said in a statement that Lawan made the call in Abuja on Thursday when he received a delegation led by the South African High Commissioner in Nigeria, Thamsanga Mseleku.
Other members of the delegation are: Mr. Bobby Moroe, Minister Plenipotentiary; and Mrs. Boipelo Lefatshe, First Political Secretary.
Under the law, both countries’ efforts to secure the business interests of their citizens would create better employment opportunities for their citizens and ensure stronger economic prospects for Nigeria and South Africa.
“For quite some time, there have been many South African companies that have found their home in Nigeria; we are trying to see if we can achieve the same in South Africa.
“But I want to assure you that we will continue to support the executive arm of the government in Nigeria to ensure that all of South Africa’s business interests are protected.
“However, I will insist that we can unite both countries; that means it shouldn’t be an isolationist arrangement.
“When you have your businesses here, we should give Nigerians the opportunity to participate in those businesses after a while.
“I think doing so will create a closer relationship in terms of economic and social commitments,” Lawan said.
Speaking on the relationship between South Africa and Nigeria, the president of the Senate advocated for synergy between the parliaments of both countries, adding that a kind of collaboration would better serve the general interests of the African continent.
“Our relations have been criticized in recent years, but for the appropriate steps taken by our presidents, Muhammadu Buhari and Cyril Ramaphosa, to exchange visits.
“We believe that relations are on the mend and appear to be improving, especially considering that Nigeria and South Africa are the political and economic giants that have ranked first and second in terms of status.
“So we need to have a very good and cordial relationship continuously because if we don’t, Africa suffers.
“I remember that in 2017 and 2018, we sent a parliamentary team from the National Assembly to South Africa with certain issues that we felt strongly at the time.
“I believe that we must develop the relationship between the parliaments of South Africa and Nigeria.
“We are already members of the Pan-African Parliament, which I had the privilege of representing the Nigerian parliament, with chambers in South Africa.
“And of course we belong to the ACPU together, the Commonwealth and so on.
“Even though these are multilateral parliamentary institutions, I think what we have to do is get the parliaments of both countries (Nigeria and South Africa) to lead the rest of the continent.
“That gives Africa a better and more respectable image,” said the president of the Senate.
Earlier, the South African High Commissioner in Nigeria, Mseleku, said that the visit was particularly to inform the Nigerian parliament of the presence of the South African Commission in Nigeria.
“The purpose of our visit is to announce our presence in your beautiful country to say that we are now here representing South Africa, and that we are ready to be available at all times when it comes to matters related to the relationship between our countries,” he said. .