Sola Afuye, Abuja

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen, has expressed the legislature’s willingness to strengthen Nigeria’s bilateral relations with Switzerland.

A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Musa Krishi, on Wednesday, said the commitment was made when Tajudeen received the Swiss Ambassador to Nigerian, Nicholas Lang, in his office.

Mr Tajudeen said the Nigerian Parliament was ready to strengthen the existing ties between Nigeria and Switzerland to improve the bilateral relationships between the two countries.

He expressed delight that Nigeria is the biggest petroleum supplier to Switzerland, describing it as a good development.

Those in attendance the meeting were the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu; Majority Leader, Julius Ihonvbere; Deputy Chief Whip, Adewunmi Oriyomi Onanuga; Minority Leader, Kingsley Chinda; Deputy Minority Leader, Aliyu Sani Madaki; and the Minority Whip, Ali Isa.

“We are also particularly delighted and happy with all the messages you have rendered, particularly the bilateral issues: the extension of legislative and technical cooperation between your country and ours,” the Speaker said.

“We will be looking forward to it.”

He congratulated Switzerland on its recent appointment in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“What I just want to inform you is that the Nigerian House of Representatives is ever ready to partner with your country in every way possible – legislative, economic, social, cultural; we are very ready,” he said.

“We want to call on you to continue to look at ways that we can collaborate. We are eager to learn. We are eager to come together and partner with you in every way possible, so that our legislatures will be strengthened, our economies will be strengthened and our cultural ties will be strengthened.

“I am very delighted that so many companies from Switzerland are in Nigeria, particularly on the Lagos axis. We are particularly excited also that Nigeria is one of your major suppliers of crude oil. It is a good beginning and I think we can build on that. We can do much more. There are so many things that we can be able to benefit from your country, while there are also many aspects that Nigeria can also be able to contribute to Switzerland.

“Let us put on our thinking caps and see how we can be able to consolidate on the already successful relationship that we have. We here are very willing and ready to support any initiative from the Swiss Government on how to strengthen our legislatures and all other sectors. Thank you so much for the visit and we look forward to more mutually-beneficial interactions with you.”

Earlier in his remarks, Mr Lang noted the importance of his host country to Switzerland, calling for stronger bilateral relationship between Nigeria and his country.

The Ambassador also invited the House to Switzerland for exchanges with the Swiss Parliament.

“Nigeria is our main provider of oil. No other country has the same importance in this regard. We have roughly 50 Swiss companies present in your country, most of them, of course, in the area of Lagos where the most important part of Nigeria’s economy is,” Mr Lang said.

“The idea is to strengthen our relationships and that, of course, goes for all institutions, not only the Executive but very much also the Parliament – the Senate on the one hand and the House of Representatives on the other hand.”

The Ambassador also invited the Speaker and the leadership of the House to Switzerland’s National Day celebration in Abuja on the 1st of August.

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