Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has said that what Nigeria needs from developed nations is not the usual aids and grants but a partnership that will develop the latent potentials that the continent and its people hold.
He also urged foreign investors to look beyond the Oil Sector to other equally viable areas such as agriculture and solid minerals with emphasis on agriculture as a major employment generating sector for Nigerians.
The Speaker made these statements while receiving members of the Korea National Assembly, led by its Deputy Speaker, Mr Lee Ju-Young, accompanied by the Korean ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Lee In-tae, at the National Assembly on Friday.
The Speaker called for support for Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which is geared towards sustaining economic growth that has been achieved by the present government, adding that Korea and its citizens can exploit the plan to deepen the Economic relations of both countries.
He stated that, “Right now, the balance of trade between Nigeria and South Korea obviously favours your nation and it is like you are most interested in the area of oil and that is what South Korea buys most from Nigeria but I can assure you that we have more than oil and if you go through the ERGP which you spoke to, you will find quite a number of opportunities there that I would want your country to exploit so that we can deepen economic cooperation between our two nations.”
Going further, he also requested for assistance to tackle challenges such as security and the attendant problem of internal displacement of persons especially in the Northeast region.
“At the moment, we are grappling with a lot of challenges as you are obviously aware of. Security is one of those issues that we are grappling with and as they say, the promise of democracy is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Security is, therefore, vital to the sustenance of democracy and we want to call on your nation to cooperate and offer some help in this area through intelligence sharing or through support that you normally extend in such situations.
Obviously, we also have the crisis of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). We recently made the effort to establish the North East Development Commission, I am sure you have heard of the Boko Haram crisis that has led to people fleeing their communities and being hosted in other communities in Nigeria, Cameroon and the rest. This is another area that I feel we may need support of your country.
“Different nations are gifted differently and endowed with certain resources differently by the creator and we recognise the fact that your country is the number 1 ship building country in the world and has some of the biggest solar plants that you built but also in Nigeria, we have some areas of gifting. We have opportunities in agriculture, in tourism, solid minerals and many other sectors that can be exploited by business the community in Korea so that when we meet, we do not dwell on oil as if oil is the only thing we have in this country. It is not just oil and energy, there are opportunities in other fields. Agriculture, for instance, generates a lot of gainful employment opportunities for a great number of our citizens.
“What Africa needs, therefore, for so long we have been described as a nation that needs aids, now we need partners that we can can work together in order to develop our latent potentials – those potentials that are just lying there – and at the day, we will be able to fulfil the promise of democracy to our overwhelming citizens.”
While welcoming their visit, Dogara said that though the life of the present 8th assembly is coming to its end on the 9th of June, the relationship of the two parliaments has a lot of potentials which he hopes will be fully explored by the incoming 9th assembly by constituting a committee for the parliamentary friendship groups which serve to address issues that conventional diplomacy cannot address.
The Speaker proposed that the 6th Nigeria/Korea Joint Commission Summit should take place immediately at a mutually agreed date, so that all underlying issues that constitute irritants and serve as a strain to the relationship of the two countries can be addressed.
Earlier, Mr Lee Ju-young said he is visiting to inform the speaker that the Republic of Korea is interested in promoting economic growth in Nigeria through their investment and that Korean Parliament is also focused on promoting the relationship between the legislature and its leaders, adding that the Speaker is young and has a big role in leading Nigeria.
“”We are here to promote mutual relationship between the two parliaments and their leaders of both countries”, Ju-young said.