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Saraki, Saudi Envoy Seek Closer Economic Ties

Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, and the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Nigeria, Fahad Sefyan, have pledged to work towards deepening the economic ties between both countries.

This is even as Saraki has congratulated Nigeria’s senior basketball team, D’Tigers, for making history by emerging as African Champions, after beating Angola in Tunisia. Both men dropped the hint when Sefyan visited the Senate President in Abuja.

The Senate President, while welcoming the envoy to his office, noted the existing “very good relationship” between Nigeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He said that the existing cordial relationship is being strengthened by Nigeria, who yearly embark on business and religious pilgrimages to the Middle East country.

“This is based on culture, religion and many things, and I think we want to continue building on that relationship, continue to treasure that relationship,” he said.

He stated that the desire to improve on the relationship has become necessary in view of the election of President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as the emergence of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as leaders of Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, respectively.

Saraki noted that both Buhari and King Al Saud have great desire to improve economic relationship between both countries. “I want to assure you on behalf of the Senate and the senators here that Nigeria highly appreciates the relationship with the Kingdom, and also to urge you to pass our best wishes to King Salman.

I want to assure you that we will continue to build on a number of issues that concern Nigeria and Saudi Arabia,” Saraki said. He listed oil and gas, infrastructure and agriculture as areas of the Nigerian economy where Saudi Arabia investors can take advantage of. “I know when I was a governor, I visited the Kingdom to look at its milk production, and to see how the experience can be brought to Nigeria to help us.

There are a lot of opportunities I see there, and I believe once we can develop a more robust relationship, a lot of things will happen,” Saraki added. Earlier, Sefyan said he was in Nigeria to boost the relationship between both countries. Meanwhile, an elated Saraki said that it is fulfilling that the Nigerian team finally broke the jinx, and made the nation proud at the 2015 African Basketball Championship held in Tunisia.

He said that D’Tigers’ victory has rekindled the nation’s hope and confidence in the team. “Beating Angola at the finals of the 2015 Afro-basket Tournament with 74-65 was a superb performance. We are very happy for our team that they have attained this feat,” Saraki said.

The Senate President said that the players have written their names in the sands of time just as he challenged the team and its technical crew to redouble their efforts so as to be victorious in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil. Saraki also assured Nigerians of the Senate’s commitment to the development of sports through relevant legislations and appropriate budgetary allocations in order to further enhance the nation’s sporting prowess across the globe.


-Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja

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