Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Thursday canvassed a stronger bilateral and economic ties between Nigeria and the Republic of Ukraine.
Saraki, who stated this while playing host to the Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Valerii Aleksandruk, in Abuja, however, thanked the Ukrainian authorities for their support to Nigeria, especially in the fight against terrorism.
He also commiserated with the Ukrainian government over the recent loss of lives in the Eastern part of the country.
“I want to use this opportunity to show our appreciation for the friendly relationship that exist between the two countries. Particularly, I want to also acknowledge the support Ukraine has given us in the fight against terrorism, the military cooperation, and supply of arms and ammunition, which have gone a long way to help us in the fight,” Saraki said.
He also said that the 8th Senate would support the creation of a friendship group between the National Assembly and Ukrainian legislature for the exchange of ideas on parliamentary best practices.
Saraki also responded to the call for the establishment of a friendship group between both parliaments.
“I support it entirely, and there’s need to have exchange of ideas between our two parliaments. We are very open for that kind of interaction, either for our members to visit the parliament of Ukraine and for yours to come here and I truly support the idea of the setting up of friendship groups within the two parliaments.
“I think that, if we can do that, that will begin to open doors for more interactions between your country and Nigeria. And on the back of that, we can set up a joint commission to look at the areas of trade which you’ve talked about,” he said.
Earlier, Aleksandruk hinted that his country places high premium on its relationship with Nigeria.
He promised that he would do his best to promote the relationship to a new level.
He said that Ukraine is planning to establish a joint commission to cover the whole range of political, economic and security areas between both countries.
“We have a good chance to open a new page in our relations. It is my pleasure to note that Ukraine and Nigeria enjoy fruitful cooperation with the framework of international organisations. Ukraine considers Nigeria an important partner, especially in the area of trade and investments.
“We believe that there are lots of areas where we can deepen our relations: agriculture, mining, renewable energy, infrastructure, where the Ukrainian companies have great experience.
“More and more Ukrainian companies look for new opportunities in Nigeria. Ukraine encourages more companies to invest into Nigeria establishing partnerships with Nigerian companies. We are planning to establish a joint commission with Nigeria to cover the whole range of political, economic and security areas,” he said.
The envoy also condemned acts of terrorism committed by the Boko Haram sect and said the government of Ukraine will continue to stand firmly with Nigeria in the fight against the evil.