Senate President Ahmad Lawan

Michael Adeshina

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has solicited for support from the government of India towards the Federal Government’s quest to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

Lawan made the request when he hosted the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Abhau Thakur who visited him on Monday in Abuja.

The Senate President said, “presently this administration is working towards taking 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.

“We have this challenge. We believe India has done well in the area of poverty alleviation and we won’t mind getting some of the tips on how we can enhance our approaches to poverty alleviation and make the efforts of government more efficient.

“The government is doing quite a lot in so many areas to address the needs of Nigerians, but of course it will be a long haul.

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“If you have to take out 100 million people out of poverty it means you have to have strategic and sustained institutions and efforts to address the needs of the people, and we are determined to do that”.

Lawan commended the Indian government for training the Nigerian security agencies in the area of fighting insurgency and terrorism.

“This is what we share in common. You also have your challenges in Kashmir region. Your experiences will definitely help us in the fight against insecurity, particularly the insurgency in the North East”, he said.

The Senate President also applauded the setting up of the joint working group between India and Nigeria and urged the two countries to ensure that the initiative worked for their mutual benefit.

The Senate President advocated collaboration between the parliaments of India and Nigeria.

“The two parliaments – Parliament of India and Parliament of Nigeria – may be different, there are a lot of things to learn from each other.

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“I believe that we should have a joint parliamentary friendship group, that we are able to establish a relationship instead of a one-off visit,” Lawan said.

Lawan noted the long existing relationship between Nigeria and India and called for more sustained effort to strengthen the relationship particularly in the area of trade for the mutual benefits of the two countries.

On International Parliamentary Union (IPU), the Senate President said besides the forthcoming election in early November, reforming the body should also be considered of utmost important.

He said, “we believe that IPU should be reformed to perform better and more efficiently. Every chapter of IPU across the world needs to benefit in such a way that the individual chapters are able to enjoy the kind of support the headquarters of IPU will extend in terms of supporting not only parliamentarians but also the supporting staff.”

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Earlier, Mr. Thakur said the two countries shared a lot of social, economic and political similarities and terrorism challenges which made it imperative for Nigeria and India to sustain and improve the long-standing relationship that predated their independence.

Nigeria, he said, had remained one of the largest trading partner of India.

The High Commissioner also noted the support of each other by the two countries at several multilateral fora, such as the United Nations and Commonwealth of Nations.