Abuja – Senate President Bukola Saraki says the National Assembly will ensure a legal framework is put in place for the actualisation of the bilateral agreements between Nigeria and Morocco.
A statement issued in Abuja by Saraki’s Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Mr Mohammed Isa, said the senate president gave the assurance when he met the President of the Moroccan House of Councillors, Mr Abdelhakim Benchamach, at the weekend in Rabat.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the House of Councillors is the equivalent of the Nigerian Senate.
The statement also said that Saraki held a similar meeting with the President of Moroccan House of Representatives, Mr Habib El-Malki.
Saraki, according to the statement, recalled that during the recent state visit by the King of Morocco to Nigeria, several bilateral agreements were signed between the two countries in agriculture, energy and gas and trans-African gas pipeline project.
“Those agreements, particularly the trans-African gas pipeline, if actualised, will be a big victory and catalyst of development not only of the two countries but of the entire African continent.
“As legislators, we have a great role to play in supporting this initiative of our leaders in providing legal framework for the actualisation of those agreements,’’ he said.
Saraki said the National Assembly had resolved to give such legislation the required urgency for immediate take off and implementation of agreements that would benefit the nation’s economy and strengthen co-operation with other African nations.
“The foundation for strengthening the historical relationship between the two countries has been laid by the two leaders, and it is now our responsibility as lawmakers to begin the process of building it for the benefit of our people and Africa in general.
“It is good to note that both President Muhammadu Buhari and King Muhammad VI have developed a close relationship which is a new chapter in the history of our countries, and it is our duty to support them to achieve the desired result,” he said.
Saraki further stressed the need to create a Nigeria-Morocco legislative forum to address areas of common interest to the two countries.
The statement quoted Benchamach as saying Morocco recognised and appreciated Nigeria’s leading role in addressing the challenges facing Africa’s development.
Benchamach expressed the determination of Morocco to partner with other African countries to address the continent’s economic challenges.
“During the cold war, Africa paid a high cost and now it is time to make our voice heard and demand for our rights,” he said.
Similarly, the statement quoted El-Malki as saying that the King of Morocco had already set up a committee to oversee the implementation of the bilateral agreements because of the importance attached them.
He also called for Nigeria’s support for Morocco’s application for membership of the Pan African Parliament.
According to El-Malki, Nigeria had for long been a pillar of support to Morocco in international organisations.