By Christiana Ekpa
Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has pledged the support of the National Assembly to the Cotonou Agreement of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries ahead of its meeting in Cotonou, Benin Republic to fashion out a unified terms of agreement with the European Union (EU).
In a similar vein, the Senate President also assured the new Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to Nigeria, Samuel Bawlya, of the quick passage of the gender bill before the National Assembly.
Saraki spoke when the Head of ACP delegation led by Ambassador Ahmadu Diop and the Country Director of the UNDP visited him separately at the National Assembly in Abuja.
According to a press statement by his Special Assistant on Print Media, Chuks Okocha Saraki, told the ACP delegation that this is the time for Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific nations to speak with one voice on issues of mutual interests.
“Let me assure you of the support of the National Assembly,” Saraki said. “With the confidence we have in the team led by yourself and the importance that has been placed on the work you are doing, be rest assured of our support.
“What gives us the confidence is the capacity from those of you who have taken-up the responsibility of going into discussion and negotiation on how to renew the Cotonou Agreement”.
The President of the Senate also told the ACP group that most parts of the Cotonou Agreement affect Nigeria and other African countries, stating that for this reason, “it is very important that we appreciate your visit.
“We seek lots of collaboration to keep us informed. We are very keen to see how that type of negotiation across the continent will affect the future and the kind of development in different parts of the world.
“As you rightly said, about what is happening around the world, like the issues of migration, climate change, terrorism, trade and development are crucial to us. It is time to reset the button.
“As you can see in Africa, we have larger per cent of youth, 70 per cent of our population are under the age of 30 and even below. We must think of the future, whatever agreement we have, we must think of the future.
Earlier, the leader of the ACP delegation, Ambassador Diop, said that the team is on diplomatic consultation with members countries to renew the Cotonou Agreement before signing another terms of agreement with the EU countries.
Also, the new Country Director of the UNDP, Mr. Samuel Bawlya, during a visit to the
Also, the President of the Senate while responding to the comments by the new UNDP Country Director on the gender equality bill before the National Assembly, noted that much work has been done on the gender bill.