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Akpabio, British High Commissioner discuss strengthening Nigerian democracy



Akpabio, British High Commissioner collaborate on Nigerian democracy

The President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, engaged in a significant dialogue on strengthening democratic practices during a pivotal meeting with the British High Commissioner, His Excellency, Dr. Richard Mongtgomery, and his delegation at the National Assembly in Abuja on Tuesday.

Senator Akpabio emphasized Nigeria’s shared history with the United Kingdom and expressed eagerness for their guidance in enhancing democratic principles not only in Nigeria but across Africa. He highlighted the importance of collaboration and learning from the UK’s democratic experience to improve Nigeria’s nascent democracy.

Acknowledging Nigeria’s challenges, Senator Akpabio underscored the need for robust legislative agendas focused on the welfare of Nigerian citizens. He discussed ongoing efforts within the National Assembly to amend outdated laws and decrees, aiming to create a more people-centered constitution.

A statement by the Special Assistant to the Senate President on Media/Communication, Anietie Ekong quoted Senator Akpabio to have said, “We are delighted to associate with you, to learn from you and also to strengthen democracy in our country. We need your advice, your counseling, your input in order to enable that to happen

“Ours is a nascent democracy, we are still at a learning point. Even the advanced democracies are still grappling with some challenges. We are learning to run. And we can assure you that standing on the shoulders of a giant like the United Kingdom, we can only get better.

“The 10th Senate has a very robust legislative agenda that is people-centered. Whether it is in the area of the economy, whatever laws we will make must have the welfare of the people of Nigeria in mind. Whether it is in the area of infrastructure, it must be to the benefit of the people

“We also believe strongly in collaboration. We must exchange ideas in the best practices of democracy. We must bring most of the anachronistic laws and acts of parliament in tandem with modern realities

“We have taken a look at our Constitution and find out that we still have military-type edicts and decrees embedded in the Constitution. We have inaugurated the Constitution amendment committee which we believe will ensure that most of those things are eliminated to have a people-centred constitution. We need your collaboration in that respect,” he said.

The High Commissioner, Mr. Mongtgomery, reiterated the longstanding relationship between the UK and Nigeria, emphasizing the strong ties between the two countries’ democratic institutions. He expressed commitment to further strengthening bilateral cooperation and highlighted the significant diplomatic efforts between the UK and Nigeria under his tenure.

“We came to share ideas with the Senate and to understand the vision and priorities of the 10th National Assembly. The UK and Nigeria have a longstanding relationship and we have incredibly strong people to people links between our countries

“We have very significant connections between our democracies and our democratic institutions. We have many Nigerians working in the UK and many of our people working here. We are bound together by families, friendships, business and people to people links. That is why the UK has a large diplomatic mission here.

“In the first year of my tenure as the British High Commissioner which coincides with the first year of the new administration under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, that first year has seen a significant elevation in the relationships between my Government and the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.

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