Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila says Nigeria must review its foreign policy to protect its national interest in the changing global community.
Gbajabiamila said this in Abuja at a conference on the review of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy, organised by the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora on Monday.
He said that the review was long overdue adding that some many things have changed since 1960s when Nigeria’s foreign policy first came into play.
“Technology has changed the way we conduct business and has created opportunity for millions across the world.
“It has also made us vulnerable because the technology platforms and tools that have become such important parts of our lives are themselves susceptible to the people who will seek to use them to hurt us.
“Terrorists, criminals and bad actors of all faces now access to tools that would enable them to operate with ease why avoiding detective agencies.
“No country in the world can meet this challenges alone, we need a global response and we need each other,” he said.
Gbajabiamila added:“Our nation’s foreign policy should define our terms of engagement with the rest of the world so that we can each survive together.
“It we say the world is dynamic and we live in one global village, it is time for us to review our foreign policy.”
He said a deep look into Nigeria’s foreign policy would reveal contradictions that would work for and against the country.
“This is why the review is very important; foreign policy can shape economic, social and political issues and must be taken very seriously,” he said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffery Onyeama defined foreign policy as a set of self interest strategies chosen by a state to safeguard national interest.
He said that the aim was to achieve set goals in a nation’s relationship with other countries at the multilateral level.
The minister said that foreign policy was dynamic and highly responsive to changing priorities and interests.
According to Onyeama, Nigeria’s foreign policy has been evolving in line with its strategic national interests.
“Under President Muhammadu Buhari, the Buhari doctrine is anchored on the pillars of good neighbourliness, peaceful coexistence with all countries, on African regional cooperation and multilateralism.
“Under Buhari, it focuses on sustainable economy, social inclusion and poverty reduction, increased agricultural output for security, energy sufficiency, transport expansion and infrastructure development, education, healthcare, good governance,” he said.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sen. Adamu Bulkachuwa described the retreat as the right step that will move the nation in the right direction to achieve a favourable foreign policy.
He said that many things had changed since 1960 and that with the end of the Cold War, even Russia had become a capitalist state.
He said many countries like the Asian Tigers had emerged strong but most African countries were still struggling to survive.
“This is why this conference is so important, because with foreign policy, we can change the situation; but we have to first realign our own domestic policy.
“Foreign policy must be based on our interest; we have an enormous challenge, it is therefore imperative that we review not only our foreign policy but indeed the totality of our system politically, socially and economically,” he said.
Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Yakub Buba (APC-Adamawa) said that the need for periodic review of foreign policy in a fast pace and highly dynamic world cannot be over emphasised.
He said that it was about time Nigeria had a comprehensive document that can be addressed as the foreign policy of the country.
“Foreign policy in its true nature is dynamic; such a policy must maximize the gains of its relationship with the outside world.
“With the 54 gentlemen and women chosen from a long list of career diplomats, scholars in various fields and quality and experienced individuals of diverse competences, we will be here to jaw jaw over various presentations.
“This is to fashion a way forward for our country to assume its place of pride within the global diplomatic circles of the 21 century,” he said.
Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora, Tolulope Shadipe-Akande (APC-Oyo) drew attention to the plight of Nigerians in Diaspora and the state of Nigerian foreign missions and embassies across the globe.