Senate yesterday urged the federal government to reassess Nigeria’s foreign policy with a view to protecting investors and businessmen in other countries that assisted by Nigeria to gain freedom, peace and security, but are hostile to its citizenry.
This is even as the upper legislative chamber directed its Committee on Foreign Affairs and any other relevant committees to investigate several alleged maltreatment and killings of Nigerians abroad, as well as take into consideration the Doctrine of Diplomatic Reciprocity in its activities and report back in four weeks.
These resolutions followed a motion on the ‘Urgent Need to Re-assess Nigeria’s Foreign Policy Objectives in Line with Emerging Economic Realities’ by Senator Stella Oduah (PDP Anambra North).
The Senate particularly urged the federal government to convene a foreign policy summit to, among other things, address issues on redefining Nigeria’s interests so as to focus the policy in addressing the global realities.
It further implored the government “to, going forward, imbibe Nigeria’s economic interest as vital component of our foreign policy objectives, especially in countries where the nation invested her enormous human and material resources to restore security, peace, stability and democracy as the era of ‘Father Christmas Diplomacy’ is certainly over.”
Leading debate on the motion, Senator Oduah noted that prior to Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the country’s fundamental foreign policy principles had remained unchanged, explaining that every succeeding administration only came up with new circumstantial mechanisms aimed at achieving foreign policy goals.
She said, “The fundamental principles and objectives of Nigeria’s foreign policy invented by the first Prime Minister of Nigeria, Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, have remained unaltered irrespective of the different changes in government till date.”
Senator Oduah recalled that Nigeria played several vital roles based on its foreign policy thrust for African countries and the world at large, like ending apartheid in South Africa, ensuring peace and stability in Liberia, Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and in many other African countries.
She added that Nigeria was one of the major troop-contributing nations to the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations around the world and is globally recognised for her readiness and commitment, which participated in the Congo called “Operation des Nations unies au Congo” in 1960.
The lawmaker was worried that “notwithstanding our nation’s vital role in Africa and the world at large, some of our citizens who reside in some of these countries are treated with disdain.
“So many of our nationals are being killed or maimed for reasons that are despicable. The xenophobic attack by South Africans against Nigerians who live and conduct legitimate businesses in their midst is still fresh in our minds.
“More so, from Kenya to the Maghreb and across Southern Africa, discrimination against Nigerians and other non-nationals have been on the rise, as can be seen in various international media reports,” she stressed.
Senator Oduah, therefore, reminded that Section 14(b) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, made welfare and security of lives of Nigerians wherever they are resident in the world the core responsibility of the government of the day through the country’s foreign missions abroad.
In his contribution, Senator Jonah David Jang (PDP Plateau North) lamented that many countries which Nigeria had helped to achieve peace, stability and even democracy hardly reciprocate such gesture.
He recalled that salaries of Nigerian soldiers and civil servants were being deducted when Nigeria was supporting most of the African countries in times of need.

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