The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr Tajudeen Abbas has called for better socio-cultural and economic cooperation among African countries.
The Speaker made the call at the 18th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC), Africa Region, in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Dr Abbas particular called for better transportation system that connects African countries for better integration and cooperation.
“I want to chip in something on what my Namibian colleague experienced concerning our challenges when it comes to transportation in Africa. This is not just peculiar to the East African side, even we in the West African countries where Cameroon is one of the countries, I am sorry to inform you that this is my very first time of visiting Cameroon, even though Nigeria shares a common border with Cameroon.
“Under normal circumstances, it does not take 15 to 20 minutes drive from one part of Nigeria to Cameroon. But because of the issues of logistics that we are facing on air transportation and land as well, you will find out that majority of Cameroon don’t know what is happening in their neighbouring countries and vice versa. How can you foster economic and social cooperation when people – neighbours – don’t even know anything about each other?
He stressed the need to work not only on air, but on land transportation as well like railway connectivity.
The Speaker, while sharing some of the experiences and the actions that the National Assembly of Nigeria had taken towards better African unity, observed that both the Senate and the House had each created a Committee on African Integration and Cooperation “to look at how we can be able to bring Africa.”
According to him, another initiative from the Nigerian Parliament is the creation of friendship committees, where by within the last four years, had about 10 friendship committees which are “primarily to take care of issues to do economic and cultural relationships with some countries.”
Abbas added that the 10th House of Representatives, with him as the Speaker, would create more, to ensure that African and non African countries are closer together to share common objectives.