By Christiana Ekpa
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that the House would ensure that it strengthens its relationship with the parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Gbajabiamila said he believes a robust parliamentary relationship between the two countries would go a long way in boosting the overall ties between the two countries.
The Speaker, who said he believes in parliamentary diplomacy, prayed for peaceful settlement of the challenges that Iran is going through as a country.
Gbajabiamila spoke during a courtesy call by the Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Morteza Rahimi Zarchi, at the National Assembly, Abuja, on Tuesday.
“We’re always delighted when we receive eminent visitors from other countries. We’re always excited because it boosts the relationships between the two countries. I believe that diplomacy can be achieved through parliament.
“We look forward to having a good relationship between your parliament and our parliament,” Gbajabiamila said.
On an invitation by the Iranian Ambassador for the Speaker to visit the Iranian parliament, Gbajabiamila said: “You should thank your speaker for the invitation, which is an open one, and I believe at the right time, we’ll see what we can do.”
Gbajabiamila said the two parliaments could compare notes and learn from each other, noting that the House would revive the parliamentary friendship group between the two countries.
“You talked about the educational exchange, and I’m glad that this is happening. Nigerians are probably the most ubiquitous people around the world. You find them everywhere.
“I know you are going through your own issues just like us in Nigeria. What we pray for is a peaceful settlement in the world, and I know it will come. We need to continue to work towards that.”
Earlier, Mr Zarchi said the visit was to familiarise with the Speaker and invite him to visit the Iranian parliament for stronger ties between the two parliaments.
He said besides the parliamentary friendship, it was also imperative for the two countries to have stronger economic and cultural ties.
He said Iran has a big role to play in the fight against terrorism, especially in its region, noting that the country attaches importance to the issue.
“We recognise your role as a speaker. We know that we have a good relationship with your country. We have an active parliament, and we invite you to visit Iran and our parliament to see how we do things there.
“We also believe that we should have good cultural relations with Nigeria. We want to see how our universities can relate to Nigerian universities. We have a lot of Nigerian students in some Iranian universities.”