Senate president Lawan seeks Finland, Nigeria pact on tech, trade

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has urged Finland to collaborate with Nigeria in the area of Hi-Technology and trade.

Lawan, according to a statement by his media aide, Ola Awoniyi, made the appeal on Thursday when the Ambassador of Finland in Nigeria, Dr.Jyrki Pulkkinen, paid him a courtesy visit in his office.

Lawan said Finland and Nigeria have gone a long way in terms of the diplomatic relationship since about 1963.

“There is something that we know about you. And that is to collaborate with the Hi-Tech country that you are.

“Nigeria today is looking for Hi-Tech. In fact, recently the Ministry of Communications was renamed as Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. That is to emphasise the need for Nigeria to go the Hi-Tech way as well.

“We need our friends who are in hi-tech like your country to help us develop to that level that we dream of reaching,” Lawan said.

The Senate President told his guest that Nigeria was going through some challenges that required the application of technology to overcome.

He said, “As you know, Nigeria is battling with so many issues of insecurity. We have the insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and many other things.

“The best way to go is to deploy technology. Even though at the beginning, it may be a little bit expensive but in the long run, it pays off better.

“We believe that with you as our friend, you can find appropriate technology for our armed forces and the police to fight the challenges that we face,” Lawan said.

The Senate President also appealed for the support of the European Union.

“As a member of the European Union, we need our friends at this moment probably more than ever before.

“Nigeria faces, in addition to insecurity, the challenge of economy development as well. We have a lot of areas that require the support of the European Union.

“When we export our agricultural products, most of the time, we face issues. The European Union will say we have not met standard or that there are some issues.

“I think the time has come for the European Union to take the step that is necessary as a friend of Nigeria. That is to ensure that there is a conscious effort to establish maybe an office in Nigeria where we will be given the standards and be supported to meet the standards.

“So that when we export our agricultural products, whether in their raw forms as commodities or semi-processed or even processed, the issue of the standard will not stop our exporters from getting access and of course sale of their products. That happens in other countries.

“The European Union remains a major partner of Nigeria when it comes to diplomacy. So we are taking this opportunity to appeal to you: Help us set the standards but make us meet the standards.

“Whatever you do in other countries to help them meet the standard that is required, we are prepared to meet the standard. Because Nigeria is blessed… But we are constraint when it comes to exporting our agricultural products.

“So help us along that line… Look into that and see if there is anything you can do to facilitate trade between the two countries…We really have to work hard to improve the trade between the two countries,” Lawan said.

Pulkkinen said his mission was to inform the Senate President of the impending visit to Nigeria of a parliamentary committee on Finance from Finland.

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