The Senate has asked the Nigerian Government to review the objectives of Nigeria’s foreign policy with a view to ensuring the relationship with other countries produce benefits to Nigeria.
The resolution of the Senate on Tuesday, followed a motion by Stell Oduah (PDP- Anambra North) titled “The Urgent Need to Re-Assess Nigeria’s Foreign Policy Objectives in Line with Emerging Economic Realities”.
Ms. Oduah said since independence at 1960, Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives “invented by Tafawa Balewa” have remained unchanged.
“Rather, every succeeding administration in the country has come up with new circumstantial mechanisms aimed at achieving foreign policy goals,” she said.
Speaking further, she mentioned Nigeria’s contributions to international peace and development.
Ms. Oduah noted that Nigeria had made “pivotal contributions” to ending civil war, colonialism, external domination, oppressive minority rule and Apartheid in various African countries, including the Gambia, South Africa, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
She said Nigeria has remained a major troop-contributing nation to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations around the world, starting with UN Peacekeeping Operations in the Congo called “Operation des Nations units àu Congo” in 1960, she said.
Despite all these contributions, Ms. Oduah expressed worry that Nigerians who reside abroad are treated with disdain.
She said, “So many of our nationals are being killed for reasons that are despicable.
“The xenophobic attack by South Africans against Nigerians who live and conduct businesses in their midst is still fresh in our minds.
“Moreso, from Kenya to the Maghreb and across Southern Africa, discrimination against and other non-nationals have been on the rise, as can be seen in various international media reports.”
Accordingly, the Senate asked its Committee on Foreign Affairs to investigate several alleged maltreatment and killing of Nigerians abroad as well as “take into consideration the Doctrine of Diplomatic Reciprocity in its activities and report back to the Senate within four weeks.”
Further, it urged the Federal Government “to reassess our foreign policy objectives in a hostile, unstable and competitive global environment which operates on the principle of survival of the fittest to ensure that Nigerian investors/businessmen are accorded the right of first refusal especially in those countries where Nigerian fought tirelessly for their liberation, emancipation, freedom, peace and security.
It also implored “the Federal Government to, going forward, imbibe Nigeria’s economic interest as vital component of our foreign policy objectives in countries where the nation invested her enormous human and material resources to restore security, peace, stability and democracy as the era of our Father Christmas Diplomacy is certainly over.”