Lawan urges Finland to partner Nigeria on hi-tech, trade

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan has urged Finland to collaborate with Nigeria in the area of hi-technology and trade.

Lawan spoke on Thursday when Finland Ambassador in Nigeria, Dr. Jyrki Pulkkinen, visited him in his office in Abuja.

“Finland and Nigeria have gone a long way in diplomatic relationship since about 1963. Since then, Nigeria and Finland have been friends.

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

“And 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.

“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.

“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, through Finland, appealed for the support of the European Union (EU).

“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 economic development as well. We have a lot of areas that require the support of the EU.

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

“I think the time has come for the EU 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 standard will not stop our exporters from getting access; of course, sale of their products. That happens in other countries.”

“The EU 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.”

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

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