How Nigeria tackled xenophobic attacks, border issues through parliamentary diplomacy -Kalu


Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, Tuesday, said that the use of parliamentary diplomacy has helped Nigeria in managing border challenges as well as other issues arising from xenophobic attacks against her citizens.

Rather than going to war which he described as “ugly”, Kalu urged the world to adopt the option of parliamentary diplomacy, stressing that it offers a strategic approach to global peace.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Levinus Nwabughiogu stated that Kalu’s call was contained in his address at the ongoing 148th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) General Debate in Geneva, Switzerland, themed: “Parliamentary Diplomacy; Building Bridges for Peace and Understanding”.

The Deputy Speaker said that through synergy with the Executive Arm led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, normalcy has returned to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) subregion where the borders had also been reopened to allow free movement of humans, goods and services.

He said “My dear friends and colleagues, war is ugly; my advice according to Sun Tzu is that “whoever wishes to fight must count the cost – it is very expensive in human and material costs.

“Parliamentary diplomacy offers a strategic approach to global peace.
We must focus on conflict prevention, management, and post-conflict
peacebuilding. Furthermore, as a parliament, our commitment to legislative diplomacy working in concert with the Executive led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has gradually seen the return of normalcy in ECOWAS where the closed borders have been opened
to ensure the free movement of goods and citizens.

“In the same vein, this tool has also been deployed in the face of misunderstandings between citizens of different countries leading to xenophobic attacks.”

Kalu also stated that the parliament has adopted an approach meant to restore peace in the southeastern part of the country through the employment of non-kinetic means.

“As a legislature, we adopt particular programmes that address peculiar challenges to peace. In this way, we have adopted the “Peace in Southeast Project”, employing a non-kinetic approach that focuses on reconciliation, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and reintegration which addresses the multi-decades-old devastating effects of war in South East Nigeria.

“For us, this is legislative diplomacy in action, fostering peace and development within our borders-representing a model for post-conflict peacebuilding. In addition, PISE-P birthed the passage of the South East Development Commission Bill, soon to be sent to the peace-loving President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for assent”, he said.

Lamenting the poor percentage of women in politics, the Deputy Speaker called for gender equality and inclusion in governance, stressing that women’s underrepresentation in parliament impeded progress.

Speaking on the crises in Gaza, Sudan and Congo D.R., Kalu said that the world must rise to build bridges for peace.

“By empowering women in leadership roles, we unlock the full potential of democratic governance. A strong bridge for peace is built on the foundation of equal voices.

“Sunday’s deliberation on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza showed us what parliamentary diplomacy should not be. We failed to reach a consensus, missing a crucial opportunity for
collective action.

“It is a cause for concern that the plight of Africa, where thousands of lives are lost to ongoing conflicts, has yet to be addressed as an emergency item. From the horrific situation in Sudan, with over 13,000 lives lost, to the ongoing tragedy in the D.R. Congo, to the militancy and terror in Sahel Africa, the human cost of these conflicts cannot be ignored because the ripple effects of these crises in Africa ultimately impact the world.

“It is in this regard that IPU must as a matter of utmost imperative create a task force for Sudan. The unchecked crises in Sudan, Somalia, and D.R. Congo, all in Africa, create a ripple effect of instability across the continent, breeding conditions for extremism, mass displacement, and a drain on resources that could be used for development”, Kalu said.


Levinus Nwabughiogu, Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria