The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, on Friday pledged the support of the lower chamber to President Muhammadu Buhari towards protecting Nigerians against xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
According to him, the President has been taking proactive steps on the issue.
Speaking with State House correspondents after meeting with President Buhari at the State House, he said that he is on the same page with the President on the issue.
Asked his purpose to the Presidential Villa, he said; “Engagement with Mr. President is not out of place even on a normal day but these are not normal days. The country has witnessed unfortunate incidence in the last few days in South Africa.
We have called that off because events have overtaken, the government has taken proactive steps, same we would have taken. We are all on the same page with the President and the government.
So I came to fully discuss that with Mr. President and other national issues that requires the attention of both the legislature and the executive, and we had very fruitful discussions on those issues.
In his statement Asked if there are moves to cut bilateral ties with South Africa, he said “they are not there yet but nothing is off the table, they will take each day as it comes. As of now Mr. President has proactive steps in evacuating the citizens using recalling the high commissioner, we will stand with and by Nigerians.
On the report alleging that South Africa won’t pay compensation to Nigerian victims of xenophobic attacks, he said “they don’t know if that statement is official or off the cuff statement by somebody. When it’s official they will take further steps. After the delegation in South Africa, he’s sure there are probably other avenues that are international that we can pursue.
He disclosed that other issues discussed with the President included returning national budget cycle to January to December, the $9.6 billion judgement against Nigeria and security issues.
He further said “they discussed the issue of the budget, as you are aware we want to bring the budget circle back to what it used to be, January to December and the only way to do that is for an early presentation of the budget and we have discussed that.
Asked if the budget will get to the National Assembly this month, he said “he cannot give a definite answer but he knows the budget is going to come as early as possible. It maybe the end of this month or shortly thereafter, but he cannot give you and definite date.