No fewer than 42 members of the House of Representatives have joined the Nigerian Parliamentary Israeli Allies Caucus, as Nigeria and Israel celebrate 62 years of diplomatic relations.
The caucus, which was inaugurated in Abuja on Tuesday, is a member of the global Israel Allies Foundation, is mobilising faith-based support for Israel and Nigeria.
The six-person inauguration committee included four members of the House, Bamidele Salam (Chairman), Sergius Ogun, Chris Azubogu and Oghene Egho as well as Nigeria Director, NPIAC, Sally William-Chinebu (Secretary) and Programme Manager, Chibuzo Okereke.
The pioneer Chairman of the NPIAC, Nicholas Ossai, in his remarks, noted that Israel Allies Caucus exist in over 50 parliaments of the world. He added that the Nigerian caucus would advance strategic engagements to encourage cooperation between Nigeria and Israel in areas of common interests, including agriculture, science and technology, youth development and innovation, culture/tourism, education, security, aviation, power/renewable energy, peace-building, democracy, rule of law and protection of human rights.
He said, “The caucus will from time to time organise parliamentary exchanges and visits to the Israel Knesset and other allies’ parliaments globally. Furthermore, the caucus will seek to organise business and investment summits/democracy promotion activities for the mutual benefit of Nigeria and the state of Israel.
“The caucus is open to legislators at both federal and sub-national levels, policymakers, faith-based leaders, lovers of Israel and Nigeria and the general public who meet the membership criteria. Caucus members have the opportunity to enjoy quality legislative exchange programs and experience visits to member parliaments and countries, Israeli visas, business opportunities, education, tourism and other mutual bilateral opportunities.”
After the inauguration, Ossai read out the resolution and pledge of the caucus.
Ossai said, “Whereas, the State of Israel has appropriately and necessarily exercised its God-given and legal right to declare the reuniﬁed city of Jerusalem to be the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish national home, thereby ensuring the protection of religious freedom for worshipers of all faiths under Israeli sovereignty;
“Whereas, people with faith in the Bible recognise the historic and spiritual significance of the Land of Israel and the City of Jerusalem to the Jewish people, and whereas, the Israel Allies Foundation was established to give clear expression to the moral and ethical bonds that unite Jews, Christians, and people of faith worldwide;
“Whereas, members of the Nigerian Parliamentary Israel Allies Caucus wish to enter the Global Israel Allies Network of over 50 parliamentary caucuses in countries worldwide in order to take a public stand on critical issues facing Nigeria and Israel for the mutual beneﬁts of our both countries;
“Therefore, we the foundational members are stablishing the Nigerian Parliamentary Israel Allies Caucus, whose mission it will be to support the stronger diplomatic ties between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the jewish State of Israel in asserting its God-given and legal rights to sovereignty and self-defense upon the entirety of its lands and territories, recognising the aimed of people of all faiths for a strong and united Israel and Nigeria through legislative diplomacy.”
The caucus called on governments, institutions and people of conscience around the world to “reject all forms of anti-semitism including the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement as a matter of official policy, duly noting its anti-semitic nature against the State of Israel.”
The NPIAC advocated for stronger collaborations and diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Israel in the areas of security, aviation, agriculture, science and technology, youth development, innovation and energy, while it “strongly support the relocation of government embassies to Jerusalem in accordance with the understanding that Jerusalem is the eternal and indivisible capital of the State of Israel.”
Earlier in her welcome address, the Nigerian Director, NPIAC, Sally William-Chinebu, noted that the Israel Allies Caucus derives its strength from a wide range of political parties, various religious or philosophical convictions, diversified ethnic nationalities, professional orientations and biases. “The caucus uses the instrumentality of advocacy, faith-based diplomacy, and policy dialogues to support good diplomatic relations with the State of Israel,” she added.
William-Chinebu stated that NPIAC is readily available to help deepen the relationship between Nigeria and Israel. She said, “We will assist to facilitate mutually beneficial collaborations and cooperation in areas of parliamentary engagements, cultural and educational exchanges, peace-building, agriculture, renewable energy, youth development, technology, aviation, security and other innovations.
“We will work to ensure and promulgate legislation that prevents discriminations of any kind against Nigerians and Israelis anywhere including anti-semitism. We will always support the right of the Jews to live in Israel, a Jewish state, in peace, harmony, and security and with rights to defensible borders. We also aim at promoting a greater role for Nigeria in the international community, while promoting democracy in Nigeria in an environment that guarantees freedom of expression, peace, social justice, rule of law and electoral integrity.”