Nigeria will soon expand its diplomatic relationship with Ukraine, exploring new areas of mutual benefit to both countries.
This indication was given earlier today by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, while receiving the Ukrainian Ambassdor Mr. Valerii Aleksandruk in his office at the Presidential Villa.
“Very soon we will be signing outstanding bilateral agreements” the Vice President told the Ukrainian envoy while recalling with gratitude government scholarships that Nigerian students have benefited from in the Eastern European nation.
Prof. Osinbajo hinted that the Buhari administration will be interested in working with Ukraine in the areas of Agriculture and Steel sectors besides the ongoing cooperation in education. According to him Nigeria looks forward to the setting up of a Bi-National Commission that will deal with the various issues and expand relationship between both countries.
The Vice President expressed Nigeria’s gratitude to Ukraine for its support in the areas of security including in the fight against the insurgents saying “we hope for more cooperation until we put down the evil of terrorism.
Earlier, the Ambassador of Ukraine informed the VP that there are a number of bilateral agreements waiting to be signed by the two countries in order to deepen the existing bilateral relations. He said there were about 5000 Nigerian students in Ukraine and appreciated Nigeria’s support of his country at the United Nations Security Council, where Nigeria is currently a member.
In a related development, the Vice President also received a delegation from the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies which included the African Union Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, Mrs Pancy Tlakula. Commenting on the free flow of information in the internet age, Prof. Osinbajo expressed the optimism that what could not be obtained years back is made possible today with the use of internet. He said “internet technology helps in terms of access to information, in fact, what we thought years ago was impossible is now made dramatically possible.” According to him, “whoever tries to hide information now has very little hiding place as internet provides immediate access to information which greatly helps us.”
He noted that freedom of information is important as people will have access to what government is all about. He however, expressed that people must be taught on how to make freedom of information law more practically useful, stressing that some of the challenges are illiteracy and the issue of reasonable “internet journalism.”
Highlighting the challenges of freedom of information, Prof. Osinbajo identified literacy as important factor and that is why government now is rehabilitating and educating the children who have been displaced by insurgency that disrupted education activities in the North for about six years. “We are now coming up with how to educate the 10 million children and deal with the issue of adult literacy as well”, he stated.
Earlier, Mrs Pancy Tlakula said she has been in the country on the invitation of the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, to attend a memorial lecture and had been holding meetings particularly with those that are responsible for access to information and freedom of expression. She said her message is that Nigeria has gone a long way in making Freedom of Information a reality for the people, noting that what is left is for the country to step up the implementation of Freedom of Information law. She also said that it is through this that the right to information will be a reality to the ordinary people.
A delegation of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, (SSANU) also paid a courtesy call on the Vice President on Friday.