Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The senator representing Abia North in the Senate, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, has said his interest in the peace process in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was borne out of the need to come to the aid of the suffering masses of the country.
Kalu made the disclosure in Abuja when he hosted the Vice President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Aristibulo, Isturiz Almeida, in company with the Vice Minister of Foreign Relations of Venezuela, Mr Yuri Pimentel in his residence.
The former governor of Abia State also said his interest in the peace in Venezuela was also as a way of demonstrating what the Holy Father, the Pope, told him that wherever he found himself, he had to endeavour to make peace.
The visit of the Venezuelan Vice President followed Kalu’s recent visit to Venezuela where he met President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela regarding peace in the country and upon his return to Nigeria, delivered a special message from President Maduro to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Kalu further said the visit of the Venezuela vice president was commendable, adding that he would continue to urge for diplomacy and peace around the world so that all countries would continue to live in peace.
“As a Catholic, I recall that the Pope once told us that everywhere we go, we must endeavour to make peace. That is why peace initiatives take me to Venezuela; I will continue to go to Venezuela to see how we can assist the Venezuelan people to live in peace.
“The problem is not even about Venezuelan leadership, it is about the Venezuelan people on the street who could be assisted to open the economic doors. The United Nations, the United States, the European Union (EU), President Buhari and President Putin, all should put heads together to bring about everlasting peace for that country.
“This issue is not about the leadership, it is about the downtrodden because we need to have countries that are not liberated to be liberated; it is not really about politics. I appeal that the people of Norway and the EU who have started a peace process for that country to let everybody come to the table and talk. There is nothing wrong about talking,” Kalu said.
Kalu recalled that Venezuelan nationals are brothers and sisters to the rest of the world, adding that there are many Nigerians of Yoruba extraction living in Venezuela.
“There are our brothers living in Venezuela. That is why I am concerned. There are Nigerians who are Yoruba, who are Afro Venezuelans. They are living there and they are our brothers. And so, we should feel much concerned that every door of Venezuela should be open in terms of peace and the need for the opposition to calm down because they didn’t participate in the recent past elections in the country. There was a general election but they boycotted it.
“But we will continue to appeal to President Maduro and the leadership to accommodate them in government so that in the next elections, if they desire to run, they should run because the last general election is over.
“So, I call on the United States, I call on President Trump and all allies to see reason why this country should exist and live in peace. When you are punishing a people, you are not punishing President Maduro, you are not punishing his ministers, you are punishing the lowest level of the people of Venezuela,” Kalu also said.
Responding, Vice President Isturiz said he was hopeful that peace would return to Venezuela soon, adding that it was the fundamental focus of the country.
“The principal goal for us is to have peace in Venezuela. The dialogue is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. We are under attack from the US government – the economic work, the inflation, the economic blockage, the financial blockage and the commercial blockage. They took from us, more than $30 billion and only God will help our country from the peoples’ revolution,” Isturiz said.
Isturiz further said the sanctions against his country were contrary to the international rule of law and the multilateral instruments, adding that they were criminal actions against the people of Venezuela.
Earlier, Isturiz recalled the excellent diplomatic relations between Venezuela and Nigeria, noting that Venezuela’s relationship with Nigeria is a historic one.
Nigeria, he added, is so important to Venezuela in the African continent, nothing that both countries are forging ahead to have agreements in the areas of oil and gas, mines, agriculture, culture, education and communications.
“We need to find some common areas in the aerospace and aeronautical relationship too, including tourism and commerce,” Isturiz also said.