Obviously excited by the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s new President, United Kingdom has openly declared its readiness to work closely with Nigeria to end its security and economic challenges. To start with, Britain says it is going to spearhead the group of seven developed nations (G-7 nations) to rally necessary support for Buhari to crush insurgency in Nigeria without further delay.
British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, announced the new posture of his country towards Nigeria while speaking with Vanguard in Abuja on Friday shortly after attending Buhari’s inauguration as Nigeria’s 5th civilian president.
Hammond led British delegation to witness the swearing in of Buhari, who only returned to Nigeria on the eve of his inauguration, where he had gone to rub minds with Prime Minister, David Cameron, at Number 10 Downing Street.
The foreign secretary said that apart from discussing Boko Haram challenges in G7 meeting coming up later, Britain was ready to provide the Nigerian armed forces with needed technical and surveillance equipment and training to be able to combat the menace of insurgency.
According to him, it is imperative that Boko Haram must be crushed in order to give the new administration the opportunity to settle down and tackle the economic development of Nigeria and give succour to the citizens.
Hammond said: “The emergence of Buhari has given us a new opportunity to help Nigeria with both technical and surveillance support to tackle the problems of Boko Haram. “But we can only do that if the Nigerian armed forces comply with human rights requirements. Happily BUhari has given us that assurance and we are going to help Nigeria in any way possible to tackle its problems.
The foreign secretary announced that with Nigeria/British trade volume peaking at £7 billion per year, Britain was ready to drive more investments into Nigeria to help boost its economy and stabilise the country, using Nigerian businessmen in the UK as the vehicle. Hammond said that Britain was excited about what he called “Buhari’s realistic agenda” to tackle the economic and socio-economic challenges so as to give hope to the masses.
Sources learnt that the dispatch of Hammond by David Cameron to attend Buhari’s inauguration marked the beginning of fresh level of cooperation between Nigeria and Britain in recent years. The relationship between the two countries hit the rocks following the alleged refusal by the European nation to sell military hardwares to Nigeria to tackle insurgency on the allegation that Nigerian troops could use them to commit human rights abuses.
Before Hammond’s visit on Thursday, the last British Foreign Secretary to visit Nigeria was Jack Straw about nine years ago.
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