Nigeria, UK to strengthen ties

Timothy Choji, Abuja


Nigeria and the United Kingdom have restated their commitment to build on the existing cordial relationship that exists between them.

They have also decided to jointly work hard to curb the boko haram menace troubling the North-East region of Nigeria.

Both President Muhammadu Buhari and UK Prime Minister, Theresa May made the commitments on behalf of their countries when they met at the Aso rock Presidential Villa Abuja.

While welcoming his guest, President Buhari appreciated the support Nigeria is receiving form the UK in the fight against terrorism.

He said: “Madam Theresa I welcome you most sincerely to Nigeria and I am very grateful to the British government under your leadership for the help you are giving us in the area of security. The training team that goes to our institutions in Kaduna and observe the operations in the North-East mainly, we thank you very much for that.

“I also thank you very much for the improvement in trade relationship between us since you assumed office. We are nervously watching developments about Brexit, because we know that relationship has been on since 1938 and people are here looking at the opportunities in education, businesses and so on and I assure you that we will take the necessary steps to improve on the trade relationship between our two countries.”

The Nigerian leader also spoke about the effects of the drying up of Lake Chad and the need to resuscitate it, to boost farming and fishing activities within the Chad basin.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and UK Prime Minister, Theresa May at the Presidential Villa, Abuja

Economic Ties

In her remarks, British Prime Minister, Theresa May said following the exit of the UK form the European Union, there would be need to seek more economic ties with Nigeria.

She pledged that the United Kingdom will assist Nigeria in the fight against terrorists as well as human trafficking.

“Thank you very much for the warm welcome. I’m delighted to be here in Abuja and to continue the very good discussions we had when you were in London in April. As you say we already have very good cooperation between the UK and Nigeria which include education, defence, security and trade relations.

“We are ready to cooperate together on global and regional issues; to strengthen that cooperation and partnership, I have with me a business delegation, as we look to enhance our ties in future and explore more trading opportunities.

“We will also be looking to work together to step up efforts against security threats from Boko Haram, human trafficking and the likes. And of course also cooperate to fight corruption and lifting people out of poverty. I am pleased that I am going to visit Lagos as well because as far as our partnership is working, we are doing well in Nigeria. We look forward to enhancing this relationship in future,” she said.

Theresa May has since departed Abuja for Lagos, enroute Kenya, as she continues her tour of African countries.