BRITISH minister for Africa James Duddridge has expressed concern about the growing insecurity in Nigeria saying the violence unleashed by Boko Haram sect and its allied groups poses a great risk but added that the UK is willing to help combat the menace.
According to the Institute for Economics and Peace’s 2021 Global Peace Index report, Nigeria is the 16th most dangerous country on earth at the moment. This report is the only one of its kind that measures how dangerous or safe a nation is and at the moment, the top 16 nations include Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Central African Republic, Libya, DR Congo, Russia, Pakistan, Turkey, Sudan, Ukraine, North Korea and Nigeria.
Speaking after he led a delegation to pay a courtesy visit on Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama in Abuja yesterday, Mr Duddridge said the disturbing trend of violence in Nigeria is a complex phenomenon that requires varied approaches to resolve. He added that the UK is a strong ally of Nigeria in the efforts to mitigate the challenges posed by terrorism and insurgency.
Mr Duddridge added: “The situation is massively complex and no partnership is going to resolve the multiplicity of problems whether it is Boko Haram or Daesh or a number of other issues. In the UK, you have a strong partner across the full gamut of issues, so, it is not just about intelligence and hard security and military, it is about societies, it is about humanitarian support and it is about education and development partnership.
“It is not an end game, we won’t get to a point where we would say this is the end of our relationship with Nigeria because we got what we want. We set a higher bar, we are long-term partners.”
He noted that the relationship between the UK and Nigeria is important on the African continent not just because Nigeria is a big and populous country but also because of the role Nigeria plays in the African region. Mr Onyeama agreed, decrying the complex nature of the challenges the country was facing, especially in the northeast, due to the unconventional nature of the war against terrorism.
Mr Onyeama said: “It is not a conventional war where the enemy is readily identifiable, it is asymmetrical warfare and we are dealing with very difficult situations. We have an intelligence fusion unit with our partners such as the US, UK and France.”
He also noted that intelligence sharing will continue to help, saying there is multiplicity of issues to address such as de-radicalisation, education, jobs, girl-child education and so many other matters needed to resolve the challenges of terrorism. Mr Onyeama told his British guests that although Nigeria was still struggling with high level of inflation and unemployment, the economy had shown some signs of improvement.
In addition, Mr Onyeama also expressed delight that the Covid-19 figures were going down in Nigeria. He lauded the support of the UK in helping address the various challenges facing the country, especially in the northeast.