Home Economy UK committed to strengthening bilateral relations with the Nigerian– envoy

UK committed to strengthening bilateral relations with the Nigerian– envoy

by Business News Report

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr. Richard Montgomery, has committed to strengthening existing relations between the United Kingdom and Nigeria. Montgomery made the commitment in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday, to commemorate his first anniversary in Nigeria. He said Britain has stepped up its engagement with Nigeria and recorded a significant increase in trade and security in 2023. According to the envoy, it is clear that both countries have a very strong group of people-to-people ties with a huge Nigerian heritage working and living in Britain, just as there is a huge British dual nationality population in Nigeria .

He said his first year as president was partly driven by the inauguration of President Bola Tinubu and the need for Britain to get to know the new government in Nigeria. He added that one of the highlights of his first year was when he hosted Britain’s former Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, who visited President Bola Tinubu in early August 2023. Montgomery said Cleverly met with business leaders and partners from across government, adding that after the meeting with Tinubu, both countries agreed to work in three areas. The British envoy referred to the areas as security, trade and investment, and “reasonable cooperation”.

“Both countries will need to enhance their security independence and greatly strengthen trade and investment between them,” he said. He called on African countries to unite and ensure that democracy thrives on the continent. “They should have reasonable cooperation because the Nigerian President was chairman of ECOWAS when a difficult development occurred in the region such as the coup in Niger. There was a discussion about these regional issues and how Britain can support,” he said. He praised the staff of the British High Commission for their professionalism and efficiency. I am pleased to say that I have fantastic teams at the British High Commission. They work on security and defence, improved trade and investment, and they also work on migration, visas and home affairs. We have major development cooperation programs and technical assistance in key areas, and we need to engage with the government of Nigeria on regional and global foreign policy issues. 

So my team has been working on these areas, and I think this was the second big highlight of my first year, and in February we signed some new detailed agreements. In February we had a large UK security and defence delegation, military security foreign policy and counter-terrorism delegates, and these were received by the Nigerian National Security Adviser. The Nigerian National Security Advisor convened all the leadership of the Nigerian security and defence architecture, and we held tours in Abuja for several days.

“And at the end of that, we signed a new security and defence partnership, which will allow us to work together in areas such as defense and counter-terrorism. Other areas include cyber security, countering violent extremism, serious organised crime, policing and also upholding human rights. We now have a detailed work plan for the operation and security defense,” he said. He said Kemi Badenoch, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, visited Nigeria in February and had worked with her counterpart at the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

“We have agreed on a range of sectors we are now working on, including agriculture, creative industries, legal and financial services, education partnerships and increasing two-way trade and investment between Britain and Nigeria. And my third highlight is the opportunity to travel around this amazing country and I managed to visit some states such as Sokoto, Taraba, Borno, Rivers and Enugu. I also visit Lagos regularly, and in between I have been to a number of states. Traveling through this country has been a huge highlight and I would like to take this opportunity to thank some people for their warm hospitality. I thank the governors, traditional leaders, businessmen and civil society across the country.” (NAN)

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