British High Commissioner to Nigeria Catriona Laing has expressed worry at the deteriorating security situation in the country, pledging that the UK government was keen on helping Nigeria win its fight against insecurity.
“We are extremely concerned about the deteriorating security situation.
“I mean, Nigeria is facing a lot of problems everywhere – in the Northeast, terrorism; in the Northwest, banditry, kidnapping; in the Middle Belt, the farmers-herders conflict; in the South, the Niger Delta conflict everywhere.
“And the secession movements in the Southeast. So, Nigeria is really struggling”, Liang noted.
Laing expressed these views while speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a reception held to welcome home the 2019/2020 UK Chevening Scholarship beneficiaries.
Laing said the UK government had been helping the Nigerian military in the areas of training, campaign planning, and how to counter IEDs.
“Well, we are here to support and help. We have the military team here, who came here after the Chibok girls were kidnapped actually. We are still here, training the Nigerian military, helping them to do campaign planning, how to counter IEDs,” Laing said.
She further said the recent visit of the UK’s Minister of Armed Forces, during which he interacted with the Nigerian Government at the highest level, including the Service Chiefs, also showed the commitment of the UK govt.
Laing, however, urged the Nigerian government to be a bit more precise about the support they needed from the UK and what the UK can offer.
“So, we are here for the long time. This is a Nigerian partnership. Your insecurity becomes our insecurity if we don’t help you tackle it. So, we are here and we are trying to do our best to support you,” the envoy said.
Commending the Chevening Programme, Lang said it was an initiative by the UK government aimed at preparing future leaders, who would not only excel in academic qualifications, but be ready to return to their respective countries to give back.
She disclosed that Nigeria already had 1,300 Chevening alumni, currently occupying important positions in power, thereby providing the UK both access and influence.
The feedback had been fantastic as Chevening alumni were in top professions and were working together and supporting each other, she noted.
Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairperson, Nigerian Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), urged the Chevening scholarship beneficiaries to impart the knowledge and skills gained to Nigeria’s development.
Dabiri-Erewa, who was represented by Sule Bassi, Secretary of the Commission, appreciated the UK government for the scholarship opportunity which many Nigerians had benefitted from.
“Your return to Nigeria should make a meaningful impact, as you are expected to contribute your own quota to Nigeria’s development and polity”, Dabiri-Erewa said.
Ms Rejoice Abusa, one of the beneficiaries, who shared her experience appreciated the UK government for the opportunity.
Abusa said she would use the knowledge acquired to promote the market for Nollywood in the UK, where it has a huge market, but was not generating enough resources as most of the movies were not taken to the UK through appropriate channels.