By Victoria Ojeme
British Minister for Africa, James Duddridge on Tuesday said that violence on Nigerians by the terrorist Boko Haram sect is a complex phenomenon that requires varied approaches to resolve.
The British Minister said this while fielding questions from reporters when he led a delegation to pay a courtesy visit to Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama, at the Ministry in Abuja, stressing that the United Kingdom is a strong ally of Nigeria in the efforts to mitigate the challenges posed by terrorism and insurgency.
He said “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, it is about education and development partnership. It is not an end game, we don’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.”
Speaking earlier, Duddridge noted that the relationship between the British government and Nigeria is massively important on the African continent not just because Nigeria is a big and populous country but also because of the role that Nigeria plays in the African region.
He said both countries will deepen post COVID-19 relations and work together to tackle climate change as well as to realize the objectives of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA).
Also speaking on insecurity, Nigeria Foreign Minister Onyeama decried the complex nature of the challenges the country is facing especially in the north east due to the unconventional nature of the war against terrorism.
“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 -the US, UK, France,’’ he said, adding that intelligence sharing will continue to help.
Onyeama also noted that there is multiplicity of issues to address, such as deradiclaisation, education, jobs, girl-child education and so many others needed to definitively address the challenges of terrorism.
Onyeama, earlier told his British guest that although Nigeria is still struggling with high levels of inflation and high level of unemployment, the Nigerian economy has shown some signs of improvement because the government has stuck vigorously to its economic growth plan with discipline and hoping to see more improvements
He also expressed delight that the COVID-19 figures are going down in Nigeria, even as he lauded the support of the United Kingdom in the various challenges facing Nigeria especially in the north east of the country and other parts of the country.