The British government has pledged to support Nigeria’s effort towards ensuring stability and development with a commitment worth N65 billion.
The country’s minister for Africa, Grant Shapps, said on arrival in Abuja on his maiden visit to Nigeria that the two countries would work together to increase the nation’s prosperity in the areas of trade and security.
He said the UK government would provide a comprehensive package of support to Nigeria, by expanding military training and intelligence cooperation.
According to him, the UK would also assist Nigeria on anti-corruption capacity building and investigative support, and an annual development programme worth £218 million (about N65 billion).
He said the country would also contribute to the increasing prosperity at the heart of a thriving trade relationship worth £6.1 billion per year (about N1.8 trillion).
Mr. Shapps acknowledged UK government’s close relationship with Nigeria, saying during the visit he would meet with ministers and senior government officials, including vice president,Yemi Osinbajo; the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, and the Kaduna and Lagos State governors to discuss issues of common interest.
The itinerary of the visit indicates that Mr. Shapps would also see how the UK’s investment in Nigeria’s solar energy market could provide a clean and reliable answer to the country’s problem of energy access.
“The UK has a strong relationship with Nigeria and we will continue to promote vital investment, tackle corruption and create a safer and more prosperous future for the country,” Mr. Shapps said.
From a trade relationship worth over £6billion annually, he said, the military cooperation of the UK government against Boko Haram was an indication that Nigeria was a country whose security and prosperity matter to the UK.
The minister said with more than half of Nigeria currently living without electricity, it was vital that more people were able to access clean and reliable solar energy.
Not only would this transform people’s everyday lives, he said it would provide tremendous opportunity for growth and national development.
The minister said he was determined to ensure that Britain build on its close relationship with Nigeria by sharing its skills, knowledge and expertise of developmental issues.
Mr. Shapps’ visit follows a series of meetings between the UK’s Prime Minister and President Muhammadu Buhari, most recently at the United Nations General Assembly, and the UK Foreign Secretary’s attendance at the president’s inauguration in May 2015.