The United Kingdom on Thursday opened its new Embassy in Abuja, which it said would further strengthen its relationship with Nigeria.
Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary who unveiled the new diplomatic complex at 8:13 a.m., said it signified the growing relationship between the Commonwealth pair.
“It gives me great pleasure to open this wonderful, new, super, collosal British High Commission in the Nigeria’s capital, Abuja,” Mr. Johnson said.
“It would further strengthen the British diplomatic ties with Nigeria,” the UK top diplomat said.
He said the new building is a symbol of UK’s long-term commitment to Nigeria.
The new British High Commission, located at Plot 1157, Diplomatic Drive, Central Business District, accommodates all of the UK Government departments working in Abuja. It is adjacent to the United States Embassy and construction started on February 26, 2014.
It provides a single platform for all the UK-based and locally engaged staff working across Her Majesty’s Government (Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development and Home Office.
“The British High Commission’s operations were significantly constrained by inadequate accommodation across four sites with little or no room for expansion. A consolidated hub was required to bring together all of HMG operations in Abuja to one secure location,” the Embassy’s public affairs office said in a statement.
Over 100 Britons and 164 locally-engaged staff will work from the new building, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
Before diplomatic staff started moving into the new building six weeks ago, activities were conducted across four different locations in Maitama and Wuse II, which officials found too small and uncoordinated.
Mr. Johnson, a former Mayor of London, arrived Nigeria on Wednesday with a visit to Maiduguri, where he inspected activities against Boko Haram and toured camps of the internally displaced persons.
He will participate at a dedication ceremony for the new Commonwealth War Memorial in honour of about 2,000 Nigerian soldiers and servicemen who lost their lives during World War I and World War II.
The diplomat is expected to cap his visit with a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House.