The government of the United Kingdom says it will send advisors to Nigeria to share knowledge on community policing towards tackling insecurity in the West African country.
Vicky Ford, UK Minister for Africa, disclosed this in an interview with AriseNews on Sunday.
Ms Ford said: “What we know in UK and in Nigeria is that to keep civilians safe, you need to have effective, accountable, transparent community policing and that is part of the work that we would be doing through sending advisors to share experiences to help the Nigerian police forces adapt so that they will be able to respond to incidents in a more timely and more effective manner.”
She said this will also help the Nigerian police roll out community policing especially in areas that have seen conflict.
“These are areas Nigerians have identified issues that they would like help with and we can then bring in that support and share experiences,” Ms Ford said.
She said this is not the UK telling Nigeria how to do things but Nigeria identifying areas the UK can support them.
“The UK has a strategy across Africa to work with countries to form partnerships, to help create freer; safer; greener; more prosperous culture and we see Nigeria as an absolutely key partner in that,” she said.
According to Ms Ford, “Nigeria is really important for its own stability and also for the work they are doing for regional stability and security.
“Insecurity in Nigeria and West Africa also impacts security which is why we want to work with Nigeria as a trusted friend and partner,” she stated.
She said officials are already working together on issues of terrorist threats and how to share UK’s lessons on community policing to improve security across Nigeria.
Ms Ford also said the security partnership is not a financial deal when Arise correspondent asked if the intervention was paid for.
Commenting on the #EndSARS white paper issued by the Lagos State government, she noted that the white paper raised more questions than answers.
“Obviously the white paper raised lots of questions, it raised questions on the role of the federal police and that of the military and those are questions that the federal government needs to look at and address.”
She said the UK believes in the importance of transparency and accountability and would love to see that reflect.
“It is really important that civilians have the right transparency to understand when things have gone wrong, what has gone wrong and that people can be held to account if there has been situations where the police or other forces have not acted in a way that they should have,” Ms Ford said.
She added that the UK is watching closely to see that this happens.
Nigerian National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, two weeks ago, engaged his United Kingdom counterpart, Stephen Lovegrove, in a dialogue on a range of issues, including counter-terrorism, serious and organised crime, civilian policing and human rights.
Also, Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, and the UK Chief of Defence Staff, Tony Radakin, held separate talks on military cooperation.
According to a statement from the British High Commission, titled “Nigeria-UK hold Security and Defence Partnership Dialogue in London this week”, the dialogue, is taking place at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office headquarters at King Charles Street, London.
The three days-long dialogue was the first of its kind since both countries formed the ‘UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership’ in 2018.
The partnership signed between President Muhammadu Buhari and former British Prime Minister, Theresa May, was aimed at helping Nigeria end the Boko Haram and the Islamic States West Africa (ISWAP) insurgency that has lasted over a decade.
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