The benefits of Theresa May’s visit to Nigeria
British Prime Minister, Theresa May met with Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari (Channels TV)
By Adesina Idris
London, August 30, 2018 (AltAfrica)-British Prime Minister, Theresa May is on historical tour of Africa. Mrs May has visited South Africa and left Nigeria for Kenya late on Wednesday en-route home
Mrs May is on her first African visit as Prime Minister as she looks to boost Britain’s post-Brexit trade.
In Nigeria, the British Leader visited President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja after which a series of agreements were signed between the two countries
Guard of honour for the visiting PM
Thereafter, Mrs May flew to Lagos to meet with the business community and took part in other activities before departing the country around 8:10 p.m.
Much have been reported about the visit. But what exactly were the benefits of her visit to Nigeria?
First, the UK is to increase its military support to Nigeria to help protect its citizens and British workers in the country from terror attacks.
The Nigerian armed forces will be given specialist equipment and training to counter the use of improvised explosive devices by Islamist insurgents.
On a visit to Abuja, Theresa May said tackling the “menace” from groups like Boko Haram was in the UK’s interest.
She has also agreed a £10.5m package to help victims of modern slavery.
As part of this, the UK will provide counselling to up to 1,700 people who have been subjected to forced labour, domestic servitude and sexual abuse and help them re-integrate into their communities.
A joint initiative with France will also see the UK assist Nigeria and Niger strengthen their border cooperation to prevent trafficking of migrants to Libya and Europe.
Mrs May with governor Akinwunmi Ambode in Lagos
After talks with President Muhammadu Buhari in the nation’s capital Abuja, Mrs May announced the two countries had signed a defence and security partnership which could see the UK train, for the first time, full army units to combat insurgents in the north-east of Nigeria.
The UK, which has trained 30,000 Nigerian troops since 2015, will also help set up an emergency response mechanism, along the lines of the UK’s Cobra crisis system, to deal with terror attacks while also stepping up efforts to tackle the propaganda spread by Islamic State-Daesh and other militant groups.
“We are determined to work side by side with Nigeria to help them fight terrorism, reduce conflict and lay the foundations for the future stability and prosperity that will benefit us all,” Mrs May said.
The PM also announced further co-operation on piracy, organised crime and human trafficking, including a new task force to help Nigeria recover stolen assets held in the UK.
In Lagos where the PM met governor Ambode, The governor said “The important part of this visit was discussion on how investment in Lagos can be improved by British investors.
Part of that is the “export credit finance to the tune of 750 million pounds sterling, as well as considerable development finance” Mrs May said was available, which Lagos State could look towards.
She also spoke about the role that British could play in the development of the technology industry in Lagos given the particular capability of the UK in that area.
The British Prime Minister also noted the special strength of the London City as a financial hub that could be of considerable importance for Lagos State, just as she emphasized sustainability and growth in Britain/Lagos relationship.
Finally, she expressed the desire of the British government to assist Lagos in the development of her creative industry and alluded to the fact that the jacket she was wearing when she met with the Governor was actually made in Nigeria.
Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said Mrs May’s “warm words” rang hollow as her government had cut Border Force staff and police officers, who were “the frontline in the fight against modern slavery”.
Mrs May’s three-day trip to Africa, which began in South Africa on Tuesday, is aimed at deepen economic and trade ties with growing African economies ahead of Britain leaving the EU in 2019.
Mrs May said Brexit would increase opportunities to extend existing commercial links with Nigeria – the UK’s second largest trading partner in Africa – particularly in the area of financial services.
“We offer, as the United Kingdom the important capacity the bring in the access to capital markets through the City of London together with professional service expertise with great private sector companies,” she said.
She has already announced £4bn of extra British support for African economies and said she wanted the UK to overtake the US to become the G7’s biggest investor in Africa by 2022.
Additional report from BBC, NAN