Catriona Laing, British high commissioner to Nigeria, has expressed worry over the deteriorating security situation in the country.
Speaking with journalists on the sidelines of a reception held to welcome home the 2019/2020 UK Chevening scholarship beneficiaries, Laing said the UK government is keen on helping Nigeria win its fight against insecurity.
She said the UK had been helping the Nigerian military in the areas of training, campaign planning, and how to counter IEDs.“We are extremely concerned about the deteriorating security situation,” Laing said
“I mean, Nigeria is facing a lot of problems everywhere – in the northeast, terrorism; in the northwest, banditry, kidnapping; in the middle belt, the farmers-herders conflict; in the south, the Niger Delta conflict everywhere.
“And the secession movements in the south-east. So, Nigeria is really struggling.“Well, we are here to support and help. We have the military team here, who came here after the Chibok girls were kidnapped actually. We are still here, training the Nigerian military, helping them to do campaign planning, how to counter IEDs.”
She said the recent visit of the UK minister of armed forces also showed the commitment of the UK government.“So, we are here for a long time. This is a Nigerian partnership. Your insecurity becomes our insecurity if we don’t help you tackle it. So, we are here and we are trying to do our best to support you,” she said.
Commending the Chevening programme, Lang said it was an initiative by the UK government aimed at preparing future leaders who would not only excel in academic qualifications but also give back to their respective countries.
She said Nigeria already had 1,300 Chevening alumni “currently occupying important positions in power” and thereby providing the UK with both “access and influence”.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairman of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), asked the Chevening scholarship beneficiaries to impart the knowledge and skills gained for Nigeria’s development.
“Your return to Nigeria should make a meaningful impact, as you are expected to contribute your own quota to Nigeria’s development and polity,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
Dabiri-Erewa, who was represented by Sule Bassi, secretary of the commission, appreciated the UK government for the scholarship opportunity which many Nigerians had benefitted from.