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    UK expresses concern over insecurity in Nigeria

    Britain has expressed worries about the deteriorating security situation in the country and pledged to help tackle insecurity.

    The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said London was keen on helping Nigeria win its fight against insecurity.

    Speaking at a reception to welcome home the 2019/2020 UK Chevening Scholarship beneficiaries in Abuja on Wednesday, the high commissioner said, “We are extremely concerned about the deteriorating security situation.

    “I mean Nigeria is facing a lot of problems everywhere – in the North-East, terrorism; in the North-West, 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.”

    Laing said the UK government had been helping the military with training, campaign planning and how to counter improvised explosive devices.

    “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,” the diplomat said.

    She added that the recent visit of the UK’s Minister of Armed Forces, James Heappey, during which he interacted with the government at the highest level, including the service chiefs, also showed the commitment of the UK government to assisting Nigeria in combating insecurity.

    Laing, however, urged the federal government to be specific about the support it needed from the UK and what the UK can offer.

    “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.

    Chairperson of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, urged the Chevening scholarship beneficiaries to use the knowledge and skills gained for Nigeria’s development.

    Also, Heappey, during his meeting with Nigerian service chiefs, expressed the UK’s readiness to assist Nigeria in tackling the growing insecurity, especially terrorism.

    A statement by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of UK said Heappey, who visited Nigeria on Monday, met with Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (retd); Chief of the Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo; Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor; and the Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.

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