From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
AMIDST growing insecurity in the country occasioned by banditry, terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, and farmersherders crisis, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has said that the United Kingdom (UK) is partnering with Nigeria in military- to-military training and other areas.
This was even as the British envoy said that relations between both countries remained excellent.
Laing’s remark is coming after the recent media outburst by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, over the United Kingdom’s decision to grant asylum to members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Recall that Mohammed had said the decision by the British Government to grant asylum to IPOB members was disrespectful of Nigeria.
While responding to questions in Abuja during a forum organised by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mohammed said: “Against the back- ground of the fact that IPOB is not only proscribed, but also designated as a terrorist organisation here in Nigeria, the UK’s decision is disrespectful of Nigeria as a nation.
“The decision amounts to sabotaging the fight against terrorism and generally undermining Nigeria’s security. It is not only unconscionable, it is inexplicable.”
But speaking exclusively with Sunday Sun in Abuja on the United Kingdom-Nigeria bilateral ties, Laing said: “I would say it’s very strong and getting stronger and we have a long shared history, shared culture and many Nigerians, as you know, visit the UK regularly, have children educated in the UK. So, that is the kind of people-to-people links.
“On the business side, we have a strong trading and investment partnership and may want to improve on that. And now we have left the European Union, I think we are able to offer more access to our market; we encourage investors to come in and we are here to strengthen and deepen our investments.
“On the security side, we also have a partnership in the military-to-military training and so on.
“So, it is a wide ranging partnership: People-to-people, economy, security and so on.”
Nigeria, formerly a colony under Britain, gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1960. And since independence, Nigeria has maintained relations with the UK in diverse areas.