From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The United Kingdom (UK) Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, yesterday, said the overall situation in the country was massively complex.
Duddridge also said no partnership was going to resolve the multiplicity of problems in Nigeria, whether it was Boko Haram, Daesh or a number of other issues.
Duddridge, who met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja, added that the disturbing trend of violence unleashed on Nigerians by the insurgents, Boko Haram and allied groups, was a complex phenomenon that required varied approaches to resolve.
Duddridge however said the United Kingdom was a strong friend of Nigeria in her quest to alleviate the challenges posed by terrorism and insurgency in the country.
Duddridge said: “The situation is massively complex and no partnership is going to resolve the multiplicity of problems, whether it is Boko Haram or Daesh or a number of other issues. In the UK, you have a strong partner across the full gamut of issues.
“So, it is not just about intelligence and hard security and military, it is about societies, it is about humanitarian support, it is about education and development partnership.
“It is not an end game, we don’t get to a point where we would say this is the end of our relationship with Nigeria, because we got what we want, we set a higher bar, we are long-term partners.”
In his earlier remarks, Duddridge said the friendship between the British Government and Nigeria was massively important on the African continent.
He stated that it was not just because Nigeria was a big and populous country in Africa, but because of the role that Nigeria played in the African region.
Duddridge added that the United Kingdom and Nigeria would work together to deepen post-COVID-19 relations and equally work together to tackle climate change, as well as realise the objectives of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA).
On his part, Onyeama bemoaned the complex nature of the challenges bedevilling the country, particularly in the Northeast as a result of the unconventional situation of the war against terrorism.
Onyeama said: “It is not a conventional war where the enemy is readily identifiable, it is asymmetrical warfare and we are dealing with very difficult situations.
“We have an intelligence fusion unit with our partners, the US, UK, France.’’
The Foreign Affairs Minister added that intelligence sharing will continue to assist in the fight against terrorism in the country.
While further saying that there were multiplicity of issues to be addressed in the country such as de-radicalization, education, jobs, girl-child education and so many others, Onyeama added that addressing the issues would definitively address the challenges of terrorism in the country.
On the economic situation in the country, Onyeama said although Nigeria was still struggling with high levels of inflation and high level of unemployment, the nation’s economy was showing some signs of improvement.
He added that the improvement was as a result of government’s insistence on maintaining vigorously its economic growth plan with discipline and was expecting to see more improvements.