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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Boko Haram: UK pledges more assistance to Nigeria



The United Kingdom has offered to further assist Nigeria in its fight against to end activities of terrorist sect, Boko Haram by December.
This is even as President Muhammadu Buhari has said that significant improvements in national security remains the topmost priority of his administration because other socio-economic initiatives cannot be successfully implemented without adequate security in the country.

The British Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Nicholas Houghton, disclosed this to State House correspondents shortly after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Houghton said he was sent by his government because the United Kingdom shares an interesting security situation with Nigeria.
He said he was in the country to see how the UK could give the necessary support to the government and the President to ensure that the country optimises whatever support it could give Nigeria.
He said, “My concern is in the security situation, in particular the war being waged by Boko Haram.
“I think that Nigerian armed forces have made some remarkable progress in the last few months in pushing Boko Haram back.
“But as it comes to the end of the rainy season, I know the President has got a very strong ambitions to what he can achieve by Christmas, it shows because the UK has a strong support for your troops training just to make sure we optimise our support and that is the best way we can.”

Asked why the support was coming now, the British Chief of Defence Staff said it has now been recognised more than ever before that many of the security threats that are posed are not just localised ones but they are regionalised and global ones.

“I think most of the conversations on security in the recent UN General Assembly was about the threat posed by extremism and terrorism.
“We share within the UK and Europe concerns about the destabilising effect of ISIL in Iraq, Syria in North Africa and also the threat the Boko Haram poses here.
“Therefore, in many respects, the security in places such as Nigeria, the security concerns are shared by many in the global community, which is why we do need to intensify the nature and type of support we offer.”
The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina in a statement, said Buhari reaffirmed his administration’s determination to end the Boko Haram insurgency as quickly as possible, during an audience with Houghton.
“For a country to be efficiently administered, it must first be well secured because other social and economic initiatives cannot thrive in an atmosphere of insecurity.
“An environment has to be secured before it can be rehabilitated. Nigeria currently has about 1.5 million internally displaced persons and they need to be returned to their homes and brought out of trauma.
“Their schools, hospitals, churches, mosques, farms and livelihoods have been destroyed by insurgents. If they are not catered for, the country may lose their loyalty.
“When Boko Haram is pushed out and the environment secured, normal life will be restored. That is what we are determined to do. Other things like farming, economic activities and social life will then return. Nigerians are quite enterprising,” President Buhari told the British Defence Chief.
The President said that Nigeria appreciated Britain’s support for the retraining of its Armed Forces and asked for more assistance in other areas such as logistics, equipment and intelligence.
He also called for more international support for regional efforts to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea through which crude oil stolen from Nigeria is shipped.
In his remarks, General Houghton said that the Buhari Presidency was a huge opportunity for Nigeria to make progress.

[JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, Abuja - Sun]

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