Terrorism in Nigeria complex — UK minister

British Minister for Africa, James Duddridge has said the disturbing trend of violence unleashed on Nigerians by the Boko Haram sect and allied groups is a complex phenomenon that requires varied approaches to resolve. Duddridge said this while fielding questions from reporters when he led a delegation to pay a courtesy visit on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama in Abuja yesterday. He said the United Kingdom is a strong ally of Nigeria in the efforts to mitigate the challenges posed by terrorism and insurgency.

He stated: “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.” Duddridge noted that the relationship between the UK and Nigeria is important on the African continent not just because Nigeria is a big and populous country but also because of the role Nigeria plays in the African region.

Speaking earlier, Onyeama decried the complex nature of the challenges the country was facing, especially in the North-East, due to the unconventional nature of the war against terrorism. “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,” he said.

Onyeama, who also noted that intelligence sharing will continue to help, said there is multiplicity of issues to address such as deradicalisation, education, jobs, girl-child education and so many others needed to resolve the challenges of terrorism.

The minister told his British guests that although Nigeria was still struggling with high level of inflation and unemployment, the economy had shown some signs of improvement. ‘’because the government has stuck vigorously to its economic growth plan with discipline and hoping to see more improvements.”

He also expressed delight that the COVID-19 figures were going down in Nigeria, and lauded the support of the United Kingdom in the various challenges facing the country, especially in the North-East and other parts of the country.



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