Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Britain to help Nigeria fight Boko Haram

Britain has pledged to help Nigeria fight terrorism after Nigeria solicited her support in addressing the security challenges facing it.

Dr Bello Mohammed, the Minister of Defence, made the request in Abuja yesterday when he received the British High Commissioner, Mr Andrew Lloyd, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office.

He said the support could be in the areas of intelligence sharing and supply of surveillance equipment necessary for curbing the menace of terrorism.

"I will also like to urge you to appeal to your government to strengthen our cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

"We have some security problems in Nigeria as you are aware and we believe that the Americans, the British as well as the EU are putting a lot of attention in the bid to curb terrorism in all parts of the world.

"If our security agencies work together with your agencies in the exchange of information, may be in the deployment of equipment for detection, it will help not only in ensuring security in Nigerian but world security", he said.

The minister also appealed to the British government to assist Nigeria in resuscitating its defence industries to enable it meets some of its military needs.

"Our defence industries have been moribund for a long time; part of our reform programme is to reactivate them, so that our defence needs that can be produced locally instead of importing them", he said.

Mohammed also appealed to the British government to support Nigeria's quest for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

Responding, Mr Andrew Lyold said his visit to the Ministry was prompted by his country's desire to strengthen military relations with Nigeria.

Lloyd said among other areas of interest, Britain would remain a strategic partner of Nigeria in the area of defence.

He said Britain recognised Nigeria's importance in the quest for global peace, and pledged his country's support for its bid for permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

Lloyd said Nigeria's role in the Security Council had been a benefiting one for global peace, adding that this had been evident in its role in restoring peace in war torn Liberia, Sierra Leone and other African countries.

He advised Nigeria to protect its nascent democracy against security challenges, saying that no modern democracy in the world was immune to such challenges.

The High Commissioner promised that Britain would partner with Nigeria to sustain its democracy and curb emerging security challenges.

Lloyd, who was on a working visit to the Ministry, was accompanied on the visit by some British military officials.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has reaffirmed its support for Libya's Transitional Council, in spite of being absent at a United Nations (UN) General Assembly that allowed the former rebels to represent the people of Libya at the world body.

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the attention of the Minister, Amb. Olugbenga Ashiru had been drawn to the "inadvertent absence of Nigeria" at last Friday's UN voting session.

"Government welcomes the decision of the General Assembly to accept the credentials of the Transitional National Council of Libya (TNC) to the UN as the legitimate authority now in Libya" Mr. Damian Agwu, spokesman for the ministry said in the statement.

The overwhelming support given to the TNC by members of the General Assembly, the highest legislative body, vindicates the wisdom of the decision taken by Nigeria earlier on this delicate matter," the statement added.

It said: "Appropriate diplomatic steps" had been taken to register Nigeria's voting preference supporting the NTC to speak for Libya at the debate of the UN General Assembly taking place in New York.

"This will form part of the UN record on the subject," the statement added.

The former rebels recently forced Dictator Muammar Gaddafi to abandon his headquarters in Tripoli, following five months of violent conflict sparked by Gaddafi's brutal crackdown on his citizens.

The NTC declared itself the legitimate representative of the Libyan people on March 5 and mandated Mahmoud Jibril, its leader, on March 23, to form an interim government.

Daily Champion

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