• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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We want early return of peace in Niger Republic – UK Foreign Secretary

We want early return of peace in Niger Republic – UK Foreign Secretary

James Cleverly, the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom (UK), says the UK is eager to see an early return of peace in the troubled Niger Republic.

Cleverly, speaking with State House journalists after meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday, said “I made the point that the UK very much welcomes ECOWAS’ and his indeed decisive action, his strong commitment to democracy and the unambiguous message, that violence is not the means to bring political change in any circumstance, and that the commitment to democracy in Nigeria and in the region is unwavering.

“This very much support the UK’s position. We wish to see peace and democracy restored in Niger.

He also assured that the UK government will continue to liaise with its allies in the region and membership of ECOWAS, including Nigeria, “as we seek to bring about stability, peace and democracy to Niger”

The UK foreign secretary had met with President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to discuss security and economic issues. He also used the opportunity to invite Nigeria to the forthcoming UK Africa Investment Summit taking place next year.

“I very much look forward to seeing a delegation from Nigeria at next year’s UK Africa Investment Summit. But I am very keen to see the creative industries, which are so vibrant here in Nigeria, play an important part not just at that event but in British society.

Read also: Niger Republic Coup: ECOWAS defence chiefs meet In Nigeria

“More generally, I made the point yesterday that Afrobeat has become one of Nigeria’s dominant cultural exports, and I have the opportunity to see a recording studio where some of Nigeria’s most successful artists have made their careers”

“We discussed the Africa Investment Summit that the UK will be hosting in London early next year.

“We are committed to working even more closely still on important issues of defence and security, of trade and investment. And we are committed to ensuring the UK and Nigeria meet regularly and formally at the ministerial level and senior official level to ensure that the good strong foundation stone upon which the bilateral relationship is built is enhanced even further.

“I observed that the level of innovation that I witnessed yesterday provides, I think, Nigeria a very strong platform for increasing its importance, both across the continent of Africa and globally. And I felt that it was in the UK’s interests to continue our strong partnership with Nigeria.

“The president made it clear that he saw the UK as a partner country for the future, and I’m very proud to ensure that we turn his desire for a strong bilateral relationship into action.”

Nigeria and the United Kingdom had over the years enjoyed long relationships dating back to several decades, with strong socioeconomic and political ties.

BusinessDay checks show that Cleverly who was in Lagos on Tuesday, had discussed mutually beneficial bilateral issues, including insecurity currently ravaging the West Africa subregion, with the Nigerian government

Both countries also discussed the ongoing efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to address the democratic breaches and restore order in Nigeria’s next-door neighbour, Niger Republic.

James Cleverly during his engagements in Lagos on Tuesday, assured that the UK will continue to focus on building future investment links and collaborate with Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), through its Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), to ensure Nigeria’s economic potential is unlocked.

He noted that the NGX through its activities has a gravitational and attractive force to attract investment noting that investment fuels the economic activity, generates profit and unlocks the economic potential and feeds through jobs and prosperity for ordinary people here in Nigeria and outside Nigeria.