UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson and International Development Secretary Priti Patel, have announced the donation of 200 million pounds to indigenes of the North-East region of Nigeria.
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, made the announcement in a statement when the secretaries visited Borno on Wednesday to see how UK can lead international response on the humanitarian crisis in the North-East.
Johnson said that the visit was aimed at assisting indigenes of the North East to avert famine and build stability and security after the destruction caused by Boko Haram in the region.
He said that the UK’s response in the region would include both security and humanitarian efforts on the secretaries’ first joint visit to Nigeria.
He said that both secretaries saw first-hand how British military had been providing training to Nigerian soldiers fighting Boko Haram on the frontline.
“The British military has to date, trained 28,000 Nigerian troops, equipping them with skills to turn the tide against Boko Haram, while our humanitarian aid is alleviating widespread suffering.’’
The 200 million pounds support is an allocation of Department for International Development (DFID)’s budget for four years from 2018 to 2022.
The International Development Secretary Priti Patel had announced that the programme was built on the UK’s existing 100 million pounds of humanitarian support for 2017.
“Boko Haram has generated suffering, instability and poverty on a huge scale with profound knock on effects far from Nigeria’s borders. I am proud of Britain’s commitment to supporting the Nigerian people in tackling terror.
In Maiduguri, I met casualties of Boko Haram violence, including bomb and gunshot victims and saw for myself the displacement of people that brutality and poverty have created.
Our military, diplomatic and development assistance is making a big difference. This is about helping a Commonwealth partner in its time of need as well as addressing the root causes of international challenges such as migration,’’ Patel said.
Patel also stressed the fact that the donation and the dedication of the UK government would serve as a lifeline to over 1.5 million people in the region.
According to the statement, UK’s increased support is expected to extend the DFID humanitarian programme in Nigeria over five years -2017 to 2022, to deliver:
The programme comprise lifesaving food for more than 1.5 million people on the brink of famine will include treatment for up to 120,000 children at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition.
It will include ongoing support to help keep 100,000 girls and boys in school to get a decent education, providing a brighter future for the next generation.
Also, safe humanitarian access to transport brave aid workers and deliver aid to the hardest to reach areas, for example using helicopters where roads are blocked or dangerous to use.
Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Johnson said United Kingdom is ready to assist Nigeria in humanitarian development and military fronts.
“This is an incredible place. It is the power house of the African economy. We are here with Nigeria every step of the way,” he stated.
The envoy said the delegation had fruitful meeting with Osinbajo and looked forward to better relationship with Nigeria
“We had a very good meeting with the Vice President and I want to stress that the reason we had two cabinet ministers in Nigeria today is that we attach immense importance to this relationship. Today we discussed it with the Vice President and his ministers. We discussed some of the contributions the UK can make on the military front, on the humanitarian side and the development aid side,” he added.
Also speaking Priti Patel, the Secretary of State for International Development, said the she was satisfied with the outcome of the meetings the delegation held with the Vice President and other Nigerian officials s in the past two days.
She said the United Kingdom always viewed Nigeria as a partner.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder with the government and the strength of the UK relationship with Nigeria on all aspects including the diversification and development going on in the country.’’
Patel said the meeting with the ministers focused on the future and the strengthening of the relationship between the two countries.
She added that the interaction was to put forward the incentives to help create the right environment for investments, especially British investment in Nigeria.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the meeting covered the three priority areas of the government: security, fight against corruption and the economy.
“They have been here, and Maiduguri. The UK is partnering us in facing our security challenges and global threats by terrorists. And of course, UK is engaged with us in the anti-corruption crusade that we embarked upon and very importantly also with regard to the economy,’’ Onyeama said.
He added that the UK Secretary of State for International Development has been looking into the areas that both countries could increase the partnership in the economic field.
Also Udoma Udo Udoma, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, said the administration was happy to receive the UK top officials.
“We are very happy to receive the two ministers, we are very happy to know their commitment to continue to work with Nigeria. In particular we are very happy to note that some of their businesses and investors might be interested in investing in Nigeria. So, we would welcome investments, we have tried to make things easy for investors, so we are looking forward to that,’’ Udoma added.
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