The British Minister for International Security Strategy, Dr Andrew Murrison, said this Tuesday when he visited the Minister of State for Defence, Mrs Olusola Obada, in Abuja.
Accompanied by Dr Andrew Pocock, the British High Commissioner, Murrison said the two nations had always been “very close”.
Murrison said, “the UK is concerned and is ready to assist Nigeria to secure its territorial integrity. The things that affect your security also affect our security. We are ready to see Nigeria develop as a commercial power house as you have great responsibility in the region as the regional leader.
“We are going to be a part of that and be of assistance to you as you demonstrate and display your regional leadership in this part of the world.’’
Pocock, on his part, said that the UK also shared Nigeria’s concern for human rights, noting that Britain was keen to making sure that it assisted in that respect.
He expressed confidence that the UK would continue to partner with Nigeria in the defence and security sector.
Obada said Nigeria and the UK had come a very long way and enjoyed cordial relations.
She said Nigeria’s role in West Africa had placed it in a leadership position, “but it is also very important that there must be stability in the country for the sub-region to be properly secured.
“Today, Nigeria is facing some challenges which I also discussed with your counterpart when I visited London in the area of oil theft and I sought his opinion on what the UK can do to ameliorate the situation.
“We are looking for a situation whereby all friendly countries to Nigeria will criminalise this act and we know we can always count on the UK to be there for Nigeria.
“I want to thank you also for proscribing the Boko Haram group which is a terrorist organisation that we have been battling with for quite some time now.’’
The minister said a lot of progress had been made in curbing the insurgency after the declaration of state of emergency in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa.
Obada said normalcy was gradually returning to the states, adding that the operations in the states had been carried out with rules of engagement not forgetting to respect human rights and dignity.
According to her, things will be okay in those states in the next couple of months as many members of the insurgent group have fled from those states.