Abuja – UK’s Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, will deliver a message from Queen Elizabeth II during Nigeria’s centenary celebrations this week, the country’s Foreign Government Office said on Monday.
A statement issued in Abuja said Simmonds arrived in Nigeria on Monday to join President Goodluck Jonathan and other dignitaries to celebrate 100 years of Nigeria as a nation.
“He is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech in which he will address the potentials for Africa and Nigeria’s future,’’ it said.
The minister’s four-day programme in Nigeria includes a visit to Lagos and Port Harcourt to discuss opportunities and challenges in the Niger Delta.
“I am excited to be making my second visit to Nigeria and I am looking forward to representing the British Government at the 100 years celebrations.
“I bring with me the best wishes of the British people, including a message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth,” Simmonds said in the statement.
The British colonial authorities had on Jan. 1, 1914 amalgamated what were then the separate protectorates of Southern Nigeria and Northern Nigeria.
The amalgamation gave birth to the single geo-political entity known as Nigeria.
According to a programme released by the Federal Government, no fewer than 28 world leaders have indicated their interest to attend the celebrations in Abuja.
President Jonathan will host an international conference on peace and security in Africa on Thursday, which will be attended by many of the world leaders.
The week-long celebrations will also feature the conferment of honours on 100 Nigerians, with about 40 per cent of the awards to be presented posthumously.(NAN)