Abuja – The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright, announced in Abuja on Sunday that Prince Charles would engage in peace-building activities, including addressing the persistent attacks of herdsmen on farming communities in Nigeria.
The Prince of Wales and his wife, Princess Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall are expected in Nigeria from Nov. 6 to Nov. 8 in a high profile visit during which the royals would also have audience with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) ahead of the visit, Arkwright said that one of the events on the agenda was for Prince Charles to discuss practical solutions to alleviating the tensions, arising from the activities of herdsmen.
Herdsmen have launched a deadly onslaught on farming communities in Nigeria in recent years, raising concerns over the future of agriculture in a nation, having majority of its populace engaged in subsistence agriculture.
“People do want to come together and if we can provide that kind of environment then hopefully, we can come up with some ideas and solutions to resolving some of these conflicts.
“Some of the issues like the farmers/herders crisis are deep-rooted and are about the economy, land resource, climate change and cultural issues.
“The Prince of Wales will be looking at the causes, talking to people who are working in this area and together, seeing if we can find solutions and move on.”
Arkwright said that addressing the root causes of conflicts would lead to a peaceful and more prosperous Nigeria and also become beneficial to the relations between Nigeria and Britain.
He noted that the visit was also aimed at strengthening the existing ties between Nigeria and Britain as members of the Commonwealth.
Prince Charles, who took over as the Head of the 53-member Commonwealth of Nations last April, succeeding his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, has already visited 44 African nations.
“Prince Charles has not been here since the past 12 years. 2006 was the last time he was here and the Duchess of Cornwall, has never been to Nigeria. So it is about strengthening ties, particularly people-to-people ties.
“We want to ensure that through the Commonwealth, which is another theme of the prince’s visit, we develop links to develop relationships whether in trade, environment or in education, all of which are important to the future of the Commonwealth and to the future of Nigeria.”
The top diplomat said that other events lined up on the agenda of the visit would focus on culture, music, fashion, among others.
“Prince Charles will be talking about rural livelihoods, agriculture, the environment, some of the passions that he has which is so relevant to Nigeria today and to young people and the importance of getting young people into jobs.
“One of his passions as well is how do we build the skills of young people so that they will be equipped for the world.
“There is a whole range of interests that he has and I think Nigeria is a wonderful place to come to because it brings together all of these interests.”
The duchess is also to engage in literary activities with children and some Nigerian authors, while the prince would meet with traditional rulers and hold peace-building meeting with Nigerian youth ambassadors. (NAN)