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Insecurity: Nigeria struggling, needs help — UK ENVOY

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British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing

…Says UK govt ready to help because your insecurity is our insecurity, Afenifere

…Ohanaeze, NEF, MBF, others back UK

By Clifford Ndujihe, Dapo Akinrefon, Anayo Okoli, Victoria Ojeme, Peter Duru & Luminous Jannamike

BRITISH High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has expressed concern over the worsening security situation in the country, pledging that the United Kingdom government was keen on helping the federal government win its fight against insecurity.

Laing, who spoke on the sidelines of the reception for returning 2019/2020 UK Chevening Scholarship beneficiaries, yesterday, said:  “We are extremely concerned about the deteriorating security situation. I mean, Nigeria is facing a lot of problems everywhere – in the North-East, terrorism; in the North-West, banditry, kidnapping; in the Middle Belt, farmers-herders conflict; in the South, the Niger Delta conflict; and the secession movements in the South-East. So, Nigeria is really struggling.”

The British envoy’s comment and promise of help from UK government elicited plaudits from leaders of ethnic nationalities across the country.

Among those who welcomed the UK’s offer of assistance to tackle the raging storm of insecurity were Pan-Yoruba Socio-Political group, Afenifere; Apex Igbo Socio-Cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo; the Northern Elders Forum, NEF; and the Middle-Belt Forum, MBF.

We’ll continue assisting Nigeria – Laing

Laing said the UK government had been helping the Nigerian military in the areas of training, campaign planning, and how to counter IEDs, adding:  “We are here to support and help. We have the military team here, who came here after the Chibok girls were kidnapped. We are still here, training the Nigerian military, helping them to do campaign planning, how to counter IEDs.’’

She noted that the recent visit of the UK Minister of Armed Forces, during which he interacted with the Nigerian government at the highest level, including the service chiefs, also showed the commitment of the UK government.

While urging the Nigerian government to be a bit more precise about the support needed from the UK and what the UK could offer, Laing said:  “So, we are here for the long term. This is a Nigerian partnership. ‘Your insecurity becomes our insecurity if we don’t help you tackle it. So, we are here and we are trying to do our best to support you.’’

On the Chevening Programme, Lang said it was an initiative by the UK government to prepare future leaders, who would not only excel in academic qualifications but also ready to return to their respective countries to give back. She disclosed that Nigeria already had 1,300 Chevening alumni, currently occupying important positions in power, thereby providing the UK both access and influence.

There’s no harm in getting help — Ayo Adebanjo

While welcoming the proposal from the UK government, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Afenifere, said there is no harm in getting help from anywhere. “They should come and help us, it has shown that the government is incompetent. We should get help from anywhere we can get it. There is no harm in getting help from anywhere because it has shown that the Federal Government cannot cope. They should get help from anywhere to stop the insecurity,” he said

Laing absolutely correct, we’re gradually heading towards anarchy – MBF

On its part, the Middle Belt Forum said the position of the British High Commissioner on the worsening insecurity in the country is absolutely correct and incontrovertible.

National President of the Forum, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, who spoke, yesterday, in Makurdi cautioned that Nigeria was heading towards anarchy if something was not done urgently to stem the tide.

His words:  “I do not just agree with the position of the High Commissioner on the level of insecurity in the country, I must say that what he said is absolutely correct and incontrovertible.

“Insecurity in this country is worsening and lately they are now daring even the most secured part of this country which is the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

“Within the last few days there have been abductions, kidnappings and killings within and around Abuja which is the seat of power and the most secured part of the country”

It’s a welcome devt – Ohanaeze

Speaking in like manner, The Ambassador George Obiozor -led Ohanaeze, said the security situation in Nigeria requires urgent help from all quarters to be tackled.

National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Hon Alex Ogbonnia told Vanguard on phone: ‘’If the UK wants to help us, it is okay and a welcome development. The security situation in Nigeria requires help and foreign intervention. Without foreign intervention we may be overwhelmed by insecurity the way we are going.’’

READ ALSO: Insecurity: Killings, destructions in North going out of hand, elders cry out

Also, the Chidi Ibeh led Ohanaeze commended the position of the British Government “as the true reflection of leadership failures in Nigeria towards solving the crisis escalating across the length and breadth of the country”.

According to him, the UK’s appraisal of the security situation in Nigeria is the affirmative evidence that Nigeria is at the brink of collapse, and Ohanaeze Ndigbo urge Foreign superpowers to either prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari’s Government to arrest the Nigeria’s deteriorating security situation through summoning National dialogue among all ethnic groups and create more economic developmental policies for the youths.

UK, others should be worried about Nigeria’s insecurity – NEF

In its reaction, the NEF said the United Kingdom and other advanced countries should be worried about the spate of Nigeria’s insecurity and bring their influence to bear to improve the situation. NEF’s spokesman, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said this in a chat with Vanguard in Abuja.

He said: “The world should be worried over the state of security in Nigeria and its neighbours. Nations with major strategic and other interests in stability and security of Nigeria such as the UK should improve their influence on the manner Nigerian leadership manages security challenges.

“The effectiveness of any assistance is contingent on a disposition which acknowledges the limitations of current strategies and the will to fight multiple sources and types of insecurity. Ultimately, this fight against insecurity will be won or lost only by Nigerians, but the whole world has a stake in our responses. The UK has a lot of goodwill to deploy. It should do this carefully and firmly.”

Put pressure on Nigeria to be sincere in fight against insecurity — PANDEF tells Britain

In his reaction, National Publicity Secretary of Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Ken Robinson, said:   “We completely agree with the position of the British High Commissioner on the fact that is noting urgent and decisive is done that the country will soon slide into the state of total anarchy and that is not good for Nigeria and the international community.

‘PANDEF has called on the international community and the British to put pressure on the Nigeria government to do the right thing. If any issue arises and people are displaced in Nigeria, with over 200 million people, the world will be affected. The British envoy is speaking from observation and not insinuation because she is here with us in the country.

“Today it is either banditry in the North West, insurgency in the North West, or herdsmen killings in the South and now we are having situations where people are now attacking security formations in the country, especially the police and PANDEF has condemned all of these.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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