May visit: Nigeria, UK sign deals on defence, security, economic devt

By Editor on 30/08/2018

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday met behind closed doors with the British Prime Minister, Theresa May at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

May who had earlier visited South Africa, is in Nigeria as part of her tour of some African countries.

The meeting started in the President’s office shortly after May arrived at the forecourt of the State House, Abuja.

She was received on arrival by President Muhammadu Buhari and top government officials.

Earlier, President Buhari commended Britain for its support in the area of security, especially in the fight against insurgency in the North East, as well as the improved trade relations between both countries.

He also assured May of his commitment to conducting free, fair and credible elections in 2019 and commended UK’s support at strengthening democratic institutions in the country.

“I assure you that I’m all out for free, fair and credible elections. I’m very pleased that my party is doing very well,” the President was quoted in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

“The High Commissioner will brief you more. The recent successes in polls in Katsina, Bauchi, and Kogi have boosted our morale greatly. Nigeria has accepted multiparty democracy and that is putting politicians on their toes, forcing them to work harder,” the President informed the British PM.

In her response, the British Prime Minister explained that security and defence cooperation was a very important step to address Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa.

She also welcomed the assurance by the Nigerian government on credible elections in 2019.

May said she was pleased to be in Abuja to continue the “excellent discussions” she started with President Buhari in London in April, particularly on security, trade, asset recovery and the fight against corruption.

Both governments later signed bilateral agreements in the areas of defence and security partnership, as well as a comprehensive agreement on economic development.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, disclosed this to reporters at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

According to the minister, the agreements between both countries cover a wide range of aspects.

The agreements followed a meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and British Prime Minister, Theresa May, at the State House in the nation’s capital.

Meanwhile, the UK Government has announced a new £70million programme to create 100,000 jobs in Nigeria says the Minister of State for Africa, Harriett Baldwin.

Baldwin said this during a business event as part of the activities for Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to Nigeria on Wednesday.

Baldwin, who led a business delegation to the event, said that the programme would raise the income of three million people from the poorest parts of Nigeria.

“We are here today to talk about technology links between the UK Fintech sector and the Nigerian Fintech sector and will bring inward investment in terms of this important sector of technology.

“Today, it is all about celebrating those links through technology and I am very excited that the Prime Minister is announcing today a new £70 million programme that will create some 100,000 jobs in Nigeria and will also raise the income of three million people from the poorest parts of Nigeria.”

The minister said that the event was celebrating the role of growing businesses and entrepreneurs and also highlighted the partnerships of both countries in the area of technological development.

She added that the delegation consisted of various UK businesses were willing to invest “the kind of capital that creates jobs”.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Ministers of Finance and Power, Works and Housing, Kemi Adeosun and Babatunde Fashola respectively, attended the event.

Osinbajo said that the Federal Government was keen on driving technology development in the country in support of the government’s economic growth plan.

The vice president said there was the need to create the right environment for technology companies to thrive and further gave an assurance of the government’s commitment to support innovation in the country.

“I think just looking at some of the start-ups that we see today, many of them started while the recession was on and they proved, by just a number of jobs, value and wealth created, that this is the future starting today.

“This is why we have started up first with the creativity and technology advisory group; many of these start-ups are members of this group where they help to formulate policies with Federal Government policy makers especially in Fintech, which are some of the new areas we need to formulate policies.”

The event, held at Ventures Park, an innovation hub and co-working space for entrepreneurs, showcased a number products from start-up entrepreneurs.

The founder of Ventures Park, Mr Kola Aina, said that the government’s `ease of doing business’ policy had been “relatively helpful” to the growth of small and medium-scale business in the country.

“There is also a lot of talk about incentives like the pioneer start-ups programmes that we are looking to see how start-ups can begin to benefit from.

“More than ever before, we are starting to see a lot of support from the government.”

The event simultaneously held a panel discussion highlighting opportunities for doing business among businessmen of both countries.

The panel included Fashola, Adeosun and other key government representatives.

The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Charles Bowman, was also part of the discussions alongside several other UK businessmen.

May’s visit to Nigeria is part of her tour of some African countries.

The Prime Minister is expected in Nairobi today (Thursday), where she will meet President Uhuru Kenyatta and see British soldiers from Kenya and other African countries in the techniques needed to identify and destroy improvised explosive devices before they go to fight Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

The prime minister is on a trade mission in an attempt to bolster Britain’s post-Brexit fortunes. This is her first visit to Africa since she became prime minister in 2016.

She is accompanied by a 30-man business delegation as part of her efforts to “deepen and strengthen” partnerships around the world as the UK prepares to leave the European Union next year.

Posted 30/08/2018 2:53:10 PM


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