By Temitope Ponle
Abuja, August 27, 2018
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amb. Paul Arkwright, on Monday said that Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to Africa, this week, would focus on renewed economic partnerships between UK and Africa and security issues.
He also revealed what the visiting Prime Minister will tell the Nigerian President about the position of the United Kingdom concerning the impending general elections of 2019.
Amb. Arkwright, at a news briefing in Abuja, said that May’s visit was to explore investment opportunities and seek ways to tackle common security threats.
Arkwright, who said May would meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, added that she would be the first British Prime Minister to visit Sub-Saharan Africa since 2013 and Nigeria since 2011.
“We feel that we are a country looking at opportunities for the UK, looking at strengthening our partnerships with both traditional allies such as Nigeria.
“She will be meeting President Buhari here on Wednesday and security will, no doubt, be part of that conversation as well as prosperity and economic opportunities.
“I am also sure that the 2019 general elections will come up.
“I am sure that the Prime Minister will set out the British position which is very clear and that is we are supporting a free, fair credible and peaceful process.”
The envoy added that defence cooperation would also be one of the issues to be discussed by both leaders.
He confirmed that May would be travelling with a delegation comprising the ministers for trade and for Africa and about 30 businesspeople.
“That is because we are interested in trade with Africa, Nigeria but investment as well.
“UK is the second largest investor in Africa, we want to become the top investor in Africa; British companies are coming with the prime minister to look at opportunities for investment and to create jobs.”
He further said that while in Nigeria, the Prime Minister would visit the Salvation Army in Lagos to address issues of human trafficking and also meet with victims involved.
He said that the aim was to explore ways that the UK could encourage people “staying in Nigeria and wipe out the scourge of trafficking.”
The envoy, however, said that May would first visit South Africa before visiting Nigeria and head to Kenya.
“May will arrive in Cape Town on Tuesday for a bilateral meeting with the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa,” he said.
He said May would also meet with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi, making it the first visit to Kenya by a British prime minister in 30 years.