Journalism of Courage

Nigeria must be recognized as an important partner in Africa, say UK MPs

"In a new era of global politics, the UK must look across the world for partnerships – in today’s report, we urge the FCDO to recognise Nigeria for the global partner it could be.”

By Femi Soneye

The UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee has described Nigeria as the “forefront of change” in Africa in its new report, Lagos calling: Nigeria and the Integrated Review.

In a document sighted by Persecondnews.com, the MPs laid out the government’s plans for a ‘Global Britain’.

Nigeria has been identified as one of the countries it could work with in partnership, alongside Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia and Ghana.

Nigeria which was under British rule until 1960, has a sizeable diaspora and significant history link with Britain.

The Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat MP, said: “Nigeria is at the forefront of change in Africa. Its thriving film and music scene, tech innovation and multiple opportunities for investment, there is much to admire and value.

“The enthusiasm of the diaspora here in the UK is infectious and remains untapped.”

“Today, we call on the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) to sharpen its focus and recognise the importance of Nigeria to the UK, not just in the region but as a global partner to build a safe and prosperous future.

“By bringing together the instruments of diplomacy, trade and aid, there is much to benefit all of us.

“In a new era of global politics, the UK must look across the world for partnerships – in today’s report, we urge the FCDO to recognise Nigeria for the global partner it could be.”

The committee found that Nigeria’s projected growth, increasing economic capabilities and cultural weight made it a natural partner for the UK in years to come, particularly in the fields of science and technology.

The report said the government should outline “realistic and measurable objectives for the UK’s engagement with Nigeria over the next five to 10 years”.

The report noted that the country continued to suffer from internal security challenges, and recommended “continued and highly focused” support to the Nigerian military as it tackled extremist groups.

MPs called on the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to approach citizens, NGOs, companies, and governments of the UK and Nigeria to help build relationships in these key sectors.

The report also encouraged skills building in IT, legal systems and the Nigerian Civil Service.

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