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Prince Harry, wife arrive in Nigeria, pledge to promote Invictus Games

''When you talk about lifting the spirits of wounded servicemen and women, that is what we are here to do...

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Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, have arrived in Nigeria for a three-day official tour.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Friday morning after a slight delay.

The visit by the Royals is primarily to promote the Invictus Games and comes after Harry met the Nigerian team and Chief of Defence Staff General Musa at last year’s competition in Dusseldorf, Germany, who then extended an invitation to the couple.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex began their trip with a visit to the Light Academy in Wuse, Abuja, an NGO supported by the Archewell Foundation, to promote mental health awareness.

After that, they proceeded to the Nigerian Defence HQ in Abuja to promote the Prince’s Invictus Games, before heading to the Nigerian Reference Army Hospital in Kaduna to draw attention to the important work of the Invictus Games and the need to support wounded soldiers and veterans.

The Kaduna State Governor, Uba Sani, warmly welcomed Prince Harry while he was in Kaduna, along with the Director of Sports, Defence Headquarters, Air Vice Marshal, Abidemi Marquis, and Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Tukur Gusau, among other top military brass.

In his remarks, the Duke said: ”When you talk about lifting the spirits of wounded servicemen and women, that is what we are here to do, and we will build all that morale and show that anyone caught in the line of fire, that their life despite injury is not over, that they and their families can continue on, and that sports will be a very useful way of rehabilitation.

According to Abidemi Marquis, this engagement with Invictus provides us with the opportunity to recover our soldiers.

Watch Highlights of the first day of the tour

Prince Harry served in Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter co-pilot gunner, after which he founded the Invictus Games in 2014 to offer wounded veterans and service members the challenge of competing in sports events similar to the Paralympics.

Nigeria was among the nations that participated in last year’s edition of the games, and we realised that 80% of our soldiers have been involved in this recovery programme, and they are getting better.

“Their outlook on life is positive,” Air Vice Marshal Abidemi Marquis, the Director of Sports at Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters, told journalists.

On the second day of the tour, a training session for Nigeria: Unconquered (a Nigerian nonprofit that works closely with the Invictus Games Foundation) and a reception will be hosted in honour of the royal couple by the Chief of Defence Staff in honour of military families, after which there will also be an exhibition sitting volleyball match where the CDS will lead one team and Prince Harry will lead another.

In the afternoon, the Duchess of Sussex will co-host an event with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organization, about women in leadership.

On their final day on Sunday, Prince Harry and Meghan will attend a basketball clinic with the Giants of Africa, and they will also attend a polo fundraiser for Nigeria: Unconquered and a cultural reception.

The Invictus Games were founded as a sporting event for injured and sick military personnel and veterans.

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