James Duddridge, United Kingdom’s minister for Africa, says the security and stability of Nigeria matter to his country.


Speaking on Friday after a series of meetings with government officials, agencies, business leaders and civil society groups, Duddridge said the UK-Nigeria relationship matters to both countries, especially in strengthening trade and investment cooperation.


Accompanied by Helen Grant, UK prime minister’s special envoy for girls’ education and trade envoy to Nigeria, Duddridge’s visit to the country featured high-level discussions with Ibrahim Gambari, chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari; Senate President Ahmed Lawan; Geoffrey Onyeama, foreign minister; Jean-Claude Brou, president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) commission, as well as governors of Kaduna, Jigawa, Lagos and Edo states.


Duddridge also visited Apapa seaport, where he took a tour of a terminal and met with officials of agencies to discuss law enforcement and trade facilitation between the UK and Nigeria.


During the four-day visit, the UK minister covered a wide range of issues, including human rights, girls’ education, and electoral reform.


There were also discussions on how the UK can work in partnership with Nigeria to address insecurity and support economic development as the world builds back better from COVID-19.


“The UK-Nigeria relationship matters to both countries. Over four days, we have covered a wide range of issues, including how best to strengthen trade and investment cooperation, how to get and keep more girls in school, and how to work more closely together on global challenges such as COVID-19 and on climate change ahead of COP26,” Duddridge said.


 “I also heard from Nigerian civil society the importance of delivering electoral reform and addressing human rights concerns.


“Nigerian stability and security matters to the UK. We want to work with Nigeria to improve both, and encourage all in the country to work together to promote peace and unity.”


On her part, Grant noted that the meetings afforded her the opportunity to enhance macro-economic reform and promote new trade and investment opportunities for the UK through support to British businesses that want to invest in Nigeria.