By Jeffrey Agbo
September 28, 2022 |
Published On The Biafra Post
The Government of the United Kingdom says it does not interfere in the political affairs of Nigeria, a sovereign state which gained independence from it in 1960.
The UK’s position followed a mail sent by a columnist with TheNiche, Peter Omonua, on August 25, 2022, to the UK Government, accusing it of fuelling instability in most populous country for political gain.
Omonua made public his grouse with the UK in an opinion article published on September 24, 2022, in TheNiche with the title “Britain, take your knee off our necks; Nigerians can no longer breathe“.
Catherine Maguire from Whitehall Nigeria Unit of the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office responded on behalf of the government in a letter dated September 27, 2022.
According to the letter, the UK Government acknowledged that Nigeria and the UK share a “long and complex history, including the period of colonial rule that ended in 1960.”
It added, “Nigeria is a troubled partner of the UK, but we do not share the view set out in your correspondence that the UK seeks to interfere with Nigeria’s political affairs. Nigeria is an independent, sovereign nation, and the UK Government respects this. Additionally, the question of who Nigerians elect as their next President is a matter for the people of Nigeria, and the UK Government remains neutral and impartial on this matter.
“We also do not share your view that the UK has engineered instability in Nigeria for political gain. As Africa’s largest economy and democracy, the UK Government wants to see a stable, secure and prosperous Nigeria that delivers jobs and opportunities for all Nigerians. Recent successful bilateral initiatives, including our Security and Defence Partnership and the Economic Development Forum, have affirmed our commitment to supporting Nigeria as it deals with a number of economic and security challenges that stop the country reaching its full potential.
“This work not only responds to the needs of Nigerian people, but it supports UK interests by building the prosperity, security and resilience of an important partner.”
The UK Government, however, said it shares Omonua’s concern about the worsening security challenges across Nigeria, and its impact on Christian communities.
“The UK Government is committed to helping Nigeria as it tackles this insecurity, and as part of our Security and Defence Partnership, we committed more support to help Nigeria tackle its security challenges, including police reform, tackling serious and organized crime, and countering terrorism,” it noted.
“In the North East, we provide stabilisation and humanitarian assistance to support communities affected by terrorism, and in the Middle Belt, we support local and national peace-building initiatives to tackle intercommunal violence.”
The UK added that it “has also provided £425 million in humanitarian aid to North-East Nigeria over the last 5 years, which has reached around 1.5 million vulnerable people.”