The UK’s Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey MP, arrived in Nigeria this week to meet top defence leaders and military chiefs to deepen defence cooperation between both countries and discuss the situation in Niger.
During his visit, Minister Heappey met senior leaders on Wednesday within the Nigerian Ministry of Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Army Staff.
He also met with the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, where he reiterated the UK’s support for ECOWAS’ ongoing diplomatic efforts to ensure a peaceful return to democracy in Niger.
Defence Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey MP, said: “I’m delighted to return to Nigeria for the third time in three years.
“The UK and Nigerian armed forces have a longstanding partnership through which we continue to tackle violent extremism and other security threats in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea.
“The UK supports ECOWAS in calling for the peaceful restoration of constitutional order and democracy in Niger, and we’ll work with both ECOWAS and our partners across West Africa to support them in that aim.”
The UK and Nigeria enjoy a deep and long-standing security and defence relationship, underpinned by a shared desire to support regional and international peace and security.
UK support to the Nigerian Armed Forces is a focus of the relationship, helping to build Nigerian capabilities to tackle security threats and instability.
Nigeria is a key partner in promoting regional security and countering violent extremism in West Africa, including the Lake Chad Basin.
The Nigerian Armed Forces are a leading contributor to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), showing the resolve of its constituent nations to deliver security in the region.
The UK recognises Nigeria’s diplomatic mediation efforts to restore democracy in Niger through its membership of ECOWAS peacefully and condemns in the strongest possible terms the ongoing coup against Niger’s elected leadership.
We stand with ECOWAS in condemnation of the illegal detention of President Mohamed Bazoum, his family, and members of the government, as well as the unacceptable conditions under which they are being held, and call for their immediate release