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UK spent over £300m on security in Africa in 2023 – Minister

The UK Government invested more than £300 million in delivering programmes and peacekeeping to bolster African nations’ stability and security last year, to the benefit…

The UK Government invested more than £300 million in delivering programmes and peacekeeping to bolster African nations’ stability and security last year, to the benefit of people in Africa and the UK.

Minister of State in the UK Cabinet Office, Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, who is in Nigeria to cement the UK-Nigeria partnership, disclosed this in a statement by Atinuke Akande-Alegbe, Senior Communications & Public Diplomacy Officer of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Abuja.

The visit comes days after the UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership talks where the two countries reached agreements on cybersecurity, defence cooperation, counter-terrorism, human rights and civil-military cooperation.

As part of the investment, more than £15 million went to strengthening Nigeria’s security which, as a result of the UK’s direct support, benefitted Nigerian and British nationals by detecting and seizing more than 3 tonnes of illegal drugs.

In North Eastern Nigeria, UK funding has also helped more than 500 people fleeing violent groups re-settle into communities. It supported vocational training, religious counselling, psycho-social support, drug counselling and numeracy and literacy lessons.

The UK and Nigeria’s cooperation on regional threats to stability included the contribution from the UK to UN efforts to stabilise communities in the Lake Chad Basin after a decade of violence by extremist groups.

Almost 11 million people across Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger have been affected by this violence.

Neville-Rolfe was quoted as saying: “The United Kingdom and Nigeria are firm security and economic partners. I am proud that, through the CSSF, the UK has been able to play such a valuable role in bolstering Nigeria’s security.

“Investment in Nigeria and the broader region has been instrumental in tackling some important challenges, from drug smuggling to cybercrime and human displacement. These challenges are transnational, so by supporting our partners in Nigeria and West Africa we are also helping to safeguard people in the UK.

“Closer collaboration is vital in ensuring we can respond to threats and promote a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace, which is why the UK and Nigeria recently committed to working more closely together to tackle cybercrime.

“As the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria’s stability and security are vital to the security of the wider region and the UK. I look forward to our partnership strengthening as we continue to work together on shared challenges in the years ahead.”

The British High Commission to Nigeria, Dr. Richard Montgomery, said the UK would remain a committed friend, working with the Nigerian government to respond effectively to domestic and regional security challenges.

“The UK’s Conflict, Security, and Stability Fund offers practical assistance that is making a real difference in Nigeria, from tackling human traffickers to supporting the resettlement of people fleeing violent groups in the northeast of the country. The UK is proud to stand with Nigeria as a close partner in these endeavours.”

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