The United Kingdom (UK) has reaffirmed its commitment to helping Nigeria succeed in its fight against terror.
This is contained in a statement signed by Joe Abuku, the Press and Public Affairs Officer, British High Commission to Nigeria and issued in Maiduguri.
The statement is coming after the official visit of the UK Minister for the Armed Forces, Nark Lancaster.
Abuku quoted Lancaster as saying that the visit was a testimony to the strong defence relationship between the two countries.
He added that the UK would continue to support and cooperate with Nigeria to fight international terrorism.
According to him, Nigeria is a key partner of the UK in West Africa.
The visit has, he said, had facilitated discussion on how the two countries could continue to work together to meet the complex challenges facing them.
“The UK stands united with Nigeria in the international fight against terror. With our world class military expertise, we are helping the Nigerian military develop the skills necessary to tackle the threat of Boko Haram.
“From expert operational guidance and medical mentoring in the North East, to counter explosive device training across the country, the UK is leading the way in its commitment to supporting a safe and stable Nigeria,” Lancaster was quoted as saying.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lancaster visited military formations in Makurdi and Kaduna, where he met personnel providing expert training to the Nigerian Armed Forces through the resident British Military Advisory and Training Team (BMATT).
The minister also met with UK personnel in the Liaison and Support Team (LST) based in the Northeast.
“The LST provides non-lethal operational advice and guidance to the Nigerian Armed Forces as they tackle the terror threat of Boko Haram.
“Courses and training packages delivered to date have covered topics including infantry skills and tactics, response to terrorist attacks, bomb scene management and airfield defence, operational planning and leadership, enabling the Nigerian military to tackle terrorist threats more effectively and better defend the provision of humanitarian relief.
“Over 40 UK personnel are deployed on an enduring basis in country to coordinate training and advisory support.
“The UK is not only increasing counter-terrorism cooperation with Nigerian partners, but British military personnel are also working alongside US and German allies in a multinational effort to step up counter improvised explosive device support.
“Alongside France and the US, the UK is assisting in regional coordination and intelligence sharing arrangements between Nigeria and its neighbours, with a small number of UK personnel deployed alongside the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) headquarters in N’Djamena, Chad.
“The UK was one of the first donors to support the MNJTF, with £5 million to help equip the force.
“Almost 700 UK military personnel have deployed on a range of short term training tasks in support of the BMATT since early 2015, many from 7 Infantry Brigade (the famous Desert Rats), and the RAF Regiment which is helping to develop its Nigerian counterpart.
“Over 28,500 members of the Nigerian military have received UK training and Defence education in this time.
“The UK remains committed to strengthening its strategic partnership with Nigeria, and will continue to deliver world class training to help the Nigerian military adapt to meet the modern security challenges facing the country”.
Lancaster also visited the headquarters of Operation Lafiya Dole at the Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.- Gen. Tukur Buratai, who received him, said the visit was commendable as the cooperation between Nigeria, UK and international community had contributed significantly to the success recorded against Boko Haram.
He called for closer collaboration between Nigeria and the UK in the areas of training and intelligence gathering to ensure a successful campaign against terrorism. (NAN)