UK and Nigeria strengthen security and defence partnership


The UK and Nigeria have held the first UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership dialogue, with the aim tackling terrorism and building regional security.

New commitments made last week at the first ever UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership dialogue will boost work to tackle shared threats and keep both British and Nigerian people safe, the UK government said in a statement.

It includes commitments to work together to improve civilian policing standards, protect human rights and recognise the important role of women in achieving sustainable peace.

Further UK support to Nigeria in tackling Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) and Boko Haram will also build on our work together to respond to conflict with extremist groups in the North East of the country.

“Conflict and insecurity are leading to the loss of life and increasing displacement of millions of people across West Africa. It affects the freedom of civilians and blocks economic growth, further undermining peace and prosperity,” said the UK’s Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford.

“Through these new agreements, the UK is deepening our partnership with Nigeria to tackle shared threats, bolster regional stabilisation efforts and support Nigeria’s peace-keeping capabilities. This will help Nigeria to tackle violent extremist organisations and organised criminal groups, empowering them to respond to growing regional security challenges. It is only when people are safe and communities stable, that nations can truly thrive.”

Last week’s dialogue, the first following the agreement of the UK’s security and defence partnership in 2018, has led to refreshed plans to deepen UK engagement with the Nigerian security authorities.

“Nigeria and the United Kingdom share deep linkages and a common history dating back to over a century. Like many other countries faced with complex and evolving security threats, Nigeria realises the need to forge greater alliances and partnerships with friendly nations, in order to combat these threats. It is particularly imperative that we work together to combat the threats of modern day terrorism,” said Nigerian National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno.

“The discussions and agreements reached today present an opportunity for officials at the highest levels of both our governments to work together to address threats from terrorism, inter communal conflicts, serious organised crime, piracy, banditry, border security and trafficking in drugs and persons, amongst others.

“These agreements will deepen and enhance our security and defence collaboration in order to create a safe and secure environment for all our citizens to thrive.”

Policing advisors deployed from the UK to Nigeria will share experiences and help Nigerian forces respond timely and appropriately to criminal activity across the country.

In addition, there will be UK support to Nigeria as it rolls out community policing in several states. This will help improve civilian security and allow the Nigerian army, which is currently performing many policing duties across the country, to focus its efforts on fighting terrorism.

The two sides also discussed a review of regulations to strengthen the role of women in crime prevention and equal treatment of men and women of the police force.

Alongside work to strengthen Nigeria’s security and respond to growing regional insecurity, both countries agreed to deepen direct engagement on human rights, through sharing UK expertise with the Nigerian military on International Humanitarian Law and preventing sexual exploitation and abuse.

On top of this, the UK and Nigeria discussed UK assistance on reintegration pathways to civilian life for individuals who have left extremist groups.

The two sides discussed Nigeria’s recent work to improve protection for children in conflict zones, efforts to improve human rights and accountability within the military and Nigeria’s role in regional responses to shared insecurity challenges.