Boris Johnson will hold talks in Nigeria on Thursday as Britain targets Africa’s biggest economy in the drive to forge post-Brexit trading links around the world. The west African nation is regarded in London as a vital future export market. The government hopes to capitalise on Nigeria’s historic connections to the UK, including its Commonwealth membership.
Mr Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, and Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, visited north eastern Nigeria which has suffered a succession of atrocities carried out by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. Millions face famine More than 20,000 people have been killed in the attacks, 1.7m have been displaced from their homes and millions face famine.
The ministers announced a £200m boost to aid spending in Nigeria between 2018 and 2022. Describing the situation as “catastrophic”, Ms Patel said: “Babies’ bodies are shutting down and mothers who have lost everything are fighting to keep their children alive. “Global Britain is a country that stands tall in the world and the UK will not turn its back on people living in danger and desperation.”
Ms Patel said the money would provide food for more than 1.5m people, medical help for 20,000 children at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition and schooling for 100,000 boys and girls. Combat techniques The ministers were also briefed on Britain’s contribution to the fight against Boko Haram – UK troops have trained 28,000 Nigerian soldiers in combat techniques. Mr Johnson said: “This is about helping a Commonwealth partner in its time of need as well as addressing the root causes of international challenges such as migration.”