Featured Politics News

Buhari meets Theresa May behind closed door at Aso Rock

British PM meets Ambode, Dangote, Otedola, Elumelu in Lagos

By Aliyu DANLADI

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday met behind closed doors with the British Prime Minister, Theresa May at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

TBI Africa reports that May who had earlier visited South Africa, is in Nigeria as part of her tour of some African countries.

The meeting started in the President’s office shortly after May arrived at the forecourt of the State House, Abuja. She was received on arrival by President Muhammadu Buhari and top government officials.

The meeting is expected to touch on how to strengthen the existing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Britain. The two countries will later sign agreements on security and defence partnership and economic development.

The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, also arrived the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Ikeja, as part of her visit to Lagos State, where she is billed to spend time with victims of modern slavery during her brief stay in the nation’s commercial hub.

TBI Africa reports that the UK prime minister arrived at exactly 4:18p.m. at the Presidential Wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, aboard an aircraft of the Royal Air Force.

It would be recalled that the prime minister’s visit to Lagos comes barely eight weeks after the French President, Mr Emmanuel Macron, visited the African Shrine in Ikeja, Lagos.

Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, accompanied by his deputy, among other state officials, had earlier arrived at the presidential lounge, MMA to receive the prime minister. Ambode and his Deputy, Dr Idiat Adebule, among other State officials arrived at the Presidential Lounge of the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Ikeja at 2.40p.m on Wednesday, ahead of UK Prime Minister, Theresa May’s visit to the state.

Also on ground at the airport were the top echelon of the Nigeria Police Force, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigeria Immigration Service.

May had earlier arrived in the country and met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the New Banquet Hall of the State House in Abuja.

Nigeria and Britain also signed two agreements on Defence and Security partnership as well as Economic Development Forum before she headed to Lagos.

May’s visit to Nigeria is part of her tour of some Africa countries.

The Prime Minister on Thursday is expected in Nairobi, where she will meet President Uhuru Kenyatta and see British soldiers training troops from Kenya and other African countries in the techniques needed to identify and destroy improvised explosive devices before they go to fight Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

The prime minister is on a trade mission in an attempt to bolster Britain’s post-Brexit fortunes. This is her first visit to Africa since she became Prime Minister in 2016.

She is accompanied by a 30-man business delegation as part of her efforts to “deepen and strengthen” partnerships around the world as the UK prepares to leave the European Union (EU) next year.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron had in 2013 visited Africa for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.

May, who had earlier in the day arrived in Nigeria and held closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, is expected to visit Salvation Army in Lagos and meet with victims of modern slavery during her three-hour stay in the nation’s commercial hub.

In Lagos, she will be received by Ambode, who in July hosted French President Emmanuel Macron.

The British High Commission had on Monday said that Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to Africa would focus on renewed economic partnerships between UK and Africa and security issues. May came to Nigeria from South Africa and would head to Kenya from Nigeria.

British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amb Paul Arkwright, at a news briefing in Abuja said May’s visit would to explore investment opportunities and seek ways to tackle common security threats.

Arkwright said she would be the first British Prime Minister to visit Sub-Saharan Africa since 2013 and Nigeria since 2011.

“We feel that we are a country looking at opportunities for the UK, looking at strengthening our partnerships with both traditional allies such as Nigeria,” he had said.

He confirmed that May would be travelling with a delegation comprising the ministers for trade and for Africa and about 30 business people.

“That is because we are interested in trade with Africa, Nigeria but investment as well. UK is the second largest investor in Africa, we want to become the top investor in Africa; British companies are coming with prime minister to look at opportunities for investment and create jobs.”

He said the aim was to explore ways that the UK could encourage people “staying in Nigeria and wipe out the scourge of trafficking.”

Theresa May also visited the FMDQ Security Exchange building, Victoria Island, Lagos, for a meeting with the Nigerian business community.

The prime minister, accompanied by members of her trade delegation, arrived the venue at 6.30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr Femi Otedola and Mr Tony Elumelu, among others, had earlier assembled at the venue.

The meeting, expected to last for 40 minutes, would provide an opportunity for forging more bilateral relations between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

May had earlier on Wednesday afternoon arrived the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Ikeja, in Lagos after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.

She is billed to spend time with victims of modern slavery during her brief stay in the nation’s commercial hub.

The prime minister’s visit to Lagos comes barely eight weeks after the French President, Mr Emmanuel Macron, visited the African Shrine in Ikeja, Lagos.

Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, accompanied by his deputy, among other state officials, received the prime minister at the airport.

After the reception, May drove out of the airport to attend to her engagements in the state.

After May’s meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria and Britain signed agreements on Defence and Security partnership, among others.

May’s visit to Nigeria is part of her tour of three African countries.

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