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Prince Charles ends Nigeria visit today



ENGLAND’s Prince Charles’ three-day state visit to Nigeria ends today. The Head of British Commonwealth and Prince of Wales, came alongside his wife and Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla.
The visit is part of his African tour that started on October 30. As the journey enters its home lap today amid high expectations the heir to the British throne and his entourage will depart from Nigeria at 6:30pm local time after a brief departure ceremony at Presidential Wing of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja where they were earlier received by Federal Capital Territory Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadijah Bukar on Tuesday upon touching down at mid-day aboard a Boeing 737 Royal Aircraft amid heavy security.
Prince Charles also called at Presidential Villa, Abuja where he met with President Muhammadu Buhari in camera, with the royal train pulled a stop at Lagos yesterday for an interface with the business community, before flying back to Abuja in continuation of other agendas on their itinerary which is expected to tweak the bilateral ties between Nigeria and Britain along business and cultural co-operation.
Although Prince Charles is not entirely new to Nigeria – having earlier visited in 2006 – some dynamics stand the current tour out. First, Camilla is calling for the first time. And there are more items on his agenda this time around, including a town hall with activists with a view to finding solutions to pertinent issues that generate recurring conflicts in the country such as the Southern Kaduna crisis, herdsmen-farmers clashes, MASSOB and IPoB elements.
The Prince also parleyed with Nigerian groups on ways to strengthen Nigeria-Britain relations in trade, environment and education, all of which are important to the future of the Commonwealth. He equally met with some traditional rulers.
Another element of the trip would be efforts to build peace in the middle belt of Nigeria. A peace round table would be held in Abuja rather than Jos and many representatives of the communities in the middle belt would be coming to Abuja. Also, Prince of Wales has come at the backdrop of Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent during which she signed security and defence pact with Nigeria.
According to British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, the visit goes to the root of historic bond between Nigeria and United Kingdom.
“It’s about the link, it’s about the historic ties. We are looking for ways in which we can mediate to bring reconciliation in the middle belt of Nigeria. This is so important because the conflict is not a religious one and not a conflict between Christians and Muslims,” Arkwright said.
Other components of the trip include culture, youth, women, business, and arts among others. There was an environmental element in which Prince Charles called at a botanical garden, something akin to sports for him.
Observers expect the visit to boost British socio-economic interventions in Nigeria, particularly in military support to thwart rising insurgency in Northeast through training, supply of arms and intelligence. It is also expected that British donor, DFID, would mark up its social interventions in the area of assistance to rural women, crop and livestock production, vaccination and capacity building among youths after Charles’ visit.
Whether these hopes would be concretised or bucked as pipe dreams remains to be seen, but the sooner the former, the healthier for continuous bilateral co-operation of Nigeria and Britain in the international community, particularly the 53-member Commonwealth of Nations.

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