The United Kingdom’s Minister of State for the Armed Forces, James Heappey MP, has met with top defence leaders and military chiefs in Nigeria as part of efforts to strengthen defence cooperation between both countries and discuss the political impasse in Niger.
On Wednesday, Heappey met top military officials, including the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja.
The UK Defense Secretary had a closed-doors discussion with Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Abubakar Badaru, and Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle.
He also met with Omar Touray, President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, and emphasized the UK’s support for ECOWAS’ ongoing diplomatic efforts to secure Niger Republic’s peaceful return to democracy.
Speaking after the meetings, Heappey said, “I’m delighted to return to Nigeria for the third time in three years.
“The UK and Nigerian armed forces have a longstanding partnership through which we continue to tackle violent extremism and other security threats in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea.
“The UK supports ECOWAS in calling for the peaceful restoration of constitutional order and democracy in Niger and we’ll work with both ECOWAS and our partners across West Africa to support them in that aim.”
“We stand with ECOWAS in condemnation of the illegal detention of President Mohamed Bazoum, his family, and members of the government, as well as the unacceptable conditions under which they are being held, and call for their immediate release,” he said.