UK Minister Vicky Ford set for maiden visit to Nigeria

The United Kingdom’s Minister for Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, Vicky Ford is set for a maiden visit to Nigeria.

This was disclosed in a statement by the British High Commission in Nigeria on Sunday.

The British High Commission explained that the visit will take forward efforts by both countries to build on the UK-Nigeria partnership and strengthen strong security, anti-corruption, and economic ties.

This visit follows the UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership Dialogue in London earlier this month, at which the UK and Nigeria agreed to strengthen cooperation in a range of areas including military cooperation, counter-terrorism, civilian policing, protecting human rights, and recognising the important role of women in achieving sustainable peace.

“While in Nigeria, Minister Vicky Ford will have meetings with the Federal Government of Nigeria, State Governors as well as faith leaders, civil society and business leaders.

“The Minister looks forward to announcing millions of pounds of new UK investments including in support of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. The Minister will sign an MoU related to anti-corruption, which will further strengthen the UK-Nigeria partnership in this area,” the statement added.

Also, the Minister is expected to meet with civil society, government, the media, and political leaders and explore a range of topics from electoral reform, to climate change following COP26 and human rights. The minister will also promote efforts to educate girls, empower women and end gender-based violence and address humanitarian needs in North-East Nigeria.

Ahead of the visit, she is quoted to have said: “I am looking forward to being in Nigeria for the first time. Nigeria is a valued friend and partner of the UK; a country with whom we want to forge still closer ties, including on trade, development, economic, environmental and security issues.”

Minister Ford was appointed Minister for Africa at the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office in September 2021 and became the Minister for Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean in December 2021.

Previously, she was the Parliamentary Under the Secretary of State for Children and Families at the Department for Education from February 2020 to September 2021.

On 14 December 2021, she spoke about her priorities in the role for 2022 in a speech she gave at Chatham House called “Africa and the UK: Priorities for engagement in 2022 – Minister for Africa speech at Chatham House.”(Channels TV)