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    HomePoliticsUnited Kingdom pledges neutrality in Nigeria' s 2023 elections

    United Kingdom pledges neutrality in Nigeria’ s 2023 elections

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    By Abdullahi Jamiu

    The United Kingdom, UK, says, it will stay absolutely neutral in the 2023 general elections to be held in Nigeria.

    UK High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, gave this indication at a news conference at the Press Centre, Government House, Birnin Kebbi, this Wednesday, in the course of her working visit to Kebbi State.

    Flanked by her host, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, the High Commissioner told newsmen that the UK was NOT backing any candidate in the Presidential elections in Nigeria next year.
    
    She emphasized that what Britain desired was the conduct of free, peaceful and credible elections leading to smooth transition of power in the country.
    
    Catriona Laing made it clear that the UK cherished democracy and democratic norms in countries of the world but regrettably, democracy has been truncated in some African Nations as a result of military intervention. 
    
    The British Envoy said her home government was ready to partner and work with whosoever emerged as President of Nigeria, adding that the UK would want Nigeria to assure her prominent role in Africa. 
    
    She ranked Nigeria as the largest democracy on the African continent, saying that the outcome of the 2023 general elections would have an impact on Africa, the commonwealth and the entire world.
    
    Before the news conference, Catriona Laing has paid courtesy call on Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu at the Council Chamber, Government House, Birnin Kebbi. 
    
    The High Commissioner acknowledged that Kebbi State has remained secured inspite of the challenges of insecurity facing the zone, commending Governor Atiku Bagudu for his untiring effort to ensuring the security of his people. 
    
    Catriona Laing informed the governor that it was her first visit to Kebbi State but highly impressed about the socio-economic development of the State and the agricultural value chain achieved by incumbent administration.
    
    She indicated the willingness of British Government to explore areas of co-operation and partnership on investment with Kebbi State.
    
    The Envoy expressed appreciation to the government and people of the State for their condolences on the death of Queen Elizabeth the second and congratulations on the ascension to the throne of the British Monarchy by King Charles, the third. 
    
    She said due to the importance, the UK attached to its relations with Nigeria, late Queen Elizabeth spent twenty days during her visit to the country in 1957, while King Charles, the third, undertook visits to Nigeria on four different occasions when he was heir to the throne. 
    
    Catriona Laing also appreciated the policy direction of inclusion of Governor Atiku Bagudu by reaching out to all communities in the State in the spirit of good governance.

    In response, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu thanked the British High Commissioner for the visit and offered condolences on the demise of Queen Elizabeth, the second, on behalf of the government and people of Kebbi State.

    Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu further congratulated the envoy on the ascension of King Charles the third to the Monarchy of Britain and the appointment of Liz Truss as the new British Prime Minister.
    
    The governor made elaborate explanation about the monumental achievement recorded by his administration on infrastructural development, industrialization, agriculture, tourism and the economy, concluding that Kebbi State has become an industrial and investment hub. 
    
    Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu enumerated successes attained in rice production that led to the establishment of big and small-scale rice mills in the state such as WACOT Rice Mill in Argungu as well as the setting up of the biggest Tomato Processing Plant in Africa located in Ngaski Local Government Area. 
    
    He added that the government has placed similar priority on livestock production, fisheries, poultry and other agricultural produce.
    
    Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu told the Envoy that the people of the four Emirates in Kebbi State, Gwandu, Argungu, Yauri and Zuru live together as brethren in mutual respect of one another with perfect mechanism of conflict resolution. 
    
    The Kebbi State Chief Executive highlighted the cultural potency of the Argungu international fishing and cultural festival which has continued to bring people of different nationalities together and consolidated on the tourism endowment of the state with immense economic and commercial benefits.
    
    He also made reference to the inclusion fo Kebbi State into the Artisanal Gold Mining Project of the Federal Government which granted permission to artisanal miners to legally exploit gold deposit in the State for wealth creation and employment.
    
    Senator Atiku Bagudu mentioned the assenting to the law on the rights of the child and individuals, including implementation of girl-child programme on education aimed at child development and requisite liberty for individuals.
    
    Present at the courtesy visit at the council chamber, Government House, Birnin Kebbi, were the Chief Judge of Kebbi State, Justice Suleiman Muhammad Ambursa, the majority leader, State House of Assembly, Hon. Aliyu Faruq Nassarawa Jega, the Secretary to the State Government, SSG Alhaji Babale Umar Yauri, the acting Head of Service, Alhaji Safiyanu Garba Bena and all Permanent Secretaries of Ministries of the State. 
    
    Afterwards, the UK High Commissioner proceeded to Argungu to pay homage to the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Muhamadu Mera where she was received at the palace by the Kundudan Kabi, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan.
    
    Catriona Laing was also a guest at the Kanta Museum, Argungu to inspect ancient relics of the Kabawa people, before proceeding to WACOT Rice Mill and later made a stopover at a Ruga Fulani settlement during which she expressed satisfaction about the education progress of Nomadic children. 
    
    The Managing Director of WACOT RICE Mill, Neeraj Kaimar who reiceved her on behalf of the management, told the High Commissioner that the Company would soon double production to satisfy domestic consumption and for export market. 
    
    Catriona Laing who was conducted round the production plant, said it was above her expectations to see such gigantic and modern mill processing quality rice, which was a testimony to the agricultural revolution of Governor Atiku Bagudu.

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