Britain appears to be scraping the bottom of the barrel with a recent visit to Nigeria by two members of Theresa May’s cabinet, the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson and the International Development Secretary, Priti Patel.
While both cabinet members were canvassing for Nigeria’s support after Brexit, their colleague and Brexit Secretary, David Davis, was engaged in talks with Michael Barnier, the EU Chief Brexit negotiator, who declared at the end of the meeting that there had been no “decisive progress” on key issues in talks with the UK.
While in Nigeria, Boris Johnson called for a post-Brexit boost to trade between Britain and Nigeria, Africa’s most populous state and largest economy. Trade deal between Nigeria and Britain is forecast to reach over £7billion by 2030.
According to a report in the I, the Foreign Secretary sampled the products at Nigeria’s Guinness plant, which is majority owned by the British company Diageo. The brewery imports all of its barley from the UK and exports Guinness Extra across the world. He said: “I want to see even more British companies succeeding in Nigeria, and more Nigerian companies in Britain. “The potential of Nigeria’s markets, people and natural resources is enormous and helping to secure a prosperous future for our two countries is a key part of our Commonwealth heads of government meeting next year.” Mr Johnson held talks with the Nigerian Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and urged the government to intensify the fight against Islamist militants Boko Haram in the north-east of the country.
During her visit, International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, announced aid package worth £200m ($258m) over the next four years, which is a 50% drop from the £100m it gave in 2017, according to a BBC report.
The money is aimed at helping north-eastern Nigeria recover from an eight-year insurgency by Boko Haram Islamist militants.
More than 1.5 million people are on the brink of famine in the area, aid agencies say.
The amount of aid given to Nigeria was increased this year to enable the country cope with the aftermath of the insurgency that prevented people from farming their land.
International Development Minister Priti Patel, however, said the Nigerian authorities needed to do more to defeat the extremists and to “secure the safety and well being of its own people”.
She also said other donors should increase their assistance.
On the one hand, Johnson was in Nigeria to prepare grounds for a trade deal that would be worth Billions of Pounds, eventually, on the other hand, his cabinet colleague, Ms. Patel, handed over a £200m aid package spread over a four-year-period.