Theresa May has signed a security pact with Nigeria’s president aimed at helping the country combat the militant group Boko Haram through better military training and anti-terrorist propaganda techniques developed in the UK.
The Guardian reports that the agreement with Muhammadu Buhari was announced at a summit between the pair in Abuja and billed by the UK as an example of May’s ambition to promote a greater British presence in Africa and support states under pressure from terrorist threats.
“We are determined to work side by side with Nigeria to help them fight terrorism, reduce conflict and lay the foundations for the future stability and prosperity that will benefit us all,” she said.
Billed as the UK’s first security and defence partnership with Nigeria, the pact was the centrepiece of the second day of May’s three-day trip to Africa, in which she will visit Kenya on Thursday having been to South Africa on Tuesday.
The UK will provide training to the Nigerian military to help it contend with improvised explosive devices used by Boko Haram, and has offered to help train full army units, as opposed to individual soldiers, before they are deployed in the country’s north-east, where the Islamist militant group has its base.
It also hopes to cut the flow of new recruits by working with local communities “to push out counter-narratives” to Boko Haram, drawing on the UK’s experience of “countering terrorist propaganda at home”, according to the pact announcement. An additional £13m will be spent on an education programme for the 100,000 children living in the conflict zone.