A former United Kingdom Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has said his country is ever ready to assist Nigeria to defeat bandits and terrorists.
Johnson said this as the Guest Speaker at the 16th Session of the Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe Lecture Series, held in Lagos on Monday.
The theme of the lecture was, ‘Rehumanising Human Experience: A Synopsis Of Anyiam-Osigwe’s Treatises.’
He said, “I know some of the problems that are being faced in some parts of this wonderful country and how lives are sadly being lost. These bandits and terrorists can and will be defeated and eventually law and order will prevail. The UK ever stands ready to help. But we, the UK, have certainly had our own problems with terrorists in the past and I’m proud to say that London is one of the safest big cities in the world.
“The metropolitan police are so impartial that they arrested Prince Andrew himself, the son of our late Queen when they saw him loitering in Buckingham Palace. I thought this was quite funny until a couple of years ago, the Met actually fined me, in circumstances I still find almost too petty to describe, simply for standing at my desk in the cabinet room and eating lunch.”
The former PM said for Nigeria to achieve urban success, the country was in need of freedom, security, democracy, openness and tolerance.
“Here in Nigeria you still have the nihilistic know-nothings of Boko Haram and the Islamic State. These are people who literally believe that books are some sort of sacrilege and they threaten to kill maiden young girls for wanting to read. I say to you, that is evil. That is the extinction of human talent and potential. And that in my view is the direct opposition to what Peace Anyiam-Osigwe stood for and the opposite of what this conference is all about. I know how much progress we’ve made him in stamping out those deranged and sexist terrorists and I’m proud of what the UK has been able to do to help.
“I will end with this thought: Now is the time, when the world is so uncertain, when we see free trade breaking down between nations, when barriers are going up, and when some nations are disentangling from others, now is the time for the UK and Nigeria, two great democracies with so much history in common, to do more together,” he said.
Other speakers at the event included the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his deputy, Hamzat Obafemi; President-elect Bola Tinubu, represented by former deputy governor of Lagos State, Femi Pedro; former Commonwealth Secretary General, Emeka Anyaoku; and Coordinator General of the Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe Foundation, Charles Osigwe.