British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has disclosed that if Nigeria would defeat its worsening insecurity and growing dissatisfaction across the country, governments and relevant stakeholders must work towards governments-citizens perfect relationship.
She added any anti-terrorism strategies deployed by government that was devoid of trust-building with Nigerians would amount to efforts in futility and that it was import government at all tiers across the country to work on trust-building among the led.
While admitting that the insecurity situation across Nigeria could overwhelm any country, Laing charged the stakeholders to build on the momentum and involve the citizens in its activities to ensure robust collaboration such that the citizens would be able to trust the government with intelligence at their disposal.
“I do have some sympathy for Nigeria because if we as UK have one of these problems your country is having today, we will be struggling. Here, you deal with everything, from insurgency to kidnapping, to piracy off the Gulf of Guinea and you don’t have such a large army and police force for a country of this size.
“The only way you turn this thing around is that government has to build the trust of its people, to have the people working with the government to deal with criminality. That’s how successful anti-criminal operations work.
“People willingly report those committing crime, working with police to identify criminals, same with the military on the insurgency situation. It’s only when the community is on the side of the police and security services that they can turn around the situation,” the commissioner said on Wednesday while speaking during her visit to Rivers State where she met Governor Nyesom Wike in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
On the 2023 election, Laing said that the international communities would be monitoring the situation in ensuring there was free, fair, and credible election, adding that the outcome of the polls would have larger impact across the globe.
“2023 is not alright. What happens in the elections is very crucial, not just for Nigeria, but Africa to the world. You (Nigeria) are a large democracy.
“It doesn’t have to be a perfect election. There would be problems, but we want it to be better than the last one. We want it to be secure, peaceful, the process should be run well, and you need to get people to register.”
She said that the United Kingdom would also be wielding the big stick against any politically exposed person who participates directly and indirectly by denying them UK visa.
“Another thing we will be doing is to remind people that if people do incite violence or act violently, we will be prepared to deny them visas to the UK. We will make that statement clear and say it over again.”