By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, arrived Nigeria Tuesday on a three-day business and cultural tour.
The couple travelled aboard a Boeing 737, Royal Aircraft emblazoned with the Union Jack and arrived the Presidential Wing of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at exactly 1.25pm.
FCT Minister Malam, Muhammad Musa Bello, and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hajia Khadijah Bukar Abba, received the next in line to British throne.
Prince Charles was later received by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House where they met behind-closed doors.
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, said the British royals would move to Lagos to interface with the business community before returning to Abuja for a number of other engagements.
“It’s about the link, it’s about the historic ties between Nigeria and UK,” Arkwright said.
Prince Charles is visiting Nigeria for the first time since 2006. But for his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, this visit is her first.
Another element of the trip would be effort to build peace in the middle belt of Nigeria. A peace round table would be held in Abuja rather than Jos and many representatives of the communities in the middle belt would be coming to Abuja.
“We are looking for ways in which we can mediate to bring reconciliation in the middle belt of Nigeria. This is so important as the conflict is not a religious one and not a conflict between Christians and Muslims.”
Other component of the trip include culture, youth, women, business, and arts among others. There is an environmental element in which the prince would visit a botanical garden, something the Prince is passionate about.
Arkwright revealed that British government has been providing military support to Nigeria in the effort to stem the insurgency in the North-east through training, supply of arms and intelligence.
He stated that the visit of the Prince of Wales is coming at the backdrop of the recent visit of the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, two months ago, during which she signed security and defence pact with Nigeria.
The British aid agency, DFID, the High Commissioner noted, has also been in the forefront of providing assistance to rural women, helping them with livestock, vaccination, and capacity building, to ensure their survival and increase in size.