Sanwo-Olu Receives Prince Harry, Meghan

•Hails couple for working with Nigeria’s military on mental health

•Dabiri-Erewa lauds them over invictus games centre in Nigeria

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, received the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and commended them for working with Nigeria’s military on mental health.

Equally, Chairman/CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, commended the duo for their innumerable philanthropic works to society, especially for the injured, sick and traumatised soldiers and war veterans.

The couple was received by Sanwo-Olu, his wife, Dr. Ibijoke, and some members of the State Executive Council, during a courtesy visit to the Lagos House, Marina.

Harry, in company with his wife, Meghan, was on a three-day visit to Nigeria to promote the Invictus Games, which he founded in 2014. The couple had a stopover in Lagos yesterday.

The Invictus Games are aimed at raising funds and supporting serving members of the military as well as veterans to overcome their physical and mental illness or injuries, which would help them to develop a sense of belonging and increased self-esteem.

Speaking to journalists after a closed-door meeting with the couple, Sanwo-Olu praised them for the work they were doing with Nigeria’s military men, especially on issues around mental health.

The governor said, “We are honoured to receive them (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) at the Lagos House, Marina. We are excited about the ideas and what they are planning to do, especially with the office of the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, and his wife, Mrs. Lilian Musa.

“For Prince Harry, it has been a very interesting and informative trip to the country. He has seen a lot. And part of the things we are hoping he will take away is the diversity and extent of how big our country is, how we continue to ensure that we live together in peace and harmony, and what role Lagos plays in the whole conversation.”

Sanwo-Olu said concerning the royal couple,”They have been to Kano, Abuja, and now Lagos. I am sure they have their own experience of what Nigeria looks like. We have extended an additional invitation to them that they can always come back when they want to.

“We are, indeed, happy for what they are doing, especially for our military men, on the conversation around mental health issues and how they can galvanise their various NGOs to ensure that people who require their support, both in the military and private, can seek that support.

“Mental health issues are all around us. Denial and stigmatisation are some of the things we talked about. And more importantly, at what point in Nigeria can we have the Invictus Games that Prince Harry is known for so that the true Nigerian competitiveness can also be reflected in those games.”

On her part, Dabiri-Erewa gave the commendation at the welcome banquet held in their honour by Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Gwabin Musa, in Abuja.

She stated that the kind gesture from them would empower the wounded soldiers, who had sacrificed their lives to protect the country.

Dabiri-Erewa stated, “The initiative for the proposal to site the Invictus Centre in Nigeria to support the categories of soldiers mentioned above is not only laudable but also a testament of our commitment as a country to look after those who have suffered in one way or the other in the line of duty to protect our nation.”

Dabiri-Erewa added that the commission’s visit would also boost Nigeria’s quest and interest to host the Invictus Games 2027 and enhance the proposal to site the Invictus Centre in Nigeria in support of the wounded, injured and sick war veterans, among others.

In addition, Dabiri-Erewa, who learnt that Meghan Markle was 43 percent Nigerian after having her genealogy (DNA) done in 2022, commended the Duchess for being an embodiment of the Nigerian woman and her activities towards women and girl-child empowerment.

She used the opportunity to welcome the Duchess to Nigeria and extended an invitation to attend the Annual Badagry Door of Return Festival in Lagos.

Prince Harry, who is the founder of the Invictus Games Foundation, stated that in the 10 years of the Invictus Games, one remarkable moment was to have the Nigerian team win gold and bronze medals at their first outing in the 2023 games held in Düsseldorf, Germany.

He expressed his pleasure at Nigeria joining the Invictus Games and hoped to witness more participation.

Major General Uche Agbor, representing the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, said the Nigerian Army would continually cater to the welfare of its soldiers, especially post-war and injured ones.

He thanked the couple for choosing Nigeria to build a centre during the historic visit, which he believed would rehabilitate the victims to become the best versions of themselves, irrespective of the present challenge facing them.

Wife of the Minister of Budget and Planning, Hajia Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, said she was pleased at their visit to help the wounded soldiers.

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