Mrs Catriona Laing, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, has stated that her country would have been in deep struggles if they had only one of Nigeria’s problems.
Making a disclosure that the UK government would start denying visas to Nigerians who incite violence and want to disrupt 2023 elections, Laing added that the ideal candidates for the 2023 Nigerian presidential elections should be youths with females as the Vice Presidential candidates.
Vanguard reported that the British envoy who said this in Port Harcourt on her maiden visit to Rivers State, also cautioned Governor Nyesom Wike and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi to cement their legacies on a positive note by ensuring peaceful 2023 elections in Rivers State.
“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.
“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.
“My ideal candidates would be two younger presidential candidates, both with female vice presidential candidates.
“It is essential that there’s a peaceful election in Rivers State. It’s going to be a crucial part of his (Wike) legacy, how the election goes in this state. We’ve been saying the same thing to Amaechi.
“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.”