The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, has commended the Federal Government for its readiness to dialogue with the people of the Niger Delta, in seeking political, rather than military solutions to the problems in the region.
This was his position as he spoke on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, while analysing the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo’s recent visit to the Gbaramatu Kingdom, in Delta state.
“What I saw in that visit, is a Federal Government that is ready to engage with the people of the Delta, which is looking out for dialogue and political settlement as the way out.
“I think it is symptomatic of the willingness of the Federal Government, to engage and I hope that they continue with that.
“As I have said in the past, I do not believe that a military solution to what has happened in the Niger Delta is viable in any way – a political solution is what is necessary.
“For a political settlement to really take roots, there needs to be dialogue and discussion, maybe disagreement; but also agreement – we need to talk to each other and that’s why I was particularly encouraged by the visit of the Vice President.”
Meanwhile, Mr Arkwright, who was also speaking on the recent developments in the Gambian election, stated that the United Kingdom would give its full support in ensuring a peaceful transition of power in the west African nation.
The British High Commissioner, says the UK has recognized Adama Barrow as the new President of the Gambia.
Although he stated that the United Kingdom hopes to avoid any kind of military intervention, he explained that if it comes to that point, the UK would not hesitate to offer its full support.
“Just last night, the security council in New York agreed a resolution, supporting the new president, calling for the former president to stand down, saying that all political measures should be exhausted first, but recognising that a military intervention may be necessary.
“If that military intervention is necessary, it would have the full support of the United Kingdom; as we voted in favour of that resolution.
“We join all countries in hoping that a peaceful solution would be the actual outcome of this crisis.”
He then added that: “In line with the constitution and with respect to the views of the people of the Gambia, former President Jammeh, should now stand down to avoid any violence or bloodshed.
“We hope that these negotiations which are currently going on in Banjul would result in a peaceful outcome.
“It’s important for the new president to take up his office and to start to implement his programme because that’s what he was voted in to do.”
The British High Commissioner therefore reiterated the UK’s support for Barrow, while also appealing to the former president to stand down in order to ensure a peaceful transition.
Speaking on the withdrawal of the Gambia from the Common Wealth of Nations, Mr Arkwright described the common wealth as a family of nations and according to him, Jammeh left the family.
This, he said, did not come to him as a surprise because according to him, the former president had been “unpredictable” and he had made such pronouncements in the past.
He however stated that he is very pleased that the new President, Adama Barrow has promised to re-instate the nation in the common wealth.
“The fact that we now have a more stable government in place, with a president who has a much more responsible international view than his predecessor, gives hope that the Gambia would move back into the common wealth.
Furthermore, he commended the efforts of ECOWAS in trying to push Yayah Jammeh to relinquish power.
“It’s a very important role that ECOWAS has played in this crisis,” Arkwright said.