The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja and the UK Minister of State for Armed Forces and Veterans, Mr James Heappey, during a Courtesy Call on COAS in Abuja on Wednesday.

 The United Kingdom Minister of State for Armed Forces and Veterans, Mr James Heappey, said the UK government would deepen synergy with the Nigerian military to enhance existing relations between the two countries.

Heappey gave the assurance when he led his team on a courtesy call to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said that Nigeria remained one of the great friends of the UK, adding that the relationship between the armed forces and particularly the armies of the two countries, was very close.

According to him, the customs and traditions of the Nigerian army are almost identical to many of the customs and traditions of the British Army.

“Many Nigerian officers have trained or come to study with distinction in the UK.

“And over many years, particularly the last decade or so, the British Military Advisory and Training Team (BMATT) and Operation Turus have been a fantastic vehicle through which to strengthen those ties.

“And so I come with a new government in Nigeria and new chiefs appointed to introduce myself, to establish new friendships and to build on what has gone before.”

He expressed the hope that they would have honest discussions “about the things that we have been doing perhaps you no longer care for, and the things that we haven’t been doing and that you would like us to do anew”.

The UK minister commended the Nigerian army for bringing out so much expertise from its operational engagements.

Responding, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Lagbaja thanked the UK government for the beneficial relationship that had existed between the Nigerian army and the British Army.

He said that the Nigerian army was patterned along the British army in terms of organisation and training, adding that the Nigerian army had received assistance from the UK in the past.

The COAS said that many Nigerian army officers had undergone training with BMATT and several other British military institutions.

He appreciated the UK for its assistance to Nigeria in the fight against insurgency and other forms of insecurity.

Lagbaja said the army was very much interested in continuing and expanding the partnership, especially the training aspect.

“We are open to other areas of cooperation such as training, special facility, and we will continue discussion with the BMATT and the British members in this regard.

equipment and platforms from the UK.

“We are in discussion towards the procurement of the Husky Mines clearance vehicles from the UK,” he added.


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