United Kingdom's International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, has said Britain's support to Nigeria is to help the country develop its capacities and move beyond receiving charitable gifts from developed nations.
Mordaunt said this in a statement made available to THISDAY on Saturday. He said the Nigerian government should be committed to utilising the country's resources for the improvement of the people's lives and reduction of poverty among the masses.
The statement said, "The UK has a key role to play in ensuring Nigeria, one of the fastest growing countries in the world, has a bright, stable and prosperous future. We are working to help Nigeria invest in its people and create more jobs and giving it a future beyond aid.
"British expertise in tax collection is ensuring Nigeria can build better schools and health centres. Nigeria is our trading partner. Together we are working towards a mutually prosperous future, which is firmly in Nigeria's, but also the UK's national interest."
It added, "In Abuja, Mordaunt also met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to further strengthen UK-Nigeria relations and sought commitments from him on using Nigerian resources effectively to reduce poverty, and on resolving the humanitarian crisis in the North-east."
The envoy, who was on a visit to Nigeria, hailed the cooperation between her country and Nigeria and announced a UK aid to help Nigerian rural communities become self-sufficient.
Mordaunt praised the close partnership between the UK and Nigeria, saying it has helped the country to lay solid foundations for a sustainable future.
During her first visit, the diplomat toured rural communities in Kaduna State in the north of the country. She announced extended support to the Propcom scheme, which, with UK aid funding, will support the livelihoods of farmers in some of the poorest parts of rural Nigeria and open up market access as well as provide simple, effective innovations, such as 2p vaccinations, to protect the health of the chickens these communities rely on.
She also witnessed the huge difference UK tax-collecting expertise was making in northern Nigeria. Thanks to the UK-supported tax collection system, Kaduna State now has more money to spend on hospitals and schools, the statement added.
In a symbolic moment, Mordaunt provided the final ever UK aid package of medicines and medical equipment to one of the region's health centres. The state will now take over the running of their own health clinics, paid for with taxes generated in Kaduna.
Mordaunt visited the Badarawa Primary Healthcare Centre in Kaduna, completing the formal handover of the final consignment of UK aid funded and procured drugs and equipment to Kaduna. While at the clinic, the minister witnessed UK aid's contribution to the state's investment in primary health systems, which is giving women and children under five better access to essential health services.
Mordaunt also met with Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu. She wrapped up the two-day visit to Nigeria on Friday night.