Embattled at home, UK Prime Minister Theresa May is taking a reprieve as she sets out on an official overseas trip to Africa. She is expected to visit Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya this week.
The British PM will hold discussions with leaders of the three countries. In Nigeria, her itinerary includes a visit to Abuja for talks with President Buhari and to Lagos for the victims of modern slavery.
As Home Office Secretary, May initiated and finalized a plan to introduce a whooping £3000 visa bond for first time visitors from five ‘high risk’ countries; Nigeria, Ghana, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan, before she was forced to scrap it following a lot of outrage over the discriminatory nature of the bond.
The then foreign ministers of Nigeria, Ambassador Gbenga Ashiru and Professor Viola Onwuliri summoned the then British Ambassador, Andrew Pocock and expressed their high displeasure, threatening retaliatory measures against the UK.
Three Questions for May:
May’s visit to Nigeria provides an opportunity to ask three important questions.
1. Is the PM going to apologize to Nigeria for her words and actions, with the bond proposal, that tried to label Nigerians as criminals?
2. A UKAID funded organisation, Amnesty International has made a strong case against the Buhari administration’s concerning record on human rights – the clampdown on free press and extrajudicial killings of protesters including the members of the Shiite Islamic Sect as well as the Indigenous People of Biafra, a separatist movement. Would she condemn these actions in strong terms?
3. Finally, since May intends to visit victims of modern slavery. Would she apologise for the role of the UK in slave trade in Nigeria?
– With contribution by Ikenna Nwegbe, a former political adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs