The Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, has expressed the state’s willingness to partner with Britain in various areas of development.
Ayade spoke on Wednesday evening at the State Executive Council Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Calabar, while hosting the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Atkinson.
He said, “In the course of my stay in office as governor, I have seen that there has been very little deliberate effort from your embassy to get close to the grassroots. Perhaps, you are the first to visit us as an official of the British Embassy, and to us, this is very exciting.
“We have had relationships with other countries in different sectors including agriculture and maritime business but this is not the case with Britain. And this ought not to be so, given Nigeria’s history with Britain as our colonial master.”
He added, “So, your visit, therefore, should open up the opportunity for greater collaboration between Cross River State and the United Kingdom.
“Experience has shown that relationship with the national doesn’t distill perfectly to the subnational. So, your visit to a subnational at the state level gives you a true perspective into the issues and problems of the Niger Delta.”
Ayade highlighted the security threat posed by the Ambazonian separatist fighters in Southern Cameroon, which shares boundary with the state.
He sought the assistance of Britain in the area of security in the form of institutional support, technical training “or any form of collaboration that can actually isolate Cross River, knowing that we are a border state between Nigeria and Cameroon and is at the front of the war zone.”
Speaking earlier, Atkinson extolled the splendour and beauty of Calabar, saying she was delighted to have visited the city.
She thanked Ayade for hosting her and her team and commended his government’s strides in infrastructure and industrialisation.
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