Prince Charles’ visit to Lagos ahead of his 70th birthday next week brings to the front burner Nigeria-United Kingdom relationship, crises in Northeast and Plateau, among others.
The Prince of Wales began his birthday celebrations aboard a ship on a lagoon in Lagos on Wednesday, with a surprise cake from the Nigerian Navy.
The Prince, who turns 70 next week, was given a special cake and a ‘hip hip hooray’ from troops as he watched a training exercise aboard a Royal Navy ship based in the region.
Paying tribute to the Armed Forces – the Navy and Royal Marines – who are training the Nigerian Navy on exercises to help combat piracy and terrorism, he spent time on the lagoon watching small rib boats on exercise.
Wearing sunglasses, he was greeted by Commander David Goodman of the Royal Navy and Captain Noel Madugu of the Nigerian Navy, and given a briefing on the Flying Bridge about how the countries are working together.
He was then ushered to the port side of the ship to see Nigerian servicemen, who are currently on a six-week training programme, show off their manoeuvres and simulated boarding.
The British Armed Forces are working in the region to help combat piracy, a major problem off the coast of Nigeria where pirates terrorise the Gulf of Guinea.
The UK is currently training Nigerians to deploy to Lake Chad, where Boko Haram militants use the waterways to cement a stronghold over the northeastern region.
Despite the serious message of the engagement, the trip ended on a lighter note when the Prince was ushered into a small room below decks to be given a cake featuring his own picture, alongside the Union and Nigerian flags.
A card from officers, ratings and civilian staff of the Nigerian Navy wished him “many happy returns”, in an effusive message reading, in part: “May the Almighty God continue to shower his blessings upon you with more wisdom and good health as you strive to serve humanity as a Prince of Wales and most distinguished gentleman.”
As he disembarked, he was serenaded with three ringing cheers of ‘hip hip hooray’ in his honour.
Later the prince warned he fears leaving a ‘totally destroyed environment’ for the unborn grandchild expected by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The prince issued his warning to Nigerian business leaders, saying: “As you know I’m about to have another grandchild I suspect some of you might have children or even grandchildren.
“It worries me deeply that we are going to leave behind a totally destroyed environment for these poor children to inherit. It ain’t gonna happen in the future, it’s actually happening rapidly.”
Charles told a meeting of A4S – his sustainability project – how plastics are ruining the ocean and creating dead zones at the Kingfisher Club, in Lagos.
He said: “Everything is part of a throwaway society that surely has to change otherwise we will disappear under a mountain of rubbish and pollution.
“It seems to me people like yourselves have a hugely important role to play as we face probably the greatest challenge ever faced by our global economy. So there’s a more and more urgent need for real leadership.”
After the round table discussion, the Prince enjoyed a reception with the business leaders, where he was congratulated on his upcoming 70th birthday by an artist the same age – but discovered that not everybody works as hard as him.
Kolade Oshinowo, a distinguished Nigerian painter, was showing the Prince some of his art works in acrylic and oil at a reception hosted by the British Council in Lagos.
“So do you teach?” Charles asked him. “No, I retired,” the artist said. “I’m 70.”
The heir to the throne, who is still gearing up to take on the big job he has trained to do all his life, said: “So we’re the same age. It’s my 70th birthday next week.”
Oshinowo, who retired when he was 60 and celebrated his 70th in February, replied: ‘I am very happy for you.’
At the reception for people who work in the arts, Charles met some of Nigeria’s biggest music and film stars and told them how he had helped talented young artists through The Prince’s Trust.
He also told them of his love for African highlife music – he and Camilla were photographed dancing to highlife at a state banquet in Ghana earlier this week – and pidgin, which is spoken widely across Nigeria. “I just love it. It makes me laugh so much,” he said.
Among the music performers there was singer and songwriter Mr Eazi, who has a worldwide following including a big fan base in Britain.
The star welcomed the royal visit and said Britain remained his number one market for streaming sales. “He said he really liked highlife. He also talked about pidgin. I use a lot of pidgin in my music. I mix it with other languages,” he said.
Nollywood stars including actress Adesua Etomi and Zik Zulu told the Prince how Nigeria’s film industry now employed two million young people and contributed 2 per cent of the country’s GDP.
They said they planned to make a short 10-minute video showcasing their industry’s talent and send it to the Prince.
Dancers sang Charles praises as they performed for him when he arrived and left.
Charles had touched down in Lagos without Camilla as he completes the final stage of his African tour alone.
He looked in high spirits as he was given a red carpet welcome after landing in the Nigerian city.
Camilla. 71, flew back on a scheduled flight to London on Tuesday following a day of engagements in Abuja on Monday.
The Duchess of Cornwall also joined her husband on the first two stops of her tour in The Gambia and Ghana.
The couple have been touring the countries on behalf of the British government, Clarence House announced last month.
Charles will return to the UK at the end of this week following the nine-day tour, in time for his 70th birthday celebrations next week.
The Prince of Wales has cut out a stop of a trip to Nigeria over security concerns, following months of deadly clashes between nomadic herders and farmers in the restive region.
Prince Charles and his second wife, Camilla, arrived in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Tuesday, on the tail end of a West African tour that has included Gambia and Ghana.
They were expected to travel to Nigeria’s central city of Jos on Thursday, the last day of their stay, to discuss peace-building and conflict resolution.
“Due to operational constraints beyond our control, we have decided at this time not to include Jos during their royal highnesses’ visit to Nigeria,” said a British foreign office spokeswoman on Monday.
“We are delighted to have an exciting programme of activity in Abuja and Lagos which will showcase those issues close to the Prince’s and the Duchess’s hearts,’ she said.
“The decision was taken upon advice from the Nigerian government and others involved in security and operational aspects of the visit.”
Jos, the Plateau state capital of about one million people, is nestled in the hills of central Nigeria and has frequently been the scene of violence.
Plateau state lies in Nigeria’s so-called Middle Belt that separates the predominantly Muslim north from the largely Christian south.
It has long been a hotbed of ethnic, sectarian and religious tensions that flare up during election season.
Nigerians are set to vote in hotly contested presidential polls in February 2019.
Culled from Daily Mail.
from The Nation Nigeria http://thenationonlineng.net/echoes-of-a-princes-visit-to-nigeria/