President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said the United Kingdom under the late Queen Elizabeth stood by Nigeria during torrid times.
He said the UK during the Civil War between 1967 and 1970 supported the unity of Nigeria, adding that the Queen visited the country twice before her demise.
The President spoke during a condolence visit to the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, at her residence in Abuja on Saturday. He was represented by the Secretary to the Government to the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
Buhari said, “We have maintained very close ties with the monarchy. She was a very gracious and elegant queen. For the purposes of remembrance, the fact is that 90 per cent of Nigerians do not know any monarch in the UK other than the queen. We welcome the new king and we look forward to a strong working relationship with the UK.
“They have been a very strong ally even in the midst of our difficult time during the Biafran war; they stood for the indivisibility of the Nigerian state, supported and ensured that we overcame that problem.
We are partnering to deal with the insurgency so that it doesn’t overwhelm us. They have always stood as a very strong ally.”
Buhari added, “The head of the commonwealth to which we belong. Not only that, she was the head of state for three years from 1960 to 1963 and when we became a republic she ceased to be. We have had very close ties with the queen. She visited the country twice; first in 1953 when she spent about 20 days visiting different towns, and the second one was in 2003 during president Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure.”
Laing had said on Friday that a condolence book would be opened at the High Commission Office in the Central Business District area of Abuja from September 12 to 16 and on 19th from 11am to 3pm daily.
King Charles III was on Saturday afternoon proclaimed as the king. The event held at St. James’ Palace, which is the most senior royal palace in the United Kingdom. The event was steeped in ancient tradition and political symbolism.
Charles had emerged as the king following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth, but Saturday’s event confirmed his ascendancy to the throne. The Queen died peacefully on Thursday at her Balmoral Estate in Scotland.
The Washington Post reported that the Accession Council convened on Saturday for what was considered “a constitutional formality to recognise Charles’ sovereignty”.
He read and signed an oath to uphold the security of the Church in Scotland, where there is a separation of powers between the Church and State. He later signed copies of the declaration, with his wife, Queen Consort Camilla; son, Prince William; and Prime Minister, Liz Truss, also signing the declaration as witnesses.
Prime Minister Truss and senior members of her government have also taken oaths of loyalty to King Charles III in the House of Commons.
House of Commons Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, was the first to pledge he would “bear true allegiance to his Majesty King Charles, his heirs and successors,” followed by the longest-serving lawmakers and the prime minister.
Normal parliamentary business has been suspended during a period of mourning for the queen. The House of Commons is holding a rare Saturday session so that lawmakers could pay tribute to the late monarch, according to the New York Times.
The late Queen Elizabeth’s funeral is scheduled for Monday, September 19, according to New York Times. The event, which would hold in Westminster Abbey, is expected to be attended by world leaders.
The remains of the late monarch are expected to lie in state for four days and mourners would be able to pay their respect. On Sunday (today), the Queen’s coffin would be taken from Balmoral to Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh ahead of the state funeral.
On Monday, the Queen’s coffin would be moved by procession to St Giles’ Cathedral, accompanied by the King and members of the royal family. Currently, the coffin is covered with the Royal Standard, with a wreath of flowers placed on top.