Lagos State Governor Receives Prince Harry, Wife

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, and Meghan, on Sunday, arrived in Lagos from Abuja to continue a three-day visit to Nigeria.

The royal couple arrived on board an Air Peace flight.

The British Royal couple was received by the Chairman of the airline, Dr Allen Onyema, top-tier military officials, and other key government functionaries.

They were also received with a cultural display by a dance troupe at the Presidential Wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal II, Ikeja.

The British Royal couple was later received by the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his wife, Dr. Ibijoke, and some members of the State Executive Council at the Lagos House, Marina.

Prince Harry, accompanied by his wife, Meghan, is on a three-day visit to Nigeria to promote the Invictus Games, which he founded in 2014.

The Invictus Games are aimed at raising funds and supporting serving members of the military as well as veterans to overcome their physical and mental illnesses or injuries, which would help them develop a sense of belonging and increase self-esteem.

Speaking to journalists after a closed-door meeting with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Governor Sanwo-Olu praised the British Royal couple for the work they are doing with Nigeria’s military men, especially on issues around mental health.

He said: “We are honored to receive them (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) at the Lagos House, Marina. We are excited about the ideas and what they are planning to do, especially with the office of the Chief of Defense Staff, General Christopher Musa, and his wife, Mrs. Lilian Musa.

“For Prince Harry, it has been a very interesting and informative trip to the country. He has seen a lot. Part of the things we are hoping he will take away is the diversity and extent of how big our country is, how we continue to ensure that we live together in peace and harmony, and what role Lagos plays in the whole conversation.

“They have been to Kaduna, Abuja, and now Lagos. I am sure they have their own experience of what Nigeria looks like. We have extended an additional invitation to them so that they can always come back when they want to.

“We are indeed happy for what they are doing, especially for our military men, on the conversation around mental health issues and how they can galvanize their various NGOs to ensure that people who require their support, both in the military and private, can seek that support.

“Mental health issues are all around us. Denial and stigmatization, are some of the things we talked about. And more importantly, at what point in Nigeria can we have the Invictus Games that Prince Harry is known for so that the true Nigerian competitiveness can also be reflected in those games”.

Nigeria, the first African nation to join Invictus Community – Harry

Meanwhile, on Saturday Prince Harry said the Invictus community was privileged to have Nigeria become the first African country to join it, saying the plans for the new Invictus center made him emotional.

Prince Harry stated this at The Defence Headquarters after the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher Musa had unveiled plans for the construction of the state-of-the-art Invictus Centre to facilitate complete recovery and rehabilitation of wounded soldiers and veterans of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

The unveiling was done at a reception in honor of the British Royal couple who are on a private visit to Nigeria at the invitation of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in Abuja.

The center is expected to be equipped with world-class facilities that would aid the recovery of wounded soldiers and offer them post-traumatic stress remedies as a result of the trauma they might have experienced during operations.

Prince Harry commended the Nigerian government for its support for the construction of the center to support the servicemen and women in their path to rehabilitation and recovery and acknowledgment of their sacrifices.

He said, “We hope that the warmth and hospitality that has been so graciously offered to us will then be extended through admiration and respect for the service members of their families long after we’re gone.

“As some of you know, when one person serves, the whole family serves and we cannot leave families behind in the healing journey.

“When one person’s trauma affects those around them, the healing of that one person can affect and improve the entire community,” he said.

The Minister said the country was ready to host the Invictus Games, saying the government was enthusiastic about continuing discussion to determine the possibility and necessary modalities.

He gave assurance that the construction of the state-of-the-art Invictus Centre would be completed expeditiously.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, represented by the Chief of Administration, Maj.-Gen. Jimmy Akpor, said the Nigerian Army had had a fair share of the number of wounded troops.

Lagbaja said the army had participated in many internal situations operations, as well as peace support operations and peacekeeping missions at home and abroad that had left many personnel either wounded, injured, sick, or incapacitated.

He said the army had through the support of the government and the people of Nigeria, ensured continued medical and social psychosocial support both at home and abroad for its wounded service men and women. According to him, he has approved the sum of N88 million to procure limb protestors for one of the wounded soldiers to be able to upgrade his games.

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