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Prince Harry, Meghan arrive in Nigeria to champion the Invictus Games and meet with wounded soldiers

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Abuja, May 10 (AP) Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, arrived in Nigeria on Friday to champion the Invictus Games, which he founded to aid the rehabilitation of wounded and sick service members and veterans, among them Nigerian soldiers fighting a 14-year war against Islamic extremists.

The couple, visiting the West African nation for the first time on the invitation of its military, arrived in the capital, Abuja, early in the morning, according to defence spokesman Brig. Gen. Tukur Gusau.

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Harry and Meghan will be meeting with wounded soldiers and their families in what Nigerian officials have said is a show of support to improve the soldiers’ morale and wellbeing.

“This engagement with Invictus is giving us the opportunity for the recovery of our soldiers,” Abidemi Marquis, the director of sports at Nigeria’s Defense Headquarters, told reporters on Thursday.

Harry served in Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter copilot gunner, after which he founded the Invictus Games in 2014 to offer wounded veterans and servicemembers the challenge of competing in sports events similar to the Paralympics. Nigeria was among the nations that participated in last year’s edition of the games.

During their stay, they will attend basketball and volleyball matches and will meet with local non-governmental organizations in Abuja and Lagos that are receiving support from them.

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Meghan will also co-host an event on women in leadership with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organization, according to their spokesman Charlie Gipson.

The news of Meghan’s visit excited some in Nigeria where her life — and association with the British royal family — is closely followed.

The Nigerian military has touted the Invictus Games as one which could help the recovery of thousands of its personnel who have been fighting the homegrown Boko Haram Islamic extremists and their factions since 2009 when they launched an insurgency.

“Eighty per cent of our soldiers that have been involved in this recovery programme are getting better (and) their outlook to life is positive,” Marquis, the military’s sports director, said.

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“The recovery programme has given them an opportunity to improve their personal self-esteem, to improve their mental health and emotional intelligence.” (AP)

GRS

 

 

 

 

 

 

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