Prince Harry and Meghan arrive in Nigeria for Invictus Games, to meet injured soldiers – The Journal

Britain’s Prince Harry leaves after attending a 10th anniversary Thanksgiving ceremony for the Invictus Games Foundation at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, Wednesday, May 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, arrived in Nigeria Friday to champion the Invictus Games, which he founded to help rehabilitate injured and ill service members and veterans, including Nigerian soldiers fighting a 14 year war. war against Islamic extremists.

The couple, visiting the West African country for the first time at the invitation of its military, arrived in the capital, Abuja, early in the morning, according to defense spokesperson Brigadier General . General Tukur Gusau.

Harry and Meghan will meet wounded soldiers and their families in what Nigerian officials said was a show of support aimed at improving the morale and well-being of soldiers.

“This engagement with Invictus gives us the opportunity to get our soldiers back,” Abidemi Marquis, director of sports at Nigeria’s defense headquarters, told reporters on Thursday.

Harry served in Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter co-pilot gunner, after which he founded the Invictus Games in 2014 to offer veterans and injured service members the challenge of competing in sporting 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 games and meet with local non-governmental organizations in Abuja and Lagos who receive their support. Meghan will also co-host an event on women leaders with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the World Trade Organization, according to their spokesperson Charlie Gipson.

News of Meghan’s visit has excited some in Nigeria, where her life – and her association with the British royal family – is closely followed.

Nigeria’s military has touted the Invictus Games as likely to contribute to the recovery of thousands of its troops who have been fighting local Islamic extremists Boko Haram and their factions since 2009, when they launched an insurgency.

“Eighty percent of our Soldiers who have participated in this recovery program are doing better (and) their life outlook is positive,” said Marquis, the Army athletic director.

“The recovery program gave them the opportunity to improve their self-esteem, improve their mental health and emotional intelligence. »