Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Nigeria, promote Invictus Games

Prince Harry, Meghan Visit Nigeria, Campaign For Mental HealthBritain’s Prince Harry (L), Duke of Sussex, and Britain’s Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, arrive at the Lightway Academy in Abuja on May 10, 2024, as they visit Nigeria as part of celebrations of the Invictus Games anniversary. (Photo by Kola SULAIMON / AFP)

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle visited Nigeria on Friday, May 10, 2024, as part of their ongoing efforts to promote the Invictus Games, the international sporting event founded by Prince Harry for wounded, injured, and sick servicemen and women.

The royal couple arrived in the Nigerian capital Abuja, where they were greeted by a vibrant drum and dance performance from the Igbo ethnic group. Prince Harry and Meghan then visited the Lightway Academy, where they were warmly welcomed by the students. 

During their visit to the school, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex participated in an event focused on mental health awareness for the students. The event aimed to highlight the importance of mental well-being and provide support and resources for the young attendees.

The visit to Nigeria is part of a larger tour by Prince Harry and Meghan to promote the Invictus Games, which will be held in a yet-to-be-announced location later this year. The games provide a platform for wounded, injured, and sick service personnel to compete in various sports, fostering a sense of camaraderie and promoting their recovery and rehabilitation.

The royal couple's visit to Nigeria has been well-received by the local community, with many expressing their support for the Invictus Games and the couple's efforts to raise awareness about mental health issues.

“If you take anything away from today, just know that mental health affects every single person,” he told students, wearing a traditional Nigerian bead necklace around his neck.

“The more you talk about it the more you can kick stigma away,” they said.

AFP reports that Meghan joined the Duke of Sussex on the stage before they left for a meeting with Nigerian military commanders as part of the Invictus programme.

“It was really cool. I just wanted to touch him,” said student Nnena Edeh, 13,as the prince left the school. “It was really inspiring.”

Prince Harry was in London on Wednesday to mark the 10th anniversary of the games. As with all his trips to the UK since he moved to the United States in 2020, his visit prompted fresh speculation over a reconciliation with his family.

Harry, a former army captain who served as a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan, founded Invictus in 2014. Since then the games have expanded boosting rehabilitation through sports.

Last year, former Nigerian soldier Peacemaker Azuegbulam, who lost his leg in combat, became the first African to win a gold at the games in Germany.

Nigeria’s military said on Thursday that Harry would take part in a sporting event in the capital and also travel to Kaduna in Nigeria’s northwest to visit a military hospital and speak with troops wounded in combat.

He would later travel to the country’s economic capital Lagos.

Nigeria’s military forces are battling armed groups on several fronts.

A grinding jihadist insurgency in the country’s northeast has killed more than 40,000 people and displaced another 2 million more since 2009.

In northwestern and central states, heavily armed criminal gangs known locally as bandits carry out mass kidnappings for ransom and raid villages from camps hidden deep in remote forests, AFP concluded in its report.

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