African Burns Supper

A Blantyre man has told how he raised a glass to Scotland’s national bard at a Burns Supper for 100 people in NIGERIA.

Civil Servant David Smith, 24, celebrated poet Robert Burns at a diplomatic event hosted by officials from the British High Commission and the Department for International Development (DFID), based in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

The event was also celebrating over £300million of trade deals being signed between the UK and Nigeria at last week’s UK-Africa Investment Summit.

Organiser David smuggled in over 13 kilograms of haggis in his suitcase to help make the traditional Scottish knees-up happen on Burns’ birthday on Saturday.

He laughed: “Although Burns was worked as an exciseman, I’m sure he’d have approved of us smuggling over some haggis to help spread the word of his work.

“I emptied two Waitrose stores, a Tesco and a Co-Op of their haggis supplies to bring it over from London in my suitcase.

“The traditional and vegetarian haggis, alongside shortbread and plentiful whisky, made sure our ceilidh was in full swing… until the inevitable power cut.”

Guests from Nigeria, America, France, Canada, Finland, Germany and Spain joined the Scottish diplomats to toast Burns at the British Village social club in Abuja.

Haggis was served up along with Nigerian snacks, including Jollof rice.

Nigerian ‘clan elder’ Air Commodore Paul Warwick CBE was a guest of honour at the top table and DFID Nigeria Deputy Head of Country John Primrose performed address to the haggis.

David added: “The temperature was 36 °C so wearing a full kilt was a big challenge owing to several pounds of fabric weighing you down in the West African heat.

“The British High Commission in Nigeria has more than ten Scots across its ranks, who are always keen to showcase Scotland’s culture and share a dram.

“The ceilidh dancing ended at 4.30am and I think quite a few guests suffered sore heads the following day.

“Robert Burns was very much an internationalist, so I’m quite sure he would have approved of the UK-Africa Investment Summit helping deliver more investment, jobs and economic growth to benefit people and businesses across Nigeria and the UK.”

The UK-Africa Investment Summit was hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and saw African leaders and delegations from 20 countries attend the event in London last Monday.

Organised by DFID, the event saw over £6.5billion of commercial deals being signed by British companies to help deliver jobs, growth and investment across Africa and the UK.


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