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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ‘BRITISH Government: A Thief & Dictator’-Steve Franklin, President, Nigerian American Press Association

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HE is originally from Europe, an American widely traveled journalist, a historian, opinionated writer, an author, President of Nigerian American Press Association (NAPA) a famous media association of Nigerians and American journalists with over 100 memberships. He’s a very outspoken media professional who passionately follow events in Africa. He hates cheat, lies and dictatorship. In this 30 Minutes interactive session with SAMSON SHOAGA, NAIJA STANDARD EDITOR, Steve Franklin give reasons why he condemns British Government as a Thief and Dictator. He chronicles several vices imbibed in Britain as they continually squanders Nigeria’s Stolen Wealth kept in Britain’s Bank Account for their own rapid development. Also, he talked about the latest show of shame by David Cameron in UK Anti-Corruption Summit.

 

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Q: How do you view the on-going Anti-Corruption Summit in Britain?

A: As far as I am concerned, I know that from the outset of United Kingdom Anti-Corruption Summit, David Cameron, British Prime Minister had convened that meeting to embarrass and disgrace Nigeria, which was why he referred to ‘Nigeria and Afghanistan’ as two most corrupt nations in the world during his pre-summit chat with Queen Elizabeth II. Were it not the video camera that captured that scathing and derogatory statement, Cameron could have denied he did not utter it. Britain is not a saint, but very corrupt. In the present list of Transparency International Corruption Index, UK occupied 10thposition with Germany, Luxembourg.

You are aware in the UK Anti Corruption Summit, Cobus de Swardt, Managing Director of Transparency International reacted to Cameron comments regarding Nigeria, Afghanistan as ‘Most Corrupt’ when he said: ‘There is no doubt that historically, Nigeria and Afghanistan have had very high levels of corruption, and that continues to this day. But the leaders of those countries have sent strong signals that they want things to change, and the London Anti-Corruption Summit creates an opportunity for all the countries present to sign up to a new era. This affects the UK as much as other countries we should not forget that by providing a safe haven for corrupt assets, the UK and its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are a big part of the world’s corruption problem.’

 

I can tell you that majority of British politicians and Nigerians are presently condemning Cameron for trying to place Britain as a saint, immunized from stealing. In Africa, I have heard lots of people say ‘A Pot cannot be calling the Kettle Black.’ May be you don’t know yet, British opposition politicians and anti-corruption campaigners have said Cameron was ill-placed to criticize Nigeria when Britain’s own record on combating corruption was less than glorious.

Unilaterally, they have said that corrupt politicians and business people from Nigeria and many other countries have laundered their ill-gotten gains in Britain’s property market, while London also has ties to numerous tax havens routinely used to hide stolen money to develop their country. There will be an Agreement to be signed at the end of the summit on Reparation of Nigeria’ stolen funds in United Kingdom.

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Q: Are you sure after Nigeria may have signed the Agreement on Stolen Funds Reparation, the UK Government will return the money?

A:Based on Britain’s body language, I am sure they are not ready to return Nigeria’s stolen funds stashed in various banks which I will reveal shortly soon. They act and see themselves as Dictator, suffering from Colonial Master’s Syndrome. They want to use Nigeria’s stolen funds to build and rapidly develop their own nation to their optimal satisfaction. When they are through, they will then recycle same stolen funds into their banks and begin to give to Nigeria in piece meal after a long waiting period. They will then attach stringent conditions for Nigeria to follow in implementing the piece meal funds reparation. If they feel that the returned funds is not well executed according to British laid down rules, they will delay releasing other stolen funds.

 

My position is further confirmed by a reported statement from British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, who said that the UK government had no plan to keep the money, but there are certain legal requirements that Nigeria had not met to ease the recovering of the money. He agreed the money belong to the Nigerian people but left a caveat that they ‘need to make sure that the money is well spent when it returns to Nigeria’. They need to make sure they ‘can do that in a proper way, which is fully in compliance with the British law.’ What an insult. Nigeria is a Sovereign nation like Britain, with laid down rules on procedures. Britain must do away with its Master-servant mentality. They cannot enforce British laws on Nigerian laws. That is why I call them Dictator of the highest order. Nigeria had her independence since October 1, 1960, yet you are not willing to let the country grow, progress forward. What a shame…

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Q: Can you mention those British Banks where Nigerian politicians in the know of British Government hides Nigeria’s stolen funds?

A: Let me say here that British Government is government built mostly on stolen funds from the money pilfered by some politicians in those countries and kept in their banks. It is strange that UK knows those funds were stolen from Nigeria yet they instruct their banks to collect such funds, so that they may use the funds through backdoor and play it around in a circle, when tired they return the funds into the banks. It is that simple. It will shock you to hear that British banks being used by UK Government to hide Nigeria’s funds are: HSBC, Barclays, Natwest, & Royal Bank of Scotland. Till date, noBritish bank has been publicly fined or even named by the regulators for taking corrupt funds, whether willingly or through negligence.

Recently, an International corruption watchdog said high street banks in the United Kingdom could have helped fuel corruption in Nigeria by accepting millions of dollars in deposits from dubious politicians in the west African nation.

How come five leading UK banks have failed to adequately investigate the source of tens of millions of dollars taken from two Nigerian governors accused of corruption in the past. Robert Palmer, a campaigner at Global Witness corroborated my position when he said ‘Banks are quick to penalise ordinary customers for minor infractions but seem to be less concerned about dirty money passing through their accounts.

He also said ‘Large scale corruption is simply not possible without a bank willing to process payments from dodgy sources, or hold accounts for corrupt politicians in the knowledge of the government.

I strongly share in the belief that Financial Services Authority (FSA) have failed woefully to do more to prevent money laundering through British banks. The fact that they reportedly acknowledged that in accepting the money, Barclays, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and HSBC, as well as Switzerland’s UBS, might not have broken the law, is a shame on British Government.

In Britain, banks helps in facilitating corruption. Name one British bank that has been publicly fined or even named by the regulators for taking corrupt funds, whether willingly or through negligence or sacked. In United States, banks that breach the law have been fined hundreds of millions of dollars for handling dirty money. Barclays, HSBC and UBS are all members of the Wolfsberg Group, an international body set up in 2000 to try to improve global anti-money laundering procedures. This revelation was made by Robert based on court documents from cases the Nigerian government has brought in London in an attempt to get funds returned that it said were stolen by two former state governors: Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa state and Joshua Dariye of Plateau state.

Alamieyeseigha was accused of corruption after he was caught with about $1.6m in cash at his London home. He was briefly jailed in Nigeria after pleading guilty to embezzlement and money laundering charges two years later. Dariye was arrested in 2004 in London and was found to have purchased properties worth millions of dollars even though his legitimate earnings amounted to the equivalent of $63,500 a year. James Ibori, a-two time former Governor of oil rich Delta State was arrested for corruption, pleaded guilty and sentenced to 13 year in British prison. Don’t you know Ibori’s stolen fund in UK banks are parts of the money Britain is using for their country’s development?

 

How about Nigeria’s former minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison Madueke, who took off to UK to cool off and kept varying staggering amount in UK banks? Though I read in Nigerian papers that she will be prosecuted by the Nigerian Government on how she looted Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC). The questions are: What is happening to those huge funds she stole and kept in British banks? Who manage the funds in UK? How long has these stolen funds been hidden in UK banks? What is British Government doing with the bulk of the money of Nigerian politician accused of corruption? It is not only the person that steals money that is corrupt, the country that hid the stolen funds is far corrupt than the person who stole the money because Britain is by their action saying ‘You may go and steal as a politician, but make sure you bank your stolen finds with us, we will help you take good care of it.

 

 

Q: Which other reasons do you have to have labeled Britain a Thief nation?

A: Majority of Nigeria’s stolen artifacts which the UK Government used in decorating their British Museum in London dates back to over 500 years ago. Majority of the artifacts were stolen by British aunthorities on the soil of Nigeria from Benin Kingdom. Very famous Benin bronze plaques stolen in 1897 when the British launched a punitive expedition to the venerable Benin City, heart of an old kingdom headed by a Royal King Oba Ovonramwem. UK Troops sack ed his palace purposely to steal Nigeria’s assets, eventually stole the bronze plaques that detailed the history and customs of the kingdom and exiled him-turning the kingdom into part of modern day Nigeria. How would you describe the British Government in this scenario, is that not a Thief? One of the Nigeria’s stolen famous artifacts is: Okukor.

DAVID_7[1]Let me remind you that after the sacking of Benin Kingdom, the bronzes were taken by the British to pay for the expedition. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office sold them off, and around 900 ended up in the world’s greatest museums, including the British Museum, which has one of the largest sets. One of the sculptures, the bronze cockerel known as Okukor, ended up at Jesus College after it was donated by Captain George William Neville, a former British Army officer whose son had been a student there. The gift was fitting; the cockerel is the mascot of the college, after the surname of its founder, Bishop John Alcock.

The sculpture in question depicts a proud, strong animal – an embodiment of power. Though its value is not clear because so few bronzes have been sold recently, in 1989 a bronze memorial head from Benin was auctioned at Christie’s in London for more than £1 million. The Benin Bronzes are a set of artworks created by the Edo people for centuries starting from the 13th Century to celebrate the Benin Kingdom. When colonialists first discovered the pieces adorning the Oba’s royal palace, they were amazed that such incredible artwork could be created by people so ‘primitive’. Also stolen is Elgin Marbles, a Greek statute, which the British Government manipulating to claim.

When the Benin Bronzes first arrived in Europe, they transformed the way people saw Africa. Europeans were surprised that Africans — a people whom they assumed to be backward — could make such refined artwork. Till date, they remain some of the most celebrated artworks to emerge from Africa, but much like Greece’s Elgin Marbles, they are mired in controversy due to the circumstances in which they were acquired. Can you now tell me if Britain is not a Thief?

 

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Fidelity Bank Commends Air Peace’s Performance

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Fidelity Bank Commends Air Peace’s Performance

 

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Fidelity Bank Commends Air Peace’s Performance

. Celebrates Airline For The Commencement of the Lagos-London Route

LAGOS – Fidelity Bank Plc has commended Air Peace’s performance since it commenced flight operations about 10 years ago.

 

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Fidelity Bank Commends Air Peace’s Performance

Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, the Managing Director, Fidelity Bank Plc gave the commendation over the weekend in Lagos during a special event organised for the airline by the bank to celebrate Air Peace for the milestone of commencement of direct flights from Lagos to London.

According to Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, who doubled as the host at the event, the airline has upheld the principles of financial discipline and good corporate governance since inception, while it has also been very loyal to the bank.

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She expressed delight that the bank had the airline as one of its major clients since inception, stressing that the Bank was celebrating the airline’s milestone of launching direct flight service to London and other developments it would attain in the future.

The event, which held at the Civic Center, Victoria Island, Lagos, had in attendance several bank Managing Directors, stakeholders in the aviation sector, media personalities and well-wishers of both brands.

Speaking at the event, an elated Dr. Allen Onyema, the Chairman, Air Peace, observed that it was not rosy for the airline to attain its status and expressed gratitude to the flying public, the various aviation stakeholders, the media and the government for the continued support since it launched in 2014.

He specifically acknowledged the pivotal role played by Engr. Ben Adeyileka, the former Acting Director-General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), in helping the airline secure its Airline Operator Certificate (AOC).

He further commended Fidelity Bank for the consistent support and stressed that the bank had contributed to the success story of the airline.

“I call it our journey with Fidelity Bank. I did not envisage this day would come when an indigenous institution would be celebrating another indigenous institution. Fidelity supports real business. They keep removing people from the streets of poverty. Let other banks emulate Fidelity,” he said.

He reiterated that Air Peace was set up primarily to create employment, not for profitmaking, stressing that the motivation behind the business was to empower Nigerians economically.

“Air Peace was not borne out of the intent to profiteer, but to create jobs. Air Peace was not established because I wanted more money but because of the conviction that running an airline would create massive job opportunities. That was why we went into aviation”, he remarked.

He restated the airline’s belief in the Nigerian project, maintaining that supporting the airline meant supporting the growth of the Nigerian economy.

Onyema further craved for the support of all Nigerians on the Lagos-London route, which it opened on March 30, 2024.

He explained that the airline needed to sustain the route, stressing that this could only be done through support from Nigerians.

He said: “For every penny you pay to Air Peace, you pay to sustain the jobs of thousands of Nigerians and support economic growth.

“Air Peace flies you from any of our domestic routes to London. So, you can fly from Yola to London via Lagos. From the local airport, you are taken to the international airport free of charge with a seamless luggage transfer.”

He pledged that the airline would continue to fully adhere to the standard of safety and lauded the management and staff of Air Peace for their efforts in realising the London dream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dangote Group is the elixir of Gateway int’l Trade Fair – OGUNCCIMA

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Dangote: NANS Write President Tinubu Over mismanagement Of CTIN Funds (Video)

Dangote Group is the elixir of Gateway int’l Trade Fair – OGUNCCIMA

…Subsidiaries hit Ogun trade fair

 

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Ogun State Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (OGUNCCIMA) has described the Dangote Group as the driving force of the Gateway International Trade Fair.

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This is just as companies under the leading African Indigenous Conglomerate, Dangote Industries Limited, hit the trade fair with their various products as part of strategies to increase market share and deepen customers’ affection.

 

 

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The President of the chamber, Engr. Mike Akingbade, stated this when Ogun state governor, Dapo Abiodun officially opened the 13th edition of the Trade Fair at the M.K.O Abiola Trade Fair Complex, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta

Akingbade lauded the support of Dangote Group in sustaining the Trade Fair, which he noted has led to the prosperity of the state and economic freedom for the people.

“A special commendation must be given to Dangote Industries Limited which has remained the major sponsor of the Gateway International Trade Fair for many years. The committed support of the Dangote Group is the elixir with which the trade fair is activated and OGUNCCINA is eternally grateful for the wonderful gesture of the company,” he said.

He said the 13th Gateway International Trade Fair with the theme: “Achieving Economic Prosperity through Business Connection, Trade and Investment, “is aimed among others, to allow businesses to expand their reach, access new markets, and diversify their customer base. He emphasized that forging robust business connections, participating in trade activities, and making strategic investments will unlock new markets, stimulate economic growth, and enhance overall prosperity.

The Regional Sales Director, Dangote Cement PLC, Lagos/Ogun, Mr Tunde Mabogunje in his goodwill address, assured Ogun state government and OGUNCIMMA of the continuous support of the company, noting that the Group is dedicated to enhancing the prosperity of Nigeria by creating opportunities for Nigerians and businesses in the country.

Mabogunje said visitors to the Dangote Group’s pavilion at the fair will have the opportunity of buying products of these companies at reasonably reduced prices as the Dangote businesses will be selling at discounted prices.

He also hinted that the Dangote Refinery will be part of the next edition of the Trade Fair.

“We want to appreciate Ogun state for bringing us as a partner. We want to assure you that we will be here next year bigger. By next year, our refinery will be part of the Trade Fair,” he said.

Governor Dapo Abiodun who visited the Dangote pavilion immediately after performing the ribbon-cutting ceremony, commended the company and others for supporting the Trade Fair which he noted is aimed at stimulating economic growth.

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Nigeria Launches New Fiscal Incentives to Revitalise Oil & Gas Sector, Aiming to Attract $10 Billion Investment

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Nigeria Launches New Fiscal Incentives to Revitalise Oil & Gas Sector, Aiming to Attract $10 Billion Investment

Nigeria Launches New Fiscal Incentives to Revitalise Oil & Gas Sector, Aiming to Attract $10 Billion Investment

 

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… as FG endorses consolidated guidelines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sahara Weekly Reports That Today, in a move to further revitalise the oil and gas industry’s contribution to the Nigerian Economy, Wale Edun, OFR, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, presided over a signing ceremony at the Federal Ministry of Finance headquarters in Abuja endorsing the Consolidated Guidelines for the implementation of Fiscal Incentives for the Oil & Gas Sector – a cornerstone of the Presidential Directive aimed at enhancing the Nigerian oil & gas sector’s global competitiveness whilst stimulating economic growth.

 

 

 

 

Nigeria Launches New Fiscal Incentives to Revitalise Oil & Gas Sector, Aiming to Attract $10 Billion Investment

 

 

 

 

 

As disclosed during the signing, the Presidential Directives were developed and coordinated by the Special Adviser to the President on Energy, Mrs. Olu Verheijen to ensure a competitive framework for the Nigerian oil & gas industry. These Consolidated guidelines for the fiscal incentives are based on extensive collaboration across Finance and Petroleum Ministries and involved several key regulatory bodies including the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

 

According to Mrs. Verheijen, these new measures have been designed to deliver a competitive Internal Rate of Return (IRR) for Oil & Gas Projects and attract over $10 billion in new investments within the next 12-18 months. They also underscore Nigeria’s commitment to reaching its long term oil production target of 4 million barrels per day whilst enhancing the reliability of gas supply for to boost export earnings and fuel Nigeria’s industrialization.

 

Mrs. Verheijen disclosed that among the guidelines signed were the NUPRC Guideline on Hydrocarbon Liquids Content in a Non-Associated Gas (NAG) Field, essential for accurately categorising and quantifying the hydrocarbon liquid content in these fields. Additional guidelines focused on the applicability of tax credits and allowances for Non-Associated Gas Greenfield Development and the Midstream Capital and Gas Utilization Allowance, providing taxpayers with clarity on the computation of these benefits.

 

HM Edun, in his remarks, thanked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for signing the directive in February 2024 to engender growth in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, which had stagnated for over the last decade. He also emphasised the potential of the guidelines, saying, “The idea is to create an atmosphere conducive to international competitiveness such that investment comes in. And in this case, we know it’s foreign direct investment”.

 

The signing ceremony was attended by various stakeholders, including NNPC Limited, Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) and the Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG), further highlighting Nigeria’s unified approach toward reinvigorating its oil and gas sector.

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