British High Commission Okays Edo For Investments

The United Kingdom has restated her commitment towards expanding business engagements with some Nigerian states in a bid to improve their economic development opportunities.

The British Deputy High Commissioner to Lagos, Laure Beaufils, gave the assurance after the presentation of a PricewaterhouseCoopers, PWC report on state-level business environment at the Edo State Government House in Benin City, the state capital.

She extolled the Godwin Obaseki-led administration for the ongoing reforms on land rights, tax harmonisation and proper data collection process for businesses to thrive in the state.

Laure Beaufils said: “There’s a lot currently underway, there is a wide variety like issues of land rights, tax harmonisation, like getting better data, information systems for increased governance and transparency. A lot of reforms is ongoing and a lot of positive changes that is encouraging.”

On his part, Governor Godwin Obaseki said his administration is doing all it can to create an enabling environment for business to thrive in the state.

“You know we are not ranked high in terms of obtaining building approvals, these are all the indicators people are looking for when they seek to do business in a particular environment.

“But the good news is that in the last six months or so, we have taken measures to correct all of these, launching our geographical information system, is to make very easy for people to obtain C of OS for people to transfer land titles,” the governor said.

The annual PwC reports evaluate the key sectors of opportunity for United Kingdom businesses in Nigeria.

UK, U.S. Partner Police On Human Rights Protection

UK, U.S. Train Nigerian Police On Human RightsRespect and protection of the rights of citizens has been described as the cornerstone of effective community policing.

The Director of U.S. International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs in Nigeria, Ms. Roselyn Wiesse, stated this at an advanced human rights training for officers of the Nigeria Police.

She said protecting the rights of citizens was the best way to gain the trust of communities in Nigeria, and to show the people that the Police was capable of protecting them from prevailing security threats.

Ms. Wiesse added that for Police to perform its functions creditably, it must prioritise the respect of citizens’ rights in the course of discharging its constitutional duties.

Elsewhere, the Nigerian Security and Justice Adviser at the British High Commission, Katrina Laird, also advised the Police to be conscious of the citizens while performing its duty.

Ms. Laird spoke at an event organised by the Commission to train Police officers in Nigeria’s northeast on how to perform effectively in a vulnerable environment without infringing on the rights of citizens.

She stressed the need for the Force to make room for trust on the parts of citizens in the performance of their duties.

On his part, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahm Idris, described the training as apt, considering the sensitive and vulnerable nature of Police operations in the northeast.

Other participants at the event urged participating officers to ensure the lessons learnt at these training reflect on their skills in their various operations.

Private Sector Should Partner With Govt. On Economic Development- Saraki

Private sector, Government, Economic development, saraki
Bukola Saraki

In moving the Nigerian economy forward and alleviating the problems facing the nation, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has urged the private sector to partner with the government.

According to him, this is why one of the first legislative initiatives, was to “review all the laws that made it difficult for people to do business in our country and also those that frustrated investors willing to come into our country”.

He said this while addressing guests at the first National Chevening Alumni
Leadership Summit which kicked off at the Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos, on November 18, 2016.

Calling on the Chevening alumni to take action, Mr Saraki said “we must create a system that enables the best minds to work effectively for the good of the country.

Private sector, Government, Economic development, saraki
John Momoh

Meanwhile, the Chairman Of Channels Television, Mr John Momoh, also addressing the Nigerian situation at the event, said Nigeria is replete with some inept and corrupt leadership.

“The gap in Nigeria is indisputable, Nigeria is replete with some inept and corrupt leadership which has been exacerbated by ethnic and sectional and sometimes religious biases, but! this doesn’t imply that we have never had good leaders, he said emphatically.

“Infact we have had many good leaders and some of which are present in this room today.

“A day like this is very important as it gives us an opportunity to meet with Nigeria’s great men and women.

“This is a time for us to reconnect, to swap success stories, a happy time to spend together and even much more a time to relish the experiences and values we all share.

“This morning, we will be able to brainstorm together on a matter of national importance: the economy.

Touching on issues such as corruption, he opined that “corruption has had far-reaching repercussions, including impairing the armed forces ability to combat the Boko Haram insurgency in the North east.

He also spoke of pipeline vandalism and how activities of the Niger Delta Militants have affected the nation which once solely depended on oil.

In line with the theme of the occasion, the Channels Chairman re-iterated the roles of the Chevening alumni, in bridging the leadership gap and ultimately improving the state of the nation.

“We must live beyond our capabilities, let’s dream big, develop leadership skills, and strive to sour beyond our own personal gifts.

“Let’s not wait for things to happen –  Instead, let us make things happen – Let us, as Chevening scholars initiate change.

“We must also help people to discover themselves – We should we can have our heads above the clouds But ensure that we have our feet firmly on the ground, sou that we do not alienate the people.

This according to him has been one of the short-comings of many leaders across the world.

“We must be able to lead ahead of our contemporaries – We must live deeper than our calamities” Mr Momoh challenged the alumni.

Private sector, Government, Economic development, sarakiOn a lighter note, the President of the Chevening Alumni Association of Nigeria (CAAN), Thomas Odemwingi, in his address of welcome, apologized on behalf of the executive, that since the inauguration of the association, it has only had few activities.

He however stated that the British High Commission, could attest to the fact that they have been involved in activities such as conducting interviews for schorlarships, for chevening programs, as well as send forth parties, among others.

He explained that the group was launched in August 2011, as a charity, while stating that the aim of the programme was to “plan what we are going to do at the different levels of governance and in the various geo-political zones”.

“For those of you that are being involved in one assignment or the other, I would like you to be very committed to this, so that at the end of the day, we would pass on the baton to a new generation”, Mr Odemwingi charged the guests”.

He stated that one of the achievements of the association was that it had “successfully made a progamme proposal for Chevening alumni programme funds.

The association president, went ahead to commend a number of people for their immense contributions to the association.

Organisers of the event restated that the Chevening / U.K government global scholarship programme, is aimed at individuals with strong academic and leadership potentials, to network extensively and study for a fully funded masters programme in the United Kingdom.

Private sector, Government, Economic development, saraki
Paul Arkwright

In his address, the British High Commissioner, Paul Ark wright, described the occasion as an “exciting new chapter in the story of this wonderful U.K/ Nigeria Partnership”.

Recalling the “spirits of the chevening awards” Mr Wright said:

“Chevening is a global programme that awards fully funded masters, to people who demonstrate full leadership potential.

“It is a phenomenal opportunity and the competition is fierce, none more so than here in Nigeria, where Chevening attracted more applicants than many other countries worldwide, last year.

Highlighting some of the problems faced by Nigerians, such as the economic recession and attempts to create a more diversified and inclusive government, he sxpressed that:

“The U.K is firmly committed to supporting these efforts”.

He also stated that part of the desires of the Chevening programme, is to empower Nigerians such that the problems being faced in the country, are not only solved by external forces but by Nigerians themselves, having acquired the necessary Knowledge and skills.

Mr Arkwright expressed appreciation towards guests which comprised alumni, industry experts among others.

Federal Government To Decongest Abuja Airport

Abuja AirportThe Federal Government will soon put in place security equipment at the domestic terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja in Nigeria.

Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, gave the indication when he received a delegation from the British High Commission, led by the Head of Aviation Security, Jankie Milies.

The decision, according to the Minister, would enable some airlines operate from there, without hindering the ongoing restructuring and remodelling works. It is also aimed at decongesting the traffic at the international terminal and to ensure easier surveillance.

He said that he had considered the necessity of the exercise in view of the precarious world security situation that has put aviation under serious watch.

According to the Minister, the fact that most of the major disasters that have befallen the world in the recent past have been aviation-related, has put the issue of aviation security on the front burner as it is one of the weakest links being exploited by terrorists.

This is why the ministry is trying hard to establish an aviation security system which would be of world standard, with the ability to work with arms, sniffer dogs, modern surveillance equipment and intelligence gathering.

Sirika also disclosed that the ministry was also working towards improving the physical security of the nation’s airports.

He commended the efforts of the British government in conducting an assessment of the security situation in the nation’s airports with the aim of determining areas of possible assistance.

He informed the delegation that the ministry had recently set up a committee for a similar purpose and currently studying its report and recommendations for implementation and called for greater collaboration between the two countries especially in the area of capacity enhancement in modern aviation security trends.

The leader of the delegation, who is also Head of Aviation Security at the British High Commission, Jankie Milies had earlier told the minister that her team had undertaken an assessment of some of the nation’s airports with the assistance of the relevant agencies, in order to determine areas of possible assistance and discovered some challenges in cargo handling.

She said that the team had one more round of assessment to do before turning in their full report that would culminate in further discussions.

She informed the Minister of their readiness to conduct some training for about 80 aviation employees drawn from the relevant agencies.

Jankie Milies told the Minister of the readiness of the High Commission to arrange an assessment tour of the ministry’s officials to some airports in the United Kingdom to help in the development of aviation security in Nigeria.

The Minister accepted the offer immediately.

Northeast Senators Ask For De-Radicalization Of Youths

Northeast Senators from the northeast region of Nigeria are asking security agents battling insurgency in the region to also embark on de-radicalization programmes to sustain the gains already made in the counter terrorism efforts.

Senator Abubakar Kyari from Borno State made the call at a security meeting with the Inspector General of Police and the British High Commission in Abuja.

According to him, de-radicalization programmes targeted at changing the mindset of youths in the region is a sure way to defeat Boko Haram and ensure lasting peace in the area.

The meeting between the Police and lawmakers was targeted at finding solutions to acts of terrorism in the northeast and embark on reconstruction and reintegration.

A delegation of the British High Commission to Nigeria, led by Gary White, also urged security agencies in the region to work at building trust with the communities.

The Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, agreed with the need to change the mindset of the youths in the northeast region and thanked the lawmakers for their support.

He, however, said that he would not deploy his men until their security is guaranteed, stating that the lives of the policemen should be more valued.

Thousands have been displaced from their homes as terrorism in the north east has made the region unsafe for many.


UK Deputy High Commissioner Dies At Lagos Airport

Peter-CarterThe British High Commission has confirmed the death of its Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Peter Carter, who slumped and died on Tuesday from a possible heart attack on arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

The deceased who arrived Lagos on United Airlines Flight UA143 at 3.50pm local time slumped in the avio-bridge while he was alighting from the aircraft.

Nobody knew the cause of the death or if he was sick aboard the aircraft, but a worker with one of the aviation handling companies disclosed that he saw the gathering of officers from the high commission who kept mum and looked solemn, before he learnt about the tragic incident.

However, a letter written by the Federal Ministry of Health Port Health Services, which was signed by Doctors E.E. Ukatu and Abdullai, made available to reporters by airport sources stated: “The Port Health Services was called today (2/9/14) by a FAAN (Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria) medical nurse at about 4.07 pm from the D arrival screening point to see a passenger (the deceased) said to have arrived aboard a United Airlines flight from Houston, Texas.

“It was reported that after disembarking, the passenger was observed to be clutching his chest and asking for help.

“In the course of examination, he was asked if he was Asthmatic, and he said ‘MAY BE’.

“On examination, he was found to be pale, in respiratory distress (gasping for breath), his pulse was rapid and thready. Based on his response to the question if he was asthmatic, a Ventolin inhaler was administered, but was not effective, as the patient was restless and threw off the inhaler to the floor. He was placed on the left lateral position and at the same time, oxygen was called for.

“Efforts were made to administer oxygen, while a second doctor was called and suction applied via a suction machine to clear the airway.

“”Subsequently, the patient suffered a cardio-pulmonary arrest; the radial and carotid pulses were no longer palpable and patient was observed to be cyanosed. Attempts at resuscitation proved abortive. Pupils were fixed and dilated and patient was certified dead at 4.26 pm”.

In a statement on Wednesday, the spokesman for the commission, Mr Rob Fitzpatrick, said that the commission was saddened by the sudden death of Mr Carter.

Peter joined HM Diplomatic Service in 1984 and was an experienced career diplomat.

He had previously served as Consul General in Milan and then as the British Ambassador to Estonia before becoming Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos in 2013 where he made an exceptional contribution to the UK.

Police Confirm Kidnap Of British Man In Lagos

The police in Lagos have confirmed the kidnap of a British national in Lagos.

Although, police spokesperson Frank Mba, could not give details of the kidnap, he told Channels Television that security operatives are aware of the matter and are working to uncover those behind the kidnap.

It was gathered that the victim was abducted shortly after arriving at the Murtala Mohammed international Airport in Lagos.

Gunmen reportedly attacked a four-wheel drive car conveying the Briton around 8.30 p.m. on Tuesday after it left the airport’s international terminal, kidnapping the man who was returning to a residential area of Lagos.

The driver of the vehicle was also reported to have been shot but survived.

“The BHM is working closely with others to secure the release of the hostage,” the British High Commission said in a statement. “Because of the nature of this incident, the BHM is not going into further detail about it.”

Hague Condemns Bama Violence, Reiterates UK Support To Combat Terrorism

The UK Foreign Secretary; William Jefferson Hague has reacted fervidly to the recent extremist attack in north east Nigeria, as he reiterated UK’s support pointing out that the protection the citizens who are civilians is paramount.

According to a press statement released by through Rob Fitzpatrick; the Press, Political and Public Affairs Officer of the British High Commission, Abuja, Hague expressed his deep sadness over the multiple deaths in the town of Bama in the process of an attack launched by the Boko Haram making it the latest of a series attacks on unsuspecting civilians in the region of Borno State. He stated further that these attacks on innocent Nigerians have no justification whatsoever as he condemned the attacks in the strongest terms.

Hague said the growing insecurity and escalation of hostilities in north-east Nigeria is of deep concern and yesterday’s attack in Bama follows the terrible loss of life in the town of Baga last month and disturbing allegations of human rights violations.

The Foreign Secretary said Nigeria (Federal Government) is saddled with the responsibility to defend every Nigerian citizen from terrorism according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s 2013 Annual Human Rights report and the British Government will lend every support the Nigerian Government needs to tackle the challenges of insecurity that is stirring the country in the face, with the protection of citizens being paramount. He however asked the Nigerian Government to open an investigation into the Baga violence which claimed the lives of several innocent citizens

“I welcome the commitment by the Nigerian authorities to open an investigation into the events at Baga. It is important that the Nigerian Government investigates all such incidents rigorously, objectively and transparently.”

DFID awards 2012-2013 Chevening scholarship

The acting British High Commissioner, Giles Lever, says Britain will continue to use scholarship opportunities to impart leadership qualities to young Nigerians with promising careers.

Speaking with our correspondent Doris Okenwa during a reception in Abuja for the ex and new Chevening Scholars, he said this scholarships are a diplomatic tool to promote stronger bilateral relations with Nigeria.

15 Nigerians were awarded the British Chevening Post Graduate scholarship for 2012-2013.

This is a yearly initiative by the British government to assist young people in developing countries reach the peak of their career and give back to their societies.

We’ll continue to promote democracy, stability and development –Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan said Friday in Abuja that the Federal Government will continue to work with Britain and other developed nations to promote good governance, political stability and socio- economic development in Nigeria and other African nations.

Speaking at a meeting with the outgoing British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Andrew Lloyd who was on a farewell visit to the Presidential Villa, President Jonathan reaffirmed his Administration’s commitment to evolving and implementing policies and measures that will help Nigeria to successfully overcome present challenges.

The President noted that the already excellent bilateral relations between Nigeria and Great Britain had been significantly enhanced during Mr. Lloyd’s tenure.

He commended the High Commissioner’s efforts to boost trade and economic cooperation between Nigeria and Britain. The high-point of which, he said, was Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Nigeria with a delegation of British business men and investors.

“We shall continue to count on your support and I hope your successor will continue your good work here in Nigeria,” President Jonathan told Mr. Lloyd.

The President also received the outgoing Egyptian Ambassador to Nigeria, Youssef Hassan Shawki who is leaving the country after a two-year tenure.

President Jonathan expressed the hope that Nigeria and Egypt will continue to build-up and expand areas of bilateral cooperation.

He wished Mr. Shawki well in his future endeavours and urged him to now consider himself a life-long Ambassador of Nigeria to Egypt and the rest of the world.