DROK ENERGY JOURNAL: Dangote Increases Nigerian Gas Supply by Dr Wole Kupolokun
Britain to assist in retrieving looted funds
Yusuf Alli,Vincent Ikuomola and Olugbenga Adanikin, in
•Foreign Secretary says 250,000 Nigerians are in the UK
•Bilateral trade hits £7 billion per annum
THE British Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron has pledged more assistance for the country in tracking and retrieving looted public funds.
Prime Minister in a goodwill message to President Muhammadu Buhari requested a list of what Nigeria wants to help succeed against the current challenges facing the country.
He asked President Buhari to attend the forthcoming meeting of the “G7” industrialized nations with a “wish list”. The summit is scheduled for June 7-9 in Berlin, Germany.
The British Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Philip Hammond who delivered the message said:”We are waiting for your own list.”
This meeting was a follow-up to an earlier one between the then President-elect and Mr. Cameron in London during which commitments were given to the in-coming administration in several areas, including the fight against terrorism, power and energy and such matters of common concerns of migration challenges facing the continent as well what he called “intelligence fusion” to secure Africa from global terror.
He also raised the issue of “free trade” between the EU and Africa, a proposal he said enjoyed the support of several countries on the continent and in support of which he sought to enlist the backing of President Buhari.
The President promised to prepare the government's aspirations for the summit which he said he will attend.
And in a statement yesterday in Abuja, Mr. Hammond said his country would assist the Buhari administration to track and retrieve looted funds.
He said the UK believes that Nigeria's wealth should be spent for the benefit of all citizens.
He said about 250,000 Nigerians are currently residing in the UK while bilateral trade with Nigeria stands at over £7 billion per year.
Besides, Hammond, pledged UK's preparedness to collaborate in tackling Boko Haram.
Describing Buhari's ascension to power as important moment for Nigeria, Hammond said: “there are many serious challenges ahead.
“In our conversations with him and his team both before, and since, the election, we have found many points of agreement on both the size and shape of these challenges, and the way to address them.
“In particular we agree with President Buhari's top priorities: tackling corruption; addressing the root causes of instability in the North East; and stabilising the economy in the face of low oil prices.
“We also stand ready to help where we can with the government's priority of tackling the diversion and leakage of money so that Nigeria's wealth can be spent for the benefit of all.
“Nigeria can and should be one of the great African success stories of the 21st Century. The UK is determined to be a close partner as Nigeria reaches that goal. Together we should seize this moment of renewal, and strengthen yet further our long-standing partnership.”
On Boko Haram, Hammond said the UK is “ready to support President Buhari and his new government as they begin their programme for a secure and prosperous Nigeria.
“As we have been increasingly doing over the last year, we look forward to working closely with the Nigerian government and security forces to help them tackle Boko Haram and bring lasting stability to the North East.
“We will share our experiences in building strong security architecture accountable to an informed political system; the two need to work in harmony, to an agreed set of objectives and standards. And we will continue to support the training of Nigerian soldiers to improve their ability to defeat Boko Haram on the battlefield.
“Stability is not delivered by an effective military alone. We are also working extensively with many States throughout the country on development programmes which bring health, education and employment opportunity to communities threatened by instability.”
He said Britain was looking forward to a new beginning for a long-standing partnership with Nigeria.
Speaking separately, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James F. Entwistle said his country has always been in support of Nigeria and remains committed to assisting it in every way possible
His words: “ In terms of what we expect from this government, the US and Nigeria has always had good relations.
“From government to government, it has always been up and down sometimes but we have always had fundamentally good relations and that will continue with the Buhari administration. President Buhari graciously spent few minutes talking to Secretary Kerry after the inauguration very quickly. Of course it was a short private chat.
“We focused on the future, doing even more on top of the extensive assistance we already given against terrorist threat, what can we do to help more on the power sector, things like that. So the future is very bright, not only with government but with private sectors.”
Mr. Han Changfu, who led the Chinese delegation to the inauguration also had an audience with President Buhari. He asked Nigeria to open avenues for Chinese investments.
China promised to help out in such areas as agriculture, power and railways.
President Dennis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo at a meeting with Buhari said he was mandated by other leaders in Central Africa to consult with their counterparts in the ECOWAS with a view to tackling common challenges especially the one posed by terrorism. Nguesso also requested President Buhari to assume his rightful place as the leader of Africa.
President Buhari agreed that the meeting holds before the next African Union in South Africa as suggested.