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

President Buhari and David Cameron
*Develops Britain with Nigeria’s Stolen Wealth Stashed in their Banks
*Vows: “I Will Expose UK Banks that Hides Nigeria’s Stolen FUND”
*Steals Nigeria’s Treasured Artifacts to Proudly Decorate their Museums
*David Cameron, Most Corrupt Prime Minister in UK History
*Hails Transparency International for Lambasting UK on Anti-Corruption Summit
*WHY Britain Remains Greatest Haven for Politicians to Continually Keep Stolen Funds
*QUOTES: “The petty thief is imprisoned but the big thief becomes a feudal lord”-Zhuangzi
* Dictators cause the world’s worst problems: all the collapsed states, and all the devastated economies. All the vapid cases of corruption, grand theft, and naked plunder of the treasury are caused by dictators, leaving in their wake trails of wanton destruction, horrendous carnage and human debris”-George Ayittey
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.
David Cameron

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 10th position 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.’

David Cameron

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.

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…
David Cameron
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, no British 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.

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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