The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, stopped over on Toolz‘s show to talk about British-Nigerian relations.
See the highlights below and also listen (or download) to the full interview
- He admitted; Nigerian jollof is better than Ghanaian jollof. In his words; well, it’s true. And I have tasted both but the Nigerian Jollof has better texture and suits my taste
- He also likes suya and ate snails in Edo state even though those were difficult to eat.
- In Nigeria, the press is generally free. He hasn’t seen evidence of government abusing the freedom of journalists.
- He believes Brexit is here to stay and doesn’t think the referendum will be re-conducted.
- Despite Brexit in the UK, he doesn’t think it will affect Nigerians in a huge way; he doesn’t believe there will be changes to the visa regime, immigration policy and so on.
- After the last general elections, the number of MP’s with Nigerian descent grew from 4 to 7.
- There are even benefits of Brexit to Nigeria including trade benefits; the opening of the UK market to other countries. There is a great partnership opportunity between the Uk and Nigeria in terms of Agriculture.
- There are a few former ministers who have had money laundering charges brought against them and some of them are currently based in the UK and one of the things the department is doing is teaching Nigerians officers how to strengthen institutions to check corruption in Nigeria.
- There is also an ‘asset return’ policy where money is being returned to Nigeria and more hard work is being done to return assets and money. The judicial process in the UK might slow down the corruption fight in partnership with Nigeria in terms of judicial orders and appeals and more judicial processes that have to be obeyed but the UK government is not relenting.
- In terms of terrorism, the UK has helped train up to 30,000 Nigerians troops and are sending troops to the North East to help counter Boko Haram. Britian is also working with the American and French troop force, the joint task force coalition in charge of the borders and more to tackle the threat of Boko Haram. When the government of Buhari came in, it was quite dire but it has improved. Even though the cultural and societal terrain in the North has not improved and if this is not taken care of, insurgency will come back and in another form.
- The Chevening Scholarship is a one year Masters programme for graduates and it’s full paid; tuition, living costs and more. The current process has ended but it’s annual so you can apply next year. It’s a competitive process as the Chevening scholarship had over 6000 entries but there is a particular focus on women and disabled people so these two classes of people are encouraged to apply. The British government expects people who get chosen need to come back after their year of study to give back to their communities.