By Andrew Ifeanyi Ibeh
20 November 2022 |
John Obi Mikel is one of the greatest football players to have ever come out of Nigeria. With a career spanning close to two decades, the midfielder is rightfully one of the most recognised faces in the world of football. With a host of personal and team accolades that would make most players envious, ranging…
John Obi Mikel is one of the greatest football players to have ever come out of Nigeria. With a career spanning close to two decades, the midfielder is rightfully one of the most recognised faces in the world of football.
With a host of personal and team accolades that would make most players envious, ranging from the UEFA Champions League and Europa League to the English Premier League, the English FA Cup, the English League Cup, and the Turkish Cup, as well as four Africa Cup of Nations medals and an Olympic bronze medal, Mikel has rightfully earned his place as a hero both in his native country of Nigeria and at the clubs during his 17-year successful career overseas.
Now retired and residing in the scenic city of Dubai, Mikel’s success story might have panned out differently for the star, who grew up in the serene Nigerian city of Jos, had he not acquired his British citizenship in 2014 just eight years after joining English Premier League giant Chelsea from the modest Norwegian Tippeligaen outfit SFK Lyn.
“I knew how it was for me, growing up as a player with just one passport – my Nigerian passport – and playing for the national team and for Chelsea back then,” said Mikel in an interview with Guardian Life. “I love my country, but there were a few hurdles in terms of securing visas, flying to Europe, and going to other countries where I have to play in the Champions League — where I needed visas.
“It wasn’t always easy to be able to get those visas as there were lots of difficulties, especially travelling to Europe. But as soon as I got my second citizenship – a UK passport – it kind of made it a lot easier to travel freely whenever I wanted as I no longer needed to apply for visas.
“Getting a second citizenship changed my life. If I can be able to help any young, upcoming player, any family, or any entrepreneur or business person be able to achieve this by getting a second citizenship as well, this is something that I will love to do together with RIF Trust,” said Mikel, alluding to the global residency and citizenship by investment firm where he now serves as their Global Brand Ambassador.
RIF Trust, part of the Latitude Group, was founded in 2013 and is the leading international residency and citizenship by investment firm in the Middle East and Africa. Born from the need to provide greater freedom to travel and asset optimization for individuals, RIF Trust has already successfully assisted over 4,000 individuals and their families with obtaining a second citizenship in the Caribbean or in Europe through an investment.
With immense benefits such as visa-free travel to over 140 countries including to the UK and European Schengen countries, the opportunity to give your children and grandchildren dual citizenship is becoming increasingly popular and growing in acceptance.
When asked why he chose to become a Global Brand Ambassador for RIF Trust, Mikel said: “In the world we live in today, global mobility and access are very important. RIF Trust is the leading international citizenship by investment advisory firm and it was important that I work with the best partner to have a platform to educate people on how much travel freedom and opportunity they could enjoy with a second citizenship. That’s what we want — to have a second passport that allows us to travel whenever we want and wherever we want.
“Imagine waking up today and wanting to travel to anywhere of your choice, all around the world, and not having to wait for any visas. Having that freedom, for me, is freedom on a different level. And having that global mobility to travel is an incredibly valuable modern insurance policy in the world we live in today.
“We never know when the political or economic situation might change in your home country, so global mobility is very important because it gives people and their families that second option and they can always have access to opportunities on a global scale, and that’s what you can do with a second passport.
“I’m originally Nigerian and I hold a UK passport. I am currently resident in the UAE and one thing I do enjoy most as a dual citizen is that it gives me the freedom to travel anywhere for work and for personal reasons.”
The British passport is one of the top passports in the world. But there are others that also grant their holders as much privilege, which is where RIF Trust comes in with its Citizenship by Investment Programmes (CIP) and its Residency by Investment Programmes (RIP).”
Under its CIPs, RIF Trust offers a second citizenship through investment in countries like Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Malta. While under its RIPs, the firm offers prospective clients the opportunity to obtain residency to live, study, and work in a number of countries including Portugal, Spain, Malta, the UK and Canada.
“Nigeria is always going to be home for me, but it’s a big world we live in out there, and mobility is always going to be very important,” said Mikel. “I would like to help my fellow Nigerians to see and to also know that there is a huge opportunity for us, on a global scale, and for us to access it. I hope that we can all say “Hello to Freedom” with RIF Trust.”
Freedom aptly describes what Mikel now enjoys as a dual citizenship holder; a far cry from his life before he was granted a UK passport.
“It was very difficult to be able to travel back then,” Mikel recalled. “When we would have a continental game, I would start applying for visas two months ahead. It was tough, and sometimes you only get the visa a day before you travel. But as soon as I got my second citizenship, it became so much easier.
“For any athlete who is playing overseas, I am sure some are facing those challenges if they don’t have a second passport. The same goes for Nigerian entrepreneurs and businesspersons as well who want to have the opportunity to simply wake up and fly without needing to go to an embassy to apply for a visa.
“The process of getting a second citizenship by investment is pretty straightforward. RIF Trust can handle the entire process from start to finish for you, which can take as little as three months to get a second passport. They will make sure everything is easy for you and your family. And at the end of the day, once you have your second passport, all you need to do is just to enjoy your newfound freedom” added the former Super Eagles captain.
For more information on how to get a second citizenship or residency by investment, go to www.hellotofreedom.com, call +234 912 351 5849 or visit their Lagos office located at West Wing, 17a, Wings Complex, Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria..