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WTO: Okonjo-Iweala Didn’t Threaten to Resign

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Okonjo-Iweala

A source in Zurich, Switzerland, yesterday clarified that the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, did not at any time threaten to resign her appointment at global trade body as being speculated by some media reports.

The source, however, stated that Okonjo-Iweala, the first female and first African to head the WTO, was feeling frustrated on the job.

Responding to a question on whether the director general threatened to resign her appointment, the source who pleaded to remain anonymous said: “She did not threaten. She did express quite a lot of frustration. I will tell you … she is an extraordinary person but at a very difficult job.

“I do not think it is easy to explain to someone how difficult the job actually is. There are only a handful of people that sat in that seat. I have seen closely a lot of director generals and any time you think you have a difficult job, just think about the director general of WTO.”

Also, Okonjo-Iweala was quoted to have told Bloomberg that: “I just got here, I’m enjoying what I am doing. It is a very exciting job and I am trying to have some success here.”

The apparent lack of consensus on intellectual property right, which has been hindering the transfer of technology to third world countries to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines as well as the thorny fishery subsidy negation were reportedly pilling up frustration on Okonjo-Iweala.

It was reported that the tone of negotiation at the WTO yesterday was marked with raised tampers but the source stated that what was needed currently at the WTO was how to build a convergence of opinion among members on the body of text already agreed upon the fisheries subsidies.

“Nobody pointed to any proposal and said because of them things are going backward. What they were saying is that any proposal at this stage that cannot lead to consensus is not healthy. We have text now. Putting things in there that will make it imbalance is not helpful,” source said.

The source added that the Okonjo-Iweala basically laid it on the table that not building a consensus to complete the fisheries subsidies negotiation should not be considered as an option by anyone.

“It was a sobering assessment and she made a very interesting kind of metaphor when she talked about when she was a girl how her mother used to take her to the market to teach her how to haggle with the people in the market stalls. She said that at one point everybody realises that if the price remained too high the customer will walk away.

“She, therefore, said that negotiation like this is an art form and not a science, warning that ‘we need to be conscious of the point where if you push this person too far and he says what is the point and he walks away.’

“That will bring about a very bad outcome, which means the process will breakdown and we will not get an outcome.”

Dike Onwuamaeze, Thisday Live

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Lai Mohammed insists no proof protesters were killed at Lekki tollgate

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Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said there is no proof that any protester was killed at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos in October 2020 during the #EndSARS protest.

Some soldiers on October 20, 2020 were said to have opened fire on protesters in an attempt to disperse them allegedly leading to the death of many.

Mohammed, who addressed a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, described the 2020 event at the tollgate as a “phantom massacre”.

“Today marks the first anniversary of the phantom massacre at Lekki tollgate in Lagos, which was the culmination of an otherwise peaceful protest that was later hijacked by hoodlums,” the minister said.

The minister also said, “At earlier press conferences, I had called the reported massacre at the tollgate the first massacre in the world without blood or bodies.

“One year later, and despite ample opportunities for the families of those allegedly killed and those alleging a massacre to present evidence, there has been none: No bodies, no families, no convincing evidence, nothing. Where are the families of those who were reportedly killed at the toll gate? Did they show up at the Judicial Panel of Inquiry? If not, why?”

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Adebanjo leads Afenifere chieftains on visit to Tinubu

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Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has led other chieftains of the body on a visit to national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, at his home in Lagos.

Others on the visit are Chief Supo Sonibare, Oba Olaitan Oladipo, and retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, Tunji Alapini.

The visit came a few days after Tinubu returned from a medical trip to the United Kingdom where he underwent knee surgery.

The Punch reported that the last time Tinubu and Adebanjo met was in April when the former Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, died.

Prior to the visit, Adebanjo had told PUNCH Online interview programme, The Roundtable, that the reason why Tinubu had been silent on the herdsmen crisis was that he felt President Muhammadu Buhari would make him his successor.

In another interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, Adebanjo stated that Buhari won’t hand over power to Tinubu, adding that they were both deceiving each other.

He said, “I have said it openly before and I would say it again that Buhari is deceiving Tinubu and Tinubu is deceiving Buhari. I’m an old man and I’m a funeral candidate already, so quote me. If Tinubu contests the primary in APC today, he will fail.”

Adebanjo then advised Tinubu and other APC members from the South-West to leave the party in the interest of Yorubaland.

 

He said, “I have always told them, from Tinubu downwards, that it’s better they save themselves speedily. I’m talking to all of them, that in the interest of Yorubaland and the country, they should get out of the carcass they call APC. I made a public pronouncement that they were a conglomeration of incompatibles. It’s on record. I said it then and I’m still saying it now; if they don’t save themselves early enough, then they are ready for a disaster.”

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COVID-19

Kaduna gives civil servants 12-day ultimatum on COVID vaccine

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The Kaduna State Government has given all civil servants in the state 12 days to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or be barred from office.

The ultimatum was announced in a statement issued on Tuesday by Muyiwa Adekeye, spokesman for the state governor, Nasir el-Rufai.

According to him, all civil servants are expected to be vaccinated by October 31, after which they would be denied entry into government offices if they failed to comply with the directive.

“The Kaduna State Government will from 31st October 2021 require compliance with COVID-19 protocols, especially facemasks and vaccination, for access to its offices,” the statement said.

“The Ministry of Health has since commenced the vaccination of all civil servants, and this is expected to be completed by 31st October 2021. All civil servants are required to be vaccinated by that date.

“Visitors to government offices will need to present their vaccination cards. Given the limited supply of vaccines that are currently available, visitors that have not yet been vaccinated will, in the interim, be permitted entry upon presentation of evidence of registration with the state Ministry of Health for the purpose of vaccination, while wearing their facemasks.”

Adekeye said the decision was taken following a review by the Kaduna COVID-19 task force, and urged residents to ensure strict adherence to the protocol for preventing the spread of infections.

According to the statement, Amina Mohammed-Baloni, Kaduna commissioner for health, has also asked residents to register at the nearest primary health centres for vaccination “so that the relevant authorities can easily contact them as more Covid-19 vaccines become available”.

The development comes weeks after Edo began its ‘no vaccination, no entry’ campaign, which bars unvaccinated civil servants from entering government offices.

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