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How I worked against Obasanjo’s third term – Thabo Mbeki

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Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, has disclosed how he and Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Head of State of Nigeria, worked against failed third term bid of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Obasanjo has repeatedly denied he was involved in the bill proposed to the Nigerian parliament to amend the constitution and grant him an extra term.

Speaking virtually on Thursday at the Abdulsalami Alhaji Abubakar Festschrift Conference held in Abuja, Mbeki said he called the former Nigerian leader to discussed the issue with him.

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He said, “As a privilege to reiterate the commitment of General Abubakar to democracy in Nigeria in 2006, more than five years after he had handed over powers to Olusegun Obasanjo, the constitution on whose basis president Obasanjo was elected described a two-term limit for the head of state, and since he [Obasanjo] had been elected for the second time, this meant that he would end his term in 2007.

“But some time before, in 2005, a campaign began in Nigeria to amend the constitution to allow for three presidential terms. This developed to a point that the draft of the proposed amendment had been presented to the Nigerian parliament as papers.

“When I heard about this development, I engaged Obasanjo to communicate my unease at the proposal. In the end, I discussed it with general Abubakar, and we agreed that the proposed amendment was undesirable. We shared the view that the amendment must be avoided at all costs. We were of one mind that it spells bad both for Nigeria and the rest of the continent, tampering with and compromising our democratic system, which is just a few years old.

“We agreed to add our voices to those kicking against the amendment. We agreed that Abdulsalam would follow the situation in Nigeria closely and indicate to me when we should intervene against the constitutional amendment. I was very pleased when he called that the Nigerian senate has voted against the amendment.”

COVID-19

FG: We have enough COVID vaccines to cover 70% Nigerians

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Nigeria has enough vaccines that can cover over 70 per cent of the country’s population before the end of 2022, Secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has said.

The SGF said this at the national COVID-19 summit held at Muhammadu Buhari Conference Centre in Abuja, tagged ‘Pushing Through the Last Mile to End the Pandemic and Build Back Better’.

He said, “Nigeria has invested in enough vaccines that can cover over 70 per cent of our population before the end of 2022. These vaccines are safe and efficacious; hence, it is better and safer to be vaccinated against this virus, now.”

He said the summit was to create the opportunity to identify successes, gaps and lessons learnt so far in Nigeria’s national response to the pandemic since March 2020 to date.

He added that the summit is also aimed at developing strategies to actualise the international commitments towards ending COVID-19 before the end of 2022.

“Today, we are here to assess the level of impact of our national response and develop strategies as we push through the last mile to end the pandemic while we build back better,” he said.

The SGF said, “There is no gainsaying that the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, which was triggered when the index case was confirmed on the 27th of February 2020, precipitated significant disruptions to the healthcare system and socio-economic lives of Nigerians.

​”Due to the evolving dynamics of COVID-19 pandemic with progressive mutations of the virus to more transmissible and deadly variants, the international community has corroborated the insinuation that the pandemic will persist for few more years.

“This understanding has impelled world leaders recently to come to a conclusion that if efforts are not renewed and aggressive measures are not taken, COVID-19 pandemic will continue to ravage humanity well longer than earlier envisaged. Hence, the need to adopt an ambitious (but cautious) agenda to end the COVID-19 pandemic by the year 2022.”

He said the summit is a follow-up towards Nigeria’s commitment to the ambitious global agenda/movement to end the COVID-19 pandemic by 2022 and build back better.

“​Global efforts at ending COVID-19 pandemic are intrinsically linked to the call for nations of the world to take steps towards strengthening their health system and bio-security- which will make for better pandemic preparedness and the ability to respond more robustly and swiftly to future pandemics,” Mustapha said.

 

He asked stakeholders to encourage all eligible persons to get vaccinated and keep observing the necessary preventive COVID-19 measures.

 

 

 

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UK suspends indefinitely visitor visa applications from Nigeria

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The British High Commission said on Sunday that would suspend the processing of visitor visa applications from all red list countries, including Nigeria.

This was announced in a statement issued by the commission, a development comeing hours after the UK added Nigeria to its travel red list as a result of concerns over the Omicron COVID variant.

The UK said the decision on the suspension of processing visitor visa applications in Nigeria would be in effect until the travel ban was lifted.

The statement read in part, “To support the UK Government’s aim to protect public health from COVID-19 and associated variants of concern (VOC), UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) will pause making decisions on visitor visa applications in all red list countries, including Nigeria, until travel restrictions are lifted.

“Visit visas cover travel to the UK for tourism, visiting family and friends, undertaking short-term business activities (for example, attending meetings), undertaking short-term studies (under 6 months), taking part in research or exchange programmes as an academic, medical reasons (for example, receiving private medical treatment).

“If you apply for a visit visa in a red list country and you meet the UK Immigration Rules, your application will be paused. You will not receive a decision on your visit visa application whilst red list travel restrictions remain in place.

“You will not be able to request a refund of your visa fee once you have given your biometrics at a Visa Application Centre (VAC). If you already hold a valid visit visa and are intending to travel to England as a visitor from a red list country, you will not be allowed to enter.

“Separate guidance is available for travellers entering Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Use https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-list-of-countries-and-territories.”

The commission also said visas or entry permits from red list countries would only be issued where there were compelling and compassionate circumstances.

It said, “There are only very limited exemptions to travel and entry requirements for critical workers and medical and compassionate cases. If you have submitted a visit visa application and you do not wish to withdraw, we will continue to hold your application. If you choose to continue with your visa application, you will not receive a decision on your visit visa whilst red list travel restrictions remain in place.”

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JUST IN: Former Army Chief, Gen. Wushishi, dies at 81

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Former Chief of Army Staff, General Mohammed Inuwa Wushishi

The Former Chief of Army Staff, General Mohammed Inuwa Wushishi, is dead.

According to a family source, General Wushishi died at a London Hospital.

General Wushishi was born in 1940 in Wushishi, Headquarters of Wushishi Local Government Area of Niger State.

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He served as the Chief of Army Staff between October 1981 and October 1983, during the Second Republic.

He served in the Nigerian Army in various capacities, including General Officer Commanding, 4 Infantry Division, Nigerian Army, 1976; Commandant, Staff College, Jaji, Dec. 1979.

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