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Buhari administration can’t unite Nigeria – Soyinka

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Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, says Nigeria’s unity is practically unattainable under the current regime led by Muhammadu Buhari due to its systemic failure.

He said this in Abuja at the book reading and signing of two of his books titled ‘Trumpism in Academe’ and ‘Chronicles of the Happiest People on Earth’ organised by Rovenheights Bookstore and Orisun Gallery.

Sunday PUNCH reported former Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State as asking Soyinka if he could write a Nigerian story that would evoke patriotism and inspire unity among the various tribes in the country.

Responding, the playwright said no narrative would unite the people of Nigeria without restitution and justice.

He explained that persons in Internally Displaced Persons’ camps, who had lost relatives and loved ones due to violence, would not embrace any story of unity unless they got justice.

The Nobel laureate said Nigeria had lost a key opportunity to unite, adding that he didn’t believe the regime of Buhari could unite Nigeria because it suffered from systemic failure.

Soyinka said, “We had a critical moment and we lost that moment. The moment when this country could have come together; and the sense of oneness, belonging. That vision of oneness. We lost that moment. There has been more than one moment and we lost the moment. Will another one come? I don’t know. Right now I don’t see it under this government quite frankly.

“There is a failure, a systemic failure in present governance and I don’t know who can put it together. These days, I try to go some days without reading the newspapers. It is so depressing.”

Soyinka said he personally believed that Nigeria should not break up but should remain one entity.

He, however, argued that it was wrong of the government to continue to say the country’s unity was non-negotiable.

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JUST IN: Old naira: IMF asks FG, CBN to extend February 10 deadline

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called for the extension of the February 10 deadline to phase out the old naira notes.

The International monetary body made the call just after the Supreme Court had restrained the Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) from enforcing the deadline.

The IMF, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday by Laraba Bonet, said the plea was on the hardship Nigerians were exposed to over the issue.

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It said: “in light of hardships caused by disruptions to trade and payments due to the shortage of new bank notes available to the public, in spite of measures introduced by the CBN to mitigate the challenges in the banknote swap process, the IMF encourages the CBN to consider extending the deadline should problems persist  in the next few days leading up to the February 10, 2023 deadline”.

The IMF is the first international financial organisation to openly call for extension of the deadline for the deposit of old Naira notes.

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Cash crunch: Protesters defy police in Abeokuta, make bonfires on major roads

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Residents of Abeokuta, Ogun State, took to the streets on Tuesday protesting the scarcity of cash and the attendant pains.

Major streets affected by the protests are Aladesanmi, Fajol and Somorin in Obantoko area of Abeokuta as the protesters made bonfires and chanted anti-CBN songs
The Sapon branch of First Bank was also vandalised and the protesters tried to set it ablaze.
Ogun Police spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the protest, saying police officers were on the ground to monitor the situation and prevent the destruction of property and loss of lives.
He said some group of boys were involved in the crisis.
The police later came to disperse the protesters but they regrouped as soon as the operatives withdrew from the scene.
The situation affected vehicular movement as motorists and pedestrians ran in different directions to avert being caught up in the chaotic situation.

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Court frees Diezani associate Omokore of $1.6bn fraud

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An Abuja federal high court on Tuesday discharged and acquitted Jide Omokore, chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited, of $1.6bn fraud allegations.

Omokore, an associate of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, and David Mbanefo on a 15-count charge on July 4, 2016.

They were accused of fraudulently diverting the $1.6bn said to be part of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government.

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