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Buhari, Macron agree to cooperate on fight against insecurity

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President Muhammadu Buhari and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron have committed their two nations to working together to fight insecurity bedeviling the Lake Chad basin area and the entire Sahel.

Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement in Abuja, said the two leaders made this position known at a bilateral meeting in Paris, France, on Tuesday.

Macron, who hosted the Nigerian leader on the margins of the Financing Africa Summit in Paris, pledged his steadfast support for Nigeria and its people as they confront the security challenges facing the country.

The French government would absolutely be there on the side of Nigeria and it was willing to support with everything to assist the country overcome its security threats, Macron said.

He also pledged to support Nigeria in confronting the challenges faced with COVID-19 vaccines.

At the meeting, Buhari, who outlined the challenges facing the country as well as its neighbours, also spoke about the steps he had taken to reignite response to the situation which, he said, included the appointment of the new Service Chiefs.

The president expressed the willingness of Nigeria to work with France and all its international partners to rein in the security challenges.

He thanked President Macron for agreeing to deepen the existing relations with Nigeria.

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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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