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WTO: Buhari gets fresh Europe support for Okonjo-Iweala

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  • Nigeria reaches out to US

The European Council has expressed its continued support for Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in her bid to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organisation.

President of the European Council, Mr Charles Michel, reiterated the council’s support in a video conference held with President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday.

A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), Femi Adesina, stated this on Friday.

This came as the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, who doubles as the Chairperson of the Campaign Strategy Team for Okonjo-Iweala, Amb. Mariam Katagum, said Friday at an emergency virtual meeting that she convened that Nigeria had reached out to the United State, the main opposotion to the emergence of Okonjo-Iweala as WTO’s DG.

The President is leading Nigeria’s charge for Okonjo-Iweala, the country’s former Minister of Finance, to emerge as the first black and female WTO DG. But the bid has been opposed by the United States.

Buhari thanked the European Council for its support for Nigeria’s candidate.

The minister at her conference said, “Nigeria is currently reaching out to all members of the WTO including the United States of America and South Korea to overcome the impasse as well as persuade the United States to join the consensus in adopting the recommendation of the appointment of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as DG-WTO.”

A key group of the WTO ambassadors had proposed Okonjo-Iweala to lead the trade organisation on Wednesday, expected to clear the way for her to emerge the first African to head the global watchdog in its 25-year history.

The candidacy of the former World Bank director had received a boost last Monday when the 27-member states of the European Union backed her for the job.

The 55-member African Union also supported the former Nigerian finance minister over her sole remaining opponent, Yoo Myung-hee of South Korea.

Okonjo-Iweala had also won the goodwill of a group of Caribbean and Pacific States as well as others from Asia.

The US representative at the special WTO Head of Delegations’ meeting in Geneva was the only strong opposition to Okonjo-Iweala’s confirmation after the last round of consultations with member-countries.

The US faulted the outcome of the consultations, despite that all other member-countries present were unanimous in their insistence the rules were transparent.

The US government said it opted to root for the Korean Trade Minister as the next WTO director-general because of her credentials as a trade expert, who has distinguished herself as a successful trade negotiator and trade policymaker.

Other issues discussed during the conference with Buhari are debt relief for Africa, EU-African relations and recharge of the Lake Chad.

The Lake Chad has shrunk to less than one-third of its usual size, thus throwing about 130 million people that depend on it into dire straits.

Recharge of the Lake Chad is an issue the Nigerian President has vigorously canvassed at diverse global forums, according to the statement.

Buhari expressed appreciation to Michel for the expected positive developments on the issues.

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Deborah’s killing un-Islamic, barbaric — Hausa community

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THE Special Assistant to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Security Matters and youth leader of the Hausa community in Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, Junaidu Imam, has condemned the killing of the 200- level Home Economics student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, Deborah Samuel over alleged blasphemy, describing the killing as barbaric and un-Islamic.

 

Imam who doubles as the Chairman of, the United Rainbow Peace Movement, URPM, while reacting to the dastardly act, contended that the killing of Deborah was against the teaching of any religion in the world, noting that such practice was not an Islamic act as Islam promotes civility and peaceful coexistence.

 

While insisting that no individual was given the authority to kill, he said: “No matter how grievous an offence is, even if it attracts capital punishment, the Prophet allows retracting blasphemous pronouncement, which means the offender can evade the punishment. Whatever the version, her killing was despicable. She has the right to a trial before the abysmal level of her execution.

 

“The version I heard was that Deborah said Muslims were sending content to the class WhatsApp group. On that basis, the girl has freedom of expression. Islam says you cannot impose your religion on others. A verse also said ‘your religion is for you and theirs is for them’. So, as Muslims, you don’t cross the path. Everyone is entitled to their religion. Therefore, nobody can ascertain that Deborah has abused our Prophet Mohammed as it is the duty of the court to establish the fact.”

 

“They are not supposed to take it upon themselves to kill, beat, burn, destroyed place of worship and people’s property based on what they judged as blasphemy,” he further explained, even as he called for justice for the lynched NCE undergraduate.

 

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AbdulRazaq clinches Kwara APC guber ticket, talks of beating own record

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Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara state was Thursday evening reelected as the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2023 General elections.

The governor was the sole aspirant in the exercise that took place inside the Banquet Hall of the government house, ilorin where 965 delegates were expected to vote for him.

At the end of the exercise, Chairman Governorship/ House of assembly primaries sent by the National leadership of the party from Abuja ,Prof Emmanuel Dandaura who led the team that supervised the election said that there were 961 valid votes, and 4 invalid votes.

Professor Dandaura asked whether there was complaint from anyone to which there was no response. He therefore declared the governor as the gubernatorial candidate of the party for the 2023 governorship elections.

Governor AbdulRazaq in his acceptance speech assured that he would not take the support of the delegates and other stakeholders in the ruling party for granted.

He noted that,”2023 is the year to make it clear to the doubting Thomases that the revolution of 2019 was not a fluke”, stressing that “It is the year to reaffirm our decision to reclaim our dignity and have a state that serves everyone equitably.

“We must therefore keep what is left of our patrimony, and by all democratic means avoid a relapse to the years of the distress, Governor AbdulRazaq said.

He also said that, “between 2019 and now, the trajectory of Kwara State has changed. We have registered a bold presence in the comity of decent and respected states. We have positive strides and indices in education, health, access to water, improved youths engagement, gender mainstreaming, support for farmers and the vulnerable, and rural development to show for our mandate.”

Today, he said, that ” no part of Kwara State is left without government presence. Our politics has also evolved. The destiny of Kwarans is no longer tied to any particular person. That is the bold message from our primaries.”

Governor AbdulRazaq however said he’s not perfect, saying, “Are we perfect? No, we are not. What is not debatable is the magnitude of progress that Kwara has made over the last three years. We can only beat our own records of achievements.”

He also said, “So, we will campaign on our records of improving the lots of our people and reasserting the leadership position of Kwara State.

“We will campaign on our record of courageously opening up the democratic space for all. We will campaign on our records of courageously opening up our books for public assessments in our strong belief that perfection belongs to God alone. In doing so, we are steadily improving the old system and achieving more efficiency.”

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Alleged killing of Timothy: Ibadan based Radio CEO, Hamzat regains freedom

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THE Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of an Ibadan based Radio Station, Agidigbo FM, Alhaji Oriyomi Hamzat, who was arrested and whisked to Abuja, on Thursday, has regained his freedom, we reliably gathered this morning.

Recall that Hamzat was arrested by Force Intelligence Bureau, FIB, operatives over his alleged role in seeking justice for a gruesome murder of a Postgraduate student of the Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile Ife in Osun State, Mr. Timothy Adegoke.

Recall also that Adegoke died in one of the hotels belonging to the Maye of Ife, Chief Ramon Adedoyin late last year. Adedoyin and some of his hotel staffers have been arrested and currently facing murder charges in connection with the killing.

A competent Radio station source, however, who did not want his name in print told Our Correspondent that: “Oga, Alhaji Hamzat, will reunite with us today. He will be in Ibadan from Abuja any moment from now.”

Police had earlier said he was arrested in connection with a case of Cyber Bullying under investigation.

Its position was made known in a statement signed by Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi and made available to newsmen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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