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WTO to name Okonjo-Iweala as first female DG

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Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala may be announced as the first director-general of the World Trade Organisation  anytime from now.
A report by Reuters stated that already a key group of the WTO ambassadors proposed Okonjo-Iweala to lead the trade organisation on Wednesday, clearing the way for her to emerge the first African to head the global watchdog in its 25-year history.
The official announcement is being awaited from the WTO.
The candidacy of the former World Bank director received a huge boost on 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 final winner between the two women will replace Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo and former director-general of the WTO.
The initial pool of eight candidates for the WTO’s top post, which has been whittled down over two rounds of consultations, had included three Africans – Nigeria, Egypt and Kenya.
The new WTO DG will join the body at a difficult time, with the world facing a deep post-coronavirus recession and a crisis of confidence in free trade and globalisation.
A trade war is also brewing between the world’s anchor economies -the United States and China – and the European Union will see G7 member Britain leave its single market at the end of the year.
US President Donald Trump faces a tough battle for re-election but under his leadership, Washington’s relationship with the WTO has suffered.
His administration has appealed a WTO ruling that faulted US duties imposed on hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese goods.
Usually, the WTO Appellate Body would have three months to rule on any appeals filed.
But that process has been complicated since the WTO Appellate Body – also known as the supreme court of world trade – stopped functioning last December as the US blocked the appointment of new judges to the panel.

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Just in: No bail for Nnamdi Kanu, says court

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A federal high in Abuja has refused to grant bail to Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Kanu was re-arraigned on an amended 15-count charge bordering on treasonable felony.

However, on April 8, Binta Nyako, the judge, struck out eight out of the 15-count charge.

While counts 6,7,9,10,11,12,13 and 14 were struck out, the defendant is to stand trial on counts 1,2,3,4,5,8 and 15.

Kanu’s lead counsel, Mike Ozekhome, moved an application for bail.

Ozekhome said, “Until a person is tried and convicted, he should be allowed to walk free.”

He reminded the court that a defendant ought to enjoy the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

He begged the court to consider the deteriorating health condition of the defendant.

Ruling on the bail application on Wednesday, the judge held that “the application is premature and refused with liberty to refile and reapply.”

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Fed Govt puts Facebook under watch over IPOB

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Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed

FACEBOOK and other social media platforms have been cautioned against yielding their platforms to the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to incite violence and instigate ethnic hatred in Nigeria.

The Federal Government gave the instruction through Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed at a meeting with a team from Facebook.

In a statement signed by his media aide, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, the minister said since IPOB had been proscribed and classified as a terrorist organisation, Facebook has no justification to continue allowing its platform to be used by the organisation to further its campaign of hate and destabilisation of the country.

Mohammed was quoted as saying: “I have called this meeting to enable us to discuss the increasing use of Facebook by separatists and anarchists, especially those of them based outside the country, to instigate violence and ethnic hatred in Nigeria.

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“For whatever reason, they seem to have now chosen Facebook as their platform of choice. And their tools include disinformation, incendiary statements and hate speech.

“They use Facebook broadcasts to reach their followers, who are in thousands. They tag those opposed to their violent ways as ‘saboteurs’ who must be attacked, maimed and killed. They use both English and their local language as it suits them.”

He said the actions of the outlawed group have real-life implications, adding: “By purveying hate and inciting violence, people are getting killed while private and public property are being attacked and destroyed. Security agencies and other symbols of government are their choice targets.”

The minister said that despite the numerous complaints to Facebook on the activities of IPOB, nothing has been done by the company to curtail the group’s excesses on the social media platform.

He said: “Our social media people have been monitoring these separatists, anarchists and purveyors of hate, and have been reporting their atrocious actions to Facebook, but all they get are default responses that their complaints have been received and are being looked into.

“Most often than not, nothing has been done about such complaints… The truth is that whatever Facebook is doing to check these people is mere tokenism and is totally ineffective.”

Mohammed said the government would be monitoring Facebook and other platforms closely in the days ahead to ensure compliance with the demand, as it steps up the campaign for the responsible use of social media.

He said: “We have always advocated a responsible use of social media, and consistently called on all stakeholders to join us in achieving this. Some have tagged our efforts as an attempt to stifle social media.

“They are wrong, because we have no intention of preventing Nigerians from using social media responsibly. All we have been advocating is a responsible use of social media,” the minister said.

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Ex-EFCC chair Magu promoted to AIG before retirement

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The Police Service Commission has confirmed the promotion of a former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, to the position of assistant inspector-general of police (AIG).

Spokesperson for the PSC, Ikechukwu Ani, announced this in a statement issued on Monday.

“The eight Commissioners of Police promoted to AIGs were; CP Mustafa Magu Ibrahim who is the most senior in the CP cadre and who missed the last two promotions after returning to the Police; Abraham Egong Ayim; Okunlola Kola Kamaldeen; Andrew Amieengheme; Akeera Mohammed Younous; Celestine Amechi Elumelu; Ngozi Vivian Onadeko and Danladi Bitrus Lalas (Airwing),” the statement reads.

The development comes amid Magu’s expected retirement from the Nigeria Police Force, having clocked the mandatory retirement age of 60 on May 5.

In July 2020, when Magu was still at the helm of affairs in the EFCC, he was arrested, detained, and suspended as the acting chairman of the anti-graft agency — after he appeared before a panel probing allegations of gross misconduct

The panel, led by Justice Ayo Salami, subsequently recommended Magu’s removal as EFCC boss “for failing to properly account for N431,000,000.00 security votes/information fund released to the office of the Executive Chairman of EFCC between November 2015 and May 2020”.

The panel further recommended that Magu should be referred to the inspector-general of police (IGP) for “necessary disciplinary action”, and that he should be prosecuted over the alleged offences.

Despite the recommendation of the panel, Magu resumed duties at the police headquarters as commissioner of police — his rank before he was appointed acting EFCC chairman.

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