Category Archives: In the news

Olumide Akpata describes ‘Parallel NBA’ Move As Unfortunate.

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President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, has described the formation of a parallel NBA as unfortunate, calling for a united body at a time when the country needs them the most.

Mr Akpata who was sworn in as NBA’s 30th President, while giving his inaugural speech on Friday, faulted the move to establish a regional bar.

“I am not unaware of very recent events and agitations that have tended to divide our Bar along regional and religious lines. This is rather unfortunate for an egalitarian Association like ours. The Bar that I want to lead henceforth is one that is united on all fronts and that recognises that our diversity is, perhaps, our greatest strength. I plead with all Nigerian lawyers to bear this philosophy of unity in mind as we commence a new journey together today.

“This enormous task cannot be achieved if we continue to fan the embers of division at a time when we desperately need to unite and speak with one firm voice. We must be kind, magnanimous, respectful, and sensitive in our words and actions, as doing otherwise would be a great disservice to our vision of building a stronger and formidable bar. Now is the time to come together because a divided Bar is a defeated Bar.”

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Following the withdrawal of the invitation extended by the Bar to the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, some lawyers had alleged discrimination against the governor.

Two lawyers based in Kaduna, Nuhu Ibrahim and Abdulbasit Suleiman, describing themselves as Convener 1 and 2, on Thursday, announced that they and others of like minds had formed a ‘New Nigerian Bar Association’ NNBA.

In a statement released on social media, the lawyers said: “The New Nigerian Bar Association members feel that their interests are no longer taken into consideration in major decisions of the NBA hence the formation of this Association.

According to them, membership of the NBA is not mandatory, adding that Section 40 of the Constitution permits freedom of association.

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The new NBA members said they were in consultations with “very Senior Lawyers of Northern Nigeria extraction and those practicing therein with a view to constituting the Trustees and for purposes of fixing a date for the formal inauguration of the Association.”

The NNBA also claimed that the NBA offices were lopsided against Northern lawyers.

“A cursory chronicle of the membership composition of major organs of the NBA would reveal lopsided representation despite having large numbers of Lawyers from all parts of the country and especially Northern Nigeria who have diligently paid their Bar practicing fees and have distinguished themselves in the legal profession.

“The New Nigerian Bar Association feels that Lawyers, as professionals like Doctors and Accountants should have more than one Association regulated by the General Council of the Bar.”

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Senior Lawyers Fault Move, Call For Caution
The news of a parallel body of the Nigerian Bar Association has elicited mixed reactions from lawyers across the country.

While some are opposed to the move, others say it is within the rights of the conveners to do the same.

Mike Ozekhome, SAN, who spoke at the handover ceremony of the NBA leadership on Friday, advised aggrieved members against forming an alternative association.

Ozekhome said, “drop all these issues of trying to form an alternative Bar, whether you call it new NBA or progressive NBA, it’s not going to work.

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“The reason is that when you begin to create a different Bar, calling it, for example, Northern Bar or new Bar, then people, very soon, are going to start calling for Southern Nigerian Army, Southern Nigerian Navy, Western Nigerian Air Force, Eastern Nigeria Tax Authority, etc; where are we heading to? That is nothing but balkanisation of Nigeria and God forbid.”

Meanwhile, another senior lawyer, Yusuf Ali SAN, said, “Nobody has contacted me about the formation of any parallel organisation. I’ve not been consulted, I’ve not been contacted, but I want to advise caution on all the sides.

“Our elders have a saying that beheading is not the answer for headache. We are better off with our numbers and diversity of the Association.”

He also said that if in the future such a split becomes necessary, “it shouldn’t be borne out of disagreement. It should be something that comes because our numbers have become so huge and that there are needs. It should also be a pan-Nigerian thing.

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“So, for me, this is just an event; it is quite unfortunate, but I think it is a matter that we should address at a conference table.

“I don’t think we should join Nigerian politicians to behave the way they normally do; you’re dissatisfied, form your own party. I’m dissatisfied, I form my own party. That’s not the best way to go, and as leaders in the country, by virtue of our training, we should show a good example and provide leadership to others to emulate us. We should not because we have issues within ourselves, balkanise our association.

“Some of us have our reservations about the decision of the NBA excluding Mallam El-Rufai, from the conference, but, that notwithstanding, we should still keep our heads and take rational decisions in the interest of our Association, our profession, and our country. I ask for understanding and caution.”

In his own reaction, Jibrin Okutepa SAN said the New NBA’s move was not surprising considering recent happenings in the Bar.

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He argued that many honest lawyers were disenchanted because the NBA had lost its values, and the New NBA members had the constitutional right to form another association.

“If you have read me in several papers – myself, Femi Falana and several others – we have spoken sufficiently to the Constitutional iniquities of making Nigerian lawyers be members of the NBA, particularly that the NBA has lost it value. “So, if any lawyer feels aggrieved that he wants to form a new association, what stops them from doing so?

That is within their rights under Section 49 of the Constitution. So, I do not share the views of those who say you must be forced to be a member of the NBA. I don’t share that view. We have chosen to be members of the NBA because we believe that the NBA will live up to the standard of its motto, which is promoting the rule of law.

“But in the past years have you seen NBA promoting rule of law? Or the rule of personal aggrandisement?, he asked.


#Newsworthy…

Just in: Olumide Akpata Sworn In As 30th NBA President.

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The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has sworn in its 30th President, Mr Olumide Akpata.

He was sworn-in at a short ceremony held at the NBA National Secretariat in Abuja.

The ceremony which was streamed live online marked the end of the tenure of the Paul Usoro administration.

Mr. Akpata immediately thanked the past executive for ensuring that the Association was held together after which he swore in members of his executives.

In his inaugural address after his swearing-in, Mr Akpata called on lawyers to unite as the work ahead of the Association is enormous

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Akpata, said he considers it a great honour and privilege on the epochal 60th anniversary of the NBA, “to be sworn in as the 30th President of the foremost professional membership association in Nigeria and the most influential network of legal practitioners in Africa.”

Akpata who was declared the winner of the keenly contested poll by NBA Electoral Committee on July 31, will lead the Affairs of the bar for the next two years.

The inaugural speech reads in part:

“It is apposite to begin the formal part of the address by tackling two major issues arising from the 2020 NBA election – the seeds of discord that were sown during the election campaigns and the issues pertaining to the election process itself.

The Need for Unity at the Bar

“I am not oblivious of the cleavages that emerged during the campaign and the attempt to pitch senior members of the bar against their younger counterparts. We were all witnesses to the widespread agitations against the holders of the enviable rank of Senior Advocates of Nigeria to the extent that some people were eagerly anticipating a revolution. In some ways, this was understandable, having regard to the issues that characterised the election and the uniqueness of my candidacy, being the first non-Senior Advocate of Nigeria to win an election as NBA President in thirty years. However, the elections are now over, and we must, of necessity, retrace our steps.

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“One of the cardinal pillars of my campaign and on the basis of which I made myself available to run for this high office, was the promise to run an all-inclusive Bar. There is no gainsaying the fact that this necessarily includes giving due recognition and deference to the senior members of the Bar who are the builders of, and significant contributors to, our noble Association. Even as a candidate, I never saw myself as a harbinger of division between senior and young members of the Bar, but as bridge candidate to build better rapport between young and senior lawyers. This is a role I will approach will all seriousness.

“One of the first things I did after the result declaration was to call on my supporters to desist from joining issues or otherwise attacking other lawyers, especially senior members of the Bar, but instead to be magnanimous in victory. Permit me to repeat what I said in that publication. Ours is a noble profession that prides itself on a high sense of discipline, learning, respect for seniority and character for which its members are reputed. Let us therefore join hands to move the NBA forward. The mandate that I have from Nigerian lawyers is to work for all members of the Bar irrespective of who they voted for. There is so much work to be done to revitalise our Bar and make it work for everyone without discrimination.

“I am also not unaware of very recent events and agitations that have tended to divide our Bar along regional and religious lines. This is rather unfortunate for an egalitarian Association like ours. The Bar that I want to lead henceforth is one that is united on all fronts and that recognises that our diversity is, perhaps, our greatest strength. I plead with all Nigerian lawyers to bear this philosophy of unity in mind as we commence a new journey together today.

“This enormous task cannot be achieved if we continue to fan the embers of division at a time when we desperately need to unite and speak with one firm voice. We must be kind, magnanimous, respectful, and sensitive in our words and actions, as doing otherwise would be a great disservice to our vision of building a stronger and formidable Bar. Now is the time to come together because a divided Bar is a defeated Bar.

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Electoral Reform

“It is pertinent to state categorically that, in my view, the 2020 Election – the voting and result of which were monitored live by a significant proportion of Nigerian lawyers and non-lawyers alike – was ultimately free and fair, and the result was, by all estimation, truly reflective of the will of Nigerian lawyers. The above notwithstanding, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that there were several glitches in the build up to the Election. As Nigeria’s foremost professional Association, our electoral process ought to be the standard for others to follow and should, to the extent humanly possible, be devoid of the glitches that we witnessed. It was with this in mind that I personally wrote two separate letters to the ECNBA Chairman on 20th July 2020 and 29th July 2020 to highlight the issues that threatened the conduct of a credible election and to recommend measures to immediately address those concerns.

“The consensus is that there is need to urgently review the 2020 elections and to institute urgent reforms of our electoral systems. Indeed, the Board of Trustees of the NBA in their letter of 19 August 2020 to Deacon Dele Adesina, SAN called for a major transformation of our electoral process and framework. Let me repeat what I said to the Board of Trustees in my letter to them in response to the petition of Deacon Dele Adesina, SAN; “as an Association that prides itself as Nigeria’s foremost and oldest professional membership organisation, we need to manage our electoral processes better. I pledged during the electioneering period to introduce an efficient data management system for the NBA and to follow that up with other institutional and structural reforms that would enable NBA to serve the benefit of its members and the Society. In the wake of the criticisms that trailed the Election, this is now a top priority issue for me.”

“One major complaint about the last election was the issue of the database of lawyers and resultant difficulties in coming up with a credible voters’ register. To address this, my administration will improve upon the membership portal introduced by the President Paul Usoro administration. Additionally, I am immediately constituting an Electoral Audit and Reforms Committee, comprising distinguished practitioners of the highest standards to audit our 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections and recommend reforms for our electoral systems and processes.


#Newsworthy…

AfDB: ‘You Are A Pride To Yoruba, Nigeria’ – Makinde lauds Adesina.

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Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has congratulated the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, following his re-election for another five-year term.

In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, Governor Makinde said that the victory was well-deserved adding that the ‘world class technocrat’, remains a pride to Nigeria and the Yoruba race.

To Makinde, Adesina has raised the standards and brought about immense growth in the multilateral development finance institution, in the last five years of his first tenure.

The governor said he was not surprised that Adesina was re-elected to lead the bank for another term.

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While describing his leadership as insightful, Makinde said Adesina “could not have gone unnoticed by stakeholders and member-countries.”

President of the African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina is being re-elected for another five-year term

“The victory is well-deserved, and it did not come to me as a surprise, because Dr. Adesina’s astute and visionary leadership at the bank, in the last five years, have been so convincing that member-countries cannot ignore them,” the governor was quoted as saying.

“As a technocrat and development enthusiast, Dr. Adesina deployed his wealth of experience towards raising standards across boards in the bank and these have translated into immense growth for the bank and development for member-countries.

“This victory, I am convinced, is a platform for Dr. Adesina and the AfDB to achieve more positive results and meet set targets. I wish him well in his endeavours.”


#Newsworthy…

United States’ Mary Beth celebrate Nigeria on Polio free status

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United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard has congratulated the government and people of Nigeria for attaining a wild poliovirus-free status.

The US envoy noted that the feat was achieved after years of joint efforts to remove Nigeria from the list of wild polio-endemic countries.

“We are proud of our partnership with Nigeria and cherish the cooperation that ensures the country has the technical expertise and resources required for success,” the ambassador was quoted as saying in a statement issued on Friday. “No country could have achieved this great feat without the support of its partners.”

Mary Beth Leonard

While reiterating the commitment of the US to continue its partnership with the Federal Government, Leonard called on the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to build on its successes in fighting polio, including strengthening routine immunization, and improving the health of children and their families.

She however warned that a resurgence of polio can still occur despite the certification by the World Health Organisation.

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The diplomat said she is confident that Nigeria has the strategies in place to ensure the gains made in the polio eradication efforts are not lost and that the momentum achieved in achieving this certification continues.

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE

PRESS RELEASE August 28, 2020

For Immediate Release PR-0XX/2020

U.S. Congratulates Nigeria on Wild Polio-free Status,

Calls for Vigilance and Improved Routine Immunization

Abuja – U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard congratulated the government and people of Nigeria for attaining a wild poliovirus-free status after years of joint efforts to qualify Nigeria to be removed from the list of wild polio endemic countries.

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“We are proud of our partnership with Nigeria and cherish the cooperation that ensures the country has the technical expertise and resources required for success,” the Ambassador said at an August 24 Town Hall meeting with Embassy staff and polio eradication stakeholders. “No country could have achieved this great feat without the support of its partners.”

She added that the United States stands ready to continue its partnership with Nigeria as it consolidates and builds upon its successes in fighting polio, including strengthening routine immunization, and improving the health of children and their families.

The certification comes after four years without any reported cases of polio in Nigeria and following an in-depth review and acceptance of the country’s certification documentation.

Ambassador Leonard said she is confident that Nigeria has strategies in place to ensure the gains made in the polio eradication efforts are not lost and that the momentum achieved in achieving this certification continues. Despite the certification, a resurgence of polio can still occur.

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It is therefore critical that the country’s disease surveillance system is sensitive enough to quickly detect and respond to diseases.

Ambassador Leonard recognized the role of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) at the forefront of partnering with the people of Nigeria toward polio eradication efforts in the country.

Since 2012, the CDC and USAID have invested approximately $150 million and $70 million, respectively, toward Nigeria’s polio eradication efforts. The agencies work in Nigeria at the state and local levels to strengthen surveillance, polio campaigns, polio outbreak response efforts, and routine immunization.

Implementing partners include: the African Field Epidemiology Network, Core Group Partners Program, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, UNICEF, and Word Health Organization.


#Newsworthy…

Just in: Buhari hails Wale Okediran as he emerge PAWA Sec-Gen

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President Muhammadu Buhari says the appointment of Dr Wale Okediran as the Secretary-General of Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA) is a testament to the excellent spirit in Nigerians.

A statement issued on Friday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted Buhari as saying that: “the appointment once again attests to the excellence exhibited by Nigerians in almost all areas of human endeavour.”

According to him, the appointment of the medical doctor-turned writer is a “round peg in a round hole,” as Dr Okediran has made name and reputation as a skilful writer and author of many books.

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The Nigerian leader, therefore, called on the PAWA Secretary-General, who will be staying in Ghana for his tenure of office, to continue representing the country well.

Okediran was a former President, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), and former member of the House of Representatives.

The appointment of the Nigerian writer followed the death of the founding Secretary-General of PAWA, Professor Atukwei Okai.

Okai’s demise had created a vacuum in the position for about two years before the appointment of Okediran.


#Newsworthy…

AfDB: Buhari felicitate with Adesina on re-election.

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday congratulated Akinwumi Adesina on his re-election as President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Adesina was unanimously returned as President earlier on Thursday during the bank’s 55th Annual Meetings, which is being held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions.

In a statement signed by Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, President Buhari said news of the victory came during the Council of State meeting, which was attended by former heads of state, Senate President, governors, some Ministers, and senior government officials.

“He deserves it,” President Buhari said, leading a round of applause, after Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, announced the good news to the Council.

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“The President extends appreciation to the African Union for its endorsement of the AfDB President much earlier, and to shareholders of the bank who worked tirelessly to ensure the return of the visionary leader,” the Presidential statement said.

Adesina’s re-election was mired in controversy after he was charged with alleged ethical violations.

President Buhari met with Adesina in June 2020 amid investigation into the latter’s alleged ethical violations. He was later acquitted of all charges.

Amid the controversy, President Buhari endorsed Adesina, assuring him of the country’s support.

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And, after repeated investigations, the former Nigerian Agriculture Minister was cleared of all charges levelled against him, paving the way for his re-election.

“President Buhari believes Dr Adesina’s versatility, experience at both national and international engagements, will be further deployed to energize the pan-African financial institution, urging him to remain focused and steadfast in pursuing the noble goals of making life better for Africans through various development plans, already captured as High 5s,” the Presidency statement added.

“The President rejoices with family, friends and professional colleagues of Dr Adesina over the re-election, while commending members of staff and Board of Governors of the AfDB for their consistent support for the former Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and his management team.

“While pledging full support of his government to ensure a successful tenure for the AfDB leadership, President Buhari prays that the Almighty God will continue to strengthen Dr Adesina and his team for greater good to the continent.”


#Newsworthy…

Deposed Malian President, Boubacar’s son flee Abroad.

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Karim Keita, the son of deposed Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita who became a focus of public anger over his lifestyle, has fled to a “neighbouring country”, sources familiar with his whereabouts told AFP Thursday.

“He left Mali two days ago by road,” said a Malian MP close to Karim, who had himself sat in parliament since 2013 and was re-elected only months ago.

“He called me. He is fine,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity

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The president was arrested along with other government members during the country’s military coup on August 18, but Karim disappeared from view, apparently escaping arrest.

Pictures from leaked videos apparently showing Karim partying abroad with scantily-clad young women — which AFP could not independently verify — were a staple of demonstrations against Keita’s rule that broke out in June.

The president’s son, aged in his early 40s, was painted as a person of loose morals living the high life while his impoverished country suffered.

Public pressure prompted Karim to resign in July from the powerful chairmanship of the National Assembly’s Defence committee, although he clung on to his parliamentary seat.

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The MP said that Karim could be in neighbouring Burkina Faso or Ivory Coast, while a member of the Keita family — also speaking on condition of anonymity — said he was “not in Morocco”.

“Soldiers came to arrest his bodyguard and we realised he was in danger. He’s been out of the country for two days,” the family member added.

An African diplomatic source confirmed to AFP that Karim was “in a neighbouring country.”

The junta said on Thursday that it had freed his 75-year-old father, who had announced his resignation hours after the coup.


#Newsworthy…

AfDB: Akinwumi Adesina thank supporters on his re-election.

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Nigeria’s Akinwumi Adesina has described his re-election as the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) as historic and another call for selfless service to Africa.

Dr Adesina spoke about his re-election during the closing session of the 55th Annual Meeting of the bank which held virtually on Thursday.

“Of course, right now, the sound that is the loudest in my ears is the announcement of my re-election as President of the African Development Bank for a second term,” he said.

“We also made history by re-electing me by 100 percent votes. via a vote, I became the first President of the bank in its history to be re-elected by 100 percent votes of all its shareholders and I am most grateful and very appreciative.”

“This was very important; it shows the transparency of our bank, it shows your demonstrated weight of support behind my vision.

“It shows a very clear and strong mandate from all shareholders to go and implement the vision, it shows that all voices were heard, it shows that we are true to the constitutive test of our bank,” the AfDB president added.


#Newsworthy…

European Union trade chief resignation sparks successor scramble.

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Ireland on Thursday scrambled to assemble potential candidates to succeed EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan after his resignation for breaching coronavirus guidelines.

Hogan, one of the bloc’s most senior officials and a powerful force in Brexit talks, quit on Wednesday after a week-long stream of revelations caused rising public anger.

European Commission executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis of Latvia has stepped up to take over temporarily.

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Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, who spoke to Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin by phone, asked Dublin to submit one man and one woman as candidates to succeed Hogan.

Her spokesman said she wanted a replacement “rapidly”.

Von der Leyen meanwhile issued a stern warning to other commissioners to comply with Covid-19 rules.

As “Europeans make sacrifices and accept painful restrictions, I expect the members… to be particularly vigilant about compliance with applicable national or regional rules or recommendations”, she said in a statement.

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– Rumoured replacements –

Martin told Ireland’s state broadcaster RTE on Thursday that he would meet his government coalition partners to discuss Hogan’s replacement.

He refused to be drawn on specific names, even as rumours swirled linking past prime ministers, current cabinet ministers and European parliamentary officials to the job.

But he added: “It’s fair to say that at this stage our shared objective will be that a person of very, very high calibre will be nominated by the Irish government.”

Yet there is no guarantee Ireland will retain the trade portfolio, which is regarded as a key asset protecting the Republic’s interests during Brexit trade talks with Britain.

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Among those touted in the Irish media as potential successors are former prime minister Leo Varadkar, Foreign Minister Simon Coveney and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.

But all three hold key positions in Martin’s two-months-old coalition government, and Donohoe was recently appointed head of the eurozone group of finance ministers.

Martin is also considered unlikely to want to weaken his administration, which has already been hit by a series of resignations and is facing a surge in coronavirus cases.

RTE raised European Parliament vice-president Mairead McGuinness and former deputy prime minister turned MEP Frances Fitzgerald as possible replacements for Hogan.

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They were seen as figures who would not destabilise the coalition by prompting an unwelcome by-election.

Other names said to be in the frame include the former EU ambassador to the United States, David O’Sullivan, and former prime minister Enda Kenny.

The Irish Times, citing party sources, speculated candidates will come from the centre-right Fine Gael party Hogan served as an Irish lawmaker under the terms of the coalition deal.

It is thought the government may have already had a plan to replace Hogan — a former Irish government minister and EU agriculture commissioner — after he made a failed run for the head of the World Trade Organization in June.

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– Covid-19 breaches –

On Wednesday the Irish government said 60-year-old Hogan’s resignation was “the correct course of action”.

Martin piled pressure on Hogan to quit after it emerged he travelled through a county in a local lockdown and flouted guidelines for a 14-day quarantine on arrival in Ireland.

Hogan also attended a parliamentary golf club dinner on August 19 in breach of coronavirus restrictions on social gatherings announced just 24 hours earlier.

The sporting evening was attended by around 80 people — including a cabinet minister, a supreme court judge and lawmakers from Ireland’s upper and lower houses of parliament.

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It is being investigated by police under legislation limiting gatherings to 50 and has prompted a series of high-level resignations, including agriculture minister Dara Calleary and deputy Senate chair Jerry Buttimer.

Hogan initially declined to apologise for his attendance at the event and details of his travels across Ireland emerged fitfully.

Embarrassment was compounded when it was revealed he was pulled over by an Irish police officer for using his phone while driving.

“I deeply regret that my trip to Ireland … caused such concern, unease and upset,” Hogan said in his resignation statement.


#Newsworthy…

Akinwumi Adesina gets AfDB reelection as President.

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Akinwumi Adesina has been re-elected as President of the Africa Development Bank by its Board of Governors.

Presidential spokeswoman, Lauretta Onochie confirmed the news in a congratulatory tweet on Thursday.

The AfDB is currently holding its 55th Annual Meetings in Côte d’Ivoire virtually, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Adesina’s re-election was mired in controversy after he was charged with alleged ethical violations.

However, after repeated investigations, the former Nigerian Agriculture Minister was cleared of all charges levelled against him, paving the way for his re-election.

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Adesina is the first Nigerian to hold the post of the bank’s President.

The AfDB, founded in 1964, is geared towards spurring “sustainable economic development and social progress” among member African countries.

Nigeria is the AfDB’s largest shareholder with 16.8 percent of rights, while Germany and the United States own 7.4 percent and 5.5 percent respectively.

AfDB president, Akinwumi Adesina

A Sense Of Duty And Commitment
On Wednesday, Adesina had made a case for his re-election to the AfDB’s Board of Governors, noting that he wanted to fulfil “his sense of duty and commitment.”

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“Five years ago, right here in Abidjan, you elected me president of the African Development Bank. It was a huge responsibility to shoulder. I promised that I would work tirelessly to accelerate Africa’s development. My vision, focused on the High 5 priorities, was my commitment, my promise, my compass,” Adesina said during a virtual session at the start of the Bank’s 2020 Annual Meetings.

“Time has passed so quickly,” he added, citing the Bank’s achievements in the five years of his presidency.

Some 18 million additional people now have access to electricity, 141 million people have received more advanced agricultural technology to improve food security, 15 million people have access to financing, 101 million now have access to improved transport, and 60 million people have gained access to water and sanitation, Adesina argued.

“Dear Governors, these Annual Meetings are my opportunity to offer you my services and seek a second term as President of the African Development Bank,” he said. “I do so with humility. I do so with an acute sense of duty and commitment. I do so to serve Africa and our Bank.”


#Newsworthy…

Breaking: FEC approves lump sum for NDDC audit.

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The Federal Executive Council has approved N722.3 million for eight field forensic auditors to audit the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The payment will come directly from the Presidency as the National Assembly is on break and the 2020 budget for the NDDC has not been passed.

Noble Reporters Media learnt the field auditors will also look into the 12,000 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta.

The Minister of Niger Delta, Mr Godwill Akpabio, disclosed this on Wednesday after the virtual FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The NDDC became a subject of controversy over allegations of corruption in the award of contracts and the non-payment of Nigerian scholars under the payroll of the commission.

Following this, the National Assembly invited Akpabio and the NDDC boss, Daniel Pondei to probe the activities of the agency.

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Appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC in a public hearing on July 20, Akpabio accused the lawmakers of benefitting from most contracts awarded by the commission.

File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

However, this did not go down well them as the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila threatened a legal action should the Minister fail to name the purported lawmakers involved in the contracts.

The House also asked Akpabio, to publish the names of the members of the National Assembly who got contracts.

In a statement issued on July 28, the spokesman for the House and Committee Chairman on Media Affairs and Publicity, Benjamin Kalu, said that the minister had alleged that 60 percent of all the NDDC projects were awarded to members of the lawmakers between the months of January and May 2020.

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Kalu explained that following the claim, the leadership of the 9th House issued a 48-hour ultimatum to Akpabio to publish a list of the lawmakers.

The House spokesman revealed that the lawmakers evaluated the minister’s letter and the directive to press charges against him have not been lifted.

Also, President Buhari reacted to the controversy trailing both the commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The President who spoke after the Sallah service on July 31, said some people trusted by his administration have abused the privilege.


#Newsworthy…

States funding community police, not possible – Akeredolu kicks. [Ondo]

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Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu has kicked against the idea of states funding community policing in the country.

Speaking during an interview with Media tv (known to Noble Reporters Media) on Wednesday, Akeredolu said the idea would not work.

He disclosed that his colleagues under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum will table the matter before President Muhammadu Buhari for his intervention.

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“The burden of states will keep increasing. We will be the ones that will fund community police. Where is the money going to come from?

“Except we devolve more money to the states, how will the states fund community police? I don’t think it is going to work,” he said.

“I am sure that they are taking this thing too far (that) governors will have to pay. We have argued this. They started by saying it will be voluntary, they are not going to pay.

A file photo of Ondo State Governor, Olurotimi Akeredolu.

“They now shift the burden on the state governors again. Are you increasing their allocation? Which state governor will accept that?

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“I don’t know if other states will pay but we will not pay. Let us be fair to ourselves, we are running a federal system. We will sit down and discuss this because we have a President that has a listening ear.”

Reacting to his relationship with the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, the governor said it is cordial.

He however maintained that the issue between him the Deputy Governor of the state, Agboola Ajayi is out of ambition, stressing that Ajayi decided to exit the ruling APC to “where he belongs.”

Governor Akeredolu is optimistic about victory in the October 10 governorship election in the state.

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His remarks come two weeks after he inaugurated the pioneer officers of Ondo State Security network Agency Amotekun Corps.

While inaugurating the corps in Akure, the state capital expressed delight with the performance of the pioneer Amotekun Corps officers who just completed their training.

He urged them to put into good use all they were taught during training to ensure the security of life and property in the state.

While soliciting for more funding from the Federal Government to equip the police, governor Akeredolu said that the Amotekun Corps is designed to support the existing security framework in the state.


#Newsworthy…

Breaking: Emefiele to host CEOs of multi national companies

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Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has hinted on plans to meet with the Chief Executives of multinational companies in Nigeria, to discuss the revamp of Nigerian export markets.

Mr. Emefiele dropped the hint on Tuesday, during the meeting of the Bankers’ Committee, noting that the CBN is ready to encourage the revamp of Nigeria’s export sector through deliberate policies that would boost investment and job creation.

While decrying the situation where many Nigerian produce of export quality were waiting to be tapped, Mr Emefiele said the CBN, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, would ensure the facilitation of a reboot of the Nigerian export market.

The CBN Governor reiterated that the country had no choice but to diversify its economic base away from heavy reliance on crude oil, so that Nigerians can produce what they eat and eat what they produce

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, speaks to the press about the Monetary Policy Committee meeting of June 20, 2020 (Noble Reporters Media / Adigun Michael Olamide)

The date of the meeting is yet to be disclosed, but it is expected to come up with a roadmap on how best to revitalize the export sector in order to earn foreign exchange for the country, as well as generate jobs for millions of Nigerians.


#Newsworthy…

United Nations Spotlight Initiative Town Hall On Violence Against Women.

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According to the United Nations, “violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today.”

The Spotlight Initiative, a new, global, multi-year initiative from the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN), is determined to eliminate all forms of such violence against women and girls (VAWG).

The Initiative aims to bring focused attention to the issue, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the centre of efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

An initial investment in the order of EUR 500 million has been made, with the EU as the main contributor.


#Newsworthy…

United Nations in Libya urges probe after violence.

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The UN mission to Libya on Monday urged the Government of National Accord (GNA) to conduct an “immediate and thorough investigation” after violence at a protest in Tripoli a day earlier.

Hundreds gathered in the capital on Sunday evening to protest deteriorating living conditions and denounce corruption in the war-torn country, before security personnel fired into the air to disperse them, witnesses said.

“UNSMIL calls for an immediate and thorough investigation into the excessive use of force by pro-GNA security personnel in Tripoli yesterday which resulted in the injury of a number of protesters,” the UN mission said in a statement, without specifying how many people were wounded.

Videos and photographs circulating on social media showed men in military attire aiming their guns towards protesters in one of the capital’s streets.

Ayman al-Wafi, a young man in his twenties who attended the protest, told AFP that demonstrators had left Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square after “security forces started firing in the air”.

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Angered by chronic water, power, and petrol shortages in a country with Africa’s largest proven crude oil reserves, the mostly young people had marched through the city centre chanting slogans including “No to corruption!”

Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha called those responsible for the violence “outlaws who infiltrated the security forces” supervising the protest.

The interior ministry on Sunday evening said in a statement that the men “do not belong to the security forces” and would be arrested.

Libya has endured almost a decade of violent chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

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The country is plagued by water shortages and power blackouts that snuff out air-conditioners in the searing summer heat.

The situation has been compounded by the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has spread in the country despite social distancing measures.

Considering “the continuing immiseration of the Libyan people and the ever-present threat of renewed conflict, it is past time for Libyan leaders to put aside their differences and engage in a fully inclusive political dialogue,” the UN mission said.

The protest came just two days after the country’s warring rival administrations announced separately that they would cease all hostilities and hold nationwide elections.


#Newsworthy…

Cyril Ramaphosa Rebukes Minister For Attacking Zambian President

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has “strongly reprimanded” his finance minister for challenging the Zambian leader to explain his decision to sack that country’s central bank governor, the presidency said Monday.

In a surprise move, Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Saturday fired his respected central bank governor. Denny Kalyalya.

No reason was given for the removal of the governor, who had been credited with bringing stability to the economy.

South African Finance Minister Tito Mboweni reacted angrily, demanding an explanation.

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“Presidents in Africa must stop this nonsense of waking up in the morning and fire a Central Bank Governor! You cannot do that. This is not some fiefdoms of yours! Your personal property?! No!” tweeted Mboweni on Saturday.

“That Governor was a good fella. Why do we do these things as Africans. The President of Zambia must give us the reasons why he dismissed the Governor – or else hell is on its way. I will mobilize!”

On Sunday he wrote that his tweets had landed him in hot water, but vowed to not give up.

“Looks like I am in trouble about my statement on the dismissal of the Bank of Zambia Governor! I stand by my statement. Central Bank independence is key. Not negotiable. Let all central bankers speak out!”

He has since deleted the tweets.

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A statement from the South African presidency said Ramaphosa “strongly reprimanded” Mboweni following his comments.

He assured the Zambian government that the minister’s “unfortunate remarks do not reflect the views of the South African government” and the “issue is being addressed to ensure that such an incident does not occur again”.

A former World Bank executive director, Kalyalya’s tenure was due to end in 2023.

He was replaced by a deputy secretary to the cabinet, Christopher Mvunga.

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Zambian Information Minister Dora Siliya expressed surprise at Mboweni’s “immature and improper criticism of a sovereign decision by Zambia”.

She urged Mboweni to rather focus on coronavirus “problems facing” South Africa.

At nearly 610,000 cases and over 13,000 deaths, South Africa has recorded the highest numbers of coronavirus infections on the continent, accounting for more than half of Africa’s total tally.

Zambia has recorded 10,831 cases, of which 279 have been fatal.


#Newsworthy…