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How We Negotiated Chibok Girls’ Freedom, by Shehu Sani

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Shehu Sani
  • How We Negotiated Chibok Girls’ Freedom, by Shehu Sani

A key player in the negotiation that led to Thursday’s release of 21 of the Chibok schoolgirls spoke yesterday on the effort that went into the deal.

Vocal civil liberty activist,Senator Shehu Sani drafted the master plan for the negotiation and facilitated the involvement of Switzerland in the talks as well as the Internantional Red Cross in transporting the girls to safety.

He told The Nation yesterday that with the confidence built on both sides,it might not be long before the remaining girls joined their families.

His words: “I believe that this government has achieved what has never been achieved and there I have the confidence that the other girls will also be released through the same process that was taken for these ones to be released.

“ The confidence has been built on both sides and the parties have agreed to do more. I can tell you that there was no prisoner swap. There was none.”

Explaining his role in the release of the girls,Sani said : “Well I actually did not take part in the negotiation but I was the one who drafted the master plan for the negotiation, and I was also the one who invited the Swiss and the RCRC into it, and I was also the one who linked the Swiss with the person who negotiated .

“This master plan started from 2014 but it was followed through with the effort of the person who negotiated ,who happened to be Mustapha Zanna, a lawyer in Maiduguri. I was the one who brought Mustapha Zanna in with Switzerland and the RCRC.

“So this effort ,this success , could be said to be the joint effort of Mustapha Zanna,Switzerland RCRC and the Department of State Security (DSS).

“But I was the one who drafted the master plan for this. The reason for bringing Swiss into it was because we needed to have a different country that would offer guarantee to both the insurgents and the government because previous talks crashed because there was lack of trust between the government and the insurgents.

“But now, we needed a country that would offer guarantee to both sides. Switzerland offered to assist after I had encountered fellows from some of the countries which we had contacted. “Swiss offered to facilitate the negotiation and I linked them up to the negotiator and the master plan was for the government and the insurgents to negotiate.

Continuing,Sani said: “The agreement was reached through Mustapha Zanna and the Swiss offering the guarantee. RCRC was not part of the negotiation team. All they did was to ensure the implementation of the rescue of the girls.

“This is why you see some accusations and counter accusations between the government and the RCRC.”

Asked how he was involved in the 2014 process when he wasn’t sure that his party (All Progressives Congress) would form the government, Sani replied: ” I was the one who took (former President Olusegun) Obasanjo to Maiduguri to go and work out the possibility of ending the insurgency.

“It is simply my patriotic zeal to contribute to ending the insurgency. The last government was not as committed as this government as you could see many of them turn the issue of the insurgency into a big business. But this is a new government that kept its own promise of addressing this very problem.”

On how the girls should be handled now that they are out of captivity,the snator said: “These girls need a lot of psychological rehabilitation for the trauma which they have passed through for all this period of time.

“If you live with the insurgents, you need to b rehabilitated to lead a normal life again. They have been filled with different ideas, so we need to detoxify their minds for the very fact that they felt abandoned; some of them have been brainwashed and indoctrinated. This is why we need to de-worm them. It is very necessary.

“We should all help the parents of these girls to be able to cater for their daughters because at the end of the day, no matter what we do to these girls, they will still need to go back to their homes.

“ It will not be unwise for every state of the federation to at least name one street in honour of these girls so that next generation will not forget the names of these girls who have fallen victim of insurgents.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

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African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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