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Fayose: Obanikoro’s Return Planned to Nail Me

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Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose.
  • Obanikoro’s Return Planned to Nail Me

The testimony of former Minister of State (Defence) Musiliu Obanikoro in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) appears to be rattling Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose.

Obanikoro claimed that he gave Fayose N2.3 billion, which came from the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) in the run-up to the June 21, 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State.

Apparently troubled by Obanikoro’s evidence, Fayose, in a statement made available to reporters yesterday, alleged that the ex-minister’s return from the United States was “arranged and compromised” in a bid to nail him (Fayose).

The governor also described Obanikoro’s surrender to the EFCC as part of “Fayose-Must-Be-Implicated-At-All-Cost” project, urging the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government to channel its energy towards providing food for hungry Nigerians.

Dismissing the claim that Obanikoro had confessed to the EFCC on the receipt of funds from Dasuki to sponsor his 2014 governorship campaign, Fayose said he was only reacting just to fulfil all righteousness because Nigerians are more interested in having food on their tables.

He claimed that the APC and the EFCC were conducting a media trial, urging them to halt all salvos being fired at him and wait for him to present his defence.

He said: “We have gone beyond this stage of media trial. EFCC should rather keep its gun powder dry. When we get to the bridge, we will cross it. They said more than this in the 2006 poultry scam blackmail. Despite that, I am the governor today.”

Fayose added: “Those who arranged the dramatic and compromised return of Senator Obanikoro to Nigeria obviously did so in continuation of their project ‘Fayose must be implicated at all cost’ but I am not bothered because my election was legitimately funded.

“However, if this is why they are intimidating judges and the judiciary, it won’t work as far as my own matter is concerned as no one can play God.

“As far as I am concerned, I am busy here in Ekiti attending to the welfare and well-being of my people. I won’t be distracted.”

Fayose challenged the EFCC to also investigate the funding of APC elections, expressing outrage that “financial assistance from Nigerians is now criminalised”.

He said: “Since we are now in the era in which financial assistance from Nigerians to fund elections is being criminalised, the international community, especially those funding EFCC, must insist that the commission probes the funding of APC elections before further funds are released to the commission.

Also yesterday, Fayose dispelled the rumour that he had shut down the Ado-Ekiti branch of Access Bank Plc following last Monday’s attempt by agents of the EFCC to arrest Mrs Precious Chikwendu Fani-Kayode, the wife of former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode, in the bank premises.

In a statement in Ado-Ekiti by his Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, Fayose said it had nothing against the bank and there was no reason whatsoever to shut down the financial institution.

He said: “The attention of the state government has been drawn to rumours making the round, especially on social media, that Ekiti State Government has shut downý a branch of Access Bank in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.

“This is definitely coming from the warped minds of opposition elements, whose mouths have been locked by the sterling performance of Fayose and the unprecedented support he is enjoying from the people of the state.

“For the sake of clarity, Ekiti State Government has no axe to grind with the management of Access Bank. Also, the state government does not license banks and can’t withdraw same.

“We enjoin the good people of Ekiti State and Nigerians in general to disregard such unfounded rumours.

“They should not let themselves be dragged to the level of the unintelligent like the opposition people have shown by embarking on this type of insinuation they probably brought from the pit of hell.”

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.

Government

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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