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Finally, FG Transfers Presidential Lodge to Lagos Govt

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Akinwunmi Ambode
  • Finally, FG Transfers Presidential Lodge to Lagos Govt

The federal government has formally transferred the Presidential Lodge in Marina, once the State House in the First Republic, to the Lagos State Government, a development that has elicited jubilation among the state’s eminent indigenes.

The transfer of the Presidential Lodge was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari in a letter from his Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, to the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, last week.

Buhari’s approval followed Ambode’s request to release the presidential lodge to the Lagos State Government in its bid to transform the Marina-Onikan axis into a world-class arts and tourism hub.

A statement by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, said yesterday that Ambode commended the president for approving the transfer of the Presidential Lodge in Marina to the state government.

He said Buhari’s large heart demonstrated his “keen admiration for Lagos State as the centre of excellence that is well suited to becoming Africa’s foremost hub for arts, entertainment and tourism”.

With the presidential approval, Ambode said the Presidential Lodge would be redeveloped “to The Heritage Centre for Leadership, which would subsequently be redesigned and equipped as a landmark research and tourist arena that will be open to local and international visitors”.

He said: “On behalf of the government and people of Lagos State, I wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for his kind handover of the Presidential Lodge in Marina to the Lagos State Government.

“This, in my opinion, demonstrates the president’s special interest in Lagos State, which is in line with the promise he made in Lagos during the electioneering that the interest of Lagosians will always be paramount in his heart.

“Buhari’s approval has come at a time that the old Lagos State House in Marina, which is next door to the Presidential Lodge, is also being prepared for transformation to The Lagos History Centre, as a mark of honour to and celebration of all former governors of Lagos State, as well as for the benefit of humankind as a whole.

“The State Executive Council has already approved the Lagos House Marina to be turned into Lagos History Centre for tourism purposes. With the handover of the Presidential Lodge to Lagos State, the state government will begin the process that will transform the whole area into a cultural zone in the next two to three years that every Lagosian will be proud of.

“These two buildings will be nurtured as world-class monuments by the Lagos State Government to complement the ongoing larger plan that aims to transform the Marina-Onikan axis into a multi-sectorial culture zone.”

He also unveiled the state’s plan for Marina-Onikan cultural zone, including a skywalk that would connect Marina all the way to the Freedom Park on Broad Street in order to offer the ultimate view of the “culture arcade” that will emerge between Marina and Broad Street and the entire zone to tourists and local visitors.

Ambode said the axis would also accommodate a Tourist Welcome Centre, which he said would comprise a multi-layer car park, mall, Lagos aquarium centre and other tourists’ facilities

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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