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Buhari Orders Fresh Paris Club Loan Refund to States

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Muhammadu Buhari
  • Buhari Orders Fresh Paris Club Loan Refund to States

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday directed the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to immediately release the second tranche of the London-Paris Club loan refund to states.

He said the presidential order should be carried out “appropriately and with dispatch.”

The President, who returned to the country on Friday from his 49-day medical vacation, also turned down advice by state governors to take more rest.

Buhari said he would not take any further rest until he had addressed all issues affecting Nigerians.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke while addressing a meeting of the National Economic Council at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The council, which is made up of state governors, is chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

Buhari, who had earlier released the first tranche of N388bn to the state governments in December 2016, said the latest release was meant to ease their financial hardship.

He stressed the need for the state governors to ensure the settlement of unpaid salaries and pension arrears of their workers with the funds.

“I will not rest until I address those issues that affect our people.

“One of these basic things is the issue of salaries. It is most important that workers are able to feed their families, pay rent and school fees, then other things can follow,” the President was quoted to have said.

He, however, thanked the governors for their display of “love and respect” for him.

Buhari said he was overwhelmed by his recent experience in which states, irrespective of political differences, charged their citizens to pray in mosques and churches for his well-being.

He apologised to the governors for barring them from visiting him while he was in London.

“I didn’t want government to move to London. I wanted it to remain here and I am glad it did,” he said.

After narrating what he went through while on that vacation, Buhari noted the suggestion by the governors for him to take more rest, but insisted that he would remain relentless in the pursuit of the interest of the Nigerian people at all times.

This, according to him, was the only way to show his gratitude to the people who, he said, “had given so much to me. I was overwhelmed by the celebration of my return all across the country.”

The Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Abdul-Aziz Yari of Zamfara State, assured the President, on behalf of his colleagues, that they would continue to support his policies and actions which they had adjudged as being in the nation’s best interest.

The governors of Imo, Akwa-Ibom, Osun and Abia states thanked the President for saving the day for the states through the first tranche of the London-Paris Club loan refunds.

They, however, called for the immediate release of the second one.

They also commended the trust the President reposed in Osinbajo, whom they said did not disappoint when he acted as President.

Buhari had arrived the venue of the meeting chaired by Osinbajo at about 12.30pm while it was already underway.

He went round the hall to shake hands with the state governors and deputy governors standing in for their governors one after the other.

The governors also presented the President with a “get-well” card which they all signed.

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

COVAX Delivered 38m Vaccine Doses To Over 100 Countries, Says WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday announced that more than 100 countries have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

It said the milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on February 24th.

In a statement, the United Nations’ Agency revealed that COVAX has now delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents, supplied by three manufacturers – AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Serum Institute of India (SII).

Of the over 100 economies reached, 61 are among the 92 lower-income economies receiving vaccines funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

It, however, said despite reduced supply availability in March and April – the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimising their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year.

According to the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley, “In under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting anywhere in the world, it is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached 100 countries.

“COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating economies in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers. As we continue with the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history, this is no time for complacency.”

The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet.

“If we are going to realise this great opportunity, countries, producers and the international system must come together to prioritise vaccine supply through COVAX. Our collective future, literally, depends on it.”

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Approved Ibom Deep Sea Port, Proposed $1.4B Fertilizer Plant Will Change Akwa Ibom’s Economic Status – Gov. Udom

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Akwa Ibom State Government has said the approved Ibom Deep Seaport and the proposed $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia Plant are expected to change the economic status of the state.

The State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, made the assertion in an Easter message to the people of the state.

He maintained that with the recent approval and take off of the federal government’s approved Oil and Gas Free Zone and the ongoing construction of the Sterling Petrochemical Plant at Eastern Obolo, the state would be ready to dump its status as a civil service state.

The governor said the fertilizer and ammonia plants should be supported by all indegenes and residents irrespective of political affiliation because of its capacity to change the economic fortunes of the state.

The governor who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the industrial projects in the state said construction work on the Ibom Deep Seaport would commence very soon.

“In recent past, we have been blessed with life-changing projects such as Sterling Petrochemical Plant in Eastern Obolo, where construction is in an advanced stage.

“Two months ago, the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) approved the license for us to commence the construction of our long desired Ibom Deep Seaport. Work would soon commence on this gigantic project. These are huge achievements for our State and our people.

“Ibom Deep Seaport will open up our economic fortunes; create employment and wealth opportunities for our people and throw open our State as a major maritime hub in our nation.

“We thank the President and the Commander in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for this kind approval,” he said.

Continuing, Emmanuel said: “About three weeks ago, we signed a $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia plant with our Moroccan counterparts. The plant will again create huge employment and other supply chain activities for our people, which will transform us from a civil service oriented state to a fast industrialising one.

“These are huge achievements that should gladden the hearts of every Akwa Ibomite irrespective of political affiliations.”

He reminded the people of the state that the essence of Easter would be lost if the resurrection of Christ is not allowed to illuminate their souls through love and sacrifice to one another.

“Let the fishermen in the ocean fronts of Mbo, Okobo, Eastern Obolo and Ibeno love one another. Let the farmers in the rice plantations at Ini, Ikono, Ika, Onna and Nsit Ibom love one another.

“Let the civil servants and public servants, politicians in all political parties, members of all denominations, preachers of all faiths, love one another.

“When we let love drive our every action and every thought, when we let it drip from our lips and from our hands, then shall the joy of Easter be complete, and our State shall surely attain the lofty height set for it by our ancestors when they named it Akwa Abasi Ibom State.” the Governor stated.

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US Intelligence Says ISIS and Al-Qaeda Are Planning to Attack Southern Nigeria

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The United States has warned the Federal Government of Nigeria that Al-Qaeda and ISIS are planning to attack Southern Nigeria.

This was disclosed by Dagvin Anderson, the Commander of the US special operations command, Africa.

According to Dagvin Anderson, AlQaeda is planning to expand into the Southern part of Nigeria and other parts of West Africa.

He, however, said the US will continue to share intelligence with Nigeria.

We have engaged with Nigeria and continue to engage with them in intel sharing and in understanding what these violent extremists are doing,” he said.

And that has been absolutely critical to their engagements up in the Borno state and into an emerging area of northwest Nigeria that we’re seeing al-Qaeda starting to make some inroads in. 

“So, this intelligence sharing is absolutely vital and we stay fully engaged with the government of Nigeria to provide them with an understanding of what these terrorists are doing, what Boko Haram is doing, what ISIS-West Africa is doing, and how ISIS and al-Qaeda are looking to expand further south into the littoral areas. 

Anderson regretted that despite successes recorded in previous years, there has been a setback, adding: “We as a community of international nations, keep thinking we have defeated them or we have put them on their back foot and that they’re just moments from disintegration.” Anderson said for international efforts to yield desired results in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria, the government must take the lead. 

“When it comes to Nigeria in general, Nigeria, obviously, is a critical nation to West Africa. It is a critical nation and we realise that Nigeria is a lynchpin,” he said.

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