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FG swaps 82 Chibok Girls With Boko Haram Prisoners

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Boko Haram
  • FG swaps 82 Chibok Girls With Boko Haram Prisoners

The Presidency on Saturday said security agencies secured the release of 82 Chibok girls in exchange for some Boko Haram prisoners.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists on Saturday night.

Shehu said President Muhammadu Buhari was scheduled to formally receive the freed girls in Abuja on Sunday.

The statement read, “The President is pleased to announce that negotiations to release more of the Chibok Girls have born fruit with the release of 82 more girls today.

“After months of patient negotiations, our security agencies have taken back these abducted girls in exchange for some Boko Haram suspects held by the authorities.

“The girls are due tomorrow (Sunday) in Abuja to be received by the President.

“The President expressed his deep gratitude to security agencies, the military, the government of Switzerland, the Red Cross, local and international NGOs for the success of this operation.

“It may be recalled that when the first batch of 21 Girls were released in October last year, the President directed the security agencies to continue in earnest until all the Chibok Girls have been released and reunited with their families.

“The President has been receiving full reports from the Director-General of the State Security Services at each stage of the process.”

Sources from the Nigerian Air Force on Saturday also confirmed that Boko Haram terrorists released about 82 Chibok girls, who are presently in Banki, Borno.

On the night of April 14, 2014, 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok. Fifty-seven of the schoolgirls managed to escape over the next few months

In May 2016, one of the abducted girls, Amina Ali, was found and another was discovered later in the month, although parents expressed doubts as her name was not among those originally kidnapped. Twenty-one girls were freed in October last year, while one other was rescued the next month. Another was found in January this year. With the latest release of 82 more girls, a total of 164 girls have gained their freedom, while 112 are still in Boko Haram captivity.

It was gathered that the Air Component of Operation Lafiya Dole was making preparations for the airlifting of the girls first to Maiduguri, then to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, after which the girls would be reunited with their parents.

One of the sources, an NAF pilot involved in the North-East operations, who could not be named because he was not authorised to speak on the development, told one of our correspondents that the report was true.

“Yes, it is true that the Boko Haram (terrorists) released some of the girls today (Saturday) based on some negotiation terms. You recall that some of their leaders were badly hit (some) days back. The official quarters do not have much detail yet,” he said.

The NAF source added that the girls were currently undergoing some psychological and medical tests.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s Personal Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, also confirmed the release of the 82 Chibok girls on her Twitter handle, @Laurestar.

She, however, did not indicate the circumstances under which the girls were released, but attributed the development to “good leadership and a courageous Army.”

Onochie had earlier in the day posted another message in which she said the same Nigerian soldiers who ran away from battle during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan are now chasing Boko Haramterrorists under Buhari.

“The same Nigerian soldiers who ran away like chickens under Jonathan are roaring like lions, chasing BokoHaram. It’s all about leadership,” she wrote.

The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, on the other hand, said it had yet to verify the information.

The Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. John Eneche, said, “I do not have that information yet. When it comes to us, we will definitely get across to you.”

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. SaniUsman, could not be reached for comments as he did not respond to several calls made to his telephone.

Similarly, the Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Adesanya, said he had yet to receive the details of any group of freed Chibok girls.

He said, “I will carry out my findings and get back to you. But I presently don’t have such information.”

However, the Chairman of the Chibok Community in Abuja, Tsana Abana, while confirming the release of the girls to one of our correspondents, added that the girls would be moved to Maiduguri on Sunday (today).

“It is true. I spoke with a top government official in Borno. He said 82 girls had been released on Friday but that there are some logistics going on, and that is why the news was delayed. The girls are still in Banki and they would be moved to Maiduguri tomorrow (Sunday),” Abanastated.

Also commenting on the report of the release of the girls, the President of the Chibok Youth Community who is also a member of the #BringBackOurGirls movement, Moses Zakwa, on Saturday night said the Chibok community was eager to hear Federal Government to make a formal announcement on the girls’ return, pointing out that the news called for celebration.

“We found the news to be a good one but we can’t jubilate yet. We are awaiting a formal announcement from the Federal Government that the girls have been released. If the news turns out to be true, we will celebrate. We have heard the report and a lot of people are wondering if the report of the girls’ release is true or not. The Chibokcommunity in Abuja are ready to welcome the girls. It is cause for celebration; we have to rejoice.

“The BBOG movement too will mobilise its members. We can only hope that the report is true. It calls for a huge celebration — that our lost girls have been found. Everyone has been calling to find out if it is true. We are waiting; we are hopeful to see the girls again,” Zakwa said.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Russia and North Korea Revive Military Pact, Heightening Tensions with US

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have revived a Cold War-era military pact.

The agreement, signed on Wednesday during Putin’s first visit to North Korea in 24 years, commits the two nations to provide immediate military assistance to each other if either is attacked.

This development is likely to exacerbate tensions with the United States and its allies.

The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Treaty, as the pact is officially named, represents the most powerful treaty signed between the two countries, according to Kim.

“This treaty elevates our ties to an alliance,” he declared during the signing ceremony. The deal stipulates that if either nation is invaded by an armed force, the other will provide military and other assistance “with all the means at its disposal,” in line with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and the laws of both nations.

Putin’s visit to Pyongyang and the signing of the pact come on the heels of Kim’s trip to Russia in September, an event that has already resulted in a notable increase in arms transfers between the two countries, as confirmed by satellite imagery.

Despite the mounting evidence, both Moscow and Pyongyang have denied any such exchanges.

The renewed military alliance marks a significant escalation in the strategic partnership between Russia and North Korea, which had been relatively dormant since the end of the Cold War.

Analysts suggest that this move is a clear message of defiance to Western powers, particularly the United States, which has been involved in ongoing disputes with both nations over various geopolitical issues.

“The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Treaty is for defensive purposes,” Kim stated, but experts warn that the alliance increases the risks for the US and its partners in responding to provocations from Moscow and Pyongyang. The treaty not only includes mutual defense commitments but also outlines plans to enhance cooperation in trade and investment, further solidifying the bilateral relationship.

Russian officials emphasized that the pact is a natural progression of the countries’ shared interests.

“This treaty is a testament to the deepening strategic and military cooperation between Russia and North Korea,” said Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister. “It is essential for maintaining regional stability and countering external threats.”

The US and its allies have expressed grave concerns over the implications of this agreement. “This treaty significantly alters the security landscape in East Asia,” stated a senior US State Department official. “It underscores the need for vigilance and reinforces the importance of our alliances in the region.”

Military analysts are closely watching the developments, noting that the alliance could embolden both nations to take more aggressive stances on the international stage.

“With this treaty, North Korea gains a powerful ally, while Russia secures a foothold in East Asia,” said Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center. “It is a strategic maneuver that complicates the geopolitical calculus for the US and its partners.”

The reactivation of the military pact also comes at a time when Russia is deeply involved in the conflict in Ukraine, where it faces significant opposition from Western nations.

North Korea’s unreserved support for Putin’s actions in Ukraine, as articulated by Kim, further aligns the two nations against common adversaries.

As the international community grapples with the potential ramifications of this treaty, it is clear that the renewed alliance between Russia and North Korea represents a formidable challenge to the current global order.

The coming months will likely see increased diplomatic activity as nations reassess their strategies in light of this development.

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Cyril Ramaphosa Begins New Term Under Coalition Government

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Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in for another term as South Africa’s president on Wednesday, the beginning of a new era under a coalition government.

The ceremony held at the Nelson Mandela Amphitheater in the Union Buildings saw Ramaphosa take the oath of office before Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

The event was attended by prominent dignitaries, including Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, Democratic Republic of Congo leader Felix Tshisekedi, and Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, and was marked by a 21-gun salute and an air force flyover.

Ramaphosa’s reappointment comes three weeks after elections saw his party, the African National Congress (ANC), lose its parliamentary majority for the first time since the end of apartheid.

The ANC secured just over 40% of the vote on May 29, with millions of former supporters either backing a splinter party led by ex-leader Jacob Zuma or abstaining due to dissatisfaction over high levels of poverty, unemployment, and crime.

In his inauguration address, Ramaphosa emphasized the resilience of South African democracy and the need for unity.

“The resilience of our democracy has once more been tested, and the people have spoken loudly that they choose peace and democracy over conflict,” he said. “The voters of South Africa did not give any single political party the full mandate to govern our country alone. They have directed us to work together to address their plight and realize their aspirations.”

The ANC’s unprecedented electoral outcome necessitated a power-sharing agreement with long-time rivals. The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and four other parties have agreed to join a government of national unity, supporting Ramaphosa’s leadership in exchange for cabinet and parliamentary positions.

This coalition is expected to prioritize economic growth, investment attraction, structural reforms, and sustainable management of state finances.

The rand strengthened to a level stronger than 18 per dollar for the first time in over ten months, and Johannesburg’s benchmark equity index reached a record high on Wednesday.

Market optimism is driven by the inclusion of business-friendly parties in the government, anticipated to bolster Ramaphosa’s reform agenda aimed at addressing power shortages, logistical challenges, and other economic impediments.

Despite criticism in his previous term for his consultative approach, which opponents labeled as indecisive, Ramaphosa reaffirmed his commitment to inclusive governance.

“Those who would like a president that is dictatorial, who is adventurous, who is reckless, will not find that in me,” he stated last month. “In me they will find a president who wants to consult. All these processes have often been seen as, ‘he is weak, he is not decisive.’ I am decisive, but I want to take people along with.”

The new coalition government faces significant challenges, including negotiating policy differences and accommodating politically powerful figures within the ANC and its partners.

The DA has already expressed concerns over the ANC’s uncosted national health insurance plan and its foreign policy stance.

Susan Booysen, director of research at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, noted the complexities ahead. “South Africa is really moving into this with minimal on-the-ground preparation and justification,” she said. “The devil is going to be in the exact detail. Once cabinet is announced, some basic agreement will have to be reached on policy positions and on what the red-line issues will be.”

As Ramaphosa begins his new term, the nation watches closely, hopeful that this coalition government can navigate the intricate landscape of South African politics and bring about the much-needed reforms and stability.

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Fubara Appoints and Swears in Caretaker Chairmen for All 23 Rivers State LGAs

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Siminalayi Fubara

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State has appointed and sworn in new caretaker chairmen for all 23 local government areas.

This significant action followed swiftly after the House of Assembly, led by factional Speaker Victor Jumbo, screened and confirmed the nominees earlier in the day.

The process began on Tuesday when Governor Fubara submitted the list of nominees to the state House of Assembly.

According to a statement by the Clerk of the House, G.M. Gillis-West, the nominees were summoned for an early morning screening at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

The rapid succession of events underscores the urgency of the appointments amid ongoing political unrest in the state.

The political crisis intensified as former council chairmen, whose terms had expired, refused to vacate their offices.

This defiance prompted the need for a swift and firm resolution to ensure continuity and stability in local governance.

The swearing-in ceremony took place under tight security at the Executive Council Chambers of the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

Governor Fubara administered the oath of office to the first batch of eleven caretaker chairmen, with subsequent batches following promptly.

The newly appointed caretaker chairmen are:

  • Abua/Odua LGA: Madigai Dickson
  • Ahoada East LGA: Happy Benneth
  • Ahoada West LGA: Mr. Daddy John Green
  • Akuku Toru LGA: Otonye Briggs
  • Andoni LGA: Reginald Ekaan
  • Asari Toru LGA: Orolosoma Amachree
  • Bonny LGA: Alabota Anengi Barasua
  • Degema LGA: Anthony Soberekon
  • Eleme LGA: Brain Gokpa
  • Emouha LGA: David Omereji
  • Etche LGA: John Otamiri
  • Gokana LGA: Kenneth Kpeden
  • Ikwerre LGA: Darlington Orji
  • Khana LGA: Marvin Yobana
  • Obio/Akpor LGA: Emmanuel Dogwo
  • Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA: Vincent Anyanwu
  • Ogu/Bolo LGA: Margaret Ezenwa
  • Okrika LGA: Chizoba Onyebuchi
  • Omuma LGA: Cynthia Amadi
  • Opobo/Nkoro LGA: Solomon Dokubo
  • Oyigbo LGA: Chima Nwafor
  • Port Harcourt LGA: Isaac Udochukwu
  • Tai LGA: Ruth Michael

Governor Fubara expressed confidence in the capabilities of the newly appointed chairmen and emphasized the importance of their roles in maintaining stability and driving development at the grassroots level.

He urged them to prioritize the needs of their communities and work diligently towards improving the quality of life for all residents of Rivers State.

The appointment of the caretaker chairmen is expected to quell the political tensions that have recently plagued the state, ensuring that local governance continues smoothly and efficiently.

As Rivers State navigates this transitional period, the administration remains committed to fostering a stable and prosperous environment for its citizens.

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