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Biafra: Arewa Youths to Lobby N’Assembly on Referendum

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Nnamdi Kanu
  • Biafra: Arewa Youths to Lobby N’Assembly on Referendum

There are strong indications that the coalition of northern youths will soon start lobbying members of the National Assembly to include referendum in the ongoing constitution amendments.

The Arewa Youths Consultative Forum’s President, Yerima Shettima, who gave this indication in an interview, said the coalition would not use force to effect the quit notice it gave to the Igbo.

But he expressed confidence that the referendum would not favour the Indigenous People of Biafra’s leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, and other secessionists, saying the people of the zone would reject secession.

The group had a few months ago told the Igbo living in the North to leave the region on or before October 1. It hinged its ultimatum on the secessionist agitation of IPOB.

Following a lot of public outcry and condemnation from eminent Nigerians and organisations, there were reports that the forum would withdraw the quit notice.

But at a press conference in Kano on Thursday, the forum said there was no going back on the quit notice.

Shettima, at the event, had said, “We have not renounced our earlier position on the quit notice to the Igbo.”

He had said that the Northern youths would not use force, but constitutional means to achieve their goal.

He said the forum had written the United Nations to prevail on the Federal Government to opt for referendum.

The referendum, he explained, would enable those who were desirous of leaving the federation to do so without force.

Shettima stated, “We are looking at having a referendum. It is part of our prayers to the United Nations. Our second prayer is for the UN and the international community to prevail on the Nigerian government through the National Assembly to create an exit for those who want to leave.

“We are also planning to lobby members of the National Assembly to formally agree to a referendum on Biafra. We want the Igbo to have the opportunity of voting on this issue.

“We are saying Nigeria cannot sign international treaties and not implement them. We want a constitutional amendment for referendum because it is not currently part of our constitution.”

The youth leader said he was expecting a response to the group’s letter to the United Nations.

According to him, the group will hold consultations across the North on the need for a referendum.

He said, “We are expecting the UN to respond and we would also talk to our lawmakers, but we are in consultation. Nigerians should not panic; we are not a violent organisation.”

He further stated that his group had been holding meetings with stakeholders in the North, adding that the youth coalition had just concluded a parley in Kano after which it would also meet with people in the North-Central and North-East.

He said, “We have made it abundantly clear that we would not enforce anything. We are not the government and we do not have the power to enforce anything, but we are using legal means because the issue is about Nnamdi Kanu who is heaping abuses on our people and undermining the government.

“We are saying the government must rise to the occasion and checkmate the guy. We may review our position after our consultations, but we mean no harm, we won’t harass innocent Nigerians, no. It is not in our power to do so.”

Referendum will not favour Biafra Republic, Kanu

The Arewa youth leader also expressed confidence that a referendum would not favour the Biafra Republic or its promoter, Kanu.

Shettima said Kanu could not speak for Igbo leaders such as Chief Emeka Anyaoku and other intellectuals, noting that the IPOB leader was merely engaging in survival antics.

He said, “The truth is that Biafra cannot succeed even through a referendum. The truth of the matter is that an average Igbo man does not believe in Biafra but rather some few individuals are clamouring for it just to survive.

“When the referendum holds, it would not favour Biafra. It will not favour Kanu. He cannot speak for strong intellectuals like Chief Emeka Anyaoku and other Igbo intellectuals.”

He alleged that Kanu was being sponsored by disgruntled Nigerians in foreign countries seeking political relevance, adding that such people were being deceived by Kanu.

The Arewa youth leader explained that the steps so far taken by his coalition were done to expose the agitation for Biafra as a scam that should not be taken seriously by the international community.

He said, “Most of those funding the Biafra agitations are Nigerians in foreign lands who have lost relevance. They want to come back home. They want to be more relevant because they are not relevant at all.

“Kanu is using their psyche assuring them that there would be a new Republic of Biafra. We are doing what we are doing to expose them to the international community that these guys are just jokers and that they are not speaking for the Igbo.

“The real Igbo who want to stay in Nigeria are more than 80 per cent and he cannot in any way speak for them. Through a referendum, you would get to know that truly, more Igbo believe in Nigeria.”

We are certain of victory –IPOB

Reacting to the development, IPOB said it was certain of victory if there was any referendum on Biafra.

IPOB spokesperson, Mr. Emma Powerful, told one of our correspondents, “My leadership told me not to respond to any statement credited to the Arewa youths but their fathers, that is, the Arewa Elders Forum.

“But you know very well that if they call for a referendum today, we will win.

“We are praying, let them venture to call for a referendum in Biafraland, then you will know that God Almighty has done it for us.

“They don’t know what we are doing and what we are planning to do.”

Ango Abdullahi, Junaid urge FG to invite parties

Speaking on the quit notice, a Northern elder statesman, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, said if the Federal Government invited both Northern and Southern agitating youths and elders to a roundtable, some common grounds in the interest of the country could be gained.

Abdullahi, who is the spokesperson for the Northern Elders Forum, said, “When you want the latest on the quit notice, go to the youth. I am not a youth. My understanding is that I participated in one of the elders’ consultations with the acting president (Prof. Yemi Osinbajo). We were the first group to meet him and he listened to our views. I learnt he met with the other group too.

“The initial idea was that all the groups would be put together for a joint discussion; I think this is what perhaps has not taken place. Perhaps, at that time, when the groups meet, we might be able to extract some common positions which will be communicated to the general public.”

Also, a Second Republic lawmaker and a Northern elder statesman, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, said, “I cannot speak for the youth. But the issue about the Northern and Southern agitators which has refused to go away is an indication that we as Nigerians are not sincere democrats. You cannot build a democracy without having a sincere mind of a democrat. This mind is neither in the North nor in the South.

“We have to be sincere with ourselves and see whether the Nigerian project is an implementable project. We have to see whether we have been fair to our existence as a country and whether any country can survive with this level of continuous agitations.”

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

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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Government

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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Government

Ahmed Kuru, Hassan Confirm as AMCON, NDIC MDs

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AMCON

Ahmed Kuru, Hassan Confirm as AMCON, NDIC MDs

The Senate has confirmed both Ahmed Kuru and Bello Hassan as the Managing Directors of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigerian (AMCON) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, respectively.

The two were confirmed after careful consideration of two separate reports of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions.

Also, the Senate confirmed Ebelechukwu Uneze and Aminu Ismail as executive directors of AMCON; and Muhammad Ibrahim as Executive Director of the NIDC.

Senator Uba Sani, the Chairman of the Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, said Kuru was confirmed as the MD of the AMCON in 2015.

He said, “The Corporation saw tremendous and tangible transformation and performance in effectively discharging its mandate during his first tenure through the introduction of new policies and frameworks.

“Strategically under his leadership, AMCON partnered investors and operators for value-enhanced exit of its portfolio companies, as well as the introduction and implementation of the Asset Management Partners scheme to assist with the resolution of small loans which in turn created over 3000 jobs both directly and indirectly.

“He also championed the creation of the Asset Tracing Unit which has led to more extensive discovery of assets and subsequent recovery of indebtedness while simultaneously having proactive negotiations with debt holders to achieve prompt and optimal settlements,” the lawmaker said.

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