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It’s Power Devolution or N’Delta Republic, Militants Tell FG

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  • It’s Power Devolution or N’Delta Republic, Militants Tell FG

A coalition of Niger Delta militant groups on Saturday expressed readiness to fight for a Niger Delta Republic if the Federal Government failed to embrace devolution of power and fiscal federalism.

The militants, who spoke under the aegis of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators, stated that they were prepared to mobilise other agitating groups in the oil rich region to actualise a Niger Delta Republic.

A statement signed by nine militant leaders cautioned that the people of the Niger Delta were prepared to secede if the total devolution of power and fiscal federalism were not put in place.

The statement was signed by John Dudu (Niger Delta Watchdogs and convener of the coalition); Ekpo Ekpo (Niger Delta Volunteers) Osarolor Nedam (Niger Delta Warriors); Henry Okon Etete (Niger Delta Peoples Fighters) and Asukwo Henshaw (Bakassi Freedom Fighters).

Others included Ibinabo Horsfall of the Niger Delta Movement for Justice, Duke Emmanson (Niger Delta Fighters Network), Inibeghe Adams (Niger Delta Freedom Mandate) and Abiye Tariah (Niger Delta Development Network).

The statement read, “The least considerable action on the part of the Federal Government is the total devolution of power and fiscal federalism. Anything short of that, the people of the Niger Delta will go their separate ways. The coalition will work to convince other agitators in the Niger Delta for a collaborative action to ensure the least acceptable demand, which is total devolution of power and fiscal federalism.

“The people of the Niger Delta will fully support the call for a referendum by other agitators in the country. Finally, the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators firmly resolves to pursue its decision(s) and actualise them by any means necessary.”

Faulting the leadership of the Pan Niger Delta Forum for what they termed poor handling of the agreement between it (PANDEF) and the Federal Government, the militants declared that they had withdrawn their support for the forum.

They maintained that the authority to represent the Niger Delta ethnic nationalities was no longer under the purview of the current leadership of PANDEF.

The coalition said, “The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators will rally round all other agitating groups in the Niger Delta for the actualisation of the Niger Delta Republic. This will give us the freedom to develop ourselves and at our own pace.”

It also described the last meeting of the forum in Bayelsa as dismal, adding that serious issues were not presented for deliberation.

Describing the PANDEF leadership as clueless, the coalition observed that the forum appeared not to be cohesive and united in thoughts and actions.

“While a meeting is called by Pa E. K. Clark in Bayelsa, the secretary of the central working committee is calling for a constitution review meeting in Abuja the following day. We have no doubt in our mind that there are contending interests and positions that have become overriding in the leadership of PANDEF and we can no longer sit by and allow them to fester,” the coalition said.

It added that PANDEF leadership appeared to have lost track of the political development and the trend of agitations in the country, especially from the South-East and South-West.

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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