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Nigerian Army, UN Clash Over Invasion of UN Building

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Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Burata
  • Nigerian Army, UN Clash Over Invasion of UN Building

The United Nations and the Nigerian Army on Friday clashed over the invasion of a building occupied by the world body on Friday in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The Army, in a statement on Friday, defended its action, saying the action was part of counter-insurgency activities of its Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole. The statement was signed by the 7th Division spokesperson, Kingsley Samuel.

It stated that it had been conducting cordon and search operations in urban and rural areas within the state.

According to the Army, the clearance operations have been yielding successes.

The Army stated, “It has forced the Boko Haram terrorists to change tactics and resort to the employment of suicide bombers to target military locations and the populace. This necessitated the need to intensify cordon and search in the Maiduguri metropolis and environment.

“In the last one week, cordon and search operations were conducted in Jiddari –Polo, Muna Garage, and Jakana amongst several other areas. On August 10, 2017, the Theatre Command received information from one of its credible sources that some high-value Boko Haram suspects had infiltrated into Pompomari Bypass.

“It, therefore, became expedient to take preemptive action by combing the general area through a cordon and search operation. The operation was successfully conducted as over 30 houses were searched.

“One of such included a property, which was said to be occupied by the United Nations staff members, although the property did not carry a UN designation.

“On the whole, the operation in the general area was successfully concluded but no arrest was made because the suspects were not found.”

Search without authorisation –UN

But the UN, in a statement said its Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Edward Kallon, stated that the search was without authorisation. The statement was signed by its Head of Communications, Samantha Newport.

Kallon expressed grave concern over the unauthorised search of the UN base for humanitarian workers in Maiduguri.

Kallon stated, “At circa 0500 hours today (Friday), members of the Nigerian security forces entered the UN base for humanitarian workers in Maiduguri without authorisation. The security forces carried out a search of the tented camp and left the area at circa 0800 hours.

“The United Nations does not have any information at this time regarding the reason or motivations for the unauthorised search. The Humanitarian Coordinator is working closely with the Government of Nigeria to resolve this issue. The humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s North-East is one of the most severe in the world today.”

Kallon said that he was extremely concerned that the actions could be detrimental to the critical work that was being carried out every day to support the most vulnerable in the region, adding “I call upon the Government of Nigeria to provide clarification.

“The United Nations and more than 50 non-governmental humanitarian organisations are working in support of the Government of Nigeria to provide aid, including food, safe water and medicine, to some 6.9 million people in need in the Northeast.”

Army searching for Shekau in UN building –Report

An internal UN memo seen by the Agence France Presse suggested that the Nigerian forces might have been searching for the leader of the jihadist Boko Haram group, Abubakar Shekau, after rumours spread locally that he was hiding in the compound known as the “Red Roof”.

“Information about Shekau’s presence in the Red Roof was already being spread yesterday (Thursday) on the social media,” said the document, apparently issued by the UN’s Department of Safety.

“At about 2 a.m. early this morning, Nigerian Army troops in trucks are conducting… (a) search on UN Red Roof Humanitarian camp and forced their way into the property.”

All UN staff members in Maiduguri were ordered to work from home by the note, which warned of demonstrations against the organisation and other foreign groups active in the area.

A UN source told AFP such searches were illegal under international law and risk raising suspicions about the organisation’s work.

Nothing wrong with search –Tsav

A retired commissioner of police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, however, said there was nothing wrong with the search of the UN building by the military since it was geared towards the elimination of terrorism, a goal the world body was also working towards.

He observed that the military might not have informed the UN about its plans based on the time frame of the intelligence at its disposal.

Tsav said, “There is nothing wrong with the military searching the UN property. If they suspected that someone is hiding in the building, they could search it and I don’t think the UN should object since they are working towards the same goal of fighting insurgency.

“I don’t think the UN should be angry (over the search) unless it is supporting the insurgents,” the security expert added.

When contacted about the development and government’s position on it, the acting spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Jane Adam, said, “I will find out and get back to you.”

She had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report. Later, she did not pick calls to her mobile phone.

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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