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Nigerian President Buhari Vows to Intensify War on Militants

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  • Nigerian President Buhari Vows to Intensify War on Militants

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to step up the fight against the Islamist militants and proponents of secession in his first speech after returning from three months of sick leave in London.

Nigeria’s national unity is “not negotiable,” Buhari, 74, said Monday in a nationally televised address. “Terrorists and criminals must be fought and destroyed relentlessly so that the majority of us can live in peace and safety.”

Buhari informed the National Assembly in writing on Monday that he has resumed work as president, his office said in an emailed statement. He flew back to the capital, Abuja, on Saturday, after treatment for an undisclosed illness. He had temporarily handed over power to his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo.

He’s returned at a time when Africa’s biggest oil producer faces a host of threats. The economy contracted last year for the first time since 1991 amid low revenue from crude exports, a conflict with the Islamist militant group Boko Haram has killed tens of thousands of people and threatened parts of the northeast with famine, and secessionist agitation by ethnic Igbos and tensions between them and the northern Hausa people are intensifying.

“We shall not allow irresponsible elements to start trouble and when things get bad they run away and saddle others with the responsibility of bringing back order, if necessary with their blood,” he said.

Economic Recovery

With the economy showing signs of recovery, Buhari’s administration needs to demonstrate to businesses and investors that it can ensure a safe environment, said Sewa Wusu, Lagos-based analyst at SCM Capital. Amid a dearth of investment, the naira has weakened 13 percent this year against the dollar, the third-worst performer in Africa, and has lost more than half of its value since oil prices plunged in 2014.

“Economic security cannot be achieved in an environment of insecurity and terrorism,” he said. “These negative factors are hydra-headed monsters that should be tackled with serious determination and sincerity.”

Buhari didn’t say anything about the illness that required him to seek treatment in the U.K. and has fueled concerns about his ability to see through the rest of his first term that ends in 2019.

Ethnic Tension

In his speech, Buhari indicated that he’s open to talks with ethnic Igbo groups demanding secession in southeastern Nigeria by saying that he’d hosted Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the former leader of the failed breakaway state of Biafra, at his home 14 years ago, according to Cheta Nwanze, head of research at Lagos-based political risk advisory group, SBM Intelligence. An attempt to establish an independent Biafra led to a civil war from 1967 to 1970 that claimed the lives of about 1 million people.

“His reference to a meeting with Ojukwu in 2003 is a nod to the agitations from the southeast and signals a willingness to chart a different path from the hard stance he has taken thus far,” Nwanze said. “In all, it shows a realization that dialogue has to happen at some point to address the clamor for restructuring the country.”

Buhari’s statement that “every Nigerian has the right to live and pursue his business anywhere in Nigeria” appeared to be aimed at some northern youth groups that have threatened Igbos living in their area to leave by Oct. 1, Nwanze said.

While all ethnic and religious groups have legitimate concerns, Buhari said, it’s better to resolve them through dialogue in the National Assembly than violence.

“Every group has a grievance. But the beauty and attraction of a federation is that it allows different groups to air their grievances and work out a mode of co-existence,” he said. “The national consensus is that, it is better to live together than to live apart.”

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.

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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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