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Buhari Signs Extradition Treaty With UAE, Other Pacts to Check Graft, Boost Economy

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  • Buhari Signs Extradition Treaty With UAE, Other Pacts to Check Graft, Boost Economy

President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja signed nine international agreements, including an extradition treaty with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), aimed at strengthening the anti-corruption war, boosting the economy and improving security in the country.

Buhari also expressed hope that signing the agreements would enable the country to pursue the war against corruption with vigour, check illicit flow of funds, boost the tax regime, guarantee food security and improve living standards.

The president, who signed the agreements in the Conference Hall of the First Lady’s office in the State House, Abuja, directed all relevant agencies to ensure that they play their defined roles in the implementation and application of the treaties, with a view to providing Nigeria with the inherent benefits.

He said his action was in compliance with the powers conferred on him by Section 5(1) (a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution and Article 7 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969.

The agreements signed by the president were the Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters, Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, and an Extradition Treaty.

Others were: Charter for the Lake Chad Basin between Nigeria, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Libya, Niger and the Republic of Chad; African Tax Administration Forum Agreement on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters; and World Intellectual Property Organisation Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

Also included were agreements on World Intellectual Property Organisation Treaty on Audio-Visual Performances, and the Marrakesh Treaty targeted at facilitating access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise.

Describing the move as an important milestone in Nigeria’s sovereign capacity to fulfil its international obligations, the president further said it was another step in the pursuit of improving security, the economy and anti-graft war by the country.

He explained that the implementation had hitherto been delayed by the ratification process, disclosing that the eventual signing of the agreements Thursday was the bye-product of the memorandum earlier presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

According to him, the signing, which had equally been replicated in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the relevant treaties, provides Nigeria with the full fledged opportunity to enjoy cooperation with foreign authorities in the anti-corruption campaign.

“Today’s ceremony marks a very important milestone in our demonstration of sovereign capacity to fulfill our international obligations and take important steps for the benefit of our economy, security and the anti-corruption war within and outside Nigeria…

“The full implementation of the agreements has however been delayed due to the need by both sides to conclude their respective ratification processes.

“I am happy to note therefore that pursuant to a memorandum presented to the Federal Executive Council by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, council has approved the ratification of the said agreements, thus paving the way for today’s ceremony.

“With this sovereign act, which has been replicated in the United Arab Emirates by their responsible authorities, we are now in a position to utilise these agreements fully to foster cooperation between our respective authorities, particularly for the purpose of prosecuting the anti-corruption campaign of this government…

“It is my hope that these instruments which are signed today will reinvigorate the anti-corruption war and check the illicit flow of funds out of our country to other jurisdictions, improve national security, food security, boost our economic and tax regimes, and improve the overall well-being of our creative community.

“All agencies of government with roles to play under the respective treaties now ratified are hereby directed to ensure that they play their anticipated roles in an effective and responsible manner in order to ensure that we reap the full benefits of these agreements,” Buhari stated.

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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