- NAF Now a Dominant Force in W’Africa, Gulf of Guinea
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar, Thursday said the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is now the dominant force in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea.
The CAS stated this during a strategic meeting with Air Force Branch Chiefs, Air Officers’ Commanding and Field Commanders on Abuja.
He said: “It is also gratifying to note that we have projected air power beyond Nigeria. The C130 has contacted a number of flights to deliver relief materials to Sierra Leone.
“I believe so much has been achieved but we need to evaluate all that we set out to achieve. We are not yet done, we must redouble our efforts especially in the North-east.
“I know we have commenced operations in the North East which is aimed at further degrading the Boko Haram. We are going to massively dominate the entire area and make it extremely difficult for anybody that is there that is a criminal who wants to come out to kill innocent Nigerians.”
He added that “we have done a lot in the last few months in terms of the structure of the Nigerian Air Force, in terms of training, in terms of capacity building and in terms of maintenance.
“Reports from units indicate that we are really making substantial progress as regards responsibilities assigned to us by the 1999 Constitution.
“The uniqueness about this set of cadets is that this nation s the first time in 32 years that the Nigerian Air Force is graduating cadets from 401 Flying Training School Kaduna,” he said.
Further, Abubakar said: “In the past years, we used to graduate officers, officers graduate from Primary Flying Training in Kaduna.
“But by the special grace of God and with the commitment of the Air Officer Training Commanding, the Commander and our late colleague commander, Group Captain Adanu Ochai, who was the Commanding officer of the flying wing, we have been able reverse the train.
“With the graduation of these cadets now, we are looking forward to the day when we will have cadets as instructor pilots. It has happened in the past and it’s going to happen again.”
He observed that “since we came, we have brought into the service over 1900 recruits, who are supposed to join us in the service to support us to tackle the challenges facing our nation.
“In addition to this, about 106 Direct Short Service cadets have graduated and they have been posted already to different units of the service.
On humanitarian services, Abubakar said: “In our humanitarian programme, we have 241 IDPs patients have been attended to free of charge.
“I have been briefed by our Chief of Medical Services today that our medical team has been deployed to Makurdi to provide medical services to the indigenes of Benue State that have been affected by recent flood,” Abubakar said.
He explained that NAF had deployed a team of medical personnel from the service to Makurdi, to attend to victims of last week’s flood in Benue State.
Abubakar stated that the parley was aimed at “seeking possible ways of moving the service forward in line with contemporary expectations,” adding that, “NAF had graduated 16 trained pilots at the Flying School Kaduna, which is contrary to what obtained some 33 years ago, where the training school was only being used to graduate officer pilots.”
COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations
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.
China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations
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 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.
U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns
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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