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In a First, Buhari to Visit S’East Next Week, Inaugurates Armed Forces Council

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Buhari on arrival from London
  • In a First, Buhari to Visit S’East Next Week, Inaugurates Armed Forces Council

For the first time since he assumed office as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday inaugurated the Armed Forces Council in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The inauguration came on the heels of the president’s preparation for a two-day working visit to Ebonyi, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) state, and his first to the South-east since he assumed office, to commission a number of projects on Monday. He will return to Abuja on Tuesday.

Thereafter, Buhari and other party bigwigs, according to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), will join Tony Nwoye, the gubernatorial candidate of the party in Awka, Anambra State next Thursday for the grand finale of the candidate’s campaign.

The Armed Forces Council as provided in Section 4 of the Armed Forces Act, is charged with the responsibility of administering the Armed Forces, including entrenching discipline among members of the Forces.

The inauguration, which was attended by the service chiefs and Minister of Defence, Brig.-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd.), also featured the first meeting of the council.

Speaking on the inauguration, Dan-Ali, who said the meeting of the council was last held in 2014, added that Thursday’s meeting considered matters of importance to the Armed Forces including the ratification of National Defence Policy 2017.

He stated that the council will also enhance the welfare, command, discipline and administration of the Armed Forces.

“The Armed Forces Council was established by CAP A20 of Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and Section 4 of the Armed Forces Act, to among other things, be responsible under the general authority of Mr. President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, for command, discipline and administration of, and for all other matters related to the Armed Forces.

“The last Armed Forces Council meeting was held on 17 July, 2014 during the last administration and there was therefore the need to convene the Armed Forces Council meeting in order to consider matters of great concern to the Armed Forces.

“In line with the above, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the Armed Forces Council today 9th November 2017 at the State House, Abuja, to consider matters of great concern to the Armed Forces.
“Some of the matters considered include ratifications of the National Defence Policy 2017 (Revised), Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service Officers 2017 (Revised) and Harmonised Terms and Condition of Service Soldiers/Ratings/Army 2017 (Revised), amongst others.

“Considering several transformations in terms of development as well as security challenges that have taken place in Nigeria, it is believed that the ratification of these documents will enable the Armed Forces cope with the ever changing contemporary security challenges.

“It will also help to enhance welfare, command, discipline and administration of the Armed Forces as well as provide the policy framework governing the conduct of security and defence in Nigeria,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Buhari will on Monday pay a two-day working visit to Ebonyi State to commission a number of projects.

The state governor, Dave Umahi, who visited the president in the State House on the planned visit, listed the projects to include 23.5 kilometres of state roads and 500 kilometres of completed internal roads in the state, adding that there were other projects waiting for the president to commission in another 12 months when he will return to the state for his re-election campaign.

Asked if this implied that the president had discussed his re-election bid with him, Umahi said: “Well, any first term governor would want to go for second term and what you wish for yourself, you should be honest enough to wish another person the same. Since Mr. President is doing his first term and I am doing my first term, it’s my wish to re-contest and I will as well wish the president the same to re-contest.”

After his Ebonyi visit, Buhari is also expected to join other APC chieftains for the grand finale of the campaign of Nwoye who is flying the flag of the APC in the forthcoming Anambra governorship election.

Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, while answering questions from State House correspondents last week, had disclosed that the president would soon begin a series of visits to the South-east with the intention of improving relations with the region ahead of the 2019 general election. Okorocha named Ebonyi as one of the states the president will visit.

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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