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Lawal Daura: Another Cabal Member Ousted

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  • Lawal Daura: Another Cabal Member Ousted

Lawal Daura was, up until about noon on Tuesday, the Director-General of the Department of State Services. His kinsman, President Muhammadu Buhari, appointed him into that position on July 2, 2015. Both of them hail from Daura, Katsina State.

Daura’s three-year tenure was as controversial as his appointment itself. At inception, many Nigerians opposed his appointment as the head of the nation’s secret service based on the allegation that he was a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress. Specifically, he was said to have served as the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee of the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation.

Despite the opposition to his appointment, that decision was not rescinded. Immediately after he took over, Daura became a leading member of what is known as the cabal in the Presidency. The names of the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, and Mr Babachir Lawal, who was sacked as Secretary to the Government of the Federation, featured prominently on the list of those power brokers.

So powerful was the former DSS boss in Buhari’s cabinet that he even at a point moved against a decision taken by the President himself. Buhari nominated Mr Ibrahim Magu to the Senate for confirmation as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The decision of the upper chamber of the National Assembly to reject Magu’s nomination was hinged on a security report issued by the Daura-led DSS against the President’s nominee.

In November 2017, officials of the DSS under Daura’s leadership stopped the operatives of the EFCC from arresting a former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ayo Oke, and a former DSS boss, Ita Ekpeyong. Buhari had earlier sacked Oke over the N13bn found in an Ikoyi, Lagos apartment, said to belong to the NIA while the anti-graft commission had invited Ekpeyong for his alleged role in the arms scam involving a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).

Till he was sacked on Tuesday, his agency was still keeping Dasuki behind bars for over two and a half years despite that he (the former NSA) had secured court bail and had met the conditions attached to the bail.

Under Daura’s leadership, the DSS also arrested a journalist, Jones Abiri, in July 2016, and kept him in detention without trial. Recently, the security agency bowed to public pressure and arraigned Abiri, two years after his disappearance.

The leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, is also a victim of long detention without trial carried out by the DSS under Daura. He was arrested in 2015 after his members had a confrontation with the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, in Zaria, Kaduna State. He was in the DSS custody with his wife up until the protests embarked upon by his followers in Abuja turned violent. He has since been arraigned in Kaduna.

Last year, Daura was also in the eye of the storm for the widespread lopsidedness noticed in the 2016 recruitment carried out by the DSS. He was accused of filling the security agency with more people from the North than from the South. The 51 people recruited from his home state, Katsina, were more than the 44 people he recruited from all the South-East states combined.

Daura’s proverbial cup was, however, full on Tuesday when the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, wielded the big stick following a siege DSS operatives laid to the National Assembly earlier in the day. Interestingly, Buhari was in London, United Kingdom, where he is enjoying his vacation when the DSS boss was showed the way out.

With Daura’s sacking that came to many Nigerians as a surprise, the question on the lips of watchers of events in the country is “who is next?”

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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