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Boko Haram kills Another Aid Worker as Deadline Expires

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  • Boko Haram kills Another Aid Worker as Deadline Expires

Nigerians were thrown into sorrow yesterday as news broke of the execution of Hauwa Mohammed Liman, an aid worker with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

She was reportedly forced to kneel down, hands tied, and shot at close range.

Liman, Alice Loksha and Leah Sharibu were abducted by Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP), also known as Boko Haram.

While Leah was kidnapped on February 19, 2018 alongside dozens of her schoolmates in Dapchi, Yobe State, Liman and her colleague, Loksha, were seized in Rann, Borno State, on March 1, 2018.

A third ICRC worker, Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, abducted at the same time, was executed in September.

The nation waited with bated breath as the deadline by ISWAP for the execution of Liman and Alice passed yesterday. Online media however reported that only Liman was killed.

The group said Leah and Alice “are now our slaves. Based on our doctrines, it is now lawful for us to do whatever we want to do with them.”

Leah’s mother, Mrs. Rebecca Sharibu, had recently made a passionate appeal to the Federal Government to ensure her daughter’s release.

At a meeting organised by Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam, founder of the Citizen Monitoring Group (CMG), in Plateau State, she said the abductors issued a threat that her daughter would be killed by the second week of October, if government fails to meet their demands.

She however did not disclose the demands, saying the negotiation was between the Federal Government and Boko Haram.

Hope that the Federal Government might secure the release of the kidnapped persons began to fade after Segun Adeyemi, the special assistant on media to Minister of Information Lai Mohammed was asked for an update on government’s efforts. “No news,” he replied simply.

Attempts to reach Mohammed were also unsuccessful, as he failed to pick his calls or respond to a text message.

The Spokesperson for President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, gave a terse SMS reply, saying: “Lai Mohammed is doing a statement.” He followed this almost immediately with another text message: “Yes, call him (Mohammed) pls.”

News of the killing had not yet broken at the time.

Following the death however Mohammed issued a statement, saying: “It is very unfortunate that it has come to this.

Before and after the deadline issued by her abductors, the Federal Government did everything any responsible government should do to save the aid worker.

“As we have been doing since these young women were abducted, we kept the line of negotiations open all through. In all the negotiations, we acted in the best interest of the women and the country as a whole.

“We are deeply pained by this killing, just like we were by the recent killing of the first aid worker.

However, we will keep the negotiations open and continue to work to free the innocent women who remain in the custody of their abductors.”

Earlier yesterday, ICRC spokesperson, Aleksandra Matijevic Mosimann, who said the organisation was passing through “trying moments”, had told The Guardian via email: “The deadline of one month was given on 16 September, when our colleague Saifura, abducted at the same time as Hauwa and Alice, was brutally murdered by her captors.

We are not sure of the exact time or hour when it expires, but are extremely worried for lives of the Hauwa and Alice.

We are in close contact with Hauwa’s family, whose anxiety grows by each passing hour. This is an utterly terrible situation to be in.”

She said: “The abduction of the three healthcare workers and the murder of Saifura will certainly have an impact on our capacity to deliver much needed aid to people affected by the armed conflict in the north east of Nigeria.

Nevertheless, we remain committed to continue responding to the tremendous humanitarian needs in what remains one of the largest humanitarian crises of our time in Africa, while doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our teams.”

Asked to comment on government’s response as the deadline drew near, Mosimann answered: “The Nigerian government has assured us of their full commitment to the resolution of the crises.

Since March 1, the ICRC has repeatedly made representations to the government of Nigeria about the abducted healthcare workers, at different levels.

ICRC Director of Operations met with the Vice President of Nigeria to discuss the plight of the hostages and severe challenges faced by humanitarian workers in north eastern Nigeria in September.”

On its website, on Sunday, the ICRC had appealed to “the Nigerian government and to communities and individuals with influence to work toward the release of two committed medical workers abducted in north eastern Nigeria earlier this year.

Speed and urgency are critical. A deadline that could result in the killing of another healthcare worker is less than 24 hours away.”

To ISWAP, the ICRC said: “We urge you for mercy. We urge you to not kill another innocent healthcare worker who was doing nothing but helping the community in northeast Nigeria.”

Nigerians meanwhile have been reacting to the sad news.

“I join Nigerians and the international community in condemning the murder of Hauwa Liman – an aid worker with ICRC, by Boko Haram.

My colleagues and I in the Nigerian Senate remain committed to continuing working with our Armed Forces to find a lasting solution to these senseless killings by insurgents and improve our security infrastructure,” said Senate President Bukola Saraki on his Twitter page.

Also, presidential standard-bearer of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, said: “I’m deeply saddened by the murder of Hauwa Liman, an ICRC aid worker, by terrorists.

I implore the Federal Government to deploy every reasonable tool at its disposal to bring Leah Sharibu and all the children in Boko Haram captivity home.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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FG Declares June 12 Public Holiday for Democracy Day Celebration

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The Federal Government has declared Wednesday, June 12, a public holiday in commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day celebration.

The announcement was made in a statement signed by Aishetu Ndayako, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Interior, on behalf of Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior.

The statement urged Nigerians to reflect on the struggles and sacrifices of the nation’s founding fathers and to ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secure, peaceful, and indivisible entity.

“As we mark another Democracy Day in the history of our dear country, let us all reflect on the efforts of our founding fathers and ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secured, peaceful, and indivisible entity,” the statement read.

A Historic Shift

The designation of June 12 as Democracy Day dates back to June 7, 2018, when former President Muhammadu Buhari announced that the day would henceforth be celebrated as Democracy Day.

Prior to this declaration, Democracy Day was observed on May 29, the date marking the inauguration of the Fourth Republic in 1999.

President Buhari’s decision was rooted in the historical significance of June 12, 1993, the day of what is widely regarded as Nigeria’s freest and fairest presidential election.

Despite the election’s annulment by the then-military government, Buhari emphasized that the democratic credentials of the process should be honored.

Honoring a Legacy

To further commemorate the significance of June 12, Buhari posthumously awarded Chief Moshood Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled 1993 election, with the nation’s highest honor, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).

The statement from the Ministry of Interior also highlighted President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to implementing positive reforms aimed at reviving Nigeria’s economy and enhancing national security.

A Call for Unity

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, called on all citizens and friends of Nigeria to appreciate the progress that has been made in the country’s democratic journey and to look forward to a brighter future.

“As we celebrate Democracy Day, we must appreciate the progress that has been made and remain hopeful for a better future for Nigeria’s democracy,” the minister said.

This year’s Democracy Day comes at a crucial time as Nigeria continues to navigate economic challenges and security concerns. The public holiday on June 12 provides an opportunity for Nigerians to reflect on the importance of democracy and the ongoing efforts to strengthen the nation’s democratic institutions.

As the nation prepares to observe the public holiday, there is a sense of anticipation and hope that the values of democracy will continue to guide Nigeria towards a prosperous and harmonious future.

The government’s declaration serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of June 12 and the importance of upholding democratic principles.

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Guilty on All 34 Counts: Trump Convicted in Hush Money Case

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donald-trump

In a historic and unprecedented legal decision, former President Donald Trump was found guilty on all 34 counts in his “hush money” trial, making him the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a crime.

The verdict was delivered by a jury of 12 New Yorkers on Wednesday, concluding a six-week trial in Manhattan.

The charges against Trump centered around falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.

The jury found Trump guilty on all counts, concluding that he authorized a scheme to falsify checks and related documents to keep the alleged affair from becoming public knowledge.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office presented evidence showing that the conspiracy to cover up the payment began during Trump’s 2016 campaign and continued into his first year in the White House.

They argued that Trump, along with his associates, created false records to mislead voters and conceal the payment.

Trump, who has consistently denied having any sexual encounter with Daniels, responded angrily to the verdict. Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, he called the trial “a disgrace” and accused the judge of bias.

“This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt,” Trump stated.

He vowed to continue fighting the verdict, saying, “The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people, and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here. We’ll fight to the end.”

The conviction comes at a critical time for Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president in the 2024 election. Despite the conviction, there is no constitutional barrier preventing him from running for office again.

Legal experts note that the Constitution’s requirements for presidential candidates—being at least 35 years old, a natural-born citizen, and a U.S. resident for 14 years—do not include any disqualification for being a convicted felon.

Judge Juan Merchan has scheduled Trump’s sentencing for July 11. The defense has until June 13 to submit any motions, with the prosecution required to respond by June 27.

Trump’s legal team indicated they would prefer a sentencing date in mid to late July.

Trump’s conviction adds to the already intense political climate as the nation prepares for the 2024 elections. The trial has drawn significant media attention and public scrutiny, reflecting deep divisions within American society.

The trial highlighted broader issues regarding campaign finance and the use of hush money in politics. It also raises questions about the integrity of presidential candidates and the lengths to which they might go to protect their public image.

As the legal and political ramifications of this verdict unfold, Trump’s conviction on all 34 counts marks a significant chapter in U.S. history.

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President Tinubu to Inaugurate Newly Paved Roads to Apapa, Tin Can Ports

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Bola Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu is set to inaugurate the newly constructed paved roads leading to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos on Saturday.

This development is anticipated to bring significant relief to port users and operators who have endured years of hardship due to the previously dilapidated roads and severe traffic congestion in the area.

The commissioning of these roads marks a major milestone in the government’s efforts to improve infrastructure and boost economic activities around the nation’s busiest ports.

The newly paved roads are expected to enhance the flow of goods and services, reduce operational costs for businesses, and alleviate the chronic traffic bottlenecks that have plagued the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas.

President Tinubu, who is scheduled to arrive in Lagos on Saturday morning, will perform the inauguration as his first assignment of the day.

The ceremony signifies a commitment to addressing the infrastructural challenges that have long hindered the efficiency of Nigeria’s maritime sector.

Mohammed Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), highlighted the importance of this project earlier this year.

He emphasized the NPA’s “zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to the free flow of traffic” and reiterated the agency’s dedication to improving port operations.

“Our zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to free flow of traffic is no fluke,” Koko said, noting that the rehabilitation efforts are aimed at consolidating gains achieved first in Apapa and now extending to Tin Can.

In January 2024, President Tinubu directed the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently and comprehensively repair the access roads to the Lagos Port Complex and Tin-Can Island Port Complex.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, echoed the urgency of this directive, pointing out that the poor condition of the port access roads had significantly increased internal logistics costs for importers and exporters.

“The dilapidated port access roads increase the cost of internal logistics for importers and exporters,” Oyetola noted.

The improved road infrastructure is expected to curb the exodus of businesses from the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas, which had been driven away by the severe logistical challenges.

The restoration of these critical routes is also anticipated to enhance Nigeria’s competitiveness in international trade by facilitating smoother and more efficient port operations.

Following the inauguration of the port access roads, President Tinubu is also scheduled to flag off the Lagos to Calabar coastal road project at Victoria Island in Lagos.

Also, he will virtually inaugurate the newly rehabilitated 3rd Mainland Bridge, further underscoring his administration’s commitment to revitalizing Nigeria’s infrastructure.

The series of inaugurations and project launches underscore a broader strategy to enhance connectivity, reduce operational bottlenecks, and stimulate economic growth through improved infrastructure.

The completion of the Apapa and Tin Can Island port roads is a pivotal step in this direction, promising a new era of efficiency and productivity for Nigeria’s maritime sector.

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