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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.”

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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