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FG Beefs up Security Around Aso Villa, Others

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  • FG Beefs up Security Around Aso Villa, Others

The clash between members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and security personnel took a turn for the worse on Tuesday as sect members clashed with police.

The clashes which took place on Sunday and Monday on the outskirts of the federal capital city spread to the business districts in Central Business District and Wuse.

Sounds of sporadic gunfire were heard even as smoke from tear-gas canisters spread and enveloped the area.

Shop owners in Wuse Zone II, along Ademola Adetokunbo Crescent hurriedly locked up their shops as they scampered to safety.

The police fired tear-gas canisters at sect members who were hurling stones at police officers. By the time the dust cleared, a police patrol van was seen burning.

The vehicle was one of the vehicles donated to the police by billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote.

It was gathered that the Shiite protesters marched from Wuse II, through the Wuse Market road, to Zone 4 and 5 to the Berger Bridge.

Addressing journalists on Tuesday’s clash, the FCT Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma, said the police had taken into custody 400 Shiite members including one Mustapha Abdullahi and Abdullahi Umar, who were arrested with 31 petrol bombs.

Also arrested was one Salahuddeen Ahmad, 23, of Illela Local Government Area of Sokoto State, who provided first aid to injured sect members.

Ciroma said, “At about 1230hrs, police operatives on stop-and-search duty along Tipper Garage, Katampe, intercepted and arrested one Mustapha Abdullahi, 20 years, of Ungwan Gwari Suleja with 18 bottles of petrol bombs carefully concealed in a travelling bag.

“To smuggle himself and the petrol bombs into the city, he disguised as a passenger and boarded a taxi with other unsuspecting passengers.”

Ciroma stated that Abdullahi ran out of luck when vigilant policemen on duty upon reasonable suspicion intercepted the cab and searched his bag where the improvised bombs were found.

“Other exhibits recovered from the suspect included two lighters and one dagger. The suspect will be arraigned in court upon the conclusion of investigation,” the police said.

The CP explained that Umar, who travelled from Sokoto to participate in the protest, was nabbed with 13 petrol bombs.

“During interrogation, the suspect confessed that he arrived at Suleja from Sokoto State on Sunday to join other members of their sect for the protest.

“He also confessed that he was ferrying the petrol bombs to FCT to confront law enforcement agents. One lighter was also recovered from the suspect. He will be arraigned in court upon the conclusion of investigation,” the CP said.

Umar told journalists that he planned to use the petrol filled bottles to distract police operatives and prevent the arrest of his colleagues.

The IMN members, who were on what they described as ‘Arbaeen trek,’ were demanding the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-ZakyZaky.

They had clashed with soldiers in Zuba on Saturday where three of their members died.

They similarly had a violent confrontation with soldiers along Nyanya-Abuja road on Monday where about 10 IMN members were gunned down. An eyewitness claimed that no fewer than 100 persons escaped with various degrees of injury.

It was the turn of the police on Tuesday when the sect members took them on. A resident of Wuse II, who identified himself as Ahmad Adamu, gave an eyewitness account of what transpired between the police and the sect members in his area.

He said, “The Shiites and police were battling each other on Ademola Adetokunbo Road. People were staying indoors to avoid being hit by flying stones or tear-gas fumes.

“The police were firing lots of tear gas. But the protesters were marching on with stones and sticks. The police operatives started shooting live bullets at them. It was horrible.”

One of our correspondents learnt that in the midst of the confusion, the Shiites set a police vehicle on fire on the street.

Children and women were not left out in the Shiites protest, and some of them were reportedly injured and feared dead on Tuesday in a fresh clash with the police operatives in the Central Area and Wuse.

In response to the growing threat to the seat of power, security was tightened across the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

One of our correspondents noticed that security was beefed up at the different gates leading into the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Federal Secretariat, the Court of Appeal Complex, the National Arcade and the National Assembly Complex – all located in the Three Arms Zone in the FCT.

Armed policemen, soldiers and officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps were seen around the aforementioned locations.

Armoured vehicles belonging to the military and the police were also deployed.

The situation was the same at the military checkpoint in Karu, one of the FCT satellite towns where a bloody confrontation took place between security agents and members of IMN on Monday evening.

PDP condemns alleged extrajudicial killings

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has expressed concern over mounting tension, escalating public restiveness, violence and rising cases of extrajudicial killings in the country.

The party said the frightening situation in the country was precipitated by a series of divisive and undemocratic actions and statements of the Buhari administration coupled with its alleged official high-handedness, blatant refusal to obey court orders and open disregard to constitutionally-guaranteed rights of citizens.

The PDP was reacting to the alleged killings of members of Shiites by security agents in Abuja on Monday.

PDP’s reaction was contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan.

The party added that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration should respect the life of every Nigerian.

He said, “The PDP thoroughly rejects the resort to maximum unleashing of state apparatus of power against citizens at the slightest provocation, resulting in bloodletting and extrajudicial killings of compatriots, preponderance of which are never investigated despite the usual lip service of bringing perpetrators to book.

“The PDP believes that the life of every Nigerian is sacred and deserves respect as provided for in the 1999 Constitution (as emended).”

He added, “The PDP therefore calls on the National Assembly and relevant international bodies to take a judicious look into the situation in our country today.

“Our legislators must, therefore, immediately open a system-wide investigation into all violations leading to loss of lives and property in our nation.”

Police to charge 400 Shiites with terrorism

The police authorities have said they would arraign the 400 Shiites in custody on terrorism charges.

The force spokesman, Moshood Jimoh, said in a statement that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had directed that the detainees should be arraigned in court after investigation under Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.

He said, “400 members of the group arrested for disturbance of public peace and law and order in the FCT and setting ablaze of police vehicle and those arrested with 31 bottles of petrol bombs and other dangerous weapons, now in police custody, will all be arraigned in court after investigation under Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2013.”

Jimoh said the IG had placed on red alert commissioners of police to deal with INM members and prevent them to from causing a breakdown of law and order.

He added, “The Force will not condone lawlessness and disturbance of public peace by any groups under any guise that runs contrary to the constitutional provisions and other enabling laws on preservation of law and order and protection of lives and property of all Nigerians.”

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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