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Okonjo-Iweala breaks silence on WTO top job hurdles

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Despite United States opposition to her candidacy, former Nigeria’s Finance Minister,  Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said she is positive of becoming the first African and first female director-general of the World Trade Organisation

The ex-World Bank director said she felt humbled to have been declared the candidate with the largest votes amongst the 164 member states of the 25-year-old global trade organisation.

Okonjo-Iweala made this known in a tweet on Thursday.

She wrote, “Happy for the success & continued progress of our @wto DG bid. Very humbled to be declared the candidate with the largest, broadest support among members & most likely to attract consensus.

“We move on to the next step on Nov 9, despite hiccups. We’re keeping the positivity going!”

Many Nigerians had expressed delight when key WTO ambassadors led by New Zealand’s Ambassador David Walker proposed Okonjo-Iweala as the best candidate for the job. But the US delegation opposed the move, saying it supported South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee instead.

Some Nigerians likened the US opposition to that encountered by African Development Bank chief, Akinwumi Adesina, who also faced intense hostility from Washington before his re-election.

The breakthrough of Adesina, has, however, been a source of hope for many who want Okonjo-Iweala to clinch the top job.

The troika has concluded the third round of consultations and its decision marks an important step paving the way for Okonjo-Iweala to become next DG of the organisation.

But the WTO’s 164 member states still need to determine whether they will support her before their next General Council meeting on November 9.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government said it will continue to engage relevant stakeholders to ensure that the lofty aspiration of her candidate to lead the WTO is realised.


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Breaking: Buhari jets out to France for African summit

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President Muhammadu Buhari is due to meet the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, on growing security concerns in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions.

The President, who will be departing Abuja on Sunday, May 16, 2021, will be attending a four-day African Finance Summit in the French capital, Paris, during which he is expected to meet with Mr Macron on security matters.

According to a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Summit will be focused on reviewing African economy, following shocks from Coronavirus pandemic, and getting relief, especially from increased debt burden on countries.

The Summit, which will be hosted by President Macron, will draw major stakeholders in the global finance institutions and some Heads of Government, who will, collectively, discuss external funding and debt treatment for Africa, and private sector reforms.

During the visit, President Buhari will also discuss political relations, economic ties, climate change and partnership in buoying the health sector, particularly in checking the spread of COVID-19, with more research and vaccines, with President Macron.

Before returning to Nigeria, President Buhari will receive some key players in the oil and gas sector, engineering and telecommunications, the European Council and European Union Representative for Foreign and Security Policy and Commission, and members of the Nigerian community.

The President will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Minister of Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, and Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.

National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (Rtd), and the Director-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, will accompany the President on the trip.


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Fraudsters with fake bank alerts nabbed in Oyo

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Two suspected fraudsters are now in the net of Oyo state police command for allegedly defrauding residents of the state by buying goods, collecting money from point of sales (POSs) operators with fake bank alerts.

The suspects identified as Olayide Olumide and Oluwemimo Adeyanju were alleged to be purchasing clothing materials and electronics from shop owners, market women as well as occasionally withdrawing money from Point of Sales (POS) operators.

It was learnt that nemesis caught up with the two suspects when they were arrested last Friday by the police from Apete Police Divisional Headquarters following several complaints from their victims.

According to the Oyo state police command Public Relations Officer, DSP Adewale Osifeso, items recovered from the suspects included home theatre with three speakers, 14 jeans trousers, 10 male wears, One MP Player, One Standing fan, One Rubber palm sandal and One 32 Inch LG Plasma TV, One CD Tape Player, One DVD Player, One Laptop, One mini DVD Player and One 24 Inch LG Plasma TV.


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Bird flu: Bauchi govt. kills about 27,000 birds to curtail spread

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By Ahmed Kaigama

Alhaji Samaila Burga, Chairman, Technical Committee on the Control of Avian Influenza, said the Bauchi government has killed about 27,000 birds to curtail the spread of Bird flu in the State.

Burga said the Bird Flu, also known as Avian Influenza, broke out in two Local Government Areas, Bauchi and Toro. 

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Bauchi that nine poultry farms were affected by the outbreak in the two local government areas of the state. 

He said that 27,000 birds were killed in one of the poultry farms to avert its spread across the state.

“The birds were depopulated to prevent other birds from contracting the deadly disease.

“The committee was constituted by the state government as part of efforts to stop the spread of bird flu, which had spread to two local government in the states,” he said

Burga, also the state Commissioner for Agriculture and rural Development, said 130 veterinary doctors have been deployed to all the 20 local government areas for surveillance. 

He said the government would embark on  sensitisation of various stakeholders to educate them on how to detect any live bird infected with the disease.

Burga urged poultry owners to ensure adherence to guidelines on setting up of poultry and protection against the birds deadly diseases. 

He said that the state government is commited to tackling the menace and resurgence of such influenza virus.

Burga warned people to avoid eating affected birds. (NAN)


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