Nigeria’s UN Representative, Muhammad-Bande Set To Resume As President Of General Assembly

What We Are Doing To Repatriate Stolen Funds – UNGA President
UNGA President, Professor Tijani Muhammad-Bande

 

Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Professor Tijjani Muhammad-Bande is set to take office as the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

This was disclosed in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu.

According to the statement, the ceremony will take place at the UN New York headquarters on September 16 and 17, ahead of the High-Level week of the UNGA when leaders of the nations of the world take turns to address the General Assembly.

Among those who would attend are the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar and Mr Garba Shehu.

Professor Muhammad-Bande was elected President of the 74th session of the General Assembly by acclamation on Tuesday, June 4.

During the year-long service, Muhammad-Bande is expected to play a role in bridging gaps and promoting collective action to address all international issues that deserve attention, in close coordination and collaboration with the Secretary-General, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council

He is also expected to ensure the implementation of the existing mandates for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with particular focus on peace and security, poverty eradication, zero hunger, quality education, climate action and inclusion.

Asia, Africa Out Of FIBA World Cup At First Hurdle

Harrison Barnes #8 of USA goes to the basket against Japan during the First Round of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup on September 5, 2019 at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai, China. NATHANIEL S. BUTLER / NBAE / GETTY IMAGES / AFP

 

 

It is the largest basketball World Cup ever but there will be no teams from Asia or Africa in the second round of the sport’s global showpiece.

Hosts China with their 1.4 billion population crashed out of contention on Wednesday with a 72-59 defeat to Venezuela.

That came hours after Tunisia surrendered a spot in the next round, and a guaranteed place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with an agonising 67-64 loss to Puerto Rico.

Nigeria thrashed South Korea 108-66 at the same time, but the fate of Africa’s highest-ranked team already been sealed after losing both their opening games.

The last time there was no team from Asia or Africa in the second round was in 1998, when the championship had only 16 teams.

Now it has a record 32 but it is almost exclusively teams from the Americas, led by reigning champions the United States, and Europe who will compete for the medals.

Outside of those only Australia, nominally Asian in the FIBA rankings are concerned, have also reached the second round and they could be joined by New Zealand if they beat Greece on Thursday.

Paolo Povia, coach of the Ivory Coast, said there were “a lot of factors” why African sides had failed to make their mark in China.

“There’s definitely a difference in experience and knowledge of the game,” said Povia after his team lost 80-63 to Poland on Wednesday, their third defeat in three games.

“The development of the game (in Africa) is a little inconsistent. In our team we have some guys who have learned to play the game in different places all over the world.

“So you don’t get the same continuity all the time in how the game is learned.”

Basketball is hugely popular in the Philippines but the national team — the joint-shortest at the competition — have lost all three of their matches.

They were drubbed 108-62 and 126-67 by Italy and title-contenders Serbia respectively before narrowly succumbing to already eliminated Angola on Wednesday.

Serbia’s plain-speaking coach Sasha Djordjevic said that the Philippines’ lack of physicality and athleticism “might be the problem”.

“Obviously you are missing quality,” he told a reporter from the Philippines.

After easy wins over the Philippines and Angola, Djordjevic also questioned the format of the enlarged World Cup, containing eight groups of four countries in the first phase.

“There are some groups that from the start you practically know which two teams are going to advance,” he said, shaking his head.

“I don’t know if that’s a good thing for the World Cup in general because what does it serve us?

“What does it serve the Philippine team losing by this points difference?” he said, of Serbia’s 59-point win.

Ousted teams such as the Philippines need to rally themselves, because they now face a low-key “classification” round with Olympic qualifying in play.

Japan PM Warns Africa About Debt As China Grows Presence

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech during the opening session of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama on August 28, 2019.  TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA / AFP

 

Japan’s prime minister on Thursday warned African leaders against accumulating too much debt, in an apparent reference to Chinese infrastructure projects that some blame for damaging the finances of developing nations.

Addressing leaders from several African nations at a development conference in Yokohama, Shinzo Abe stressed that Tokyo was promoting “quality” infrastructure exports and investments, supported by Japan’s government-backed institutions.

“What should the government do to encourage (entrepreneurs) to exercise their skills?,” Abe asked the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).

“If partner countries are deeply in debt, it interferes with everyone’s efforts to enter the market,” he said, introducing financing and insurance schemes by Japan’s government-baked institutions aimed at reducing risks to businesses and public coffers.

He also announced that Japan plans to train experts in 30 African countries in next three years on managing risks and public debts.

The comment came as Abe aims to boost Japan’s presence in the promising African market but many businesses are wary of financial and other risks.

But China, with its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, now enjoys a massive presence in the continent, having announced $60 billion in development funding for Africa last year.

The Chinese efforts, however, have faced criticism for favouring Chinese companies and workers over local economies, saddling nations with debts and ignoring rights and environmental issues.

Japan stresses that its loans and projects come with fewer strings attached and with sound financial advice and support.

Since 1993, Japan has partnered with African countries to hold the TICAD conference around every five years in a drive to promote aid and business opportunities.

Japan, with its own government funding problems, has struggled to increase its foreign aid money.

It has shifted its focus on encouraging the private sector to invest in Africa.

Expert Asks Nigeria To Partner African Countries In Tackling Maritime Insecurity

 

A defence expert, Group Captain Sadeeq Shehu (retired) has asked the Federal Government to partner other African countries in tackling maritime insecurity in the continent.

He made the call on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, three days after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the African Continental Free Trade agreement (AfCFTA).

Shehu noted that since 90 percent of trade is done via maritime, the nation should tighten its security around its water to prevent terrorists from taking advantage of the situation.

“If you don’t have security in your ports, that is going to discourage trade. That will make the trade even more expensive because of the insurance in the maritime industry. If you are saying you are going to the Gulf of Guinea, your premium is going to be higher.

“They believe that there is a higher probability that either piracy or contamination of containers is higher in those areas. So African countries, particularly Nigeria have to work on transport security, transport on roads. 90 percent (of these goods) go by maritime. Of course, there are goods that go by road,” he said.

Speaking on the AfCFTA, Shehu believes that the move would boost continental trade among African countries and beyond and also turn around the economic fortunes of countries.

READ ALSO: Seven Key Facts About AfCFTA

“The African Continental Free Trade Agreement is a Lexus between global or continental trade, human insecurity and also climate change,” he said.

The agreement which has now been signed by 54 of 55 countries is expected to be officially launched later today in what the AU commission Chairman Moussa Faki has said would be a “historic” moment.

It has a goal of creating a single market – the African Continental Free Trade Area, followed by free movement and a single-currency union.

The free-trade area is the largest in the world in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.

Member states are required to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent.

African Leaders Set To Sign Landmark Trade Deal At AU Summit

 

 

African leaders will meet Sunday in Niger for the African Union (AU) summit, to sign a landmark free trade agreement, and to discuss looming security and migration crises on the continent.

In a “historic” moment for the 55-member bloc, according to its chairman Moussa Faki, heads of state will officially launch the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) at the two-day summit in Niamey, the Nigerien capital.

The agreement comes after 17 years of tough negotiations, and was formalised at the end of April when the agreement had crossed the launch threshold, which required ratification by at least 22 countries.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, announced this week it would after all join the pact in Niamey, having unexpectedly pulled back from the agreement last year.

READ ALSO: Buhari Arrives Niamey Ahead Of AU Summit

Nigeria’s chief trade negotiator, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, said President Muhammadu Buhari would sign the landmark agreement, “opening Africa up to abundant opportunities.

“We weren’t dragged into this, we are a leading advocate,” Osakwe told AFP. “But it is about assessing how to make it work for Nigeria and indeed the continent.”

State trade ministers agreed the zone should be operational from July 2020, AU Trade and Industry Commissioner Albert Muchanga told AFP, as countries needed time to adapt to the agreed changes.

An official start date will be agreed by heads of state Sunday — with only Benin and Eritrea still to sign the agreement.

There are still key issues that need to be ironed out however, such as setting common criteria to determine rules of origin for traded products.

Amaka Anku, Africa analyst at Eurasia group, described the deal as a positive step but said the AfCFTA was still “a long way from taking off”.

The AU estimates that implementing the AfCFTA will lead to a 60-percent boost in intra-African trade by 2022.

At the moment, African countries trade only about 16 percent of their goods and services among one another, compared to 65 percent with European countries.

High security

Also on the summit agenda is security — an issue afflicting the Sahel in particular.

Summit host Niger has faced constant attacks by jihadist groups.

Its fellow members in the G5-Sahel security pact — Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania — will seek backing at the AU summit to push for a greater UN security force to address the terror threat.

The countries hope to activate Chapter VII of the UN Charter, a Nigerien security source told AFP. The chapter allows for the UN Security Council to determine a threat to peace and propose measures, including military deployment, to deal with it.

“No prosperity, no integration is possible without peace,” said Faki, who stressed the importance of an AU Peace Fund launched in 2018 to finance security activities and called on member states to fulfil their financial promises.

So far, only $116 million has been received for the envisaged $400-million fund.

Niamey is under high surveillance, with summit facilities subjected to strict access controls and a heavy security presence.

“We have a special unit of several thousand men” on duty, said Defence Minister Mohamed Bazoum.

The city has been revamped and boasts a brand-new airport, upgraded roads, and new hotels for the occasion.

Migration crisis

The leaders will also discuss boosting intelligence cooperation and the global migration crisis.

An airstrike Tuesday on a migrant detention centre near the Libyan capital, Tripoli, killed 53 and injured more than 130.

The AU’s Peace and Security Council on Friday condemned what it called a “savage attack”, calling for an independent inquiry into the incident.

AU member states needed to quickly repatriate their nationals from Libya “in order to prevent any further exploitation of their fragile situation,” they said in a statement.

Cardi B, Bruno Mars, Others Shine At 2019 BET Awards

 

The BET on Sunday held its 19th awards ceremony.

It was another exciting night to celebrate the very best in entertainment and culture with performances and appearances by some of the biggest names across television, film and music.

The night saw artists and top acts such as Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Michael B. Jordan and Nigeria’s Burna Boy, take top honours.

Here’s a full list of nominees and winners for the 2019 Bet Awards.

Best International Act

Aka (South Africa)
Aya Nakamura (France)
Burna Boy (Nigeria) – Winner 
Dave (Uk)
Dosseh (France)
Giggs (Uk)
Eazi (Nigeria)

 

Best New International Act – (Fan Voted Category)

Headie One (Uk)
Jokair (France)
Nesly (France)
Octavian (Uk)
Sho Madjodzi (South Africa) – Winner 
Teniola Apata (Nigeria)

 

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist

Beyoncé – Winner 
Ella Mai
H.E.R.
Solange
Sza
Teyana Taylor

 

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
Anderson Paak
Bruno Mars – Winner
Childish Gambino
Chris Brown
John Legend
Khalid

 

Best Group
Chloe X Halle
City Girls
Lil Baby & Gunna
Migos – Winner 
The Carters

 

Best Collaboration
21 Savage Ft. J. Cole A Lot
Cardi B & Bruno Mars Please Me
Cardi B Ft. Bad Bunny & J Balvin I Like It
H.E.R. Ft. Bryson Tiller Could’ve Been
Travis Scott Ft. Drake Sicko Mode – Winner 
Tyga Ft. Offset Taste

 

Best Male Hip Hop Artist
21 Savage
Drake
Cole
Meek Mill
Nipsey Hussle – Winner
Travis Scott

Nipsey Hussle’s family (L-R) Kross Ermias Asghedom, Samantha Smith, Angelique Smith, Emani Asghedom and Dawit Asghedom accept the Humanitarian Award in honor of Nipsey Hussle onstage at the 2019 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Jean-Baptiste LACROIX / AFP

 

Best Female Hip Hop Artist
Cardi B – Winner 
Kash Doll
Lizzo
Megan Thee Stallion
Nicki Minaj
Remy Ma

 

Video Of The Year
21 Savage A Lot Ft. J. Cole
Cardi B Money
Cardi B & Bruno Mars Please Me
Childish Gambino This Is America – Winner 
Drake Nice For What
The Carters Apes**T

 

Video Director of The Year
Benny Boom
Colin Tilley
Dave Meyers
Hype Williams
Karena Evans – Winner 

 

Best New Artist

Blueface
City Girls
Juice Wrld
Lil Baby – Winner 
Queen Naija

 

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award

Erica Campbell Ft. Warryn Campbell All Of My Life
Fred Hammond Tell Me Where It Hurts
Kirk Franklin Love Theory
Snoop Dogg Ft. Rance Allen Blessing Me Again – Winner 
Tori Kelly Ft. Kirk Franklin Never Alone

 

Best Actress

Issa Rae
Regina Hall
Regina King – Winner 
Taraji P. Henson
Tiffany Haddish
Viola Davis

Best Actor

Anthony Anderson
Chadwick Boseman
Denzel Washington
Mahershala Ali
Michael B. Jordan – Winner 
Omari Hardwick

 

Youngstars Award

Caleb Mclaughlin
Lyric Ross
Marsai Martin – Winner 
Michael Rainey Jr.
Miles Brown

 

Best Movie

Blackkklansman – Winner 
Creed 2
If Beale Street Could Talk
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
The Hate U Give

 

Sportswoman Of The Year

Allyson Felix
Candace Parker
Naomi Osaka
Serena Williams – Winner 
Simone Biles

 

Sportsman Of The Year

Kevin Durant
Lebron James
Odell Beckham Jr.
Stephen Curry – Winner 
Tiger Woods

 

Album Of The Year

Astroworld Travis Scott
Championships Meek Mill
Ella Mai Ella Mai
Everything Is Love The Carters
Invasion Of Privacy Cardi B – Winner 

 

2019 Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award

Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin I Like It
Childish Gambino This Is America
Drake In My Feelings
Ella Mai Trip – Winner 
Cole Middle Child
Travis Scott Ft. Drake Sicko Mode

 

Bet Her Award

Alicia Keys Raise A Man
Ciara Level Up
H.E.R. Hard Place – Winner 
Janelle Monáe Pynk
Queen Naija Mama’s Hand
Teyana Taylor Rose In Harlem

‘This Means A lot’, Burna Boy Thanks Africa After BET Win

 

Burna Boy performs onstage during the Post Show at the 2019 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 23, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. Maury Phillips/Getty Images for BET/AFP Maury Phillips / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Following his big win at the 2019 BET Awards, Burna Boy has thanked organisers and Africans for their support.

While he stated that he is not “big on awards”, he, however, said that this award meant a lot to him.

 

 

The ‘Killin Dem’ crooner was announced as winner of the Best International Act category on Sunday.

He was nominated in the category alongside fellow Nigerian singer, Mr Eazi, and others such as AKA (South Africa); Aya Nakamura (France); Dave (U.K.); Dosseh (France) and Giggs (U.K).

The award was received by his mother who also doubles as his manager.

Ebola Epidemic In DR Congo Now Exceeds 1,000 Cases

File Photo:

 

The number of cases in a nearly eight-month-old epidemic of Ebola in eastern DR Congo now exceeds 1,000, almost two-thirds of whom have died, the health ministry said late Sunday.

“The accumulated number of cases is 1,009,” of which 629 cases were fatal, it said.

The outbreak was first recorded in North Kivu province on August 1, and then spread to neighbouring Ituri province.

Its toll is the second deadliest in the history of Ebola, after an epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2014-6 that claimed 11,308 lives, according to the website of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Ebola virus disease was first discovered in 1974 in a village near the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ebola River, which gave the disease its name.

Efforts to contain the latest outbreak, the 10th in the DRC’s history, have been hampered by poor security in the highly unstable east, which teems with militia groups.

Aisha Buhari Says Private Sector Must Play More Active Roles In Enhancing Africa’s Development

File Photo

 

Wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha, says the private sector must begin to play more active roles for the advancement of the African continent.

According to her, now more than ever, the contribution of the Private sector is needed to advance the economy of the continent.

She said this on Friday while delivering a keynote address during the unveiling of the 2019 entrepreneurship finalists of the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

Mrs Buhari believes that the programme will go a long way in fostering entrepreneurial development across Africa and in turn boosting the economy.

“Now more than ever, amidst slow recovery of the world economy, the contribution of entrepreneurship through small and medium scale enterprises cannot be over-emphasized.

Read Also: Tony Elemelu Foundation Unveils 2019 Entrepreneurs

“The Tony Elumelu foundation entrepreneurship programme will certainly foster entrepreneurial development across Africa, providing the much-needed funds, training and mentorship of commercial enterprises that promote social and economic change, support growing African businesses through dynamic programmes that provide capital and human resources to budding entrepreneurs,” she said.

Speaking on some of the key visions of the office of the Wife of the Presidient, Mrs Buhari maintained that it will continue to make efforts to reduce the rate of maternal and newborn mortality.

“On our path, we are active stakeholders in this sector and in recognition of this, the strategy vision behind the engagement of the office of the Wife of the President is to contribute to the acceleration of efforts to end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths through advocacy and the strengthening of accountability mechanism in order to enhance the peace and development of Nigeria”.

UK To Boost African Partnership With £30m

UK To Boost African Partnership With £30m

 

The United Kingdom is set to inject up to £30 million into prosperity and security projects across Africa.

The Minister of State for Africa, Mrs Harriett Baldwin, announced this ahead of the signing of the partnership at the African Union Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

According to her, the funding boost is part of the UK’s effort towards stepping up its investment in the continent.

It also comes as Britain signs a new strategic partnership with the African Union, strengthening the engagement between Africa and the UK government.

READ ALSOOshiomhole Does Not Have The Powers To Suspend Me, Says Okorocha 

“From our support to observers ensuring free and fair elections in Nigeria and Senegal this weekend, to the crucial training our Armed Forces provides to security forces in Kenya, the UK’s partnership with African countries continues to help empower and upskill people across the continent, and this funding will allow us to boost those efforts,” Mrs Baldwin was quoted as saying in a statement over the weekend.

“Our new partnership will also cement our relationship with the African Union, building on growing economic ties to forge new opportunities for young people and reinforce our close bonds.”

The UK minister explained that the partnership would strengthen cooperation on security and prosperity, as well as support a joined-up approach to tackle climate change.

She added that the funding formed part of the partnership agreement and would be spread over three years.

Mrs Baldwin said it would be used to train peacekeepers in Kenya, assist free and fair elections, and support the next phase of negotiations for the African Continental Free Trade Area.

The signing of the strategic partnership, according to her, also allows the UK to support African-led ambitions with British expertise, to create more opportunities and more jobs.

Mrs Baldwin’s visit to Ethiopia came after Prime Minister Theresa May visited Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa in August 2018, to set out her vision for the UK’s future partnership with Africa.

It followed the expansion of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s diplomatic network in the region, including plans to open new embassies in Djibouti, Chad, Niger, Eswatini, and Lesotho, and recruit more diplomats with new skills-sets, including in trade and investment.

Priest, Customs Officers Killed In Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso on the map.

 

A Spanish priest and four customs officers were killed in separate attacks by suspected jihadists in Burkina Faso, which is struggling with a radical Islamist insurgency, local sources said.

“The Spanish Salesian Antonio Cesar Fernandez was assassinated during a jihadist attack between Togo and Burkina Faso,” around 3:00 pm local time on Friday,” the Salesians of Don Bosco order said in a statement posted Friday on Twitter.

Fernandez and two others were returning from a meeting in the Togolese capital Lome when they “were attacked by gunmen after crossing the border between Togo and Burkina Faso”, the head of the order, Jose Elegbede, said in a statement.

“After searching the car, they pulled Cesar from the group and the men shot him,” Elegbede added.

The group’s chauffeur, Fabrice Aziawo, said the gunmen captured them at a checkpoint.

“Armed men took us into the forest, Cesar and me. I heard shots. They told me to turn around and I saw Cesar lying on the ground.”

Cesar Fernandez, 72, had been working in Africa since 1982, said his order, the Salesians of don Bosco, in a statement on Twitter.

In a separate attack, gunmen targeted customs officers who set up a mobile post in Nohao, near the border with Togo on Friday evening, killing four of them, a security source told AFP.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez offered his condolences to the family and colleagues of the priest.

“I am absolutely revolted by this attack and my respect to those… who risk their lives to work in conflict zones,” he added on Twitter.

A local security source said the attack was carried out by “a group of around 20 gunmen who then fled into a wooded zone”.

More than 300 people have been killed in the country in four years of jihadist attacks, according to an AFP count.

AFP

U.S. Offers Niger Operations Centre To Fight Boko Haram

 

The United States turned over a communications and operations centre to the Niger army on Monday to help the African nation battle Boko Haram, a statement said.

The planning and operations control centre, worth $16.5 million (14.4 million euros), is designed to help Niger forces sychronise its operations through improved communications, US Ambassador Eric Whitaker said during the handover ceremony.

Niger has taken on an important geostrategic role in the US fight against Islamist groups in Africa, and the centre known as a C2 Node comprises two tactical operations units equipped with sophisticated communications material.

It aims to “streamline pertinent battlefield information to commanders, so that they can best employ their forces,” a copy of Whitaker’s remarks said.

The US has already provided Niger with Cessna C-208 surveillance planes, armoured personnel vehicles and small craft known as mud boats, along with other equipment and training.

“We believe all these capabilities are critical to helping Niger defeat Boko Haram and other terrorist organisations,” Whitaker said.

The US operates an aerial drone base in Agadez that provides surveillance of Boko Haram units and others allied with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that operate along borders with Libya, Mali and Nigeria.

Niamey has also given the US permission to base armed drones on its soil.

The US presence in Niger was revealed on October 4, 2018, when four US soldiers and five Nigerien troops were killed in an ambush by fighters affiliated with the Islamic State group.

AFP