Nigeria’s Presidency Denies Cutting Diplomatic Ties With Taiwan

Nigeria's Presidency denies cutting ties with TaiwanThe Federal Government of Nigeria, has denied cutting ties with Taiwan, hours after an official of the government was quoted to have said so.

In a statement by Mr Garba Shehu, a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidency dismissed as incorrect media reports that Nigeria had cut ties with Taiwan.

He said that the correct position was that the official relationship between Nigeria and Taiwan had been at the level of trade representation and “this has not changed from what it used to be”.

“Taiwan trade office is the only Taiwanese representation in Nigeria and Nigeria’s trade office in Taipei is our only representation in Taiwan.

“Nigeria recognises and will sustain the “One China” policy and nothing has happened so far to change that level of relationship,” the statement read.

However, the Statement did not state if earlier report that Nigeria had asked Taiwan to move its office from Abuja to Lagos was also not correct.

‘Pressured By China’

The Minister Of Foreign affairs, Goeffry Onyeama, had earlier on Wednesday announced the government decision at a press conference in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Sola Enikanolaiye, who was also at the briefing, said “Nigeria has no diplomatic ties with Taiwan, only trade and commercial ties”.

He said, since Lagos is regarded as the commercial capital of the country, then Taiwan’s office should be in Lagos and not Abuja.

Taiwan has, however, objected to the Federal Government’s move saying the Nigerian government is being pressured by China to isolate it- a claim Mr Onyeama denied.

China regards Taiwan as a renegade province, ineligible for state-to-state relations, and to be taken back by force if necessary, especially if it makes moves toward independence.

“Taiwan will stop enjoying any privileges because it is not a country that is recognised under international law and under the position we have taken internationally, we recognise the people of China,” the minister said.

“Chinese government does not oppose trading with Taiwan as long as there is no formal contact with the government that will suggest recognition of Taiwan as a sovereign country.”

Meanwhile, the small island nation is hoping that Nigeria could leave room for further discussion based on the policies of mutual benefits and equality.

Gabon Intensify Preparations For 2017 AFCON

flagAhead of the 2017 African Cup of Nations, Host, Gabon, have tightened security in the country as the event is only two days away.

Despite the government’s reassurance that the tournament would take place without incidents, there have been ongoing calls in recent months for strike action by the opposition political parties.

Gabon is due to play Guinea-Bissau in the opening game on January 14 at the Stade de l’Amitie.

The biennial tournament is made up of 16 teams played at four venues across four host cities, (Libreville, Franceville, Port-Gentil and Oyem), in the oil-rich central African country.

FG To Construct Toilets, Recycling Plant In Kogi State

latrineThe Federal Government of Nigeria says it will commence the construction of public toilets and a recycling plant in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital, within the next three months.

The Deputy Director, Solid Wastes Management, Jide Oladapo, made this known at a meeting he held with officials of the Kogi Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

He stated that the projects, which include construction of public toilets and recycling plant, would be undertaken in collaboration with the ministry.

”It is a form of approach where we shall manage traditional wastes in which the local people that generate the wastes are also taken into consideration in waste management.

”The Federal Government is not unaware of the problems caused by inefficient waste management, and that is why the Federal Ministry of environment has come down to assist the state in waste management, Oladapo said.

In her remarks, Kogi Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Rosemary Osikoya, said that the proposal represents a new initiative by the state government.

”Before now, there has been little or no federal presence in Kogi state in terms of key sub-sectors, so we are excited over this gesture on sanitation and waste management by the federal ministry of environment.”

”The Federal Ministry Of Environment under the 2016 budget, had proposed some pilot activities in the state and that is the purpose of this meeting today.

“We are here to discuss the extent and scope of work of the support of the Federal Government for our state, and it is important to note that it is coming at the right time.”

”The state Governor Yahaya Bello, has taken a lot of steps in addressing most of these issues, so it is a form of consideration on areas the state is already making progress and we envisage more to come.

Bauchi Security: Police Smash Kidnap Syndicate

Police To Ensure Peace Ahead Of Abia ElectionThe Bauchi State Police, have apprehended a gang of kidnappers that have been terrorising citizens in the state, in the northeast region of Nigeria.

The state Police Commissioner, Zaki Ahmed, told journalists at a press briefing in Bauchi that a renowned hunter in collaboration with officers of the command, effected the operation on Yuga forest in Toro local government area.

According to him, the kidnappers den was raided and 48 hostages held captive by the abductors, were rescued during the operation.

No fewer than 19 suspected kidnappers were arrested at various locations across the state including an informant and negotiator of the kidnappers.

The police also exhibited dangerous weapons recovered from the raid.

As the collaboration between the public and the police towards fighting crime continues to yield positive results in the war against crime, there are hopes that the insecurity in and around the state would come to an end soon.

Queen Elizabeth Misses New Year Church Service

Queen Elizabeth Misses New Year Church ServiceQueen Elizabeth has missed a New Year’s Day church service as she continues to recover from a “heavy cold,” a Buckingham Palace spokesman says.

It has been reported that the 90-year-old monarch and her husband, Prince Philip, have been under the weather for most of the holiday season, having previously delayed their traditional journey to their country home, Sandringham House, in Norfolk after falling ill before Christmas.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was however able to attend a Christmas Day church service while he also attended the New Year’s Day service alongside Princess Anne, Prince Edward and other members of the Royal Family.

The Queen has remained indoors to recuperate from the persisting illness, according to an earlier Buckingham Palace statement.

It is the first year that the monarch has missed a Christmas Day church service since she began celebrating the holidays at Sandringham back in 1998.

Yobe Governor Set To Conduct LG Polls In February

Ibrahim-GaidamThe Yobe state Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, has reiterate his commitment to hold Local Government elections in the state in February 2017.

During a meeting with the National Leadership of Inter Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC), at the Government House Damaturu, the Governor assured them that his administration would hold election on February 11, in conformity with the tenets of democracy.

The council, is in the state to create awareness on the need to ensure regular conduct of LG elections across the 36 states of the country and Abuja.

According to Gaidam, since he assumed office as the Governor of the state, he had conducted LG elections on two occasions, while the February election would be the third.

With the improved peace, the Governor said he can do more to ensure the growth and development of democracy, adding that it remains the best system of Government known to man.

According to him, the insurgency has never deterred him from developing the state as he continues to construct roads, schools, houses among others.

The National Chairman of Inter Party Advisory Council of Nigeria, Mohammed Lawal, then expressed appreciation for the Governor’s efforts in ensuring democracy at the grassroots and urged other governors across the country to emulate him.

He also praised the efforts of the president as well as security operatives for the restoration of peace in the northeast, while calling for its sustenance.

Dozens Killed In Istanbul New Year Nightclub Attack

Dozens Killed In Istanbul New Year Nightclub Attack Dozens of persons have been killed in an attack which took place during a New Year’s bash in an upscale club in Istanbul.

It was supposed to be a celebration welcoming in a new start, after a trying, bloody year in Turkey.

Almost 70 people have been hospitalised following the bloodbath by an unknown number of attackers who stormed the club and started shooting.

According to CNN, an eyewitness, Yunis Turk, explained after police secured the Reina nightclub: “We were having fun, at first we thought it was a fight then there was a lot of gunfire.

“After the gunfire everyone started to run toward the terrace. We ran as well. There was someone next to me who was shot and fell on the floor. We ran away and hid under the sofas.

Some people jumped into the Bosporus, he said, a testament to the panic that engulfed the nightspot – it is freezing in Istanbul but people were willing to leap into the frigid water to escape the panic.

“For ten minutes there was gunfire and then for another five minutes they were throwing bombs, fired a bit more, then left,” Turk recalled.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, also told CNN that the attacker was a lone assailant and that the authorities “are trying hard” to identify and apprehend the person in order to investigate any ties to terror groups.

He said that security forces are analyzing CCTV footage.

“I hope we will shortly identify the attacker and find who is behind it,” he said

Kaduna Residents Believe Nigeria Will Overcome Challenges In 2017

Kaduna Residents Believe Nigeria Will Overcome Challenges In 2017Residents of Kaduna state, have expressed hope that things would get better in Nigeria in 2017, with prayer and commitment on the part of the leaders as well as citizens.

They believe that although the nation witnessed several socio-economic challenges in 2016, things would improve in the New Year.

At the Cathedral of Saint Michael Anglican Communion in the state capital, residents marked the event with praise and thanksgiving, appreciating God for keeping them alive to see the New Year.

The Bishop of Kaduna Arch- Diocese, Mr Timothy Yahaya in his New Year message, prayed for a better and prosperous Nigeria. He then told citizens to start the New Year with a new hope and begin to think and act positively.

Speaking to Channels Television, Mr Yahaya expressed hope that militancy in the Niger Delta, Boko Haram in the north east and Fulani herdsmen attacks as well as other related crimes that have set the country backward, would be over in the New Year.

He also said the current economic recession in Nigeria can only be addressed with a sound economic team, and then called for a re-engineering of every sector of the nation’s economy.

“My prayer is that Nigeria will be better in 2017, that Nigeria will prosper in 2017. We must start this year with a new hope, we must start this year with a new beginning.

“Nigerians must begin to think differently. The leaders must begin to think Nigeria, act Nigeria and believe in Nigeria. Followers must also act Nigeria, sing Nigeria and believe in Nigeria.

“The whole sins of last year we are supposed to leave them this year. All such things that have made Nigeria a shame and disgrace in the world today, would be over in this New Year.

“Our resolution will be a rebirth of a new country. And there will be a re-engineering in every sector of our national life. This is my hope and prayer for Nigeria in this New Year,” the clergyman said.

23 Dead In Indonesia Ferry Blast

indonesia-flagAt least 23 people have been killed and 17 more missing after a ferry caught fire off the coast of Indonesia on January 1, 2017.

The Zahro Express ferry was said to have been carrying more than 230 people who were off to celebrate the New Year holiday at Tidung Island, a resort about 50km (30 miles) from the capital, Jakarta,

Officials explained that it burst into flames about 1.5 km from Muara Angke port in Jakarta, shortly after setting sail.

According to the BBC, an official said 194 people were rescued and nine remain in the hospital, after many had jumped into the sea.

“15 minutes after the boat set sail, people at the back of the boat started making noise,” one passenger told local media.

“Then I saw smoke, there was more and more, the boat was crowded and people were fighting for life jackets.”

Another passenger said thick smoke suddenly filled the cabin.

“All passengers panicked and ran up to the deck to throw floats into the water. In a split second, the fire becomes bigger coming from where fuel is stored,” Reuters quoted the passenger as saying.

The charred remains of the boat were however towed back to Jakarta.