Congo’s Main Opposition Leader Etienne Tshisekedi Dies

congo-leaderCongo’s main opposition leader, Etienne Tshisekedi, one of the country’s most important advocates of democracy, has died in Brussels aged 84, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.

Tshisekedi stood up to dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, who for decades ruled the country, then known as Zaire, before being overthrown by Rwanda, Uganda and other forces. He was also the most prominent civilian opponent of Laurent Kabila, who took power in 1997, and his son, President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled since 2001.

Trump Fires Acting Attorney General For Defying Immigration Order

trump-banU.S. President Donald Trump fired top federal government lawyer Sally Yates on Monday after she took the extraordinarily rare step of defying the White House and refused to defend new travel restrictions targeting seven Muslim-majority nations.

It was another dramatic twist in the unusually raucous roll-out of Trump’s directive that put a 120-day hold on allowing refugees into the country, an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria and a 90-day bar on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The Friday night ban prompted protests and chaos at airports on the weekend as customs officials struggled to put the order into practise, and the fallout spread to U.S. markets on Monday, where stocks suffered their biggest drop of 2017 and companies affected by the change spoke out against it.

Yates said late on Monday that the Justice Department would not defend the order against court challenges, saying that she did not believe it would be “consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right.”

Hours later, she was fired. The White House said Yates “has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States” and portrayed her actions as political.

Trump has argued tougher vetting of immigrants is needed to protect America from terror attacks but critics complain that his order unfairly singles out Muslims and defiles America’s historic reputation as a welcoming place for immigrants.

Yates, an appointee of former Democratic President Barack Obama, was days away from being replaced by Trump’s pick for the top spot at the Justice Department, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, who is awaiting Senate confirmation.

“Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration,” the White House said in a statement.

Reuters

Aregbesola Says Recession Must End In 2017

Argebesola Stresses Need To Educate Nigerians On RecessionThe Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola says Nigeria will move beyond the challenges of economic recession in 2017 to fast track a better standard of living for Nigerians.

Governor, Aregbesola made this known in Osogbo, the Osun State capital during his new year message at the Freedom Park while celebrating the new year with some residents.

The Governor Rauf Aregbesola and some other notable sons and daughters of the state chieftains in the state, joined others to usher in with great musical performances, comedy and fireworks display the year 2017.

The governor said the government at all levels, particularly the Federal Government must engineer a financial plan to return the country back to economic winning ways.

The Osun state governor also embraced Nigerians not to lose sight of the change they voted for few months back by rallying round the government of the day and perform their civic responsibilities.

“We are on the path of re overt. We are moving away from recession into the phase of recovery. This recovery will lead to growth and growth will lead to consolidation. And all this will happen this year.

But what remains for all of us? Those who are employed must be efficient to increase their productivity.”
He further stated that those without work must go back to the land, cultivate it for food production most especially, and cash crops.

“We must earn more money generally. All of us must earn more money and we must reduce our consumption of imported goods. When we do this individually, it will result to the conservation of our resources, effective use of those resources and creation of wealth for all. ‎” the governor explained.

Reps To Meet Buhari On Insecurity In Nigeria

Insurance FraudThe leadership of the House of Representatives is to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari in a bid to find a solution to the state of insecurity in the country.

This is part of the resolutions reached by lawmakers following a debate on a motion presented by Rep. Simon Arabo on the killing of some people in the southern part of Kaduna State

The House is also calling on the Department of State Security, (DSS) which is in charge of internal security in the country, to rise up to its responsibility.

Gunmen Kill 31 In Kaduna

About 31 people were killed and several others injured, as gunmen attacked four communities in Kauru Local Government Area of Kaduna state.

The fresh attacks came just a day after the launching of public apology billboard by the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai signaling the return of peace and an end to the frequent conflicts between Fulani Herdsmen and natives of Southern part of the state.

Eyewitness account reports that the gunmen invaded the four communities, Ungwan Rimi, Kitakum, Ungwan Magaji and Kigam all in Kauru LGA, on Sunday night, shooting people and burning down houses And farmlands. An indigene of the area told our correspondent on telephone that the entire communities have been deserted as people flee from their homes for fear of being caught up in the

U.N. Syria envoy says local government in rebel-held Aleppo area should stay on

Congo, UNStaffan De Mistura, the United Nations secretary general’s Syria envoy said on Sunday he had proposed that jihadist fighters should leave Aleppo but that the government should let the local administration in rebel-held areas of the city stay in place.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moalem earlier on Sunday ruled that out, saying it was a “violation of our sovereignty”, but De Mistura told reporters in Damascus that he believed such measures could be temporary and that Aleppo should be treated as a special case.

Alleged N4.9b Fraud: Trial Of Fani-Kayode Stalled

Fani-KayodeThe trial of former Aviation Minister, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode over a 4.9 bilion naira fraud charge could not proceed at the Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday.

This is because he is still in Kuje prison trying to perfect the conditions for his bail granted by a Federal High Court in Abuja on five-count charge of diversion of 26 million naira.

His counsel, Mr Wale Balogun, told the court that he has been in Kuje prisons because he is yet to meet the bail conditions granted him by an Abuja court.

“My lord, the second accused (Fani-Kayode) was kept in custody of the prosecution for 21 days without any word, and finally, arraigned on November 10 before your learned brother, Justice John Tsoho in Abuja, on a five-count charge bordering on N26million.

“He was subsequently remanded at the Kuje prisons, and in view of this, we are helpless, as his bail conditions have not been perfected in spite of frantic efforts by family and friends,” Balogun said.

Mr Fani-Kayode had been facing a 17-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N4.9 billion before he was re-arrested on Friday, October 21 by operatives of the anti-graft agency.

He has been re-arraigned on fresh charges bordering on corruption, criminal breach of trust and diversion of funds by the EFCC.

Fani-Kayode, who was also spokesman for the Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign, has pleaded not guilty to the five-count charge.

Court Grants Fani-Kayode Bail

Fani-KayodeA Federal High Court in Abuja has granted bail to former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, in the sum of 50 million naira and one surety in like sum.

The court says that the surety must be resident in Abuja and own a landed property in the capital city.

The former minister is to submit his passport and other travel documents to the court.

The presiding judge, Justice John Tsoho, has directed that Mr. Fani-Kayode be remanded in Kuje Prison until he meets the conditions of his bail application.

Mr. Fani-Kayode was arrested on Friday, October 21 by operatives of the anti-graft agency, as he left the Federal High Court premises in Lagos.

His arrest is connected to the recent 17-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N4.9 billion filed by the EFCC in Abuja against him.

He has been arraigned on fresh charges bordering on corruption, criminal breach of trust and diversion of funds by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Fani-Kayode, who was also spokesman for the Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign, has pleaded not guilty to the five-count charge.

The former Aviation Minister has described his arrests as efforts to silence him.

Speaking to newsmen while being taken away by operatives of the EFCC as he left the Federal High Court premises in Lagos on Friday, he said: “They will not take my life, I am not scared, I’m not intimidated (and) I will not be silenced.

“I am very proud of the fact that the Nigerian people are beginning to understand what is going on in this country.

“They can re-arrest me a thousand times, torture me, lock me up, beat me, deprive me of food and my phones; they can do anything to me, I will never change.”

Nigeria’s PMI Improves To 52.9 Reading

policy design, Progressive Governors, economic recessionNigeria’s Purchasing Manufacturing Index turned positive at 52.9 reading in October, from a negative reading of 47.9 in September.

The uptick in the manufacturing level according to FBN Quest, was driven by an improvement in all five sub-indices, in October.

FBN Quest is projecting a further contraction of -1.7 percent in the third quarter of 2016, but says the figure could be better, if the oil economy surprises on the upside.

The analysts expect a flat GDP for the fourth quarter of 2016.

Senate Demands Oil Production Sale Report

senateThe National Assembly has asked the Department of Petroleum Resources to begin a daily reporting exercise of oil and gas production and sale to the senate.

According to the Senate Committee on Petroleum, the records are to be submitted on a monthly basis.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, said the data would give an opportunity to have deeper knowledge of activities in the petroleum sector.

The demanded petroleum industry activities will include, data on seismic activities, crude oil production, lifting and allocations as well as exports by destination.

Other details are receipts, gas production, utilisation, sales, transmission and exports.

Brexit Needs Parliament’s Approval – UK Court Says

brexitA British court ruled on Thursday that the government needs parliamentary approval to start the process of leaving the European Union, potentially delaying Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plans.

The government said it would appeal against the ruling by England’s High Court, and Britain’s Supreme Court is expected to consider the appeal early next month.

A spokeswoman for May said the prime minister still planned to launch talks on the terms of Brexit by the end of March and added: “We have no intention of letting this derail our timetable.”

The pound, which fell sharply after Britons voted to leave the EU by 52 to 48 percent on June 23, rose after the ruling.

Many investors took the view that lawmakers would now be able to temper the government’s policies, making it less likely that the government would opt for a “hard Brexit” — a scenario in which it prioritizes tight controls on immigration over remaining in the European single market.

The High Court ruled that the government needs parliament’s backing to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, the formal step needed to start the process of exiting the bloc.

“The most fundamental rule of the UK’s constitution is that parliament is sovereign,” said Lord Chief Justice John Thomas, England’s most senior judge.

Thomas and two other senior judges did not spell out whether the government would need to pass a new law to begin the divorce proceedings, but Britain’s Brexit minister, David Davis, said that this was likely if the Supreme Court upheld the decision.

“The judges have laid out what we can’t do and not exactly what we can do, but we’re presuming it requires an act of parliament,” Davis told BBC TV.

Parliament could in theory block Brexit as most lawmakers (MPs) supported staying in the EU in a referendum in June, but few people expect that outcome, and a Reuters survey in October suggested MPs would back Brexit now.

Even so, the court ruling makes the already daunting task of taking Britain out of a political and trading club it joined 43 years ago even more complex.

EU Urges Nigeria To Stop Gas Flaring by 2030

Michel-Arrion-European-Union-EUThe European Union, (EU) has urged the Nigerian Government to ensure that it fulfills its commitment to stop gas flaring by 2030.

The EU Ambassador to Nigeria and West Africa Michel Arion, stated this on Thursday during a film presentation on Nigeria’s environmental and climatic challenges at the Government House in Kaduna State.

He reiterated EU’s continuous support to Nigeria and other vulnerable developing countries in Africa to fight climate change.

While stating that a substantial amount of fund would be deployed to tackle environmental pollution as gas flaring and deforestation, Mr. Arion expressed confidence that the reduction of gas flaring and other environmental challenges would mitigate the effects of climate change in Nigeria.

He also explained that climate change does not affect Africa alone but the entire universe, and that climate change is compatible with economic growth.

He however, stressed the need for the Nigerian Government to come up with effective laws and policies to deal with environmental issues.

The EU Ambassador also emphasized the need for Nigeria to improve its electricity supply which he says will reduce climate change.

Every year, Nigeria loses about 351,000 hectres of land to emerging desert encroachment. In the northern part of the country, deforestation and desert encroachment are some of the major problems that people from the region are battling with. It is the same situation in the southeast where many communities are facing eviction due to erosion.

In the Niger Delta region, gas flaring, oil spillage and ocean surge are also posing a major environmental and health challenge, while population explosion has also led to increased quest for land farming and grazing of animals.

In all these, fishing, farming and other human activities are affected.

According to environmental experts, Nigeria accounts for one sixth of gas flaring in the world, and this is they say is largely responsible for some health issues like cancer and leukemia.

Meanwhile the Kaduna state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai stressed the need for every citizen to understand the dangers of climate change and how to mitigate it.

He expressed fear that the level of desert encroachment and desertification in northern Nigeria, if not curtailed by relevant authorities, could pose a major environmental challenge in the region.

To address these challenges, the Governor explained that his administration has launched a tree planting campaign with over one million trees already planted across the 255 wards in the state to checkmate afforestation.

NUC Tasks Universities On Developing Nigeria’s Economy

NUC, NTIThe National Universities Commission (NUC) has charged Nigerian universities to come up with innovative research products, and publications that will impart positively on the lives of ordinary Nigerians and develop the nation’s economy.

This was made known by the Executive Secretary of the NUC while delivering a paper on Nigerian universities, “Thinking outside the box to embrace innovative and positive change”, at the University of Benin main auditorium, in Benin City the Edo State capital.

Represented by the Director Research and Innovation of the NUC, Dr Sulaiman Yusuf said the current administration of the commission has decided to be flexible to help innovative change in universities curriculum, so as to produce knowledgeable graduates.

“Are Nigerian universities poised to break substantially away from the tried and tested procedures, methodologies and traditional ways of doing things which had produced results in the past but which now appear doubtful efficacy.

“Our research must be need driven, we must scan our environment to see what problems exist that need urgent solutions, what industries are preponderant in our areas that will require some high level cerebral thinking from the university  so that the business will move better”.

The Vice Chancellor, Medical University Ondo State Prof Friday Okonofua noted that “It is not funding that is really the issue, its vision, being able to come up with new innovations in terms of research, service delivery and teaching. Those are the things that make for internationalisation of universities”.

The Director General  Nigeria Institute For Education Planning and Admin. Prof Lilian Salami said “I think they have tried as much as possible, to proffer some solutions so that we can begin to look at our education from a different angle and not where it is today”.