Chinese President Xi Demands ‘Fair And Friendly’ Treatment Of Citizens Abroad

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during a ceremony at Tsinghua University ceremony with Russian President Vladimir Putin (not in picture) at Friendship Palace in Beijing on April 26, 2019. Kenzaburo FUKUHARA / POOL / AFP

 

China’s President Xi Jinping on Friday called for a “fair and friendly” environment for Chinese companies and citizens overseas, as pushback against its tech giants rises and academics find their visas cancelled.

Beijing and Washington have been locked in a bruising trade war — which negotiators have been working to resolve — but there has also been a growing strategic rivalry between the world’s two largest economies.

“China’s measures to expand opening up are independent choices,” Xi told a gathering of 37 world leaders at a summit for his signature Belt and Road Initiative.

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“We also hope that all countries in the world will create a good investment environment, treat Chinese enterprises, international students and scholars equally, and provide a fair and friendly environment,” he said.

An increasing number of Western countries have moved to block Huawei and its state-backed competitor ZTE from building next-generation 5G networks over fears Beijing could spy on communications and gain access to critical infrastructure.

The United States has also started to bar some Chinese academics from the country if they are suspected of having links to Chinese intelligence agencies, the New York Times reported.

It added that thirty Chinese scholars have had their visas cancelled or put under review in the past year.

In accounts published in the state-run Global Times, several Chinese academics said their 10-year visas to the US were cancelled, with officials citing concerns over their links to Chinese intelligence.

“Some Chinese were deliberately targeted when visiting the US and had their baggage searched, but cases of cancelling visas are not common,” wrote Jin Canrong, dean of international studies at the elite Renmin University.

Such instances were rare even during the Cold War, he added.

Beijing has apparently hit back in retaliation: China expert Michael Pillsbury, who advises US President Donald Trump on China, said his visa to enter the country for a forum earlier this year was blocked.

Tensions flared between Washington and Beijing last December over the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who is wanted in the US for violating Iranian sanctions.

She was arrested in Canada on request of the US and is now fighting extradition.

AFP

Enugu Govt Provides Free Ride For Citizens Across The States

It’s two days to Christmas and to ensure hitch-free celebration, the Enugu state government is providing free transportation for its citizens returning from across the country.

The gesture which is coming barely some days after the state workers received their 13th-month salary is specifically for those living in the northern, southern and some western states who wish to return to Enugu for the yuletide but cannot afford the fare.

The citizens who were being received by the Managing Director of Enugu Transport Company limited, Mr Vob Itanyi, on Friday said the gesture is a pivotal indication of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s good governance in the state.

Mr Itanyi explained, that the beneficiaries must be those who are duly registered with the state’s Town Unions in their respective states of residence, adding the company is coordinating the exercise with the leadership of the unions in the affected states, for accountability and effective result.

He disclosed that the returnees on arrival will be formally received by the State Commissioner for Transport, Hon. Vitus Okechi, the MD of ENTRACO, and others, at the former main depot of the company, opposite the state headquarters of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Enugu.

Itanyi said, “His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, as a God-fearing, and humanitarian leader has graciously given us the approval to convey Enugu indigenes resident in almost all other states back to the state free of charge this festive season.

“This time around, it will not be business as usual. We are going to bring back Enugu State indigenes in the body and not ghost indigenes. Nothing will be hidden during the exercise. The leaders of the Enugu State Town Union in the respective states have been mobilized to ensure that our people benefit from this welfare scheme, which the state government has extended to the people of the state.”

Gov. Ahmed Warns Judiciary Against Corrupt Practices

Abdulfatah-Ahmed, National Discovery, Governor Ahmed, RescessionThe Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has called on members of the judiciary to stand against corruption and uphold the rule of law.

The governor who made this call at the swearing-in of a new grand Kadi of the Shariah Court, Hon. Muhammed Ola Abdulkadir, said that recent happenings on alleged corruption against some members of the judiciary, make the public question the integrity of the judiciary.

According to the governor, “Judges across the country should be bold, fearless, incorruptible, follow the principles of the constitution and promote democracy”.

He also noted that the integrity, independence and impartiality of the judiciary are essential to promoting human rights and fostering development.

“Judiciary must be inclusive and promote social justice. – Ensuring equal treatment of all before the law goes a long way in building trust in the credibility of the judicial system,” Ahmed stressed.

Consequently, he stated that all citizens must have unrestricted and equal access to justice at all times.

Also, the rights of all must be protected regardless of gender, age or status, as justice helps society create organised human relations and forms the basis of strong institutions and good governance.

Ugwuanyi Calls For Overhaul Of Electoral System, More Credibility

Ugwuanyi Calls For Overhaul Of Electoral System, More CredibilityThe Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has advocated an overhaul of Nigeria’s electoral system to foster greater credibility and consequently ensure good governance.

Speaking at the southeast public hearing on the review of Nigeria’s electoral system, Ugwuanyi suggested that the Justice Uwais report serves as a background to the present review.

“The reform we envisage will have to include overhaul of the electoral process and the proposed reform should help entrench culture of respect for the will of the people expressed through the ballot box.

“I believe that the recommendations of justice Uwais’ electoral reform should be adopted to serve as a background in appreciation of any reform measures.

“This exercise avails us the opportunity for a robust engagement on the recommendations of the committee as it affects the strengthening and protecting the autonomy of INEC from political interference,” Ugwuanyi said.

He also noted that the issue of pre-election litigation should be considered critically.

“Another issue of concern is the area of election litigation in the country. A situation where the pre-election litigation runs through the strata of courts in the country and even sub cedes after the winner of election has been sworn in is worrisome.

“The question therefore arises as to whether it would not be necessary to set a timeline for determining issues arising from party primaries and other pre-election matters just like post-election petitions.” he noted.

The committee chairman, Ken Nnamani, who told the gathering that the single objective of the public hearing is to see how electoral systems can be reformed to strengthen democracy, urged participants to discard every fear that the outcome of the reform would not be implemented.

“For those of you who are afraid that the outcomes of this hearing will not be implemented, be rest assured that if Mr President, who has been a victim of our electoral system for more than three times is on seat, he is most likely to implement the outcome of this hearing”.

He, however called on other citizens who could not make presentations to send email to the committee before the end of two weeks.

NEMA Organises Anti-flood Campaign For Groups

Not ignoring the impact that flooding has had on Nigeriain 2012, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has embarked on an awareness campaign to prepare Nigerians for flood.

The sensitization campaign was organized for local government officials, civil society organizations, community and faith based organisations, volunteers and citizens to educate them on risk reduction and prevention.

Flooding has been known to have a damaging effect on farmlands which will always lead to increase in food prices as reckoned by resource persons at the campaign workshop.

NEMA urged Nigerians to obey warnings on the impending flood by the Nigerian Meteorological Department, noting that it will go a long way in reducing the impact of the flood.

It further advised that warnings should be strictly adhered to in order to avoid the repetition of last year’s flood disaster.

 

3,200 Iraqis Rendered Homeless By Flood

Hundreds of Iraqi citizens have been rendered homeless in Wasit and Maysay provinces after days of heavy rain culminated in heavy floods, swallowing homes in the regions which are in the southeast of the country’s capital, Baghdad.

Heavy were the floods that roads turned into rivers, while people fled their houses with some trying to salvage a few items they could carry through the floodwater.

Local officials in Wasit said around 3200 people were forced to flee their homes, seeking shelter in makeshift camps set up by the Red Crescent charity organisation.

According to Brigadier General Kadhim Bashir Saleh, an official in the Wasit province, said some 40 villages have been affected by the downpour.

“We have mobilised relief efforts of the civil defence since the first day, that is to say since the start of the rain and flash floods three days ago in Wasit province and in particular at Sheikh Saad district in addition to Ali al-Gharbi district in Maysan province. Our relief work included evacuating people from affected villages, delivering food and other relief items to them in co-ordination with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society in Wasit province,” said The Iraqi Red Crescent.

Hundreds of people were forced to seek shelter in nearby mosques and school buildings.

According to the Red Crescent, more than 300 families are homeless as a result of the severe weather.

Akpabio’s N6m Lunch Money Was To Support Party Members — Commissioner

Still on allocation, commissioner Umanah said despite the large federal allocation from the FG, the state is still in need of money to complete on-going projects in the state, which is still where the state directs its local revenues generated to after he was asked by Kayode Akintemi to highlight what the state does with its local revenues.

He went further to explain that since the inception of governor Akpabio, the salaries of the State staff has been jacked up several and it has not stopped as there are plan in the pipeline to jack it up to N3 billion soonest.

On the issue of Governor Akpabio giving PDP South-South Chairmen and their delegates up to 1,200 people were given N1m each which totalled N6m according to the commissioner for information. The commissioner said that it is not supposed to be a problem as it was the governor gesture towards being humane because the chairmen and delegates have been waiting for the governor’s arrival without breakfast and lunch.

Wedding Gift To Tuface Not Too Much – Akwa Ibom Commissioner

In a swift reaction, the issue of SUV and N3 million cheque as wedding gift to popular singer Tuface Idibia and Annie Macaulay was brought to light.

The commissioner went on to defend the gesture by Governor Akpabio saying ‘Annie Macaulay and Tuface Idibia have created something very significant for Akwa Ibom State’

They brought in a galaxy of the entertainment industry, music stars and so on likewise new ambassadors into the state’.

He said if it is to fund destination marketing of branding then he doubts if the cost of one SUV and N3m is too much.

‘If we were to fund the destination marketing of branding ,i do not think N3million and the cost of one SUV is too much, even if we were to place advert on Channels Television to attract people to the new destination Governor Akpabio is building’.

He said governor Akpabio’s gesture was to repay a daughter of the state; Annie Macaulay for contributing to the repositioning of the state and has done the state proud too.

Akwa Ibom Imbroglio: Akwa Ibom Glowing With Development — Commissioner

It is no news that Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio emerged as the Chairman of the Governors Forum but what has taken Nigerians aback is the spending spree that the governor has embarked on. As if bitten by money bug, Governor doled a whooping N1m to south-south PDP chairmen for lunch at Mr. Biggs as he called it.

Kayode Akintemi and Bisi Coker Sunrise Anchors had Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Infrormation; Aniekan Umana, a journalist and a legal practitioner Uche Onu to debate on the recent spree trip that the governor has decided to embark on.

According to Bisi Coker one of Sunrise anchors, Akwa Ibom has the largest allocation amongst all the 36 states in Nigeria and despite that most part of the state is lacking development, not to talk of the horrendous daily living of the Akwa Ibom people.

And with focus on the commissioner for Information, he reacted to this saying ‘the assertion has to be objective because talking of oil production, the indices has to be understood for it fluctuates’ meaning that the said allocation does not have a regular figure.

The commissioner however debunked the assertion that development has not radiated the length and breadth of the state as he challenged our anchors to travelled down and see the level of development that reached the 36 local government areas of the state.

2013: Nigeria Needs Strategic Thinkers — Nnaji

A Lawyer, Mr Chima Nnaji said Nigeria can be peaceful and better this new year if ‘doers’ in the governance of the country are shown the way out, to give ‘strategic thinkers’ the chance to drive government’s agenda .

He said he believes there will be some measure of peace in 2013 within the context of the civil population if the President  keeps to his words of not increasing the price of fuel.

Making reference to the fuel subsidy protest in 2012, the Public Affairs Analyst described it as ‘Unnecessary meddlesomeness’ which gave rise to the agitations.

“Because there will not be any attempt to dabble into increase in price of petroleum products, perhaps there might be some level of quietness in the New year” he stated.

“The agitations that greeted 2012 arose as a result of unnecessary meddlesomeness with the single commodity that is the driver of all economic activities”.

He further said that if the environment is kept relatively peaceful then Nigerians will continue to go about their businesses of fending for themselves on a daily basis.

The public affairs analyst berated the political sector saying he does not foresee any change in the sector because Nigerian politicians only know about ‘taking from the table’ contrary to the objective of serving the people.

“I don’t see so much change, because the Nigerian politicians say they are professional politicians, and that is very dangerous because politics is about rendering services; that means you come to table with something, not take from the table”.

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International Anticorruption Conference: SERAP calls for withdrawal of Nigeria’s invitation

A civil society group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on “the International Anticorruption Conference (IACC) holding its 15th session next week in Brazil to withdraw any invitation for the participation of Nigerian government officials if the government does not move swiftly to ensure full accountability and justice for the complicity of government officials and multinational oil companies over the loss of tens of billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues over the last decade, documented by the Mallam Nuhu Ribadu led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force.”

In a public statement dated 28 October 2012 and signed by SERAP Executive Director Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organization stated that, “Nigerian government officials should not be allowed to participate in an important event like the IACC meeting while senior government officials and multinational oil companies act with almost absolute impunity and continue to divert oil and gas revenues into private pockets rather than for the common good. It is not only immoral but also unlawful and amounts to an outright stealing of the commonwealth of our people and a serious violation of human rights.”

“The Ribadu report has aptly illustrated the systemic nature of corruption and impunity of perpetrators. Setting up countless panels has not and will not produce any tangible result. Unless international pressure is brought to bear, it is unlikely that any serious action will follow this embarrassing indictment. Citizens’ efforts to stand up for human rights, good governance, transparency, accountability, and the rule of law will only be successful if complemented by international action and solidarity,” the organization also stated.

The organization said it “has been invited to make presentation at the IACC event in Brazil, and we will make the full accountability and recovery of the missing oil and gas revenues documented by the Nuhu Ribadu report a cardinal point of our presentation at the meeting.”

The organization also said that, “The Conference should call on the Nigerian government to officially release the report; and bring to justice suspected perpetrators whatever the political, social or economic status. The Conference should also urge the government to put in place mechanisms and codes of conduct to ensure that all of the country’s oil and gas licences and assets are granted and sold by public tender. Such a move would help prevent corruption and ensure the state gets the highest possible price for its natural resources.”

“SERAP is also calling for all Nigeria’s natural resource revenues to be declared, including details on signature bonuses and licences. International codes of conduct for the operation and accountability of multinational oil companies operating in Nigeria should be urgently developed and implemented to address the continuing complicity of these bodies in corruption and resulting poverty in the country,” the organization added.

The UN conference also called the International Anticorruption Conference is the world premier forum that brings together heads of state, civil society, the private sector and more to tackle the increasingly sophisticated challenges posed by corruption. The IACC takes place every two years in a different region of the world, and attracts up to 1500 participants from over 135 countries. The conference serves as the premier global forum for the networking and cross-fertilisation that are indispensable for effective advocacy and action, on a global and national level.

The IACC draws attention to corruption by raising awareness and stimulating debate. It fosters the global exchange of experience and methodologies in controlling corruption. The conferences promote international cooperation among agencies and citizens from all parts of the world, helping to develop personal relationships by providing the opportunity for face-to-face dialogue and direct liaison between representatives from the agencies and organisations taking part.

The meeting next week is hosted by the Office of the Comptroller General (OCG) based in the Brasilia, Brazil and two civil society hosts based in São Paulo. These are the TI National Contact point- AMARRIBO, which stands for Amigos Associados de Ribeirão Bonito and is a network of organisations and Instituto Ethos, a non-profit organisation focusing on Business and Social Responsibility.

The 146-page document produced by the 17-member task force, set up by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, in January covers the year 2002 to the present. According to the Reuters news agency, the report provides new details on Nigeria’s long history of corruption in the oil sector, which has enriched its elite and provided the oil majors with hefty profits while two thirds of the people live in poverty.

Alison-Madueke confirmed receipt of the report but said it was a draft and the government was still supposed to give its input. But the report submitted by the Ribadu committee was marked “final”. The report concluded that oil majors – Shell, Total and Eni – made bumper profits from cut-price gas, while Nigerian oil ministers handed out licences at their own discretion.

The report alleges that international oil traders sometimes buy crude without any formal contracts, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had short-changed the federation of billions of dollars over the last 10 years by selling crude oil and gas to itself below market rates.

The Ribadu committee was among several set up by Alison-Madueke following a week of nationwide strikes against a rise in fuel prices in January, which morphed into a campaign against oil corruption. Among others, tt had as its terms of reference: to work with consultants and experts to determine and verify all petroleum upstream and downstream revenues (taxes, royalties, etc.) due and payable to the Federal Government of Nigeria; to take all necessary steps to collect all debts due and owing; to obtain agreements and enforce payment terms by all oil industry operators; to design a cross debt matrix between all Agencies and Parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources; and to develop an automated platform to enable effective tracking, monitoring, and online validation of income and debt drivers of all parastatals and agencies in the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

The report also said foreign oil firms had outstanding debts. Addax, now a unit of China’s state-owned Sinopec, owes Nigeria $1.5 billion in unpaid royalties, part of a $3 billion black hole of unpaid bonuses and royalties owed by oil firms. Shell owes Nigeria’s government N137.57 billion ($874 million) for gas sold from its Bonga deep offshore field, the report said, while oil majors owed $58 million between them for gas flaring penalties. They were also not adhering to newer higher fines.

The report also revealed that Nigeria was the only nation to sell all its crude through international oil traders rather than directly to refineries, adding that such trades were often opaque. It said some international oil traders who were not “on the approved master list of customers” had been sold crude oil “without a formal contract” so little could be obtained about the details of these deals, which can be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

According to the report, NNPC gets an allocation of 445,000 bpd of crude oil to refine locally but has been selling its allocation at cut-down prices, a practice which cost Nigeria $5 billion in potential revenue between 2002 and 2011. Also, oil ministers between 2008 and 2011 handed out seven discretionary licences but there is $183 million in signature bonuses missing from the deals.