Why Nigeria Backed Down From Signing Pan-African Continental Free Trade Area

Muhammadu Buhari, Owed Debt, States


Nigeria’s Chief Trade Negotiator, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe says the country’s decision to back down from this week’s signing of the new pan-African continental free trade area in Rwanda, was “in the national interest of a great and diverse country”.

In an email sent in response to Channels Television’s enquiry on Monday, Osakwe said the government wants to “deepen, intensify and extend the scope of consultations on a number of areas.”

The areas listed include sectoral and systemic issues, as well as the ”aggregated and granular effects” of the new free trade deal for Nigeria’s “fiscal, structural and monetary policies”.

He, however, added that Nigeria will not be absent in Kigali as the foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama will be representing the country and supported by a Nigerian team.

The Federal Executive Council had on Wednesday last week, approved for the President to sign the framework agreement for establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area.

But a statement signed on Sunday by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tope Adeleye, noted that the trip had been cancelled.

According to Adeleye, certain key stakeholders in the country indicated that they had not been consulted, and therefore had some concerns on the provisions of the treaty.

Consequently, the development was to allow more time for broader consultations and input from the stakeholders.
All leaders of Africa’s 55 countries are expected at the event in Kigali.

The AfCFTA will make the continent the largest free trade area created since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.

The launch will take place at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Heads of State of the African Union convened by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, the new Chairperson of the AU who said of the AfCFTA: “This is a historic pact which has been nearly 40 years in the making, and it represents a major advance for African integration and unity.”

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki, says the African Continental Free Trade Area will also strengthen Africa’s position in global trade.

“AfCFTA will make Africa one of the largest economies in the world and enhance its capacity to interact on equal terms with other international economic blocs.”

On the 20th of March, a day before the signing, government delegations will join Africa’s top business leaders and other stakeholders to exchange views on the continent’s economic transformation through trade at a special day of celebration and dialogue called the AfCFTA Business Summit.

CAF Confederation Cup: Rivers United Beat Rayon Sports 2-0

CAF Confederation Cup: Rivers United Beat Rayon Sports 2-0Nigeria’s CAF Confederation Cup Contender, Rivers United have rekindled their hopes for a continental title, following a 2-0 win against Rayon Sport of Rwanda in their first leg playoff.

The Nigerian club secured the victory in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, with goals from Emeka Atuloma and Guy Kuemian.

Atuloma set the hosts on the lead in the 29th minute, while Kuemian netted what proved to be the winning goal in the 51st minute.

The return leg will take place on April 22 in Kigali, Rwanda.

VP Osinbajo Challenges Africa On Poverty, Inequality

Yemi Osinbajo, Africa, PovertyNigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has challenged African nations to urgently address the problems of poverty and inequality even as the global community focuses on its new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Vice President made the call on Saturday in a statement by his spokesman, Mr Laolu Akande, while speaking at a side event hosted by the President of Ghana, Mr John Mahama, on Africa and SDGs at the African Union meeting underway in Kigali, Rwanda.

Osinbajo, who led the Nigerian delegation to the continent-wide meeting told the gathering of Presidents and several Heads of delegations that the whole idea of the SDGs “is really about addressing inequality and poverty.

“The problems are so obvious that however we describe the programme, we really must do something and something urgently.”

He cited the example of the 500 billion Naira social investment programme to address poverty in Nigeria by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

“In Nigeria, in the current budget cycle we have the largest social protection programme in the history of the country. It’s a 500 billion Naira programme (worth over $2.5bn as at the time budget was signed).

“Basically we are looking at lifting many out of poverty, of course many are familiar with the size of the Nigerian state and we have close to hundred and ten million people who are poor and about two-tenth are in extreme poverty.

“So it is a very huge problem and part of what we are trying to do is to look at how not just to empower people but also to ensure that what they are given is sustainable.

“For the women, we are doing a programme, micro-credit programme for a million market women and artisans.

“All would be given facilities, training facilities as well to enable them to be able to do some work for themselves and to continue to be able to live.

“And we think that giving this micro-credit loan to women is to make sure that they handle money better and do a much better work on the whole,” he said.

Poorest Of The Poor

Professor Osinbajo hinted that Nigeria would offer the Conditional Cash Transfer to women, especially the less privileged whom he said were difficult to identify.

“In the case of Conditional Cash Transfer, again we are handing these to women. We are giving (this to) another million, to the poorest of the poor.

“In determining who the poorest is, we had problems on that, but we have very good assistance from the World Bank and the Bill Gates Foundation. They helped in trying to map the really poor,” he said.

VP Osinbajo Leads Nigeria’s Delegation To AU Summit In Rwanda

Osinbajo, AU Summit, RwandaPresident Muhammadu Buhari will be represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the African Union Summit formally opening on Sunday in Kigali, Rwanda.

This is according to a statement by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity at the Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, on Friday.

Prof. Osinbajo, who is being accompanied by Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and Ambassador Babagana Kingibe among other functionaries, leaves for Kigali on Friday and his expected back on Monday.

The 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) is scheduled to hold from July 17 to 18, 2016, although a retreat of African Heads of State and Governments has been scheduled for Saturday, July 16 ahead of the formal summit opening on Sunday.

The Session has been preceded by the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) and the 28th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the Union at the ministerial level ending today (Friday).

The AU summit theme is ‘African Year of Human Rights’ with a particular focus on the Rights of Women.

2016 is also being celebrated by the Union as the year of Human Rights with the aim of raising awareness on human and peoples’ rights, particularly women’s rights, on the continent and taking stock of progress or efforts made, including major challenges and/or obstacles encountered.

Nigeria Will Fulfil Its Financial Obligation To AU – Buhari

Buhari, AUPresident Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday in Abuja that Nigeria will fulfil its financial obligation to the African Union (AU), particularly on programmes and operations aimed at ensuring durable peace, stability and security on the continent.

Receiving the AU Envoy on the Peace Fund, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, President Buhari said that supporting peace operations, under the auspices of the AU, in several countries affected by conflict remains a foreign policy priority for his administration.

Despite competing priorities on security and the economic downturn in the country, the President assured the AU envoy that Nigeria will also play a central role in seeking the EU and the UN to strengthen their support for crisis-prone African countries.

The President used the occasion of the visit of the AU envoy to weigh-in on the situation in South Sudan and appeal for peace and calm in the country.

“What is happening in South Sudan is extremely disturbing and it is a very dicey situation.

“The AU leadership has a crucial role in stabilizing the country and other African countries on the brink.

“What we can do urgently to stabilize South-Sudan is very important as African leaders meet in Kigali, Rwanda  this month and later in September at the UN,” the President said.

In his remarks, Kaberuka said funding AU-led peace support operations, which had remained a challenge for member-countries was further compounded early this year with the EU cut in its allocation to the AU Mission in Somalia by 20 per cent.

Kaberuka said the AU summit in Kigali is expected to agree on a roadmap of alternative financing for AU-led peace support operations, including a proposal for African nations to fund 25 per cent of the Fund’s budget while UN contributes the balance.

Ikechukwu Ibenegbu Joins Enyimba

Ibenegbu--EnyimbaHome Based Eagles midfielder, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, has successfully completed his switch to the Nigeria Professional League champions, Enyimba.

The midfielder has signed a two-year deal with the People’s Elephant.

The former Warri Wolves player, said that he was excited heading off to Enyimba. He promised to bring added value to the side’s quest for laurels on the domestic and continental fronts.

Ibenegbu was a key player in the Super Eagles’ futile campaign at the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Kigali, Rwanda.

CHAN 2016: Home Based Eagles Arrive Kigali

EaglesThe home-based Super Eagles have arrived Kigali, Rwanda, for the African Nations Championship which holds from January 16 till February 7, 2016.

The team arrived Kigali early on Friday where they will begin their campaign on Monday, January 18, against next-door neighbours, Niger at 5pm Nigerian time.

Their next Group C match will be against Tunisia on January 22, also in Kigali.

The Eagles will have to travel to Gisenyi for their final group game against fellow West Africans, Guinea, on January 26.

CHAN 2016: Oliseh Impressed With Eagles’ Preparation

EaglesSuper Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh, is confident his team is on track ahead of the African Nations Championship in Rwanda.

The team, in their final friendly, beat Cote d ‘ Ivoire 1-0 to remain unbeaten in all their warm-up matches.

Ifeanyi Matthew got the only goal of the game just before half time as both sides wrapped up their preparations ahead of the CHAN billed to kick off on January 16 in Rwanda.

Cote d’ivoire coach, Michel Duissier, played down the defeat, insisting his team would improve at the championship.

Nigeria’s first game would be against Niger on January 18 at the Stade Regional Nyamirambo, Kigali in Rwanda.

The Super Eagles expected to arrive Rwanda on January 15 three days to their opening game.



Angola Hold Eagles To 1-1 Draw In Pretoria

EaglesAngola’s Palancas Negras held Nigeria’s Super Eagles B to a 1-1 draw in a pre-African Nations Championship friendly in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Midfield Marshal Paul Onobi was an early substitute as he sustained a knock in the 35th minute and was replaced by Usman Mohammed.

The Negras, who were silver medallists at the second African Nations Championship in Sudan five years ago, tried to pile pressure on the Eagles in the second half, but five substitutions made by Coach Sunday Oliseh kept them checked as the Eagles made remarkable progress.

Nigeria took the lead in the 84th minute when Ibrahim Attah Salau was brought down in the Angolan box, with midfielder Bartholomew Ibenegbu making no mistake from the spot.

Angola equalised from a corner kick with only two minutes left in the game.

The Super Eagles will play another friendly against Cote d’Ivoire in Pretoria on Monday.

The Nigeria delegation is expected to arrive in Kigali on January 15, three days to the Eagles’ first match of the 4th African Nations Championship against Niger Republic.

Nigeria To Set Up CHAN Camp Overseas

Home-based-eaglesnigeriaNigeria are to set up a training camp overseas prior to the kick-off of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Rwanda in January.

The Super Eagles brushed aside Burkina Faso 2-0 on aggregate to join 13 other countries for the CHAN, which begins on January 16 in Kigali.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are now working on proper build-up for the team heading to Rwanda.

This would be Nigeria’s second appearance at the tournament reserved for players who ply their trade in their home leagues.

In 2014, Nigeria finished third on their debut appearance in South Africa.

AYC U-20 Prep: Flying Eagles beaten 1-0 by Rwanda

Nigeria’s Flying Eagles suffered a 1-0 defeat against Rwanda in a friendly today at the State Regional in Kigali.

It was an 85th decider after France-based striker Bon-Fils Kabanda’s goal made the difference between the two African sides.

The Flying Eagles had so many scoring chances from the blow of the whistle in the first half could make it count for them before Kabanda had the opportunity to notch up Rwanda.

At the beginning of the match, Rwanda showed some flashes when Charles Tibingana coming close to getting the opening goal for the home team with a header from inside the box which narrowly missed its mark.

And immediately Nigeria retaliated with Chidi Osuchukwu’s shot which screamed wide and minutes later striker Alhaji Gero’s effort was deflected for a corner kick.

Osuchukwu then carved out one of the best chances of the day in the 42nd minute.

His left-footed shot from inside the box was scrambled by Rwanda goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera for a corner kick.

Both Gero and right-back Shehu Abdullahi also saw their efforts failing to hit target in the dying moments of the first half.

With the Second beginning, Aminu Umar’s shot from an acute angle crashed against the side netting as Nigeria dictated the pace.

They had introduced several of their top players like Aliyu Mohammed, Uche Agbo, Jonah Usman, Harrison Egbune, Hassan Abubakar and Yahaya Adamu.

In the 63rd minute of the match, Emmanuel Sebanani ought to have put Rwanda ahead but he wasted the chance from a very big opening.

Agbo also threatened the Rwanda goal at least twice and, in between, substitute goalkeeper Usman saved a goal-bound header by Rwanda.

The match was played at the same stadium the Super Eagles held the Rwandan senior national team to a goalless draw late in February in a 2013 African Nations Cup qualifier.

The Rwandan junior side, which recently defeated Tanzania twice away from home, are billed to host Mali in a 2013 AYC qualifier the same weekend Nigeria face the Ngorogoro Stars of Tanzania.

In a post-match interview, Coach John Obuh said he will not be bothered with the score line of the game although he admitted that it was a good game even though a draw would have made more sense.

He said the real purpose of the prep game is not to lose focus ahead of the real game which is the qualifiers against Tanzania come Sunday in Tanzania and good enough he has taken on some corrections ahead of the game in Dar Es Salam.