UN Security Council Meets With Osinbajo

UN Security Council Meets With OsinbajoNigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has assured the visiting United Nations Security Council mission that steps are being taken to ensure that human rights culture is institutionalised in the Nigerian Military to avoid negative reports of human rights abuse.

Professor Osinbajo said this during a closed door meeting with the UN delegation at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He, however, noted that it was time for the international community to take another look at the international legal instruments and conventions that govern warfare and conflicts in the light of the unconventional and brutal operations of terrorists and insurgents around the world.

“We must, on a global scale look again at how to deal with these new challenges.

“We need to look at the governing conventions, as well as what type of legal categories and recognition of law we should give them.

“We need to re-examine how to deal with these individuals according to law,” the Acting President said in a statement issued on Monday by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.

He also assured the UN team that the Federal Government would progressively review the Rules of Engagement by the military and across the nation’s security system while taking human rights issues into consideration.

Professor Osinbajo added that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Social Investment Programmes which include the Conditional Cash Transfer, the GEEP Micro Credit scheme and the N-Power job programme would cater to the developmental needs of the northeast.

He said “we are already disbursing the cash transfers in some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and host communities,” adding that the present administration was implementing a micro-credit scheme while using the Social Investment Programmes to resuscitate the local economies, including through the Anchor Borrowers’ plan for farmers.

The Acting President further urged the international community to support the Federal Government in the area of humanitarian response, describing the challenge as “massive”.

He hinted that the government was also in the process of passing a Northeast Development Commission bill that would deal with some of the long term developmental issues.

The Security Council members were led to the Presidential Villa by the UK Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Mathew Rycroft.

The team comprises of all the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council.

Speaking earlier at the meeting, Ambassador Rycroft praised the Nigerian Government for its handling of the humanitarian challenge in the Northeast.

He called for a long term developmental outlook in the region to address the issues of good governance, human rights, women’s participation, economic revival, education and jobs.

The delegation is leaving Nigeria with a pledge that the United Nations Security Council would play its role well in assisting the Nigerian Government to tackle the challenges in the conflict zones.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geofrey Onyeama, said the Federal Government is pleased with the tour of the northeast by the Council.

He assured the team that Nigeria would leverage on it to access all the funds needed for the rehabilitation of the IDPs in region.

The meeting was attended by some members of the Federal Executive Council and top government officials including the Minister of Defence, Major General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.

Others are the Minster of Budget and Planning, Udo Udoma; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jubrin; the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin.

Former Ministers Visit Wike, Seek PDP’s Unity

Former Ministers Visit Wike, Seek PDP's UnityFormer ministers, led by a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sule Lamido, on Saturday visited Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

Mr Lamido spoke on behalf of the former ministers in what looked like an effort to build political alliances ahead of the 2019 elections.

He commended Governor Wike for standing firm and defending the principles of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He requested, on behalf of others, that Governor Wike should make himself available with other PDP governors as the rallying point for the party as it gets back on its feet.

“You are our own. You are a PDP creation therefore PDP has claim over you.

“With your colleagues, you must come together as a group of governors to be our rallying point,” he said.

The former governor also advocated a united front for the PDP.

Governor Wike, in his reaction, assured the former minister that his commitment to the party would remain irrespective of the challenges facing the party.

“It doesn’t matter what happens, nobody will intimidate us. We will never allow ourselves to be cowed not to stand firm and defend democracy.

“Yes we will pay the price. There are sacrifices but it is worth it,” he assured.

Those present at the meeting include Ibrahim Shekarau, Boni Haruna, Abba Moro, Erelu Olusola Obada, Iyom Anennih and Ambassador Musa Kazaure.

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.

Presidency: Kyari Never Used High Commission Funds For Medical Treatment In London

Presidency, Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, Garba-Shehu, High CommissionThe Presidency in Nigeria has cleared the air over the controversy trailing the treatment of the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.

Spokesman to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Garba Shehu, explained that Mr Kyari did not use the funds of the Nigeria High Commission in the United Kingdom to pay his medical bills in the European Nation.

He noted in a statement he issued on Monday that the allegations contained in a report published by an online news medium, were totally incorrect, misleading and a total fabrication.

Mr Shehu’s statement read: “The Nigeria High Commission in London did not at any time ever settle the medical bills or any other bills for that matter as Abba Kyari personally took responsibility for paying his own bills. This is by the Chief of Staff’s choice. He pays for his medicals, his taxi and accommodation in the UK, in spite of the high office he occupies, even when there is no rule that says he cannot be catered for by government.

“For the records, Kyari was rushed out of Nigeria for an emergency medical treatment on the fateful December 1, 2016. To receive him on arrival, the Wellington Hospital needed to have cash deposited, or in the absence of this, a letter of guarantee.

“In order to meet this condition, the Nigeria High Commission in London wrote the Letter of Guarantee to the hospital for treatment to commence. The role of the High Commission didn’t involve financial commitments on behalf of Kyari.

“The Letter of Guarantee from the High Commission was meant to meet the routine requirements of the Wellington Hospital since the patient in question (Kyari) didn’t possess the UK National Health Insurance.

“Apart from senior government officials, other reputable Nigerians are issued with such guarantee letters to hospitals. A guarantor is not liable unless there is a default, but this wasn’t the case with Abba Kyari who paid all his medical bills by himself as he had done on previous occasions.

“Hospital records are available for verification to show that the Nigeria High Commission in London didn’t spend a penny on Kyari, as its involvement didn’t go beyond the issuance of the letter of guarantee to the Wellington Hospital”.

 

Senate Rejects List Of Non-Career Ambassadors

Senate Rejects List Of Non-Career AmbassadorsThe Senate has rejected a list of 46 non-career ambassadors which President Buhari sent to lawmakers for confirmation.

Lawmakers rejected the list because of the myriad of petitions which the Committee on Foreign Affairs received over the nomination of the ambassadors.

The Senate is sending the list back to President Buhari to make amendments and return to the Senate

Meanwhile, the Senate has confirmed 47 career ambassadors which President Buhari sent to the upper chamber for confirmation.

The list also faced its own challenge in June when the screening of 47 nominees at the Senate was put on hold following what the federal lawmakers called irregularities in the nomination process.

Senator Joshua Dariye raised a motion under matters of urgent national importance alleging the non-inclusion of the names of competent persons from his constituent.

Senator Dariye expressed concern that not a single career diplomat from his state was included in the list.

His views were shared by Senators Sola Adeyeye and Fauster Ogolar. They believe that the nomination process was faulty.

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, also joined in the condemnation of the nomination process before announcing the decision of the Senate to suspend the screening.

Sexual Misconduct: Reps Clear Colleagues Of Allegations

House-of-Representatives-in-Rowdy-sessionThe House of Representatives has cleared three of its members of allegations of sexual misconduct brought against them by the former United State Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle.

This is one of the recommendations approved by the House after considering the report of a joint committee that investigated the matter.

Two All Progressive Congress (APC) lawmakers, Mohammed Gololo and Mark Gbillah and one Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker, Samuel Okon, were alleged to have solicited for sex and sexually harassed a hotel housekeeper in Cleveland, Ohio.

The joint committee said it found that there was no evidence to back up the allegations levelled against the lawmakers.

The House is also asking that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to write to the United State Embassy, reminding them to always adopt official means of communications in its dealings with any organ or institution of government.

After the US envoy made the allegations against the lawmakers, the House Committee Chairman on Capital Market, Representative Yusuf Tajudeen, asked the U.S. Embassy to up with facts and place them before the House.

He said the House of Representatives was expecting the U.S. Embassy to provide video evidence of the allegations made against some members.

“We want them to place their facts and confront our colleagues” he said via a phone interview on Sunrise Daily.

He also maintained that the House was convinced that the accused were never engaged in solicitation for sex act.

He further noted that “Hon (Mark) Gbillah travelled with his wife and daughter”.

Rep Tajudeen, however, wondered why the accused were not called for questioning during their two-week stay in the United States and why it took the U.S. Embassy over four weeks after their (lawmakers) return to lodge the complaint.

Responding to the request, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria said there was a proof that three members of the House were seen acting inappropriately in the US.

Mr Entwistle said he would present video evidence against them for alleged sexual misconduct.

The U.S. Ambassador in a petition to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said their actions brought disrepute to the parliament.

The House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, chaired by Ossai Ossai was asked to investigate the matter.

In the course of further investigations into the issue, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, said there was no evidence to confirm the allegations.

The Minister put forward this position when he appeared before the joint House of Representatives Committee investigating allegations of sexual misconduct brought against three members of the House.

The Minister’s presentation is based on an interaction he had with the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, concerning a letter he wrote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Buhari To Attend Chadian President’s Inauguration

Muhammadu-Buhari to attend Idriss Deby Itno inaugurationPresident Muhammadu Buhari will on Monday, August 8, join other Heads of State and Government for the inauguration ceremony of President Idriss Deby of Chad.

President Deby was elected president in the April presidential election.

The ceremony will hold in in N’Djamena.

A statement by a spokesman for President Buhari, Mr Femi Adesina, said that the Nigerian President would be accompanied on the one-day trip by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State.

The President’s delegation will also include Senator Baba Kaka Garba, Honourable Mohammed TahirMonguno, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd).

The President will return to Abuja after the inauguration.

No Evidence Of Sexual Misconduct Against Lawmakers – Foreign Affairs Minister

Sexual MisconductThe Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, says there is no evidence to confirm the allegations of sexual misconduct made against three lawmakers of the House of Representatives.

The Minister put forward this position when he appeared before the joint House of Representatives Committee investigating allegations of sexual misconduct brought against three members of the House.

The Minister’s presentation is based on an interaction he had with the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, concerning a letter he wrote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The Committee met with the Minister after it heard from the three lawmakers who denied the allegations brought against them.

The Minister on Wednesday failed to appear before the joint committee investigating the matter.

It was the second time the Minister and the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, have failed to appear before the Committee.

The Minster, in a letter to the Committee, said that the time for the investigative hearing coincides with the Federal Executive Council meeting in the Presidential Villa.

The Committee had adjourned the meeting last week after another letter from the Minister said he would be away in Kigali, Rwanda for the extra ordinary meeting of the African Union and asked for another date.

The House Committee Chairman on Capital Market, Rep. Yusuf Tajudeen, hadchallenged the U.S Embassy to come and place their facts in the sex allegation against federal lawmakers before the House.

He said the House of Representatives is expecting the U.S Embassy to provide video evidence of the allegations made against some members.

“We want them to place their facts and confront our colleagues” he said via aphone interview on Sunrise Daily.

He also maintained that the House is convinced that the accused were never engaged in solicitation for sex act.

Sex Scandal Probe: Onyeama, US Ambassador, Again, Fail To Appear Before Committee

house-of-reps-to-reveal-lawmakers'-allowancesThe Minister of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday failed to appear before the joint House of Representatives Committee investigating allegations of sexual misconduct brought against three members of the House.

This is the second time the Minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama and the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, have failed to appear before the Committee.

The Minster, in a letter to the Committee, said the time for the investigative hearing coincides with the Federal Executive Council meeting in the Presidential Villa.

The Committee had adjourned the meeting last week after another letter from the Minister said he will be away in Kigali, Rwanda for the extra ordinary meeting of the African Union and asked for another date.

The Committee, however, heard from the three lawmakers who denied the allegations brought against them.

The hearing is expected to resume on Thursday when the minister is expected to appear.

The United States Ambassador, Mr James Entwistle also failed to appear before the meeting.

Mr Entwistle, said there is proof that three members of the Nigerian House of Representatives were seen acting inappropriately in the US.

Mr Entwhistle is to present video evidence against them for alleged sexual misconduct.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

The House Committee Chairman on Capital Market, Rep. Yusuf Tajudeen, had challenged the U.S Embassy to come and place their facts in the sex allegation against federal lawmakers before the House.

He said the House of Representatives is expecting the U.S Embassy to provide video evidence of the allegations made against some members.

“We want them to place their facts and confront our colleagues” he said via a phone interview on Sunrise Daily.

He also maintained that the House is convinced that the accused were never engaged in solicitation for sex act.

Two All Progressive Congress (APC) lawmakers, Mohammed Gololo and Mark Gbillah, and one Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker, Samuel Okon, were alleged to have solicited for sex and sexually harassed a hotel housekeeper in Cleveland, Ohio.

 

Sex Scandal: US To Provide Video Evidence During House Public Hearing

James_EntwistleThe United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, says there is proof that three members of the Nigerian House of Representatives were seen acting inappropriately in the US.

Mr Entwhistle is to present video evidence against them for alleged sexual misconduct.

Two All Progressive Congress (APC) lawmakers, Mohammed Gololo and Mark Gbillah, and one Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker, Samuel Okon, were alleged to have solicited for sex and sexually harassed a hotel housekeeper in Cleveland, Ohio.

The US Ambassador in a petition to the Speaker of the House of Reps, Yakubu Dogara, said their actions brought disrepute to the parliament.

The House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, chaired by Ossai Ossai has been assigned to probe the matter.

The three lawmakers were attending the International Visitor Leadership Programme in Ohio, from April 7 to 13, 2016, when the incident occurred.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema is also expected at the hearing.

Former Foreign Affairs Minister, Ojo Maduekwe Dies At 71

Ojo Maduekwe, Foreign Affairs Minister, Minister of TransportThe former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, has died at the age of 71.

The elder-statesman was reported to be returning to Nigeria on Wednesday from the U.S via Dubai when he fell ill.

Maduekwe was born on May, 6, 1945 in Abia State.

He was appointed Culture and Tourism Minister by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, and Minister of Transport in 2001.

He was also made Foreign Minister of Nigeria on July 26, 2007 by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and left office in March 2010 when Acting President Goodluck Jonathan dissolved his cabinet.

He was National Secretary of then ruling political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and worked as the Deputy Director of PDP presidential campaign 2011 Goodluck/Sambo ticket.

The late elder-statesman advocated greater use of bicycles during his time as Minister of Transport.

Senate Suspends Ambassadorial Nominees’ Screening

Senate, Legislature, Aliyu Abdullahi,The screening of 47 ambassadorial nominees at the Nigerian Senate has been put on hold following what the federal lawmakers call irregularities in the nomination process.

The Senate suspended the screening on Wednesday after Senator Joshua Dariye raised a motion under matters of urgent national importance alleging the non-inclusion of the names of competent persons from his constituent.

Senator Dariye expressed concern that not a single career diplomat from his state was included in the list.

His views were shared by Senators Sola Adeyeye and Fauster Ogolar. They believe that the nomination process is faulty.

The Senate after deliberation summoned the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, to appear before its Committee on Foreign Affairs to explain the lopsided nomination and report to the upper legislative chamber in one week.

It is barely two weeks since President Muhammadu Buhari sent the names of some ambassadorial nominees to the Senate for screening and confirmation and since then, lawmakers have been picking holes in the nomination process.

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, also joined in the condemnation of the nomination process before announcing the decision of the Senate to suspend the screening.

The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs is expected to meet with Mr Onyema and report to the Senate in one week.

But for now, the screening of the ambassadorial nominees remains on hold.