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.

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.

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.

Switzerland To Repatriate $230 Million Stolen Money To Nigeria

Stolen Money, SwitzerlandThe Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, says a non-contentious fund of about 230 million US dollars is being repatriated from Switzerland.

The Minister made the disclosure at a news conference to give a scorecard of the achievements of President Buhari’s administration in the last one year.

He said that monies stolen from the country were also in the process of being repatriated from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Jersey Island off the coast of the United Kingdom, Lensisteine.

He said that the country was also in talks with countries in the gulf to recover stolen money from the country.

Mr Geoffrey Onyeama defended the many trips undertaken by President Muhammad Buhari. According to him, they were in the interest of the nation.

These returns, he said, were some of the benefits of the President’s interaction with the international community since he took over the government in 2015.

He shed light on other areas of success which he attributed to the administration’s openness to working with other countries for the common good of everyone. These achievements include the recent victory against the Boko Haram insurgency.

The Minister said that he believes that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has started on a good footing and would ensure that by the end of its tenure, Nigeria is better for it.

Don’t Link Herdsmen With Boko Haram, Foreign Minister Tells Nigerians

foreign Affairs minister on herdsmen Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, has asked citizens to desist from linking recent attacks by cattle herdsmen to the Boko Haram insurgents.

Mr Onyeama stressed on Friday that there was no evidence available to security operatives suggest any linkages.

The Minister further told Channels Television that all efforts were being made to ensure that the attacks do not degenerate to another security concern, as the successes against the Boko Haram increase.

Nimbo-Community-Enugu
Attack on Nimbo community in Enugu State by herdsmen left scores dead and property destroyed

He said: “While Nigeria has not achieved the objectives set at the first security regional summit in Paris, more cooperation and better strategies are on to ensure the group is totally defeated”.

There are insinuations that the herdsmen that had attacked different communities in Nigeria are Boko Haram terrorists fleeing the northeast in the wake of heightened counter-terrorism operations.

Buhari To Reaffirm Nigeria’s Right To Use Nuclear Energy For Development

Muhammadu Buhari On Nuclear Energy President Muhammadu Buhari will leave Abuja for Washington DC on Wednesday, to reaffirm Nigeria’s right to use nuclear energy for development.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said in a statement on Tuesday that the Commander-in-Chief would join President Barack Obama and about 60 other world leaders and heads of international organisations at the 4th Nuclear Security Summit which opens at the United States’ capital on Thursday.

At plenary sessions of the summit which is dedicated to reinforcing international commitment to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, President Buhari would insist that while Nigeria continues to sustain that commitment, world powers must respect the right of other countries to the peaceful use of nuclear energy for development purposes.

The President would also reaffirm Nigeria’s stance that international efforts to ensure greater security of nuclear materials should maintain a balance between nuclear non-proliferation obligations and the indisputable right of Nigeria and other countries to harness nuclear energy and technology for socio-economic development.

“It will be recalled that at a meeting with him in Abuja earlier this month, President Buhari told the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mr Yukiya Amano, that the Federal Government will welcome greater support from the agency for Nigeria’s aspiration to begin the generation of electricity with nuclear energy.

“While in Washington DC for the Nuclear Security Summit, the President and his delegation which includes Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, the National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (Rtd.) and the Director-General of Nigeria’s Nuclear Regulatory Agency, Professor Lawrence Anikwe Dim, will also hold bilateral meetings with other participating Heads of Government and high-ranking United States Government officials,” the statement read.

President Buhari would depart Washington DC for Abuja on Sunday.

Buhari To Participate In Africa 2016 Business Forum In Egypt

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari will depart Nigeria on Friday for Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, to take part in the Business for Africa, Egypt and the World Forum.

A statement on Thursday by a spokesman for the President, Mr Femi Adesina, said the forum would open in the Egyptian resort town on Saturday, February 18.

It is being organised by the Egyptian government under the auspices of the African Union Commission.

The forum’s objective is to accelerate private sector engagement and investment within Africa and promote the development of African ties and partnerships.

President Buhari, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt and the Presidents of Togo, Sudan, Kenya, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, as well as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia are among confirmed speakers at the forum.

Other confirmed speakers include the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and the President/CEO of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote.

President Buhari would be accompanied on the trip by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, alongside the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelama.

The President is expected to return to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital at the conclusion of the forum.

Buhari In Iran For Gas Exporting Countries Forum

Muhammadu-Buhari-in-IranPresident Muhammadu Buhari Of Nigeria is in Tehran, the capital of Iran, to participate in the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) holding on Monday.

The President was received at the Mehrabad International Airport by the Iranian Deputy President, Mr Shariat Mardi around 4.44pm Nigerian time.

Others at the airport to welcome the President were Officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Iran, led by the Charge de Affaire, Dr Ali Magashi, the Minister of foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the National Security Adviser, retired Major General Babagana Monguno, were also at the airport to welcome the President.

Muhammadu-Buhari-in-Iran3
President Buhari and some Nigerian delegation in a meeting with Iranian Deputy President, Mr Shariat Mardi and other government officials

Buhari is expected to meet with his Iranian, counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, during his two-day visit to Tehran.

He will hold bilateral talks with other participating heads of state and government on the sidelines of the GECF.

President Buhari and the leaders of Iran, Russia, Qatar, the Netherlands, Venezuela, Oman, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, Bolivia and other member-countries of the GECF are expected to review the current market outlook on gas and discuss strategies for boosting gas production during their meeting.

Nigeria and other GECF members currently account for 42 per cent of global gas production, 70 per cent of global gas reserves, 40 per cent of pipeline transmission of gas and 65 per cent of the global trade in Liquefied Natural Gas.

President Buhari will also meet with Nigerians resident in Iran.

Buhari To Lead Nigeria’s Delegation To Forum Of Gas Exporting Countries

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja on Sunday for Tehran where he will participate in the 3rd Gas Exporting Countries’ Forum (GECF) opening in the Iranian capital on Monday, November 23, 2015.

President Buhari and the leaders of Iran, Russia, Qatar, the Netherlands, Venezuela, Oman, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, Bolivia and other member-countries of the GECF are expected to  review the current market outlook on gas and discuss strategies for boosting gas production during their meeting in Tehran.

Nigeria and other GECF members currently account for 42 percent of global gas production‎, 70 percent of global gas reserves, 40 percent of pipeline transmission of gas and 65 percent of the global trade in Liquefied Natural Gas.

President Buhari, who is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with other participating Heads of State and Government on the side-lines of the GECF summit, will also meet with Nigerians resident in Iran.

The President will be accompanied on the trip by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr  Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Ibe Kachikwu and the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (Rtd.).

He is due back in Abuja on Tuesday, November 24, 2015.

Foreign Affairs Minister Makes Policy Projection

foreign Affairs minister-OnyeamaThe new Minister of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, says he is set to reposition the ministry to play its key role of integration among ministries and international missions.

He said that the repositioning would have measurable impact on the nation’s economy, security and the fight against corruption.

Mr Onyeama, who resumed duty Friday, said Nigeria had fallen far short of expectations of the citizens over the years.

The new Minister stressed that there was the need to meet set targets for improvement of Nigerian’s standard of living in the shortest time possible.

He said “henceforth all Nigeria’s diplomatic missions in foreign countries would be mandated to ensure integrity and transparency.

Mr Onyeama was optimistic that the measure would make Nigeria’s brand spotless and also attract positive investment and support.