Lagos Govt Announces Traffic Diversion Ahead President Macron’s Visit

French President Emmanuel Macron LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP


Ahead of the visit of the President of France, Emmanuel Macron to Lagos, the State Government has announced that there would be a traffic diversion and restricted movement.

The restriction of movement would be from 12 noon to 12 midnight on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, around the Alausa, African Shrine/Agidingbi axis.

Permanent Secretary of Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Taiwo Salaam in a statement on Sunday appealed to Lagos residents for their cooperation urging motorists to make use of alternative routes provided.

READ ALSO: Macron To Visit Afrika Shrine, Lagos

“While we regret the inconvenience that this might cause the public, especially those who live and work in the area, we appeal that you kindly bear with us during this period and make use of the alternative routes provided,”, Salaam said.

Macron is expected to be hosted by the State Government at the African Shrine on Tuesday.

Buhari In France For Talks With Hollande

Muhammadu-Buhari-and-Francois-HollandePresident Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in France for a three-day official visit that will involve talks with the President of France, Francois Hollande.

His presidential jet left the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city on Monday morning.

President Buhari was accompanied on the trip by the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Munguno, the Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries of Defence, Finance, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs and Industry.

Also on the trip are the Permanent Secretaries of Trade and Investment as well as the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission.

The visit is at the instance of the President Hollande and the platform will be used for bilateral talks, discussions on Boko Haram, strengthening and consolidation of defence, security, trade and investment.

Apart from Presidnet Buhari’s scheduled meeting with President Hollande at the Elysee Palace on Monday evening, the President and his team will also confer with the French Minister of Defence, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Minister of Finance and Public Accounts, Mr Michel Sapin, the French Minister of Economy and Industry, Mr Emmanuel Macron and the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr Laurent Fabius.

President Buhari will visit the Headquarters of MEDEF, France’s largest federation of investors and employers, where he would participate in a France/Nigeria Investment Forum with leading Nigerian and French entrepreneurs.

The President will also confer with the Chief Executive Officers of leading French multinational companies such as Total and Lafarge on their current and future investments in Nigeria.

His other scheduled engagements in Paris include a meeting with African Ambassadors to France and an interactive session with members of the Nigerian community.

The President will conclude his visit to France on Wednesday, September 16 and return to Abuja the same day.


France President, Francois Hollande Honours Train Heroes

franceThe President of France, Mr Francois Hollande has honoured three Americans and a Briton with France’s top honour, the legion d’honneur.

Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler and Briton’s Chris Norman, who foiled a suspected terror attack on a train on Friday, received their medals from Mr Hollande at a ceremony held at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Monday morning.

Mr Hollande pinned the medals on the chests of the four passengers at the ceremony in Paris on Monday morning.

Before the awards, he said: “We are here to honour four men who, thanks to their bravery, managed to save lives.

“In the name of France, I would like to thank you. The whole world admires your bravery. It should be an example to all of us and inspire us. You put your lives at risk in order to defend freedom”.

The passengers overpowered a suspected radical Islamist on a high-speed train bound for Paris.

Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel and the US Ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, attended the ceremony, along with the head of the French rail firm, SNCF.

Two other unnamed passengers are also billed to receive the honour at a later date.

The Legion d’honneur was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.

Security: Buhari Seeks Greater Support From France, Others

Muhammadu-Buhari-and-Francois-HollandeNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has expressed his commitment to ending the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east, saying his administration is ready to accept greater support from France and other friendly nations.

At a meeting with the President of France, Francois Hollande, on Monday in Elmau, Germany, the Nigerian leader was optimistic the insurgency would end in the shortest possible time.

The meeting was held after his participation in Monday’s G7 Outreach Programme.

“We are already taking concrete action to build a more efficient and effective coalition of Nigeria and neighbouring countries against Boko Haram,” President Buhari said, referring to his meeting last week with the leaders of neighbouring Niger Republic and Chad.

“Nigeria will appreciate more intelligence on the terrorist group’s links with ISIS, movements, training and sources of its arms and ammunition to facilitate the perfection of fresh tactics and strategies being evolved to overcome terrorism and insurgency in the country and its sub-region,” he said.

A spokesman for the President, Garba Shehu, said President Buhari reiterated at the talks with the French President that there was absolutely no link between religion and the atrocities of Boko Haram.

“There is clearly no religious basis for the actions of the group. Their atrocities show that members of the group either do not know God at all or they don’t believe in him,” President Buhari said.

Support Against Terrorism

President Hollande commended President Buhari’s concerted efforts to galvanise Nigeria’s armed forces, security agencies and neighouring countries for more decisive action to eradicate Boko Haram.

The French leader assured President Buhari that France would give Nigeria and its coalition partners’ greater support against terrorism and insecurity, including military and intelligence cooperation, to help them overcome the security challenge posed by Boko Haram and its global terrorist allies as quickly as possible.

He also called for greater bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and France in other areas, including trade, economic and cultural relations.

President Buhari also received similar pledges of enhanced support from Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada and Chancellor Angela Merkel who he also held talks with before departing from the venue of the G7 2015 Summit.

The President is due back in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, early on Tuesday.

Armenia Marks Centenary Of Ottoman Forces Mass Killing

ArmeniaCeremonies are being held in Armenia to mark the centenary of the massacre of up to 1.5 million of Armenians allegedly killed by Ottoman forces.

The Presidents of France, Francois Hollande and Russia,Vladimir Putin, joined other leaders at the memorial for the victims on the outskirts of the capital, Yerevan.

Armenia said up to 1.5 million people died, a figure disputed by Turkey.

Armenian President, Serzh Sarkisian and First Lady, Rita Sarkisian, laid a wreath at a hilltop memorial at the start of a solemn ceremony, commemorating the mass killings that began in 1915 during World War 1.

President Sarkisian expressed hope that recent steps to recognise the massacre as genocide would help “dispel the darkness of 100 years of denial”.

Each foreign diplomat held a yellow rose to put into the wreath laid at the foot of a monumental 44-metre needle, symbolising the nation’s rebirth.

Trying To Divert World Attention

Turkey strongly objects to the use of the term genocide to describe the killings and the issue has soured relations between the nations.

Turkey accepts that atrocities were committed but argues there was no systematic attempt to destroy the Christian Armenian people. Turkey said many innocent Muslim Turks also died in the turmoil of war.

A memorial service will also be held in Turkey on Friday and its prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has said the country will “share the pain” of Armenians. But he reiterated Turkey’s stance that the killings were not genocide.

Turkey is also hosting ceremonies on Friday to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Gallipoli.

However, the actual fighting there began on 25 April, and  President  Sarkisian has accused Turkey of “trying to divert world attention” from the Yerevan commemorations.

Jonathan To Meet British PM and French President

The Presidency has announced that President Goodluck Jonathan will leave Abuja, Tuesday night for London and Paris to discuss with the British Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron and the President of France, Mr. Francois Hollande on matters of vital interest to the three countries.

A statement signed by the President aide on Media, Dr Reuben Abati stated that “the President’s talks with the British Prime Minister in London are expected to focus on the expansion of trade and economic relations between Nigeria and Britain as well as the enhancement of cooperation between both countries on the war against terrorism.”

“In Paris, President Jonathan will confer with President Hollande and French Government officials on the on-going deployment of Nigerian and ECOWAS troops to Mali to support the current military action against insurgents and terrorists in Northern Mali” the statement further adds.

Meanwhile, President Jonathan is expected to stop-over in Cairo, the Egyptian capital on his way to London, to participate in the conference of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) scheduled to open there on Wednesday.

The President is also scheduled to attend the launching of the Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation in London on Friday.

He will be accompanied by the First Lady and relevant government officials.

He is due back in Abuja, next week Monday, the statement concludes.


French President Visits Mali To Support French Troops

The President of France, Francois Hollande arrived in Mali on Saturday on a one-day visit to support French troops fighting a campaign against Islamist rebels in the Sahel nation.

Hollande, accompanied by his ministers for Defense, Foreign Affairs and Development, flew into Sevare in central Mali, French TV channels said.

He was due to go on to Timbuktu, the famed Saharan trading town which was recaptured from the rebels on Sunday.

The French leader was expected to outline the next phase of the mission for the French forces, which in a three-week intervention launched at Mali’s request have pushed the Islamist fighters into the desert and mountains of the remote northeast.

Hollande has said that the French operation, which has 3,500 soldiers on the ground in Mali backed by warplanes, helicopters and armored vehicles, wants to hand over to a larger U.N.-backed African force which is still being deployed.

Sustained French airstrikes have forced fighters from the Islamist militant alliance that was occupying northern Mali to retreat into the remote Adrar des Ifoghas mountains near the Algerian border. The rebels are also believed to be holding there seven French hostages previously seized in the Sahel.

In their three-week offensive, the French forces recaptured last weekend, with little resistance from the rebels, the two main towns in northern Mali, Gao and the fabled ancient city of Timbuktu.