President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Seoul, Republic of Korea, reminded Nigerians resident in the Asian country that they are the “faces of Nigeria,” and should endeavour to project a positive image of the country through their actions, characters, conducts and general comportments.
The President stated this during an interactive meeting with the leadership and select members of the Nigerian Community as part of his engagements at the end of the First World Bio Summit 2022, while urging them to remain good ambassadors of Nigeria at all times.
According to President Buhari, “As law abiding citizens of our great country, I advise that you replicate the excellent Nigerian virtues by coexisting peacefully with your hosts and abide by the laws of the land. You must always strive to eschew any acts of lawlessness in your day-to-day activities and to take it as major responsibility to encourage other Nigerians to always remain of excellent behaviour.”
Further reminding them that “Nigeria is and will always be our only country,” he enjoined them “to always pray and work for the peace and prosperity of our beloved country. Let us desist from any acts capable of causing disaffection among our people. Nigerians in diaspora in many countries of the world have achieved tremendous successes through hard work, resilience and resourcefulness and I have no doubt in my mind that similar success stories will continue to be replicated amongst the Nigerian diaspora community in the Republic of South Korea.”
The Nigerian leader, who assured them that the Federal Government, through the Embassy will always strive to protect their interests by ensuring that “none of you is unjustly treated at all times,” appealed to them to “see all Nigerians as brothers and sisters irrespective of tribe and religion and collectively work to positively project the image of the country.”
On preparations for the 2023 national elections, which he said, are in active stages, the President sought for their “prayers and support to enable us transit peacefully to the next administration and deepen the democratic processes in our country,” expressing delight that the “outcomes of the last four off-season elections, have left us with great optimism for better conducted and acceptable 2023 elections.”
Speaking earlier on behalf of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), South Korea, the President, Chiemeka Ndukwu, had thanked President Buhari for creating Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NiDCOM) as well as “approving a production line for international passports which we now have here in the Republic of Korea,” adding that “This has eased the stress of going to China, Malaysia or back home for intervention.”
He appealed to the Federal Government to reach a Bilateral Labour Agreement (BLA) with the Republic of Korea, stressing that if signed, it “will not just create job opportunities and increase foreign exchange remittance,” but “also ensure the transfer of technology and skills since these trainees will not just return to Nigeria with enough capital to set up factories and businesses that will employ people, they will also be returning with the skills and technology they acquired.”
Other prominent NIDO members who also attended the interactive session were drawn from construction, insurance, private business sectors as well as male and female representatives of students undergoing post-graduate studies in specialized fields.
It is noteworthy that Engr. Dogara Gani who specializes in smart farming through drone technology; Ms. Hussaina Abdullahi, an IT specialist; and Dr. Kalu Ekpeghere, an assistant professor in environmental engineering at Woosong University, were among other well-established Nigerians in South Korea who also participated in the meeting coordinated by NiDCOM Chairman, Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Seoul, South Korea, expressed delight as he witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd and Daewoo Group of South Korea for the rehabilitation of the Kaduna refinery.
The President was particularly excited as the signing came against the back of ongoing rehabilitation works at Warri refinery by same Daewoo Group which will at the first instance, deliver fuels production before the first half of 2023.
According to the Nigerian leader, “Daewoo Group has massive investments in the automobile, maritime and other sectors of our economy. I am also aware that Daewoo is currently engaged in the execution of the NLNG train seven project and also constructing sea-going LPG vessels for NNPC and her partners.”
He said he looked “forward to the delivery of ongoing projects, especially at the Warri and Kaduna refineries, and the NLNG Train Seven,” stressing that “This no doubt will open many more windows of opportunities for Daewoo and other Korean companies in Nigeria.”
“I thank you for your faith in Nigeria,” President Buhari told the Korean conglomerate at the end of the significant ceremony on the last day of his visit to the Asian country to attend the First World Bio Summit.
President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in Seoul, expressed Nigeria’s desire to widen the scope of trade relations with the Republic of Korea beyond gas exports.
Speaking during a bilateral meeting with his Korean counterpart, Mr. Yoon Suk-Yeol at the Presidential Palace on the sidelines of the First World Bio Summit, the President called for expansion from the long-term gas contract to other areas.
On piracy in the Gulf of Guinea to which Korean ships had fallen victim, President Buhari noted that the level of attacks had decreased considerably over the last one year due to the provision of equipment to the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) by the Nigerian government, while also commending the Korean government for the supply of a vessel to the Navy.
In this respect, the Nigerian leader said he looked forward to enhanced defence and security cooperation with the Republic of Korea.
The President, who thanked his Korean counterpart for inviting him to address the World Bio Summit, also appreciated him for expressing sympathy with Nigerians on the flood disaster.
Earlier, President Suk-Yeol had sympathized with President Buhari over the massive havoc and human losses caused by flood in his country.
He described Nigeria as Africa’s largest economy and cultural powerhouse that produces huge number of films, expressing confidence that Nigeria’s economic and cultural capabilities will contribute significantly to exchanges and cooperation between both countries.
Both leaders also discussed the need for cooperation at the multilateral level, particularly at the United Nations with South Korea indicating interest to vie for a seat on the Security Council in 2024 and seeking Nigeria’s support.
Similarly, the Korean leader sought Nigeria’s support for her country’s plan to host the 2030 EXPO.
The issue of peace on the Korean Peninsula, demilitarization and denuclearization of the region also featured in the bilateral talks.
President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Seoul, South Korea, expressed Nigeria’s readiness to become a global hub for sustainable manufacturing and distribution of vaccine and biological pharmaceuticals to support initiatives to keep all of mankind safe.
The President also called for the speedy take-off of local production of mRNA vaccines, after the World Health Organisation (WHO) selected Nigeria as one of six African countries to receive technology needed to produce the vaccines.
Addressing the World Bio Summit 2022, the Nigerian leader pledged commitment to global response to known or emerging pathogens, including the global vaccine assurance ecosystem and equitable access for all.
He told the meeting jointly convened by the Government of South Korea and WHO to discuss the future of vaccines and Bio-Health across the globe, that Nigeria would continue to explore bilateral, multilateral and other opportunities for cutting-edge technology as a centre of excellence for vaccine manufacturing and distribution.
‘‘As the mRNA technology allows science to shift attention to yet unknown disease threats, we see opportunities to address diseases that have plagued sub-Saharan Africa and third world countries for centuries.
‘‘We believe biomedical scientists can dream of ending the scourge of Malaria, Ebola, Lassa fever and various endemic neglected tropical diseases through development and manufacture of efficacious and affordable vaccines and therapeutics.
‘‘Nigeria invites partners ready to support efforts towards the entire value chain of vaccine technology development in our continent, to consider working with us in Nigeria,’’ he said.
Noting that ongoing conversations on the future of vaccines tend to support the decentralization of capacity to produce essential materials to respond globally to pandemics, President Buhari expressed Nigeria’s preference for a global warehousing and supply chain strategy to attend to the needs of most countries.
‘‘We believe that this concept makes sense and we fully endorse the wisdom of strategic and balanced spread of critical manufacturing capacity and essential stockpiles across the globe,’’ he said.
The President, therefore, declared that Nigeria is ready and able to offer itself for this initiative, due to its strategic geographical location, strength of economy and market size derived from a population of over 214 million people.
He added that Nigeria’s comparative advantage is also supported from her experience in human and animal vaccine production record since 1924, when colonial authorities produced WHO-certified smallpox, yellow fever and anti-rabies vaccines locally – a technology that has been improved upon and being used in Jos, Plateau State of Nigeria.
The high quality of current academic and research work and potential in Nigeria is also note-worthy, he said.
The Nigerian leader used the occasion to reaffirm Nigeria’s position on equitable distribution of vaccines, citing lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic and the unpleasant experiences of developing countries.
Describing the global response to the pandemic as discriminatory, the President demanded that the world must not allow the serious public health failure to happen again.
‘‘This Summit certainly opens up global conversations at high levels of government, on measures that are expected to forestall recurrence of the unpleasant experiences that Low-Income and Lower Middle-Income countries in Africa and Asia, especially, had to endure with regard to access to vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘‘It must be said that inequity in distribution of virtually all requirements for diagnostics and therapy was a key factor in the lack of capacity to produce basic or essential commodities, and the total dependence on imported goods.
‘‘Although COVID-19 actually threatened and continues to threaten all of mankind with no regard for race, region or economic standing, global response was not only segmented but discriminatory.
‘‘If the pandemic had taken the course that was predicted by some experts, there could have been an existential threat to sections of humanity. Such a serious public health failure should not be allowed to happen again and lessons must be learned from it,’’ he said.
President Buhari also recounted the efforts by his administration to mitigate the impact and curtail the spread of the virus in the country, highlighting that the positive exploits by the country were recognized and commended by the global health body.
‘‘The response by the Federal Government of Nigeria to the COVID-19 pandemic was the immediate constitution of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in March 2020, in order to coordinate and oversee Nigeria’s multi-sectoral and inter-governmental efforts to contain the spread and mitigate the impact.
‘‘Nigeria further instituted several measures through the PTF-COVID-19, anchored by our Ministry of Health to curtail the spread of the virus and protect the health of Nigerians.
‘‘These measures included an initial lockdown of non-essential activities; closure of schools; ban on international flights, nationwide curfews, set up of testing and treatment centres and so on.
‘‘These concerted efforts by the Federal Government of Nigeria, with the support of stakeholders in the private and public agencies, were able to mitigate the impact and curtail the spread of the virus on our health systems in the country.
‘‘Similarly, the efforts were designed to provide safety nets for rural and vulnerable populations in the conflict-affected regions in Nigeria.
‘‘Through international cooperation and global solidarity, including the remarkable role of the United Nations Country team in Nigeria, we were able to surmount the initial challenge of access and availability of the COVID-19 vaccines to the global community.’’
Commending the role of WHO in this regard, the President noted that the global health body continuously advocated for the equitable sharing of vaccines through the COVAX Facility, and for sharing of technology through bilateral and multilateral agreements through the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool.
President Buhari told the Summit, attended by Chief Executive Officers of Global Vaccines and Biologics Companies that undoubtedly, the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has jolted the collective consciousness of world leaders and the need to chart a better future.
‘‘Now more than ever, we must step up as leaders in a world in desperate need of healing and repair, to begin to have the difficult conversations about a future, which we must be better prepared for in order to avoid further devastation to our lives, livelihoods and physical environment.
‘‘The pandemic, within its first 3 months, exposed several weaknesses in our global health and economic systems as the world shut down and panic pervaded nations scrambling to control a virus we were yet to fully understand.
‘‘In those tough times, we were reminded, once more, of the important role played by world leaders, whose citizens entrusted them with the responsibility of charting the way out of those tumultuous times, to a future of tranquility and hope and a more resilient world that is safer for future generations.’’
On Nigeria’s quest to revive local vaccine production, the President recounted that the Federal Government of Nigeria had ratified a Joint Venture Agreement with a leading Nigerian Pharma Company for a Public Private Enterprise.
He recalled that when WHO announced Nigeria as one of six African countries to receive technology to produce mRNA vaccines, in February 2022, Biovaccine Ltd facilitated the participation of Nigerian scientists in the ongoing vaccine production workforce training in Seoul, from June 2022, supported by the Korean Government.
‘‘Nigeria also hosted representatives of frontline Research & Development organizations, to collaborate in R & D and clinical trials.
‘‘Let me also underscore the important initiative supported by the WHO for the establishment of an mRNA technology transfer hub as a strategy to increase mRNA vaccine production capacity in under-served regions, and thus promote regional health security.
‘‘The aim is to support manufacturers in low-and middle-income countries to produce their own vaccines, ensuring that they have all the necessary operating procedures and technical know-how to produce mRNA vaccines at scale while observing the WHO Good Manufacturing Practices.’’
As one of the six African countries selected to be the first on the continent to receive the technology needed to produce local mRNA vaccines from the WHO scheme, the President declared that Nigeria is taking steps to provide the needed infrastructure and requisite funding necessary for the implementation of this noble initiative.
‘‘In this regard, a private pharmaceutical company to facilitate pharmaceutical production of the mRNA vaccines has been identified to pilot this project. ‘‘While we express our appreciation, once more, to the WHO and other partners for selecting Nigeria, we would like to urge for the speedy take-off of this project in the interest of global health security.’’
President Muhammadu Buhari will Sunday depart Abuja for Seoul, South Korea to participate in the First World Bio Summit, 2022.
Jointly organized by the Government of the Republic of Korea and the World Health Organisation (WHO), the two-day Summit (October 25-26), has the theme: ‘The Future of Vaccine and Bio-Health.’
Nigeria was invited to the Summit based on her selection with five other African countries by WHO and the European Union (EU) during the last EU-African Summit in Brussels, Belgium in February this year for mRNA technology transfer and Global Training Hub for Bio-manufacturing of vaccines on the African continent.
Also expected to feature at the World Bio Summit are CEOs of global vaccine and Biologics companies who will share and shape ideas on the theme, given that, according to the organisers, “global health security profoundly depends on the innovation and development in the bio-industry.” The partnership between the Republic of Korea and WHO, is therefore, to underscore not only the above historic truth, but also the need to launch international stage-efforts on the nature of creativity and innovation required to contain any future health pandemic.
President Buhari, who is expected to deliver a Statement at the Summit, and meet separately with President Yoon Suk-yeol of the Republic of Korea, will also seek other ways of more effective partnerships that impact positively on the lives and safety of Nigerians during his other engagements and meetings while in Seoul.
Accompanying the Nigerian leader are: Governors Aminu Bello Masari and Abubakar Sani Bello of Katsina and Niger States; Geoffrey Onyeama, Osagie Ehanire and Adeniyi Adebayo, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Health, Industry, Trade and Investment respectively; and Timipre Sylva, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources.
Others on the delegation are: Maj-Gen. Mohammed Babagana Monguno (Rtd), National Security Adviser; Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, Director-General, National Intelligence Agency; Prof. Moji Adeyeye, Director-General, NAFDAC; Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, Director-General, NCDC; Bashir Jamoh, Director-General, NIMASA; Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, NiDCOM as well as other top government officials.
North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the sea early Sunday, Seoul’s military said, the seventh such launch in two weeks, just hours after a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier concluded joint drills off the Korean peninsula.
Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington have ramped up combined naval exercises in recent weeks, infuriating Pyongyang which sees them as rehearsals for invasion and justifies its blitz of missile launches as necessary “countermeasures”.
With talks long-stalled, Pyongyang has doubled down on its banned weapons programmes, firing an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan last week, with officials and analysts warning it has completed preparations for another nuclear test.
South Korea’s military said Sunday it had “detected two short-range ballistic missiles between 0148 and 0158 (1648-1658 GMT) fired from the Munchon area in Kangwon province towards the East Sea”, also known as the Sea of Japan.
The missiles “flew approximately 350 kilometres (217 miles) at an altitude of 90 kilometres”, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, calling the launches a “serious provocation”.
Tokyo also confirmed the launches, with the coast guard saying the missiles had landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
Japanese senior vice defence minister Toshiro Ino said Tokyo was analysing the missiles, adding that “either one of them has the possibility of being a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM)”.
Seoul said last month it had detected signs the North was preparing to fire an SLBM, a weapon Pyongyang last tested in May.
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has rebuffed Washington’s calls for talks and instead chosen to “improve” his ballistic missile program.
“He’s clearly not abandoned his nuclear weapons ambitions,” Kirby told ABC News on Sunday.
“We’re going to make sure that we have the capabilities in place to defend our national security interest if it comes to that. But there’s no reason for it to come to that,” he said, adding the United States was committed to “a diplomatic path forward”.
North Korea’s missile tests usually aim to develop new capabilities, but its recent launches, “from different locations at different times of day, may be intended to demonstrate military readiness”, said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.
“The Kim regime is trying to coerce Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington to abandon their trilateral security cooperation.”
At an emergency meeting of Seoul’s National Security Council following the missile test, however, South Korean officials vowed to strengthen that cooperation, according to a statement.
The recent spate of launches is part of a record year of weapons tests by isolated North Korea, which Kim last month declared an “irreversible” nuclear power, effectively ending the possibility of denuclearisation talks.
Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington have ramped up joint military drills in response, with the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and its strike group redeployed to the area last week.
On Thursday, Seoul’s military said it had scrambled 30 fighter jets after 12 North Korean warplanes staged a rare formation flight and apparent air-to-surface firing drills.
Go Myong-hyun, a researcher at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said North Korea was trying to claim that the nature of its sanctions-busting weapons tests were the same as the defensive joint drills between the allies.
“North Korea is trying to give equivalence through its continued missile launches,” he told AFP.
No New Sanctions
Analysts say Pyongyang is emboldened to continue its weapons testing, confident that gridlock at the United Nations will protect it from further sanctions.
Last week, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting to discuss Pyongyang’s launch over Japan, which officials and analysts said was a Hwasong-12 that likely travelled the longest horizontal distance of any North Korean test.
But at the meeting, North Korea’s longtime ally and economic benefactor China blamed Washington for provoking the spate of launches, with Deputy Chinese Ambassador to the UN Geng Shuang accusing Washington of “poisoning the regional security environment”.
US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield called for the “strengthening” of existing sanctions on North Korea, something China and Russia vetoed in May.
The Security Council has been divided on responding to Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions for months, with Russia and China on the sympathetic side and the rest of the council pushing for punishment.
Officials in Seoul and Washington have been warning for months that Pyongyang will also conduct another nuclear test, likely after China’s Communist Party Congress later this month.
“A flurry of missile tests like the one we’ve seen could indicate a build-up to a nuclear test, but predicting the timing with any precision is quite challenging,” US-based security analyst Ankit Panda told AFP.
South Korean police said Thursday they have arrested a woman accused of murdering her two children, whose remains were found in suitcases in New Zealand last month.
The 42-year-old — reportedly a South Korean-born New Zealand national — was arrested in the southeastern city of Ulsan, police said, and has been transferred to the capital Seoul to face extradition proceedings.
“Police arrested the suspect at an apartment in Ulsan on Thursday following a stakeout with tips on her whereabouts and CCTV footage,” South Korea’s National Police Agency said in a statement.
“The suspect is accused by the New Zealand police of having murdered her two children — aged seven and 10 at the time — in around 2018 in the Auckland area.”
“She’s been found to have arrived in South Korea after the crime and has been in hiding ever since,” it added.
Images in local media showed the woman, who has not been identified by police in South Korea or New Zealand, being led out of an Ulsan police station by plainclothed investigators, covering her head with a large brown coat.
The woman, who was wearing ripped jeans and sandals, was asked by local media whether she would confess to the killings.
“I didn’t do it,” the woman said repeatedly, as she was led away and put into a police vehicle.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency said the woman is a South Korean-born New Zealand citizen.
It added that she started living in an acquaintance’s apartment in Ulsan this year, having earlier stayed in Seoul.
The suspect arrived at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office on Thursday afternoon, AFP reporters saw, and was driven into the building’s basement parking lot in a police vehicle with tinted windows and red and blue flashing lights.
The remains of the two children were discovered in August after an unsuspecting family bought a trailer-load of items — including the suitcases — at an auction for abandoned goods near Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city.
New Zealand police have said the bodies were likely in storage for several years, which has complicated the investigation.
Authorities have repeatedly stressed that the family who found the bodies were not connected to the homicides and were being given support to help deal with the trauma.
Detective Inspector Tofilau Fa’amanuia Vaaelua in Auckland said Thursday that the case was “a very challenging investigation”.
“To have someone in custody overseas within such a short period of time has all been down to the assistance of the Korean authorities and the coordination by our New Zealand Police Interpol staff,” the detective said.
Son Heung-min has been congratulated by South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol for winning the Premier League’s Golden Boot, as his club Tottenham Hotspur announced Tuesday they would play a pre-season friendly against Sevilla in Suwon on July 16.
Son on Sunday became the first Asian footballer to be the English top flight’s leading scorer with 23 goals, with President Yoon calling it a “joyous occasion to be celebrated by the entire Asian football community”.
“I believe this award is the result of your passion after having devoted yourself and worked endlessly for your team all season,” Yoon said in a message to Son, posted on Facebook.
Son’s achievement was “a message of hope” for South Koreans during the Covid-19 pandemic, Yoon said, adding that he was looking forward to watching Son lead South Korea at the World Cup in Qatar in November and December.
Tottenham’s final match of the season against Norwich on Sunday was aired live in South Korea, kicking off at midnight and ending at 2:00 am Monday.
But fans said Son’s 22nd and 23rd league goals of the season in Tottenham’s 5-0 win, which enabled him to share the scoring honours with Liverpool’s Mo Salah, made staying up late worth it.
“I was too happy and excited even when I was lying in bed, so I couldn’t sleep,” one posted online.
“This season’s Son Heung-min uniform will be our family treasure from today,” another added.
Tottenham enjoy a large fan base in South Korea and the club will play two matches in the country on a pre-season tour of Asia in July.
Tottenham will face the K-League All-Stars in Seoul on July 13 and Sevilla FC three days later in Suwon, 45 kilometres south of Seoul.
South Korea will host top-ranked Brazil in a friendly ahead of this year’s World Cup, the nation’s football association said Wednesday.
The national team, captained by Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min, will take on Brazil on June 2 in Seoul before squaring off against Chile and Paraguay on June 6 and 10.
The series of planned matches with South American teams will give South Korea a “good opportunity to assess their objective strength and weakness”, the Korea Football Association said in a statement.
Five-time world champions Brazil are the only team to have played at every World Cup and can call upon some of the best players in the game, such as Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar and Roberto Firmino of Liverpool.
South Korea are 29th in the FIFA rankings and enter their 10th consecutive World Cup after finishing second behind Iran in Group A in the final round of Asian qualifying.
They will play Portugal, Uruguay and Ghana in Group H when the World Cup kicks off in Qatar in November.
South Korea has advanced to the knockout stage only twice.
Their best showing was a semifinal spot at the 2002 World Cup, which they co-hosted with Japan. They made the round of 16 at the 2010 edition in South Africa.
This year, the team will look to captain Son, who has scored 19 goals in the 2021-22 Premier League season, to lead them beyond the group stages.
It described Biden as a “president known for his repeated slip of tongue”, but stopped short of referring to him by name.
“The conclusion could be that there is a problem in his intellectual faculty and that his reckless remarks are just a show of imprudence of an old man in his senility,” said the commentary, which was issued on Saturday evening.
“Gloomy, it seems, is the future of the U.S. with such a feeble man in power.”
Along with Beijing, Russia is one of the North’s few international friends and has previously come to the regime’s aid.
Moscow has long held the line against increasing pressure on nuclear-armed North Korea, even asking for relief from international sanctions for humanitarian reasons.
Pyongyang has also sided with Moscow in its war with Ukraine, accusing the United States of being the “root cause” of the crisis.
North Korea’s state media has a long history of colourful personal attacks against foreign leaders.
Before Biden was nominated as candidate, it called him “a rabid dog” that “must be beaten to death with a stick”.
It referred to former US President Donald Trump as a “mentally deranged US dotard” and his predecessors Barack Obama and George W. Bush a “monkey” and “half-baked man”.
It also has railed against former South Korean President Park Geun-hye as a “witch” and a “crafty prostitute”.