Osinbajo Departs Nigeria For UAE Peace Forum

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has departed Abuja for the City of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

He is expected to speak on ‘The Role of Religions in Promoting Tolerance: From Possibility to Necessity’ at the Sixth Assembly of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies.

A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, said that VP Osinbajo’s speech is scheduled as the forum’s keynote address.

“The Assembly of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies is an annual event organized by the government of the United Arab Emirates.

“Prof. Osinbajo’s speech is scheduled as the forum’s keynote address.

“The Sixth Assembly envisages an opportunity to initiate a civilized dialogue on the formulation of a new concept of tolerance, one that is humane and generous, and to transform a perspective that makes tolerance a religious imperative.”

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He also stated that VP Osinbajo will be at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, to meet with Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nayan, the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.

Both leaders are expected to discuss bilateral issues on how to continue to expand diplomatic and economic relationships between Nigeria and the UAE.

“At the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, the Vice President will meet with Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nayan, the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces. Both leaders will discuss bilateral issues on how to continue to expand diplomatic and economic relationships between Nigeria and the UAE.”

UAE Stops Issuing Visas To North Koreans

A general view shows people visiting the Gitex 2017 exhibition at the Dubai World Trade Center in Dubai on October 8, 2017. GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP

The United Arab Emirates on Thursday announced it had stopped issuing visas to North Korean nationals and downgraded diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, following similar moves by Kuwait and Qatar.

The UAE government ended the mission of its non-resident ambassador to North Korea as well as that of Pyongyang’s non-resident ambassador to the UAE, the government-run WAM news agency said.

Abu Dhabi will also no longer grant North Korean companies authorisation to work in any of the seven emirates, WAM said.

Tensions over North Korea’s weapons programme have soared in recent months, with Pyongyang launching a flurry of missiles and conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test last month.

UN sanctions against North Korea were last month expanded to include North Korean guest workers, along with textiles and a cap on oil exports.

South Korea and Japan have pressured Gulf states to stop employing North Korean workers, whose income goes towards remittances that benefit the regime in Pyongyang, according to Asian diplomatic sources.

In September, Kuwait gave the North Korean ambassador one month to leave the country and stopped issuing visas to all North Koreans.

Qatar has also said it would not renew visas for North Korean labourers, with the last work permits set to expire at the end of 2018.

Between 2,000 and 2,500 North Koreans currently work in Kuwait, and another estimated 1,000 in Qatar.

The UAE is home to some 1,300 North Korean workers, according to a South Korean diplomat.

AFP

FG Activates $20bn Gas Industrial Park In Delta

Yemi Osinbajo, Gas Industrial Park, DeltaEfforts by the Federal Government to fast track the development of the Niger Delta appear to be in full swing, as it plans to site a $20 billion gas industrial park in the region through a public-private partnership.

This was made known on Monday by Nigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, during a meeting with a group of international investors and developers on the project at the Presidential Villa.

The consortium is made up of fortune 500 companies which include the GSE&C of South Korea, the China Development Bank, Power China and several other global operators from Asia and the United Arab Emirates in the Middle-East.

A statement from the Vice President’s office explained that the project, tagged the Gas Revolution Industrial Park (GRIP), would be located in Ogidigben, Delta State, and is envisaged to be a regional hub for all gas-based industries.

According to the Acting President, the project would cover 2700 hectares with fertiliser, methanol, petrochemicals, and aluminium plants located in the park which has already been designated as a Tax Free Zone by the Federal Government.

He said the government “is committed to the development of the Niger Delta, and the importance of this project is underlined by the presidential attention it is attracting. The presidency is very interested”.

We Are Unwavering

Professor Osinbajo added that the Federal Government takes the project very seriously, just as it is ready to make several other commitments to change the fortune of the oil-producing states.

“We already have a steering committee in place, chaired by the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and that shows the level of our commitment. We are unwavering.

“We take the project very seriously and glad to see you are committed and ready to make several other commitments. This is a process that we intend to see happen,” he said.

On his part, Dr. Kachikwu expressed confidence that the GRIP would bring the much needed succour to the people of the Niger Delta and the oil-producing states.

Speaking earlier, the leader of the group of investors and developers, Sheikh Mohamed Bayorh, stated the commitment of the consortium, stressing the importance of the project to solving the Niger Delta crisis.

The development comes against the backdrop of the recent visit by the Acting President to the oil-producing communities, to demonstrate the resolve of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to pursue a new vision for the Niger Delta.

Guantanamo Bay: US In Largest Detainee Transfer Under Obama

Guantanamo, obama, prisonUnited States President, Barack Obama is still making efforts to close the Guantanamo bay prison before he leaves office, as the United States says it has sent 15 detainees to the United Arab Emirates.

This is the largest single transfer during President Obama’s administration.

According to the pentagon, the transfer of 12 Yemeni nationals and three Afghans brings the total number of prisoners down to 61 at the US facility in Cuba.

Most of the inmates there have been held without charge or trial for more than a decade.

Obama revealed his plans to close the prison in February but many Republican lawmakers as well as some fellow Democrats have opposed his decision.

“In its race to close Gitmo, the Obama administration is doubling down on policies that put American lives at risk,” Republican Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

“Once again, hardened terrorists are being released to foreign countries where they will be a threat,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Amnesty International’s U.S. Director for Security and Human Rights, Naureen Shah, said keeping Guantanamo open gave cover to foreign governments to ignore human rights.

“I think we are at an extremely dangerous point where there is a significant possibility this is going to remain open as a permanent offshore prison to hold people, practically until they die,” Shah told Reuters.

“It weakens the U.S. government’s hand in arguing against torture and indefinite detention”.

Former US President, George Bush opened it to accommodate foreign terror suspects after the September 11 attacks in 2001 on the US.

3.2 Billion People At Risk Of Malaria Globally – Who Report

malaria attack The World Health Organisation (WHO), says about 3.2 billion people remain at risk to malaria attack globally.

A WHO report released on Monday on World Malaria Day entitled: “Eliminating Malaria”says that in 2015 alone, 214 million new cases of the disease were reported in 95 countries and no fewer than 400,000 people died of the disease.

The report is coming a year after the World Health Assembly resolved to eliminate malaria from at least 35 countries by 2030. The report shows the goal, although ambitious, is achievable.

In 2015, all countries in the WHO European Region reported, for the first time, zero indigenous cases of malaria, down from 90 000 cases in 1995. Outside this region, eight countries reported zero cases of the disease in 2014 – Argentina, Costa Rica, Iraq, Morocco, Oman, Paraguay, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates.

A statement by a spokesperson for WHO, Christian Lindmeier, said, the “Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030”, approved by the World Health Assembly in 2015, calls for the elimination of local transmission of malaria in at least 10 countries by 2020.

WHO’s estimates show that 21 countries are in a position to achieve this goal, including six countries in the African region, where the burden of the disease is heaviest.

“Our report shines a spotlight on countries that are well on their way to eliminating malaria,” the Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme, Dr Pedro Alonso said.

“WHO commends these countries while also highlighting the urgent need for greater investment in settings with high rates of malaria transmission, particularly in Africa. Saving lives must be our first priority.”

Since the year 2000, malaria mortality rates have declined by 60% globally. In the WHO African Region, malaria mortality rates fell by 66% among all age groups and by 71% among children under five years.

WHO pointed out that reaching the goals of the “Global Technical Strategy” would require a steep increase in global and domestic funding—from $2.5 billion today to an estimated $8.7 billion annually by 2030.

“Through robust financing and political will, affected countries can speed progress towards malaria elimination and contribute to the broader development agenda as laid out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” it stressed.

Nigeria Loses Top Oil Producing Status To Angola

crude oilNigeria has lost its Africa’s top oil producing status to Angola which saw its oil output rise to 1.78 million barrel-per-day in March.

This is the latest data from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) which shows that Nigeria’s crude oil production fell by 67,000 barrels per day in March 2016.

In its monthly oil market report for April, released on Wednesday, OPEC put crude oil production from Nigeria at 1.67 million BPD in March, down from 1.74 million BPD in February.

Nigeria recorded the biggest drop in output in the month among its peers in OPEC, followed by Venezuela.

According to OPEC, crude oil output increased mostly from Iran, Iraq and Angola, while production decreased in the United Arab Emirates, Libya and Nigeria.

West Ham Sign Emmanuel Emenike On Loan

emenike_clubNigerian international, Emmanuel Emenike, has expressed delight to join English Premier League side, West Ham United on loan.

The 28-year-old is confident he will have an instant impact for Slaven Bilic’s squad, having known the manager from his spells coaching in Russia and Turkey.

Emenike, was capped 37 times by Nigeria and spent part of this season on loan at the Arabian Gulf League side, al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates.

The Hammers have the option to make the transfer permanent in the summer and the forward would provide options for Bilic with Andy Carroll side-lined again by injury.

Nigeria Signs Agreement With UAE On Recovery Of Stolen Funds

muhammadu buhari and kemi adeosun in UAENigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed six agreements to enhance bilateral relations between them.

The signing of the agreements on trade, finance and judicial matters was witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Muhammadu-Buhari-and-Sheikh-Mohammed-Bin-Zayed-Al-Nahyan
Obaid Attayar, President Muhammadu Buhari, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Mrs Kemi Adeosun at the signing of the agreement

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs, Obaid Attayar, signed the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement, while the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah signed the Agreement on Trade Promotion and Protection with the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs.

The Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and his counterpart in the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Bin Saeed Albadi signed the Judicial Agreements on Extradition, Transfer of Sentenced Persons, and Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters, which includes the recovery and repatriation of stolen wealth.

At a reception after the signing of the agreements, President Buhari reiterated his commitment to fighting corruption and restoring Nigeria’s dignity in the comity of nations.

The President also urged all Islamic countries to support the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and described the atrocities of Boko Haram as un-Islamic and against the teachings of the Holy Prophet.

In his remarks, Crown Prince Zayed Al Nahyan said that the relationship between Nigeria and the UAE would be strengthened by President Buhari’s visit and the signing of the agreements.

Buhari Urges Greater Global Cooperation Against Climate Change

Climate ChangePresident Muhammadu Buhari has called for greater global cooperation against the devastating effects of climate change to avert disaster for the human race in the 21st century.

Addressing the opening of the 2016 World Future Energy Summit on Monday in Abu Dhabi, President Buhari reaffirmed Nigeria’s readiness to work with the United Arab Emirates and the rest of the world in a collective effort to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Africa is already suffering from the consequences of climate change, which includes recurrent drought and floods. In Nigeria, the drastic drying up of the Lake Chad to just about 10% of its original size, has negatively impacted on the livelihood of millions of people and contributed in making the region a hot bed of insurgency.

“Desert encroachment in Niger (Republic), our northern neighbour and in far northern Nigeria, at the rate of several hundred meters per annum, has impacted on the existence of man, animal and vegetation, threatening to alter the whole ecological balance of the sub-region.

“In the middle and southern part of Nigeria, land erosion threatens farming, forestry, town and village peripheries and in some areas major highways. Constant and abrupt alteration between floods and droughts prove that climate change is real and therefore a global approach and cooperation to combat its effects are vital, if the human race is not to face disaster in the 21st century,” he told participants at the summit.

Noting that the summit was taking place soon after the United Nations Conference on Climate Change held in Paris late last year, the President praised the United Arab Emirates for consistently supporting international action on climate change.

“We see Abu Dhabi as a dependable partner in the collective effort to manage climate risks, including the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Thank you Abu Dhabi, for consistently continuing to support international action in this sphere.

“We appreciate your immense contributions worth hundreds of millions of dollars in energy aid to developing countries,” he said.

President Buhari is expected back in the country on Tuesday, January 19, 2016.

Buhari In UAE To Attend World Future Energy Summit

muhammadu-Buhari-In-UAE-3President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on a three-day official visit where he will be attending the World Future Energy Summit on January 17, as a special guest of honour.

The Nigerian President was received at the President wing or the Abu Dhabi International Airport in United Arab Emirates by the third Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed and Ambassador of Nigeria to UAE, Ibrahim Auwalu.

Muhammadu-Buhari-in-UAE-2
President Muhammadu Buhari, the third Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed and Ambassador of Nigeria to UAE, Ibrahim Auwalu

In the course of the visit, President Buhari would join the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki Moon; Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi and other participants as a special guest of honour at the 2016 edition of the World Future Energy Summit.

Muhammadu-Buhari-leaves-for-UAE-meeting
President Muhammadu Buhari and some government officials leaving the Presidential Villa in Nigeria

The summit, which is now in its ninth year of existence, has developed into one of the world’s most influential events dedicated to advancing future energy, energy efficiency and clean technologies.

President Buhari would also lead a team of his ministers to bilateral talks with the government of the UAE, after which a number of agreements between both countries on economic, trade and bilateral relations are expected to be signed.

President Buhari was as well scheduled to meet with leading UAE businessmen who are interested in Nigeria with a view to encouraging greater investment inflows to critical sectors such as power supply, oil, gas and agriculture.

The President will be accompanied by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing Ministers of State for Petroleum, Minister of Environment, Justice, Trade and Investment, Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as the National Security Adviser.

He would also meet with Nigerian professionals in the UAE before returning to Abuja on Tuesday, January 19.

Iraq To Intervene In Iran/Saudi Row         

 iraqIraq has sent its foreign minister to Tehran with an offer to mediate in an escalating feud between Saudi Arabia and Iran, reflecting Baghdad’s fears that new sectarian conflict could undo its campaign against Islamic State.

On arrival in Iran, the Iraq Foreign Minister told journalists his country has solid relations with Iran and Saudi Arabia and therefore cannot stay silent in the crisis.

Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shi’ite cleric on Saturday has inflamed sectarian anger across the Middle East, infuriating Iran.

Powerful Iran-backed Shi’ite militia called on Iraqi Prime Minister, Haidar Al-Abadi on Wednesday to shut a Saudi embassy that reopened only last month after decades of strained ties.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday after protesters hit the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Both countries are major rivals in the Middle East and back opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

There has been immediate reaction from Saudi Arabia to the Iraqi mediation offer.

Saudi-Iran Row: Kerry Calls For Calm

saudi-iran conflictUS officials have said that the United States is trying to mend fences between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Secretary of State, John Kerry, has appealed to both sides to remain calm while State Department spokesman, John Kirby, explained that the phone conversations involve foreign ministers of both countries and the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday after protesters hit the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Both countries are major rivals in the middle east and back opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

On Tuesday, Kuwait said it was recalling its ambassador from Tehran, describing the attack on the Saudi Embassy as a “flagrant breach of international norms”.

Saudi allies Bahrain and Sudan broke off diplomatic relations with Iran on Monday and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also downgraded its diplomatic team in Tehran.

On Monday, the UN Security Council issued a strongly worded statement condemning the attack on the Saudi Embassy – making no mention of the execution of Shia Muslim Cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others on terrorism charges.