Zamfara ‘Blasphemy’ Killings “Barbaric & Unacceptable”, Buhari Pledges Justice

President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the killing of at eight persons in Zamfara State on the allegation of “blasphemy”.

A mob, suspected to be students of Abdu Gusau Polytechnic, on Monday descended on a man they accused of blaspheming the Prophet of Islam. They later set those who tried to help him alight.

The attack occurred at Talata Mafara, a town in Zamfara.

Mr. Buhari described the attack as “barbaric and unacceptable”.

Writing on Twitter, the president said he “received news of the mob killings in Zamfara with great dismay”.

“I assure that the law will take its course. My prayers are with the families of the victims,” he said.

Mr. Buhari, who has been widely criticized for failing to speak out or condemn similar attacks in the past, said “Under my watch we will work to ensure that there is no place for violence in the name of religion, ethnicity, or in any guise whatsoever”.

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US Pledges $37M Aid For Victims Of Boko Haram

The United States on Wednesday pledged $37 million in aid for victims of Boko Haram, government officials said, as fears of a famine mounted in the ravaged Lake Chad region.

Despite Boko Haram losing swathes of territory in the northeast as a result of a renewed military offensive, millions are still going hungry after years of attacks disrupted farming and supplies.

The UN children’s agency UNICEF said on July 1 that 250,000 children under five in Borno state were at risk from severe acute malnutrition this year and 50,000 could die if nothing was done.

The US government will provide “more than $37 million in additional humanitarian assistance” the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria in Abuja said. “Approximately five million people need emergency food assistance.”

The money for food would be directed to communities in the Diffa region of Niger and is part of a coordinated effort to get more food into the area.

Returning this week from a trip to Chad, Nigeria, and Cameroon, the regional director of the World Food Programme, Abdou Dieng, told AFP that “the crisis of Boko Haram is just beginning.”

“There are many places where humanitarian aid can’t reach because of insecurity,” Dieng said, adding that Boko Haram attacked a UN convoy just last week. “But we are even more determined to stay.”

Dieng estimated that around $600 million is needed to address the crisis but that so far “less than a third of that money has been received”.

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Buhari Pledges Efficient Gas Supply In West Africa

Nigeria has pledged to ‘stabilise the environment’ to enable it to pump gas across the West African sub-region in furtherance of the objectives of the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) project.

President Muhammadu Buhari made the pledge in Abuja on Tuesday while addressing a joint news conference with the visiting President of Benin Republic, Mr Patrice Talon.

Buhari said that owing to the availability of the technology required, Nigeria was considering using modern technology to convert gas to liquid form for easy export to countries of the sub-region.“The economic part of it (our discussion) was mainly on energy – to make sure that the West African Gas Pipeline project is made much more efficient.

“This government is making all the effort it can to stabilise the situation because the resources are there.

“The world knows that Nigeria has plenty of gas.

“What we need to do is to stabilise the environment so that this gas can be regularly pumped to the sub-region through the infrastructure already in place.

“Also the Nigerian LNG is not doing too badly.

“The gas can be turned into liquid form; the technology is now available; it can be transferred to the Benin Republic to power their power stations.”

Buhari thanked the Benin Republic for its continued support to Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram in the North East.

In his remarks, President Talon disclosed that his discussion with Buhari during their closed-door meeting was on security and economy.

According to him, Benin Republic is looking forward to reactivating the existing bilateral relationship between Benin and Nigeria especially in the areas of trade relations, economy, energy development and education.
Talon raised alarm over increased activities of smugglers alone illegal border areas between Benin republic and Nigeria.

The Beninoise president, who spoke through an interpreter, stressed the need to deal with smuggling.

He said doing so would help enhance revenue generation in both countries.

“On this issue of trade relations between the two countries, I would like to go a little bit deeper and to mention that there is what we call “illegal trade’’ between the two countries, which is creating difficulties for the two countries.

“We looked at the possibility of re-energising the trade between the two countries so that illegal trade is discouraged,” he said.

Talon said the downturn in Nigeria’s economy was adversely affecting his country in particular, and other African countries.

While describing Nigeria as the engine room of West Africa, Talon urged Nigeria to take advantage the abundant potentialities in its non-oil sectors to increase its revenue profile.

He said that it would be timely if Nigeria could do that bearing in mind the fact that its revenue profile had been reduced by falling oil prices in the international market.

Talon also stressed the need for Nigeria to assist his country in stabilising electricity supply, saying that Nigeria remained a big brother in Africa.

He invited Buhari to visit the Benin Republic to consolidate the gains of the cooperation between the two countries.

Credit: Guardian

Switzerland Pledges To Repatriate $321m Abacha Loot

The government of Switzerland has said it would soon return $321 million looted by late head of state, General Sani Abacha and kept in Swiss banks, as part of its commitment to fighting money laundering and other trans-national crimes in that country.

The Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Eric Mayoraz, made the disclosure yesterday, during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Mutual Legal Assistance on criminal matters, between the Swiss government and the Federal Government of Nigeria in Abuja.

The ambassador stated that the MoU was aimed at fostering understanding between the two countries particularly as it relates to their different legal system.

He said: “We are now in the process of repatriating $321m from the second batch of the Abacha loot”, adding that the country had in 2005 repatriated $722m in the first batch.

Mayoraz said: “Today’s event is significant in the sense that it would eradicate every bottleneck associated with the repatriation of stolen funds starched in our country.

“Our countries enjoy excel- lent relations and we cooperate as partners in many fields, on the return of looted assets, migration, human rights, humanitarian assistance and many others.

“Today, we decided to take

this cooperation forward to deepen it in the field of judicial cooperation. By signing a Memorandum of Understanding in this important area, our two states further strengthen their ties of friendship and cooperation.”

While stating that fighting international crime, in particular corruption, is an important issue also for the Swiss government as the MoU provides for a settle foundation to improve cooperation, the envoy added that it has the advantage of bringing direct contact through central authorities as well.

“The text we will now sign marks the starting point of a new era in our common fight against international crime. People, goods and money move around easily in today’s world. That is generally a positive thing. Unfortunately, this mobility is not limited to honest people and clean money. Criminals and proceeds of crime profit from it, as well. States must thus cooperate in order to fight transnational organized crime, corruption, money laundering, the drug trade”, he said.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hajia Abba Ibrahim, disclosed that the idea of signing the MoU was first muted in 2015. She stated that the agreement would help block accounts of funds linked to money laundering and other trans-national crimes.

Ibrahim commended the Swiss government for supporting Nigeria’s fight against corruption, noting that repatriated funds can help facilitate essential development in Nigeria.

She assured the ambassador of the commitment of the Buhari’s administration towards the improvement of the living standards of Nigerians, and pledged the nation’s commitment in deepening relations between Nigeria and Switzerland.

Credit: Thisday

Buhari Pledges To Build Nigerian Cities

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Shanghai, China, said his administration would give priority to the building and development of resilient and viable cities comparable with other developed cities across the globe.

A statement by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President,  Mallam Garba Shehu, said

Buhari spoke at separate meetings with the Mayor of the Chinese city of Shanghai, Mr Yang Xiong and the Director of Shanghai Free Trade Zone, Liu Fangzhou.

Buhari said the Federal Government would give full support to Free Trade and Export Processing Zones in the country to spur rapid economic development.

The President, who visited the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, said Nigeria was prepared to learn “how to make our cities more viable from those that have achieved development.

“We have already identified the development of infrastructure which will bring industries that create jobs and help us to diversify the economy.

“We are going to work hard to achieve these within the period we have in office. Nigerians will see progress and feel the impact,’’ he said.

He commended the hard work and incredible success story of the city of Shanghai, Buhari said the virtues of hard work were central to every human achievement and development.

The Shanghai Mayor expressed the willingness of Chinese businesses to key into the vision of the Chinese President Xi Jinping for Africa by investing in Nigeria.

The statement also quoted the Director of the Free Trade Zone Liu Fangzhou, as commending the effort of the Nigerian government towards the diversification of the economy.

Credit: Nation

EU Pledges $50 Million To Fight Boko Haram

President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to redouble efforts and ensure that Boko Haram is completely defeated, and rendered incapable of targeting even soft targets.

 This pledge by the Nigerian President comes as the European Union has promised the sum of 50 million dollars to assist Nigeria in the fight against the terror group.

German President, Mr Joachim Gauck, made the pledge on behalf of the EU after holding bilateral talks with President Buhari in the Presidential Villa.

The German President commiserated with Nigerians on the recent attacks and called for good government and development if Nigeria must conquer terrorism in the long term.

During a visit to Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, Mr Gauck had also pledged that Germany would assist Nigeria with the technical know-how to successfully fight terrorism.

President Buhari met with President Gauck a day after he returned from his 6-day vacation in London.

The Nigerian President returned to the country on Wednesday night and was received at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja by top government officials.

Credit: ChannelsTv

Buhari Sympathizes With Syria At Donor Conference, Pledges Support In Spite Of Nigeria’s Difficulties

President Muhammadu Buhari is among the over 80 world leaders who converged on London on Thursday for the ‘Supporting Syria and the region’ conference holding at the Queen Elizabeth 11 Conference Centre in London.

In his speech, President Buhari applauded the initiative to protect the people of Syria from the vicious war.

He joined the world in condemning the violence and abuse of human rights and sheer destruction of lives and property.

He said that Nigeria shares the same experience with Syria following the experience from Boko Haram insurgency and therefore feels the pains the people of Syria feel.

He urged all the parties to engage in peaceful talks as only a political agreement would bring the tragedy to an end.

He said that military option would only prolong the war and killing of innocent civilians. He extended the sympathy of Nigerians to the suffering people of Syria.

He pledged to support in spite of the difficulties back home.

Also speaking, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki Moon, joined the host president and British Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron, to condemn the human rights abuses going on in Syria.

Mr Cameron was passionate about the call to raise fund for the suffering masses in Syria but called for more action while the UN Secretary General Ban KI Moon said that at least seven billion dollars must be raised.

According to him, even if the war in Syria ends immediately, the suffering of the people would not end immediately. He said that only political dialogue can rescue the Syrian people.

Credit: ChannelsTv

Chinese President Pledges $60b For Africa’s Development

China’s President Xi Jinping told African presidents on Friday at a summit that his country would provide $60 billion to fund development on the continent, outlining the Asian economic giant wanted to build a relationship of equals.

Xi, who is co-chairing the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation where several African heads of state were attending, outlined a broad 10-point development plan driven by China, Reuters reported.

“To ensure the successful implementation of these 10 cooperation plans, China decides to provide a total of $60 billion dollars of funding support,” the Chinese leader said.

Credit: Nation

Bristow Helicopter Pledges Assistance To Survivors, Deceased Families

Bristow Helicopter Limited on Thursday promised to assist survivors and families of the dead victims of its ill-fated chopper that plunged into the lagoon on Wednesday in Lagos.

Bristow Regional Director for Africa Duncan Moore made the pledge in a statement in Lagos.

“Our thoughts are with those affected by the unfortunate accident. We regret the loss of lives in the air crash and we are ready to assist them with our full resources.

“Our highest priority is to take care of our crew and clients and their family members and provide them with any assistance needed.

“Our personnel are currently working to confirm the number of people on board, their identities and the extent of any injury,” he said.

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Benin Republic Heats Up Fight Against Boko Haram, Pledges 800 Troops

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has said a new task force involved in the fight against terror group Boko Haram will defeat the insurgents by December.

The leader made the comment as he was visiting Benin, one of the countries involved in the offensive. Buhari previously visited Niger, Chad and Cameroon to strengthen the antiterrorism cooperation.

The five countries were already involved in a regional offensive against the terrorists which scored some goals since it was created in February. However, the Nigerian army announced that a new task force, expected to be more efficient, is ready to take over the fight.

The task force comprises some 8,700 soldiers from the five African nations and is headed by Major General Iliya Abbah, who previously conducted military operations in the Niger Delta.

Benin’s President Thomas Boni Yayi announced the country would send 800 troops to join the new force and “permanently combat these outlaws”, AFP reported. The announcement follows Cameroon’s decision to send some 2,000 military reinforcements to the north of the country, near the border with Nigeria, to help fight the terrorists.

Read More: sunnewsonline

Mrs Buhari Pledges To Support War Against Sickle Cell

The Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday pledged to support the war against Sickle Cell disorder in the country.

She Buhari made the promise at the World Sickle Cell Awareness Day Campaign launch jointly organised by Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation (OOF) and the Wife of the President in Abuja.

Mrs Buhari is also the Patron of the World Sickle Cell Awareness Day Campaign which is being organised as part of the 2015 World Sickle Cell day.

She expressed her commitment towards creating awareness on the treatment and management of the disease.

Mrs Buhari, who recalled her personal experience with the disease which lasted for many years, described it as “traumatic”.

“As I stand before you now, the memory of the agony which my late step daughter, Zulaihat Buhari, went through is something that will live with me and our entire family for the rest of our lives.

“I watched my daughter go through severe pains in almost every part of her body; often times, I became helpless and wished that I could also share the pain with her at those moments,’’ she said.

However, Mrs Buhari expressed delight that efforts of medical professionals who are initiating innovative strategies towards improving the standards of health of persons living with sickle cell disease are yielding commendable results.

She cited the establishment of the renowned sickle cell centre in Idiaraba, Lagos state, as one of the commendable examples.

She also lauded other efforts including numerous donations by well meaning individuals and corporate organisations.

Mrs Buhari solicited for more action and assistance to be extended to other parts of the country.

She called for the establishment of a Centre of Excellence to meet up with those in advanced countries to be located in Borno and Yobe states.

According to her, studies show that the two states have the largest number of sickle cell trait with prevalence of 27.9 percent and 32.6 per cent, respectively.

“The choice of any of these states would be strategic to cater for those in the Northern part of the country,’’ the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes Mrs Buhari as saying.

The wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osibanjo, read Mrs Buhari’s speech at the occasion.

Earlier, Prof. Olu Akinyanju, Founder, Sickle Cell Foundation of Nigeria, said the event provides the opportunity to remind leaders to help influence the impact of the disease on the carriers and help sustain the fight.

He explained that the foundation has so far addressed issues such as Genetic Counselling, Pre-natal diagnosis of the disease and stroke risk detection and prevention, among others.

Akinyanju said also that Nigeria was currently carrying out Bone Marrow (Stem Cell) Transplant for the disease.

Highlight of the event was personal testimonies shared by some Nigerians who are living with the disease.

Those who spoke included Mr Ade Adebisi, a Rugby professional player based in the UK; Miss Samira Sanusi, an Author; and a graduate, Ms Omolola Ogunrinade.

Credit: NAN

Buhari Pledges To Implement APC’s Cardinal Policies

President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to implement the cardinal policies of his administration in order to move the country forward. Buhari made the pledge in Johannesburg, South Africa, when he met Nigerians resident in South Africa.

He said government was determined to secure the country, improve the economy and eliminate corruption. ‘’ Government is determined to secure the country, manage the economy, create employment and fight corruption.

‘’ Some articulate writers have said if we do not kill corruption in Nigeria, corruption will kill Nigeria.

‘’ This APC administration intends to kill corruption in Nigeria. We will do our best, I assure you,’’ Buhari said.

The president said the G7 leaders had expressed commitment to helping Nigeria tackle insecurity as well as develop its oil and gas sectors. ‘’ We are getting the facts and logistics requirements together,’’ he said.

He also said the leaders of the Lake Chad Basin Commission had set up a military command headquarters in Chad with a Nigerian general heading it.

Buhari, however, urged Nigerians resident in South Africa to be good ambassadors of the country. ‘’ Those of you who have the opportunity to come here and represent us, make sure that you are representing Nigeria, you are all ambassadors of Nigeria.

‘’ This means a lot of patience, restraint and self respect and pride. You must have all these,’’ he said.

According to Buhari, Nigerian and South African leaders will soon meet to discuss several issues bordering on their relationship.

The Consul General of Nigeria in South Africa, Amb. Uche Ajulu-Okeke, said shops and other property worth millions of Rand belonging to Nigerians were lost during the recent xenophobic attacks.

She also said 143 Nigerians were killed in South Africa between 2011 and 2014, adding that another 81 were in Johannesburg prison. ‘’ Out of this 81 Nigerians, 21 have been convicted,’’ she said.

The President of Nigerian Union in South Africa, Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, congratulated the president on his election and inauguration. “ Your victory is victory over poverty, hunger and signals hope for the common man,’’ he said.

He urged the president to facilitate compensation for Nigerians affected by the xenophobic attacks.

Credit: NAN

Borno Govt. Pledges Support For Military High Command In Maiduguri

The Borno Government said it was willing to provide logistic support toward the relocation of the Military High Command to Maiduguri.

The Deputy Governor of the state, Mustapha Zannah, stated this while receiving members of the Borno Correspondents’ Chapel on a solidarity visit at his office in Maiduguri.

Mr. Zannah said the state government was also willing to provide accommodation for the senior military officers expected in Maiduguri.

He commended the gallant efforts of the military for dislodging the Boko Haram insurgents from their hideout in Sambisa forest.

“The state government is ready to provide logistics and other support to ensure smooth relocation of the Military High Command to Maiduguri.

“We are also willing to provide accommodation to the senior officers coming,” Mr. Zannah said.

He expressed optimism that the relocation of the High Command to Maiduguri would further boost the military campaign against insurgency.

“We are hoping that the movement will help crush the insurgents and bring back hope to our people who have suffered great damage due to the insurgency,” he said.

The deputy governor also expressed happiness over the outcome of the recent G7 meeting where world leaders pledged support for Nigeria’s anti-insurgency war.

He also announced that the state government had contacted some private commercial airline operators toward reviving commercial flights at the Maiduguri International Airport following approval by the military to reopen the airport that was shut down in December 2013.

“We have made contact with some airline operators toward reviving flight operations at the airport,” he said.

Credit: NAN

Buhari Pledges To Diversify Nigeria’s Oil-Dependent Economy

The President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, on Sunday in Abuja said he would shift attention from oil to agricultural and mining sectors to create jobs. Mr. Buhari said this while receiving Northern Elders led by a former diplomat, Maitama Sule.

He said he would address the problem of unemployment as it was one of the biggest challenges facing the nation. ”The biggest message is to try and persuade the people that it is not possible to change the state of affairs now.

”It took 16 years and those 16 years, most of you know it better than myself, Nigeria earned revenue more than what it earned from 1914 till then.

”In the economy, we have to quickly turn to agriculture and mining because that is where you can do the quickest work and earn results.

”In other areas, you need to study them and dust all the books and studies and get people, experienced people, committed people, technocrats to come and help the government.

‘’They need to help the government to identify priorities so that with what is available to us, we can quickly make our people realise their hope for the government they have chosen,” he said.

The president-elect said that for his administration to enjoy relative peace, security, job creation and put infrastructural facilities in place, the power sector was paramount.

Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Mr. Sule urged Mr. Buhari to be just and fair to everyone irrespective of tribe, colour or religion.

”Sir, it is easy; I know it was easy when you were a military leader and what made it easy was justice.

”With justice, you can rule Nigeria well. Justice is the key; irrespective of tribe, religion and race, justice must be done to whosoever deserves it.

”Power can remain in the hands of an infidel if he is just and fair but it will not remain in the hands of a believer if he is unfair and unjust,” he said.

Mr. Sule also said injustice was the fundamental cause of crisis all over the world and that the only solution to avert crisis was justice. “The world itself can never be governed by force or by fear nor by power; in the end, what governs is the mind, what conquers is the spirit and what governs the mind and spirit are justice and fair play.

”I have always known you to be a man of justice and I ask you to please continue, don’t change or compromise justice for anything.

“I will ask you not to discriminate against any part of Nigeria but I’ll urge you to do justice to all part of Nigeria, justice that will bring about peace and stability, that will lead to the development of Nigeria.

”I know you believe that one day you will stand before God to give account of everything you have done here on earth.

“I will rather prefer that you disappoint me than to disappoint God, your creator,” he stated.

Credit: NAN

Wamakko Pledges To Inaugurate Water Projects Before May 29

The Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko, on Wednesday pledged to complete and inaugurate the N5.6 billion ongoing water expansion project in Sokoto before handing over on May 29.

Wamakko made the pledge when he inspected the water expansion projects at Gagi, Mana, More, Tamaje, old Airport and Rinjin Sambo areas, Sokoto.

The governor expressed satisfaction with the level of work at the water expansion projects in Sokoto township, costing the state government over N5.6 billion. He disclosed that the projects would produce 40 million gallons of water daily and would be inaugurated before May 29.

Wamakko said the state government was committed to providing potable water for both human and animal consumption.

He said water tankers and boreholes would be provided to complement the existing water supply in the state capital and other local government areas in order to alleviate the suffering of the people.

Wamakko called on the people, especially people in the state capital, to promptly report any water pipe breakage or leakage to the Water Board for prompt repair. He also warned the people to desist from building on pipelines.

Credit: NAN