Weakened Merkel Embarks On Tough Election Campaign

Angela Merkel’s conservatives gave her an over 11-minute standing ovation after handing her another term as party chief, but also issued a warning in re-electing her with the worst score since she became German chancellor.

With the mixed verdict Tuesday from her party rank and file on her bid for a fourth term, Merkel embarks on her toughest election campaign weakened by her liberal refugee policy that has polarised Europe’s biggest economy.

While 89.5 percent is hardly a score to be scoffed at, it fell just short of the 90 percent of Christian Democratic Union delegates seen as a crucial threshold.

“It shows that she has lost confidence but has not fully regained it,” said Spiegel Online.

Rheinische Post daily agreed, saying that “it is clear that this chancellor is no longer strong enough to simply use ‘you know me’ to win the 2017 elections,” referring to a previous Merkel slogan.

“That attitude, which helped her in the 2013 (general election) campaign, almost led to her doom in the refugee crisis. For too long, she has trusted her party and voters to simply follow her,” it said.

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Fani-Kayode Talks Tough After Prison Release

Fresh out of prisons where he was remanded for two months as he faced corruption trial before a Federal High Court, a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, came out swinging Friday night, using his first press statement since his release to lob scathing assaults against Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Mr. Fani-Kayode, who was announced released only a few hours ago after spending 67 days in Ikoyi Prisons, said his arrest and ongoing trial were a handiwork of Mr. Buhari’s government that aimed to “silence me, break me, discredit me and destroy.”

Until Friday, Mr. Fani-Kayode had remained detained since he was first arrested on May 9, 2016, after honouring an invitation from Nigeria’s flagship anti-corruption agency, the EFCC.

Mr. Fani-Kayode was later transferred to Lagos where authorities slammed a 17-count charge on him, mostly bothering on allegations that the one-time Minister of Culture and Tourism benefitted from stolen public funds during the 2015 general elections.

After weeks in detention, Mr. Fani-Kayode was granted a N250 million bail on July 4, but he was still kept in custody pending his meeting the requirements for his bail.

“I give thanks to God that I am free after 67 days in detention,” Mr. Fani-Kayode said. “I thank my wife, lawyers, children and friends for all their support.”

Mr. Fani-Kayode said his ordeal behind bars marked the worst moment of his life and emphasised his innocence.

“This was the worst experience of my life but God was with me all the way. I suffered immeasurably but I count it all as joy.  I am innocent of all charges and I look forward to defending myself vigorously in court.

“These charges are politically motivated and I have been severely punished for my political views and criticisms of the government,” Mr. Fani-Kayode said.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Navy Goes Tough On Kidnappers, Vandals In Niger Delta

The Nigerian Navy has launched 25 gunboats to tackle the menace of kidnapping and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral, Ibok Ekwe Abas, said he inaugurated the gunboats in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to support naval operations against kidnapping and other criminalities in the maritime environment.

Abas, who spoke at the Headquarters of the Central Naval Command (CNC), Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Wednesday said active community participation was required to stamp out kidnapping and pipeline vandalism.

Abas spoke shortly after meeting with the senior officials and commanders of the CNC behind closed doors.

He said since kidnappers operate on land, live among people and return to the creeks with their victims, members of the public should furnish security agencies with information about such individuals.

He said: “What we expect from the members of the public is to cooperate with the security services not just the Navy alone by providing information because these guys who kidnap hideaway our brothers and sisters and they stay with us.

“While the Navy is not expected to be on these points at all the time, we expect that we have the cooperation from the members of the public. We have just launched 25 gunboats which will all go to support navy operations and as time goes on more boats are going to be inducted into the various creeks and operations. “

Credit: Nation

Defeating You Won’t Be Tough, Buhari Tells Niger Delta Militants

President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to deal decisively with the seeming resurgence of oil theft, vandalism of pipelines and insecurity in the Niger Delta.

Declaring that the Nigerian Armed Forces had already dealt “deadly blows” on Boko Haram, Mr. Buhari said the activities of oil thieves and vandals would soon be brought to an end, according to a statement by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, on Tuesday.

“The oil thieves and abductors are a less problematic target. We will re-organise and deal with them,” he was quoted as saying.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Tough Times Don’t Last, But Tough People Do, Aregbesola To Osun Workers

The governor of Osun state, Rauf Aregbesola has urged public workers in the state that are yet to be paid for more than seven months to persevere as tough times don’t last but tough people do’.

The governor was reacting to the public outcry that has greeted the inability of his administration to pay workers in the state, which has led religious bodies, Non-governmental organisations and spirited individuals to make special donations and contributions for the workers and their dependents.

“Tí Eégún bá nléni, ká máa r??ju, nítorípé b’ó ti nr? ará ayé, b???? ló nr? ará ??run. Omolúàbí Osun o, akú ìr??jú o. O ku dí?? báàyí.
Tough times don’t last, BUT a tough people do! Omolúàbí Osun will outlast & overcome soonest and we shall all laugh last,” the governor posted on his social media platform.


“It is a sad development. I am struggling to reduce the pain as much as possible and I am almost at the end of the efforts I am making to ensure that by the end of this month, I will have enough to atleast meet to a large extent the salary needs of the workers
No head of the family will be happy that he cannot feed members of the family. Extend that to state, it is heart-rending that I am in this quagmire,” Aregbesola added.


Xenophobic: SA Introduces Tough New Visa Regulations

South Africa on Monday rolled out tough new visa regulations requiring children travelling into the country to carry unabridged birth certificates, a move that industry experts predict will badly damage the tourism sector. The revised regulations dictate that children of all nationals and foreigners must be accompanied by unabridged birth certificates in addition to their passports when entering or leaving the country.

The new regulations apply only to children travelling with one parent and those arriving from visa-exempt countries.  Government says the measure is aimed at curbing international child trafficking.

But the tourism industry, which contributes nine percent to the country’s GDP and employs around 1.5 million people, said the regulations were too cumbersome and would drive tourists away from South Africa.

The chamber of commerce said airlines were “doing all they can” to prepare travellers “but their efforts have been frustrated by bureaucratic bungling.” Citing official ticketing data, the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) said flight bookings to South Africa this June plunged 20 percent compared to the same period last year, a fall blamed partially on the new rules.

“Who is going to go to all this trouble to come on holiday to South Africa?” asked David Frost, the head of SATSA. “They would rather say let’s go to New Zealand, Mauritius or Puerto Rico, where they are more welcome.” Home Affairs spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete said the legislation had come into effect without major problems.

“For the most part it’s going well, we haven’t had any issues out of the ordinary,” Tswete said. The tourism industry is considering taking legal action against government for loss of business. “We have been forced into a corner and we are large sector and we will not sit quietly in a corner and watch our industry being destroyed by heavy handed bureaucrats.”

Credit: AFP