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A file photo of former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okono-Iweala.

 

Nigeria is currently reaching out to all members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in its bid to ensure Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala becomes the next Director-General of the global trade body.

The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.

She stated that the Federal Government was already in talks with the United States of America and South Korea to overcome the impasse.

Katagum noted that this was to persuade the countries, especially the U.S. to join the consensus in adopting the recommendation of the appointment of Dr Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, as WTO DG.

“We shall keep you updated on this issue and hope that, we would achieve the desired goal of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala securing appointment as the first African and the first female to head the WTO,” she said.

She added, “Nigeria wishes to express profound appreciation to all members of the WTO  that have supported Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the post of WTO Director-General and would reach out to other countries to secure the consensus needed in the final decision on her appointment as the next Director-General of the WTO.”

A file photo of the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, Photo: Twitter- @TradeInvestNG

 

Katagum, who chairs the Campaign Strategy Team for Nigeria’s DG-WTO candidate, hinted that the team held an emergency virtual meeting on Friday.

She explained that the meeting was to review and strategise on the way forward in the light of recent developments in the selection process for the appointment of the WTO chief.

The minister noted that the third and final round of consultations for the selection of the DG-WTO, which commenced in Geneva on October 19, 2020, was concluded on Tuesday.

She added that the Chair of the WTO General Council, Ambassador David Walker of New Zealand, with the facilitators of the selection process, as well as the Chair of the Dispute Settlement Body and the Chair of the Trade Policy Review Body (Troika), informed the WTO members that Dr Okonjo-Iweala secured overwhelming support of members, both in terms of numbers and geographical spread.

At the meeting of WTO Heads of Delegation in Geneva held on Wednesday, the Nigerian candidate was said to have emerged as the contender most likely to gain consensus as DG-WTO.

A photo combination of Nigeria’s Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (R) and South Korean Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee (L). Both women are in the running to lead the World Trade Organisation. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

However, her appointment is expected to be adopted by consensus of all members, in line with WTO decision-making procedure at a Special General Council Meeting scheduled for November 9.

The U.S. had stated reservations on the outcome of the final round in view of the fact that its preference was still the candidate of South Korea.

It also said it would not join the consensus in selecting Dr Okonjo-Iweala as DG-WTO at the forthcoming Special General Council.

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Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle

 

Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle has commiserated with the victims of bandits attack in Gidan Goga village in the Maradun Local Government Area of the state.

The governor’s condolence message was contained in a statement issued on Friday by his media aide, Zailani Bappa.

While sympathising with those who underwent the trauma as well, the governor assured that the recent attacks is “not a security lapse but a momentary hiccup that will not be allowed to last.”

READ ALSO: Four Killed, Others Injured As Bandits Attack Zamfara Community

To the governor,  the attack exposes the desperation of the bandits who he said are experiencing heavy pressure from the offensive launched by security operatives in recent times.

“I want to assure our law obedient citizens of Zamfara State that the experience we are undergoing will not last. The bandits are experiencing our sustained pressure which they react through cowardly and desperate attacks on innocent citizens,” the governor was quoted as saying.

“However, we shall not rest on our oars until we find a lasting solution to the emergence of violence in our communities.

“We implore for maximum co-operation from the communities in terms of swift intelligence reports.”

His reaction comes hours after four persons were killed and some others injured in the fresh attack by suspected bandits.

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File photo of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu

 

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has inaugurated a committee to assess the losses suffered by the Nigeria Police Force.

Adama, according to a statement issued on Friday by the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said the inauguration followed the recent EndSARS protests across the country.

He observed that the “Force encountered huge losses in terms of human and material resources during the ENDSARS protests which commenced on a rather peaceful note but unfortunately degenerated into violence, loss of lives and wanton destruction of property.”

While asking Chairman of the Assessment Committee, CP Abutu Yaro, to see the assignment as a call to service, the IGP charged him to be diligent in executing the task.

“The Committee, which has CP Abutu Yaro as Chairman, was charged by the IGP to see the assignment as a call to service which must be undertaken with purposefulness, empathy, dedication and sacrifice.

“The terms of reference of the Committee include: that the delegation should physically visit the scenes of incident and capture the pictorials of all damages done to police infrastructure and personnel; verify the fatalities suffered by the police; establish the weapons holdings that were lost during the incidents, amongst others.

“The IGP particularly emphasized that the delegates should visit families of deceased police officers and the injured on behalf of the Force,” the statement added.

Read The Full Statement Issued By The Police Spokesman Below:

AFTERMATH OF ENDSARS PROTESTS: IGP INAUGURATES 9-MAN COMMITTEE TO ASSESS LOSSES SUFFERED BY THE FORCE

PRESS RELEASE

AFTERMATH OF ENDSARS PROTESTS: IGP INAUGURATES 9-MAN COMMITTEE TO ASSESS LOSSES SUFFERED BY THE FORCE

  • Appreciates Sacrifices by Police personnel, delegates to visit families of deceased and injured officers

The Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni has inaugurated a 9-Man Committee for the assessment of losses suffered by the Nigeria Police Force during the ENDSARS Protests across the country. The IGP, during the inauguration program which held at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, today, Friday, 30th October, 2020, noted that the setting up of the Assessment Committee is informed by the need to properly document the losses suffered by the Force for the purposes of strategic planning, re-construction and re-equipment as well as for future reference. He observed that the Force encountered huge losses in terms of human and material resources during the ENDSARS protests which commenced on a rather peaceful note but unfortunately degenerated into violence, loss of lives and wanton destruction of property.

The Committee, which has CP Abutu Yaro as Chairman, was charged by the IGP to see the assignment as a call to service which must be undertaken with purposefulness, empathy, dedication and sacrifice. The terms of reference of the Committee include: that the delegation should physically visit the scenes of incident and capture the pictorials of all damages done to police infrastructure and personnel; verify the fatalities suffered by the police; establish the weapons holdings that were lost during the incidents, amongst others. The IGP particularly emphasized that the delegates should visit families of deceased police officers and the injured on behalf of the Force.

The IGP, while appreciating President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, GCON and Government at all levels for their support and commitment to the holistic reforms of the Force, reassured the families of the deceased police officers and the injured their losses and sacrifices would continually be remembered by the Force and the nation. The IGP also appreciated the professional conduct and restraints by Police personnel during the period, even in the face of imminent threats to their lives.

DCP FRANK MBA

FORCE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER

FORCE HEADQUARTERS

ABUJA

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Westgate Mall in Nairobi after the deadly assault by Islamist gunmen on September 21, 2013.
View dated on September 30, 2013 shows inside the Westgate Mall in Nairobi after the deadly assault by Islamist gunmen on September 21, 2013. James Quest / AFP

 

A Kenyan court Friday handed prison terms of 33 and 18 years respectively to two men accused of conspiring with the Al-Shabaab extremists who attacked Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall in 2013, killing 67 people.

Mohamed Ahmed Abdi and Hassan Hussein Mustafa, both 31, were found guilty on October 7 of conspiring with and supporting the four assailants from the Somalia-based jihadist group who died in what was then Kenya’s worst terrorist attack in 15 years.

The pair, wearing Islamic prayer caps and face masks, asked the judge for leniency, saying they had already served seven years behind bars and had family to care for.

“Despite mitigation by their defence lawyers on their innocence, the offence committed was serious, devastating, destructive, that called for a punishment by the court,” Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi told a Nairobi courtroom.

He sentenced the pair men to 18 years for conspiracy and 18 for supporting extremists, but ordered they serve both terms together. Abdi was also given an additional 15 years for two counts of possessing jihadist propaganda material on his laptop.

He will serve 26 years and Mustafa 11, taking into account their pre-trial detention.

The convicted men were in regular contact with the attackers who at midday on September 21, 2013, stormed the upscale Westgate mall in the Kenyan capital and began throwing grenades and firing indiscriminately on shoppers and business owners.

A four-day siege ensued — much of it broadcast live on television — during which Kenyan security forces tried to flush out the gunmen and take back the high-end retail complex.

Although there was no specific evidence Abdi and Mustafa had provided material help, the court was satisfied their communication with the attackers amount to supporting the armed rampage, and justified the guilty verdict for conspiracy.

The marathon trial began in January 2014. A third accused was acquitted of all charges.

 

Mohamed Ahmed Abdi, right, and his co-accused Hassan Hussein Mustafa stood accused of being accessories in the Westgate Mall attack of September 2013, Nairobi, October 30, 2020. (AFP)

 

Revenge

The Westgate attack was claimed by Al-Shabaab in retaliation for Kenya intervening military over the border in Somalia, where the Islamist group was waging a bloody insurgency against the fragile central government.

Kenya is a major contributor of troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which in 2011 drove Al-Shabaab out of Mogadishu and other urban strongholds after a months-long offensive.

In a car the attackers drove to Westgate, police found evidence of newly-activated SIM cards used by the gunmen. Their communications were traced, including calls to Mohamed Ahmed Abdi and Hassan Hussein Mustafa.

A fourth defendant, Adan Mohammed Abdikadir, was acquitted in early 2019 for lack of evidence.

The Westgate attack was the deadliest incident of violent extremism on Kenyan soil since the 1998 bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, which killed 213 people.

But since the assault on the shopping complex, Al-Shabaab has perpetrated further atrocities in Kenya against civilian targets.

In April 2015, gunmen entered Garissa University and killed 148 people, almost all of them students. Many were shot point blank after being identified as Christians.

In January 2019, the militants struck Nairobi again, hitting the Dusit Hotel and surrounding offices and killing 21 people.

Al-Shabaab warned in a January statement that Kenya “will never be safe” as long as its troops were stationed in Somalia, and threatened further attacks on tourists and US interests.

That same month, Al-Shabaab attacked a US military base in northeast Kenya in a cross-border raid, killing three Americans and destroying a number of aircraft.

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taiwo-awoniyi
Taiwo Awoniyi being stretchered off the pitch after colliding with Augsburg’s Felix Uduokhai in a Bundesliga game on 14/6/2020. Photo: Twitter/Mainz 05

 

The Bundesliga goes back behind closed doors this weekend with Borussia Dortmund leading the complaints against the government’s decision to lock out fans in an attempt to help curb record coronavirus numbers.

On Friday, Germany reported a record 18,681 new cases of Covid-19 in the previous 24 hours.

Amid measures announced Wednesday, all professional sport, including the Bundesliga, must be played behind closed doors until at least the end of November, a return to the end of last season when terraces had to remain empty.

The clubs can survive on money from the sale of the German Football League’s broadcasting rights, but their funds are hit hard by a lack of matchday revenue.

Christian Seifert, managing director of the German Football League (DFL) has advised clubs to take cost-cutting steps.

“It would be very optimistic to assume that large amounts of spectator income will flow this season,” Seifert told daily Handelsblatt on Friday.

“Every club is well advised these days to reduce fixed costs. And that includes personnel costs.”

Since the season started in mid-September, Germany’s top-flight clubs had been allowed to admit small number of fans, providing their hygiene plan was approved by the local health authority, but even that is now on hold.

Dortmund has posted an open letter on their website questioning the decision to exclude spectators again despite having had their ‘complex hygiene concept’ approved.

“It’s difficult to accept that facts do not count,” said the statement.

“Every spectator in our stadiums was disciplined. Nobody was infected in the fresh air.

“However, we accept the situation as it is and continue to do our small part to flatten the curve,”  the club said, urging fans to “keep their distance, wear masks, avoid gatherings and parties”.

Dortmund’s home league showdown with Bayern Munich on November 7 will be behind closed doors.

Yet 11,500 fans were allowed to watch a 4-0 home win over Freiburg in early October.

As the rate of infection has risen, so the allowed attendance limit dwindled to just 300 for last Saturday’s 3-0 win over Schalke in the Ruhr derby.

Dortmund’s stance is backed by a study of large events, published Thursday, which found that if hygiene measures are followed, the risk of infection would be “low to very low overall”.

The results are from August’s ‘RESTART-19’ project when scientists collected data from an indoor concert in Leipzig attended by 1,400 volunteers.

For European champions Bayern Munich, all home games since the pandemic hit Europe in mid-March have been behind closed doors on advice from the local health authority.

– Survival -Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says they expect “more than 100 million euros ($117 million) in lost revenues” this season.

“Across Europe, every club loses between 50 and 200 million euros in a season that it has to play without spectators,” Rummenigge told German daily Bild last Sunday.

“You can count on five fingers how long a football club can survive that”.

Current Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig are backed by the deep pockets of Austrian energy drinks giants Red Bull.

Commercial director Florian Scholz says they factored a lack of matchday revenue this season in their planning, as all clubs were advised to do by the league, “but that won’t work out well over a long period of time”.

Further down the league, Werder Bremen are considering furloughing staff.

“We will be financed through to January, then we will look at our next options,” president Hubertus Hess-Grunewald told Bild.

According to reports, Eintracht Frankfurt expect to have used up cash reserves built up over the last two years by the time the season ends in May.

Champions League sides Borussia Moenchengladbach and RB Leipzig begrudgingly accept the decision to keep fans out.

“I think in extraordinary times, sometimes it’s just as important to make a fist in your pocket in the interest of everyone,” said Gladbach sports director Max Eberl.

“It hurts us, but we are not threatened at all, however we know that caterers and also the retail trade are again facing huge problems.”

RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann agrees that something had to be done to curb the sky-rocketing infection numbers.

“Unfortunately, the figures are developing in the wrong direction and we must therefore accept the situation as it is,” said Nagelsmann.

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