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Concerned ECOWAS Parliamentarians Call for Lifting of Sanctions on Niger

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Concerned ECOWAS Parliamentarians Call for Lifting of Sanctions on Niger

By: Michael Mike

A call has been made for the lifting of the sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Niger following the coup d’etat that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

The Head of State in ECOWAS had last July imposed sanctions on Niger Republic over the Bazoum ouster by some military officers led by erstwhile Presidential Guard Commander, General Abdourahamane Tchiani. This decision seems to be supported by many Western governments.

But on Wednesday at the opening of the 2nd Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Parliament for 2023 in Abuja, a group of parliamentarians of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament concerned with the turn of affairs in the troubled country, appealed to the Heads of State and Government in the region to lift the sanctions imposed on the Niger Republic.

The Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, who is also a member of the ECOWAS Parliament, Senator Ali Ndume, while addressing journalists after the opening session of the parliament, said the sanctions were biting hard on the masses including Nigerians in the border states.

Ndume said: “Niger is bordering about eight states in Nigeria, namely Borno, Yobe, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, and Kebbi. Since the closure of the border and the imposition of sanctions, poor people especially children and women have been exposed to untold hardship and no meaningful progress have been made in term of resolving this issue.

“We are, therefore, using this opportunity of the 2nd extraordinary session of the ECOWAS Parliament to appeal to the ECOWAS Head of State to intensify the resolution of the political impasse in Niger by first lifting the sanctions and opening the closed border of Niger and Nigeria.

“Let me add by saying that this is a collective decision by some of us who are concerned about what is going on and the suffering our people are going through.”

He added that: “This also affects other non-border countries because Niger is a lead way for goods moving from Sokoto to Ghana, goods moving from Togo to Nigeria, and goods moving from several parts of the ECOWAS countries from the West down to the North.”

The lawmaker said they thought the sanctions were temporary and the issues would have been resolved, “but it’s getting to four or five months into the political impasse, the only thing we know that is happening is the increased suffering of the poor people of Niger and to some extent, Nigeria.”

The Senator representing Borno South in the upper chamber of Nigeria’s National Assembly argued that the group was reechoing the position of the parliament, adding that the parliament had set up an ad-hoc committee, which he is a member of, to proffer solutions to the impasse in Niger.

He said the committee had submitted an interim report, noting that: “One of the resolutions which were endorsed by all the parliamentarians is the lifting of sanctions and the continuation of discussion on how to resolve the impasse. We are only reechoing the position of the ECOWAS parliament.”

Also speaking, Hon Abdullahi Balarabe Salame, from Sokoto, said his people were suffering from the sanctions on Republic of Niger.

He lamented that thousands of trailers loaded with food items to be transported to Niger were stranded at the order, lamenting that the food items were already decaying.

He said the border closure is also increasing insecurity in the region.

Meanwhile, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Alieu Touray, has called for concrete actions to safeguard democracy and to restore the region as the bastion of democracy in Africa.

Touray made the call in his address at the opening of the fifth Parliament’s second ordinary session of the ECOWAS Parliament of the year 2023.

Said the Republic of Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea have all experienced coups recently, creating fears that democracy could be in danger in the region.

He said: “The resurgence of coup d’états has challenged us all in more ways than one and led us to reflect on what is not working in our process of consolidating democracy.

“As politicians, you are best suited to guide us on what we must do to tackle the root causes of all these unconstitutional changes of government.

“We count on your wisdom to help in safeguarding the rights of our people and for the preservation of peace, security, and stability, which are necessary for our socio-economic development and regional integration process,” he said while addressing the parliament.

The ECOWAS Commission president said, at the political level, ECOWAS was engaging in dialogue with the Member States in transition, namely Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea, in order to support them to return to normal constitutional order through the organization of free, transparent and inclusive elections.

“As far as the Republic of Niger is concerned, we adhere to the guidance of the current Chairman of ECOWAS to resolve this crisis through dialogue and negotiation.

“On the security front, the region continues to suffer from attacks by armed groups and terrorists who seriously threaten the territorial integrity of Mali and Burkina Faso, resulting in loss of life, material damage and millions of displaced persons and refugees.

“In this regard, we continue to provide multifaceted support to help these countries face these challenges, despite the sanctions,” he said.

Speaking earlier, the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Dr Sidie Mohammed Tunis, noted that the region’s prosperity and security are inextricably linked to its members shared responsibility to look out for one another.

He said: “Only a foolish neighbour goes to bed when his neighbour’s roof is on fire,” Tunis said. “In a region of interconnected threats and challenges, we can only address our issues effectively through broad, deep, and sustained cooperation among states.”

Tunis also called for greater self-reliance from ECOWAS member states. He said that the region cannot rely on outside help to solve its problems.

“We need to be more self-reliant,” Tunis said. “Each Member State must take on more responsibility for the development and advancement of the ECOWAS region.”

He noted that despite its numerous challenges, the ECOWAS region is on the right track, pointing to the recent successful presidential and legislative elections in the Republic of Liberia as a sign of progress.

He said: “The people of Liberia have shown us that democracy is possible in our region,” insisting that: “We can all learn from their example.”

Tunis also praised the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government for its leadership in sustaining peace and security in the West African region.

Concerned ECOWAS Parliamentarians Call for Lifting of Sanctions on Niger

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Japa: Youths Advised to Seek Opportunities in Nigeria

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Japa: Youths Advised to Seek Opportunities in Nigeria

By: Michael Mike

Nigerian youths have been asked to earnestly seek opportunities available in the country rather than insatiable search for Golden Fleece outside the shores of Nigeria.

The advice was given at the weekend in Abuja at Beyond Talent Conference organised by Africa Relief Trust Initiative (ARTI).

Speaking at the Conference, which had in attendance mainly fresh graduates, the founder of ARTI, Olatunde Popoola noted that there are massive opportunities in the country for anyone to excel and it was needed engaging in irregular migration in search of Golden Fleece outside the country.

He noted that: “Youths as well as women’s level of performance and contribution is a function of their renewed knowledge, skills, attitude and motivation. Attitude constitute the most important factor in the performance of the youths. The right attitude helps to learn, show commitment to work and relate well.

“Problem solving and decision making is also a critical function of an effective youth. They are the reasons why the youth are employed or unemployed. Problems do not go away by ignoring or by good wishes but by appropriate diagnosis, analysis and actions.”

He explained that the effect of training and education. Is especially important because it helps to over-ride natural inclinations, biases or reservations they encountered while in the performance of their duties.

He noted that: “To overcome these inclinations, this “Beyond Talent Conference” things optimizing youthfulness on the pillar of human capital development is designed to enhance youth’s competences and capabilities.”

Popoola explained that ARTI which has already commenced empowerment programmes in, Ogun, Lagos, Rivers States and Abuja has a plan to raise 50,000 young entrepreneurs in 10 years across Africa and raise 10,000 young leaders within the decade.

He noted that as parts of its goals, ARTI plans to build vocational and technical centres across Africa, support government of African countries with basic amenities like schools, hospitals, roads, transport, among others, with the aim of reducing poverty to the barest minimum on the continent.

Lectures were given by Group CEO, Lifestyle Asset Hub Ltd, Dr. Abioye Oke, MD, Pait Services Ltd, Mr. Lanre Farotimi, cofounder, NURIKA, Dr. Talle Amedu, MD, Handsome Leadership Consultancy, Pastor Handsome Okwu and MD/CEO, Dunastes kok Limited, Obiekwe Ndaguba.

Japa: Youths Advised to Seek Opportunities in Nigeria

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Farmers/Herders Conflicts: Take A Leaf from Buni, KACRAN Advises

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Farmers/Herders Conflicts: Take A Leaf from Buni, KACRAN Advises

By: Michael Mike

Kulen Allah Cattle Rearers Association of Nigeria (KACRAN) has urged the Federal Government and Northern Governors to take a leaf from Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni’s approach in resolving farmers/herders conflicts

A statement signed on Saturday by the National President of the Association,
Hon. Khalil Mohammed Bello read: “The recent handling of Farmers/Herders conflicts in Yobe State by His Excellency, Governor Mai Mala Buni CON, has been commendable.

“After unexpected conflicts arose in the Fika and Gujba Local Government Areas of Yobe, Governor Buni demonstrated remarkable leadership by swiftly forming conflict resolution committees. This proactive approach led to the establishment of committees comprising herders, farmers, representatives of royal highness, security operatives, and others, tasked with identifying root causes and preventing future incidents.”

Bello added that: “Governor Buni’s directives also extended to Local Government Chairmen to form similar committees in their areas, emphasizing the importance of peace and harmony in the state. In response, the Kulen Allah Cattle Rearers Association of Nigeria (KACRAN) has embarked on a sensitization campaign to reinforce peaceful coexistence among members and neighboring communities.

“Additionally, traditional rulers were tasked with organizing security meetings to uphold peace within their jurisdictions. Stakeholders, including security personnel, heads of Farmers and Herders associations, and community leaders, have actively engaged in discussions aiming to maintain unity and stability.

“The positive response from stakeholders and the collaborative efforts to address conflicts reflect a shared commitment to lasting solutions. KACRAN acknowledges Governor Buni’s dedication to resolving conflicts and calls upon other Governors to adopt similar proactive measures in addressing Farmers/Herders conflicts nationwide.”

Bello added that the leadership demonstrated by Governor Mai Mala Buni is praised, and it is hoped that replicating such initiatives across states will lead to the eradication of farmers/gerders conflicts in Nigeria.

Farmers/Herders Conflicts: Take A Leaf from Buni, KACRAN Advises

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Tinubu’s Visit to Qatar Will Go Ahead As Scheduled- Ministry of Foreign AffairsLeak Letter, Work of Mischief Makers- Presidency

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Tinubu’s Visit to Qatar Will Go Ahead As Scheduled- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Leak Letter, Work of Mischief Makers- Presidency

By: Michael Mike

Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the visit of President Bola Tinubu to Qatar would go ahead as scheduled, adding that it was not ready to comment on the leak letter stating that the Business and Investment Forum planned by the Nigerian government during the visit would not hold.

The Ministry in a statement by its spokesperson, Fransisca Omayuli said it was “aware of the circulation of a diplomatic correspondence on the social media and wishes to state that it will not comment on leaks.”

The statement further read that “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR) will embark on a State Visit to Qatar from 2nd – 3rd March, 2024 to further cement the excellent relations existing between the two countries.

“During the visit, discussions will be held at the highest level, on a wide range of bilateral and economic issues.
The President will be accompanied on the trip by the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar (OON), among some other Ministers and top government officials.

In a separate statement by the State House signed by Special Adviser to the President on Information & Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, stated that the leak diplomatic paper was the activities of mischief makers and was never a snub of Qatar government of President Bola Tinubu.

Onanuga, in the statement said: “We are aware of a leaked diplomatic correspondence between the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Abuja and our Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s state visit to Qatar between 2 and 3 March, 2024.

“The leaked diplomatic paper by mischief makers about an investment forum is not in any way a snub on President Tinubu by the Qatari government.”

He noted that: “The Note Verbale is about a private sector-led Business and Investment Forum to be held on the margins of President Bola Tinubu’s State Visit.

“The event is being put together by the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and Qatar’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry where business people from Nigeria will engage their counterparts from Qatar on commercial and investment opportunities available in both countries.

“We note the strong bilateral relationship between our two countries and affirm that the State Visit by President Bola Tinubu to Qatar is on the invitation of the Emir of Qatar, His Highness, Sheik Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani.”

Onanuga added that: “The State Visit is particularly aimed at strengthening the bilateral economic cooperation between Nigeria and Qatar.

“NACCIMA and Qatar Chambers of Commerce and Industry are collaborating to take advantage of President Tinubu’s visit to Doha to mobilise the business community from our two countries to explore opportunities in key economic sectors such as oil & gas, manufacturing, agro-business, construction, real estate, ICT, Renewable Energy, Solid Minerals and service sector, among others.”

He revealed that: “President Tinubu is expected to proceed to Qatar on the State Visit as scheduled and during the visit, the Nigerian leader will engage in high-level bilateral discussions with Qatari leader on many important matters, covering the full range of diplomatic and economic issues.

It is not correct for anyone to insinuate that the Qatari authorities have snubbed the Nigerian leader over a business and investment forum which is tangential to the all-important State Visit and which President Tinubu is slated to attend as a guest.”

He insisted that: “President Tinubu and His Highness Al-Thani are both committed to maintaining and building on the existing cordial and special relationship between Nigeria and the State of Qatar.”

Tinubu’s Visit to Qatar Will Go Ahead As Scheduled- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Leak Letter, Work of Mischief Makers- Presidency

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