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Gaza War: Israeli, Palestinian Envoys Lay Bare Conditions for End of Hostilities



Gaza War: Israeli, Palestinian Envoys Lay Bare Conditions for End of Hostilities

By: Michael Mike

Both Israeli and Palestinian envoys to Nigeria have laid bare the conditions to ending ongoing hostilities in Gaza

While the Israeli ambassador, Michael Freeman insisted that Hamas must be eliminated for peace to reign, his Palestinian counterpart said the investigation of war crimes remained only solution to a sustained peace in the troubled area.

Though both envoys seem unmoved in their conditions but they expressed commitment to peaceful coexistence.

The commitment comes as thousands of casualties are recorded on both sides of the divide in the ongoing war.

The two envoys were brought to give their side of the story at the 4th webinar edition of the Geopolitics Series on Thursday, which focused on the ‘Israel-Hamas War and the Way Forward.’

The event, organised by the Media Centre for Development (MCD) in Abuja, Nigeria, in collaboration with the West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) in Dakar, Senegal, brought together stakeholders, Ambassadors of Israel and Palestine, and prominent voices across Africa. This collaborative effort seeks to address the critical pre-conditions set by each side, acknowledging their impact on survival.

The Convener of Geopolitics Series Senator Iroegbu,, opened the dialogue with a strong emphasis on shedding light on the pressing issue, exploring pathways to peaceful coexistence and development.

Iroegbu stressed that the dialogue, conducted under the theme ‘Bridging Divides for Sustainable Peace in the Middle East and Beyond,’ aimed to promote understanding, address humanitarian considerations, comprehend global implications, and unlock the potential for African involvement.

“The 4th Edition of Geopolitics Series focuses on the Israel-Hamas conflict, transcending boundaries for global resonance. In partnership with West African Democracy Radio, we strive for peace, uniting voices, including the Palestinian and Israeli Ambassadors. The theme highlights our commitment to understanding, coexistence, and addressing humanitarian concerns with global implications. In these crucial moments, we aim to illuminate the conflict’s origins, challenges, and potential solutions,” Iroegbu said.

Freeman the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria and the Permanent Representative of Israel to ECOWAS, expressed a commitment to peaceful coexistence. He highlighted the inhumane treatment of Israelis, lamenting the murders, killings of families, and the horrific acts of rape against women by Hamas. Freeman expressed concern over Hamas’s refusal to release hostages taken during the conflict, detailing the scale of attacks and the impact on peace talks.

He said: “We are witnessing a heartbreaking reality where children are ruthlessly killed in the presence of their parents, and parents are brutally murdered before their own children. This level of brutality surpasses even the atrocities committed by ISIS. Hamas, in a disturbing act of pride, televised this horrific attack, openly declaring their intent to repeat it.

“For Israel, our priority is ensuring that Hamas does not perpetrate such atrocities again. Ceasing fire is a possibility, but the release of kidnapped victims is non-negotiable. If Hamas genuinely desires an end to the conflict, they must commit to a long-term cessation, not a temporary pause for regrouping and subsequent attacks.”

“Hamas’s current agenda aims to inflate casualty numbers for manipulation against Israel. They possess hidden weapon facilities, and even terrorists surrendering from hospitals reveal their insidious tactics. Their call for a ceasefire is not rooted in genuine intent but rather in strategic words lacking sincerity,” Freeman stated.

Addressing the path to peace, Freeman outlined key considerations, including condemning the events of October 7th, ending the education of children to kill Jews, and acknowledging the Jewish people. He underscored the need for Palestinian leaders to stand up against Hamas’s actions, release hostages, and embrace compromise for peace.

Responding to accusations of civilian casualties, Freeman acknowledged it as the unfortunate reality of war but highlighted Israeli efforts to create safe zones and minimise casualties.

In response, the Palestinian Ambassador to Nigeria, Abdullah AbuShawesh, affirmed the Palestinian commitment to peace. He stressed that Palestinians do not harbour hatred for Jews but rather concerned about prevailing thoughts in Israeli leadership. Shawesh delved into historical events, tracing tensions back to 1917, and denied allegations of rape, asserting a commitment to truth and dialogue.

He said: “The Israeli settlers are responsible for the horrifying acts of burning and burying Palestinians. The claim of widespread rape is baseless and untrue, contrary to the facts.

“We stand resilient against attempts to eradicate us from our land, a struggle dating back to 1917, but we will not succumb. Our acknowledgment of the Israeli people’s right to live is not synonymous with teaching hatred towards Jews; such allegations are unfounded.”

“It is crucial to recognise that Israeli supremacy is deeply embedded in their leadership, as evidenced by historical remarks. Dispelling misinformation is paramount for fostering understanding and seeking a just resolution to the longstanding conflict.”

In seeking solutions, Ambassador Shawesh proposed an inquiry commission, independently investigating claims from both sides. He urged involvement from the African Union and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to address what he termed war crimes committed by Israel.

Ms. Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll, an American-Israeli activist, American-Israeli activist Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll, expressed deep concern for the aftermath of the war, particularly its impact on women and girls. A tearful Jaskoll described the impact in Israel following the attack, disclosing that people are volunteering daily for funerals as parents bury their children.

She emphasised that Hamas is not a solution for peace; it must go for peace to prevail. She highlighted the devastating impact on women and girls, revealing evidence of sexual assault on young girls after the attack, while calling for women to be part of decision-making processes, emphasising the need for peace for the sake of future generations.

“It is imperative for women to be active participants in decision-making committees, bringing forth their creative ideas. Our pursuit of peace is fundamentally for the well-being of our children. Let us invest our time in securing a future for our children through concerted efforts. Recognize that none of us is going anywhere unless we collectively strive for a harmonious and prosperous future, “she said.

Speaking on ‘Nigerian/African diplomacy and perspective in resolving the conflict’, former Deputy Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, Amb. Usman Sarki, insisted on the two-state solution. Sarki noted that the positions of both Nigeria and Africa is that Palestinians deserves the rights to statehood and called for a “reinvigorated and enhanced roles of the United Nations” as well as the full implementation of the UN Resolution in 1947.

“Nigeria and Africa should call for Palestine to become a full-fledged member of the United Nations…recognition of the rights of Palestine to exist as country within the 1967 border”, he added.

In her welcome address, the Station Manager of WADR, Ms. Agnes John-Thomasi, stressed the profound loss experienced by both sides and advocated for unity through dialogue, recognizing it as the path to true peace.

“The road to lasting peace may be challenging, but it is not insurmountable. Together, let us construct bridges for peaceful coexistence, for the world truly needs peace,” John-Thomasi said.

Other speakers include Mr. Fidel Amakye Owusu, Security and Geopolitical Advisor, Riley Risk Inc, Ghana who gave an ‘Overview: What has geopolitics to do with this conflict – from Africa to the wider world’; and Dr. Samuel Ayegba, Department of Defence and Security Studies, Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, who ‘Explored the role…perspectives of the academic institutions.

The webinar concluded with a shared understanding that the road to lasting peace may be challenging but is not insurmountable. The commitment expressed by Israel and Palestine, coupled with the engagement of stakeholders, marks a significant step toward fostering understanding and seeking solutions for sustainable peace.

Gaza War: Israeli, Palestinian Envoys Lay Bare Conditions for End of Hostilities

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Nigeria/EU trade volume hits €45b



Nigeria/EU trade volume hits €45b

By: Michael Mike

Latest statistics has shown that Nigeria and European Union trade volume has grown to €45 billion.

The statistics showed that this was the case as at September 2023, even as the
United Nations COMTRADE database indicated that Nigeria remains EU largest trade partner, accounting for 20.9% of Nigeria’s global trade.

The EU is made up of 28 European countries, though there are 50 countries considered European.

The Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu during the celebration of 2024 European Day in Abuja on Thursday night said the value of trade between Nigeria and the EU has increased consistently, demonstrating the
potential for even greater collaboration.

Kalu while disclosing that Nigeria is prepared to provide an encouraging environment for investment, said: “The European Union is one of our most significant trading partners, and our economic ties have grown steadily.

“The value of trade between Nigeria and the EU has increased consistently, demonstrating the potential for even greater collaboration.”

Kalu while quoting the United Nations COMTRADE database, added that “as of September 2023, the EU’s bilateral trade with Nigeria has surpassed €45 billion.

“The EU is Nigeria’s largest trading partner, accounting for 20.9% of Nigeria’s
global trade.”

He assured EU that: “As we look to the future, Nigeria is committed to engendering an environment encouraging investment and trade with our European

“We recognize the vital role that
European businesses play in our economic development, and we welcome
continued investment in ourindustries, infrastructure, and technology

He equally, commended the cultural exchange between both parties, saying “Europe is a source of rich history, art, and
innovation, while Nigeria is a vibrant hub of diverse cultures and traditions.

“By having cultural exchanges, we build bridges of understanding that
transcend geographical boundaries.

“I am pleased to see that more
European cultural events are being held in Nigeria and that Nigerian
artists, musicians, and scholars are gaining recognition in Europe.

“These exchanges contribute to a more harmonious and interconnected world.”

The Deputy Speaker also commended the EU for it support to the country, especially in the area of education, healthcare,
digital economy, agriculture, security, and governance.

He noted that: “The European Union (EU) is supporting Nigeria’s digital transformation with a €820 million
investment through its Global Gateway initiative.

“This investment includes €160million in grants and €660million in loans.

“The EU is also supporting
Nigeria’s digital future through the AU-EUD4D Hub, a project that helps
African institutions create an enabling environment for a sustainable digital

“Further more, the European Union has initiated several projects aimed at
promoting climate-smart agriculture and advancing Nigeria’s green transition.

“The GENESII: Mobility for Plant Genomics Scholars to Accelerate Climate-Smart Adaptation Options and Food Security in Africa II, is designed to foster academic exchange and research in plant
genomics, enhancing Africa’s adaptation to climate change and promoting
food security.

“The Small Hydro Power Development for Agro-industry Use (SHP-DAIN) project promotes the use of small-scale hydro power to boost agro-industrial production.”

He stressed that the EU’s commitment to the Climate-Smart Agriculture for Development Programme “underlines its support for climate-smart, innovative agriculture with an improved agribusiness climate and equitable participation of women and youth.”

He also said: “Beyond these projects,
the EU has also demonstrated its commitment to security and peace in the
Lake Chad region, mobilizing €2.5 billion since 2014 to support stabilization, peace, and security initiatives.

“This extensive support highlights the EU’s dedication to sustainable development and enhancing the quality of life for Nigerians”.

Kalu said: “As the Deputy Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, I believe in the importance of strengthening our democratic institutions and promoting
good governance.

“Europe has been a valuable partner in this regard, offering support and guidance as we work to uphold the principles of
democracy and the rule of law.”

In her remarks, Head of EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Samuela Isopi said Nigeria remains a strategic partner to EU.

Isopi said EU cooperation with Nigeria tops global rankings whether in the energy and climate, digital, innovation, health or entrepreneurship areas.

She also said EU is targeting critical private and public investment in Nigeria.

Isopi also assured Nigeria of EU support in the efforts at ensuring democratic rules in the West African region.

She noted that: “A year ago, we met to celebrate Europe Day on the eve of the inauguration of the new administration in Nigeria and the start of a new chapter in our partnership. Since then, the joint visit of EU International Partnerships and Energy Commissioners, Jutta Urpilainen and Kadri Simpson, in October last year for the EU-Nigeria Strategic Dialogue, positioned Nigeria as a primary partner for the European Union.

“By now, EU cooperation with Nigeria tops global rankings whether in the energy and climate, digital, innovation, health or entrepreneurship areas. This is further amplified by our joint work with EU Member States and EU financial institutions (such as the European Investment Bank) as Team Europe, which combines our strengths across most areas of cooperation.

“In line with the Global Gateway strategy, EU cooperation is now targeting critical public and private investments, thereby providing the necessary instruments to make such investments viable and sustainable. In the health sector, besides continuous support to public actors at federal and state level, our support includes the mobilisation of public and private sectors investors towards increased local manufacturing of vaccines and other health products. “

On the coming Nigeria/EU Business Forum on July 2nd in Abuja, Isopi said it will bear witness to progress made and raise our ambition for the years to come.”

Adding, “As we increasingly focus on investments, our support to migration, governance, peace and security will continue unabated. This support reflects the fundamental values and challenges that bind the EU and Nigeria, such as the rule of law, democratic governance and protection of fundamental rights.

“In that regard, we believe that the position – and empowerment – of women and youth in today’s Nigeria deserves our collective attention. “

On the political front, the envoy said “While working with the National Assembly, Government at Federal and State level, we remain strong advocate and supporters of the need for a vibrant civil society, which provides a unique opportunity to promote change and accountability.

“Since we last met to celebrate Europe day, West Africa has gone through one of the most difficult times in its history.

“The EU continues to stand by Nigeria, by its regional partners and by ECOWAS and remains committed to supporting the region in building a community for the people.”

Nigeria/EU trade volume hits €45b

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Gaza: 155,000 Pregnant Women Struggling to Survive- Says Palestine Envoy



Gaza: 155,000 Pregnant Women Struggling to Survive- Says Palestine Envoy

By: Michael Mike

Ambassador of Palestine to Nigeria, Abdullah Shawesh has drawn global attention to emerging humanitarian crisis in war torn Gaza, stating that around 155,000 pregnant women and new mothers are struggling to survive.

He said: “They are suffering from hunger and the diseases that stalk it, amid life-threatening shortages of food, water and medical care …. Only three maternity hospitals remain in the Gaza Strip, and they are overwhelmed with patients.

“Doctors and midwives … are struggling to provide adequate care to newborns.”

Addressing a press conference at the weekend on the situation in Gaza, Shawesh lamented that mass graves continued to be discovered on Gaza Strip, with the war currently leaving an estimated 37 million tons of debris and unexploded ordnance.

He decried that as it stands, the war is projected could take 14 years to clear the unexploded ordnance and rubble.

Shawesh said: “As of May 1, the number of Palestinian martyrs has reached 34,535, with 77,704 wounded, in addition to thousands of others who are still missing under the rubble or subjected to enforced disappearance in Israeli occupation detention centers.”

He alleged that “Palestinian detainees are subjected to harsh measures, receiving minimal sustenance such as a single slice of bread and a small amount of food to merely sustain their lives and prevent death, resulting in substantial weight loss and serious health consequences.”

“Around 155,000 pregnant women and new mothers are struggling to survive. They are suffering from hunger and the diseases that stalk it, amid life-threatening shortages of food, water and medical care …. Only three maternity hospitals remain in the Gaza Strip, and they are overwhelmed with patients.

He noted that: “The Palestinian Minister of Transport, Tariq Zourub, declared that the losses of the transportation sector in the Gaza Strip exceeded 3 billion dollars. The occupation destroyed about 945 km of roads and 55,000 vehicles, which is equivalent to 65% of the road network and 60% of the vehicles licensed in the strip.
Day after day, Israeli crimes in Gaza are revealed, and every day we witness a new chapter of genocidal crimes.”

He added that: “Recently, many mass graves were discovered in the Al-Shifa Medical Complex and the Nasser Medical Complex in the Gaza Strip, which contain hundreds of dead bodies.”

Gaza: 155,000 Pregnant Women Struggling to Survive- Says Palestine Envoy

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Rwanda Warns that Allowing Hatred, Disunity to Fester Could Lead to Genocide



Rwanda Warns that Allowing Hatred, Disunity to Fester Could Lead to Genocide

By: Michael Mike

Rwanda has warned of the dangers of allowing hatred and disunity to fester, insisting that this could lead to genocide like it witnessed over 30 years ago where a million people were killed in the spate of 100 days.

The Rwandan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Christophe Bazivamo, stated this at the 30th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Abuja.

The commemoration is observed under the multi-year theme, “Remember – Unite – Renew”.

Bazivamo stated that the path to lasting peace demands constant vigilance, adding that “As we renew, we restate our unbreakable pledge to fight intolerance, discrimination, ethnic hatred, hate speeches, genocide revisionism, and denial in all their forms.

“Unfortunately, this is happening today just beyond Rwanda’s borders in the Great Lakes region. We should never allow the embers of hatred to reignite.”

The High Commissioner further said: stated: “On this Kwibuka 30, together, we can ensure that the memory of the victims becomes a powerful force for good, inspiring future generations to choose peace over hate, unity over division, and hope over despair.

“This can be achieved in different ways including putting course lessons about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in schools and the establishment of memory symbols in remembrance of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi to educate the young and the next generation on the need to fight hate ideologies and stand against any form of discrimination and divisionism. Let us work together to build a world where such atrocities never happen again.”

In his remarks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar conveyed the condolences of the Nigerian government to the survivors of the genocide.

Tuggar represented by a former ambassador to Sudan, Safiu Olaniyan said: “Genocide should not be allowed to raise its head ever again.”

The Secretary General, United Nations, Antonio Guterres urged the world to stand as one against all forms of hatred and discrimination.

Guterres whose speech was read at the occasion by the UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mohamed Malick Fall noted that: “To those who would seek to divide us, we must deliver a clear, unequivocal and urgent message: never again.

“We can draw a straight line between the senseless slaughter of one million Tutsi — as well as some Hutu and others who opposed the genocide — and the decades of hate speech that preceded it, enflamed by ethnic tensions and the long shadow of colonialism.

“Today, around the world, the darkest impulses of humanity are being awakened once more by the voices of extremism, division and hate.

“On this solemn day of remembrance, let’s pledge to stand as one against all forms of hatred and discrimination.

In his remarks, a retired Nigerian Navy admiral, Samuel Alade who witnessed the genocide while in Rwanda said, “I commend the tenacity of purpose and the commitment of the Rwandans to make their nation an example of relevance.”

Rwanda Warns that Allowing Hatred, Disunity to Fester Could Lead to Genocide

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