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NATIONAL NEWS

Insecurity: EU, ECOWAS move to strengthen coordination 

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Insecurity: EU, ECOWAS move to strengthen coordination 

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Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

After a closed-door exchanges on the political situation in the West African region, the European Union (EU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), on Friday, agreed to strengthen coordination in the security of the Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea.

Both bodies said it reached the conclusion that West Africa is one of the regions in the continent of Africa where democracy and the respect of human rights is the most advanced.

The EU and ECOWAS also agreed to pursue and maintain common political engagement, most importantly, in supporting free, fair, credible and peaceful elections in the West African region.

The Secretary of State, Finance, Republic of Austria and Chair of the Council of the European Union, Mr Hubert Fuchs, stated this during a press conference by the two regional bodies in Abuja at the end of the 22nd ECOWAS-EU Political Dialogue Meeting.

Fuchs said: “We have agreed that on regional security, there is a need for even greater coordination in the Sahel and to strengthen our common work in the Gulf of Guinea.”

The EU and ECOWAS also took into consideration, the economic life of the West African region and agreed to enhance further partnership.

Fuchs added: “On trade and economy, we agreed on the need to take our partnership even further.”

Fuchs further said since the EU recognised the need for more investments in West Africa, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, launched in September, the “Africa-Europe Alliance for sustainable investment and jobs.”

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According Fuchs, “the West Africa region is particularly fit to benefit from this alliance, as it has resources, including people and talent, dynamism and drive.”

Fuchs further said, “This alliance also lends support to the effective implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and regional grouping in Africa, including ECOWAS.

“Together, they will help lay a firm basis for the African Continental Free Trade Area. The alliance, the Economic Partnership Agreements  and the African Continental Free Trade Area will provide opportunities to expand trade, encourage investment, diversify economies, promote industrialisations and create jobs.”

Earlier, Fuchs said the ministerial dialogue exchanged as well, challenge and opportunities over population growth, job creation, migration and mobility.

According to Fuchs, “These are phenomena, which need to be jointly managed, in mutual interest and in a balanced way.”

While saying that the EU is not a fortress, Fuchs added that the EU cannot be borderless either.

Fuchs further said the issue of irregular migration was an issue of high political importance in Europe which it took to ECOWAS in order to find common and constructive and mutually beneficial ways forward.

He said the EU hoped to go about it through solidarity, partnership and shared responsibility.

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Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mustapha Suleiman, who represented the Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, said the meeting discussed various areas of cooperation between the EU and the ECOWAS.

Suleiman said, “It has been a fruitful discussion ranging from security to economic cooperation that will enhance both regions. Essentially, areas of concerns have been raised and assurances and commitment have also been given in all those areas.

“We have discussed elections and political situation in some of ECOWAS countries, we have also isolated some challenges and proffer some solutions  that both EU and ECOWAS would pursue towards the resolution of political crisis in some of these countries.”

 

The post Insecurity: EU, ECOWAS move to strengthen coordination  appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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