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Obasanjo Slams FG, Says Nigeria Left Behind For Not Signing Trade Pact |RN

Says Nigeria’ll be left behind for non-signing of trade pact

Obasanjo expressed optimism that the government would sign the AfCFTA in order to help its vibrant private sector benefit from the integration programme.

Amechi Ogbonna, Cairo, Egypt

Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and Chairman, Advisory Board of the First Intra-African Trade Fair holding in Cairo, Egypt, yesterday, lamented Nigeria’s failure to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), despite its leadership role in the continent.

He said it was absurd for Nigeria that had played many leadership roles on the continent from 1963 not to be part of the AfCFTA deal.

He said the rest of Africa countries was ready to proceed with the implementation of pact without Nigeria.

On March 21, 2018, 44 of the 55 African Union (AU) member states gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, to sign the AfCFTA with a view to creating a single market in the continent. Once the agreement is ratified by all signatories, the trade bloc to be created would encompass 1.2 billion people and over USD $2 trillion in combined (Gross Domestic Product (GDP.)

Obasanjo who featured at one of the closing sessions of the first Intra Africa Trade Fair and Exhibitions titled “Conversation with former Nigerian president” and moderated by Nigerian journalist, Mark Eddo, regretted that at a time the country was needed to provide leadership by being on the table to sign the AfCFTA, even after debating it at the highest policy making organ of the Federal Government, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the leadership suddenly developed cold feet thereby leaving other nations who were looking up to it for direction in quandary.

“I just sincerely hope and pray that Nigeria will be at the table before the implementation of the scheme begins. But the truth is that whether Nigeria is there or not, Africa has started to move forward and it cannot stop the rest of continent that have already signed the agreement.

He added: “We started it from 1963. From there we had the Lagos Plan of Action, then NEPAD, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and several others. But what has gone wrong today that Nigeria is taking the back stage in Africa’s economic integration initiative?”

Obasanjo, who also reminded his audience that Nigeria, as the largest economy in Africa, with one third of its the population living in virtually all parts of the world, expressed optimism that the government would comply and sign the agreement in order to help its vibrant private sector benefit from the integration programme. He expressed satisfaction with the heavy presence of the Nigerian private sector at the Fair and urged the Nigerian authorities not to allow the opportunity to slip off their hands.

According to him, the AfCTA is the economic salvation that Africa needs to redeem the wrong perceptions of it left by colonialism.

“I don’t care what people say about me but I believe this is the time that we need to rise together and prove to world leaders that go with the perception that Africans live in huts and that we are shit holes, that we are human beings and the only way we can do this is by improving the standard of living of Africans.”

He, however, called on the Afreximbank leadership to continue with its effort and commitment to changing Africa, stressing that it was high time the colonial structures left by Europe and America were dismantled.

According to him, it’s only when we do that that we can be seen as human beings and not “shit holes”.

Meanwhile, Obasanjo has called on African leaders to commit more to infrastructure development, stressing that such investment would help the private sector expand its operations.  (The Sun)

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REVEALING: Mysterious Ancient Sealed Jars Unearthed In Egyptian Tomb |RN

“This is a message sent to us from the afterlife”

Isabel Dobinson

An ancient necropolis hidden underneath an Egyptian city on the outskirts of Cairo has been discovered by archaeologists in a historical break-through.

The untouched tomb in Minya, close to Tuna el-Gebel contains up to 1,000 small statues, a unique necklace charm and 40 stone of sarcophagi.

It is believed that the site is more than 2,000 years old and holds relics dating from the late Pharaonic period to the early Ptolemaic era.

Footage captured by Reuters gives you a unique and personal insight into the ancient tomb as archaeologists continue to uncover its riches.

a rocky mountain: Credits: REUTERS          © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: REUTERS  

The revelation doesn’t only mark an archaeological triumph – it could also revive the country’s tourism.

The excavation is expected to take another five years to undercover and Egyptian authorities hope it could trigger new beginning for Egypt’s tourist trade.

On Saturday, antiquities minister Khaled El-Enany said: “It’s only the beginning.

a close up of a rock: Credits: REX/Shutterstock           © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: REX/Shutterstock  

“We are very soon going to add a new archaeological attraction to Middle Egypt.”

For years Egypt’s relics drew tourists from across the globe however numbers have rapidly declined following the overthrow of its former President, Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The number of holidaymakers visiting the country may have risen by 54% in the last year to 8.3 million but this is still well below the 14.7 million people who visited in 2010.

a group of people posing for the camera: Credits: REUTERS            © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: REUTERS  

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the necklace charm which bears a unique new year greeting had been unearthed last New Year’s Eve in a “wonderful coincidence”.

“This is a message sent to us from the afterlife,” he said.

Source: (Mirror)

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British Woman ‘Accidentally Pleads Guilty’ To Drug Smuggling In Egypt |RN

Laura Plummer        © Sky News Screen Grab Laura Plummer A British woman was reportedly visibly upset as she stood accused of smuggling drugs in an Egyptian court on Christmas Day.

Laura Plummer, from Hull, reportedly entered an incorrect plea and admitted importing the drugs by mistake after questions and responses in court were “lost in translation”.

The 33-year-old shop worker became so upset that the judge was forced to adjourn the hearing, her sister Rachel has said.

It is thought the trial will commence once the defence has found a new interpreter.

The court hearing comes after the tourist was arrested when she was found carrying 320 tramadol tablets in her suitcase. The painkillers are legal in the UK but banned in Egypt.

The woman’s family maintains she was taking the tablets for her Egyptian partner Omar Caboo, who suffers from severe back pain, and described her as “naive”.

They said she did not try to hide the medication and initially thought it was a joke when she was pulled up by officials.

Laura Plummer and Omar Caboo© Sky News Screen Grab Laura Plummer and Omar Caboo Rachel said: “She’s sleep deprived, she’s visibly nervous and upset.

“She’s answered some questions wrong because she’s not understanding them. She obviously can’t think straight.

“You can imagine the pressure – this is her life.”

She said their mother Roberta Sinclair, who travelled to the country for the hearing, and Mr Caboo were denied access to the hearing as their driver was running late.

Ms Plummer’s lawyer Mohamed Othman said the allegations against his client were “illogical” as her plane ticket was “double the price” of the pills.

He told Sky News: “For someone to be found guilty of drugs smuggling they have to be aware that they are possessing narcotics. Laura did not know that what she was carrying was a narcotic.”

Karl Turner, the MP for Hull East, told Sky News the hearing was adjourned to find Ms Plummer another interpreter.

He said: “Apparently something was lost in translation, the defence lawyer wasn’t confident that Laura was understanding the questions first of all, and the interpreter wasn’t correctly translating what Laura was saying in her answers.”

Mr Turner also praised Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s efforts in dealing with the case after Foreign Minister Alastair Burt flew to Egypt to speak to his counterparts.

He added: “The evidence is pretty clear that she didn’t know the drug was banned and she was taking it out there to help her boyfriend, who has come up with the evidence that he does suffer from a severe back problem.”

Mrs Sinclair said her “unrecognisable” daughter was being held in a communal cell with up to 25 women and no beds.

Ms Plummer is being held at the Red Sea resort of Hurghada after being arrested at the airport on 9 October.

Her family has been told she could face up to 25 years in prison or even the death penalty, according to one lawyer.

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Egyptian TV Presenter, Doaa Salah Jailed For Casting Single Motherhood In Positive Light

 

An Egyptian television presenter has been jailed for three years after she appeared to cast single motherhood in a positive light.

On her show, Doaa Salah discussed ways of becoming pregnant outside a conventional husband-and-wife relationship.

The presenter was charged with outraging public decency.

Sex before or outside marriage is widely regarded as unacceptable in socially conservative Egypt.

According to the BBC, Ms Salah discussed ways of becoming pregnant outside a conventional marriage on her show on Al-Nahar TV.

She reportedly suggested a husband could be paid for a brief marriage, and also told her audience that sperm donation was accepted in Western countries — but not in Egypt. (ABC News)

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54 Egyptian Police Officers Killed In Ambush, Say Officials |The Republican News

By MENNA ZAKI

 

CAIRO — At least 54 policemen, including 20 officers and 34 conscripts, were killed when a raid on a militant hideout southwest of Cairo was ambushed, officials said Saturday. The ensuing firefight was one of the deadliest for Egyptian security forces in recent years.

Two police officials told The Associated Press that the exchange of fire began late Friday in the al-Wahat al-Bahriya area in Giza province, about 135 kilometers (84 miles) southwest of Cairo.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.

The firefight began when security forces acting on intelligence moved against a militants’ hideout in the area. Backed by armored personnel carriers and led by senior counterterrorism officers, the police contingent drew fire and rocket-propelled grenades, according to the officials.

The officials said what happened next is not clear, but added that the force likely ran out of ammunition and that the militants captured several policemen and later killed them.

The officials said the police force appeared to have fallen into a carefully planned ambush set up by the militants. The death toll could increase, they added.

Those killed included two police brigadier-generals, a colonel and 10 lieutenant colonels.

Egypt’s Interior Ministry, which is in charge of police, announced a much lower death toll, saying in a statement read over state television that 16 were killed in the shootout. It added that 15 militants were killed or injured, later releasing photos of some of them.

People carry the coffin, covered with the an Egyptian flag, of police captain Ahmed Fayez who was killed in a gun battle in al-Wahat al-Bahriya area in Giza province, about 135 kilometers (84 miles) southwest of Cairo, during his funeral at Al-Hosary mosque, in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. At least 54 policemen, including 20 officers and 34 conscripts, were killed when a raid on a militant hideout southwest of Cairo escalated into an all-out firefight, authorities said Saturday, in one of the single deadliest attacks by militants against Egyptian security forces in recent years. (AP Photo/Alaa Elkassas)© The Associated Press People carry the coffin, covered with the an Egyptian flag, of police captain Ahmed Fayez who was killed in a gun battle in al-Wahat al-Bahriya area in Giza province, about 135 kilometers (84…

The last time Egypt’s security forces suffered such a heavy loss of life was in July 2015 when militants from the extremist Islamic State group carried out a series of coordinated attacks, including suicide bombings, against army and police positions in the Sinai peninsula, killing at least 50. However, the army said only 17 soldiers and over 100 militants were killed.

An official statement issued Saturday said Friday’s incident would be investigated, suggesting that the heavy death toll may have been partially caused by incompetence, intelligence failures or lack of coordination. The officials said prosecutors will look into whether the police’s counterterrorism agents failed to inform the military of the operation or include them.

Two audio recordings purportedly by policemen who took part in the operation circulated online late Friday. One policeman, apparently using a two-way radio, was heard in the nearly two-minute recording pleading for help from a higher-ranking officer.

“We are the only ones injured, sir,” the policeman said. “We were 10 but three were killed. After their injury, they bled to death, sir.”

“They took all the weapons and ammunition,” he added, “We are now at the foot of a mountain.”

The second recording was purportedly by a policeman warning others. “I can’t identify any direction. Only planes can see us. Take care every one,” he was heard saying, adding that militants were pursuing them.

The authenticity of the recordings could not be immediately verified.

The heavy loss of life will likely lead to the restructuring and streamlining of the country’s counterterrorism effort, the officials said, with better coordination between the police, military and security agencies high on the list of objectives.

It’s also likely to be cited by government critics as a vindication of their long-held argument that suppressing freedoms, jailing opponents and cracking down on civil society does not, as the pro-government media insists, help in the war against terror.

No militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which bore all the hallmarks of the Islamic State group. A local affiliate of the extremist group is spearheading an insurgency whose epicenter is in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The United States condemned the attack in a statement issued by State Department, offering “profound condolences to the families of the deceased and the government and people of Egypt… at this difficult time.”

The incident comes a few days after militants staged a brazen daylight attack in the heart of el-Arish, the largest city in the Sinai Peninsula, attacking a church and a nearby bank and reportedly making away with some $1 million. Seven were killed in the Monday attack.

Attacks by militants have significantly increased since the 2013 ouster by the military of an Islamist president, who was freely elected but whose one-year rule proved divisive. Attacks have also spread outside Sinai and into the country’s mainland and areas close to the porous Libyan border to the west.

The country has been under a state of emergency since April, following a spate of suicide bombings targeting minority Christians that have killed more than a 100 since December. The attacks were claimed by IS.

Egypt blamed the attacks on the Christians on militant cells trained and armed in neighboring Libya, where mostly Islamist militias, including extremist groups like IS, control territory or maintain a foothold in the vast, oil-rich nation. In response, Egypt has stepped up security along its desert border with Libya, where it supports an eastern-based army general fighting militant groups.

In July 2014, gunmen armed with rocket-propelled grenades attacked a border guard post in Egypt’s western desert in a brazen assault that killed 21 troops deployed close to the Libyan border.  (Associated Press)

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Egypt Announces Discovery Of 3,500-Years-Old Tomb In Luxor |RN

(Nariman El-Mofty/AP/PA)    © Provided by The Press Association (Nariman El-Mofty/AP/PA)

Egypt has announced the discovery in the southern city of Luxor of a pharaonic tomb belonging to a royal goldsmith who lived more than 3,500 years ago during the reign of the 18th dynasty.

The tomb is located on the west bank of the river Nile in a cemetery where noblemen and top government officials are buried.

Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany said the tomb is not in good condition, but it contains a statue of the goldsmith and his wife as well as a funerary mask.

He said a shaft in the tomb contained mummies belonging to ancient Egyptian people who lived during the 21st and 22nd dynasties.

(Nariman El-Mofty/AP/PA) © Provided by The Press Association (Nariman El-Mofty/AP/PA)

The tomb was discovered by Egyptian archaeologists and the fanfare surrounding Saturday’s announcement is designed to boost Egypt’s slowly recovering tourism industry.   (Press Association)

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17 New Mummies Found In Egypt Desert

Image result for 17 mummies found in egypt desert
                     The mummies found by archeologists in Egypt

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered 17 mummies in desert catacombs in Minya province, the antiquities ministry announced Saturday.

The mummies, yet to be dated, were the largest to be found in the area south of Cairo and may be a boost for tourism in the country.

Archaeologists found the non-royal mummies in a series of corridors after following the trail of burial shafts in the Touna-Gabal district of the central Egyptian province, the ministry said in a statement.

Along with the mummies, they found a golden sheet and two papyri in Demotic — an ancient Egyptian script — as well as a number of sarcophogi made of limestone and clay.

There were also animal and bird coffins, the ministry said.

The ministry said they belonged to the Late Period, which spanned almost 300 years up to Alexander the Great’s conquest of Egypt in 332 BC.

But a spokeswoman told AFP they could also date from the Ptolemaic Dynasty, founded by Alexander the Great’s general Ptolemy.

The discovery of the non-royal mummies is considered unprecedented because it is the first such find in the area, officials said at the site.

Egyptologist Salah al-Kholi told a news conference held near the desert site that the discovery was “the first human necropolis found in central Egypt with so many mummies”.

It could herald even more discoveries in the area, he said.

The discovery was “important, unprecedented,” Mohamed Hamza, director of excavations for Cairo University said.

The site is close to an ancient animal cemetery.

“The discovery is still at its beginning,” Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany told reporters.

It was the second discovery of mummies announced with much fanfare by the government in less than a month.

In April, the ministry invited reporters to the southern city of Luxor to unveil eight mummies discovered in a 3,500-year-old tomb belonging to a nobleman.

For the cash-strapped Egyptian government, the discoveries are a boon from the country’s glorious past as it struggles to attract tourists scared off by a series of Islamist militant attacks.

“Antiquities are the soft power that distinguishes Egypt,” Enany said. “News of antiquities are the things that attract the world to Egypt.”

Millions of tourists visited Egypt every year to see its Giza Pyramids — the only surviving monument of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World — and its ancient pharaonic temples and relics.

But a popular uprising in 2011 that overthrew veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak ushered in years of unrest that battered the economy and drove away tourists. (Punchng.com)

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