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Africa Union To Unveil Single African Passport Design This Year |RN

 

This year, the African Union (AU) will unveil the design for a single passport for all Africans. The unified passport will ease the free movement of people while spurring economic growth. It will also promote intra-African trade, and eventually creating a continent with seamless borders.

In a statement, AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat revealed that at the 32nd African Union summit in February, the commission will present details on the design, production, and issuance of the long-awaited African passport.

AU to Unveil Single African Passport Design This Year
Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat

 

First introduced in 2016, the African passport remains exclusive to heads of States and other diplomats. Chadian leader Idriss Déby and Rwandan president Paul Kagame are the first recipients. The document will permit AU passport holders to enter any of the 54 AU member states, without requiring a visa.

 

The move is likely to be a windfall for citizens of African states, who hold some of the least powerful passports in the world. Movement within their own continent is hard for Africans. At best, only Seychelles and Benin offer visa-free travel to Africans. At worse, travelers from South Sudan and Burundi need visas to go to 48 and 47 African countries, respectively.

AU to Unveil Single African Passport Design This Year
Source: Quartz Africa

But now, the AU faces the challenge of making sure the passport lives up to its potential. That it doesn’t fulfill detractors’ fears of heightened terrorism, smuggling and illegal immigration.

For some, this move will no doubt be challenging, with many African states already resistant to migrants and refugees. Plus, some have been quietly tightening visa policies. Faki, however, stated the AU will push for more integration saying, “the persisting obstacles to our citizens’ movement within their own continent are simply unacceptable.”

Why the single African passport is important

The passport is a step towards eliminating borders on the continent, aiming to enable deeper integration, increased trade and further development. Just as important, the passport is also a powerful symbol of unity across Africa. It’s also a step towards connecting African countries economically and politically.

An AU passport, therefore, represents the latest effort to create a common market spanning the continent, much like that in the E.U.

An African passport is an exciting development that can spur growth and improve living standards. To capitalize on this potential, the AU needs to plan two steps ahead. Crafting thoughtful regulations will be essential to ensuring the African passport’s economic promise is genuinely available to everyone and not subject to abuse.  (Afro Hustler)

 

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Exposed: Justice Walter Onnoghen’s Nemesis, Dennis Aghanya, Was President Buhari’s Aide

The identity of the man who wrote a damning petition against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, has been revealed.

According to online information about Mr. Dennis Aghanya, he was a media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari between 2009 and 2011; while he was also a pioneer National Publicity Secretary of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change.

Aghanya is not new to controversy, as he once advised the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, to dissolve the party’s two factions in Enugu State when they couldn’t seem to agree on the way forward.

In a letter made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on the APC Enugu issue, Aghanya had said, “The situation is currently threatening the fortunes of the party to the detriment of efforts by serious candidates who are investing time and finance to ensure victory for themselves and President Muhammadu Buhari at the forthcoming 2019 general elections.

“I suggest that the National Working Committee of the APC should, as a matter of urgency, dissolve the two factions led by Okey Ogbodo and Ben Nwoye respectively.

According to him, ignoring the advice will amount to deliberately weakening the party to the advantage of the incumbent in Enugu State;and that it will deliberately “sabotage Buhari from making inroad into the South East.”

Aghanya, on November 5, 2018, as reported by NAN, as the Executive Secretary, Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative, led a coalition of 24 Civil Society Organisations (C24) to assert that some “desperate politicians” were planning to destabilise the country’s peace, before, during and after the 2019 general elections.

Aghanya raised the alarm on behalf of the coalition at a news conference in Abuja. The allegation has not been proved, however.

Again, on April 29, 2018 Aghanya-led ARDI appealed to the National Assembly to show understanding over President Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged purchase of $496m aircraft from the U.S. without due process.

He had told the legislators: “The President, as a human being, could make mistakes.”

He then advised the legislators to avoid actions that would heat up the system, NAN had reported then.

Aghanya is reasonably active on Facebook, with mostly political posts, though his LinkedIn page is nuanced. He is new to Twitter and has only made three tweets within his nine months of joining, all on political matters.

His petition against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, is Aghanya’s latest foray into public space.    (Punch)

 

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APC Governors Absent At Buhari Campaign Council Meeting |RN

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council for the 2019 election, who double as coordinators in their respective states, were conspicuously absent at the inaugural meeting which held at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja, yesterday.

The agenda was to consider and approve the structure and operational modalities of the campaign, President Muhammadu Buhari, who is chairman of the council, said this at the opening ceremony before the meeting went into a closed door session.

In attendance were the co-chairman of the campaign council, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who is deputy chairman of the council.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who is the director general of the campaign team, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, the director general (Opera- tions) and Waziri Bulama, the deputy director general (Coordination) also attend- ed the meeting.

Also in attendance were the zonal directors (North West), Senator Aliyu Wamakko, (North East) Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, (North Central), Senator Abdullahi Adamu, (South West), Sola Oke, (South East), Sharon Ikeazor, and (South South), Senator Godswill Akpabio.

Other members of the council present included Senator George Akume, vice chairman (North) and Senator Ken Nnamani, vice chairman (South); among others.

Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari, expressed confidence that he’ll win the February 16 presidential election.

This was even as Oshiomhole explained to State House Correspondents why APC governors were absent at the inaugural meeting.

Speaking at the opening ceremony before the closed door session, Buhari said: “I would like to appeal to you to dedicate and commit yourself once again to the task at hand. There is no doubt that victory is with us: it is ours, but that shouldn’t mean we should rest even for a moment.

“Even though we are confident of winning, I urge you to work as hard as you can so that we can maximise the scale and extent of our victory.”

He charged council members to ensure they deliver success to the party.

“I urge you to rise to the challenge of the great expectations this party and Nigerians have for you – and the confidence that I personally have in the ability of all of you to deliver.

“Needless to add, your selection was not easy, because in forming this council, the party settled only for the best. You are the cream of the party and I assure you that with the unity of purpose and effective harmony

and communication, there is no political opponent you cannot overcome,” the president said.

On the governors’ absence, Oshiomhol said: “Because they are governors, they are governing their states. Don’t forget that elections are not defined in Abuja, it will take place in the 36 states and I’m sure there are APC members who are campaigning for the House of Assembly, various federal house and senate constituencies, governorship constituencies. So, it will not be helpful to bring them to Abuja. Here, it is about policies, it will consummated and translated to practice across the 36 states, 774 local governments and ward.”

He reiterated that the elections will be on the difference between 16 years misrule and three and half years of change.

In his remarks, the former Senate minority leader, Godswill Akpabio, said the ruling party is poised to win the presidential election.  (The Sun)

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2019: Foreign Affairs Minister Quits Buhari’s Cabinet |The Republican News

                                                  Khadija Bukar-Ibrahim

John Ameh, Abuja

 

Ahead of the February 16 polls, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Khadija Bukar-Ibrahim, on Wednesday confirmed her resignation from the Federal Executive Council.

Bukar-Ibrahim was a serving member of the Federal House of Representatives when President Muhammadu Buhari nominated her for the post of a minister in 2015.

The wife of a Senator and former Governor of Yobe State, Bukar Abba-Ibrahim, resigned as a minister to contest another election to return to the House of Representatives in February.

She is contesting the Damaturu/Tarmuwa/Gujba/Gulani Federal Constituency seat.

It would be recalled that in October, 2018, the minister contested against and defeated her son in-law , Mohammed Bukar-Ibrahim, at the primaries of the All Progressives Congress to emerge as its candidate in the February 16 National Assembly poll.

While her son in-law got 15 votes, the minister scored 1,295 votes.

She informed State House correspondents, a few minutes before the start of Wednesday’s FEC meeting, that it was going to be the last she would attend.

The minister joined other cabinet members, who had also resigned for political and other reasons.

Also, it would be recalled that a former Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jubril, left the cabinet on December 7, 2018, after he was named the 13th Emir of Nasarawa by the Nasarawa Emirate Council.

On February 24, 2017, the main environment minister, Hajiya Amina Mohammed, had resigned to join the United Nations as a Deputy Secretary-General.

Similarly, the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, was the Minister of Mines and Steel Development till he resigned on May 30, 2018 to contest the state’s governorship election.

On her part, Mrs Kemi Adeosun threw in the towel, following the discovery that she forged her National Youth Service Corps exemption certificate.

Another minister who resigned was that of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Alhassan.

She had left on the grounds of being disqualified by the National Working Committee of the APC when she sought to contest in the governorship primaries in Taraba State.

Speculation had indicated that her disqualification might not be unconnected to the minister’s known political association with the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

She had once described Abubakar as her political mentor, while still serving as Buhari’s minister.

The former minister also openly canvassed support for Abubakar’s presidential bid at some point, saying that Buhari had yet to declare any intention to seek a second term in office.

After her disqualification, Alhassan went to the APC’s secretariat in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, and took possession of all the furniture and equipment she had earlier donated to the party.   (Punch)

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Nigeria’s Debt Hits N22.43trn, 85.06% Increase Under Buhari, Domestic Component 70.51%

                                File Photo: Naira and Dollars

Everest Amaefule, Abuja

 

Nigeria’s total debt now stands at N22.43tn, data obtained from the Debt Management Office have shown.

According to the DMO, the nation’s total debt as of September 30, 2018, stood at N22.43tn.

As of June 30, 2015, the country’s total debt stood at N12.12tn. This means that within the tenure of the present administration which came to power on May 29, 2015, the country’s total debt has risen by N10.31tn or 85.06 per cent.

Of the total debt, the external component of both the Federal Government and state governments’ debts including that of the Federal Capital Territory stood at $21.59bn.

As of June 30, 2015, the external debt component of the country’s total debt stood at $10.32bn. This means that the external debt component rose by $11.27bn or 109.21 per cent.

On the other hand, the omestic debt of both the Federal Government and the subnational governments stood at N15.81tn.

Analysing the debt statistics further showed that the domestic debt of the Federal Government alone stood at N12.29tn as of September 30, 2018.

The domestic debt of the Federal Government as of June 30, 2015, stood at N8.4bn while that of the states and FCT stood at N1.69tn.

The DMO added that the debt statistics as of September 30, 2018, was only slightly different from the statistics as of June 30, 2018.

On the difference between the debt statistics of the two quarters, the DMO said, “External debt declined by 2.02 per cent to $21.59bn due largely to the redemption by Nigeria of a $500m Eurobond which matured on July 12, 2018.

“The Eurobond which was issued for a tenor of five years in 2013 was the first Eurobond maturity for Nigeria and Nigeria’s ability to repay it seamlessly boosted Nigeria’s position as a good credit in the International Capital Market.

“The domestic debt of the FGN, states and the FCT grew by 1.19 per cent from N15.63tn in June 2018 to N15.8tn in September 2018. This increase of N185bn was attributed to the FGN (N135bn) and states and FCT (N50bn).”

It added, “The combination of an increase in the level of domestic debt and a decrease in the external debt stock resulted in a slight shift in the portfolio composition.

“As of September 30, 2018, the share of domestic debt was 70.51 per cent compared to 69.83 per cent in June 2018.

“This trend is expected to be reversed in Quarter Four 2018 as the new external borrowing of N849bn (about $2.78bn) provided in the 2018 Appropriation Act is expected to be raised within the quarter.”

The current strategy of the Federal Government is to raise external debt component to 40 per cent and to raise the local debt component to 60 per cent in order to take advantage of the lower interest rate on foreign debts.  (Punch)

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25-year-old Katsina Man In Prison For Raping Neighbour’s Wife |RN

Olaide Oyelude, Katsina

A 25-year-old man, Imrana Haruna, has been remanded in the Katsina Prison for allegedly raping his neighbour’s wife.

The victim’s husband, one Musa Idris, reported the incident at the Kafur Police Station, leading to Haruna’s arrest and arraignment in court for prosecution.

Haruna of Bayala village in the Kafur Local Government Area of the state reportedly committed the offence on September 22, 2018.

He and the couple reside in the same house.

The police told the Katsina Senior Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday that Haruna “criminally entered into the victim’s room without permission” and forcefully had sexual intercourse with her.

The suspect was charged with criminal trespass, criminal force and rape under sections 348, 262, and 283 of the Penal Code.

The police prosecutor, Sergeant Lawal Bello, told the court that investigation into the matter was still in progress and requested for a new date for mention.

The presiding Senior Magistrate, Hajiya Fadile Dikko, remanded the accused in prison custody till March 7, 2019.  (Punch)

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3 Shot Dead, Journalist Shot, Many Injured At Lagos APC Campaign Kickoff |RN

Many people, including journalists, were injured by the shots that were fired.

Chinelo Obogo

There was chaos yesterday as three people were killed and many injured at the kick-off of the campaign of the Lagos State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Babajide Sanwo-Olu, which held at the Skypower field, GRA Ikeja, yesterday.

 

The campaign was supposed to commence at 10am but it eventually started by 12:30pm after the arrival of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and Sanwo-Olu. The national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, was absent.

Before the commencement of the event, 63 out of the 91 political parties in the country endorsed Sanwo-Olu for governor. A few minutes into Ambode’s speech, a shot was fired by one of the thugs who stood close to the music stand and it was immediately followed by multiple gunshots from party supporters and police officers as those in attendance took cover.

It could not be ascertained what led to the pandemonium, but Daily Sun observed that a fight broke out among some members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), who were standing close to Alabi Pasuma’s music stand, and in the process, one of the union’s executive members, Musiliu Akinsanya, also known as MC Oluomo, was badly injured.

Despite the pandemonium and stampede caused by the gunshots, Ambode continued with his speech while accusing “the other party” of being responsible for the commotion. He appealed to Lagosians to vote for the APC to ensure continuity.

As the chaos intensified, Sanwo-Olu took over the microphone and gave a vote of thanks, but by this time, the field was almost empty. Many people, including journalists, were injured by the shots that were fired. The group political editor of The Nation newspaper, Mr. Emmanuel Oladesu, New Telegraph correspondent, Temitope Ogunbanke, and Ibile Television cameraman, Abiodun Yusuf, were among the injured.

At the time of filing this report, there was no official statement from the state chapter of the APC in response to the crisis.  (The Sun)

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