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Buhari arrives Addis Ababa for Ethiopian Prime Minister’s inauguration

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President Muhammad Buhari
President Muhammad Buhari
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President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopia capital, on Sunday, for the inauguration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for another five-year term in office.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) monitoring the president’s visit reports that the presidential aircraft carrying President Buhari and some members of his entourage landed at the newly built VIP Terminal of Bole International Airport at 5:06p.m (Nigerian time).

The Nigerian leader, who was accorded a full guard of honour by the Ethiopian National Defence Force on his arrival, was received by Prime Minister Ahmed.

NAN reports that after the inspection of the guard of honour, the Prime Minister gestured the President into a waiting SUV, took control of the wheels, chauffeuring him straight to the newly built expansive friendship park for a private dinner.

The dinner was attended by the President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde, and the President of Senegal, Macky Sall.

While in Addis Ababa, the Nigerian leader is expected to deliver a goodwill message at the inauguration event scheduled to hold at the historic Meskel Square.

President Buhari will join other African leaders, who will be attending the event in person, including the Presidents of Djibouti, Kenya, South Sudan, Senegal, Somalia, Uganda and the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A statement issued by Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman, on Saturday, said President Buhari would also attend a State Dinner at the National Defence Headquarters, Addis Ababa.

On the significance of President Buhari’s visit to the country, the Ambassador of Nigeria to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union, Victor Adeleke, told reporters that:

‘‘Nigeria and Ethiopia enjoy warm cordial relations, they are equally the two largest democracies in Africa, in this wise, the attendance of President Buhari at the inauguration ceremony of Prime Minister Ahmed is an indication of the President’s commitment to strengthening democracy in Africa.’’

The Ambassador, who holds concurrent accreditation to Djibouti and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), explained that the visit would also afford President Buhari the opportunity to strengthen bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and Ethiopia.

He added that over the years there had been much eagerness and zeal on the part of both countries to cooperate on positive agreements, part of which had led to the exchange of official visits at the highest level.

‘‘You will recall that the then Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Dessalegne, visited Abuja, Nigeria, in July 2014, where he was guest of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

‘‘In the same vein, at the invitation of Prime Minister Ahmed, President Muhammadu Buhari undertook a State Visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in February 2020.

‘‘Nigeria and Ethiopia are both working on several areas of bilateral cooperation, particularly in Defence, Aviation, Science and Technology, Industry, Trade and Investment, Agriculture, Health, Youth and Sports development, Communication, Information and media,” he said.

He also noted that Nigeria had been extending assistance to Ethiopia through the Technical Aid Corps programme. (NAN)

 

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Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi is dead

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Late Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi
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Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi has died after his helicopter crashed amid heavy fog in northern Iran, state media reported. Raisi was 63.

Rescuers on Monday found the chopper that was carrying the Iranian president, as well as the country’s foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and other senior officials, after it crashed in the mountainous northwest reaches of Iran.

The crash comes as the Middle East remains unsettled by the Israel-Hamas war, during which Raisi, under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, launched an unprecedented drone-and-missile attack on Israel just last month.

Under Raisi, Iran enriched uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels, further escalating tensions with the West as Tehran also supplied bomb-carrying drones to Russia for its war in Ukraine and continued arming proxy groups in the Mideast such as Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Raisi was a prominent figure in Iranian politics, known for his alignment with conservative and hardline factions. He had been serving as president for nearly three years and was widely expected to run for re-election next year.

Born in Mashhad, a significant religious center for Shia Muslims in northeastern Iran, Raisi’s journey into politics was deeply rooted in his religious education.

He studied at the renowned seminary in Qom, under the guidance of prominent scholars, including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the current supreme leader of Iran.

His black turban, a symbol that he was a sayyid, or a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, held special significance among Twelver Shia Muslims, further cementing his religious and political stature.

Raisi’s career as a prosecutor began in various jurisdictions before he moved to Tehran in 1985. There, he became a part of a controversial committee of judges responsible for the execution of political prisoners, a role that drew significant criticism from human rights organizations.

Raisi’s untimely death leaves a significant void in Iran’s political landscape. As the nation mourns, questions about his potential successor and the future direction of Iranian politics loom large.

 

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Nigeria’s Senate President Akpabio seeks IPU’s voice in ending conflict in Gaza

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President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio
President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio
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The President of Nigeria’s Senate, Godswill Akpabio, has called on the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) to lend a strong voice to the restoration of lasting peace in war-torn Gaza.

Akpabio made the call while contributing to discussions at the ongoing 148th Session of the International Parliamentary Union Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said it is time for nations to rise above sentiments and invoke the spirit of humanity, by doing all they can to bring sustainable peace to the region.

Some of the resolutions, according to the Chairman of Nigeria’s National Assembly, should include access to humanitarian aid, the restoration of normal life in Gaza, and meetings on a permanent truce.

His words: ” Madam President, this is a lone voice from Nigeria. We tried our best in Angola, and we failed to lend a collective voice to what is happening in Gaza. Today, the world is very expectant.

“We must drop ego. It has nothing to do with which country brings the proposal. The basic tenets of humanity demand that we leave here with a resolution for the rest of the world, to show that we have human feelings in us.

“The issues are very clear. If you notice the proposal for 12 blocs; they attempted to even marry the proposals from South Africa. Yes! South Africa has a right to be emotional, but we have children who are dying even as we are talking now. We have people who do not have water to drink, even as we are talking now. We have people who are going to suffer infections from gunshots.

“We have to show the world that we are human beings. The cessation of hostilities must be a part of our resolutions. Access to humanitarian aid must be a part of our resolutions.

‘At the same time, the release of hostages and even those who are prisoners of war, because if both sides take steps in releasing the hostages, releasing the prisoners of war, it means that both sides have agreed that the international community can go to the next stage, which is negotiation for sustainable peace.

“If they cannot agree, I would urge that, from here, we have a three-man drafting committee to come up with those resolutions which we must make before we leave here.

‘We can no longer allow a child to die tonight without lending our voice. It doesn’t matter which side. We are all parents. If we come here to look for ego and then try to be emotional, it’s not affecting them.

“There’s nothing affecting Denmark; there’s nothing affecting South Africa. The people affected are over there and nobody will agree to the lone resolution from Israel. It must be all-encompassing so that we stand up from here as human beings. That would be my plea.

“Let them go aside, meet and remove those vexatious items. In the course of their discussions, we can have amendments. We can add items that we should add, but we must discuss the Gaza issue in this 148th IPU Assembly. That is my position.”

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Okonjo-Iweala ‘Less Optimistic’ About World Trade In 2024

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Ngozi Okonjo Iweala
Ngozi Okonjo Iweala
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The World Trade Organization’s chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Wednesday said she was “less optimistic” about world trade in 2024, pointing to tensions in the Red Sea.She said weaker global economic growth, “worsening geopolitical tensions, the new disruptions we see in the Red Sea, on the Suez Canal, the Panama Canal” meant “we are less optimistic”.

Okonjo-Iweala was speaking to journalists at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos where political and economic elites are meeting to discuss global challenges.

Before the massive Hamas attack on Israel in October and the subsequent outbreak of war in Gaza, the WTO had predicted trade would grow by 0.8 per cent in 2023 and projected growth of 3.3 per cent this year.

But Okonjo-Iweala warned the figure for 2024 would now be lower in future forecasts.

“We think there are a lot of downside risks to the forecasts we had made last year of 3.3 percent of growth of merchandise volumes this year. So we expect weaker performance,” she said.

“We will be revising estimates for this year, but they won’t be ready for another month or so,” Okonjo-Iweala added.

A spate of attacks by Yemeni rebels on Red Sea shipping has disrupted the vital trade route while the worst drought in decades to hit the Panama Canal has forced authorities to slow transits.

Yemen’s Huthi rebels say their strikes are in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

The attacks have, however, also caused shipping companies to avoid the Suez Canal.

The Hamas attack on October 7 resulted in the death of around 1,140 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

More than 24,400 Palestinians, around 70 percent of them women, young children and adolescents, have been killed in the Gaza Strip in Israeli bombardments and ground offensive since October 7, according to the Hamas government’s Ministry of Health.

 

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