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Nigeria, S/Arabia agree to boost economic cooperation

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President Muhammad Buhari in Saudi Arabia
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Nigeria and Saudi Arabia have agreed to boost trade, investment and economic cooperation for mutual benefits.

Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, confirmed this development to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday.

According to him, the Nigerian delegation led by President Buhari, discussed with the Saudis on several issues, including the need for their countries to continue coordination in the fight against extremism and terrorism.

Shehu, who spoke on the take-aways from the president’s visit to Saudi Arabia, said:

“For me, the most important one is…. you that this summit itself was co-summoned by the Saudis with over 5, 200 participants and to have chosen President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria to deliver the keynote is in itself a major recognition for him and the Nigerian State.

“It was for us to market Nigeria and make the most of these opportunities and I think the president has done this so well – even the address he read.

“Look at all of the things he has said about how attractive Nigeria is in terms of investment and how much his administration is doing in order to overcome the challenges that are on the ground that had stood in the way of investment.

“So, I think the story of Nigeria has been well told by the president at this event, and we are hoping that the response will equally be quite impressive.’’

On the Umrah, Shehu expressed the hope that Nigeria would win the favour of the Almighty God in addressing her challenges.

Members of the President’s delegation included the Ministers of Trade, Industry and Investment, Communications and Digital Economy and Ministers of State, Foreign Affairs as well as Petroleum.

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Abubakar Rufa’i and business leaders, Aliko Dangote, Abdulsamad Rabiu, Wale Tinubu and Alhaji Dahiru Mangal.

Also commenting on the Riyadh investment summit, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, said the forum provided Nigeria the opportunity to educate the world on the abundant economic and business opportunities in the country.

He said: “It is always important for Nigeria to be in such an international forum such as this because it gives us an opportunity to tell our story.

“It gives us an opportunity to let the world know what we are doing and why we believe Nigeria is the best investment destination in Africa.

“I was at a forum recently and I pointed out that anybody wishing to do business in Africa must first do business with Nigeria because if you don’t do business in Nigeria you are not doing business in Africa.

“So, we believe that we should come out here, this is an international forum; we should let the world know the Nigerian story.

“We are aware of the problems that we have and we are working to resolve those problems to create an enabling environment for investors,’’ he said. (NAN)

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International

Bin Laden’s Deputy Al-Zawahiri Killed In US Drone Strike

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Al Zawahiri
Al Zawahiri
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A United States drone strike killed Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri at a hideout in Kabul, President Joe Biden said Monday, declaring that “justice had been delivered” to the families of the 9/11 attacks.

Zawahiri’s assassination is the biggest blow to Al-Qaeda since US special forces killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 and calls into question the Taliban’s promise not to harbour militant groups.

It was the first known over-the-horizon strike by the US on a target in Afghanistan since Washington withdrew its forces from the country on August 31 last year, days after the Taliban swept back to power.

“Justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said in a sombre televised address, adding he hoped Zawahiri’s death would bring “closure” to families of the 3,000 people killed in the US on September 11, 2001.

Zawahiri was believed to be the mastermind who steered Al-Qaeda’s operations — including the 9/11 attacks — as well as bin Laden’s personal doctor.

A senior administration official said the 71-year-old Egyptian was on the balcony of a three-storey house in the Afghan capital when targeted with two Hellfire missiles after dawn Sunday.

“We identified Zawahiri on multiple occasions for sustained periods of time on the balcony where he was ultimately struck,” the official said.

The house is in Sherpur, one of Kabul’s most affluent neighbourhoods, with several villas occupied by high-ranking Taliban officials and commanders.

The interior ministry previously denied reports of a drone strike circulating on social media, telling AFP a rocket struck “an empty house” in Kabul, causing no casualties.

Early Tuesday, however, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that an “aerial attack” was carried out.

“The nature of the incident was not revealed at first,” he said.

“The security and intelligence agencies of the Islamic Emirate investigated the incident and found in their preliminary investigations that the attack was carried out by American drones.”

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African Union Hails Landmark Russia-Ukraine Grain Deal

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African Union
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The African Union on Saturday hailed a landmark deal between Ukraine and Russia that will allow Kyiv to resume exports of grain through the Black Sea and relieve a global food crisis.

Ukraine’s farms are a major source of grain for the world market, in particular in the Middle East and Africa, where food supplies are critically tight.

Cereal prices in the world’s poorest continent have surged because of the slump in exports, sharpening the impact of conflict and climate change and sparking fears of social unrest.

“The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat welcomes the signing by Russia and Ukraine of agreements,” a statement said, praising Senegalese leader and AU chair Macky Sall “for having called for the urgent need for the resumption of cereals from Ukraine and Russia to global markets as made to President Vladimir Putin during a joint AU mission to Sochi” in early June.

Ukraine and Russia and two of the world’s largest grain producers.

But Ukrainian mines laid across the Black Sea to avert an amphibious assault, as well as Russian warships, have blocked exports from Ukraine, leaving up to 25 million tonnes of wheat and other grain in danger of rotting in ports and silos.

Sall thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who oversaw the signing ceremony in Istanbul on Friday, as well as presidents Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.
“This was the objective of the mission I led in Sochi on June 3,” Sall tweeted.

The International Rescue Committee, which helps people affected by humanitarian crises, also welcomed the accord, saying countries in East Africa relied “on Russia and Ukraine for over 90 percent of their wheat imports”.

“The lifting of these blockades will go some way in easing the extreme hunger that over 18 million people in East Africa are facing, with three million already facing catastrophic hunger conditions,” Shashwat Saraf, IRC’s East Africa emergency director, said.

AFP

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Boris Johnson Agrees To Resign As Prime Minister

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
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British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on Thursday finally agreed to step down as Britain’s prime minister.

The Tory leader announced his resignation this afternoon at 10, Downing Street, London.

His agreement to step down comes after several weeks of intense calls for his resignation and a loss of party support, borne out of his mishandling of damaging scandals including parties held at Downing Street in defiance of coronavirus lockdowns and the appointment of Chris Pincher into his government despite knowing of past allegations of sexual misconduct.

“It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new prime minister,” Mr Johnson announced.

“I have agreed with Graham Brady, the Chairman of our back bench MPs, that the process of choosing that new leader should begin now.”

More details soon

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