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Mali : ECOWAS to convene emergency summit

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President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, has initiated a convergence of immediate Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments for a decisive action over the recent military coup in Mali.

Akufo-Addo, who is the Chair of the Authority, made the call on Thursday in Abuja at the opening of the 2021 First Extra Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on May 25, the second time in nine months, Col. Assimi Goita seized power again in Mali, detaining transitional President, Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane.

Goita had accused the interim President and Prime Minister of failing in their duties.

The Chair, who also expressed worry on the development, said that ECOWAS had spent a lot of political and material resources in restoring democracy to Mali after the last junta in 2020

“My take is that we should call on the immediate Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments.

“The body is responsible for ironing out the transitional arrangement to decide on the way forward for ECOWAS and Mali.

“The Community will be kept fully abreast on development on the situation,” Akufo-Addo said.

He, however, noted that as Chair of the Authority, he already sent a high-level mediation team led by former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan to look into the crises.

He said that he, was however, yet to receive reports on the situation.

“We condemn the unfortunate situation of Mali which ECOWAS has invested so much of its political and material resources.

“As current Chair of the Authority, I authorised an ECOWAS delegation comprising high level mediator in the Malian crises led by former President of the Republic of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan.

“Others are Ghanaian Foreign Minister, Shirley Botchway, who is also Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Minister, Chair of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, to access the situation and report back to me,” he said.

According to him, due to the rains that have affected weather conditions for travels, the authority is yet to receive first hand report on the situation.

He gave assurance that the Community would be kept fully abreast on development on the situation.

The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Sidie Tunis, said that the Parliament also strongly condemned the military takeover in Mali, stating that the recurring junta in the country was a threat to democracy in the region.

Tunis said that the Parliament like other ECOWAS Institutions had taken several steps to restore democratic rule in Mali.

“Earlier this year, I led a Parliamentary Fact-Finding Mission to that country and held discussions with all stakeholders in the transition process.

“We were assured by all parties of their commitment towards a transition to democratic rule.

“Unfortunately we have observed a few days ago, a dramatic shift in the political situation, which led to the arrest of the Transitional President, His Excellency Bah N’Daw and the Prime Minister, Mr Moctar Ouane,” he said.

According to him, the ECOWAS Parliament condemns, in the strongest terms, the military takeover in Mali and all acts in the region that threatens or stalls the process of entrenching Democracy across our States.

“We have made many efforts in securing a peaceful and stable ECOWAS and it is about time we take firm and decisive actions against forces that tend to reverse this trend.

“The ECOWAS Parliament stands ready to support all efforts aimed at putting Mali on the right trajectory of peace and democracy,” he said.

Also speaking, Brou said that ECOWAS had engaged the current authorities in Mali for the immediate release of the former Interim President and former Interim Prime Minister.

Brou said that the mediation team would brief the Chair of the Authority on its findings and the ECOWAS Community would be kept abreast of all interventions. (NAN)

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Your Investments Are Safe In Nigeria, Tinubu Assures Saudi Investors

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Asiwaju Bola Tinubu
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu
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President Bola Tinubu on Friday assured potential investors that their investments are safe in Nigeria.

Speaking at the Saudi-Africa Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, President Tinubu said Nigeria is ready for business while assuring investors of some of the world’s highest returns on investment.

“I also wish to assure all potential Saudi investors of the safety of their investments based on the sanctity of the rule of law and good returns on their investments in the largest economy in Africa,” the President was quoted in a statement by his media aide, Ajuri Ngelale.

“In this regard, the benefit attached to the early inauguration of the Nigeria-Saudi Business Council can not be over-emphasized. Nigeria, like the Kingdom, is diversifying its economy away from oil dependence to promote sustainable development.

“My administration has undertaken bold economic reforms by removing wasteful subsidies on petroleum and the merging of our foreign exchange market, among other incentives aimed at improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.”

Tinubu stated that Nigeria is desirous of enhancing collaboration with Saudi Arabia on combating terrorist organisations such as Boko Haram, ISWAP, and other violent extremist groups which have been terrorising the Lake Chad and Sahel regions.

He said, “Nigeria and Saudi Arabia have always enjoyed a special relationship at both the bilateral and multilateral levels. Within the past six decades, our bilateral cooperation, which was initially hajj-centric, has witnessed diversification to cover a number of areas of common interest.

“It is delightful to note the presence in this great Kingdom of a large number of our compatriots and professionals, including highly skilled medical practitioners and professional football players.

“As members of several international organizations including the UN, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the International Energy Forum, the G77, the Islamic Development Bank, and the Digital Cooperation Organization among others, our two nations have effectively used these and other platforms to enhance close interaction and coordination.”

The President expressed confidence that the countries’ joint positive disposition within those platforms would continue to be demonstrated “as we seek to advance our mutual interests”.

Further, he thanked the Middle-East nation for the various humanitarian interventions in Nigeria through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre.

Speaking on climate change and how it affects Africa, President Tinubu said climate change had led to an expedited rate of desertification and incessant flooding in Nigeria and many other countries of Africa.

He commended the efforts of the Kingdom for its various initiatives to fight the effects of climate change, adding that Nigeria is also working on a number of initiatives to fight the effects of climate change and energy poverty.

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Niger coup pressures food markets in West Africa – World Bank

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World Bank
World Bank
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The World Bank says the coup d’état in Niger may put additional pressure on Nigeria and other West African nations’ food markets.

According to the global bank, “The Nigerien coup d’état puts an additional seven million people at risk of falling into severe food insecurity in the region against a backdrop of soaring commodity and staple food prices, and severe food insecurity already affecting 3.3 million people during the lean season.”

In its September ‘Food Security Update’, the bank stated that the coup d’état in Niger might put additional pressure on West African food markets.

The Washington-based bank stated that food prices increased by up to 21 per cent in August in Niger owing to the economic and financial sanctions the Economic Community of West African States and the West African Economic and Monetary Union imposed on the country.

It noted that as a result, it limited poor households’ access to food and their ability to meet their dietary needs.

It stated that with the government’s limited financial capacity to implement its food assistance programme, continued provision of food aid by the World Food Programme remains essential, as access restrictions are hindering delivery of aid.

The report observed that FAO expects that shortages of seeds and feed and high fertilizer costs would affect the next agriculture season, exacerbating food insecurity, which is expected to persist beyond the lean season.

According to the Bank, Western and Central Africa were facing persistent food crises, with the number of people in need of food and nutritional assistance in the region rising from around 10.7 million in 2019, 29 million in 2021, to more than 40 million in 2022 and 2023.

The Bank said that between June and August 2023, 42.5 million people in Nigeria and other West African countries were in a food crisis or worse.

It added that the main factors affecting food security are civil insecurity and conflict, which have led to forced displacement, climatic shocks, political instability, adding that the war in Ukraine have increased the volatility of prices for foodstuffs and other commodities and caused widespread inflation as current food prices remain higher than during the same period last year.

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Tinubu Meets With Biden, Others At UNGA

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu
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President Bola Tinubu is expected to hold bilateral talks as well as some business meetings with the US President, Joe Biden at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The President, who will depart Abuja to attend the UNGA in New Yew on Sunday will also hold talks with his Brazilian counterpart, Lula Silva among other world leaders.

This was disclosed on Friday by the Special Adviser to the President, Ajuri Ngelale, while briefing journalists at the Presidential Villa Abuja ahead of the president’s departure to New York.

Ngelale explained that that President Tinubu will meet with major Chief Executives and leaders of multinational firms cutting across multiple sectors of the economy including the President of Microsoft company worldwide, Brad Smith to deepen digital transformation in the country.

President is also expected to meet with the President of Global Affairs for Meta Technologies, Sir Nick Clegg, for a conversation on how to leverage new innovations, such as artificial intelligence and certain other applications to impact the way business is done in Nigeria.

He will meet with the global CEO of General Electric, the global CEO of Exxon Mobil Oil and Gas Company among others.

According to Ngelale, the President will be advancing his economic development diplomatic drive to aggressively attract foreign direct investment into the country.

Speaking further, the Presidential spokesman stated that President Tinubu will be participating in the Africa Global Business Initiative, adding that the President is focusing on attracting foreign direct investment, more jobs and new tax revenues into Nigeria.

He also said the President also wants to ensure that homegrown Nigerian companies have fair and equal access to foreign and international markets.

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