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Senate Invites IGP over Kidnappings Across Nigeria

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The Senate has invited the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, for a briefing over the spate of kidnappings across Nigeria.

The lawmakers said the invitation is to help profer lasting solution to the menace.

The IGP’s invitation is one of the many resolutions made after a deliberation on a motion on the “senseless killing of a Briton and the abduction of three others in a Holiday Resort in Kaduna State by armed bandits.”

The motion was sponsored by Shehu Sani (PRP, Kaduna Central).

The Briton, Faye Mooney, an aid worker, was killed in Kajuru Castle, a recreational location in Kaduna State last week.

The armed bandits killed Ms Mooney, Matthew Oguche, a Nigerian training assistant with the International NGO Safety Organisation (INSO), and kidnapped three others.

Leading the debate, Mr Sani said attacks on individuals, houses, and villages have become too many and not one suspect has been prosecuted for the crime.

He expressed worry that the bandits tend to be gaining more courage to perpetuate their acts “due to their acclaimed superior firepower.”

While stating that Kajuru and Kaduna State are under siege, he said the northern part of Nigeria has become a theatre of killings and kidnappings.

In his remark, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said the recent happenings were not the first time a non-Nigerian (especially construction/aid workers) was kidnapped in the country.

He said if nothing is done, Nigeria will continue to be profiled as a terrorist state abroad.

“This nation’s security has been breached. Tourists who have plans of coming to Nigeria will now think twice before coming. And this is affecting our economy.

“It is important to take this issue seriously in order to protect our national image. Even if it means declaring a state of emergency in affected states, so be it,” Mr Ekweremadu said.

Andrew Uchendu, who condemned the act, blamed it on the idleness of the Nigerian youth.

“The truth is these things keep happening because the youth are idle and have a lot of energy.”

According to him, if the youth are engaged, the rate of such crimes will drastically reduce.

It was during the resolutions that Mr Ekweremadu suggested that the IGP be invited as he hoped he (Mr Adamu) will honour the invitation.

“Mr President, since we now have a new IGP – as the other one was uninterested in talking to us, let us invite him to give a holistic view of the state of kidnapping across the country with a view to finding a lasting solution,” he said.

This prayer was seconded and unanimously adopted.

The Senate also resolved to urge security agencies to immediately deploy the use of drones and interceptors in tracking kidnappers asking for ransom.

The Senate also resolved to fast-track the concurrence of the Police Reform and the Police Trust Fund Bills with the House of Representatives for transmission to the president for assent.

Other resolutions are to “urge telecommunications companies to provide security agencies with information in areas where there are kidnappings”, and “urge community leaders, traditional rulers and all stakeholders to co-operate with security agencies.”

The Senate also urged security agencies to give special security cover to foreign workers and tourists. It resolved to send a delegation to the British embassy to console with the British government.

The Senate, however, rejected a prayer to urge the executive to sign the Peace Corps Bill to engage the youth.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said he hoped that there would be cooperation from the IGP as he prayed for a strong relationship between the Senate and the security agencies.

According to him, the passage of the Police Reform and the Police Trust Fund Bills is proof that the Senate “is ready to work with them.

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Nigeria Outlines Nine Focal Areas to Guide Foreign Policy in Next Four Years

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Nigeria has identified nine priority areas that would guide its foreign policy actions in the next four years.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, made this known in Abuja while briefing members of the diplomatic corps on the priorities of the Nigerian government.

The priority areas include building a striving sustainable economy; enlarging agricultural output, food security and export; as well as attaining energy sustenance and power.

Others include expanding transport and other infrastructural products; expanding business growth entrepreneurship and industrialisation; expanding access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigeria; enhancing social inclusion, reducing poverty; fighting corruption; as well as improving governance and security for all.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in the first term of the present administration, the government’s priority was in three key areas, namely: fighting corruption, tackling insecurity, and job creation.

He said Nigeria’s foreign policy would henceforth be realistic in terms of reflecting the domestic reality of putting “Nigeria First”.

“We promote within the African Union (AU) good governance, democracy, and protection of human rights.

“We are not in any kind of conflict with any country in the whole world and we have excellent relations with every member state of AU and UN.

“We believe firmly that peaceful coexistence and security are pre-conditions for economic development and prosperity.

“We believe that the UN and multilateralism are forces for good.

“We strongly support the UN, although we call for its reform especially to increase the number of its permanent members in its security council to include at least three African countries with veto powers,” he added.

The minister said more funds should be made available for UN peace-keeping operations.

Mr Onyeama, who said that the UN was doing a great job across many countries of the world, urged countries to continue to abide by UN resolutions, not choosing which ones to respect and which not to respect.

He condemned the use of force for the settlement of disputes and expressed strong support for institutions such as the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court for International conflict resolution.

He said international trade and economic diplomacy were the main focus of “our foreign policy.”

“We have to expand our trade; we have to innovate; we have to industrialise in order to lift our people out of poverty.

“We are striving to increase bilateral trade with all your countries very often within the framework of a bilateral commission.”

The minister disclosed that the ministry was building an online business machine portal to promote and facilitate cross-border trade.

According to him, global climate action has posed a lot of threat to lives.

He said the Lake Chad which had been a major source of livelihood for more than 30 million people, had shrunk by 90 per cent due to climate change.

He noted that irregular migration has been condemned and possible measures have been put in place to address it.

On border closure, the minister said the issue would be resolved very soon and that it would be a win-win situation for stakeholders.

He thanked the diplomats for their support and assured them of the Nigeria’s continued support.

(NAN)

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Buhari Embarks on First 2020 Foreign Trip, Departs for UK Today

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President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja on Friday for London to participate in the inaugural UK-Africa Investment Summit holding on January 20.

The President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement in Abuja on Thursday, said the event would be hosted by the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

The organisers said the event is expected to bring together African leaders, international business chief executives and heads of international organisations “to create new partnerships that will deliver more investments and jobs” to the benefit of people and businesses in African countries and the United Kingdom.

“Apart from highlighting new perspectives on UK-Africa Partnership for Prosperity, issues of Sustainable Finance and Infrastructure; Trade and Investment; Future African Growth Sectors and Clean Energy and Climate, are expected to dominate presentations and discussions during the Summit.

“With the expected take-off of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in mid-2020, the London investment summit will provide Nigeria with the opportunity to project itself as a leading investment destination for new industries.

“In addition, the summit will deepen Nigeria-United Kingdom investment ties post-Brexit given that Africa currently represents just two per cent of British trade activity, with Nigeria accounting for only 10 per cent of that total,” Mr Adesina stated.

He further disclosed that the Nigerian delegation to the investment meeting will showcase what the federal government had done through policies and legislation to improve the investment and business climate in the country.

While in the United Kingdom, the presidential aide said, Mr Buhari will meet with the Head of the Commonwealth, Prince Charles in Glasgow, Scotland.

“The president and his delegation will also have bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Johnson as well as heads of multilateral organisations,” he added.

He said the president would be accompanied to the Summit by Governors Yahaya Bello, Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya and Okezie Ikpeazu of Kogi, Gombe and Abia States, respectively.

Also on the presidential entourage are the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.

Others include the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.

Mr Buhari is expected back in Abuja on Thursday.

(NAN)

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Power Grid Collapses Twice in Two Hours, Worsens Nationwide Blackout

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The nation’s power grid collapsed twice in two hours on Thursday, worsening the blackout being experienced by consumers in parts of the country.

The grid, which is being managed by government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria, has continued to suffer system collapse over the years amid a lack of spinning reserve that is meant to forestall such occurrences.

The TCN announced that a system disturbance occurred at about 12.34pm on Thursday, affecting some parts of the country.

“As at 1:10pm, supply was restored to Abuja and most parts of the affected areas. The TCN is still working to completely restore and stabilise the nation’s grid,” it said.

Ikeja Electric and Eko Electricity Distribution Company, two of the nation’s distribution companies, had earlier on Twitter informed their customers about the cause of the outage in Lagos.

“Dear customer, the outage you’re experiencing is due to a system collapse of the grid which occurred this afternoon at 12.36hrs. All parts of IE’s network are affected. Efforts are ongoing to restore the grid. Kindly bear with us,” Ikeja Electric said.

The Disco, in another tweet two hours later, said another system collapse was recorded at 2.15pm, adding that restoration efforts were ongoing.

Total power generation in the country stood at 4,236.3 megawatts as of 6am on Wednesday, according to latest data from the Nigerian Electricity System Operator.

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