By Martin Paul, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the Libya authorities of Nigeria’s continued support to enthrone political and security stability in that country.
Buhari told the Head of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al-Sarraj, at a bilateral meeting on the margins of the AU Summit in Niamey, Niger Republic that as Nigerians “will do our best to help Libya stabilise’’.
The President who discussed recent developments in the North African country as well as bilateral issues between Nigeria and Libya with Mr.Al-Sarraj, noted that there were over 6000 Nigerians in Libya, who see Libya as a gateway to Europe.
President Buhari said the humanitarian crisis arising from insurgency and the drying up of Lake Chad, which has affected over 30 million people in the region who depend on the Lake for farming, fishing and animal husbandry has forced some Nigerians to defy the desert to make perilous journeys across the Mediterranean and the Sahara Desert to Europe.
A statement by Personal Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, stated that also in a separate audience with UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, President Buhari stressed the role the international community needed to play in recharging the Lake, noting that the financial cost was beyond the affected countries.
The President decried the menace of terrorism in the Sahel countries, noting that the instability in Libya has been a negative force on the Sahel.
The Head of Libya’s GNA told the President that there had been a lot of deaths and injuries in his country, pledging, however, that his government was determined to put an end to the situation.
‘‘The aggression must stop. The solution is not military alone we also believe in diplomacy. We are also victims of terrorism, just like Nigeria,’’ he said.
Al-Sarraj stated that Libya contributed a lot to the establishment and survival of the AU, adding that it was now time for Africa to reciprocate.
On her part, the Deputy Secretary-General told the President that growing security challenges in Africa were adversely affecting development and undermining the attainment of Sustaining Development Goals (SDGs).
She said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will host the SDGs Summit during the high-level week of the 74th Session of the General Assembly in September, and will use the occasion to call for a road map for a decade of delivery of the sustainable development targets.
The Deputy Secretary-General also congratulated President Buhari for signing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement at the AU Summit in Niamey, saying ‘‘the entire world was waiting for Nigeria.’’
Couple Win Caine Prize For The First Time
A husband and wife from Senegal have won the 2023 Caine Prize for African Writing.
Mame Bougouma Dienne and Woppa Diallo were awarded the prize for their short story, a collaborative effort, entitled “A Soul of Small Places”, which the judges described as “thunder and poetic.”
This marks the first time a pair has won the award since it began in 2000, as well as the first time the prize has chosen a winner from Senegal.
Diene and Diallo win a cash prize of £10,000, and will have their work featured in the 2023 Caine prize anthology, “This Tangible Thing and Other Stories. ”
Runners-up Yejide Kilanko, Tlotlo Tsamaase, Ekemini Pius, and Yvonne Kusiima will receive £500 and also feature in the anthology.
According to The Guardian, Chair of judges Fareda Banda, professor of law at SOAS, praised Diene and Diallo’s “visceral tale”. She and her fellow judges, the writers Edwige-Renée Dro, Kadija George Sesay, Jendella Benson and Warsan Shire, felt the collaborative work spoke “powerfully, but not didactically, to one of the pressing global issues of our time.”
“It reminds us too of the power of love in all its forms”, Banda added. “The winning story leaves a lasting impression and invites readers to return to it.”
The Senegalese duo’s “A Soul of Small Places” draws on Diallo’s experiences of gender-based violence, set against a backdrop of African cosmology in which spirits and humans coexist.
Diallo’s feminist activism began when she was just 15. At that age she founded L’Association pour le Maintien des Filles à l’Ecole (The Association for Keeping Girls in School) in Matam, Senegal.
Her contribution to A Soul of Small Places was through ideas and experience: Diene, whose debut short story collection, Dark Moons Rising on a Starless Night, was nominated for the 2019 Splatterpunk award, physically wrote the story.
UK Court Restrains Alison-Madueke With Electronic Tag
By Ben Atonko, Abuja
Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Ms Diezani Alison-Madueke was granted bail by a London court on Monday with conditions that will make her escape from the UK very difficult.
Alison-Madueke faces bribery charges filed against her by the United Kingdom (UK) government.
In August, the UK’s National Crime Agency said it suspected Alison-Madueke had accepted bribes in return for awarding multi-million-pound oil and gas contracts.
Before the charges against her by the UK government, the former minister was a subject of intense investigations and legal proceedings by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Buhari succeeded Goodluck Jonathan under whose administration Ms Alison-Madueke was Minister of Petroleum Resources and chair of the former national oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
She quickly fled Nigeria when Buhari government began investigations into her activities while in office.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had pressed a 13-count charges bordering on money laundering against her alleging that the former minister stole $2.5 billion from the Nigerian government while she was a minister.
On different occasions, the Federal High Court in Abuja issued a warrant of arrest against her as part of the process of bringing her to Nigeria to face charges.
Efforts by the Buhari eight-year administration to extradite her were futile until she was arrested in the UK over similar charges.
The District Judge Michael Snow granted her bail in terms and conditions including a curfew that ordered her to stay indoors between 11P.M. and 6P.M.
The judge ordered her to always wear an electronic tag and imposed a 70,000-pound surety to be paid before she could leave the court building on Monday.
The former minister, during her Monday appearance at Westminster Magistrates Court, spoke only to give her name, date of birth and address.
The charges against her were read out in court, but she was not asked to formally enter a plea.
Her lawyer, Mark Bowen told the court she would be pleading not guilty.
She is scheduled to have her next court appearance at Southwark Crown Court, which deals with serious criminal cases on Oct 30.
Ms Alison-Madueke allegedly received bribes as Nigeria’s petroleum minister in the form of cash, luxury goods, flights on private jets and the use of high-end properties in Britain in return for awarding oil contracts.
Prosecutor Andy Young accused her of accepting a wide range of advantages in cash and in kind from people who wanted to receive or continue to receive the award of oil contracts said to be worth billions of dollars in total.
The advantages, according to the prosecutor, included a delivery of 100,000 pounds ($121,620) in cash, the payment of private school fees for her son, and the use and refurbishment of several luxurious properties in London and in the English countryside.
They also included the use of a Range Rover car, payment of bills for chauffeur-driven cars, furniture, and purchases from the upmarket London department store Harrods and from Vincenzo Caffarella, which sells Italian decorative arts and antiques.
Mrs Alison-Madueke, aged 63, who also served as president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), was a key figure in the Nigerian government between 2010 and 2015.
US Court Orders Tinubu’s Academic Record Release to Atiku by Monday
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has ruled in favour of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and ordered that the Chicago State University should release President Tinubu’s academic record to the former vice president by Monday.
The judge Nancy Maldonado, in a judgment noted that CSU raised no objection to Judge Jeffery Gilbert’s decision that the academic record be made public.
The court explained that any intrusion on Tinubu’s privacy interests in his educational records is outweighed by Atiku’s interest in the sought-after discovery.
Maldonado overruled Tinubu’s objections to Gilbert’s recommended ruling and therefore adopted the ruling in full.
The memorandum opinion and order stated: “Atiku’s application is therefore granted. In light of the pending Supreme Court of Nigeria deadline, represented to the court as October 5, 2023, and based on CSU’s representations that it is ready to comply with the discovery requests and produce a witness, the court sets an expedited schedule for completion of discovery. Respondent CSU is directed to produce all relevant and non-privileged documents.“The Rule 30(b)(6) deposition of CSU’s corporate designee must be completed by 5:00P.M. CDT on Tuesday, October 3, 2023. Given the October 5, 2023, filing deadline before the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the Court will not extend or modify these deadlines.”
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