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Organised Private Sector Lauds Buhari Over AfCFTA Signing

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President Muhammadu Buhari
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The Organised Private Sector (OPS) has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for including Nigeria in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) at the just concluded Africa Union Summit on Sunday in Niamey.

The sector’s chieftains told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos that Nigeria has more to gain because it would have access to the larger market of the member countries.

Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr Muda Yusuf, commended Buhari for following the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on the Assessment of AfCFTA.

According to Yusuf, Nigeria’s access to African countries, whose population is estimated at 1.2 billion and a two trillion dollars economy, offers tremendous opportunities for our firms.

“Not signing before now gave us the opportunity to put our views on the table to shape the structure of the agreement.

“We, therefore, welcome the decision of the Federal Government to the agreement,” he said.

The director-general, however, said though this would improve trade among African countries, appropriate safeguard measures should be put in place to protect vulnerable sectors of the economy.

He urged relevant agencies to effectively enforce the rules of origin of the agreement so as to build a competitive economy rather than having a disproportionate approach to the country’s industrialisation.

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Also, Mr Mansur Ahmed, the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) said MAN was happy that the agreement had been signed after exhaustive consultations and analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of the agreement.

“Initially, we (manufacturers) were not fully prepared, but right now, we are more than ready to benefit and exploit the framework of the agreement,” he said.

Commenting, the Director-General, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Mr Ayoola Olukanni, said signing of AfCFTA was a good development.

Olukanni said that it was a reflection of Buhari’s fulfillment of carrying all along before signing the agreement.

Olukanni said the AfCFTA framework required that operational modalities of the Rules of Origin, Tariff Schedules, Tariff Concessions, Services, and Investment Rules, among others were strictly followed by the relevant agencies.

“As Africa gears up for the implementation of this landmark agreement, a few issues deserve our attention.

“The AfCFTA is designed for the economic integration of Africa along the lines of what is evident within the European Union (EU), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“The reality is that AfCFTA is finally here, and the recent stakeholders’ meeting organized by the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) in Addis-Ababa is a clear indication that we are on the margins of history on the emergence of Africa as a single and unified market.

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“However, only those who prepare for it will harness the full potentials,” he said.

Olukanni added that before the agreement, most Nigeria’s companies, including banks, operated in 18 African countries, while Nigeria practically dominated the entertainment and creative sector of the continent.

“Nigeria airline operators, in spite of the the tough terrain of the domestic Aviation sector, provide services across the west and other parts of Africa.

“Now is the time for other sectors to harness the potential of the agreement,” he said.

In his remarks, Prof. Olukunle Iyanda, President, Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), expressed worried that the agreement would not be beneficial to the nation due to the attendant infrastructure deficit of the country.

“The agreement will not be too beneficial since the parameters to produce enough are not in place.

“My advice is that we specialise in the production of higher value export like cars, equipment and machineries rather than exchanging small value goods among member nations,” he said.

NAN reports that AfCFTA is to bring together all 55 member states of the African Union covering a market of more than 1.2 billion people, including a growing middle class, and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than 3.4 trillion U.S dollars.

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CRIME

Troops arrest 10 Robbers, rescue 3 Victims in Kaduna 

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By Gom Mirian, Abuja 

The military high command, yesterday said its troops deployed on internal operations in Kaduna state has arrested ten armed robbery suspects at Kafanchan town in Jema’a local government area of the state. 

A statement issued by the Director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Bernard Onyeuko stated the names of the arrested suspects as: Messrs Manga Ismail, a 22 – year-old, Idris Haruna (Ban Sambo), 20- year-old, Sani Bali, 19- year-old.

 

Others are Shamsudeen Ladan, 25 – year-old, Abdulmajid Yau (Sele), 22 – year – old , Abubakar Hassan, 23 – year-old, Abbas Aliyu, 15 – year-old, Mohammed Umar (Jazuli), 17 – year – old, Jonathan Vincent (Bamai), 19 – year-old and Stephen Joseph, 25 – year-old.

According to him, items recovered from the criminals include: TV, DVD, gas cookers, Mattresses, woofer, phones, scissors, among others.

 

Gen. Onyeuko also said on the same day, troops acting on intelligence reports, conducted a cordon search operation at Fanock Village, Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State and found a Toyota Corolla car with registration number ABUJA KUJ 452 AZ with no occupant. 

Onyeuko explained that Troops conducted search operations in the surrounding bush and rescued 3 kidnaped civilians comprising two females and a male. 

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Speaking further, he said :”Troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN in a sustained effort to eliminate criminals elements in their Area of operation on 28 June 2022 based credible intelligence conducted clearance operation in conjunction with vigilantes at Kan Duniya Village, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, Plateau State, neutralized notorious bandit and kidnapper.

“Similarly, on the same day, troops on fighting patrol sighted 2 x suspected kidnappers around Sara High Ground Mangu Local Government Area Plateau State on a motor cycle, suspects abandoned their motor cycle on sighting troops and fled.

” Troop exploited area and recovered 2 AK47 rifles, 101 rounds of 7.62mm special, 5 magazines, 1 motor cycle, 1 iron digger and 2 black jackets amongst others”, he said. 

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Foreign News

Husband of Slain Kenyan Runner Tirop Seeks Plea Bargain

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The husband of slain Kenyan distance runner Agnes Tirop is seeking a plea bargain after initially denying a charge of murder, his lawyer said yesterday.

Tirop, a rising star in the world of athletics, was killed last October in her home in Iten, a high-altitude training hub in western Kenya for top runners.

Emmanuel Ibrahim Rotich was arrested after a dramatic late-night chase the day after Tirop’s body was found with stab wounds, and has been in custody ever since.

The 41-year-old denied a charge of murder at a November court appearance.

But in the latest twist in the legal saga, his lawyer Ngigi Mbugua told the Eldoret High Court that Rotich was willing to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of attracting a more lenient sentence.

The prosecution said it was not against the idea of a plea bargain but wanted Tirop’s family to be involved in the process.

A hearing on Rotich’s request will take place on 22 September.

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NEWS

HEDA Petitions ICPC over Allegations against Ex-CJN

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The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) has petitioned the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over the allegations against the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Chairman, HEDA, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, yesterday in Lagos.

Suraju, in a letter to the Chairman of ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, urged the commission to stand tall over the allegations of corruption, maladministration and incompetence leveled against Muhammad.

“As a leading anti-corruption organisation in Nigeria and non-partisan human rights and development league, we call on the ICPC to commence investigation into the budgetary allocation, utilisation and development process of the judiciary with a view to sanitisation of that critical arm of government,” he said.

Suraju said it was widely reported that the immediate past CJN responded to the allegations brought against him by 14 Justices on the aforementioned allegations.

“It is unarguable that the judiciary is the last hope of the helpless and its judges are only meant to be heard and not seen.

“However, these allegations made by fellow Justices of the apex court against the CJN cannot be overlooked as it is weighty and must be diligently investigated by the commission in order to protect that vital institution.

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“If the Supreme Court of Nigeria is infested with corrupt persons, then our democracy is doomed, ICPC and others relevant bodies should rise and act fast to redeem the temple of justice from possible collapse,” HEDA said. (NAN)

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