-Panic Grips South East Governors
-It’s Shameful- FG
By Jude Opara, Abuja with Agency reports
Anger and outrage have trailed Saturday’s attack on immediate past Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu in Nuremberg, Germany, by alleged members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), while participating in Iri Iji Festival of Igbo in the Diaspora.
While Leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu on Sunday, described the attack as a ‘courageous act’ and ‘polite warning’, the Federal Government has condemned the attack, saying it was shameful and pathetic.
Reacting in his official Twitter page, Kanu said: “the courageous act by IPOB at Nürnberg Germany is a polite warning to those engaged in selling our collective interest to Fulani caliphate.Nwodo, Igbo governors are warned.”
Meanwhile, panic has gripped south-east governors and other politicians over the attack with some reportedly cancelling scheduled foreign trips.
In a statement in Abuja the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the incident was an embarrassment to the country.
She said: “It is also shamefully pathetic that an event, which was nobly put together by the Ndi-Igbo community whose members make up the majority of Nigerians living in Germany, ended up in such a disgraceful manner.”
Dabiri-Erewa noted that the event was to provide a forum for the Diasporans and various stakeholders to network and facilitate a better cooperation between German and Nigerian businesses.
She disclosed that some of the culprits who perpetrated the act had been apprehended.
She also appealed to Nigerians to be of good behavior wherever they find themselves as such unruly incidents tarnish the image of the country.
Also the House of Representatives says it will probe the attack when it resumes from vacation.
The Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub made the disclosure in a statement he personally signed on Sunday on the heels of the attack.
Condemning in strong terms the assault, Yakub said that there were other civilized ways within a democratic setting to show grievances by any individuals or groups.
The federal lawmakers hinted the House upon resumption in September would thoroughly investigate the matter, urging the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Maitama Tugger to immediately probe the issue with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.
Attackers Must Face Justice – Buba
Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Hon. Yusuf Buba, said the attackers must face justice.
In a statement on Sunday in Abuja, Buba urged Nigeria’s Ambassador to Germany, Ambassador Yusuf Tugga, to ensure the attackers are made to face justice.
Buba said given the high personality profile and the public service record which Ekweremadu parades, it was unthinkable for any individual or group anywhere in the world to attack him in such a manner.
According to Buba, his very own people in the Diaspora who ought to know better to contemplate carried out the despicable public act of shame that was brought upon a well-respected national leader.
Buba described Ekweremadu as an accomplished scholar in the legal profession and a political leader of high standing in society.
Attack unjustified – PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said Saturday’s attack is unjustified.
The PDP in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Sunday, said the attack was uncalled for, unprovoked and unjustified.
It said such assault on a leader was “completely unacceptable and does not portray our nation in proper light”.
Ologbondiyan urged the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany and the German Government to take appropriate decisive action on the matter.
“The party also urges the Federal Government, particularly, the National
Assembly, to take urgent comprehensive step to address issues leading to acts of resentment and agitations by Nigerians within and outside the country.”
Also, Chief Austin Umahi, the National Vice-Chairman, PDP South East zone, called for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators to serve as deterrent to others.
Umahi advised any individual or group with any genuine reason to agitate to do so through the South-East Governors Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other legitimate means within the Nigerian federation; rather than resort to self-help.
IPOB threats empty – Umahi
Reacting to the incident on Sunday in Abakaliki, the Chairman of the forum, Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi, said that the attack was unnecessary.
In a statement issued by Mr. Emmanuel Uzor, his Chief Press Secretary, Umahi said that the issue of insecurity in the southeast, cited by the group as its reason, was not peculiar to the zone.
He stated that insecurity was a national issue, which rested squarely on the Federal Government’s control.
He further stated that the governors of the southeast had no issues with IPOB to warrant the group’s threat to attack them anywhere abroad.
The governor described the threat as “empty,” saying that the group lacked the power to track the governors around the globe.
“They have no spread and power to do so because they cannot see any governor to attack,” he said.
He opined that the group’s directive to its members to attack them would add no value toward the realisation of the agitation for Biafra.
“The IPOB members abroad should come home and settle any issues they hold against the governors, instead of doing so in a foreign land.
“Attacking governors in a foreign land is a wild goose chase. We love the IPOB members because they are our children,” he stated.
Umahi further noted that IPOB could not achieve Biafra alone except it collaborated with all the critical stakeholders, including the governors.
“They don’t need to attack the governors to achieve Biafra and we warn them not to allow political opportunists to use them to destroy the zone.
“They should unite and work with the governors and Ohaneze Ndigbo to achieve a president of Igbo extraction in 2023, instead of fighting the governors.
“We want them to be close to us, instead of taking the struggle to international arena,” the governor said.
We can’t achieve Biafra like this – MASSOB
Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) condemned the attack and said Biafra cannot be achieved in this way.
MASSOB spokesman, Samuel Edeson in statement on Sunday said it was disheartening that some groups have turned the non violent struggle for the actualization of Biafra state into an abusive and systematic gestapo against the citizens of Biafra.
Ohanaeze youths call for abolition, not suspension of RUGA (Opens in a new browser tab)
It described the physical attack on Ike Ekweremadu by IPOB as not commendable, noting that Igbo culture abhors disrespect of elders and persons in authority.
The group said that if actually Senator Ekweremadu was sabotaging or has sabotaged Biafra struggle as alleged by IPOB, the Nnamdi Kanu led IPOB did not take meaningful and acceptable steps to draw the attention of Ekweremadu to the alleged degradation.
Edeson said: “MASSOB as a leading figure of current Biafra agitation advice other pro Biafra groups including IPOB that Igbo political leaders are not the major obstacle of our chances of achieving independence from Nigeria state.
“The major hurdle militating against the freedom of Biafra people from Nigeria is non cohesion and brotherhood among the leaders of leading pro Biafra groups.
“The tendency of superiority complex on ideology and the spirit of lordship over others are the detrimental tendencies grossly affecting the freedom of Biafrans.
“Ike Ekweremadu and other perceived and alleged enemies of Biafra are not our major obstacle against Biafra. IPOB can never actualize Biafra alone, neither MASSOB, LNC, BNC, BIM nor others operating individually can’t achieve Biafra alone.
“Biafra will be more achievable when a strong coalition of MASSOB, IPOB, Lower Niger Congress, BNC, BIM and others from Niger Delta regions are established under a collegiate leadership
“The tendency of grooming authoritarian leadership under any guise in Igbo land and Biafra in general will never be tolerated because the republican nature of Igbo man does not allow such authoritative and empirical rulership.
An embarrassment to Igbo nation – APC
The South-East APC Young Progressive Forum says such action was not in the character of the Igbo.
Leader of the group, Comrade Otimkpu Paschal said it was against Igbo’s core values and respect for elders for IPOB members to treat Ekweremadu that way.
He said: “This is barbaric and unacceptable. The incident was an embarrassment to the Igbo nation and the country at large.
“It is also shamefully pathetic that an event, which was nobly put together by the Igbo community whose members make up the majority of Nigerians living in Germany, ended up in such a disgraceful manner. Obviously, this is not how to repay a man, who has contributed his quota to the nation -building.
“Irrespective of political affiliation, Senator Elweremadu is an outstanding leader in Enugu and Nigeria and an unpretentious Igbo leader.
“We may not agree with him politically because of differences in parties, but this is the highest height of insult on Igbo leaders. Last time it was former Governor Rochas Okorocha at Chetham’s House London. Today, it is Senator Dr Ike Ekweremadu.
“It is most worrisome and even inconceivable that the attackers chose a great occasion where our people were celebrating and showcasing our rich cultural heritage (the New Year Festival) to exhibit such unbecoming and condemnable conduct in the name of agitation.”
UNGA 78: Nigeria, 192 UN Members Adopt Plan Against Pandemics
Nigeria and other UN Member States have pledged to prevent a repeat of the devastating health and socio-economic crises caused by COVID-19 and shore up the world’s ability to head off another pandemic.
All 193 UN Member States adopted a political declaration at a high-level meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response at the ongoing 78th session.
Adopting a milestone political declaration at the first-ever summit on pandemic prevention and response, nations also committed to get back on track to reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
“[This] is a historic milestone in the urgent drive to make all people of the world safer, and better protected from the devastating impacts of pandemics,” Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the UN World Health Organisation (WHO), said.
“I welcome this commitment by world leaders to provide the political support and direction needed so that WHO, governments and all involved can protect people’s health and take concrete steps towards investing in local capacities, ensuring equity and supporting the global emergency health architecture that the world needs.”
The declaration was the result of months of intense negotiations to refine and agree on actions at the national, regional and global levels. It will be submitted to the General Assembly in due course for formal endorsement.
The political declaration asserts the need for Member States to conclude negotiations on a formal agreement on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, known also as the Pandemic Accord – and make targeted amendments to International Health Regulations – by May next year.
It also calls on States to address the negative, physical and mental health impacts of health-related misinformation, disinformation, hate speech and stigmatization, especially on social media platforms.
Instead, it calls for public information campaigns based on science and the facts.
Member States also committed to strengthening health work forces and rapid response capacities, surveillance, and local manufacturing abilities, so countries can meet their own needs to prevent, prepare for and respond to pandemics.
Speaking at the summit, UN Secretary- General, Antonio Guterres, recalled that the global response to COVID-19 showcased both human ingenuity and exposed society’s shortcomings.
While rapid test and vaccine development were notable achievements, there were also a lack of preparedness, disproportionate impacts on the world’s poorest and vaccine hoarding by wealthy nations.
“We must not repeat the mistakes of the past when the next pandemic strikes – as we know it will – and other health threats emerge,” he said.
Reiterating the importance of the declaration, the UN chief urged countries to support the WHO, including increasing their financial contributions.
Tinubu Attends NASDAQ, Rings Closing Bell
President Bola Tinubu on Thursday, rang the bell at the National Association of Securities Dealers Automatic Quotation System (NASDAQ), becoming the first African Head of Government to do so.
The president rang the bell at the world’s financial capital, New York and became the first African President to perform such task.
NASDAQ is world’s second largest stock exchange.
Tinubu, while performing the task, was in company of some Nigerian business leaders and officials of the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. (NGX).
The President also used the opportunity, presented by the historic moment, to advance his foreign investment push in front of financial markets at the famous stock exchange.
“It’s a great honour for me to be here. I am happy to bring Nigeria to your doorsteps and I am honoured that we are here, today, with a bubbling Nigerian stock market that will evolve in the West African sub-region.
‘’The greatest economy in Africa is Nigeria. There is an immense opportunity in Nigeria, where you can invest your money without fear,” the President said.
He said that his government would address longstanding problems and impediments, such as the recent economic policies taken since assumption of office in May.
He said these include restoration and unification of the foreign exchange rate market to a stable and trustworthy level.
According to him, this will allow new investors to bring their money and be free of worries about whether they can take it out at any point in time.
“You’re free to take in your money and bring out your money. I count on you to invest in Nigeria,” the President said.
Tinubu Woos Investors at Nigeria-US Business Roundtable
President Bola Tinubu has assured prospective investors of his administration’s determination to adopt necessary fiscal and regulatory measures toward the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
At the Nigeria-U.S. Executive Business Roundtable, the President said he recognised that investment capital is cowardly in nature.
He said that was the reason behind his bringing successful Nigerian industrialists and public officials to share their experiences and operational plans, respectively.
Tinubu said this was in addition to all he had done to boost the confidence of the global investment community in Nigeria, by reforming the fiscal, monetary, regulatory and tax policy environment.
“Nigeria is an opportunity that is impossible to replicate or find elsewhere in any part of the world. We have brilliant young people who both innovate and consume at a large scale.
‘’Our entrepreneurial spirit is a major part of what makes our market totally unique, aside from demography.
‘’Nigerians build businesses and Nigerian businesses partner with other businesses to conduct larger business.
‘’There is enough value to spread around. Be careful of what you hear about Nigeria. You may be dissuaded out of a major opportunity that others will take up.
‘’We are here for you. We will give you all the support you need to succeed and succeed abundantly,” the President said.
On behalf of the U.S. Government, U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo, told U.S. business leaders he came back from Nigeria on an official visit that later became a fact-finding mission.
“In Lagos, I saw, first-hand, some of the major reforms you implemented as the Governor of Lagos and the transformative effect on Nigeria’s commercial capital.
‘’People have attested to the fact that the reforms you have put in place as President are quickly enhancing confidence.
‘’American business is paying attention to that and from what we have seen for ourselves, Nigeria is proving to be a new frontier for investment.
‘’We will encourage our companies from our end as those reforms continue to deepen,” Adeyemo said.
The American Business Council President, Mr Sops Ideriah, said that the extensive turnouts at the roundtable by American business chief executives was impressive.
According to him, the turnouts served as a testament to the degree to which confidence is rising in response to the actions and words of the President.
He said that this was with respect to ease of doing business, investment promotion, and his willingness to intervene to clear the historical concerns of American business people about doing business in Nigeria.
“Having all the stakeholders in the room, His Excellency, the President of Nigeria being here, from government actors at the federal and state level to ministers and tax authorities present, as well as private sector industrialists in Nigeria.
‘’We are very positive about the potential of Nigeria and we are just reinforcing to our colleagues the message about the economic opportunities that exist there,” Ideriah said.
Acting Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Zacch Adedeji, assured the American captains of industry that the nation’s apex tax authority would not focus on taxing the seed.
He said it would focus only on the proportionate taxation of the fruit of fully formed industry, through efficient policy synergy with Nigeria’s sub-national authorities.
“The President is a business enabler, not a handicapper. Everything we do will be geared toward making your tax assessment and payment processes as digitally efficient and transparent as possible.
‘’We are not after the seed, but the fruit and we will keep to this commitment,” Adedeji said.(NAN)
NNPCL Signs Membership of UN Global Compact
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, has signed up as a participant of the United Nations Global Compact, thereby becoming the first state-owned oil company to join the global initiative.
Group CEO of NNPC Ltd, Malam Mele Kyari, signed the Letter of Commitment, at the ongoing UN General Assembly (UNGA), signifying its participation in the UN Global Compact in New York.
A statement by the NNPC Ltd management, on Thursday, said the company signed up in a short ceremony on the sidelines of President Bola Tinubu’s session during the Global Africa Business Initiative (GABI) at the ongoing general assembly.
In a speech shortly after the signing, Kyari said the NNPCL’s participation in the UN Global Compact was a further testimony to Nigeria’s commitment to work with global partners towards attaining a just Energy Transition.
Kyari added that with this development, NNPCL supports the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact on human rights, labour, environment, and anti corruption.
He described the NNPCL as a dynamic global energy company with businesses and operations across the entire spectrum of the energy value chain.
“We are committed to making the UN Global Compact and its principles part of our strategy, culture and day-to-day operations of our Company.
“We will engage in collaborative projects which advance the broader development of goals of the United Nations, particularly the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Kyari added.
Earlier in her remarks, the Executive Director, UN Global Compact Network, Nigeria, Ms Naomi Nwokolo described NNPCL’s move to become a participant of the UN global initiative as pivotal step in fostering a culture of ethical business conduct, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility.
With Nigeria being one of the largest producers of crude oil in Africa, a transition from an energy system driven by fossil fuels to one based on renewable energy will have far reaching positive impact, serving as a catalyst for sustainability in-country, on the continent and the world at large.
The UN Global Compact, formally inaugurated in July 2000, is a voluntary UN agreement designed to encourage companies around the world to develop, implement, and disclose responsible and sustainable corporate policies and practices. (NAN)
Minister Calls for Creative Ideas to Overcome Economic Challenges
By Raphael Atuu, Abuja
Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Professor Joseph Terlumun Utsev has called on Nigerians to come up with creative ideas and suggestions on how best to overcome challenges facing the country.
Engineer Utsev made the call on Wednesday, when he received members of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) in his office in Abuja.
According to him, the administration of President Bola Tinubu was committed to making lives meaningful for all citizens and was ready to welcome creative ideas that will enable the country surmount its challenges and better the living condition of citizens.
He acknowledged the key role the Nigerian Economic Summit Group has played over the years in promoting and championing reforms of the Nigerian economy and called for synergy between the group and the Ministry to achieve the desired result.
Acting Chief Operations Officer and Senior Fellow Economic Policy, Strategy and Competitiveness, Dr Tayo Aduloju had explained that the group, which is non – profit, non -partisan private sector organization with a mandate to promote and champion the reform of the Nigerian economy into a modern globally and competitive one was at the ministry to seek partnership in the areas of providing useful ways of improving water , sanitation and hygiene in the country as well as how to make water a business .
The Minister had earlier played host to a delegation from the World Bank led by Jun Matsumoto, which were at the ministry to also seek partnership for the promotion of irrigation farming and effective utilization of dams for agriculture.
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