UNGA: Onyema Leads Nigeria’s Delegation to Bande Inauguration as President
The Federal Government has dispatched a three-man team to witness the assumption of office of Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande as the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The ceremony will take place at the UN New York headquarters, United States of America, on Sept.16 and 17, ahead of the High-Level week of the UNGA when leaders of the nations of the world take turns to address the General Assembly.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, confirmed this development in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.
He said: “A Nigerian government team to the historic event which will be led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama will include the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar and the Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.’’
Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN was elected President of the 74th session of the General Assembly by acclamation on Tuesday, June 4, to serve the one-year role with a strong mandate from his home government, that nominated him, endorsed by the Group of African States and adopted unanimously by the member-states.
The Muhammad-Bande presidency, coming 30 years after this country’s first, presents Nigeria and Africa a unique opportunity to ensure the implementation of the existing mandates for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The mandates particularly focus on peace and security, poverty eradication, zero hunger, quality education, climate action and inclusion.
“The General Assembly under Muhammad-Bande will also play a role in bridging the gaps and promoting collective action to address all international issues that deserve attention, in close coordination and collaboration with the Secretary-General, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council,’’ Shehu added.
The presidential aide, therefore, expressed the hope that the Muhammad-Bande presidency at the UNGA would ensure the actualisation of “the major priorities of Nigeria and the African continent’’.(NAN)
World Bank Announces Ajay Banga as Sole Nominee for President
The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors announced that Ajay Banga, a U.S. national, was the only nominee for the position of the next President of the bank.
This is contained in a statement issued by the World Bank in Abuja on Friday.
“The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today confirmed that, as announced on Feb.22, the period for submitting nominations for the position of the next President of the World Bank Group closed on Wednesday at 6:00 pm ET. ”
“The board received one nomination and would like to announce that Ajay Banga, a U.S. national, will be considered for the position.
“In accordance with established procedures, the Board of Executive Directors will conduct a formal interview with the candidate in Washington D.C., and expect to conclude the Presidential selection in due course,” the board said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in February, US President Joe Biden nominated Banga to lead the World Bank saying that he is “well equipped” to lead the global institution at “this critical moment in history.”
No other country proposed an alternate candidate for the prestigious post.
Banga, 63, was born in India and is a naturalised U.S. citizen.
The former Mastercard Inc. chief, Banga currently serves as Vice Chairman at General Atlantic.
NAN reports that if confirmed, Banga would become the first-ever Indian-American to head either of the two top international financial institutions: the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Banga is expected to replace the current World Bank president David Malpass, who will step down in June, nearly a year before his term is scheduled to expire.
Malpass faced strong criticism over the bank’s commitment to climate action and over his personal views on climate change. (NAN)
Agba Leads Govt Delegation to South Korea on Bilateral Cooperation
By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, is at the head of a Nigerian government’s delegation to Seoul, South Korea, for a week-long mission for strategic dialogues with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and Korea-Africa Foundation (KAF).
The visit is intended to, among other purposes, forge new frontiers of mutual cooperation between the countries and deepen existing bilateral ties.
As a prelude to the series of meetings and dialogue sessions, Agba met with the Nigerian Ambassador to South Korea, Ali Mohammed Magashi, with top officials in the Embassy, and discussed cross-cutting issues bordering on the status of the bilateral relations between Nigeria and South Korea.
Issues that featured during the discussions included outstanding Agreements such as the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement; Labour; Avoidance of Double Taxation to be concluded to further boost the investment climate and the volume of trade of USD 2 billion in 2021 and the way forward.
The Minister took the opportunity of the meeting to shed light on the Nigeria’s National Development Plan 2021- 2025 and the investment opportunities for the South Korean private investors in key sectors such as Agriculture, Manufacturing, ICT, Oil and Gas (midstream) to accelerate the country’s economic growth that is already diversified.
He urged the ambassador to canvass for investments in the identified sectors in pursuance of Nigeria’s unwavering effort at ensuring and consolidating its concentric diversification of the national economy.
At the meeting with the President of the 5-year-old Korea-Africa Foundation, Mr Lyeo Woon-Ki, the minister applauded the purpose of establishing the Foundation as an affiliate of the South Korean’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is to, among other things, foster business and cultural cooperation between the country and African continent as well as promote genuine partnership in political and academic spheres.
He noted that South Korea had a vibrant private sector and gave insight into the plan envisaged for the sector in the NDP 2021-2025 for investment in Nigeria.
The minister allayed the fears expressed by the Foundation President regarding doing business in Nigeria and apprised him of the immigration and customs reforms in place and the country’s upward leap, by 20 points, in the ease of doing business ranking.
He also paid a courtesy visit to the Acting President of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Mr. Youn-Young Lee.
As a grant aid provider under the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the minister lauded the “excellent cordial relationship” between the Federal Government of Nigeria and KOICA since it began operations in 2008.
He thanked the President of the Republic of South Korea, His Excellency, Yoon Suk Yeol, the Government and people of South Korea for the prestigious National Award of Diplomatic Service Merit (Heungin Medal) recently awarded to him in Abuja as first recipient in Africa.
Agba said the several grant aids and technical cooperation projects implemented by the Agency had been impactful.
He acknowledged the various KOICA-supported capacity-building training extended to the Nigerian government officials in several fields of human endeavours as well as technical cooperation.
The training, according to him, “covers short-term, long-term, Masters and Postgraduate scholarship programmes and in-country training programme.”
The minister noted the future areas of cooperation mentioned by the KOICA President and confirmed their alignment with Nigeria’s priorities as encapsulated in the NDP 2021-2025.
Meanwhile, the Minister, consequent upon receiving a report about a Nigerian family who lost four children in domestic fire that razed their apartment in Ansan Danwon, on the outskirts of Seoul, decided to pay the family and the Nigerian community in Ansan Danwon a condolence visit.
The visit happened on Monday, March 27, 2023, in company with the Nigerian Ambassador to South Korea.
They condoled with the Nigerian family of seven, Mr. Felix Nwafor, who lost four children (2 boys and 2 girls) to an inferno that occurred in the early hours of that day. The couple and a two-year old daughter who survived are receiving medical attention at a Korean Hospital in the area.
Thuggery, Intimidation, Attacks, Abductions Characterise Recent Polls – EU Mission
The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM), has said that there were at least 21 reported deaths in the just concluded general election.
The election monitoring group said the fatalities were recorded on election day.
In its second preliminary report released yesterday, the EU-EOM said there were “multiple incidents of thuggery and intimidation” that interrupted polls in several voting units across the country on election day.
The EU-EOM said, “obstruction and organised violence limited the free expression of the will of the voters, despite efforts by civil society to promote democratic standards”.
It also said vote-buying was recorded in the election, affecting the proper conduct of the exercise.
“The 25 February post-election environment was largely peaceful, with parties appealing to supporters for calm. However, a few days before the 18 March elections, violence abruptly increased with more than a dozen attacks and abductions of candidates by thugs and unidentified gunmen, some of which resulted in fatalities. Violence shortly before and on election day appeared to strategically suppress voter participation,” the report reads.
“Overall, on election day, multiple incidents of thuggery and intimidation interrupted polling in various locations, primarily across the south but also in states in the central and northern areas. There were reportedly some 21 fatalities. In polling units in several states, violent incidents targeted voters, INEC personnel, citizen observers, and journalists.
“Most polling units opened with materials and personnel deployed on time, although a dismal level of voter participation meant less pressure on INEC operations throughout the day. Vote-buying, also observed by EU EOM observers, further detracted from the appropriate conduct of the elections.”
The election observers said journalists were attacked while carrying out their duty and that security operatives turned blind eyes instead of prosecuting the attackers.
“Law enforcement agencies failed to prosecute persons who attacked, intimidated or harassed journalists during or after the presidential polls in at least five southern states with fiercely contested state-level races,” the EU-EOM said.
“In two further states, police arrested two journalists on bogus charges. EU EOM observers confirmed 10 incidents involving media; only in one instance, police opened a case.
“Impunity encouraged by police inaction is detrimental to freedom of expression, particularly as independent and trusted outlets are targeted. This does not accord with Nigeria’s regional and international commitments to the protection of the media.”
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