- Vows to Get Compensation for Xenophobic Victims
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
Federal Government Thursday said that it was not bothered by the attendance of some Nugerian State governors at the World Economic Forum (WEF) taking place in Cape Town, South Africa after the country withdrew its participation
due to the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals.
Speaking State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama said that Nigerian government would do everything possible to secure compensation for all her citizens affected by the xenophobic attacks in the former apartheid country.
Some of the governors who attended the WEF from Nigeria were Ekiti and Kaduna as well as some members of the business class.
The Federal Government also denied knowledge of the temporary closure of South African High Commission in Nigeria.
The South African Foreign Affairs Minister, Naledi Pandor was reported to have said that the government had temporarily closed its embassy in Nigeria.
She also said South Africa was in constant touch with Nigerian authorities to try to restore calm, adding that there was no provision in local law for compensation for damage caused in the attacks.
But Onyeama said, “We are not aware that the South African government has closed down its High Commission here in Abuja or its consulate in Lagos.”
Fielding question from journalists on whether the participation of some Nigerians including the governors was not an affront on the position of the Federal Government, the Minister of Foreign Affairs explained that the governors may have arrived South Africa before the decision was taken.
Besides, he said that the WEF was not a South African event, rather a global forum but taking place in South Africa.
”The World Economic Forum process has started a number of days ago and the governors who are there had gone there ahead even before this whole issue materialized, they were already engaged in that.
“The first thing you have to realize is that the World Economic Forum is not a South African government initiative. It is a Swiss based mechanism and it takes place in different places
“It is not a question of disobedience because they were actually there already before this decision was taken.”
On the alleged withdrawal of Nigerian High Commissioner in South Africa, Onyeama said, “Yesterday (Wednesday) I did make the comment that we have not taken a decision to withdraw or recall our High Commissioner in South Africa, what I pointed out yesterday is this, Mr. President has sent Special Envoy to South Africa.
“So we are going to wait for the report of the Special Envoy when he comes back in about two days time. And on that basis after we have received the report, it is likely that we must supplement that report by also calling the High Commissioner back for consultation so that Mr. President will be able to get as comprehensive and full a picture of the situation in South Africa.
“So, the High Commissioner will be coming after the Special Envoy has returned for consultations and then once the President has full briefing from all the actors directly engaged, we will be able to make an informed decision on what further steps to take.”
Asked if South African government had reacted to the position taken by Nigeria, he said, “Regarding reaction from South Africa after it was decided that the Vice President should no longer participate in the World Economic Forum meeting there, we have not received any direct reaction.
“But of course that is to be expected since we informed the South African authorities that the Special Envoy of Mr. President is coming to his country.”
On compensation, which the South African Foreign Affairs Minister, Naledi Pandor had said that the country had no provision for such in its laws, the Minister said Nigeria government would do everything possible to ensure that the victims were compensated.
He said,”Our citizens there have suffered lost and it is the responsibility of this government to ensure that they are compensated and we will take measures necessary and do whatever we have to do to ensure that they are compensated.
“I haven’t seen the statement from South African yet, when we see it, we have to look at and study it and we will decide what further measures we need to take.”
Also answering question on the closure of the South African mission offices in Nigeria, Onyeama said that the Federal Government was not aware of such.
Palestinian Death Toll in Gaza Rises to 29,195 Amid Israeli Attacks
The death toll in the Gaza Strip has risen to 29,195 with 69,170 others wounded as the Israeli attacks continue, The Gaza-based Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
The Israeli army had killed 103 Palestinians and wounded 142 others in the Strip during the past 24 hours, the ministry said in a press statement.
It was noted that some victims remained under the rubble amid heavy bombardment and a lack of civil defence and ambulance crews.
Meanwhile, Israeli media outlets said the Israeli army forces were continuing their operations in the north centre and south of the Gaza Strip against Hamas, and have killed many fighters.
The Israeli army announced the death of a 22-year-old soldier as a result of his wounds in the Gaza battles.
The death of the 22-year-old soldier raised the death toll of Israeli soldiers killed in the ground operation to 236.
In addition, the Israeli army revealed a video of Israeli detainees alive in the first days of their detention in the Gaza Strip on Monday.
The video was showing a woman and her two children wrapped in a blanket, taken by gunmen in Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesman Daniel Hagari said that the family had been kidnapped by an organization calling itself the “Mujahideen Brigades.” (Xinhua/NAN)
Namibian President’s Death a Great Loss to Citizens, Africa, the World —Envoy
Namibia’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Humphrey Geiseb has eulogised the country’s late President Hage Geingob, describing his death as a great loss to the country, Africa, and the world.
Geiseb made this known during a memorial church service in honour of Geingob, held at the Catholic Church of Assumption in Abuja, on Monday.
According to him, a lot of lessons can be learned from the life of the late president, who was a champion for a better life for disadvantaged persons in Namibia.
Geiseb said: “His death is a great loss to Namibians, Africans and the whole world; we have lost a visionary leader as president and one who was a champion of many causes.
“He championed the cause of the poor, unemployed, elderly women and made sure there was an improvement in the number of women represented in the cabinet, as well as parliament during his tenure.
“President Geingob was an advocate of the less powerful in the society, through his labour he made sure that those who were less powerful were catered for and also mainstreamed in governance.”
He added that the late president was a good leader, noting that the quantum of condolence messages, which he received from Nigerians were a reflection of his goodness to the people.
Amb. John Shinkaiye, who paid tribute on behalf of the Association of Retired Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) described Geingob as a Pan-Africanist.
“We pay tribute to the late president and mourn his passing with his family, Africa, the Commonwealth and other organisations in which he played outstanding roles.
“We pray his family be comforted and his departure will be honoured by the continuation of a peaceful and vibrant Namibia.”
Amb. Poscaline Vokiwuge Gerengbo of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who paid tribute on behalf of the Group of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Ambassadors, said Geingob lived a life worthy of emulation.
“On behalf of SADC Ambassadors in Abuja, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and people of Namibia.
“May you find comfort during this difficult time; our presence here is in admiration of a man who gave up his lifetime dedicated to his country and continent at large,” Gerengbo said.
Also speaking, Amb. Ibrahim Gambari, former Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, described Geingob as a brother, confidant and passionate African, who was fearless, confident and engaging.
“His sense of statesmanship was similar to leaders like Julius Nyerere, Kwame Nkrumah, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and all those great men and women on whose shoulders we stand today.
“He was an outstanding visionary, who saw the transition of his country from an oppressive apartheid regime to embrace ethnic diversity and create room for younger people to share in the vision of Namibia.
“There are not less than 50 Namibians in Nigeria, while there are not less than 3000 Nigerians in Namibia,” Gambari said.
The event, which was officiated by Rev. Fr. Stephen Omale, members of the diplomatic community, attracted former governors and top government officials, as well as the Namibian community in Nigeria.
Reports says that the late President Geingob died on February 4 at the age of 82. (NAN)
U.S. Senate Approves Ukraine Aid Package
The U.S. Senate has approved a 95.3 billion dollar aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan after many weeks of negotiations.
The bill has passed 70 to 29 in the Democratic-led chamber.
However, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is far from certain, as former president and 2024 frontrunner Donald Trump had urged Republicans to avoid passing legislation.
Trump said that this would give President Joe Biden a chance to claim a legislative victory.
The two politicians are likely to battle for the presidency, once again in November.
The United States has considered Ukraine’s most important ally in the defence against the Russian invasion, since the start of the war in February 2022.
The Biden administration has provided or pledged military aid totalling more than 44 billion dollars for Kiev.
The aid package passed by the Senate includes around 60 billion dollars in aid for Ukraine, the majority of which is earmarked for military support.
This was roughly the amount that Biden had originally requested.
The draft also includes 14 billion dollars for Israel as well as billions in aid for Taiwan and other partners in the Indo-Pacific. (dpa/NAN)
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