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Nigeria To Receive Another $150m Abacha Loot

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*As Tinubu meets French Presidential envoy

President Bola Tinubu, on Friday in Abuja, expressed his appreciation to France for the return of $150 million stolen from Nigeria by former Head of State, General Sani Abacha.

In addition to the recovery of another tranche of Abacha loot, the President acknowledged the signing of a €100 million agreement between Nigeria and France to support the i-DICE programme — a Federal Government initiative to promote investment in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Creative Arts Industries.

The agreement was signed by Dr. ‘Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Technology, and the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, at an earlier event at Tafawa Balewa House, the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

President Tinubu commended the strengthening of bilateral relations between Nigeria and France, noting that this progress followed his visit to Paris after his inauguration.

“Thank you for the good news on the return of Abacha loot. We appreciate your effective cooperation concerning the return of Nigeria’s money. It will be judiciously applied in attaining our development objectives,” the President told Catherine Colonna, the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, who delivered the news. 

The President, while emphasizing the need to reinforce collaboration on both political and economic fronts, welcomed the growing cooperation between the two countries in areas of shared interest, such as climate change, economic integration, education, and culture. On the situation in Niger Republic, President Tinubu, who is the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, said Nigeria is monitoring the situation in the neighbouring country, and exploring diplomatic channels to avoid bloodshed.

“Leadership is about responding to the needs of the people; their cries, and their frustrations. Nigeria shares a border with Niger across the expanse of seven Nigerian states, and most of these states are very populated. Therefore, I need to guide ECOWAS carefully and steadily so that we manage our anger carefully.

’We have a colleague and a democratically-elected leader, President Bazoum, being used as a human shield. If we are not careful, he and his family can be endangered.

‘’I am deploying all appropriate back-channel strategies to avoid bloodshed in Niger Republic. We recognize the wishes of our people; they do not want war, but that does not mean we can not take bold and decisive action,” the President affirmed.

President Tinubu said Nigeria will continue to galvanize international partners in the determined pursuit of a peaceful resolution to the situation in Niger Republic.

The French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs conveyed the goodwill of President Emmanuel Macron and expressed the readiness of France to expand mutually beneficial collaboration with Nigeria across multiple sectors.

She proceeded to extend a formal invitation to President Bola Tinubu to attend the forthcoming Paris Peace Forum.

Speaking on the Abacha loot, the French Presidential Envoy said the repatriation followed the completion of legal processes.

“It was a long process, but we are glad that it was concluded. Sometimes, justice may be slow, but this is a very good achievement,” she said.  

Ms. Colonna also commended President Tinubu’s leadership in ECOWAS, saying: “We support your efforts at ECOWAS. We are behind you because we believe that constitutional order is a treasure for all countries, and democracy must be a reality.”

Vanguard

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BREAKING NEWS: PDP’s Diri Wins Bayelsa Gov Election

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The incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Douye Diri, has been declared the winner of the State governorship election held last Saturday.

The Returning Officer, Prof Faruq Kuta, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Of Technology, Minna, announced Diri winner of the poll at the collation centre of the election on Monday.

Diri polled 175,196 to defeat his closest rival, Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress, who garnered 110,108 votes while the Labour Party polled 905 votes.

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Plateau: Protesters Storm S’ Court Over Sack Of Four PDP Members From NASS

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Over 1000 protesters, on Monday, besieged the Supreme Court to register their displeasure over the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which sacked four members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Plateau State, from the National Assembly, based on a pre-election dispute.

The placard and banner-wielding groups, under the aegis of Coalition for Justice in Africa, CJA, submitted a protest letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.

According to the protesters, the appellate court, by its judgement, thwarted the wish of electorates in Plateau state, when it declared candidates that lost the National Assembly elections that held on February 25, as winners of the legislative seats.

Speaking with newsmen shortly after the protest letter was submitted to the CJN, the National President of the CJA, Dr. Daniel Okwa, maintained that the judgement of the appellate court was capable of causing a breakdown of law and order in the state.

He said the group was at the apex court to seek the intervention of the CJN, alleging that the verdicts that removed all the PDP federal lawmakers were influenced by some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

The protest letter, which was obtained by Vanguard, read in part: “The Coalition for Truth and Justice believes that the judgment of the Appeal Court in Abuja is a case of injustice, else, how could one explain a situation where lawmakers of the All Progressive Congress (APC) would boast and predict the outcome of the Court of Appeal judgment even before the pronouncement.

“This is unacceptable and indicates that the justice regime in Nigeria has been thrown to the dogs. What happened in Plateau State is an aberration of immeasurable proportion. There is a distinction between a pre-election matter and a post-election matter.

“The Supreme Court has established this fact on several occasions. It is now a wonder why the Appeal Court would act otherwise and in a despicable manner that tends to truncate our nascent democracy.

“The Coalition for Truth and Justice entirely condemns the actions of the justices of the Appeal Court that sat in Abuja. They displayed insensitivity to the electoral choices of the people. This is a worrisome trend that the Chief Justice of Nigeria must address.

“This is on the heels that the Judiciary, the world over, is regarded as the last hope of the commoner. This presupposes that it is the only place the commoner can get justice. The function of the Judiciary is not to twist the truth or fabricate facts but to interpret the law. The consequence of the interpretation of the law is justice.

“However, what played out in Plateau state negates the Judiciary’s position as the common’s last hope. The Judiciary is for sale to the highest bidder in Nigeria, if such positions could be taken without recourse to the implication of such on the psychological state of the people.

“The Coalition for Truth and Justice is using this protest to drive the point that justice in Nigeria should not be reserved for a section of the country or any political party. What happened in Plateau should not be allowed to stand or repeat itself. The implication of such is that the reputation of the judicial arm of government would be eroded.”

It will be recalled that the appellate court had on November 7, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel led by Justice Elfrieda Williams-Dawodu, okayed the nullification of the election of a Senator and three members of the House of Representatives in the state that emerged on the platform of the PDP.

The panel based its decision on failure of the PDP to fully comply with a court that was made in 2022, which it said directed the party to conduct congress in the 17 Local Government Areas in the state.

It, therefore, held that though the lawmakers won their respective seats during the National Assembly election that held on February 25, all the scores that were credited them, amounted to wasted votes.

It ordered that candidates that got the second majority lawful votes at the election, should be sworn in as winners of the legislative seats.

Vanguard

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Canada’s Abuja, Lagos Visa Centres Open – High Commission

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The Canadian High Commission in Nigeria has said its Abuja and Lagos visa application centres remain open for the processing of immigration, refugee and citizenship applications.

The Canadian High Commission had on Tuesday announced the suspension of operations in its Abuja office following a fire incident at its generator house, which claimed two lives on Monday.

Nigerians had expressed fear that the operations suspension would hamper visa application processes.

But  in a statement posted on its X handle on Thursday, the  Canadian High Commission clarified that its Abuja and Lagos visa application centres remain open and operational.

In the statement by its public affairs staff, Demilade Kosemani, the commission said, “As we continue to mourn the passing of our dear colleague from the High Commission of Canada in Abuja, please note the following information below:

“Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada clients: processing of applications continues. Regardless of the suspension of operations at the High Commission of Canada in Abuja, the Visa Application Centres in Abuja and Lagos remain open.”

Meanwhile, a travel agency, , TMT Travels and Tours Limited, has sympathised with the Canadian High Commission over the Monday tragic fire incident.

In a statement on Thursday the agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Collins Onukwubiri,  said, “We at TMT Travels and Tours Limited shares in the grief and sense of loss of the Canadian embassy in Abuja. The partial burning of the Canadian embassy in Abuja and the death of two workers there was most unfortunate.

“Canada, as a major player in the Nigeria’s travel and tours business, is an integral player in Nigeria’s economy. We know how devastating this unfortunate incident is to them but we want to say that we stand with them in this time and always. We specially condole with the families of the two persons who died in the process.”

Vanguard

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