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Buhari Nominates Ex-Service Chiefs as Non-Career Ambassadors

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Barely two weeks after announcing the end of the tenure of Nigeria’s former service chiefs, President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated same men as non-career ambassadors.

The former service chiefs- Lt.Gen Tukur Buratai (rtd), former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin (rtd), former Chief of Defense Staff, Vice-Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas (rtd), former Chief of Naval Staff and Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar (rtd), former Chief of Air Staff, including Air Vice Marshall Mohammed S. Usman (rtd), the former Chief of Defence Intelligence have all been appointed as non-career ambassadors, subject to confirmation by the National Assembly.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has forwarded the names of the immediate past Service Chiefs to the Senate as non-career Ambassadors-Designate, ” Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the Nigerian President on Media and Publicity said.

“In a letter to Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, President of the Senate, the President said: ‘In accordance with section 171 (1), (2) (c) & sub-section (4) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the under-listed five (5) names of nominees as Non-Career Ambassadors-Designate’.

“The nominees are: Gen Abayomi G. Olonisakin (Rtd ), Lt Gen Tukur Y. Buratai (Rtd), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (Rtd), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (Rtd), and Air Vice Marshal Mohammed S. Usman (Rtd).

“The President urged the Senate to give expeditious consideration to the nominations,” the statement said.

Buhari had announced the appointment of new service chiefs on the 26th of January, many months after the former service chiefs were due for retirement.

The nomination of the new service chiefs as non-career ambassadors comes as a surprise to Nigerians who vehemently called for their dismissal months before their retirements were announced.

Nigeria has battled terrorism in the North-East since 2009, and the insecurity took new turns in recent years as banditry and kidnapping became new ills.

Buhari had announced the appointment of 41 non-career ambassadors in 2020 with encomiums showered on him for some of the names on the list.

Thursday’s announcement of the nomination of the former service chiefs have come under the spotlight with many questioning the rationale behind the Nigerian President’s decision, despite frantic calls for their dismissal before their eventual retirements.

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Nigeria Ports Authority Commences Electronic Call Up System

The NPA also stated that about 7000 trucks have been certified fit for the proposed digitalised call up system. Henceforth, in order to access the ports, trucks must approach the ports from a holding bay or truck parks with a bar code.

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As part of efforts aimed at finding a permanent solution to truck congestion around Apapa and its environs, the Nigerian Ports Authority has commenced the Electronic Truck call-up system designed for the management of truck movement and access to and from the Lagos Ports Complex and the Tin Can Island Ports, Apapa, Lagos.

With effect from today 27th February 2021, the ETO app will be responsible for the scheduling, entry and exit of all trucks into the ports.

According to the NPA, about 7000 trucks have been certified fit for the proposed digitalised call up system.

Henceforth, in order to access the ports, trucks must approach the ports from a holding bay or truck parks with a bar code.

Players in the maritime sector have expressed optimism toward the commencement of the electronic call-up system, saying it will improve access and reduce corruption.

One of the executives of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa said the call-up system will put an end to artificial bottlenecks on the port access road.

Speaking further, the National Vice president, Association of Nigerian Liscenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto asked the NPA management to be steadfast in enforcing the call-up system.

Farinto said the ongoing repairs on the Oshodi-Apapa expressway must also be completed in good time for the call-up system to be effective.

“The road should be put in adequate place because there is nothing the call-up can achieve without a proper port access road.” he said.

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Zamfara, Kano States Close Schools After Schoolgirls Abduction

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Following the abduction of more than 300 school girls from the Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, in Talata-Mafara Local Government Area, the Zamfara State government has ordered the closure of all boarding schools in the state.

In the same vein, the Kano State government has closed down twelve schools in reaction to the rise in abductions in the region.

Zamfara State Governor Matawalle, in a broadcast on Friday evening expressed his sympathies with the affected families and said he’s in communication with security agencies to secure the release of the students.

He said helicopters have been deployed to help the rescue mission, while he appealed to the parents of the abducted girls to be more patient.

Matawalle said the disarmament operation going on in the state will continue as the continuous availability of weapons to rogues makes security more challenging to achieve.

Nigeria has recorded the abduction of more than 1,000 students since 2014, with two major abductions of school pupils already recorded in February 2021.

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Togo Bribe Scandal: French Group Fined $14.55M, Industrialist on Trial

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Vincent Bollore, a French industrialist, businessman, media owner and billionaire, will go on trial over bribery allegations involving a Togolese official, a court in Paris has ruled.

Also, the court fined the Bollore Group $14.55 million over the case, which involves the bribing of an official in Togo to win a contract to run the port of Lomé a decade ago.

Bolloré, Gilles Alix, managing director of the Bolloré group and Jean-Philippe Dorent, international director of the Havas agency, a subsidiary of Bolloré, had accepted an appearance on prior admission of guilt (CRPC, a sort of “plead guilty” at the French) and the payment of a fine of $450,000.

However, the judge in Paris ruled that the corruption trial of a leading French industrialist should go ahead, despite his guilty plea.

The court decided that the case against Bolloré was so serious that it should not be settled, as agreed with prosecutors, with a $450,000 fine.

Jean-François Bohnert, in a statement on Friday, said Bollore Group will pay a 12 million-euro ($14.55 million) fine following a transaction with prosecutors in the alleged bribery case.

The transaction effectively puts an end to the legal proceedings in the case against the conglomerate.

“The investigation had concerned the corruption of foreign public officials, abuse of trust and complicity in breaches of trust committed between 2009 and 2011,” the financial prosecutor said.

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