President Muhammadu Buhari will not be deterred by baseless criticisms by the opposition in his determination to eradicate chronic corruption in Nigeria in his capacity as the African Union continental anti-corruption champion.
The president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, made the statement on Tuesday when he fielded questions from State House correspondents in Abuja.
The presidential aide was speaking with reporters on some issues raised by the opposition PDP since the beginning of the interrogation of suspended Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu.
Shehu said the volume and reach of the anti-corruption crusade had so far, reflected what the PDP left behind.
“Corruption became so normalized by the PDP that they had difficulty defining what is corruption and theft,” he stated.
The spokesman lauded Buhari’s determination to end corruption in Nigeria.
“The large number of cases, new and old, may appear to be daunting but PDP, which is now heckling the president has forgotten that the party bequeathed this to the current administration.
”They had large number of cases they did not investigate and prosecute.”
Shehu also warned the PDP to allow the process of investigation and prosecution to work, instead of being preemptive about ongoing cases and unduly agitating the public.
He expressed his optimism that the judiciary would deal with the cases swiftly and satisfactorily in a manner that would deter other would-be offenders.
“The current administration is handling many of the cases that the PDP should have dealt with and the new ones as they arise,” Shehu said.
Edited By: Silas Nwoha (NAN)
COVID-19: SON, committee review safety guidelines for tourism sector resumption
COVID-19: SON, committee review safety guidelines for tourism sector resumption
Mrs Chika Balogun, Committee Chairperson and Director-General, National Institute for Hotels and Tourism, said via a webinar meeting on Monday in Abuja that the draft standards would help revive the tourism sector.
According to her, it will help the sector to pick up when the lockdown ends.
”The online meeting by the committee’s Working Group on Tourism and Related Services is aimed at mitigating harrowing effect of COVID-19 on the industry.
”It will find a common ground for post-COVID-19 way forward in reviving the industry.
”The draft standards on Health and Safety Measures for Tourism and Hospitality Establishments-Post Pandemic (COVID-19) Resumption Guidelines specified resumption requirements to comply with lives protection and business sustainability.
”The guidelines apply to Hotels, Restaurants, Fast Foods, Conferences, Meetings, Event Centres, Tour Operatives, Travel Agents, Tourist Information Centres, Airlines and Beaches, among others,” she said.
Balogun said at a difficult period like this, tourism stakeholders needed to put all hands-on deck to pull out of the pandemic challenges.
Balogun thanked the committee members for their commitment and dedication towards making Nigerian tourism sector at par with its counterparts on the global scene.
The Director, Standards Development, SON, Mrs Chinyere Egwuonwu, said tourism sector had been adversely affected by the pandemic within and outside Nigeria.
“National Mirror Committee is expected to oversee a comeback by the sector through deliberations on the draft standards and the eventual implementation,” she said.
Represented by SON Group Head, Service Standards, Mr Ayoola Ololade, Egwuonwu stated that SON was ready to work with stakeholders to revamp the sector to ensure that activities pick at the end of the lockdown.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Nigeria’s candidate for WTO chief prioritizes fixing dispute settlement system if selected
Okonjo-Iweala, who is competing with seven other nominees for the position of director-general of the WTO, told Xinhua in a recent interview that her top priorities if selected, would be preparing for the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Kazakhstan in 2021.
She also hoped to work on restoring the dispute settlement system and updating the WTO’s rule book.
The WTO’s dispute settlement body is currently paralysed.
The Appellate Body, considered as the Supreme Court for global trade disputes, is supposed to have seven judges and needs a minimum of three judges to function.
The United States administration has been blocking new appointments for more than two years, with United States officials claiming that the court had gone beyond its remit.
“I would be focusing, if I get the job, on the dispute settlement system because this is the fundamental pillar of the WTO,’’ Okonjo-Iweala said.
“If you have a rules-based organisation, you must have a place where rules are arbitrated and that’s what happens with the dispute settlement system.
“So, restoring that will be a top priority as well.’’
She also had a 25-year career at the World Bank, including as a managing director.
The candidate, who also sits on the board of Twitter and the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, said she was confident to win the selection process and that she would be a listener-in-chief as well as a tough negotiator.
“I have strong political skills and negotiation skills.
“I think that’s very much needed; I am a consensus-builder and I’m a good listener too.’’
The candidate showed her confidence to “find a way to unlock the seeming division’’ on the trade side, between China and the United States, underlining that finding areas of mutual interest and to build trust within the WTO trading system would be important.
“Actually, if you listen to the two members, they have some things in common,’’ Okonjo-Iweala added.
“The dispute settlement system of the WTO is valued by both, they want it to reform, they don’t want it to disappear.’’
“I think the best thing China can do is to recover quickly.
“Because it’s one of the engines of growth in the world and it’s almost a quarter of world trade,’ she told Xinhua.
“So, if it recovers quickly, it means that it can help the rest of the world recover.
“So, that’s the role I would see for China.’’
Roberto Azevedo, the incumbent WTO chief, announced in May that he will officially leave his post on Aug. 31, a year before his term expires.
The second phase of the selection process, in which the candidates “make themselves known to members’’, will end on Sept. 7 and then the General Council chairperson will consult with all WTO members before making the final decision.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Edo 2020: PDP Chieftain, Afegbua, pledges support for APC’s Ize-Iyamu
Afegbua stated this on Monday in Benin while responding to his purported suspension by the PDP on Sunday.
According to him, “I remain unequivocal and unflinching about my support for Ize-Iyamu.
“I will ensure that I mobilise enough votes for him in the four wards of Okpella.
“Having earlier described me as inconsequential, I am wondering why they now suddenly remember that I am relevant to warrant my suspension.
“I am actually waiting for their expulsion in good time. My votes cannot be suspended or expelled. My thumb is my power,” he said.
In the statement signed by the state PDP Publicity Secretary, Mr Chris Nehikhare, the party said Afegbua was suspended for one month by the leadership of the party in his ward 5, Okpella in Etsakor East Local Government area of the state.
The party said that Afegbua was suspended with effect from Aug. 2 after having been found guilty of anti-party activities.
“The state Chairman, Dr Tony Aziegbemi, has directed the local government chairman to set up a disciplinary committee to investigate the allegations of anti-party activities levelled against him.
“The composition of the disciplinary committee will be announced in due course,” the party said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq
Buhari mourns Khalifa Tidiane Niass, Senegal-based Islamic leader
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed deep sadness over the demise of Sheikh Ahmed Tidiane Niass, Grand Khalifa (leader) of Tijjaniyya Islamic movement in Africa.
The President’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement in Abuja on Monday, said Buhari’s condolence message was addressed to President Macky Sall, government and people of Senegal as well as millions of members of the sect in Nigeria.
President Buhari said: “It is really sad news for all of us to learn that our beloved Khalifa, Sheikh Ahmed Niass, has passed away in Senegal.
“Sheikh Ahmed Niass, who took over from his father, Sheikh Ibrahim Niass, did not at all disappoint the large followers of his greatly adored father.
”He will be remembered for his impeccable service to Islam and passion towards the sect’s followers, which has a large body in Nigeria.”
The Nigerian leader recalled that June, 2018, Sheikh Ahmed Niass visited the State House, Abuja, accompanied by some eminent Nigerians including President of BUA Group of Companies, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabi’u.
President Buhari, on behalf of government and people of Nigeria, prayed “for the eternal repose of his departed soul.”
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)