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ECOWAS Leaders have lifted economic and financial sanctions imposed on Mali

 Leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) gathered to assess efforts to secure timetables for restoring civilian rule in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso.

Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have lifted economic and financial sanctions imposed on Mali, after its military rulers proposed a 24-month transition to democracy and published a new electoral law.

The bloc imposed stiff sanctions on Mali in January after the military government said it would not organise democratic elections the following month as initially planned.

ECOWAS Commission President Jean Claude Kassi Brou told a news conference on Sunday that the sanctions will be lifted immediately. Borders with Mali will reopen and regional diplomats will return to Bamako.

“However, the heads of state decided to maintain individual sanctions, and the suspension of Mali from ECOWAS, until the return to constitutional rule,” Kassi Brou said.

The individual sanctions targeted members of the ruling military government and the transitional council.

Sanctions have crippled Mali’s economy, raising humanitarian concerns amid widespread suffering. The country has defaulted on more than $300m of its debt due to the sanctions, which cut it off from the regional financial market and the regional central bank.

Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo, ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou and Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara attend the ECOWAS summit to discuss a transitional road map for Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, in Accra, Ghana 

The ECOWAS mediator in Mali, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, visited the country last week. A member of his entourage told AFP news agency that Mali had made “enormous progress”.

Mali’s top diplomat Abdoulaye Diop on Friday said the recent political developments were moving the country towards a lifting of the sanctions.

Burkina Faso and Guinea transitions

ECOWAS leaders had gathered to assess efforts to secure timetables and other guarantees for restoring civilian rule in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso.

Mali underwent coups in August 2020 and May 2021, followed by Guinea in September 2021 and Burkina Faso this January.

The West African leaders meeting in Accra also accepted a pledge from the military that seized power in Burkina Faso to restore constitutional order in 24 months.

Kassi Brou said that after a lengthy discussion with the coup leaders in Burkina Faso, a new proposal for a 24-month transition was more acceptable, after the heads of state rejected a proposed 36-month transition.

Economic and financial sanctions on Burkina Faso were also lifted, he said.

The situation appears more complex in Guinea, whose military government has refused an ECOWAS mediator and announced a 36-month transition – a period that African Union Chairman and Senegalese President Macky Sall has described as “unthinkable”.

ECOWAS leaders rejected the three-year transition. They told Guinea’s military to propose a new timeline by the end of July or face economic sanctions.

The heads of state appointed Benin’s former President Boni Yayi as a new mediator and urged the Guinean military government to work with him and quickly propose a new timetable.

“Beyond that, economic sanctions will be imposed,” Kassi Brou said.

The political upheaval came as many observers started to think that military power grabs were a thing of the past in West Africa, an increasingly restive region that also faces growing danger from armed groups.

Some leaders who spoke at Accra’s one-day summit urged action as armed groups expand their footprint in the region.

“These terrorist attacks are now not only focusing on the Sahel, but also expanding to the coastal states in our region,” said Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo. “It is imperative for us to continue to implement our regional action plan against terrorism and to coordinate our various security initiatives.”

In the first half of 2022, the region recorded a total of 3,500 deaths from 1,600 attacks targeting countries including Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria, according to Kassi Brou.

In Burkina Faso, where attacks blamed on armed groups are soaring, gunmen killed at least 55 people in the country’s northern Seno province last month.

SOURCE: Aljazeera

Arsenal Signed Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City

 Gabriel Jesus has signed from Manchester City on a long-term contract.

The 25-year-old forward joins us having established himself as one of the leading strikers in the Premier League in recent seasons. He scored 95 goals in 236 appearances in all competitions during his five seasons in Manchester.

Gabriel has won the Premier League title four times, the FA Cup, and the League Cup three times. He is a regular in the Brazil national team, making 56 appearances and scoring 19 times since making his full international debut for his country in September 2016. He was a member of the squad which won the Copa America in 2019. During his international career Gabriel has also notably won a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, and featured at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Gabriel developed through the youth setup at Palmeiras, signing a youth contract in 2013, with his prolific goalscoring ensuring he quickly progressed into the first-team squad, making his debut as a 17-year-old in March 2015. During his time with Palmeiras, Gabriel was an integral part of the club’s Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A winning side in 2016, when he was voted as the league’s Bola de Ouro – Player of the Season. 

Technical Director Edu said: “We are delighted that we have secured the transfer of Gabriel. Everyone who knows football well, knows the qualities of Gabriel Jesus.

"Gabriel is a player who we have admired for a long time now. He is 25 years old and an established Brazil international who has consistently demonstrated that he is a player at a very high level. We look forward to seeing him join up with his new teammates ahead of the new season. We all welcome Gabriel to Arsenal.” 

Mikel Arteta added: “I’m very excited. The club has done a tremendous job to recruit a player of this stature. I know Gabriel personally very well, and we all know him well from his time in the Premier League and being really successful here.

"This is a position that’s been on our radar for a long time now and we have managed to get a player that we all wanted, so I’m really happy.”

Gabriel will wear the number 9 shirt and will join up with the Gunners squad for pre-season training soon.

Everyone at Arsenal welcomes Gabriel to the club. 

The transfer is subject to the completion of regulatory processes.

Gabriel Jesus

Kwankwaso: Peter Obi is been Mislead Not To Be My Running Mate in 2023 election

 Someone Loyal To PDP Is Misleading Peter Obi Not To Accept To Be My Running Mate, To Ensure Atiku Gets Bloc Votes In Northern Nigeria—Kwankwanso

Rabiu Kwankwaso, the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has said Peter Obi, his counterpart in the Labour Party, is being misled by someone into taking decisions that will benefit the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

The former Kano governor described the person as a member of the PDP who is loyal to the party but pushing Obi not to accept to be his (Kwankwaso's) running mate in the planned alliance between the NNPP and Labour Party.

According to him, having Peter Obi as the presidential candidate in the alliance will give Atiku bloc votes in the North as Northerners will rather vote for A northerner, who they will see as one of theirs, than Obi or any other southeasterner, especially with the current agitation for the state of Biafra in the South-East.

There has been pressure on the NNPP and the Labour Party to work together to produce a presidential candidate between them for the 2023 presidential election. Kwankwaso and the presidential candidate of the Labour Party have admitted that the parties have held talks, but the bone of contention is that the two candidates want to be the presidential candidate in the arrangement.

In an interview with Channels TV on Sunday, Kwankwanso urged Obi to be wary of such a person, whom he said had been expressing his views on social media.

When asked about the planned alliance between Kwankwaso's NNPP and the Labour Party, the former Kano governor said, "I think that it will happen but I believe also that there are some challenges that we are having, especially from the side of the Labour Party itself because there are so many influences; some on their side, positive, but even the negative side.

"We have a situation today where there are some people who are in other parties, who are also influencing the decision of the party which I believe is not good for the party.

"I was just reading on social media and even people very close to the party that are... The presidential candidate is very close to one of the leaders of the PDP which we are trying to verify but I think the source is very genuine, that is, contacts with him while he is in a party, PDP, supporting the candidature of the presidential candidate from the North in that particular party and of course saying that the presidency must go to the South in the other party, that is, in our alliance and that is really to weaken our party."

Speaking further on whether it is the Labour Party or the NNPP that voters will be encouraged to vote for in the 2023 presidential election as it is too late to have a merger between the parties, Kwankwanso noted, "I believe so many modalities can be worked out to work together, it is just a matter of getting the right calibre of people to sit down and look at the situation as it is.

"Now, you see, the main issue as it stands today is the issue of who becomes the president, who becomes the vice president and I believe this is the time really to advise, especially those who are positively behind the candidate of the Labour Party.

"For me, I have seen an opportunity for the South-East to be relevant in the next dispensation. In PDP, they are completely out and so also in the APC (All Progressives Congress). The only option now is NNPP."

He further advised that "the leaders at the level should think positively so that this merger (alliance) can work. They should avoid talking to people.

"You know, in this part of the country, we have at least the person people are talking about on social media and so on and so forth, who pretends to be very close to Peter Obi himself while everybody knows he has a political party. He is promoting the person in that political party in the PDP, yet pretending to say look, we want Presidency to come to the South-East."

Kwankwanso, however, refused to mention the name of the person, saying, "We don't have to go into the details now but the details will come out very soon."

But he advised Obi to be concerned because "he himself believes that he is very close to him and he is misleading him. He is misleading the Labour Party and so on and so forth".

He said Northern voters will choose to vote for a Northerner if they have to choose between a Northerner and a southerner.

"The idea is if the marriage works, for example, with Obi as the Presidential candidate, the implication is his candidate in the PDP will be the biggest beneficiary because the North today... You see, the way we operate politically in this country, is not very clear to many people. Fortunately, the northern voters have always voted their own opinion and it is hardly influenced by any political elite or anybody you can think of," he added.

Kwankwanso earlier described southeastern Nigerians as good business people but poor in politics.

The former Kano governor last weekend said the people of the South-East are well talented but need to learn politics, adding that “in politics, they are at the bottom line”.

Kwankwaso stated this in Gombe State during a visit to Gombe State to inaugurate the state office of NNPP and meet with elected members of the party on Saturday.

On the choice of his running mate, Kwankwaso had said “we have options in the NNPP in the South to pick a good vice president and one of them is the Labour Party man you are talking about.”

He had previously noted that his party had been in talks with the Labour Party for a possible merger but that the decision on who would emerge as the presidential candidate between him and Obi had hindered the progress of the talks.

“From the discussion with Labour Party, the main issue was who becomes the president if the parties merge.

“At the end of the day, some of our representatives thought that there should be criteria in terms of age, qualification, offices held, performance and so on.

“Of course, the other side wouldn’t want that. Most of the people from there believe that presidency has to go there (South-East).

“If now I decide to be vice presidential candidate to anybody in this country; NNPP will collapse because the party is based on what we have built in the last 30 years.

“I served for 17 years as a civil servant; we are talking of 47 years of very serious hard work that is what is rarely holding NNPP now,” he had said.

According to Kwankwaso, the best option left for the South-East is to partner with NNPP, describing it as “a golden opportunity”.

“If they lose it, it will be a disaster,” he added.

Lekki Deep Seaport Lagos Receives First Cargo Vessel

Steps towards commencing full commercial operations at the nation’s first Deep Seaport at Lekki received a major boost on Friday with the arrival of a cargo vessel Zhen Hua 28, berthing at the port.

The arrival of the ship, bearing modern ship-to-shore cranes and ten rubber tyred gantries, is historic as it provides a glimpse into commercial operations at the port.

The vessel, 232 meter long with a draft of 9.2 meters, originated from Shanghai China and spent 30 days at sea before berthing at the deep seaport.

Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Muhammed Bello Koko who led other stakeholders to receive the ship said her arrival is an indication that the September 2022 projection for the commencement of full automated operations at the port is realistic.

The deep seaport, conceived 13 years ago, is the first in Nigeria and the best in West Africa.

It has a draft of 16.5 meters and a turning circle of 600 meters,. giving it huge advantage in terms of container capacity turnout for shippers in Nigeria and other African countries.

Lekki Deep Seaport

Lekki Deep Seaport

cargo vessel Zhen Hua 2

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has resigned

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has resigned, Channels Television learned on Monday.

Sources told Channels Television that Justice Muhammad resigned on Sunday night, citing ill-health as the reason for his decision.

Information also has it that arrangements are ongoing to swear in the next most senior justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

According to reports, a formal announcement will be made shortly.

Until his resignation, reports had it that Justice Muhammad was seriously ill.

Last week, 14 justices of the Supreme Court had written him a letter to lament the decrepit state of affairs in the apex court.

In the leaked letter, the Justices accused the CJN of refusing to address the issues despite drawing his attention to them.

They complained of a lack of residential accommodation and vehicles at the court.

The justices further accused the CJN of gallivanting with his “spouse, children and personal staff,” while not allowing them to travel with an assistant on foreign trips.

The justices decried the lack of legal research assistants, despite the magnitude of cases being adjudicated.

On erratic electricity supply, the justices said they have been confined to work between the “hours of 8 a.m and 4 p.m daily, for lack of diesel,” after they were notified of the development by the Supreme Court’s Chief Registrar, Hajo Bello.

Meanwhile, Justice Tanko Muhammed did not attend the opening of the training for Judges on Alternative Dispute Resolution organized by the National Judicial Institute, amidst reports of resignation.

source: Channels Tv

ECOWAS Leaders have lifted economic and financial sanctions imposed on Mali

 Leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) gathered to assess efforts to secure timetables for restoring civilian ...


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