PHOTOS: Buhari Arrives In Kigali For CHOGM 2022

Rwanda 1: President Buhari with L-R: Rwandan Minister of Justice and Attorney General Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Rwanda Aishatu Musa, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama as he arrives in Kigali, Rwanda for CHOGM 2022 in 22nd June 2022. Credit: State House.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday evening arrived in Kigali, Rwanda for the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

The meeting runs from June 22 to the 26th. He was received by the Rwandan Minister of Justice and Attorney General Emmanuel Ugirashebuja and Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Rwanda Aishatu Musa.

Buhari was accompanied by some government officials including the Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama.

Others were the Minister of State Trade & Investment Amb. Mariam Katagum and  Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Sadiya Umar Farouq.

The UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed was also there.

Rwanda 6: President Buhari with L-R: UN DSG Amina Mohammed, Minister of State Trade & Investment Amb. Mariam Katagum, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Sadiya Umar Farouq as he arrives Kigali, Rwanda for CHOGM 2022 on 22nd June 2022

 

The theme for CHOGM 2022 is ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming,’ and the Heads of Government are expected to reaffirm their commitment to upholding the Commonwealth Charter, which focuses on democracy, human rights, the rule of law, as well as economic opportunities and sustainable development.

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Medical Staff To Be Tried For Maradona Death

In this file photo taken on November 02, 2019, Gimnasia y Esgrima team coach Diego Armando Maradona gestures to supporters as he leaves the field after an Argentina First Division Superliga football match against Estudiantes, at El Bosque stadium, in La Plata, Buenos Aires province, Argentina.  ALEJANDRO PAGNI / AFP

 

Eight medical personnel will stand trial for alleged criminal negligence in the death of Argentine football legend Diego Maradona, according to a court ruling made public on Wednesday.

No date has been set for the trial of the staff over Maradona’s death in 2020, which prosecutors say was due to “omissions” by his caregivers who abandoned him “to his fate” during home hospitalization.

Maradona died aged 60 while recovering from brain surgery for a blood clot, and after decades of battles with cocaine and alcohol addictions.

He was found dead in bed two weeks after going under the knife, in a rented house in an exclusive Buenos Aires neighborhood to where he was brought after being discharged from the hospital.

He was found to have died of a heart attack.

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A panel of 20 medical experts convened by Argentina’s public prosecutor concluded last year that Maradona’s treatment was rife with “deficiencies and irregularities.”

It said the footballer “would have had a better chance of survival” with adequate treatment in an appropriate medical facility.

The experts found his caregivers had abandoned the idolized player to his fate for a “prolonged, agonizing period” leading up to his death.

‘Reckless’ Treatment

Charged in the case are neurosurgeon and family doctor Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, psychologist Carlos Diaz, medical coordinator Nancy Forlini and four others including two nurses.

Prosecutors had asked that the defendants be tried for negligent homicide, stating they “were the protagonists of an unprecedented, totally deficient and reckless hospitalization at home.”

They risk sentences ranging from eight to 25 years in prison. All have denied responsibility.

An investigation was opened following a complaint filed by two of Maradona’s five children against Luque, whom they blame for their father’s deterioration after the operation.

Maradona is widely considered one of the greatest footballers in history.

The former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli star suffered from liver, kidney and cardiovascular disorders when he died.

He became an idol to millions of Argentines after he inspired the South American country to only their second World Cup triumph in 1986.

The court ruling ordering the composition of a trial bench came as Argentina celebrated its Day of the Footballer commemorating Maradona’s performance in the 1986 quarter final against England — when he scored the infamous “hand of God” goal and then the “Goal of the Century” as voted in a FIFA poll.

His death shocked fans around the world, and tens of thousands queued to file past his coffin, draped in the Argentine flag, at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires amid three days of national mourning.

AFP

Prince Charles Pays Tribute To Genocide Victims In Rwanda

Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Britain’s Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall pause in front of a flower wreath at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, Kigali, Rwanda on June 22, 2022, during a visit. Simon WOHLFAHRT / AFP

 

Prince Charles laid a wreath on Wednesday at a memorial to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda during the first visit to the country by a British royal. 

The Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla paused in silent tribute at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the massacres almost three decades ago.

The royal couple signed a note of remembrance to accompany a wreath of white flowers.

They also spoke with survivors of the genocide in which some 800,000 mainly Tutsi people were murdered by Hutu extremist forces between April and July 1994.

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Housing skulls, bone fragments, and shreds of clothing, the memorial is a testimony to the horrors of the genocide and a customary stop for foreign dignitaries visiting Rwanda.

Charles and Camilla also toured the memorial museum where they viewed photographs of the victims and their possessions and heard personal accounts of the killings.

The royal couple touched down late Tuesday in Rwanda where the Prince of Wales is representing his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, at a Commonwealth summit this week.

The leaders of many Commonwealth nations are expected in Kigali in the coming days for the meeting of the 54-member club of mainly former British colonies.

Rwanda, a former German and Belgian colony, joined the Commonwealth in 2009 and has in recent years moved closer to the English-speaking world.

Charles and Camilla also met President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame at the Rwandan leader’s official residence on Wednesday.

The royals and their hosts smiled for photographs flanked by the flags of their respective countries before commencing a private meeting.

Ahead of the Commonwealth summit, Charles had reportedly criticised a migrant resettlement deal hatched between Kagame and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “appalling”, setting the scene for an awkward encounter in Kigali.

The UK government said Wednesday it would introduce legislation allowing it to ignore certain European Court of Human Rights decisions after a judge in Strasbourg blocked flights removing asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Inaugurated in 2004 during the 10th anniversary of the killings, the Kigali Genocide Memorial has an education centre, a garden, library, and a 1,200-seat amphitheatre that hosts workshops, plays, and films.

It contains three permanent exhibitions and clubs, machetes, arrows and other tools used in the massacres are on display.

The victims’ remains are laid out in three main rows and more have been buried as new graves are uncovered around the country.

At the burial ground, there is a Wall of Names dedicated to victims of the genocide.

AFP

From Farmer-Herder Conflict To Blasphemy And More: Issues Buhari Addressed With Bloomberg

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari used to illustrate the story.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday had a correspondence with Bloomberg, and in that exchange, he had so much to say about the state of affairs in Nigeria.

The President answered several questions ranging from the economy to the security and down to the fight against corruption, with a hint of what his choice would be in the 2023 presidential election.

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Below are 27 major things President Buhari said during his interview:

SECURITY

1. We leave Nigeria in a far better place than we found it. Corruption is less hidden for Nigerians feel empowered to report it without fear, while money is returned

2. Terrorists no longer hold any territory in Nigeria, and their leaders are deceased, and vast infrastructure development sets the country on course for sustainable and equitable growth.

3. The jets acquired from the US and intelligence shared by British were not provided to previous administrations and stand as testament to renewed trust re-built between Nigeria and our traditional western allies under my government.

4. We urge those same international partners to take additional steps costing them nothing, by proscribing another group – IPOB – as a terrorist organization.

Their leadership enjoys safe haven in the West, broadcasting hate speech into Nigeria from London, spending millions lobbying members of the US Congress, and freely using international financial networks to arm agitators on the ground. This must stop.

5. My administration is the only one in Nigeria’s history to implement a solution to decades-long herder-farmer conflicts, exacerbated by desertification and demographic growth.

The National Livestock Transformation Plan, putting ranching at its core, is the only way to deplete the competition for resources at the core of the clashes. Governors from some individual states have sought to play politics where ranches have been established, but where they have been disputes have dramatically reduced.

6. We have spent our two terms investing heavily in the national road, rail, and transport infrastructure set to unleash growth, connect communities, and lessen inequality. This is structural transformation. It may not show on standard economic metrics now, but the results will be apparent in good time.

CORRUPTION
7. Starting with our Whistleblowing Policy enacted in my first year in office hundreds of millions in stolen funds have been returned within Nigeria.

8. Working with our international partners, hundreds of millions of various currencies have been returned from abroad – primarily from the UK, US, and Switzerland – and used as social and welfare funds distributed directly to the poorest during the Covid pandemic and the provision of long-delayed infrastructure-roads, bridges, rail, and power.

9. As an illustration, Monetary recoveries (January-December) 2021 show that more than N152 billion has been recovered. Dollar recoveries for the year amount to over USD 386 million; GBP, more than 1.1 million; Euro, about 157,000; Saudi Riyals about 1.7 million some more in Digital and other currencies.

Those partners refused to return these monies held for decades to previous Nigerian administrations in the certainty they would simply be re-stolen. They changed their approach with us because they knew my administration could be trusted.

10. We can only imagine what food inflation would be today had we not initiated organized programmes to boost domestic production. And still, we do not grow enough domestically.

Initiatives such as the Nigeria Anchor Borrower’s programme, helping farmers compete against artificially lowered imports have boosted rice production to 9 million metric tonnes in 2021 from around 5.4 million metric tonnes in 2015. Even in the years of drought, rice production outstripped pre-2015 levels. Imports have fallen to near zero. We are making progress.

ELECTRICITY

11. First, we need more input. Our legislative framework has been a drag. The landmark PIA (see later answers) will bolster input, raise capital, and bring transparency to the system.

12. On grid modernization, there are hundreds of ongoing projects and initiatives attracting funding from investors. Take my Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), a government-to-government initiative between the Governments of Nigeria and Germany, with Siemens AG, to upgrade the electricity grid with a $2 billion investment.

Once signed into law the constitutional amendment bill – recently voted through parliament – will allow state governments to generate and transmit their own electricity, further facilitating investor participation in our market and enabling states and local businesses to transmit excess supply to the grid.

13. We are also decentralizing the national grid through renewable-driven mini-grids. The $550 million Nigeria Electrification Project has deployed more than 20,000 Standalone Solar Systems (SHS), as well as Solar Hybrid mini-grids in over 250 locations.

ECONOMY
14. Most western countries are today implementing fuel subsidies. Why would we remove ours now? What is good for the goose is good for the gander!
What our western allies are learning the hard way is what looks good on paper and the human consequences are two different things.

15. My government set in motion plans to remove the subsidy late last year. After further consultation with stakeholders, and as events unfolded this year, such a move became increasingly untenable.

Boosting internal production for refined products shall also help. Capacity is due to step up markedly later this year and next, as private players and modular refineries (Dangote Refinery, BUA Group Refinery, Waltersmith Refinery) come on board.

16. The exchange rate is still susceptible to external shocks that can suddenly and severely affect Nigerian citizens. As we step up domestic production – both in fuel (enabled by PIA) and food (agricultural policies) – the inflationary threat shall diminish, and we can move toward unification.

17. A narrow focus on debt misses the point. What it fills is Nigeria’s longstanding infrastructure deficit by constructing a foundation for sustainable growth – spreading opportunity to ensure no part of the country is left behind, which has led to insecurity in the past.

18. Our infrastructure developments have been the most ambitious since Nigeria’s independence. Over 800 federal roads are being constructed or undergoing rehabilitation and 650km of rail line have been laid, helping alleviate food inflation pressures, given most food is produced in the north.

Had the infrastructure gap not been filled it will only grow, and become more costly to repair what little we have while lacking more infrastructure on which to build growth, negatively impacting progress towards UN Sustainable Development Goals.

19. Though we have the largest economy in Africa, it is true that translating that wealth into revenue generation is challenging.

20. We raised VAT in 2020, and the IMF wanted us to raise it further, but this is a complex issue that cannot be addressed by tax hikes alone. Around 80% of Nigerians work in the so-called informal economy – a situation exacerbated by the pandemic. It is difficult to tax the informally employed, and no country has yet found an adequate solution.

Still, we are striving to find one, including the roll out of a national ID card which has grown from 7 million in 2015 to between 90-100 million today – including a tax code and, at the same time combined with access to various government services.

21. On 1st July the NNPC will become a Limited Liability Company and be subject to more robust auditing and commercial disclosure obligations. It will help stimulate investment and boost transparency, where corruption has deterred the former and stymied the latter. My administration is the first to pass this landmark reform our oil and gas sector, after two decades of predecessors’ failure to do so – no doubt due to vested interests.

22. Criminality and terrorism in oil-producing regions hamper production, and it would help if our western allies designated IPOB as a terrorist group, given their complicity in damage to pipelines and infrastructure.

23. We have invested in our security forces, including the $1 billion military deal with the U.S. for the acquisition of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft. These efforts are making an impact: wells that had to be closed due to criminality have now re-opened. With these efforts, OPEC has raised our quota for next month.

24. We need long-term partnership not inconsistency and contradiction on green energy policy from the UK and European Union. Investment is hampered by their broad-brush moratorium on overseas gas projects, while at home the same projects are classified as green. It does not help their energy security, it does not help Nigeria’s economy, and it does not help the environment. It is hypocrisy that must end.

To change, the UK and EU countries should invest in our planned 4000 km pipeline to bring Nigerian gas – the largest reserves in Africa – via Morocco, then onto Europe.

EMEFIELE’S AMBITION

25. The CBN governor is appointed by the President. But this appointment is subject to confirmation by the Nigerian Senate. Ultimately, it will be for the CBN’s board of directors to determine whether a CBN governor’s actions have fallen foul of the laws in place to ensure he can most effectively carry out his duties.

26. African nations make up the largest contingent of Commonwealth members. There is no reason why one of the world’s foremost arms manufacturers should not sell more widely to this club – a group of allies.

If they don’t get them from Britain, they shall necessarily get them from elsewhere. This only creates a mosaic of different systems across Commonwealth members on the continent.

Commonwealth members in Africa often find themselves in the same missions, operating with the same hardware and systems, collaborating troops would be more effective. Such collaboration could also open doors to deeper intelligence sharing.

BLASPHEMY
27. No person has the right to take the law into his or her own hands. Christianity and Islam, our two Great Faiths and their Great Books have far more in common than they have apart. Nigeria has a long tradition of tolerance that we must draw on, and we must strive to find common ground. What comes out of this tragedy is to cherish what we share, while at the same time respecting our differences

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‘Cowards’ Behind Attacks On Churches Will be Punished, Buhari Vows

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that those he described as “cowards” behind recent attacks on churches in the country will be punished.

The President said this on Wednesday following the recent spate of assaults on churches across the country.

“As for the cowards, they will be punished for their crimes. We will bring them to justice. Rest assured that the full might of Nigeria’s formidable security and intelligence forces are involved in that endeavor,” Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide Garba Shehu.

“For now, I urge all Nigerians to come together in prayer-whether Christian, Muslim, or any of our great faiths- let us hold the victims and their families in our hearts and minds.

“Let us show the cowards who seek to divide us along religious lines that we will not be divided. Let us show them that Nigerians will continue to cherish what we share while respecting each other’s differences. Let us show them that Nigerians will never be bullied by cowards, extremists, or terrorists.”

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According to him, the country’s religious freedom and diversity are what make Nigeria great.

“It is this diversity that gives Nigeria its strength. That is why Nigeria’s enemies seek to destroy it, by pitting us against one another,” the President added.

“We will not let them. The nation will not be distracted or divided by these obviously planned and politically motivated criminal outrages.

“The perpetrators are cowards; weak and wicked men with guns murdering, in cold blood, unarmed women and children at their places of worship.”

He lauded Nigerians for their actions in the aftermath of the attack on the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State.

The President said that “seeing the crowd of Nigerians voluntarily rushing to donate blood after the attack, thronging the local hospitals, even in the midst of mourning,” made him “proud of my country. I was filled with hope”.

Gunmen Behead Ex-Anambra Lawmaker Nelson Achukwu

N15m had been paid to the abductors before the lawmaker was beheaded.

 

Gunmen have beheaded a former Anambra State lawmaker, Mr. Nelson Achukwu. The headless body of the man, who was physically challenged, was found and identified by his relatives, days after he was kidnapped. 

According to the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Tochukwu Ikenga, the headless remains of the late Achukwu was found at the boundary between Uke and Ukpor axis of the state.

He disclosed that the victim was abducted at about 10:15 pm in his house on June 9 and efforts were being made to rescue him before the unfortunate development wherein his body was found without the head.

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Mr. Ikenga said an investigation was still ongoing while assuring that the command would do everything within its powers to arrest the perpetrators of the crime.

Findings showed that the headless body was quickly buried by the family members on Tuesday as the corpse had started to decompose.

Achukwu, a former member of the Anambra State House of Assembly and a businessman, had earlier been abducted by gunmen a few months ago and later released after the payment of N15 million ransom was paid. He was kidnapped again on June 9th and the reason for his second kidnap and murder is still unknown.

This is coming after similar gruesome murders in Anambra State after the lawmaker representing Aguata II State Constituency in the State House of Assembly, Mr. Okechukwu Okoye, was kidnapped and beheaded by his abductors last month.

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