By - Adedoyin Shittu
This week recorded series of trending news stories across various media outlet which was made up of controversial happenings and apparently, the social media was agog drawing unending backlash, criticism and other reactions.
In light of the stories that dominated the airwaves this week, Aprecon brings you a brief round-up of the major stories.
G7 summit in Biarritz, France
This week, the Group of 7 world leaders gathered in Biarritz, France for the G7 summit. The Group of Seven (G7), comprises of the most advanced economies in the world: France, Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States. European Union Council President Donald Tusk was also present, along with a litany of heads of state who were each invited by a participating G7 member. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif made a surprising appearance in the G7 meeting. A senior French diplomat confirmed that Zarif had been invited to Biarritz for talks as part of Macron’s diplomatic initiative aimed at defusing tensions in the Gulf and reviving diplomacy with Iran.
The French Government, the organizer of this year’s G7 summit issued a conclusion document on behalf of the leaders of the seven countries at the meeting. The document focuses on trade, Iran, Ukraine and Libya. “The leaders of the G7 wish to emphasize their great unity and the positive spirit of their debates,” the document read. Here’s what it says about five key issues:
Trade: The G7 is committed to open and fair global trade and to the stability of the global economy. The G7 calls on finance ministers to monitor the state of the global economy. Because of that, the G7 wants to change the WTO in depth in order to be more effective in the protection of intellectual property, to settle disputes more quickly and to eradicate unfair commercial practices. The G7 is committed to reaching an agreement in 2020 to simplify regulatory barriers and modernize international taxation in the context of the OECD.
Iran: We fully share two objectives: to ensure that Iran can never acquire nuclear weapons; and promote peace and stability in the region.
Ukraine: France and Germany will hold a summit in Normandy format in the coming weeks in order to achieve concrete results.
Libya: We support a truce in Libya that can lead to a lasting ceasefire. We believe that only a political solution will ensure the stability of Libya. We look forward to a well-prepared international conference involving all stakeholders and regional actors involved in this conflict. In this regard, we support the work of the United Nations and the African Union in setting up an inter-Libyan conference.
Hong Kong: The G7 reaffirms the existence and importance of the 1984 Sino-British declaration on Hong Kong and calls for the avoidance of violence.
Over twenty African presidents in Japan as 7th TICAD opens
Over twenty African leaders participated in the seventh edition of the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) summit, which kicked off on August 28 in Yokohama, Japan.
African leaders present in Japan for the event include: Faustin Archange Touadera (Central African Republic), Azali Assoumani (Comoros), Danny Faure (Seychelles), Alpha Conde (Guinea), Patrice Talon (Benin), Julius Maada Bio (Sierra Leone), Andry Rajoelina (Madagascar), Ismail Omar Guelleh (Djibouti), Joao Lourenco (Angola), Hage Geingob (Namibia), George Weah (Liberia), Felix Tshisekedi (Democratic Republic of Congo), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Abdul Fatten Al-Sisi (Egypt) and current African Union president, Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo (Somalia), Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zimbabwe), Faure Gnassingbe (Togo), Mahamadou Issoufou (Niger), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (Ghana), Muhammadu Buhari (Nigeria), Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), Ibrahim Boubakar Keita (Mali), Edgar Lungu (Zambia), and Macky Sall (Senegal).
Leaders of delegation that are not presidents include: Thomas Thabane (Lesotho Prime Minister), Everton Herbert Chimulirenji (Malawi Vice-President), Isatou Touray (Gambian Vice-President), Amadou Gon Coulibaly (Prime Minister of Ivory Coast), Osman Saleh (Foreign Minister of Eritrea) and Abiy Ahmed (Ethiopian Prime Minister).
Prof. Makau Mutua, board chair of the Kenyan Human Rights Commission, KHRC, said in a tweet on Friday (August 30) that African leaders needed to quit attending ‘begging meetings’ and focus on making the continent an attractive investment destination.
“TICAD is a disgrace to Africa. When will Africa stop these begging meetings? We should be ashamed of our leaders.
“Let’s make Africa an attractive destination for investment so we can stop begging. I can’t understand how African leaders can celebrate this atrocity! SHAME!” his tweet read.
The event held every three-years is co-hosted by the Japanese government and the African Union along with other development partners like the United Nations and the World Bank.
Amazon rainforest on fire
The Amazon rainforest has been on fire since the past month, and Brazil has declared a state of emergency in the region. The fires destroyed the homes of indigenous tribes and threatened millions of animal species. One tribal chief described the halting response of Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, regarding the fires, along with his support for deforestation, as a form of genocide.
The number of fires in Brazil this year is the highest on record since 2013 and is up by 85% from last year alone, CNN reported. So far this year, more than 80,000 fires in the country have been detected by Brazil’s space research center. There are so many fires burning right now, that smoke is visible from space. European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano captured images of smoke from the International Space Station on Monday. Parmitano said the haze is so widespread, it resembles clouds in some of the photos.
The Amazon is known as the “Lungs of the Earth” because it produces 20 percent of the oxygen in the planet’s atmosphere, as well as for its vast greenery and wealth of biodiversity.
Hedge Fund and the forces backing P&ID against Nigeria
P&ID won the largest arbitration award in history against Nigeria over a failed 2010 gas deal with its government. Earlier this month, a British court confirmed the award for profits lost on the contract to build a refinery. Nigeria had signed up to provide the gas.
After almost 30 years of doing business there, the 2010 gas refinery deal was to have been Michael Quinn’s and Brendan Cahil “swan song” in the country, according to documents from P&ID. But the deal went sour, the regime changed, and the row went legal. It ended up in enforcement proceedings in the UK courts, where P&ID prevailed, and in a US court, where the case is ongoing.
Bloomberg has reported that company documents in the British Virgin Islands, where P&ID is located, show that a US hedge fund, VR Capital, has taken a 25 per cent stake in the business. It is likely that VR’s investment is now funding P&ID’s campaign.
The US Senate lobbying register shows that P&ID has hired a phalanx of law firms and professional lobbyists to help it in an asymmetric fight against the Nigerian state. These include Black Diamond Strategies, whose staff includes former Trump strategist Doug Davenport, sovereign debt fight-specialist DCI Group and Kobre & Kim, the law firm that represents it in court. P&ID, backed by hedge funds and armed to the teeth with lawyers and lobbyists, is now running an insurgent campaign for payment. From a public relations and legal point of view, it has the Nigerians on the run. The African state’s leaders look to be in total disarray.
Nigeria says it will appeal the award, and Cahill and the late Mick Quinn have been criticised heavily in the local press. President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a criminal investigation into the awarding of the 2010 contract, and the country is trying to reassure investors that it is not about to lose 2.5 per cent of its GDP to a gas investor.
Over 150 migrants storm through Spain’s enclave fence
More than 150 migrants crossed the border fence at Spain’s North African enclave of Ceuta early on Friday August 30 and at least six Spanish police officers suffered minor injuries as they tried to stop them, a government spokesman in the city said.
The Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on Morocco’s northern coast are a magnet for illegal African migrants trying to reach Europe in search of a better life. The enclaves are surrounded by a 6-metre-high fence topped with razor wire.
Ebola kills 9 years old Congolese girl in Uganda
A 9-year-old Congolese girl has died of Ebola in Uganda near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Ministry of Health said Friday.
The young girl and her mother traveled from DRC to the Ugandan district of Kasese, seeking medical care on Wednesday. She was identified at the port of entry, isolated, and transferred to the Ebola unit at a local hospital where she was being managed, the ministry said.
The Ministry of Health said her body was sent to the DRC upon her father’s request. It added that four out of the five Congolese who had had contact with the girl have been repatriated to the country for proper follow-up.
DRC announces new government 7 months after president inaugurated
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has announced a new coalition government, seven months after the inauguration of President Felix Tshisekedi.
Announced on Monday – August 26 by the president’s spokesperson, the power-sharing agreement saw 23 members of the executive drawn from Tshisekedi’s Direction For Change party, and the remaining 42 from former long-time president Joseph Kabila’s Common Front for Congo (FCC) coalition.
Gilbert Malaba, a member of Tshisekedi’s party, was appointed minister of interior and security, while the defence ministry went to Ngoy Mukena, a close Kabila ally. The mining portfolio went to Willy Samsoni, a member of Kabila’s coalition and a former mines minister in the local government of Haut-Katanga province, while the DRC’s former director general of taxes, Sele Yalaghuli, also a Kabila stalwart, was named finance minister.
“The government is finally here … the president has signed the decree and we will begin work soon,” Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilukamba told reporters. Ilukamba said the delay in forming the government was a result of both sides needing time to “remove everything that could be an obstacle” to its “functioning”.
Saudi-bought European weapons now in the hands of Sudan militia
A report by the investigative media group Bellingcat has uncovered details of Serbian made weapons purchased by Riyadh winding up in the hands of Sudanese Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and Sudanese army fighting at the Saudi-Yemen border, in what is said to be a violation of end-user protection guarantees precluding re-export of arms to a third party. The report found that thousands of Serbian-produced Kalashnikov rifles, designated as “not for re-export” and for the “exclusive use of the Ministry of Defense of Saudi Arabia”, were ending up in the hands of groups accused of carrying out massacres.
According to the author, the RSF, the successor organisation to the Janjaweed, has been accused of war crimes in Sudan — including a massacre of 120 people in June during a mass crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. The report also cited several other investigations which found both countries to have diverted US military equipment to extremist factions in Yemen in violation of end user assurances. UK arms sales to Saudi have also raised similar questions and prompted a court battle between the government and human rights groups who claim that the Saudis are wrongfully using British made weapons.
In June a British court of appeals sided with campaigners and judged that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. The hearing came amidst global concern for the humanitarian consequences of the Saudi-led war on Yemen, which has recently entered its fifth year. The UN has warned that the humanitarian crisis not only remains the worst in the world, but that it is worsening year on year.
Buhari’s govt accuses El-Zakzaky of plans to Islamize Nigeria
The Nigerian government has alleged that the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, was being sponsored by Iran to forcefully turn Nigeria into an Islamic State. In a fresh process filed on Wednesday, August 28, before the Federal High Court in Abuja, FG claimed El-Zakzaky was plotting to replicate, in Nigeria, the 1979 violent revolution that led to the forceful takeover of power in Iran. The government also claimed that currently, members of the IMN do not recognise President Muhammadu Buhari’s authority. It therefore urged the court to dismiss the suit the IMN filed to challenge the order that proscribed its activities in Nigeria.
EFCC begins probe of $16b power spending
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday detained two top officials of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), the company which supervised execution of the $16 billion failed power projects. The officials are Head of Finance Marvel Emefiele and Head of Compensation Eze M. C. Odigbo. They are expected to account for the N850 million earmarked as compensation to communities where components of the power project were sited.
Others in EFCC’s net are Managing Director of Pivot Engineering Mr. Richard Ayibiowu and the Managing Director of Chris Ejik Nigeria Limited Mr. Christain Ejik Imoka. Detectives are on the trail of 18 more suspects including two former governors, a former chairman of a bank and a former chairman of an airline. About 15 more companies are also on the EFCC radar, it was learnt last night. There are fears that some of the suspects might have secretly relocated abroad.
President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly wondered how $16 billion was spent on power and there is no electricity generated. He subsequently ordered a probe into the expenditure.
US and Nigeria Visa Fees confrontation
Visa fees for non-immigrant Nigerians applicants was increased by the United States of America. The US embassy in Nigeria made the disclosure on Tuesday, August 27, on the official website – The embassy said the increase fee – reciprocity fee – is to be based on the treatment afforded to US citizens by the Nigerian government. The US in a statement released on its Nigerian embassy website said Nigerians will be required to pay a visa issuance fee or reciprocity fee for all non-immigrant under the B, F, H1B, I, L, and R classifications.
In an apparent reaction to the hike in visa fee by the United States of America, the federal government has announced a reduction in Nigeria’s Visa charges for US Citizens with effect from Thursday. The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has approved the decrease of Visa charges payable by US citizens in line with reciprocity policy as recommended by the Committee.” Accordingly, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, has been directed to implement the decrease in Nigeria’s Visa charges to US Citizens with effect from Thursday, 29th August, 2019.
Zambian opposition leader arrested, accused of defaming president
Police in Zambia have arrested Chishimba Kambwili, the leader of National Democratic Congress – an opposition party on charges of defaming President Edgar Lungu after the release of a video in which he allegedly implied that the head of state was a dog. Addressing journalists as he was led by officers on Wednesday, Chishimba Kambwili, leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), said his comments were misunderstood. In the video that went viral on social media, Kambwili had said, “Some dogs from Chawama do not get tired of travelling.”
He pleaded not guilty to charges of defamation against the country’s president on Friday, August 30, during an appearance at the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court. He was released on bail and a trial has been set for September 30.
Foreign-owned businesses attacked in new wave of Xenophobia
The Nigeria Union has advised Nigerians living in South Africa to avoid Pretoria Central Business District (CBD) until the Police Authority certify the area safe for foreign nationals. The Nigerian Union in South Africa (NUSA) gave the advice in the wake of Xenophobic attacks early Wednesday morning – August 28 in the country.
“Violent looting and burning of foreign-owned businesses started in the early hours of today, Aug. 28, at the Pretoria CBD. The foreign-owned shops and offices were targeted by angry taxi driver rioters,” the President of NUSA, Adetola Olubajo said in a statement
The violent revolt and looting have been fuelled by the death of a taxi driver who was allegedly gunned down by a foreign national on Tuesday August 27 at Pretoria CBD. Not less than two buildings were burnt by the angry mob. This was done after the stocks in the various shops were looted by the rioters.the violent clashes that erupted following the death of a taxi operator .
Head of Rwandan diaspora in Mozambique shot dead
The leader of the Rwandan community in Mozambique has been shot dead in the capital, Maputo. Officials say Louis Baziga was in his car at midday on Monday after leaving his home in Matola, a southern suburb of the city, when he was targeted by gunmen who intercepted his car.
Mr Baziga was a known supporter of the Rwandan government of President Paul Kagame and was a successful businessman running shops and a pharmacy in Maputo
Claude Nikobisanzwe, Rwanda’s ambassador to Mozambique, told BBC Great Lakes those who shot at Mr Baziga’s car fled before being recognised. “Mr Baziga was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. Police have started investigation; it is too soon to suppose why he was killed,” Mr Nikobisanzwe said.
He had lived in Mozambique for decades following the Rwandan genocide – and as the official leader of the diaspora in Mozambique had close links to the embassy. The region has also seen some exiled critics of Rwanda’s ruling party allegedly targeted for their opposition to the current government. In October 2012, Théogène Turatsinze, a businessman in Mozambique and former Rwanda Development Bank head, was abducted. His dead body was later found floating on the sea in Maputo.
Ex President son and four others plead not guilty to charges of economic sabotage and money laundering
Five former Liberian central bank officials, including an ex-president’s son, have pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering and “economic sabotage” in a scandal over millions of dollars of newly printed cash. A court in Monrovia, the capital of the impoverished West African country, said the group – accused of printing surplus banknotes worth 2.6 billion Liberian dollars ($16.3m) without authorisation – all asserted their innocence on Monday.
Charles Sirleaf, son of former president and central bank chief Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is among the five indicted on charges that also include criminal conspiracy.
He was one of two central bank officials detained in March 2019 after investigations were launched in October regarding the suspected disappearance of newly printed notes worth $100m. The sum was equivalent to about five percent of the West African nation’s gross domestic product.
More than 100 feared drowned off coast of Libya after ‘screaming’ for help
More than 100 people are feared to have drowned off the coast of Libya after the boat they were on lost communication with a hotline for migrants in distress. Passengers “screamed and cried” when they contacted Alarm Phone at 3.30am on Tuesday but were unable to communicate their GPS position. Authorities in Libya and Italy were informed but the hotline has since lost communications with the vessel, it said.
“We fear that no one has come to help them,” Alarm Phone said in a tweet.
The charity-run organisation said the boat had departed from Al-Khums port in north-west Libya at around 12.30am on Tuesday. By 3.30am they contacted the hotline saying that the 100 on board were in “grave danger” and that “some of them were already dead”. “We tried to get the GPS position, but the castaways were panicked and failed to communicate it,” Alarm Phone said, adding that they can no longer communicate with the boat.
“At 6am a relative called us worried about the people on board,” it said.
“He fears they are dead. We don’t know what happened to this group of migrants. We hope they are still alive but we fear the worst.”
The Gambia’s first president, Dawda Jawara, dies aged 95
Gambia’s government says the country’s first democratically elected president, Dawda Kairaba Jawara, has died at the age of 95. The Gambian presidency said on Tuesday August 27 that Jawara died in the capital, Banjul, and called him a “champion of international peace, justice and humanity.” Jawara was known as the father of the nation. He spearheaded the talks that led to Gambia’s independence from Britain in 1965. He served as prime minister while Queen Elizabeth II was head of state before he succeeded her in 1970 with his election as president.
Libya’s east-based army says clashes kill 12 gov’t troops near Gharyan
Libya’s east-based army said on Sunday – August 25, that 12 troops of the rival UN-backed government were killed and more than 20 others injured in violent clashes near the city of Gharyan, some 80 km south of the capital Tripoli. Those who were killed include a senior military commander and two Islamic State (IS) suspects, the army’s information office said in a statement. The statement also said the army took control of a position of the UN-backed government’s forces near Gharyan.
The UN-backed government has been engaged in a deadly armed conflict since early April in and around Tripoli against the east-based army, which is trying to take over the city and overthrow the government.
Last month, the UN-backed government’s forces took over Gharyan city and expelled the east-based army. The east-based army, led by Khalifa Haftar, is allied with the east-based government, as the North African nation is politically divided between eastern and western governments.
Many Missing, As 100-Passenger Vessel Capsizes in Cross River
The fate of several passengers in a boat that left Calabar, the Cross River State capital, with over 100 passengers and crew members for Cameroon was yesterday unknown after the boat capsized on the high sea. Report said the boat capsized in Gulf of Guinea between Nimunda and Edina, in Cameroon, on Sunday with many feared missing.
According to sources, the vessel left the Terminal C of the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, operated by Shoreline Logistics, on Sunday before the incident occurred on the high seas on the way to Cameroon around 6p.m.
EFCC traces Atiku’s laundered money to Obasanjo Library
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) extended its investigation of the laundered 150 million euros cash-for-poll by associates of former vice-president Atiku Abubakar to Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, . It was learnt that the investigators went to the Library on August 8 to authenticate the claims by one of those under probe that he gave $140,000 (about N50 million) in cash to one of the library officials.
Former vice-president Atiku Abubakar also confirmed that some money was indeed given to the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library but he insisted it was a normal donation because the library is a not-for-profit organisation and that the donation was made via a bank cheque, and not cash of $140,000 that the EFCC is investigating.
Bosasa executive Gavin Watson dies in ‘horrific’ car crash at OR Tambo
Bosasa boss Gavin Watson (71) was killed in a car accident near OR Tambo International Airport early on Monday Morning August 26. It is understood that the vehicle collided with the pillar of a bridge after the driver allegedly lost control. The officer described the scene as “horrific”. According to police the accident happened at around 5.30am. Watson was declared dead on the scene.
Some reports have claimed that Watson was due to face a major tax inquiry on Tuesday – with potential information on Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa being disclosed as part of the process. Bosasa have made some illicit payments to both presidential figures, and their corruption empire was worth billions of rand.
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