It’s An Honour To Meet You – Trump To Putin

US President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin held their first face-to-face meeting Friday at the G20 summit in Hamburg, with a possibly overawed Trump declaring: “it’s an honour to be with you”.

“We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everyone concerned,” Trump said.

Putin told the US leader: “I’m delighted to be able to meet you personally Mr President. And I hope as you have said, our meeting will yield concrete results.”

Trump was joined at the Putin meeting only by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and a translator, an extraordinarily small cast list that raised concerns among experts.

“Neither Tillerson or Trump have any experience of foreign policy. That is one reason why they need pros in the room when meeting Putin,” said Thomas Wright of the Brookings Institution.

The blockbuster encounter could sway issues ranging from the North Korean crisis and conflicts in Syria and Ukraine to US-Russian disarmament treaties, world trade and global warming, analysts say.

Public images of the interaction between the brash property tycoon and ice-cool ex-KGB agent are likely to be dissected frame by frame for any sign of rapprochement or estrangement.

Trump promised a rapprochement with Moscow during his campaign for the presidency last year. But he has been unable to deliver on that pledge because his administration has been dogged by investigations into allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. election and ties between his campaign team and Moscow.

Moscow has denied any interference and Trump says his campaign did not collude with Russia.

Trump and Putin spoke through translators with their respective foreign ministers present for six minutes before reporters were allowed into the room for their statements. Afterwards the reporters were ushered out and the meeting continued.

“President Putin and I have been discussing various things, and I think it’s going very well,” Trump told reporters, sitting alongside the Russian leader.

“We’ve had some very, very good talks. We’re going to have a talk now and obviously that will continue. We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everybody concerned. And it’s an honor to be with you.”

Putin, through a translator, said: “We spoke over the phone with you several times,” adding: “A phone conversation is never enough.”

“I am delighted to be able to meet you personally, Mr. President,” he said, noting that he hoped the meeting would yield results.

Both men sat with legs splayed. Trump listened intently as Putin spoke.

Before the meeting, some feared the Republican president, a political novice whose team is still developing its Russia policy, would be less prepared for the talks than Putin, a former KGB agent who has dealt with the last two U.S. presidents and scores of other world leaders.

Amid criticism of Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Syria and the investigations into its role in the U.S. campaign, Trump has come under growing pressure to take a hard line against the Kremlin.

On Thursday, Trump delivered some of his sharpest remarks about Moscow since becoming president, urging Russia to stop its “destabilizing activities” and end its support for Syria and Iran.

 Agency Repi

Remove Yahaya Bello From Office – Kogi Electorate Urges Court

Some electorate in Kogi, have approached a Federal High Court in Abuja to declare the return and swearing-in of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as the governor of Kogi as null and void

The suit, number FHC/ABJ/C3/535/ /2017, was filed on June 16 before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court 3, Abuja, according to documents made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Lokoja.

Mr Michael Elokun, Mr Ibrahim Sule and Mrs Hawa Adamu , all registered voters in Kogi are the electorate suing Bello on behalf of over 1.2 million registered voters in the state.

Other defendants in the suit are: the All Progressives Party (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as well as the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

In the originating summon supported by a 19-paragraph affidavit, the petitioners are asking the court to remove the governor on grounds that he is not a registered voter in Kogi.

The petitioners also urged the court to remove Bello on the grounds that he was not validly nominated in writing to contest the 2015 governorship election by any registered voter in the state.

They contended that this was in accordance with Section 32 of the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.

Elokun, Sule and Adamu want the court to affirm that since Bello was not a registered voter in Kogi, he could not be nominated for any elective position or be voted for by the electorate in the state.

On this premise, the petitioners are asking the court to declare as null and void the declaration of Bello as the winner of the governorship election held in the state in 2015 by the INEC.

No date had been fixed to hear the suit.


UN, AU To Foster Stronger Relationship

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed has called for strengthening the relationship between the African Union (AU) and the UN to deliver on promised development for Africa’s youth.

Mohammed stated this while addressing leaders from across the continent who had gathered at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, which was her first AU Summit since taking office, according to a copy of her speech released from New York.

She said that the AU’s thematic focus for 2017 on youth is a “powerful reminder” of the core principle at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the AU’s strategic framework known as Agenda 2063 and other global agreements, namely, creating a better world for the next generation.

“For the 226 million young people aged 15 to 24 living in Africa today, these agendas address challenges and opportunities that are integral to their futures.

“Today you are here taking decisions that will ensure that Africa benefits from the full potential of all its people, including young women and men,” she said, in a nod to this year’s theme of Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investments in Youth.

According to her, investing in our youth today reaps the dividend of a peaceful and prosperous Africa tomorrow.

Mohammed called for “building new bridges between us, and fortifying the ones that already exist” to deliver on the promises of the development agenda for Africa and its people.

In April, the UN-AU annual conference in New York resulted in a joint framework for enhanced partnership on peace and security.

The two organizations are now preparing a joint framework on sustainable development, focusing on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and of Agenda 2063, according to Mohammed.

She also noted that the UN would be collaborating with the AU on a new UN-European Union initiative to be launched at the UN General Assembly this September to end gender-based violence around the world.

The deputy UN chief also highlighted some of the other areas where the UN and the AU were working more closely, including on efforts to enhance the UN’s partnership with Africa’s regional economic communities in areas of peacekeeping, elections and democratic transitions.

Secretary-General António Guterres recently reiterated the need for “predictable, reliable and sustainable” financing for AU peace operations, and is said to be working on a set of concrete proposals for the UN Security Council.

“Our efforts should continue to be based on urgency, flexibility and innovation to improve complementarity, cost-effectiveness and impact,” Mohammed said.

The deputy UN scribe also echoed Guterres’ call at the G7 summit in Italy, where he urged world leaders to invest in young people, with stronger investment in technology, relevant education and capacity-building in Africa.

“The challenge of strengthening Africa’s human capital, starting with its young people, has galvanized commitments to promote their rights and invest in quality and relevant education at all levels, health, science and technology and innovation,” Mohammed said.


Minimum Wage: Govt. Counters NLC Accusation

The Federal Government on Friday refuted the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) accusation of foot-dragging to constitute tripartite committee which is expected to deliberate on the proposed N56, 000 minimum wage for workers in the country.

Sen Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment said this in a statement signed by Mr Samuel Olowookere, Deputy Director of Press in the ministry.

Ngige said his attention had been drawn to publications in some section of the media, alleging the Federal Government of intentionally stalling the process of constituting a tripartite committee for the minimum wage.

“The above statement is false and misleading as the Federal Government has demonstrated its commitment to improving the welfare of the Nigerian workforce by holding series of meetings with stakeholders on the subject matter.

“The final meeting of the technical committee on new minimum wage was slated for 23rd February, 2017 but could not hold as scheduled.

“The Nigerian Labour Congress and its Trade Union Congress counterpart requested for a postponement of the meeting.

“This was in order to attend the delegate conference of National Union of Civil Engineering Construction/ Furniture and Wood Workers (NUCECFWW), at Asaba Delta State, ‘’he said.

He said that in demonstration of the Federal Government’s commitment, a new date for the meeting of the technical committee on minimum wage has been scheduled for March 14 by 2:00pm at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF).

The minister said that the new date had been communicated to both the government and worker’s representatives of the technical committee.

Ngige, therefore, said the allegation as ascribed to the NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, was `”mischievous and unfounded”.

“The NLC President is fully aware of the rescheduled meeting and the reason for the postponement of the earlier meeting which was at the instance of labour unions,” he added.

Enthronement Of Tor Tiv, Says Tiv People Marginalised

The newly installed Tor Tiv, HRM Orchivirigh Professor James Ortese Ayatse, has called on the federal government to give more Benue people appointments as they are central to the central government’s economic diversification programme.

Tor Tiv, HRM Orchivirigh Professor James Ortese Ayatse
Tor Tiv, HRM Orchivirigh Professor James Ortese Ayatse

The paramount ruler stated this in his inaugural speech in Gboko, at a grand ceremony at the Joseph Sarwuan Tarka Stadium. His full title will be His Royal Majesty, Begha U Tiv, Orchivirigh, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse.

The ceremony was witnessed by many dignitaries, including state governors, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara and former vice-president Atiku Abubakar.

Ayatse specifically noted that ” the Tiv people, who are the fourth largest ethnic group in the country are not represented at the Federal Executive Council (FEC)”.

Tor Tiv, HRM Orchivirigh Professor James Ortese Ayatse (3)

He urged acting President Yemi Osinbajo to rectify the omission.

“No Tiv man has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of any federal parastatal in the current dispensation; we believe God will help you to correct this marginalization,” he said.

He said the marginalization has become worrisome especially as the Tiv people gave their overwhelming support during the electioneering campaign.

”As you take stock and make your next series of appointments, kindly be reminded that the Tiv Nation is not represented in FEC and have not
benefitted from any appointment at the federal level.”

He said the diversification program of the government was tied to agriculture and the people have comparative advantage owing their agrarian economy.

The paramount ruler appealed to the federal government to involve the Tiv people in its empowerment schemes to facilitate provision of agricultural inputs and enhance skills.

He said such measures would enhance food sufficiency and prevent food crises in the country.

Acting President Osinbajo, represented by the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Audu Ogbeh, promised to present the demands of the Tor Tiv to the president.

He, however, advised the Tiv people to learn to live together with Fulani herdsmen, with whom, they had lived together for ages.

He congratulated the new king for his elevation and prayed for his prosperous reign.

Senate president, Bukola Saraki and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto all appealed to the Tiv nation to co-exist with the Fulani herdsmen to avoid acrimony for the well-being of both ethnic tribes.

Speaker Yakubu Dogara, on his part prayed for the new Tor Tiv and said he was convinced of his capabilities in giving good leadership to the people and assured that the problems of the Tiv would be considered.

The chairman of the governors forum, Gov. Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara stated that the governors would come together to tackle the problems of the Tiv nation.

Gov. Samuel Ortom lamented the recent security challenges confronting the state but said measures had been adopted to curtail the challenges.

He reiterated his earlier resolve on ranches as the solution to the perennial crises between farmers and herdsmen.

The governors of Imo, Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Kwara, Niger, Taraba, Plateau, Kano and Kogi were amongst hundreds of dignitaries that graced the occasion.

Quebec Attack: 2 Africans Killed

Canadian university student who attacked the  Quebec City mosque on Sunday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the lone wolf shooting  “a terrorist attack.”

The 27 year-old student, Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, was charged Monday with premeditated murders.

He was also charged with five counts of attempted murder with a restricted weapon. The slightly-built Bissonnette made a brief appearance in court under tight security wearing a white prison garment and looking downcast.

Ibrahima Barry: also killed

Bissonnette, a student at Université Laval, was set to appear again on Feb. 21. No charge was read in court and Bissonnette did not enter a plea.

“The charges laid correspond to the evidence available,” said Thomas Jacques, a representative of the prosecutor’s office, when asked why Bissonnette was not charged with terrorism-related offences.

The two Guineans killed were identified as Ibrahima Barry, a  father-of-four and Mamadou Tanou Barry, who left behind two boys.

Ibrahima  came to Canada some few years ago and worked in information technology at the health insurance board of Quebec. He supported his immediate and extended family, both in Canada and in Africa.

Mamadou Tanou Barry, the second victim was Ibrahima’s cousin.

“Tanou lost his father three years ago, so it became his responsibility to support not only his family here but also his family in Africa,” said Moussa Sangare, friends to the two cousins . “Now that’s all been cut.”

The government of Guinea confirmed in a statement that two of its citizens were among those killed in the mosque attack.

The four other victims  were a butcher, a university professor, a pharmacist and an accountant, according to police and Canadian media.

In Washington, U.S. government security experts were leaning to the view that the gunman most likely was motivated by hatred for Muslims, a U.S. government source familiar with official reporting said.

Trudeau, who has made a point of welcoming refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, told parliament in Ottawa: “Make no mistake, this was a terrorist attack.”

 Agency Report ….

BBC Crowns African Footballers

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Andre Ayew, Riyad Mahrez, Sadio Mane or Yaya Toure will be crowned BBC African Footballer of the Year winner later on Monday.

Fans from across the world voted for who they want to win the award in 2016, Africa Review, reports

The shortlist will be cut down in no particular order.

Three names will be eliminated live on Sport Today on BBC World Service radio and online from about 15:40GMT.

And the winner will be revealed in a live broadcast on BBC Focus on Africa TV, radio and online from 17:45GMT.

Borussia Dortmund and Gabon striker Aubameyang is on the shortlist for the fourth consecutive year, while West Ham’s Ghana attacking midfielder Andre Ayew – winner in 2011 – is also shortlisted for the fourth time.

Leicester’s Algeria forward Mahrez is the only player not to have been nominated before.

Liverpool and Senegal striker Mane made his debut on the shortlist last year, while Manchester City’s Ivorian midfielder Toure has featured for eight consecutive years and is a two-time winner.

Aubameyang, 27, has had an outstanding 2016, scoring 30 goals for Dortmund.

Aubameyang is one of the most prolific strikers in the Bundesliga

He became the first African to be named Bundesliga player of the year, the first Gabonese to become the Confederation of African Football’s Player of the Year, and has earned a place on the shortlist for the 2016 Ballon d’Or.

In August, West Ham broke their transfer record to sign Ayew for £20.5m from Swansea – a clear marker of his form in 2016.

West Ham fans are hoping Ayew can be an inspirational figure for the team

The 26-year-old’s impressive performances, and his 12 goals in 35 appearances, earned him the title newcomer of the year at the Swans’ end-of-season awards in May.

Another English Premier League player, Mahrez enjoyed spectacular success as he inspired Leicester – who had been 5,000-1 outsiders – to a first league title.

Jose Mourinho Needs To Do His Job Properly Because This Can’t Carry On – Paul Parker

Mourinho was sent to the stands against West Ham and faces a ban from the sidelines.


It was the second time Mourinho has been removed from the dugout this season.


Manchester United are down in sixth, already 11 points off leaders Chelsea, after 12 games of his maiden Premier League campaign at the club.


They have drawn their last four home games in the league and Parker thinks Mourinho needs to conduct himself the right way to get through to his players.


Speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, Parker said: “This was always likely to happen… everyone knew when he got the job that he would be a problem.


“He’s not going to stay quiet and he’s always got to be in the forefront.


“The problems he had at Chelsea were a dressing room issue, a man management issue, and that’s been brought to light at Manchester United as well.


“But something has got to change. This can’t carry on.


“If he doesn’t calm down he could be sent off another six times this season.


“What he’s doing on the sidelines is slowly having an effect on what’s happening on the pitch.


“If he wants his players to be right and do their job properly they need him to be doing his job properly, and that is to become a coach on the touchline and conduct yourself in an appropriate manner.


“That’s not happening at this moment in time.


“Manchester United need a steady ship and the players are saying all the right things about where the club is heading. The problem is they need the manager to be saying the right things, doing the right things and looking like someone who loves his job and can’t wait to get out there.


“But at the moment, Mourinho doesn’t look like someone who’s enjoying himself.”


Agency Report ….

Britons Want Cannabis Legalised

Britons strongly support the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes, a snap Sky Data poll suggests.


The survey found 72% back legalisation for medical use, with just 15% opposed. The remainder did not know or did not express a preference.


But nearly half of the 1,001 people surveyed oppose the legalisation of cannabis for recreational purposes.


Sky Data found 46% were opposed, with just 37% in favour. The remaining 17% did not express a preference or did not know.


People between 18 and 34 were the most likely to support legalisation, with 51% backing the change.


Among the over-55s support was lowest, with just 24% supporting full legalisation.


The research follows calls from senior Liberal Democrats, and other Labour and Tory figures, that the UK should follow the lead of the US and legalise the drug.


Eight US states have changed the law, four deciding to do so in this month’s election, and several more allow its use for medical reasons.


Monday’s report, by the Adam Smith Institute and Volteface, claims legalisation could net the Treasury more than £1bn a year in tax revenue.


It also says the number of prisoners in jail for drugs offences would drop, saving the taxpayer millions.


Image Caption: Nick Clegg believes the UK should follow the lead of the US


The primary reason, the MPs say, is that UK drugs laws have failed.


Former deputy PM Nick Clegg said: “British politicians need to open their eyes to what is happening in the rest of the world.


“Cannabis prohibition is being swept away on a tide of popular opinion and replaced with responsible legal regulation.


“Now is the time for ministers to start writing the rules.”


Former Conservative cabinet minister Peter Lilley said: “It is time we legalised cannabis. Currently cannabis can only be obtained from illegal gangs who also push hard drugs.


“So we are driving soft drugs users into the arms of hard drugs pushers.”


Labour MP Paul Flynn added: “The UK’s 45 years of harsh prohibition has multiplied use and harm.


“A legal market would destroy the drug’s attraction as forbidden fruit and encourage users to ingest cannabis, of known strength and quality, in ways that will avoid deadly dangers of smoking.”


Germany is also getting ready to legalise cannabis for medical purposes and Canada is preparing for all-out decriminalisation.


The Netherlands effectively decriminalised cannabis decades ago, while Portugal legalised it in 2001.


Source: Sky News

Universities Needs’ Sufficient Funding, Not Selling Bread – Jega

The former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has criticised the trend where universities engage in bread and sachet water production to generate funds.


Jega, who is the Pro-Chancellor, Plateau State University, Bokkos, expressed displeasure over the trend at the opening of the three-day 2016 Nigerian Higher Education Summit on Monday in Abuja.


Organised by the Association/Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU/CVC) and TrustAfrica, Dakar, Senegal, the summit has “Exploiting Diversity, Differentiation and Quality Assurance in Revitalising the Nigerian Higher Education System” as its theme.


According to Jega, the crisis of funding in Nigerian universities is acute but the primary responsibility of funding universities is that of government.


He said that “putting universities in such a dire situation where they have to be doing things like producing and selling sachet water is sad; frankly, it is not the business of universities.


“We want young unemployed youths to be involved in such entrepreneurial activities to generate income for themselves and to build businesses.


“For a university to become in dire and desperate need for money as to bake bread and produce sachet water is unwholesome and needs to be discouraged.


“Government needs to provide sufficient funding to universities,” Jega, former President of Academic Staff Union of Universities, said.


The don said universities were in the business of knowledge production and should strive to produce patents or prototypes which they could engage Nigerian industries to manufacture.


He added that the problem was not that government lacked money but for it to re-arrange its priorities so that it recognised the importance of education and provide commensurate funding to universities.


The former INEC boss said there was also the need for the management of Nigerian universities to have an inclusive and transparent process of managing resources.


According to him, it is unhealthy for universities to be struggling to generate funds to carry out their mandates.


He said that for strikes to be avoided, there should be mutual respect between the Federal Government and the unions.


“It is important for government to bend over backwards and it is important for unions to be realistic in their demands in order to find solutions,” he said.


On his part, Prof. Michael Faborode, the Secretary-General, AVCNU/CVC, said a lot had been achieved by Nigerian universities despite the numerous challenges.


He said that out of 22 centres of excellence in Africa, 10 were in Nigeria, noting that this was worth celebrating.


“The fight against Ebola virus spread was led by the Centre for Infectious Diseases in Redeemers’ University, Osun State and they have some of their products here to display.


“Let us bring all these into the fore; it is not all about mourning the Nigerian university system all the time; we need to celebrate the successes,” he added.


In a keynote address, Mr Benedict Oramah, the President, African Export Bank, said there was need for Africa to move away from the colonial-style education it inherited.


Represented by Mr Stephen Keuma, the Director, Human Resources, AFREXIM, Oramah said the way forward was to refocus on technical education that would equip the continent for manufacturing.