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Believe me, No state in Nigeria is held, controlled by Boko Haram, Buhari tells the world

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President Muhammadu Buhari, Saturday boasted that no state in Nigeria is currently under the control of Boko Haram terrorists.

He said that his administration is doing everything possible to win the war against terrorism in Nigeria, noting that he has recaptured all territories held by Boko Haram in 2014 and also liberated thousands of Nigerians held against their will by this dreaded group. Speaking at the world economic forum in Jordan, Buhari opined that the world has changed and urged every nation to be corporative. “Cooperation amongst sovereign nations is no longer a choice. It is an absolute necessity”, he said.

He equally called for social and economic inclusion, noting that they are the root causes of many challenges the world is facing. His words, “In this digital age where physical borders no longer exist to protect even the most secured nations, the only way to overcome predatory and divisionary forces is for all well-meaning nations to work together for the greater good of mankind. “Simply put, cooperation amongst sovereign nations is no longer a choice. It is an absolute necessity. In the last ten years, the world as we knew it has completely changed.

“ We have seen and experienced significant shifts on many fronts. In Technology; Population and Migration; Trade and Geopolitics; Climate change; and many more. “For some nations, these trends have had positive impacts. But of course, we have also seen the negative and destructive outcomes of these trends in other countries. “ It is my view, that no region of the world has felt the full impact of these dramatic shifts and shocks like the Middle East and Africa – North and Sub-Sahara. “On one hand, our region is blessed with a very young, vibrant, enterprising and dynamic population. We also have valuable natural resources that are the envy of many nations.

“These assets and endowments contributed to our region experiencing some of the highest economic growth rates in the world. “ On the other hand however, we have also been hosts to some of the deadliest conflicts in recent history. The deaths, damage and destruction caused by terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, ISIS and Boko Haram over the last ten years will take decades to repair.By the special grace of God, today, most of these terrorist organizations have been significantly degraded. The world came together to achieve this. Now, we are faced with the task of rebuilding.

“It is at this point that we must ask ourselves how we, as a region, got to this point. The answer, at least in the case of Nigeria, is the lack of social and economic inclusion. As Nigeria celebrated being the largest economy in Africa and one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Nigerians were migrating in droves through harsh desert conditions and across treacherous seas to seek what they believe would be a better life in Europe.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I strongly believe that the lack of social and economic inclusion was the root cause of many challenges we are experiencing. Today, our population is one hundred and ninety million people. By 2050, it is estimated that we hit three hundred and ninety million making us the third most populous country in the world. This means we must start working now to ensure this population is productively engaged.

“In the last four years, we focused on security while implementing inclusive policies. On the security front, we made significant gains in fighting Boko Haram. We have recaptured all territories held by Boko Haram in 2014. We have liberated thousands of Nigerians held against their will. “Today, I am pleased to say no territory in the Federal Republic of Nigeria is held or controlled by Boko Haram.

We are extremely grateful to the many countries that have stood with Nigeria to confront this global scourge and in particular, the Kingdom of Jordan under the leadership of His Majesty, the King. “Furthermore, our economic diversification and social inclusion policies are also yielding positive results.

Our country has now returned to the path of growth. We are making gains in the ease of doing business indices. A key driver for growth is the agricultural sector where we aggressively pushed agricultural policies that empowered millions of our rural citizens.

“In the spirit of “Building New Platforms of Cooperation”, we partnered with the Kingdom of Morocco to domesticate fertilizer production in Nigeria and revive over two million tons of abandoned fertilizer blending plant capacity.

“The outcome is we created tens of thousands of jobs in agriculture, logistics, manufacturing and retail sectors. We are able to achieve moderate growth. But it was inclusive. Nigeria is now at a new dawn and embarking on a new development trajectory. We are determined to industrialise Nigeria leveraging our comparative advantage.

“We recognize the private sector as the engine of growth and a veritable partner in our economic agenda. The Middle East is a natural partner. Africa and the Middle East must therefore focus on policies that will deliver shared economic prosperity for all our citizens. On trade and investments for example, we can do more.

Africa represents only five percent of Jordan’s trade with the world. But we have the resources, the people and the markets to do more. “Opportunities exist in key job creating sectors such as Agriculture, Health, Tourism, ICT, Infrastructure as well as Textile and garmenting to mention a few. Our new, inclusive and diversified Nigeria is definitely open for business. Our population, resources, policies and programs make it the most attractive investment destination in Africa. “As friends and allies, we must therefore cooperate and leverage on our relative strengths. We must remain open to “Building New Platforms of Cooperation. As we deliberate over the next two days, I would ask all leaders present to reflect on our collective experiences. We must identify how we can work together.

“Today, we are living in a new world. In this new world without borders, my personal view is stability and sustainability can only be achieved through inclusive economic growth, and enhanced cooperation amongst nations. I thank you all for listening and I wish you a very successful and productive summit.”

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Trump To Address Nation After US Shootings Leave 29 Dead

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US President Donald Trump will address the nation on Monday after two shootings left 29 people dead and sparked accusations that his rhetoric was part of the problem.

The rampages turned innocent snippets of everyday life into nightmares of bloodshed: 20 people were shot dead while shopping at a crowded Walmart in El Paso, Texas on Saturday morning, and nine more outside a bar in a popular nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio just 13 hours later.

Trump will again find himself in the role of consoler-in-chief after a tragedy — which he has struggled with in the past — when he speaks at 10:00 am (1400 GMT).

Following the shootings, Trump said “hate has no place in our country,” but he also blamed mental illness for the violence.

“These are really people that are very, very seriously mentally ill,” he said, despite the fact that police have not confirmed this to be the case.

“We have to get it stopped. This has been going on for years… and years in our country,” he said.

In Texas, 26 people were wounded, and 27 in Ohio, where the shooter was killed in roughly 30 seconds by police who were patrolling nearby.

100-round drum magazine

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl told a news conference that the quick police response was “crucial,” preventing the shooter from entering a bar where “there would have been… catastrophic injury and loss of life.”

Biehl said the shooter wore a mask and a bullet-proof vest and was armed with an assault rifle fitted with a 100-round drum magazine.

Police named the gunman as a 24-year-old white man called Connor Betts and said his sister was among those killed. She had gone with him to the scene of the shootings.

Six of the nine people shot dead were black, but Biehl said Betts’ motive was still unclear.

In Texas, police said the suspect surrendered on a sidewalk near the scene of the massacre. He was described in media reports as a 21-year-old white man named Patrick Crusius.

He was believed to have posted online a manifesto denouncing a “Hispanic invasion” of Texas. El Paso, on the border with Mexico, is majority Latino.

 ‘Amplifying and condoning’ hate

Seven of the 20 people killed in the El Paso shooting were Mexican, the country’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said Sunday.

Ebrard, who will travel to El Paso Monday, said Mexico was looking at legal action which could lead to extradition of the gunman.

“For Mexico, this individual is a terrorist,” he said.

The manifesto posted shortly before the shooting also praises the killing of 51 Muslims at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in March.

Police said the suspected shooter has been charged with murder offenses that can carry the death penalty, and a federal official said investigators are treating the El Paso shooting as a case of domestic terrorism.

At the Walmart in El Paso, terrified shoppers cowered in aisles or ran out of the store as gunfire echoed.

Most of the victims were inside the store but some were also in the parking lot outside, police said.

“Shooting kids and women and men, to him it mostly mattered that they were Hispanic,” said Manuel Sanchez, a resident of the city.

These were the 250th and 251st mass shootings this year in the US, according to the Gun Violence Archive, an NGO that defines a mass shooting as an incident in which at least four people are wounded or killed.

Despite a string of horrific mass shootings in the US, where gun culture is deep-rooted, efforts to strengthen firearms regulations remain divisive.

The latest two shootings ended a particularly tragic week for gun violence in America: three people died in a shooting at a food festival last Sunday in California, and two more Tuesday in a shooting in a Walmart in Mississippi.

On Twitter, Trump described the El Paso attack as “an act of cowardice.”

But critics said the president’s habit of speaking in derogatory terms about immigrants is pushing hatred of foreigners into the political mainstream and encouraging white supremacism.

“To pretend that his administration and the hateful rhetoric it spreads doesn’t play a role in the kind of violence that we saw yesterday in El Paso is ignorant at best and irresponsible at worst,” said the Southern Poverty Law Center, a major civil rights group.

It cited Trump actions like calling Mexican migrants rapists and drug dealers and doing nothing when a crowd at a Trump rally chanted “send her back” in reference to a Somali-born congresswoman.

The Republican mayor of El Paso, Dee Margo, seemed to discount any race element to the Texas shooting, telling Fox News the gunman was “deranged.”

But multiple Democratic presidential hopefuls said Trump bears some of the blame for the violence.

“Our president isn’t just failing to confront and disarm these domestic terrorists, he is amplifying and condoning their hate,” Mayor Pete Buttigieg tweeted.

“Mr. President: stop your racist, hateful and anti-immigrant rhetoric. Your language creates a climate which emboldens violent extremists,” Senator Bernie Sanders wrote on Twitter.

AFP

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President Putin signs law suspending INF Treaty

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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a federal law to suspend the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty – an arms control treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (and its successor state, the Russian Federation).

A relevant document was posted on Wednesday on the official legal information website.

“To suspend the Treaty Between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles signed in the city of Washington on December 8, 1987,” the document says.

The INF Treaty, formally Treaty Between the U.S. and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles; was an arms control treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (and its successor state, the Russian Federation).

U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signed the treaty on Dec. 8, 1987.

The U.S. Senate approved the treaty on May 27, 1988, and Reagan and Gorbachev ratified it on 1 June 1988.

The INF Treaty banned all of the two nations’ land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and missile launchers with ranges of 500–1,000 kilometers (310–620 mi) (short medium-range) and 1,000–5,500 km (620–3,420 mi) (intermediate-range). The treaty did not apply to air- or sea-launched missiles.

By May 1991, the nations had eliminated 2,692 missiles, followed by 10 years of on-site verification inspections.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced on 20 October 2018 that he was withdrawing the U.S. from the treaty, accusing Russia of non-compliance.

The U.S. formally suspended the treaty on 1 February 2019, and Russia did so on the following day in response to the U.S. withdrawal.

Russia, which denies the allegation, later followed suit. Moscow accuses the United States of breaking the accord itself, a claim rejected by Washington.

The INF Treaty was the first of its kind to eliminate an entire class of missiles.

It banned the United States and Russia from developing, producing, and deploying ground-launched cruise or ballistic missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

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Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, others sign new OPEC Charter Saudi

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The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the non-member countries of the organisation (OPEC+) on Tuesday signed a draft Charter of Cooperation’ in a bid to further strengthen their partnership. 

The charter now replaces the `Declaration of Cooperation’, which was reached in Dec. 2016 between the two groups.

Speaking at the end of the 6th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting in Vienna, Mr Salvador Fernandez, President of the bloc’s Council  reaffirmed the continued commitment of the member countries to a stable market as stipulated in the cooperation.

“Participating producing countries are committed to promoting the interest of  producing nations.

“The efficient, economic  and secure supply to consumers and a fair return on invested capital as well as the return of confidence and investment to the oil industry,” Fernandez said. 

Fernandez, who is also the Venezuelan Petroleum Minister, said that the meeting focused on recent oil market developments and immediate prospects as well as collaborative efforts by members. 

Mr Alexandra Novak, Russia’s Energy Minister and Co-chair of the meeting, described the charter as not only “historic, but a basis for solidifying cooperation.

“It is not only a historic document which solidifies our cooperation, but also a solid foundation for future analysis of the market and basis for decision-making to stabilise the market.’’

Novak, who noted the successes achieved through the Declaration of Cooperation, said that the market was currently in a better shape than it used to be.

“To further stabilise the market, we have decided to significantly intensify monitoring in bid to forestall potential uncertainties that could destabilise the market,” he said.

The new agreement is seen as a move by the bloc to remain relevant in the oil market which has been transformed by booming U.S. shale oil output.

Nigeria and 13 other OPEC member nations as well as some non-member countries have already signed the charter. 

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