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Agbakoba disagrees with Okonjo Iweala on border reopening

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Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Olisa Agbakoba has urged the federal government to disregard the “liberal and open borders” ideas posited by Dr.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) during her recent visit.

According to Olisa , Nigeria must, instead, adopt a trade policy that protects its ailing economy.

In a press statement made available to Ripples Nigeria on Saturday evening, Agbakoba noted that while he has huge respect for the DG of WTO, her advise on reopening of the border are ill-timed as it will make the country more import dependent.

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His statement reads, “Nigeria has no current Trade policy and Dr Okonjo Iweala seems to promote liberal and open borders.

The problem is that we will remain consumers of imported products and cannot develop our economy to boost production and give jobs to the over 25 million unemployed.

“While we must balance import policy with local production policy, we must heed the warning of wise economists that we cannot develop unless our trade policy is designed to promote local industries.

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“I hesitate to compliment Trump’s America First trade policy but Trump understood the need to protect the US by discouraging over dependence on imports.

“Nigeria produces crude but imports petrol. We produce cocoa but import cocoa powder. We have Tin, Gold and Iron but import the finished products In billions!

“We closed our Benin border to imports and made 12 billion a day internally. It was a strong trade policy to produce rice locally that has made us near self sufficient.

“Now, we are growing tomato, corn, beans, etc because we are discouraging imports.

“Nigerians be wise. We must support MADE IN NIGERIA. I propose we adopt a new trade policy with strong trade laws to protect our ailing economy. Nigeria will be transformed by a Made in Nigeria Trade Policy.”

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Just In: Service Chiefs and other topnotch security agents on Thursday arrived at the complex of the National Assembly for a meeting with Senators.

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Thuelrsday meeting was occasioned by the endless insecurity across the nation that has been considered a great threat to the fabrics of the nation.

On Wednesday, Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan adjourned the meeting till Thursday (today) which expectedly might be held behind close doors.

Meanwhile, security agents have taken control of the entire complex of the National Assembly where those coming into the complex are having a hectic day been screened.

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We approached Gumi for help but didn’t give him money —Parents of released Afaka students

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Parents of released students of the Federal College Forestry School in Afaka, Kaduna State, have clarified that Sheikh Gumi did not collect any money from them.

The students, who had been in captivity at the hands of bandits for 56 days, were released on Wednesday.

One of the parents of the released students, while speaking to journalists in Kaduna, said: “To put the records straight, we approached reverred Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, to assist in facilitating the release of our children, but he didn’t collect money to that effect.

“The woman that made the statement, though also have a child in captivity but she resides in Abuja and we never gave money to Sheik Gumi. The money we gathered was for our transport to both Abuja and the School which we visit every two days.

It is not easy visiting the school and also taking such a crowd to Abuja for the protest. We never gave the Sheikh any money.

Also in a statement, jointly signed by their Chairman of Concerned Afaka Parents, Malam Abdullahi Usman and Secretary, Mrs Catherine Y. Saleh, on Wednesday, following a report in the media that Sheikh Gumi was given N800,000 to secure release of one of the students, the parents said, “The committee considers the statement as unfortunate and an unnecessary distraction from its commitment to secure the release of our children who have now spent 56 days in captivity.

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For the record, the committee representing the Forum of Parents of the 39 Abducted Students visited the home of Sheikh Gumi to seek his intervention for the release of our children but he declined, on the grounds that as a law abiding citizen he would not want to go against the position of the state government which has forbidden anyone to negotiate with bandits.”

The group said that the attention of the parents of the 39 abducted Afaka students was drawn to a screaming headline on Wednesday to the effect that one of them, who spoke to them in a live interview, claimed that they, the parents of the abducted students, contributed and paid the sum of N800,000 to a Fulani man through Sheikh Gumi for the release of their children.

“We wish to state in no unclear terms that the claim has no basis in fact. Though the woman in the said video has a child in captivity, but her claim is untrue. The woman is not a member of the committee representing the affected parents and did not speak on behalf of the parents.

“To be sure, the Forum of the Abducted Parents has never gathered money and given to Gumi or to someone through the revered Islamic scholar at anytime. We therefore dissociate ourselves from the statement,” they clarified.

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The forum added in its statement: “We apologise to the esteemed Sheikh for any personal injury the statement might have caused him,” the statement said.

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Obasanjo: I don’t subscribe to payment of ransom, Says nation’s security challenge requires a “carrot and stick” approach.

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said he does not believe in payment of ransom to bandits or kidnappers.

Obasanjo lamented specifically that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan had paid ransom to kidnappers and bandits but stated both administrations denied it.

He noted that payment of ransom to kidnappers and bandits encourages criminals indulging in the act, recommending the Federal Government must devise means to deal with kidnappers and bandits sternly and heavily in place of ransom payment.

The elder statesman spoke on Wednesday at his Penthouse residence within the sprawling Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, Ogun State when he received members of Tiv professionals Group (TPG) led by Prof Zacharys Anger Gundu.

The former President insisted the nation’s security challenge requires a “carrot and stick” approach.

“Some people are still reaching out and hoping that lives can still be saved. But a situation whereby anybody thinks paying ransom is the way out, that person is folly. He is a folly.

“This is because when you pay ransom, you encourage. But if you are not going to pay ransom, you must have the means to deal heavily with it. You must have the stick to deal with it.

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Government has always paid ransom. Not only this government, even during Jonathan (administration). They paid ransom but they denied it.”

The former President said leaders must ensure 2023 birth a new Federation otherwise the country may slide into dissolution.

According to him: “I do believe that whatever else we do, we have to make the year 2023 a watershed for Nigeria. The year 2023 should give us the beginning of emergence of a new federation or feeling that the rot continues, and then, we are going to be sliding back to dissolution. God forbid.

“I believe that if we will get it right in Nigeria, any leader must look at Nigeria with the prism of the diversity of Nigeria. For as long as you look at Nigeria with the prism of your ethnic group, then you aren’t going anywhere, either your ethnic group or religious group. But is there hope? There is hope.”

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