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Jonathan bars former ministers, aides from seeing him

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has restricted former ministers and other top officials who served under him, from getting access to him.

Some top officials of his administration had been trying to put pressure on him to reach out to the president to soft pedal on the impending probe, which could unearth a can of worms on the activities of the previous administration.

It was gathered that Jonathan was angry with most of those who served directly under him that “sterling revelations concerning their activities, especially as regards improper financial dealings, were beginning to emerge” after leaving office.

This development, a source said, had created a crisis of confidence between the former president and his associates.

According to the source close to the former first family, Jonathan shortly after his return from his short vacation in the United Kingdom, after handing over, ordered his security aides not to allow anyone who served under him either as a minister or in any other capacity, “unfettered access” to him.

The source said: “All those reports that the former ministers and aides were angry with him (Jonathan) cannot be ruled out because shortly after the handing over, most of them started cooking up one story or the other to create a situation that would have led to the former president confronting his successor on some issues.

“Basically, even though it was not out of place for the former president to do a self-appraisal after leaving office, he decided to take it calm and keep a bit of distance from most of his ministers and aides.

“The reason was that even if there was the need to still keep themselves together, the man was later to realise that most of the ministers and aides were trying to use such an avenue for oneness to cover their dirty deals that were unknown to the former president. “For instance, it is scandalous that a former minister was alleged to have stolen the sum of $6 billion; could that have been with the knowledge of the principal? I doubt it because it could have been a gradual process that may have accumulated to that amount.

“In all honesty, does it not look ridiculous for such a minister to be in the same ring with the former president all in the name of oneness or togetherness? “For now, just as Dr. Jonathan has decided to continue to look without talking on issues raised by the General Buhari administration, he has also decided to also keep all ministers and aides who have anything to hide or who may have done one questionable thing or the other at arm’s length.

“That is the decision and I think it will give room for the government of the day to really differentiate who is who because as president, it was impossible for him to know all what his aides or ministers did. “But if there is enough evidence, let everyone bear his father’s name without dragging the name of the former president into matters he may not have a hand in.

“So, the anger that he has not called any meeting of his associates is not just misplaced, but hypocritical because most of those who are today saying so were doing behind-thescene mischief, especially during the race for the Senate minority leadership. “The former president met informally with some of the party’s leaders, but what happened? He was stabbed in the back as they refused to listen to him in the choice of someone and that has already generated bad blood between friends.” Besides, it was also learnt that Jonathan and former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, now a senator, are engaged in a cold war over the choice of Senate minority leader.

The source said Jonathan was not happy with Akpabio over his alleged refusal not to vie for the position, which he eventually clinched. The former president and his wife, Patience, were said to have favoured Senator George Sekibo (PDP, Rivers) for the Senate minority leadership. But Akpabio, after his endorsement by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) South-South Caucus in the Senate, emerged the Senate minority leader.

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APPLY: WTO opens entry for 2022 young professionals programme

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The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has opened applications for its 2022 Young Professional Programme (YPP).
The programme provides opportunity for young professionals to enhance their knowledge of the organisation and international trade issues.

In 2021, 14 professionals out of 2,400 candidates were selected for the programme from Bangladesh, Belize, Dominican Republic, Eswatini, Guatemala, Georgia, Indonesia, Malawi, Mauritania, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Chinese Taipei and Thailand.

WTO said “The YPP is a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience which can help open the door for future professional opportunities in the field of multilateral diplomacy and global trade.

“The YPP selection gives preference to young professionals from developing and least-developed countries that are members of the WTO and whose nationals are currently under-represented or not represented in the organization’s Secretariat.

“The programme is part of the Secretariat’s overall goal to increase its diversity to better reflect the make-up of its membership.”

To be eligible, applicants must be of age 32 as of January 1, 2022, and selected candidates will work at the WTO secretariat for one year, starting from the beginning of next year.

The areas of work at the programme includes accessions, agriculture, dispute settlement, intellectual property rights, market access, media and external relations, WTO rules, trade and development, trade and environment, trade in services and investment, trade facilitation, trade policy analysis and trade-related technical assistance.

WTO said candidates must have advanced university degree in law, economics, or other international trade-related subjects relevant to WTO work; must possess relevant expertise or continued academic study in a field of interest to the work of the WTO.

Equally, candidates must similarly have a minimum of two years relevant work experience.

The trade organisation further said selected candidates will be paid $3821.66 (N1,454,141.63 million) monthly and applications can be accessed on the WTO e-Recruitment website and should be completed no later than 29 April 2021.

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Buhari receives briefing from Osinbajo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The President had last Thursday returned to the country after a16-day medical trip to London, United Kingdom.

He left Nigeria on Tuesday, March 30, briefly after a security meeting with defense and intelligence chiefs as well as other security sector managers.

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Gunmen attack Imo police station, kidnap officer

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A police officer has been abducted in an attack on Mbieri Divisional Police Headquarters in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo state on Thursday morning.

This comes three days after the state Police Command headquarters and Owerri Correctional Center were attacked while 1,884 inmates released.

A resident of Mbieri said the gunmen released the suspects in custody.

However, the policemen on duty were said to have engaged the attackers in a gun duel but they were reportedly overpowered by the gunmen who had sophisticated weapons.

A community leader, Nokey Ebikam, told newsmen that the police divisional headquarters was not burnt but only freed the suspects in detention after vandalizing it.

Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the attack on the police station but did not go into details.

It was gathered that aside the officer who was abducted, two others sustained injuries in the incident which is the second major attack on a police station since an armed gang invaded the state police headquarters on Monday.

The Police authorities have blamed the attacks on the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) but the group has distanced itself from the attacks.

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