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Nigeria’s Security Adviser, Defence Chief hold talks with UK government over insecurity

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Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor and the United Kingdom Chief of Defence Staff, Tony Radakin, are currently holding talks on military cooperation.

While in a separate meeting, Nigerian National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno and his United Kingdom counterpart, Stephen Lovegrove, are also dialoguing on a range of issues including counter-terrorism, serious and organised crime, civilian policing and human rights.

The three days’ long dialogue that is ending on Wednesday is taking place at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office headquarters at King Charles Street, London.

It is the first of its kind since both countries formed the “UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership” in 2018.

This was contained in a statement from the British High Commission, titled “Nigeria-UK hold Security and Defence Partnership Dialogue in London this week.”

The statement reads “The UK and Nigeria are holding the first meeting of the Nigeria-UK Security and Defence Partnership Dialogue in London this week. Talks, led by UK National Security Adviser, Sir Stephen Lovegrove and Nigerian National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno, are scheduled to last for three days and will conclude on Wednesday.

“The Dialogue will also include a series of breakout sessions covering a range of issues, including counter-terrorism, serious and organised crime, civilian policing and human rights. Defence staff talks, led by UK Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin and Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, General L.E.O. Irabor, will also talk place in parallel and will discuss military cooperation.”

The partnership signed between President Muhammadu Buhari and former British Prime Minister, Theresa May, was aimed at helping Nigeria end the Boko Haram and the Islamic States West Africa (ISWAP) insurgency that has lasted over a decade.

Nigeria and Russia had in August 2021 signed a military cooperation deal providing a legal framework for the supply of equipment and the training of troops, the Nigerian embassy in Moscow said on Wednesday.

President Muhammadu Buhari had expressed interest in such a pact with Russia as far back as 2019, when he met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at a Russia-Africa summit.

The Nigerian ambassador to Russia at the time said Buhari felt Russia could help defeat the Boko Haram Islamic insurgency in the northeast of the country, which remains a major problem.

“The Agreement on Military-Technical Cooperation between both countries provides a legal framework for the supply of military equipment, provision of after sales services, training of personnel in respective educational establishments and technology transfer, among others,” the Nigerian embassy said in a statement.

It described the pact as a landmark development in bilateral relations between Abuja and Moscow.

Nigeria already uses some Russian fighter jets and helicopters, alongside military equipment purchased from Western powers such as the United States.

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WHO issues fresh COVID-19 alert

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Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned countries that COVID-19 is not over.

The top UN official said the reports of the decline in cases and deaths do not mean the end of the pandemic

Ghebreyesus spoke on Sunday in Geneva at the opening of the World Health Assembly.

The Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, has 194 member-countries.

At the meeting, the first in-person since 2019, Ghebreyesus advised health ministers not to relax.

“Is COVID-19 over? No. I know that’s not the message you want to hear, and it’s definitely not the message I want to deliver,” he said.

The DG expressed concern about increasing cases in nearly 70 countries in all regions with testing rates reduced.

Ghebreyesus added that reported deaths are also rising in Africa, the continent with the lowest vaccination coverage.

“It’s not over anywhere until it’s over everywhere. Only 57 countries have vaccinated 70 per cent of their population, almost all of them high-income countries,” he noted.

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Nnamdi Kanu’s US lawyer, Bruce Fein challenges Buhari’s minister to public debate

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Bruce Fein, a United States, US, lawyer of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has challenged the Nigerian Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami to a debate.

Fein challenged Malami to a debate on a national television over the legal right of the South-East to agitate for Biafra.

In a series of tweets, the US attorney said Malami would have accepted defeat if he turned down the challenge.

According to Fein: “I challenge Attorney General Malami or his designee to debate me on Nigerian television. Topic: The legal right of Biafrans to self-determination.

“My opponent can use two words to every one of mine. Malami concedes defeat if he scampers away from my challenge.”

Kanu is being held in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS.

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2023: Buhari may meet Osinbajo, Tinubu, Amaechi, others

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President Muhammadu Buhari would this week meet with all the preidential aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The meeting was called with a view to reducing the number of presidential hopefuls and also ensuring that all of them pledge to accept the outcome of the primary as was done during the APC presidential primary in 2014.

“The President will meet with the aspirants a few days to the primary with a view to ensuring that there is unity and harmony. He will also meet with the governors separately. The date is not fixed yet, but it should be this week if INEC doesn’t extend the deadline for the primary as we are all hoping,” said an APC chieftain who wished to remain anonymous.

“The President has a candidate. How to present the idea to the likes of Tinubu will be the challenge,” he added.

Buhari’s most senior spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, had said last week that the President indeed had a preferred candidate.

He stated, “In a previous interview when the President was asked whether he had a favourite candidate, he answered yes; but he will not mention him because mischief may happen to that person.

“That shows you that the President himself is interested in the process and he has a preferred candidate; but whether he will impose his candidate is what you cannot determine at the moment.”

When contacted on the telephone, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said he was not aware of any meeting the President would be having with the aspirants.

“I am not aware of any meeting as of now,” he said.

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