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Northern elders vow not to interfere in Senate crisis

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Elders of the North have said they would not heed any call on them to wade into the Senate crisis.

The elders, under the auspices of the Northern Elders Forum, said although they regard Senate President Bukola Saraki’s election as constitutional even though it was against the interest of the ruling party, they would not interfere in the matter between President Muhammadu Buhari and Saraki.

Also, a Second Republic lawmaker and Convener of the Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, stated that such intervention would be “very difficult.”

He said many leaders in the North had lost their credibility to be able to persuade President Buhari on the matter.

Saraki had opposed the choice candidate of the APC for Senate presidency, Senator Ahmad Lawan.

On the inauguration of the National Assembly on June 9, when most APC senators were having a meeting with the leadership of the party, Saraki had in alliance with opposition and minority Peoples Democratic Party emerged unopposed as the Senate President.

He had also named other principal officers of the Senate against the list given to him by the APC.

President Buhari, who is said to be angry with Saraki over his anti-party conduct, has rebuffed several attempts by the senate president and his emissaries to meet with the President.

Speaking on the matter in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday, a former Vice Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University and Secretary of the Northern Elders Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, said while the forum was satisfied with the election of Saraki as the Senate President, its members would not be involved in his personal relationship with the President.

He said, “Leaders like I would want the law, wherever it is, to take its cause. I don’t see how northern elders can be involved in what is strictly a legal matter.

“I don’t see how the northern elders can get themselves entangled in the political behaviour of the National Assembly or the relationship between the National Assembly and the President.

“All we are saying is that constitutional provisions that govern this relationship should apply. And we do not get into personal matters. The issue seems to have been personalised and we don’t get involved in personalised matters.”

Also speaking to SUNDAY PUNCH in a separate interview on Saturday, Muhammed said would not speak for the North, but as a northerner who knew much about the region and its history and politics

He said, “No northern leader, including some of the hypocrites who poise themselves as northern leaders when in fact they represent nobody, can make such an undertaking to Bukola Saraki.”

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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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Gunmen

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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