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FG Nominates Okonjo-Iweala As DG WTO, Replaces Earlier Nominee, Agah

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The Federal Government has tipped Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to replace Ambassador Yonov Agah, whose name President Muhammadu Buhari initially sent as Nigeria’s nominee for Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

A note indicating the move by Nigeria and soliciting the support of other embassies at the African Union said the Federal Government has withdrawn the candidacy of Ambassador Yonov Frederick AGAH for election to the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) adding that President Muhammadu BUHARI has approved the nomination of OKONJO-IWEALA to replace AGAH, as Nigeria’s Candidate for the position for the term 2021— 2025 at the elections scheduled to hold in Geneva, Switzerland in 2021.

The note adds: “Dr. OKONJO-IWEALA, a renowned global finance expert, is an economist and international development professional with over 30 years of experience, having worked in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America. Dr. OKONJO-IWEALA is presently the Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“Since its creation in 2000, Gavi has immunized over 760 million children across the globe. She also sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered PLC and Twitter Inc. She was recently appointed as African Union (AU) Special Envoy to mobilise International Financial Support in the fight against COVID-19, as well as Special Envoy for the World Health Organization’s Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.
Dr. OKONJO-IWEALA served twice as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, from 2003-2006, 2011-2015, and briefly as Nigeria’s Foreign Minister in 2006, the first woman to hold both positions.

“She had a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, rising to the No. 2 position of Managing Director (Operations). As Finance Minister, Dr. OKONJO-IWEALA steered Nigeria through varying degree of reforms, particularly on macroeconomic, trade, financial and real sector issues.

“As Managing Director (Operations) at the World Bank, her several portfolios included oversight responsibility for the World Bank’s $81 billion operational portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala spearheaded several World Bank initiatives to assist low-income countries during the 2008-2009 food crisis and later in the trying period of the global financial crisis. In 2010, she served as Chair of the World Bank’s successful drive to raise $49.3 billion in grants and low interest credit for the poorest countries in the world.

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Aviation

Relief For Dubai Travellers, as UAE Succumbs To Nigeria’s Conditions

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* Emirates resumes Services June 23rd

After months of despair, relief may have come the way of travellers on Lagos/Abuja-Dubai routes as the United Arabs Emirates (UAE), on Saturday, succumbed to Nigeria’s position on COVID-19 travel protocols and relaxed its COVID-19/travel requirements for Nigerians.

As a result, Emirates airline has said it will resume lifting passengers from Niger on June 23, 2021.

A twitter message from the Dubai Media Office said passengers from Nigeria are expected to have received a negative result for a PCR test taken within 48 hours before departure.

It added that passengers are also expected to present a negative PCR test certificate with a OR code from laboratories approved by the Nigerian government, while also undergoing the same test upon arrival at the Dubai airport.

The two countries had been at loggerheads, and have suspended flights, over travel requirements for travellers as part of measures to contain COVID-19 spread.

The country’s airline, Emirates Airline had directed that Nigerian travellers at the Lagos and Abuja airports must conduct rapid COVID-19 tests before departure. This led to a ban on Emirates flights in Nigeria. The ban was lifted after the airline agreed to stop the rapid antigen tests.

But the federal government reintroduced the ban on March 15, explaining that Emirates had continued to conduct rapid antigen tests for passengers before departure from Nigeria.

Meanwhile, an Emirates airline spokesperson in Lagos said: Emirates welcomes the latest protocols and measures announced by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management to allow the safe resumption of passenger travel from South Africa, Nigeria and India to Dubai and onwards. We look forward to facilitating travel from these countries and supporting various travelers’ categories. We will resume carrying passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India in accordance with these protocols from 23rd June. We thank the Supreme Committee for their continuous efforts in monitoring the development of the situation and announcing the appropriate guidelines and protocols to protect the community and safeguard travel sector.”

(With reports by Travelport)

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Aviation

NIGERIA RECORDS ANOTHER MILESTONE, AS NIMET GRADUATES GAMBIAN TRAINEES

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Senator Hadi Sirika with the Gambian President HE Adama Barrow during the Minister's visit

The Federal Government through Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) will continue to support Gambia and other needy nations in the training of meteorological technicians to highlight the importance attached to the contribution of meteorology to sustainable socio-economic development, as well as safety of citizens.

The Honourable Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika stated this at the inaugural graduation ceremony of middle level meteorological technicians trained by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) held in Banjul, The Gambia.

He noted that “Aviation is a serious business with critical safety requirements and socio-economic impacts. Hence, personnel working on this sector must be highly skilled and competent”.

A statement by the Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu quotes the Minister as saying that one of the instruments of the partnership was through the World Meteorological Organization Regional Training Centres and affiliated training institutes which W.M.O. encouraged member countries to close the gap through increased cooperation and collective partnership such as the ongoing one between Nigeria and Gambia.

Hadi Sirika disclosed that the Niigerian Meteorological Agency (Nimet) has done this due to huge support from Federal Government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Aviation via robust budgetary provisions. As most of the operational funding for the Agency were derived from allocation from the contributory service basket provided to the Aviation Industry by the Agencies under the ministry.
Sirika gave kudos to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) fir championing and supporting countries to effectively engage in Public Private Partnerships (PPP).

“This is because the future of service provision and user interface should effectively move from a linear type of value chain to an interactive environment where systems, data, solutions, and end users are iteratively engaged, and users are contributing significantly toinformation management and weather & climate service-level products. These will contribute to capabilities towards meeting global targets of the sustainable development goals”.

“This vision is realisable where regular meetings with vulnerable sectors to promote interaction and strengthen the provision and utilisation of meteorological services exist. As a strategy to further strengthen the expansion of weather and climate services to vulnerable sectors and the user community, NiMet therefore realizes that partnerships and engagement with the private sector cannot be overemphasized”.

The Nigerian Government, the Minister said, has the appropriate Legal Framework that enables the NiMet to participate in collaborative and effective Public-Private-Engagements (PPEs).

“In the phase of dwindling revenue by Governments worsened by the COVID￾19 pandemic, the importance of PPE cannot be overemphasised. Once, Trust has been established with appropriate legal document such as Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that is clear on the role of individual parties and sharing formula of all expected benefits, PPE is the way to go. This is another area; Nigeria can be of help”.

He equally commended the Government of The Gambia for taking the initiative to conceive the concept that led to the graduation ceremony, and the Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources for making excellent arrangements to ensure the success of the capacity development initiative.

“The presence of dignitaries here today is a testament to the critical value of the training programme and its impacts on the people and the developmental process in The Gambia. This goes to highlight the importance attached to contributions of meteorology to sustainable socio-economic development, as well as safety of citizens
of this great Country”

Senator Sirika, Prof Matazu (DG NiMet) and other members of the Nigerian delegation during a courtesy visit to President Adama Barrow in Banjul

On his part, the Minister, Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources, Gambia Hon. James Furmus Peter Gomez, commended the Federal Government of Nigeria, saying the training partnership will further strengthen the cordial and fruitful bi-lateral ties that exists between the Department of Water Resources and NiMet and by extension the two countries.

“The challenge of improving the resilience of communities to climate vulnerabilities, risks and disasters is a key element in the strategies and solutions envisioned by the Government of The Gambia, as stated in the National Development Plan(NDP) as well as in both the Agriculture & Natural Resources and National Climate Change Policies. While the answer seems to be the existence of dedicated structures with an organizational system, the provision of adapted sectoral services to cope with extreme weather and climate risks is becoming increasingly important”

He added that Gambia authority noted the efforts Nigeria was making towards the capacity development of its personnel in fundamental aspects of meteorological observations and forecasting, as well as quality management system, all geared towards meeting the standard set by WMO and ICAO.

“On behalf of the Government and People of the Republic of The Gambia, I once again extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Government of Federal Republic of Nigeria for the bi-lateral assistance it has been rendering in many ways to help improve the standard of the Meteorological servicesin The Gambia. We particularly note the efforts you have been making towards the capacity development of our personnel in fundamental aspects of meteorological observations and forecasting, as well as quality management system, all geared towards meeting the standard set by World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)”.

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International

BREAKING: Mali’s Interim President, Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Resign

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Mali’s interim President, Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister, Moctar Ouane have resigned.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN reported that Mali’s interim Vice President, Assimi Goita, made this known in a statement released on Wednesday.

Goita said they resigned for violating the transition charter.

Recall that the military, Monday night, detained the duo and Defence Minister Souleymane Doucouré. They were taken to the Kati Military Camp near the capital, Bamako.

The development occured months after the coup that ousted ex-President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Reacting, the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres in a statement demanded that the leaders be freed immediately.

Also, the Nigerian Government in a statement released condemned the detention of Mali’s interim President, Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane.

Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwoye, lamented that the action might derail the peace building efforts and timetable for the return of democratic governance in Mali.

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