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Buhari meets out-going Nigerien President

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President Muhammadu Buhari met behind closed doors with the outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou of the Republic of Niger at the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday.

Mr Issoufou will be stepping down on April 7 after serving two five-year terms while Mohamed Bazoum, who recently won the presidential election, is expected to be sworn in that day.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigerien leader, who arrived at the Presidential Villa at about 11.45 a.m., was welcomed by the president at the forecourt of the villa.

Mr Issoufou would be stepping down on April 7 after serving two five-year terms while Mohamed Bazoum, who recently won the presidential election, is expected to be sworn in that day.

It was gathered that the two leaders would deliberate on sub-regional issues including security challenges occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram insurgents.

Mr Issoufou, it was further gathered, would use the opportunity of the meeting to thank Mr Buhari for the support and assistance rendered to his country during his first and second terms in office.

NAN reports that a road, behind State Security Services (SSS) quarters, Asokoro, was named after the visiting Nigerien leader, who was accompanied by Governors of Zamfara, Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano, Yobe and Sokoto States.

Nigeria had facilitated the transportation and other logistic needs of the recently concluded national elections in the Niger Republic.

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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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International

Putin says Ukraine is becoming an ‘anti-Russia’, pledges response

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(Reuters)

By Andrew Osborn and Alexander Marrow

MOSCOW (Reuters) -President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that neighbouring Ukraine was becoming ‘anti-Russia’ and that Moscow would be ready to react to what he said were threats to its own security.

Putin was speaking a day after a Ukrainian court placed Viktor Medvedchuk, a prominent pro-Russian politician who says Putin is godfather to his daughter, under house arrest.

Medvedchuk, who has promoted closer ties with Moscow and acted as an intermediary between Moscow and Kyiv in the past, is being investigated over treason allegations he calls politically-motivated.

Putin, in remarks to a meeting of Russia’s security council, called what was happening in Ukraine a ‘cleansing’ of the political space and accused the Ukrainian authorities of targeting people who favoured better ties with Russia and supported a peaceful settlement in eastern Ukraine where Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russian-backed separatists since 2014.

“Judging by everything, and this is very sad, Ukraine is slowly but surely turning into some kind of polar opposite of Russia, some kind of anti-Russia, and into a platform from whose territory it seems we will constantly receive news requiring our special attention from a security point of view,” said Putin.

Referring to what he described as a selective and politically-motivated crackdown in Ukraine on certain individuals doing business with Russia, Putin said Moscow would not stand idly by.

“This is, of course, an issue that should always be on our radar and we should respond to this given the threats being created for us in a timely and appropriate manner,” said Putin.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday the crackdown on Medvedchuk, which began in February when he and several associates were sanctioned and three television channels owned by an ally were forced off air, was a legal way of choking off what he described as his malign influence.

“For the first time in many years the number of oligarchs has not increased, but decreased. Minus Medvedchuk,” Zelenskiy wrote in a blog.

“With the help of legal tools, Medvedchuk was stripped of the possibility of using media assets and state property to openly attack the country and damage state security.”

Relations between Moscow and Kyiv collapsed after Russia annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea in 2014 and Russian-backed separatists took control of a chunk of eastern Ukraine that same year.

Tensions have flared again in recent months after the two countries traded blame for an uptick in fighting in eastern Ukraine, and Russia, in what it called a defensive exercise, massed troops on its western border with Ukraine and in Crimea.

(Additional reporting by Polina Ivanova in Moscow and Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv; Editing by Matthias Williams)

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