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ECOWAS: Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso exit sparks security concern in Nigeria

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Stakeholders have expressed deep concern over the recent withdrawal of Mali, Niger Republic, and Burkina Faso from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), describing it as troubling and raising serious worries about Nigeria’s security. The move follows allegations of interference from Western powers, particularly the United States and Russia, with a significant presence of Wagner Brothers fighters in the region.

Reportedly, on Sunday, Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso declared their withdrawal from ECOWAS, citing what they deemed as illegal and inhumane sanctions imposed on them due to coups in their respective countries. The three nations informed ECOWAS, the African Union (AU), and the United Nations about their withdrawal, citing concerns about ECOWAS deviating from its founding principles and being influenced by foreign powers.

Previously suspended from ECOWAS and facing heavy sanctions, the military leaders of these countries issued a joint statement emphasizing their sovereign decision to leave ECOWAS promptly. They criticized ECOWAS for allegedly betraying its founding principles, not assisting in the fight against terrorism, and imposing unjust sanctions. The military leaders also accused ECOWAS of failing to support them against jihadist threats that originated in Mali and spread to Burkina Faso and Niger.

The withdrawal occurred amidst France’s withdrawal from the Sahel region, leaving room for Russia’s increased military and political influence. Concerns are rising over the potential spread of conflicts to Gulf of Guinea states, including Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Ivory Coast.

While some stakeholders believe that Nigeria and the West African bloc stand to lose the most in this situation, others have criticized the inability of ECOWAS, led by Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, to resolve the crisis. The 15-nation ECOWAS, established in 1975 to promote economic integration, has faced challenges in preventing coups and ensuring citizen benefits from natural resources.

ECOWAS, currently led by President Bola Tinubu, stated on Sunday that it had not received any formal notification of withdrawal from the three member states. The ECOWAS Commission asserted its commitment to restoring constitutional order in the withdrawing countries and maintaining a negotiated solution to their political crises.

However, the Nigerian government expressed sadness over the announcement, stating that ECOWAS has worked to promote peace and prosperity in the region. Nigeria emphasized its sincere efforts to resolve difficulties within the ECOWAS family and called for continued international support for the organization.

Several political figures, including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Senator Shehu Sani, expressed concern over the security implications for Nigeria. Atiku called for a focus on national security interests amid the diplomatic challenges, while Sani highlighted the severity of the setback for West Africa, attributing it to the failure of diplomacy and dialogue.

Former Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Bolaji Akinyemi observed that ECOWAS has become a battleground between Russia and the USA, urging Nigeria to play a role in halting Russian intervention. He emphasized the complex nature of the situation and the need for diplomatic efforts to address the confrontation between Russia and NATO.

Dr. Michael Ugwueze, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Nigeria, expressed serious concern about the development, emphasizing the potential impact on ECOWAS and the encouragement of military takeovers. He urged ECOWAS to reflect on the challenges to democracy within the region.

Private security manager Comrade Isaiah Adanu highlighted the risk of the Nigerian military taking inspiration from neighboring countries and advised prioritizing good governance to prevent unrest.

In summary, the withdrawal of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso from ECOWAS has sparked concerns about regional stability, security, and the effectiveness of the organization in addressing political crises. The situation underscores the challenges faced by ECOWAS in promoting democracy and preventing military takeovers in member states.

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BVN, NIN requirement: CBN keeps mum as deadline expires

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has kept mum as the deadline for banks to restrict customers’ accounts without a Bank Verification Number or National Identity Number has expired.

DAILY POST recalls that CBN, in a notice on December 1 last year, signed by the Director of Payments System Management Department, Chibuzo Efobi and Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustapha, asked banks to restrict tier-1 accounts or wallets without NIN or BVN.

“For all existing Tier-1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN: Effective immediately, any unfunded account/wallet shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ until the new process is satisfied.

“Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’, and no further transactions will be permitted. The BVN or NIN attached to and/or associated with all accounts/wallets must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024”, the statement partly reads.

However, CBN acting spokesperson, Hakama Sidi has yet to respond to calls from DAILY POST on Friday over the fate of banks’ customers without NIN or BVN.

Meanwhile, in a telephone interview with DAILY POST, the President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, Dr Uju Ogubunka, appealed to CBN for a deadline extension.

According to him, though many accounts have NIN or BVN, there are still many without the requirement.

“At this point, the best thing for CBN to do is extend the deadline for bank customers to have their NIN or BVN”, he told DAILY POST.

A source who preferred anonymity in a tier-1 bank told DAILY POST that no customer account had been restricted owing to the NIN or BVN requirement.

“At the moment, no customers’ accounts have been restricted. Customers in the last three days have trooped in to update their account”, he said.

DAILY POST reported that bank customers were in a last-minute rush to meet the NIN and BVN requirement deadlines as they besieged their respective banks.

CREDIT: DAILY POST

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Gov Mbah signs New Enugu City, ENSIEC bills into law

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On Friday, Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State officially approved the New Enugu City Development Agency Bill, the Enugu State Geographical Information System Service Bill, and the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIC) Amendment Bill, turning them into law. The signing ceremony, witnessed by Enugu State House of Assembly Speaker Uchenna Ugwu at the Government House in Enugu, marked significant steps in the state’s governance.

Governor Mbah clarified the purposes of these laws during the signing event. He highlighted that the New Enugu City Development Agency Law grants administrative authority to oversee the development of a new city master plan, aimed at accommodating both present and future generations. The Enugu State Geographical Information System Service Law, on the other hand, focuses on automating and digitizing processes for service delivery, beginning with land-related matters.

Regarding the ENSIEC Amendment Law, Governor Mbah noted its alignment with constitutional amendments concerning electoral bodies, ensuring compliance with the evolving legal framework.

Explaining the rationale behind the New Enugu City Development Agency, Mbah emphasized the government’s forward-thinking approach to governance, addressing the need for urban expansion to accommodate the growing population. He underscored the significance of having a master plan for future generations to prevent urban congestion.

Furthermore, Mbah elaborated on the Enugu State Geographical Information System Service, emphasizing its role in fulfilling the administration’s promise to streamline land administration processes and provide efficient services. He highlighted the agency’s mandate to manage property information systems and facilitate digital platforms for accessing services and making payments.

Governor Mbah expressed gratitude to the State House of Assembly for their support and swift passage of these executive bills, acknowledging the importance of collaboration in driving the state’s development agenda forward. He emphasized that progress and success hinge on the collective efforts of all stakeholders, including the legislature.

In conclusion, Governor Mbah affirmed his administration’s commitment to fulfilling its promises and leveraging legislative support to enhance governance and service delivery in Enugu State.

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Tinubu’s presidency not by chance – Shettima

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Vice President Kashim Shettima asserts that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s rise to the presidency is not coincidental but a divine blessing due to the sincerity of his character. Shettima made these remarks during a courtesy visit by the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) delegation at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday.

“The path leading to Tinubu’s presidency wasn’t accidental. He is known for his consistent sacrifices for the nation’s welfare. His success is viewed as a divine reward for his genuine intentions,” Shettima stated.

He stressed the importance of leaders fostering unity, highlighting Tinubu’s significant role in offering an alternative political platform within Nigeria’s system.

“Tinubu has made sacrifices and facilitated unity. He provided a haven for those facing political persecution and offered an alternative platform when others struggled for recognition,” Shettima elaborated.

Shettima urged Nigerians to be patient with Tinubu’s leadership, emphasizing that his presidency is not a coincidence but a deliberate journey towards national success.

He also charged the newly appointed NCPC Board to demonstrate unwavering commitment to their duties and reminded them of the importance of religious dedication in addressing national challenges.

“All of you were selected based on your religious commitment. We cannot overlook the issues within our system. It’s essential for all of us to strive for positive change to achieve the Nigeria we envision,” he concluded.

Previously, Bishop Stephen Adegbite, the Executive Secretary of NCPC, expressed gratitude to President Tinubu for the opportunity to serve on the board and praised Vice President Shettima’s outstanding leadership, citing his support for the Church and peace efforts in Borno State.

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