Global Diplomatic News: Week 23, 2019

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande Emerge UNGA 74th President

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly on the 4th of June 2019 in New York elected Nigerian Professor, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande as the President of the 74th Session of the Assembly.

Mr. Muhammad-Bande, who has had an outstanding career as a scholar and diplomat, has a B.Sc (Political Science) from the Ahmadu Bello University, MA (Political Science), Boston University and Ph.D (Political Science), University of Toronto, Canada.

A press statement from the UN said Mr Muhammad-Bande started at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, rising from Graduate Assistant in 1980 to full Professor in 1998, and ultimately to Vice-Chancellor, in 2004, a position he held for five years.

The statement added that, he served as the Director-General of Le Centre Africain de Formation et de Recherche Administratives pour le Dèveloppement (CAFRAD), in Tangier, Morocco between 2000-2004.

He held the position of Director-General of Nigeria’s National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, the country’s most reputable policy institution for training leaders from the public and private sectors, including high echelon officials of Nigeria’s Armed Forces from 2010 to 2016.

The statement reads in part:

“As Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, he worked with colleagues from all regions of the World to achieve common objectives and served as the Vice-President of the General Assembly during the 71st session.

Muhammad-Bande who is to assume duties in September has remain active in several fora, including as Chair of the United Nations Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34), Member, Advisory Board of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre and Chair of the ECOWAS Group (2018-2019).”

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres while congratulating Mr Muhammad-Bande, noted that as Nigerian and an African, “you have invaluable insights into the continent’s challenges”.

“It is my pleasure to congratulate Professor Tijjani Muhammad-Bande as President of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. From your years as Permanent Representative of Nigeria, you know the United Nations well.

As a Nigerian and an African, you have invaluable insights into the continent’s challenges – such as the Sahel and Lake Chad basin – and more broadly into the challenges our world faces across the three pillars of our work, peace, sustainable development and human rights.”

The Secretary General noted that, Mr Muhammad-Bande would be in office as the United Nations geared up to commemorate her 75th anniversary – an occasion that he hoped could be used to reaffirm the value of international cooperation and the vision of the Charter.

Global Diplomatic News: Week 21, 2019

Nigeria and BAGASOO Sign MoU On Aviation Safety

The federal government of Nigeria has signed a hosting agreement with Banjul Accord Group Aviation Safety Oversight Organisation (BAGASOO), to enhance aviation safety among member states.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama signed the agreement on behalf of the federal government of Nigeria, while the Executive Director BAGASOO, Capt. Tidiane Bah, signed on behalf of the organisation.

BAGASOO is an aviation safety oversight organisation responsible for the enhancement of safety in seven member countries which includes, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Cape Verde and Sierra Leone.

Mr. Onyeama explained that federal government accorded importance to the issue of aviation safety in the country and in the West African region.

According to Mr. Onyeama:

“Aviation safety is something extremely important for the world, globally and in West Africa, we have a great deal to do to ensure civil aviation safety.

This document is moving in the right direction to further ensure that the political will deployed by the government of Nigeria is playing its part in helping to promoting civil aviation safety in West Africa.

I am happy on behalf of the federal government to sign this agreement and to assure you of our readiness to ensure that all necessary measures are taken to have this agreement implemented and respected.”

Executive Director, BAGASOO, said:

“Nigeria is hosting the organisation safety oversight for us to reside in Nigeria and function effectively, it is very important to partner the federal government to sign for our host to give us status.

Usually, when such happens, you sign agreement to accord the organisation the immunity and privileges and diplomatic status in Nigeria.

That is what this partnership stands to achieve in Nigeria, to give BAGASOO a legal personality standing in Nigeria to function in accordance with the rules and regulation in Nigeria.

Today marks the fulfillment of Article 7 of BAGASOO agreement which it requires to make with the host state.

The agreement gives the organisation the privileges and humility to be accorded to the BAGASOO and its personnel to fulfill the objectives and the goals of its functions.

This is to enhance the air transport safety between Nigeria and other member states.”

 

Nigerian airports record 3.5 million passengers, 54,000 aircraft movements in Q1 of 2019

A total of 3.5 million passengers passed through Nigerian airports in 54,000 aircraft movements in the first quarter of 2019, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said. According to FAAN’s First Quarter Report obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the figure represents an increase of 76,397 passengers or 2.23 per cent growth compared to the 3.43 million passengers recorded in the first quarter of 2018.

FAAN also revealed that there was 1.87 per cent increase in aircraft movements from 55,030 recorded during the same period in 2018. According to the report, 2.56 million passengers travelled within the country (domestic), while a total of 951,128 passengers travelled into and out of the country (international) through the airports during the period under review.

The data further shows that 42,905 domestic and 11,095 international flights were operated across the nation’s 22 airports during the period. The report on the four major airports in the country shows that the Murtala Mohammed Airports, Lagos, (domestic and international wings) recorded the highest passengers and aircraft movements during the quarter. The data indicates that the Lagos airport recorded 1.53 million passengers, comprising 860,218 on domestic routes and 674,153 on the international routes. The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, recorded 1.02 million passengers comprising 824,847 on domestic routes, while the international routes recorded 203,954 passengers. FAAN also disclosed that the Port Harcourt International Airport recorded 271,948 passengers comprising 251,410 domestic passengers and 20,538 international. The Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, recorded 322,659 passengers comprising 281,234 domestic and 41,425 international. The monthly breakdown shows that 1.42 million passengers comprising 789,883 arrivals and 633,069 departures in 18,653 aircraft movements were recorded in the month of January. In February, 976,112 passengers comprising 462,447 arrivals and 513,665 departures in 18,150 aircraft movements were recorded.

Global Diplomatic News: Week 18, 2019

Pakistanis Win Maiden Iris Smart Technologies Abuja Cricket League

Abuja National Stadium ‘s cricket oval hosted the epic final of the Iris Smart Technologies Abuja Cricket league between Abuja Pakistanis Cricket Club (APCC) and Cricket Club Abuja Panthers (CCAP).

APCC completed their winning streak in the competition with an emphatic 81 runs over CCAP.

The CCAP won the toss and elected to field first, thus putting the APCC in to bat. The APCC got to a slow start with the early fall of the wicket of the APCC Captain and Best Player of the League, Hashim Mohammad, as well as the slow run rates in the early overs. This gave the CCA Panthers a momentary shine that would soon fade away when Kalpa Alwis threw in the fireworks.

At the fall of Hashim and Saad Butt’s wickets, it was the turn of Kalpa Alwis to come in to bat at a time the APCC was in a very tight dilemma.

Kalpa changed the fortunes of his team, aided by Joseph Ishua, Saad But, Adnan and Taimu Bashir, as they took their team to 189 runs with Kalpa playing not out. It must also be emphasized that the poor fielding of the CCAP aided the APCC in their resounding victory over the CCAP.

At the end of 20 overs and still not out, Kalpa Alwis had scored 90 runs off 48 balls while Joseph Eshua scored 33 runs off 47 balls, Mohammad Hashim 0 run off two balls, Saad Butt 13 runs off 12 balls, Adnan Akbar two runs off two balls and Taimu Bashir 14 runs off 11 balls and not out.

In the second innings, the CCA Panthers came in to chase 189 runs and needed 190 runs to win. That became a mission impossible as their best efforts could only produce 108 runs at the end of 20 overs for the loss of nine wickets.

However, top scorers on the CCA Panthers side were Aadil Bathia, 19 runs off 20 balls, Nafees Khan 12 runs off 15 balls, Ayo Ejegi 14 runs off 14 balls, Pankaj Thiara 21 runs off 21 balls and highest scorer Manmeet Bisnoi with 26 runs of 28 balls

At the end of the match Kalpa Alwis emerged the Player of the Match and the Best Batsman, while Saad Butt was the Best Bowler with three wickets.

In the presentation ceremony, Mr. Deji Fisher, representing the main sponsors of the League, Iris Smart Technologies, thanked the organizers of the league for a job well done and pledged more support for the Abuja Cricket League in the years ahead.

Various cash prizes and 50 kg bags of Rice were given to the outstanding teams and players courtesy of Iris Smart Technologies and Olam Rice.

As champions, APCC went home with cash prize of 200,000; the first runner up, the CCAP went home with 100,000. Man of the Final Match, Kalpa Alwis went home with 10,000, as west as 10,000 for being the Best Batsman of the Final Match, just as Saad But got 10,000 for emerging the Bowler of the Final Match.

The Best Player of League prize went to Mohammad Hashim, who got 50,000 cash and a 50 kg bag of Mama Gold Rice, Best Batsman of the Abuja Cricket League went to Aadil Bhatia, who was presented with 25,000 cash and a 50 kg bag of Rice from Olam Rice.

The Best Bowler position and the 25,000 prize and a 50 kg bag of rice went to Saad Butt, while the Best Fielder, Joel Kelechi went home with 25,000 and a 50 kg bag of Rice from Olam Rice.

The Best Emerging Player was Seye Oluwaseye, who got 5,000, just as the Dr. Katherine Chatham Fair Play Award went to APCC.

 

Nigeria, Namibia Boosts Bilateral Trade With New Lagos Visa Office

With over 60 percent of travelers to Namibia residing in Lagos and surrounding states, High Commission of Namibia in partnership with Air Namibia has opened a visa processing desk in Lagos.

The visa processing office located at the GHI House in Ikeja GRA, Lagos was yesterday opened to the public for submissions and pickup of Namibia visas.

Speaking at the unveiling of the office, High Commissioner of Namibia to Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Humphrey Desmond Geiseb said, since the launch of Air Namibia direct passenger and cargo flight services between Windhoek and Lagos on June 29, 2018, Namibia has been providing a quantum leap for the bilateral trade relationship with Nigeria.

Geiseb said with a population of 2.4 million and one of the most stable, peaceful political environment in Africa, coupled with the ongoing expansion of the Port of Walvis Bay, Namibia is currently positioning itself as a gateway to the more than 240 million people in the broader Southern Africa market.

He said tourism is one of the country’s fastest growing industries and provides significant employment opportunities, adding that Namibia is a nature-based tourism destination with spectacular scenery, including wide variety of wildlife, the world’s oldest desert, the world’s tallest sand dunes, and community-based nature conservancies.

The commissioner who confirmed that 700 visas were issued in 2018, therefore, advised discerning Nigerians who love to relax and those willing to invest to take advantage of the many tourist attractions and investment opportunities that abound across the country.

According to Geiseb:

“Namibia is a tourist destination in Africa with tourism accounting for over $500 million contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Our decision therefore, to open a visa processing centre in Lagos in partnership with Air Namibia is a strategic move aimed at easing the burden of having to travel to Abuja before getting a visa thereby further boosting diplomatic ties and trade between Nigeria and Namibia and offering choices and easy access to our highly esteemed visitors and would-be investors.”

Also speaking, senior public relations officer, Home Affairs and Immigration, Ms Salome Kambala, said that in as much as Namibia is ready for business and investors, visitors and would-be investors were required to meet certain obligations before they visit the country.

 

Nigeria And France Sign Movie Distribution Agreement

The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) and the Alliance Francaise have signed an agreement to showcase and distribute the two countries movies through the “French-Nigerian Film Distribution Conference.”

The agreement was signed during a courtesy visit by Jerome Pasquier, Ambassador of France to Nigeria, to the Headquarters of the NFVCB on Tuesday in Abuja.

Adedayo Thomas, Executive Director of the board and Arnand Durnon, Director of the Institue Francaise signed the agreement on behalf of the two organisations.

Mr Thomas, in his remarks, said the collaboration was to present a platform where investors, producers, distributors and other stakeholders in the motion picture industries of both countries could meet for mutually beneficial deals.

He noted that the collaborative venture will, among other incentives, encourage and promote the distribution of Nollywood movies in France.

He explained that both parties have conceived ‘French-Nigerian Cinema Days’, to screen and showcase the two countries movies, as part of the distribution conference scheduled to hold later in the year.

In his words:

“Our Nigerian distributors would be more than happy to collaborate with big time French distributors such as Pathe, Studiocan and Bacfilms as planned in the coming collaboration conference.

The French distributors take delight in releasing movies from many different nationalities, whether big or small, as it is their belief that the French moviegoers love movies from around the world.

France prides itself as a country of moviegoers with over 5,000 screens, while in Nigeria, we are proud to say that we have achieved 200 screens, from 39 in the last two years.

Its film industry is acclaimed to be living ‘La vie en rose’ (life in roses), that its Nigerian counterpart would love to attain.”

The Executive Director, however, decried the high rate of piracy as a major bane facing the evolving Nigerian moving industry, especially with the emergence of digital distribution platforms.

He, therefore, solicited for technical support from France to make the sector strive with piracy effectively nipped.

In his remarks, Mr Pasquier, the French Envoy, said he was delighted at the partnership, adding that it was a common ground for both countries to grow their film industries and also strengthen bilateral relations.

NFVCB is a Federal Government body that regulates the films and video industry in Nigeria. The board is empowered by law to classify all films and videos, whether imported or produced locally.

It is also the duty of the Board to register all films and videos outlet across the country, as well as keep a register of such registered outlets, among other functions.

Global Diplomatic News: Week 15, 2019

Bangladesh wins ‘Best Foreign Participant Award’ in Kaduna International Trade Fair

The Bangladesh High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria has participated in the Kaduna International Trade Fair—organized by the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture—for the first time. The event took place between March 29 and April 7, 2019.

Dr. Okechukwu Enyinna Enelama, minister for Industry, Trade and Investments of Nigeria, inaugurated the fair on March 29, 2019. Md Shameem Ahsan, Bangladesh high commissioner to Nigeria was present—along with diplomats from other countries, local dignitaries, and the business leaders—at the inaugural ceremony which marked the 40th yearly event.

In line with the present government’s emphasis on “economic diplomacy,” Bangladesh’s mission put up a large stall with its own collection of exportables. Bangladesh’s stall received the Best Foreign Participant Award, and a crest was handed over, ceremonially, on the concluding day, by Mr. Abidul Yazid, patron of the trade fair.

Pharmaceuticals, ceramics, jute and leather products, RMG and knitwear, tea, jute leaf tea, electrical appliances, light engineering, plastic and melamine products, spice & curry powder, pickles, food items, snacks, pearl items, saris (muslin, silk), nakshi kantha, handicrafts, among others, were on display; these drew huge crowds each day.

The High Commission is in the process of launching a commercial display centre at the chancery soon, to showcase exportables to the visitors and Nigeria’s potential importers and investors.

 

Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, appointed by the Africa Union (AU) as the chairperson of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of its peace fund

Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, the finance minister of Nigeria, was on March 21 [2019], appointed by the Africa Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as the chairperson of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of its peace fund.
This Day reports that the board is made of five members drawn from each region of the continent. The board also has non-African members (United Nations and European Union) as international partners. According to the report, the finance minister represents the Western African sub-region on the board.
The report quoted a statement by the special adviser to the minister on media and communications, Paul Ella Abechi, as saying Ahmed expressed appreciation and commitment towards achieving the agenda of the special fund. Accordingly, it was learnt that the protocol relating to the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) provides for the establishment of a special fund to be known as the “peace fund”. This fund comes with the objective of providing the necessary financial resources for peace support missions and other operational activities related to it in Africa. According to the report, the peace fund is meant for the prevention and management of conflicts, and the promotion of peace in Africa.

Global Diplomatic News: Week 11, 2019

Abdullateef Olasubomi Abdul appointed as IBA National Representative for Nigeria

On 5 March 2019, Abdullateef Olasubomi Abdul, a young Nigerian lawyer, was appointed as the National Representative for Nigeria by the International Bar Association (IBA).

This follows his recent appointment as Chair of the Regional Development Subcommittee of the IBA’s International Sales Committee for a two year term from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2020.

The position of a National Representative is established by the IBA Young Lawyers’ Committee (YLC) in order to promote the interests of young IBA members within the jurisdiction of each National Representative.

As the National Representative for Nigeria, Abdullateef’s role includes fostering links between the IBA, young Nigerian lawyers, and the Nigerian Bar Association. As the Chair of the Regional Development Subcommittee, his functions include keeping the International Sales Committee apprised of developments in the subcommittee’s area, recruiting IBA members to assist in the subcommittee’s works, and assisting with any relevant sessions of the International Sales Committee.

According to Abdullateef:

“I hope to employ these roles to deepen my contributions to the legal profession and to young and aspiring lawyers in Nigeria and globally.

I also hope to add depth to the Nigerian narrative.

Excellence is a very important value to me. It is at the heart of my being. In all that I do, I desire to be excellent. To apply the entire might of my being to the task at hand and to do it well.”

Abdullateef is an Associate in Ikeyi Shittu & Co, a full service Nigerian law firm. He is also an Associate Fellow of the Society for Advanced Legal Studies (SALS), London. A multi award-winning lawyer and writer, he was recently named as the 3rd most influential young Nigerian in Law & Governance and the 21st most influential young Nigerian overall for the year 2018.

 

Nigeria 2018 Foreign Trade Report – NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Nigeria recorded a total trade value of 32.26 trillion year-on-year in 2018, representing 39.3 percent increase over the corresponding period in 2017.

The trade value for 2017 stood at 23.16 trillion.

The NBS said this in its Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics for Fourth Quarter of 2018 posted on its website.

The bureau said the volume of total merchandise trade in 2018 was the highest recorded since 2014, nearly double pre-recession levels.

It said during the fourth quarter of 2018, total merchandise trade stood at 8.60 trillion compared to its value of 9.06 trillion recorded in third quarter of the year.

It said the total export component of the trade recorded at 5.02 trillion, represented an increase of 3.5 percent over third quarter 2018 and 28.5 percent over fourth quarter 2017.

Meanwhile the bureau said the import component stood at 3.58 trillion in fourth quarters 2018.

The figure showed a drop of 631.6 billion or 15.0 percent compared to third quarter, 2018 but an increase of 69.6 percent when compared with the corresponding quarter in 2017.

However, it said the increase in export value and decrease in import value (relative to third quarter 2018) resulted in a favourable trade balance of 1441 billion, or 125.5 percent over the preceding quarter.

According to the report, crude oil export has been the main stay of the economy; it accounted for the largest share of total exports (84.2 percent) in the fourth quarter of 2018 at 4.228 billion.

Non-oil products accounted for 4.6 percent of total exports while other oil products accounted for 11.2 per cent of total exports in the quarter under review.

The report said that the value of crude oil exports in the fourth quarter, 2018 was 1.98 percent higher than in third quarter 2018 and 29.95 percent higher than in fourth quarter 2017.

It said the value of other oil products exports increased by 3.5 percent in fourth quarter 2018 when compared with third quarter 2018 and 15.99 percent compared to fourth quarter 2017.

Also, the value of manufactured goods exports rose by 14.97 percent in fourth quarter 2018 when compared with the value recorded in third quarter 2018 but decreased 36.6 percent against the corresponding quarter in 2017.

It, however, said that the exports of energy goods increased in value by 6.1 percent in fourth quarter 2018 compared to third quarter 2018 and by 12.7 percent when compared with fourth quarter 2017.

Meanwhile, the bureau said the value of total exports in fourth quarter 2018 increased by 3.52 percent against the level recorded in third quarter 2018 and 28.46 percent higher than its value in fourth quarter 2017.

India, Spain, France, South Africa and the Netherlands were the country’s major export trading partners in the quarter under review while China, US, Netherlands, India and Belgium were the major import trading partners.

 

Professor Tijjani Bande appointed chairman of the African Group at the United Nations

Nigeria’s ambassador to the United Nations, Tijjani Bande has assumed the chairmanship of the African Group at the International Organization for the Month of March 2019, succeeding the Republic of Benin.

Professor Tijjani Bande took over from Jean-Claude Do Rego, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Benin to the UN at a ceremony at the African Union Observer Mission in New York.

He also said that he would be chairman of the African Group and would like to send the views of the African Union to the United Nations and globally.

According to Tijjani Bande:

“The focus of the mission of Nigeria is to continue the work of consolidating Africa’s position on the continent.

These positions are issues like Security Council reform, positions we take in relation to the status of women, and issues relating to peace and security around the globe.

The whole idea is to strengthen the African voice.

The voices actually are of the African permanent representatives but occasionally, collectively, we need to make a statement for the continent and to defend the continent’s interests.”