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BREAKING: Adamu, Oshiomhole, APC Govs Hold ‘Crucial’ Meeting [PHOTOS]

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Security was beefed up at the headquarters of All Progressives Congress on Wednesday when the Deputy Director of APC Presidential Campaign Council and seven governors arrived for a crucial meeting with the National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.

There was a heavy presence of stern-looking policemen roving the area as the popular Blantyre Street was cordoned as a measure to control both human and vehicular traffic near the party secretariat.

In attendance at the meeting were Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu; his counterpart in Zamfara, Bello Matawalle; Jigawa Governor, Abubakar Badaru; Sani Bello of Niger State; Kano Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje; Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong; Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State and members of the National Working Committee.

The meeting, which started at 12.00 noon, was still ongoing as of the time of filing this report.

Although the agenda of the meeting was not disclosed, sources said it may not be unconnected with the contentious 422-man list of the presidential campaign council.

But addressing journalists before the crucial political roundtable, Adamu said the meeting was to essentially interact with the APC governors who he described as custodians of the party in their various states.

He said, “Being the chief executive officers of their various states, the onus of our great party lies in the hands of God and in their hands because they are the commanders of the party fortunes in their various states. We cannot make meaningful progress without them in the affairs of these states, particularly in an election year that is approaching.

“We cannot plan without the buy-in of our governors so that we can stand together, believing that we share the same aspirations. We will plan together to see how best we can deliver the interest of the party and ensure that victory is ours in the 2023 general election that is by the corner. That is the essence of this meeting.”

Reacting to Adamu’s invitation for the meeting, Lalong, who stood in for Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Atiku Bagudu, said they found it heartwarming to return to the party after the last convention.

“We are very happy our party is moving well. Today we have an invitation of the national chairman and that invitation also went to the campaign council. So the Progressive Governors Forum invited the campaign council to a meeting and that is why you can see the meeting came jointly with progressive governors (who) are also part of the campaign council for proper briefing.

“When we were coming in, some governors were confused because they have not visited your office since you renovated it. We use this opportunity on behalf of governors to congratulate you. This is the real office of the party in government. I wish some people will see it and others will come and copy from us. Once again, I want to say we are here at your instance and also at your invitation.”

The development is coming barely 24 hours after a strategic planning committee of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council met behind closed doors in Abuja on Tuesday evening to review the growing membership list.

The meeting, chaired by Lalong, who is also the Director General of the council, started a bit late at the PCC office in Abuja.

A source told our correspondent that the agenda of the political roundtable was hinged on the need to properly vet the nominees’ list to avoid another backlash as witnessed in the outrage of aggrieved APC governors and members of the National Working Committee after the list was unveiled.

The PCC Director of Media and Communications, Bayo Onanuga confirmed the meeting was called by Lalong to “take another look at the list.”

 

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JUST IN: 31-Yr-Old Belgium Star, Eden Hazard Quits International Football

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Belgium star Eden Hazard announced his retirement from international football on Wednesday, days after the team crashed out of the World Cup in the group stage.

The Real Madrid forward, 31, made the announcement on social media, saying “a page turns today”.

“Thank you for your unparalleled support,” he posted on Instagram.

“Thank you for all this happiness shared since 2008. I have decided to put an end to my international career.

“The succession is ready. I will miss you.”

Hazard was the standard-bearer of Belgium’s much-vaunted “golden generation”, which reached the semi-finals at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The ageing team failed to make it past the first round in Qatar, finishing third in Group F behind Morocco and Croatia.

 

Credit: AFP

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Post-COVID Protest: China Loosens Strict Restrictions 2-Yrs After Pandemic

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China announced Wednesday a nationwide loosening of Covid restrictions following protests against the hardline strategy that grew into calls for greater political freedoms.

Anger over China’s zero-Covid policy, which involved mass lockdowns, constant testing and quarantines even for people who are not infected, stoked unrest not seen since the 1989 pro-democracy protests.

Under the new guidelines announced by the National Health Commission, the frequency and scope of PCR testing — long a tedious mainstay of life in zero-Covid China — will be reduced.

Lockdowns will also be scaled down and people with non-severe Covid cases can isolate at home instead of centralised government facilities.

And people will no longer be required to show a green health code on their phone to enter public buildings and spaces, except for “nursing homes, medical institutions, kindergartens, middle and high schools.”

The new rules scrap the forced quarantines for people with no symptoms or with mild cases.

“Asymptomatic infected persons and mild cases who are eligible for home isolation are generally isolated at home, or they can voluntarily choose centralised isolation for treatment,” the new rules read.

“Mass PCR testing only carried out in schools, hospitals, nursing homes and high-risk work units; scope and frequency of PCR testing to be further reduced,” they added.

“People travelling across provinces do not need to provide a 48h test result and do not need to test upon arrival.”

China will also accelerate the vaccination of the elderly, the NHC said, long seen as a major obstacle to the relaxation of Beijing’s no-tolerance approach to Covid.

Rare demonstrations against the ruling Communist Party’s zero-Covid strategy broke out across China late last month.

They expanded into calls for more political freedoms, with some even calling for President Xi Jinping to resign.

Authorities cracked down on subsequent efforts to protest while easing a number of restrictions, with some Chinese cities tentatively rolling back mass testing and curbs on movement.

The capital Beijing, where many businesses have fully reopened, said this week that commuters were no longer required to show a negative virus test taken within 48 hours to use public transport.

Financial hub Shanghai, which underwent a brutal two-month lockdown this year, announced the same rules, with residents able to enter outdoor venues such as parks and tourist attractions without a recent test.

And once dominated by doom and gloom coverage of the dangers of the virus and scenes of pandemic chaos abroad, China’s tightly controlled media dramatically shifted tone to support a tentative moving away from zero-Covid.

The prevalent Omicron strain is “not at all like last year’s Delta variant,” Guangzhou-based medicine professor Chong Yutian said in an article published by the Communist Party-run China Youth Daily.

“After infection with the Omicron variant, the vast majority will have no or light symptoms, and very few will go on to have severe symptoms, this is already widely known,” he assured readers.

But analysts at Japanese firm Nomura on Monday calculated that 53 cities — home to nearly a third of China’s population — still had some restrictions in place.

Wednesday’s announcement came hours after the government released further data showing the crippling economic impacts of zero-Covid.

Imports and exports plunged in November to levels not seen since early 2020.

Imports in November fell 10.6 percent year-on-year, the biggest drop since May 2020, according to the General Administration of Customs. Exports fell 8.7 percent over the same period.

 

Credit: AFP

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19-Yr-Old Endurance Arrested After Defrauding A British Lady Of £450K And Using The Money To Buy Cars, Gold Chains, Others

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A 19-year-old  man, Iredia Endurance has been arrested by the operatives of Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for alleged fraud.

According to a statement released by Wilson Uwujaren, spokesperson of the anti-graft agencym says Endurance was recently arrested by the Commission following a petition by one Chrstine Brown, a British citizen, alleging that the suspect defrauded her of £450,000.00.

“Upon arrest, the suspect confessed he received £250,000.00 from the complainant in Bitcoin, FedEx and gift cards. On what he did with the money, the suspect averred that they were expanded on cars, gold chains, and landed properties, among others.

Some of the items recovered from the suspect include mobile  phones, laptops, sim cards and landed property.” He added that the suspect will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.

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