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Despite Wide Support, US ‘Opposes’ Okonjo-Iweala’s Emergence As WTO DG

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Despite wide support for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s candidate for the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the US has reportedly expressed its opposition to her emergence.

Recall that we had earlier reported that Okonjo-Iweala won the popular vote by a wide margin, with the expectation of an announcement after a WTO meeting in Geneva.

The heads of delegation of the WTO met by 3 pm but failed to reach a consensus.

After the meeting, Reuters is reporting that the US refused to support the candidature of Okonjo-Iweala, thereby protracting the process.

Bloomberg had initially reported that the US was leaning towards Yoo Myung-hee, the South Korean candidate.

It was reported earlier today that Okonjo-Iweala had emerged winner of the race with support from 104 of all 164 member countries of the WTO.

Those countries include many in Africa and the European Union, where she had received public support.

Despite being an American citizen, sources say the US does not consider Okonjo-Iweala as being committed enough to the interests of the world power at the flagship trade body.

Unlike the World Bank where the US has a larger voting power than other countries, the WTO is run differently, by the consensus of every member country.

“The WTO is run by its member governments. All major decisions are made by the membership as a whole,” the WTO website reads.

“In this respect, the WTO is different from some other international organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

“Where consensus is not possible, the WTO agreement allows for voting — a vote being won with a majority of the votes cast and on the basis of ‘one country, one vote’.”

The general council of the WTO will meet again to attempt a consensus or recourse to the vote.

The general council is the highest decision-making body of the WTO apart from the ministerial conference which meets every two years.

BIG STORY

My Administration Has Brought Visible Developments To The State, Lagosians Will Re-Elect Me In 2023 – Sanwo-Olu

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Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has said he is confident that the electorates in the state will re-elect him to steer the affairs of the state for another four years given his record of achievements.

He spoke during a chat on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics program.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, alongside 14 others, will be jostling for the governorship seat in 2023.

He said his administration had brought in development that can be seen and felt by the state’s residents.

“I managed the emergency of the city. Today alone, there are emergencies that have been reported today alone. I’ve recruited over 650 fire service men. I’ve bought 64 brand new trucks that you will come, I will invite you for commissioning.

“I spent over a billion to take off the refuse in Lagos. We’re creating a sanitary landfill site. That’s what we’re doing. We’re building 1618 kilometres of rigid pavement road that runs to tens of billions. We’re building the biggest market in the country because that’s what we’re doing.”

When he was asked if he saw one of his challengers, Olajide Adediran of the PDP, and his deputy, Funke Akindele, a filmmaker, as a threat, Sanwo-Olu said he is the most preferred candidate because he is more experienced.

“So you know, like I said if you have an emergency, who would you call? What are your chances? Do you call the man that has the experience that has gone through the trenches before that has lived with it that understands what the issues are,” he said.

“That appreciate what challenge you have even at 3 a.m. or will you leave your chance to someone that doesn’t know where the dial is or that doesn’t even know what the issues of governance are? This is Lagos.

“This is an informed audience. This is not a tea party. We’re talking about real governance. We’re talking about the lives of 20-plus million Nigerians.

Sanwo-Olu added that Lagos cannot be left in the hands of someone who “cannot run a business that has 100 people.”

The Governor noted that traffic robberies and accidents have significantly reduced following the directive on motorcycle (okada) transportation.

Okada riders were banned by the governor from plying in six local government areas in the state – Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Apapa and nine local government councils areas.

It is not the first time the government would impose the measure.

In January 2020, the government banned the operation of motorcyclists in 15 local councils across the state.

The governor said that since he gave the directive to restrict the motorcyclists in certain areas of the state, residents have written to him commending the development.

“We’ve also seen a significant drop in accidents. You know, we don’t see people being lame, you know, cutting off limbs in our hospitals again, because these were reckless driving that usually terminate people’s life, unexpectedly,” he said.

“We’ve seen tremendous improvement in that statistics to support. In terms of death drop in the last two months. At the peak of it, we saw about 550 Okada-related accidents at the peak of it in January for over a month.

“Now, it’s coming down to less than 100 direct Okada accidents that we’ve seen, from our hospitals.”

On Amotekun, Sanwo-Olu said there is no need to replicate the Western Nigeria Security Network called in Lagos.

He said the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corp is a replica of the security outfit which “works closely” with the Nigerian Police Force.

“We have the Lagos State Neighbourhood Watch, which are almost 7,000 men that have been trained, that have been energized and are working day to day in the state,” he said.

“There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.”

Since its establishment in 2020, the security outfit has been operational in five states in the South-west except for Lagos.

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BIG STORY

HEALTH: Nigeria Records 157 Monkeypox Cases, Four Deaths

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 157 cases of monkeypox across 26 states in the country.

This is contained in its latest monkeypox situation report for week 30, posted on its verified Twitter page.

According to the report, four deaths were recorded in 4 states – Delta (1), Lagos (1), Ondo (1), and Akwa Ibom (1) from January 1 to July 31, 2022.

So far, Nigeria has at least 413 suspected cases of monkeypox.

The report read in part, “There were fifty-six (56) new suspected cases reported in Epi week 30, 2022 (25th to 31st July 2022) from nineteen (19) states – Ondo (13), Plateau (8), Lagos (6), Adamawa (4), Abia (3), Borno (3), Delta (2), Kano (3), Anambra (2), Bayelsa (2), Kwara (2), Akwa Ibom (1), Gombe (1), Imo (1), Nasarawa (1), Osun (1), Oyo (1), Rivers (1) and Taraba (1).

“Of fifty-six (56)suspected cases, there were twenty-four (24) new confirmed positive cases in Epi week 30, 2022 from twelve (12) states – Ondo (5), Kano (3), Lagos (3), Abia (2), Adamawa (2), Bayelsa (2), Kwara (2), Delta (1), Anambra (1), Gombe (1), Rivers (1) and Nasarawa (1).

“From 1st January to 31st July 2022, there have now been 413 suspected cases and 157 confirmed cases (105 male, 52 female) from twenty-six (26) states – Lagos (20), Ondo (14), Adamawa (13), Delta (12), Bayelsa (12), Rivers (11), Edo (8), Nasarawa (8), Plateau (6), Anambra (6), FCT (5), Taraba (5), Kwara (5), Kano (5), Imo (4), Cross River (3), Borno (3), Oyo (3), Abia (3), Gombe (3), Katsina (2), Kogi (2), Niger (1), Ogun (1), Bauchi (1) and Akwa Ibom (1).

“Four deaths were recorded from 4 states – Delta (1), Lagos (1), Ondo (1), and Akwa Ibom (1).

“Overall, since the re-emergence of monkeypox in September 2017 and to 31st July 2022, a total of 925 suspected cases have been reported from 35 states in the country.”

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BIG STORY

JUST IN: Bandits Kill Three, Abduct Scores In Taraba

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Bandits on Sunday night attacked and killed three persons while scores were reportedly abducted by the attackers in Bali town, the headquarters of Bali Local Government Area of Taraba State.

Several sources in Bali said that the attackers who rode on motorcycles attacked and killed a personnel of Taraba Marshall at a checkpoint near General Hospital before proceeding to individual houses to kill and abduct people.

The Tiv central leader and Chief of Tiv in Bali, Zaki David Gbaa (Ter Tiv Bali II) told our correspondent that two of his subjects were killed and scores, mostly women, were abducted in the attack.

“The attackers invaded the town at about 11: pm. Two of my subjects were killed in the attack, and two others who were badly injured are receiving treatment in the hospital.

“Many people, especially women, were abducted. It’s a terrible situation and I want to call on the government and security agencies to sit up and ensure the protection of the lives and property of citizens.

“For over four hours, the bandits held the town shooting sporadically and there was no response from security agencies. People are losing hope of the government’s ability to protect them and I think the bandits are no more than our security agencies,” he said.

This is even as the traditional ruler called on the government to support the injured who are receiving treatment in hospitals.

The attack came barely three days after bandits blocked the Mutum-Biyu- Garba Chede road killing a driver and abducting passengers in the neighboring Gassol Local Government area of the State.

Efforts to get the Police to react to the attack failed as the Taraba State Police Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Usman, did not pick up calls made to his line.

But a police officer in the Taraba State Police Command told our correspondent that the PPRO was attending a security briefing.

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