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Okonjo-Iweala Receives Major Boost, as EU Backs Nigerian Economist to Lead WTO

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Okonjo-Iweala Receives Major Boost

The EU will back former Nigeria Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as the next director-general of the World Trade Organization, further boosting her frontrunner status.

Ambassadors from the EU’s 27 member states confirmed on Monday that the bloc would throw its weight behind Okonjo-Iweala, following discussions among EU leaders during their summit in Brussels last week.

Read also:Breaking News: We’ve Identified Barracks Where Soldiers Who Shot Protesters Came From, Says Human Rights Lawyer Falana

Okonjo-Iweala, is facing off against South Korea’s trade minister, Yoo Myung-hee, in the final round of voting at the WTO. The winner is expected to be declared early next month.

A Nigerian economist and international development expert, she sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the African Risk Capacity (ARC).

Read also:Good News to Nigerians , Formal presidential aide Reno Omokri to provide a relief of N20,000 to those whose businesses were looted during #EndSARS protests
Previously, Okonjo-Iweala spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, scaling the ranks to the Number 2 position of Managing Director, Operations.

She also served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria under the leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan respectively.

An EU official said the decision to back Okonjo-Iweala, who would be the first WTO chief from Africa, was “a strong signal to reinforce the multilateral order”, as well as “a clear signal towards Africa and a sign of mutual trust”.

Policymakers, including Valdis Dombrovskis, EU trade commissioner, Peter Altmaier, German economy minister, and Charles Michel, EU Council president, have sought to forge a common EU stance for the final voting round. The EU itself had decided not to field a candidate of its own.

Read also:No Government Should Send Policemen To Arrest Those Who Hoarded The Palliatives0—Says Reno Omokri
An EU diplomat said that during the internal deliberations, Okonjo-Iweala had been backed by France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, among others. Yoo found considerable support among EU governments in central and eastern Europe, including the Baltic states.

A person briefed on the discussions among ambassadors on Monday said Latvia and Hungary — the last two holdout countries favouring Yoo — agreed to switch and join the majority position at a special meeting convened at 6pm.

Trade diplomats from the EU27 held hearings with both candidates on October 14.

The EU decision leaves Yoo facing an uphill struggle. Japan and China are expected to exercise a de facto veto against her because of political tensions with Seoul.

The new director-general needs to be chosen by consensus among the WTO’s 160-plus member governments. The role became available because of the unexpected early resignation of Roberto Azevêdo, a Brazilian who had held the job since 2013. He stepped down in September.
Read also:Breaking News:President Buhari finally speaks on Lekki massacre, promises justice for victims and security men

The new chief will take over at a time when the WTO’s capacity to promote rules-based trade has been undermined by gaps in its rule book. These have been exposed by China’s model of capitalism, and by US President Donald Trump’s propensity for taking unilateral action to hit back against perceived ill-treatment of US companies.

But the new director-general will also assume office at a pivotal moment, when the international community will either be adjusting to a new US administration or preparing for another four years of Trump.

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Entertainments

Michelle Obama Flips Jimmy Kimmel’s Sex Question Back On Him

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Michelle Obama gave a master class in swerving around awkward questions when she turned a query about her sex life back on the late night host Jimmy Kimmel.

In an interview on Tuesday’s episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Kimmel repeated a question he once asked the former first lady during a book tour stop: whether she made love with her husband, then-President Barack Obama, to celebrate on the May 2011 night that U.S. forces killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Kimmel remembered asking Barack Obama the same question in November, when the former president answered that his wife was likely already asleep by the time he finished work.

Michelle Obama first mocked Kimmel’s apparent fixation with the detail.

“You know, I have to tell your audience that, for some very sick reason, you are very obsessed with this portion of that major historical event,” she said.

“Yes,” Kimmel admitted.

“In a way that no one else, no one, in the history of all of the conversations I’ve had, has anybody ever drilled down on this particular point like you, Jimmy Kimmel,” Obama continued.

“So I turn that back on you,” she said. “You’re still that little boy in your bedroom, under the cover with the flashlight, going, ’I hope nobody sees me.”

“I’m still pleading the fifth,” Obama added.

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BREAKING NEWS: EFCC grills Fowler over fraud allegations against Alpha Beta

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is presently interrogating a former Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler, over the N100 billion tax evasion allegations levelled against a tax firm, Alpha Beta Consulting.

Fowler, who was also a former Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, responded to an invitation from the EFCC on Monday.

A former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Alpha Beta Consulting, Dapo Apara, had accused the firm of tax fraud to the tune of N100bn.

In a petition to the EFCC in 2018, Apara stated that Alpha Beta, the firm given exclusive rights to monitor and collect Internally Generated Revenue on behalf of the Lagos Government, “has become an avenue for official corruption of government officials, a conduit pipe for massive money-laundering scheme, tax evasion, among other vices.”

In the petition which was written by his lawyer, Adetunji Shoyoye and Associates, the ex-CEO claimed that the fraud had been covered by powerful politicians in the state.

The petition signed by Adetunji Adegboyega on behalf of the law firm, read in part, “Over the years the company has been protected and shielded by some powerful politicians and people in the society which made them to always boast of being untouchable, but our client, feeling the need not to keep quiet again and strengthened by his belief in the fact that the government of President Muhammadu

Buhari is keen on fighting corruption, which has been the bane of our country, is of the firm belief that it’s time to expose and open the can of worms called Alpha Beta Consulting.

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Nigerian Army claims Lagos govt invited soldiers to enforce curfew, denies shooting #EndSARS protesters

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The Nigeria Army has denied itself from a viral video on social media where the civilian protesters were massacred by soldiers at Lekki Toll Plaza

The 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Lagos, said on Tuesday its troops were invited by the state government to enforce the curfew imposed on the state.

The Acting Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 81 Division, Maj. Osoba Olaniyi, who disclosed this in a statement, said the troops were requested to restore law and order 24 hours after the curfew was declared.

Olaniyi insisted that the soldiers did not shoot at the #EndSARS protesters , adding that the personnel acted within “the confines of the Rules of Engagement for Internal Security operations.”
Armed soldiers had on October 20 reportedly opened fire on #EndSARS protesters in the Lekki area of the state.

The attack on the harmless protesters sparked angry response within and outside the country with many asking the Federal Government to order a comprehensive probe of the incident.

The army spokesman said: “The attention of Headquarters 81 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to a viral video on social media in which it was alleged that civilian protesters were massacred by soldiers at Lekki toll plaza.

“This allegation is untrue, unfounded and aimed at causing anarchy in the country. At no time did soldiers of the Nigerian Army open fire on any civilian.

“From the onset of the #EndSARS protest, there was no time personnel of 81 Division Nigerian Army , Lagos, were involved.
“However, the decision to call in the military was taken by the Lagos State government after a 24 hours curfew was imposed.

“This was as a result of the violence which led to several police stations being burnt, policemen killed, suspects in police custody released and weapons carted away.

“The situation was fast degenerating into anarchy. It was at this point that Lagos State government requested for the military to intervene in order to restore normalcy.

“The intervention of the military followed all laid down procedures for internal security operations and all the soldiers involved acted within the confines of the Rules of Engagement for Internal Security operations.”

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