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Press zooms in on death of Boko Haram leader, others

The report by Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) militant group in an audio recording that Abubakar Shekau, leader of…

The report by Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) militant group in an audio recording that Abubakar Shekau, leader of rival Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram, was dead is one of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Monday.ThisDay reports that the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) militant group said in an audio recording heard by Reuters yesterday that Abubakar Shekau, leader of rival Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram, was dead.

Shekau died around May 18 after detonating an explosive device when he was pursued by ISWAP fighters following a battle, a person purporting to be ISWAP leader Abu Musab al-Barnawi said on the audio recording.

“Abubakar Shekau, God has judged him by sending him to heaven,” he can be heard saying.

Two people familiar with al-Barnawi told Reuters the voice on the recording was that of the ISWAP leader.

A Nigerian intelligence report shared by a government official and Boko Haram researchers had also said Shekau was dead.

Last month, Nigeria’s military said it was investigating Shekau’s alleged death.

The audio statement, first obtained by local media, is ISWAP’s first confirmation that its arch rival in the Lake Chad region has been killed.

Shekau’s death could lead to the end of a violent rivalry between the two groups, enabling Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) to absorb Boko Haram fighters and consolidate its hold on territory in northeastern Nigeria, political analysts said.

The Vanguard says that Constitutional lawyer and public affairs analyst, Dr. Kayode Ajulo, has warned Nigeria’s Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Alhaji Abubakar Malami, to review a recent pronouncement attributed to him which threatened a legal action against anyone found to use the social media network, Twitter in Nigeria.

Ajulo stressed that the need to exercise caution in carrying out a legal action was necessary at this time because it would be an exercise in futility since the offence for which the threat was based was not known to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In a media release well circulated in Abuja on Sunday with the title: “Legality or otherwise of the directive to prosecute violators of Twitter ban in Nigeria”, Ajulo gave instances of cases that were similar to the matter and attempted to suggest that the Justice Minister should desist from a wild goose chase.

According to the lawyer in the statement, “Sequel to the temporary ban of Twitter operations in Nigeria by the Federal Government on Friday, 4th June, 2021, my attention has been drawn to a directive credited to the Attorney General of the Federation for the prosecution of violators of the ban of the blogging company in Nigeria.

“Without prejudice to the rationale for the ban of the blogging site, it must be noted that the Nigerian democracy is a constitutional democracy based on the rule of law. Where the rule of law reigns, political expediency ought to be sacrificed on the altar of the rule of law so as to guarantee the continued existence of democratic institutions fashioned to promote social values of liberty, orderly conduct and development.”

The newspaper reports that the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has called on the northern leaders to let the Igbos have their Biafra Republic in order to avert another civil war and bloodshed in the country.
It noted that with the level of anger elicited by the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its sponsors at home and in the Diaspora has reached the inevitable point where the Igbo must be separated from the nation.

The Chairman, Board of Trustees of CNG, Nastura A. Shariff, stated this in a seven-page letter titled: “Alert on the unfolding scenario for destabilization of Nigeria” and addressed to heads of Northern leaders.

“It is instructive to recount that the Igbo have benefited more than any other tribe in terms of economic monopoly and are the most accommodated and tolerated of all the ethnic groups in Nigeria, despite their notoriety for disregard to every rule of decency and etiquette globally.

“They have persisted in spiteful and vile threats on the whole nation as a catalyst for the kind of violence that the country faced in 1966 following the first-ever military insurrection by their kith.

“Decades after, Nigeria is again witnessing the resurgence of separatist agitations, especially by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its ilk, as strategies employed to achieve the results that the coupists of the First Republic failed to realize,” the group said.

The Punch says that the Nigerian Government recorded N3.94tn trade deficit in the first quarter of 2021, the National Bureau of Statistics revealed on Sunday.

In the NBS’ report titled ‘Foreign trade statistics Q1,2021′, the value of total trade was 6.99 per cent higher in Q1 2021 compared to Q4 2020 and 14.13 percent higher than the value recorded in Q1, 2020.

Part of the report read, “For the first quarter of 2021, Nigeria’s total merchandise trade stood at N9.76tn representing 6.99 percent increase over the value recorded in Q4,2020 and 14.13 percent compared to Q1,2020.

“The export component of this trade stood at N2.91tn, representing 29.79 percent of the total trade while import was valued at N6.85tn representing 70.21 percent.

“The higher level of imports over exports resulted in a trade deficit (in goods) of N3.94tn. “The value of crude oil export stood at N1.93tn representing 66.38 percent of the total export recorded in Q1, 2021, while non –crude oil export accounted for 33.62 percent of the total export.”

According to the report, in Q1 2021, total import was valued at N6.85tn representing 70.21 percent of the total trade.

The Sun reports that the Federal Government has advocated strong push for Nigeria and other members of the African Petroleum Producers Association (APPO) to develop regional oil and gas investments and renegotiate the Conference of Parties (COP-21) Climate Change Agreement which is driving the accelerated move by developed countries to discontinue fossil fuels (oil and gas) as the preferred source of energy for transportation and embrace renewable sources.

This was the position of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, at the maiden edition of the African Local Content Roundtable at the Nigerian Content Tower in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, at the weekend.

The Minister, in his keynote address at the two-day retreat, attended by representatives of APPO member-states physically and via the virtual platforms, charged African oil-producing countries and their oil and gas companies to cooperate closely in developing and sharing capacities and capabilities that would optimise hydrocarbon deposits and achieve economic growth and development.

“He also advised that it was time to quickly move to innovative funding mechanisms for major projects using local resources and break away from the yoke of depending on foreign lenders who are becoming increasingly reluctant to fund hydrocarbon-related projects.”

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