Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, and other African leaders will be launching the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) today, July 7. The launch will take place at the 35th Ordinary Session of the Executive Committee of the Meeting of the African Union at the Palais des Congres in Niamey, the Nigerien capital.
The landmark free trade agreement is expected to progressively eliminate tariffs among African Union members, creating the world’s largest free-trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization. Also, other issues such as looming security and migration crises on the continent will be addressed.
The AFCTA is expected to bring together 55 countries into even though 23 countries have signed so far, with Nigeria, Eritrea, and Benin holding out.
However, just like Nigeria, Benin has agreed to sign With the latest development, Eritrea becomes the loner yet to sign up to the deal.
The AU’s Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga, on Friday, disclosed that Benin had also declared that it will sign up on the same day that Nigeria does.
Officially confirmed! Benin to Sign #AfCFTA Agreement during Niamey Extraordinary Summit & become 54th signatory State. Good development! One more signatory state before all 55 @_AfricanUnion Member States are signatories. One African Market in formation. @ECA_OFFICIAL pic.twitter.com/ZwKZ6DkRqq
— Amb. Albert Muchanga (@AmbMuchanga) July 5, 2019
A brief into AFCTA: The official launch of the AfCFTA comes after 24 countries ratified the grand agreement to create a single market of over 1.2 billion people, which will open up markets with a combined GDP of $3 trillion, half of which is controlled by the continent’s biggest economies, South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria. Note that Nigeria controls almost 75% of the ECOWAS sub region’s GDP.
Basically, there are eight regional economic blocs, four of which have Customs Unions. The AfCFTA is expected to leverage on these blocs, and finally create a Customs Union that attracts investors.
On the Agenda: Apart from trade barriers related issues, other items that will be addressed in the summit include the management of security situation in the region and migration crisis
- On the summit agenda is security. Basically, Summit host Niger has faced constant attacks by jihadist groups while has Nigeria has battled the Boko-Haram insurgency.
- Also, members in the G5-Sahel (Niger, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and Mauritania) security pact will reportedly seek backing at the AU summit to push for a greater UN security force to address the terror threat.
- The countries hope to activate Chapter VII of the UN Charter that allows for the UN Security Council to determine a threat to peace and propose measures, including military deployment, to deal with it.
- Also, African leaders are expected to discuss boosting intelligence cooperation and the global migration crisis.
Some outstanding issues: while AfCFTA is a great feat to celebrate, discussions on various key components remain outstanding. These include
- An agreement on the critical schedules of rules of origin, tariff concessions and specific commitments in services under Phase I of the negotiations, which were expected to be concluded before the official launch.
- Negotiations for protocols under Phase II which include Intellectual property rights, investment, and competition policy—are all outstanding and are expected to have been concluded for adoption by January 2021.
- The Phase II negotiations are expected to address concerns about smuggling and tax evasion.
#EndSARS: Anyone found culpable in Lekki Toll Plaza shooting would be held accountable – Sanwo-Olu
Sanwo-Olu has continued to ensure Nigerians that those found culpable in the unfortunate Lekki shootings will not escape the law.
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said that the Lagos State Government would ensure that anyone found culpable in last Tuesday’s shooting at the Lekki Toll Plaza would be held accountable for their actions.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Lagos State Government, after the Governor’s interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson.
In the interview with CNN, the Governor said, “We will be committed to a full investigation of what happened and people would be held accountable. They certainly would be held accountable. We would do everything possible to ensure that they are held accountable.
“People have claimed that their friends and family members have been killed. So, this Judicial Panel of Enquiry is meant to bring all of these stories to accountability; where we can make restitution, where families can prove and identify officers that were responsible for this.
“I am not the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, I am Governor of a State. The report would be out and we would channel the report to all the relevant authorities in the state to ensure that every one that is found culpable is accountable for the act.”
He added that there was no international pressure on Nigerian leaders to investigate the Lekki incident, and he had met the #EndSARS protesters. He also acknowledged that the protests were legitimate.
“There are no international pressures whatsoever. These are genuine protesters that we all believe and we all have knowledge about. I was the first governor among governors, with due respect to all my other colleagues, who came out to meet with them, who started from the front. I carried the EndSARS flags with them. I met with them twice and we all had the rally together and worked together,” he said.
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Sanwo-Olu also said that the investigations would be a catalyst for positive change of Governance, and he saw it as a wake-up call for those in power.
“I genuinely believe there would be a change for two reasons. One, what has happened, especially in Lagos is extremely unimaginable. Number two is that it was a clarion call for all of us in government, especially understanding and realizing what the youths truly want us to be doing. So, it hit all of us like a thunderbolt and it was just a wake-up call,” he said.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported last week that several social media accounts had revealed that peaceful protesters were allegedly being shot at by the military at the Lekki toll holdout. The Nigerian Army, however, denied deploying soldiers to attack #EndSARS protesters who assembled at the Lekki Toll Plaza.
The Lagos State Government ordered an investigation into the Lekki Toll Plaza shooting that was allegedly done by some men of the Nigerian Army on Tuesday evening. Babajide Sanwo-Olu had also stated that Lagos State would not burn on his watch, as he tried to calm things down after hoodlums wreaked havoc post-Lekki shootings, and announced that the Judicial panel set up by the state would include the incident at Lekki toll gate.
The Lekki incident has gotten the world’s attention, with the Governor and other members of government admitting that there were casualties as a result of the incident. The onus is on the Federal Government to ensure the recommendations of the state judicial panels are properly executed after they submit their reports.
#EndSARS: The deliberate shooting of unarmed protestors was an outrage – Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury has once again condemned the deliberate shooting of unarmed protesters in Lekki, calling it an outrage.
The Archbishop of Canterbury and Head of the Anglican Church, Justin Welby, has said that the deliberate shooting of unarmed protesters in Lagos was an act of outrage, and he urged for a path to peace, justice and reconciliation.
The Archbishop disclosed this in a social media statement on Monday evening. He had earlier called on Nigerian leaders to “come together and agree a common vision that puts aside difference, steers the ship of state away from the rocks of conflict and sets a course that is for the good of all.”
The deliberate shooting of unarmed protestors in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria last week was an outrage. I say this as a human being, as a Christian, and as the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion – which counts some 18 million Nigerians as part of our global family.
— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) October 26, 2020
What you should know
The Archbishop last week condemned the shooting of unarmed protesters in Lekki and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that lives were protected.
“I condemn in the strongest terms the reported deliberate shooting of unarmed protesters in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria.
“I have urged President Muhammadu Buhari directly to ensure that lives are protected – and I say that again now,” he said last week.
In yesterday’s statement, Mr. Welby said: “The deliberate shooting of unarmed protestors in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria last week was an outrage. I say this as a human being, as a Christian, and as the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion – which counts some 18 million Nigerians as part of our global family.”
He warned of the violent past of Britain’s colonial history and urged that Nigeria learned from the UK’s past mistakes.
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“But I also say this as a British citizen, knowing that in our recent colonial past the UK has committed appalling acts of violence.
“And while I absolutely have no place to lecture or rebuke Nigeria, a country that is very dear to my heart, I can say this: learn from our mistakes. Do not go further down the path of violence and injustice. Turn around and find the path of peace, justice and reconciliation,” he said.
He said that Nigerian leaders could become heroes if they sacrifice ambition and work to unite Nigeria in a time of trouble.
“No nation can be built without heroism. This is a time for all those who play a role in the political and civil leadership of Nigeria to be heroes for the common good. This is a time to sacrifice ambition, to set aside party, to unite to serve in order that Nigerians from richest to poorest may flourish,” the Archbishop concluded.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 26th of October 2020, 119 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 62,111 confirmed cases.
On the 26th of October 2020, 119 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 4,719 samples across the country.
To date, 62,111 cases have been confirmed, 57,571 cases have been discharged and 1,132 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 612,154 tests have been carried out as of October 26th, 2020 compared to 607,435 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 26th October 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 62,111
- Total Number Discharged – 57,571
- Total Deaths – 1,1132
- Total Tests Carried out – 612,154
According to the NCDC, the 119 new cases were reported from 6 states- Lagos (77), FCT (26), Plateau (9), Edo (4), Oyo (2), Nasarawa (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 20,884, followed by Abuja (5,993), Plateau (3,603), Oyo (3,425), Rivers (2,773), Edo (2,652), Kaduna (2,617), Ogun (2,010), Delta (1,812), Kano (1,742), Ondo (1,666), Enugu (1,314), Kwara (1,067), Ebonyi (1,049), Katsina (952), Osun (923), Abia (898), Gombe (883). Borno (745), and Bauchi (710).
Imo State has recorded 614 cases, Benue (486), Nasarawa (479), Bayelsa (403), Ekiti (332), Jigawa (325), Akwa Ibom (295), Anambra (277), Niger (274), Adamawa (257), Sokoto (165), Taraba (140), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Yobe (82), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.