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FG reveals proof of efforts to bring back Chibok girls

The Federal Government has released proof of its efforts to secure the release of the Chibok girls, who were abducted from their school in April 2014 by Boko Haram, confirming President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to the safe return of the girls.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Friday, September 16th, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the efforts included swap arrangements dating back to July 2015 which, however, failed for various reasons, including last-minute issuance of a new set of demands by Boko Haram elements.

He said that in spite of the failure of the past swap agreements, the government and the security agencies have not relented in the bid to ensure that the Chibok girls are released safely, in line with the mandate given by the President who, upon the assumption of office, directed security agencies to urgently fashion out strategies to trace, locate and ensure the safe and successful release of the Chibok girls.

Giving details of the first swap agreement, which was the most promising, Alhaji Mohammed said it failed in the last minute because Boko Haram decided to make a new set of demands, even after all arrangements had been made to exchange some Boko Haram fighters for the girls.

“Precisely on 17th July, 2015, the DSS opened negotiations process with the group holding the Chibok girls. However, in return for the release of some of these girls, the group also made some demands. These included the release of some of their fighters arrested including some involved in major terrorist actions, resulting in several fatalities, and others who were experts in manufacture of locally assembled explosives. This was difficult to accept, but appropriate security agencies had to again inform Mr. President o these demands, and its viewed implications. Again Mr. President gave his assent believing that the overall release of these girls remains paramount and sacrosanct.

“Meanwhile, following the above development, Government and the security agencies had sufficient leverage to work out the modalities of the swap. These included creating the safe haven, or necessary place of swap and working out the logistic details. Based on this, the DSS availed other critical sister agencies of this new situation. Immediately, the Nigerian Army and the Air Force sent some specialists to commence a detailed arrangement for the swap. This was during the last week of July 2015 and 1st week of August 2015. The officers representing the various agencies worked out the logistic details, such as the number of persons to be swapped i.e. number of girls and detainees to be exchanged, the vehicles and aircraft, as well as safeguards, i.e. safety of the persons, including the location of the

“When it was finally agreed by all parties, Mr. President was again informed that the preparations were concluded, and the  first step for the swap would commence on 1st August, 2015. Mr. President robustly gave his approval. On 4th August, 2015, the persons who were to be part of the swap arrangements and all others involved in the operation were transported to Maiduguri, Borno State. This team, with the lead facilitator, continued the contact with the group holding the Chibok girls. The Service was able to further prove to the group its sincerity, as it established communication contact between it and its detained members.

“All things were in place for the swap which was mutually agreed. Expectations were high. Unfortunately, after more than two (2) weeks of negotiation and bargains, the group, just at the dying moments, issued new set of demands, never bargained for or discussed by the group before the movement to Maiduguri. All this while, the security agencies waited patiently. This development stalled what would have been the first release process of the Chibok girls,” he said.

The Minister also gave the details of two more swap attempts that were made following the failure of the first agreement.

“By the month of November, precisely 13th November, 2015, another fresh negotiation process with the group was initiated. This time, there was the need to discuss a fresh component in other to avoid issues that had stalled the former arrangement. There were however some problems that many may not discern, but should be expected in this kind of situation. Some critical persons within the group who played such vital role in August, 2015 were discovered to be dead during combat action or as a result of the emerging rift amongst members of the group then. These two factors delayed the process. By 30th November, 2015 it was becoming glaring that the division amongst the group was more profound. This affected the swap process. By 10th December, 2015, another negotiation process was in place, but this failed to achieve results because of the varying demands by the group,” he said, assuring that in spite of the failures, negotiation continued on new modalities to secure the release of the girls.

The Minister said since the beginning of 2016, the security agencies have not only remained committed but have also taken the lead to resolve the Chibok girls’ issue, in spite of the current division among members of the terrorist group, which has seriously affected the efforts.

He commended the security agencies whom, he said, have sacrificed their time and energy, with some even paying the supreme price while fighting for the safe release of the girls, disclosing that many friendly countries and organizations have equally been very forthcoming in providing their human and technological resources to assist in the process. Addressing the parents and relatives of the Chibok girls, Alhaji Mohammed said:

“tr_bq”>“We are with you; we feel your pains and shall not relent until we succeed in bringing home our girls and every other citizen abducted by the group.”

He also appealed to all those who have shown concern in resolving this matter” to continue to trust the efforts of Government to deal with the situation.

Segun Adeyemi
SA to Hon Minister of Information and Culture

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Donald Trump Agrees to meet Kim Jong Un

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Donald Trump Agrees to meet Kim Jong Un

Donald Trump Agrees to meet Kim Jong Un

The United States President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House announced, setting the scene for a historic, unprecedented encounter.

The meeting, which would be the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, will happen by May, according to South Korea’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, who delivered the invitation to Trump after a visit by his delegation to Pyongyang earlier this week.
The stunning announcement is the culmination of a diplomatic whirlwind that began with the invitation of a North Korean delegation to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Trump’s decision to meet Kim, after a year in which the two have repeatedly traded insults, is a remarkable breakthrough — albeit one with uncertain consequences.

The South Korean delegation, which landed in Washington, D.C. for a debriefing Thursday on the North-South talks, was careful to praise Trump’s influence over the developments. Chung said the US President’s “leadership” and his administration’s pressure on the North Korean regime had “brought us to this juncture.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump “greatly appreciates the nice words” of the delegation and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
“He will accept the invitation to meet with Kim Jong Un at a place and time to be determined. We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain.”

There are many details to be ironed out before the meeting could take place, including the location. The Panmunjom truce village in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), one possible venue, hosted meetings between North and South Korea in the run-up to the Winter Olympics.

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Nokia 7 Plus Sold Out In 5 Minutes In China

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Nokia 7 Plus Sold Out In 5 Minutes In China

Nokia 7 Plus Sold Out In 5 Minutes In China

The first batch of Nokia 7 Plus  releases in China has reportedly sold out in 5 minutes. Can I imagine ?

As soon as the virtual shop doors opened at 10:07am, it took only 5 minutes for all available units of the new Nokia phone to be sold out.

The phone sold for CNY 2,300 for the 4GB/64GB version and CNY 2,500 for the 6GB/64GB version (that’s €239 and €318 respectively).

There will be another batch available in about a week – on March 15 at 10:07am. Chances are that the new batch will be gone just as quickly. Of course, neither HMD nor the stores will say how many phones are in a batch.

As for people not in China, we’ll have to wait until April. The Nokia 7 plus is set to cost €400 in Europe (and it doesn’t look like the Old Continent will get the 6GB RAM version).

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King Mohammed VI of Morocco undergoes Successful Heart Surgery in France

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 King Mohammed VI of Morocco undergoes Successful Heart Surgery in France

King Mohammed VI of Morocco undergoes Successful Heart Surgery in France

King Mohammed VI of Morocco yesterday underwent a successful heart surgery in France, state news agency MAP reports.

The 54-year old monarch was treated at a Ambroise Paré Clinic in Paris after he had been diagnosed with an “atrial flutter”. The surgery normalised the heart rhythm, and the king would be able to resume his duties without any restrictions.

The photo of King Mohammed VI on the hospital bed, surrounded by relations has since leaked on the internet. A full statement from MAP read:

“HM the king had on Saturday 20th January 2018 a heart rhythm disorder. The doctors of HM the King said that medical examinations carried out for this purpose revealed an atrial flutter. The ablation by radio frequency of this arrhythmia, performed today at the Ambroise Paré clinic in Paris, allowed the normalization of the heart rhythm. At the end of a rest period as prescribed by his treating physicians, HM the King will resume his normal activities without any restriction.”

King Mohammed VI of Morocco undergoes Successful Heart Surgery in France

Statement by the medical team composed of: Dr Abdelaziz Maouni, Dr Olivier Thomas, Dr Sébastien Bloc, Dr Olivier Dubourg, Dr Ali Chaib, Dr Lahcen Belyamani. The king, who heads the Muslim world’s longest-serving dynasty, took office in 1999 after his father, Hassan II, died of a heart attack.

The political and social stability of Morocco is closely watched by Western governments as it is the only country in North Africa where jihadist groups have failed to gain a foothold, and is an important partner against Islamist militancy in terms of intelligence-sharing.

The kingdom has escaped mass uprisings such as in Egypt, Libya or other Arab countries, but protests have erupted since 2016 in some rural areas against poverty and unemployment. Morocco has averted previous protests with a combination of limited constitutional reforms, heavy policing and hefty public spending.

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