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Navy recovers N50m diesel from suspected oil thieves

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…As UN remembers victims of Baghdad, Abuja UN building bombings***

Operatives of the Nigerian Navy in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, have recovered 200,000 litres of adulterated diesel said to be worth about N50m.

It was learnt that the fuel was intercepted from eight suspected oil thieves arrested along Taraba Jetty waterways. They were accused of sourcing the petroleum product from unapproved refining sites.

The Base Operation Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, Commadore Ikenna Okoloagu, paraded the suspects and the vessel recovered from them before newsmen on Friday.

He said, “The arrest followed routine patrols of our area of operation with the focus to stem crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and other illegal activities within the maritime environment.

“In the course of such patrols, one of our patrol teams accosted MT Watergate 1 at Taraba Jetty on April 11 on suspicion of engaging in illicit activities”

The News Agency of Nigeria quoted Okoloagu as saying that the naval operatives, after boarding the vessel, found out that it was laden with 200,000 litres of petroleum products suspected to be illegally refined diesel.

According to him, the naval team thereafter demanded from the suspects the vessel’s permit to move the petroleum product and where it was sourced.

“But the captain of the vessel (MT Wateragate 1) refused to provide any information in this regard. So, the source of the product remained questionable.

“To this end, the eight crewmen were arrested and the vessel seized as part of preliminary investigation to unravel the circumstances of the petroleum product,” he said.

Okoloagu said the navy would not relent on its commitment to rid the nation’s maritime environment of illicit activities for legitimate social and economic activities to thrive.

He handed over the suspects and the vessel to operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for further investigation and prosecution of the suspects.

“The handover of the suspects and the vessel is in line with the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedures that guides our operation,” he added.

In the meantime, victims of the UN building bombings in Baghdad, Abuja and others cities around the world have been remembered by the United Nations to commemorate the 2018 World Humanitarian Day.

Remembering 22 colleagues killed by the “horrific terrorist attack” on the UN headquarters in Baghdad 15 years ago, Secretary-General António Guterres called on all staff to pay tribute to the fallen by “continuing their mission,” and going to “dangerous places with the aim of making them safer”.

In a wreath-laying ceremony at the UN headquarters in New York, Guterres reminded the people of the UN core commitment to stand “with those who are suffering, to bring them the relief they need”.

The UN chief  said the attack, which was the first time the UN was deliberately targeted on a massive scale, “was traumatising for the whole organisation, and we learned some very difficult lessons”.

“Before and since that day, United Nations staff have been targeted by those who would like to weaken us and make us afraid to do our jobs. From Algiers to Kabul to Mogadishu, Abuja and beyond, terrorists have attempted to silence and to banish us,” Guterres said.

The Abuja UN building was attacked with a car bomb  on Aug. 26, 2011. Twenty one people were killed  and 60 wounded.  Boko Haram  claimed responsibility.

The car  broke through two security barriers, and its driver detonated the bomb after crashing it into the reception area, causing devastation to the building’s lower floors.

Then Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, said: “This is not an attack on Nigeria but on the global community. An attack on the world”, while then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the attack as an “assault on those who devote themselves to helping others”.

In September 2011, the Nigerian Department of State Security alleged that Mamman Nur was the mastermind behind the attack and offered a 26 million naira bounty, while  four men appeared in an Abuja magistrates’ court charged with organising the bombing.

After observing a minute’s silence, Guterres  said the fallen UN staff had “made the ultimate sacrifice for the values and the Charter of the UN.

Addressing the audience, which included families and colleagues of the deceased, he said “this was a huge personal loss to so many of us. And an even greater blow to the families of those who were killed”.

However, Guterres regretted that “the mechanisms in place to look after survivors and the families of victims were inadequate, and it has taken too many years to improve them”.

While restating that the work of the UN “will never be free from risk,” the Secretary-General stressed that he was “committed to improving security for all United Nations staff”.

“The blue flag of the United Nations flies high because of the brave women and men who carry it to the farthest corners of the world,” he said, adding that “the legacy of the humanitarian workers, the peacekeepers, the military and civilian staff who have given their lives is lasting and will be ever-present in our hearts”.

The Nigerian Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative, Amb. Samson Itegboje, represented Nigeria at the event, while some victims of the bombings from Nigeria and other countries, some of whom preferred their identities to be protected, were present at the event.

Itegboje, who regretted the unfortunate bombing, however, noted that Boko Haram terrorists had been driven out of Nigeria’s territory since 2015 when the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari came on board,  and were now restricted to carrying out suicide bombings on unsuspecting citizens.

The Nigerian envoy said credit must be given to Buhari for providing leadership in ensuring that the terrorist group, which hitherto held territories and hoisted flags in many local government areas across three Northeast States, and frequently attacked cities including Abuja, had been largely decimated.

Additional report from Punch

Foreign News

German union, Greenpeace slam Amazon’s Black Friday

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German union, Greenpeace slam Amazon’s Black Friday

The large German services trade union Verdi and environmental organisation Greenpeace held protests to express opposition to online retailer Amazon’s Black Friday discount campaign on Friday.

Verdi is reiterating demands for improved pay for workers and for Amazon to recognise the deals it reaches with other employers in the retail sector.

However, Amazon and Verdi have long been at loggerheads over recognising the trade union in the company’s distribution centres.

Meanwhile, Amazon has rejected Verdi’s criticism, pointing to starting wages including bonuses of at least €13.00 ($13.50) per hour.

Greenpeace has accused Amazon of incentivising excessive consumption, refuse from packaging and the waste of resources.

Demonstrators held up a banner reading: “Black Friday: Destruction of Nature as Business Model,’’ at the company’s headquarters in Munich.

Amazon points to its efforts to cut pollution and CO2 emissions by shifting to electrically powered delivery vehicles among other measures. 

– dpa

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Terrorism: Accra Initiative Member States to Operationalise MNJTF to Tackle Spread

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Terrorism: Accra Initiative Member States to Operationalise MNJTF to Tackle Spread

Member States of Accra Initiative have agreed to operationalise a Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) within a month to tackle the spread of terrorism and other transnational organised crimes.

In a communique issued on Tuesday at the end of their meeting in Accra, Ghana, the members agreed to be innovative and provide operational tools to tackle the security challenges.

The Accra Initiative countries are Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo.

They “expressed their deep concern for the dramatic expansion of terrorism, violent extremism, transnational organised crime and transhumance consequences in their countries.

“Expressed their sympathy and full support to the Member States and their populations who face violent extremism and terrorism on a daily basis.

“Took note of the commitments by partners to support the Accra Initiative in the fight against terrorism in the sub-region.

“Reaffirmed their commitment to mobilise the necessary indigenous resources to operationalise within a month, the Multinational Joint Task Force of the Accra Initiative (MNJTF/AI).”

The summit recommended that concrete actions, including fundraising, be taken to support the countries severely affected by terrorism.

The Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Accra Initiative was held under the chairmanship of President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana.

The summit agreed to operationalise the MNJTF which would conduct Operation Enhanced Koudanlgou after it received a briefing from the Chief of Defence Staff of Ghana, Vice Adm. Seth Amoama.

The communique also said that the summit took note of the will of Nigeria to designate representatives to the Headquarters of MNJTF/AI.

“At the end of the Summit, the Heads of State and Government welcomed the idea of organising an International Conference on the Accra Initiative and are pleased with the good progress of the activities.

“They took note of the report of the activities of the Ministers of the Member States of the Accra Initiative of Nov. 21 in Accra

“They congratulated the Ministers of the Member States of the Accra Initiative and the Non-State Actors for the quality of the conclusions of their work.

“Expressed their deep appreciation to the European Union for its support in making the International Conference on the Accra Initiative possible.”

The communique also said that they expressed deep appreciation to President Akufo-Addo, for his leadership in making the summit a success.

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Girl, 16, gives birth after Judge approves Caesarean against wishes

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Girl, 16, gives birth after Judge approves Caesarean against wishes

A 16-year-old girl with mental health difficulties has given birth after a judge in London gave doctors the go-ahead to perform a caesarean section without her consent, lawyers said.

Justice Cobb said it would be lawful for specialists to operate on the teenager, who is in council care, if necessary.

The judge made a ruling at a public hearing in the Court of Protection in London on Friday but embargoed reporting until the baby had been born.

Lawyers representing hospital bosses responsible for her treatment and care said the girl has given birth.

Cobb was told that the girl had a “history of sexual exploitation,” post-traumatic stress disorder and an anxiety disorder.

He said she could not be identified in media reports of the case.

Bosses at the Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is based in Wigan, Greater Manchester, had asked the judge to decide what moves were in the teenager’s best interests.

Specialists said they thought the teenager’s mental health difficulties made delivery by caesarean section the only “realistic” option.

They said efforts to induce had been unsuccessful because of the youngster’s problems.

Barrister Peter Mant, who led the trust’s legal team, told the judge that the youngster’s views on giving birth had changed repeatedly recently.

Mant said specialists thought it was in the girl’s best interests to have a caesarean section.

He said there was “a significant risk of stillbirth.”

The teenager, who was represented by barrister Mungo Wenban-Smith, said she wanted to deliver her baby naturally.

She told the judge that she had a strong wish to give birth with the least intervention and to be awake and aware when her baby was born.

Judges in the Court of Protection consider issues relating to people who might lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

Evidence indicated that the teenager’s capacity to make decisions “fluctuated,” the judge was told.

Cobb said doctors should make one last attempt to induce but ruled that performing a caesarean section would be lawful if necessary.

The judge embargoed reporting after lawyers raised concern about the girl recognizing herself in reports and behaving in a way which might put her and the baby at risk. 

-dpa

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