Tag Archives: United States

COVID-19: Spain record 864 deaths in 1-Day.

total case reach 100,000 in Spain

third country to surpass China behind United States and Italy.

Spain reports a new record of 864 deaths in one day while total infections broke the 100,000 mark, making it the third country to surpass that milestone behind the United States and Italy.

Spanish health authorities said Wednesday that the total number of deaths reached 9,053 since the beginning of the outbreak.

Total infections hit 102,136. But the 24-hour increase of 7,719 was 1,500 fewer than the increase from the previous day, offering hope that the contagion rate is stabilizing.

Spain is two-and-a-half weeks into a national lockdown with stay-at-home rules for all workers except those in health care, food production and distribution, and other essential industries.

The country is frantically working to add to the number of intensive care units in hospitals which are quickly filling up in the country’s hardest-hit regions.

Spanish authorities are bringing into the country 1,500 purchased ventilator machines and asking local manufacturers to ramp up production, with some creative solutions employed, such as snorkeling masks repurposed as breathing masks.


COVID-19: United States set to evacuate citizens in Nigeria.

The US government has revealed plans to evacuate its citizens in Nigeria despite airport closures due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The US Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria made this known on Friday evening through a notice titled ‘Health Alert: US Mission in Nigeria.’

In the notice, the American citizens in Nigeria were advised to be in Abuja and Lagos “as soon as possible” to join arranged flights back to the US. They also advised nationals who are not in Abuja and Lagos to work with local airlines to make travel arrangements while flights are still available.

It stated: “At present, there are no scheduled flights to the United States. However, we are actively exploring options and attempting to secure flights despite global airport closures and travel restrictions.

“We will email US citizens immediately once we have flight details, routes, and costs.

“US citizens who are considering returning to the United States are urged to travel to Abuja or Lagos as soon as possible.

“The Embassy and Consulate are unable to assist with lodging, food, or transportation costs, and some hotels have closed or are closing.

“To disseminate important information and alerts for US Citizens including possible evacuation flights, the State Department uses the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program as its primary messaging system.

US Citizens in Nigeria who want to be informed about emergency flights and receive other alerts should enroll in STEP immediately.”

US currently has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other country, with more than 86,000 positive tests.


COVID-19: Cases in United State surpass China.

The US now has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other country, with more than 85,500 positive tests.

According to the latest figures collated by Johns Hopkins University, the US has overtaken China (81,782 cases) and Italy (80,589).

But with almost 1,300 Covid-19-related fatalities, the US death toll lags behind China (3,291) and Italy (8,215).

The grim milestone came as President Donald Trump predicted the nation would get back to work “pretty quickly”.

How did the White House react?
Asked about the latest figures at a White House briefing on Thursday afternoon, President Trump said it was “a tribute to the amount of testing that we’re doing”.

Vice-President Mike Pence said coronavirus tests were now available in all 50 states and more than 552,000 tests had been conducted nationwide.

Mr Trump also cast doubt on the figures coming out of Beijing, telling reporters: “You don’t know what the numbers are in China.”

But later, he tweeted that he had had a “very good conversation” with China’s President Xi Jinping.

“China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the Virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!” President Trump said.

Mr Trump has set a much-criticised goal of Easter Sunday, 12 April, for reopening the country. That plan seemed to gather impetus on Thursday as it emerged an unprecedented 3.3 million Americans have been laid off because of the virus.

Media captionCoronavirus: Millions of Americans unemployed
At Thursday’s briefing, he said: “They [the American people] have to go back to work, our country has to go back, our country is based on that and I think it’s going to happen pretty quickly.

“We may take sections of our country, we may take large sections of our country that aren’t so seriously affected and we may do it that way.”

He added: “A lot of people misinterpret when I say go back – they’re going to be practising as much as you can social distancing, and washing your hands and not shaking hands and all of the things we talked about.”

He promised more details next week.

In a letter to state governors on Thursday, Mr Trump said his team plans to release federal social distancing guidelines that may advise some regions to loosen restrictions.

Mr Trump wrote of a “long battle ahead” and said “robust” testing protocols might allow some counties to lift their safeguards against the coronavirus.

He said the “new guidelines” would create low, medium and high risk zones that would allow the government to advise on “maintaining, increasing, or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures they have put in place”.

On Thursday night, Mr Trump phoned in to Fox News host Sean Hannity’s programme and said he believed Iowa, Idaho, Nebraska and parts of Texas could reopen earlier than other states.

The plan emerged as new research on Thursday estimated Covid-19-related deaths in the US could top 80,000 over the coming four months – even if people observe strict social distancing.

As many as 2,300 patients could be dying every day by April, according to the study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine.

The Republican president’s get-back-to-work goal found unexpected support on Thursday from a prominent Democrat.

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, the current coronavirus epicentre in the US, said statewide quarantine orders may not have been the best approach to coronavirus.

“Young people then quarantined with older people was probably not the best public health strategy,” he told a news conference, “because the younger people could have been exposing the older people to an infection.”

Mr Cuomo said a better way forward might be a “get-back-to-work strategy” in tandem with a public health strategy.

Public health experts on the White House task force have demurred when asked about reopening the country by Easter, suggesting the timeline should be “very flexible”.

No. On 16 March, he set a 15-day period to slow down the spread of Covid-19 by urging all Americans to drastically scale back their public interactions.

But those guidelines were voluntary and did not amount to a national order.

The US Constitution makes clear states have the power for maintaining public order and safety, which scholars say means it is the responsibility of governors to decide when virus-related restrictions get lifted.

Currently 21 US states have told residents to stay in their homes or ordered the closure of non-essential businesses in order to contain the pandemic.

What’s happening elsewhere in the US?
There were growing fears that Louisiana could become the country’s next hotspot, with the governor warning that the state’s biggest city, New Orleans, could be out of ventilators by 2 April and potentially out of beds by 7 April.

“It’s not conjecture, it’s not some flimsy theory,” John Bel Edwards told a news conference. “This is what is going to happen.”

Additionally, Dr Deborah Birx, the co-ordinator of the White House coronavirus response, said two other cities showed signs of rapidly rising new infections – Detroit, where the mayor described the situation as “really concerning”, and Chicago.


COVID-19: Mike and Karen Pence test Negative.

US Vice President, Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence have both tested negative for coronavirus, his spokeswoman announced ON Saturday night.

“Pleased to report that the COVID-19 test results came back negative for both Vice President @Mike_Pence and Second Lady @KarenPence,” said Katie Miller, the press secretary for the vice president, via her Twitter account.

On Saturday afternoon, Pence announced that he and his wife would be tested after his staff member was diagnosed with coronavirus.

“Given the unique position that I have as vice president and as the leader of the White House coronavirus task force, both I and my wife will be tested for the coronavirus later this afternoon,” Pence said during a news conference at the White House.

The vice president had said the staffer, who did not have close contact with either the president or himself was doing well, but had “mild” cold-like symptoms for a day and a half, and has not been at the White House since Monday. Trump has already tested negative for the virus.

The United States currently has 26,892 cases of Coronavirus and 348 deaths. About 178 people have also recovered from the disease.


COVID-19: 22,000 diagnosed cases in United States.

The United States has diagnosed 22,000 cases of coronavirus as hospitals in New York begin to buckle under the strain of treating sufferers.

America hit the grim tally on Saturday morning, with diagnoses more than doubling in two days. It was confirmed as New York diagnosed 3,000 new cases overnight, bringing the total number of diagnoses in the Empire State to 10,000. The number of coronavirus suffers has soared at an alarming rate, with the United States having just 101 coronavirus diagnoses on March 1 this year.

New York has been hardest hit by Covid-19, the name of the new coronavirus strain, with 10,000 cases. 56 deaths had been reported prior to Saturday’s new total, with an updated tally yet to be shared. A total of 276 people are known to have been killed by coronavirus across the US so far.

Speaking at a press conference Saturday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York City had 6,000 diagnoses, and said the high number was a result of mass-testing across the state.

He explained: ‘We are testing more people per capita than anywhere else in the world. More than China, more than South Korea.’ Cuomo said diagnosis numbers were starting to fall in Westchester County, New York State’s original hot spot, two weeks after a quarantine was imposed.

He also called on New Yorkers and other Americans to keep calm, saying: ‘Society functions. You do not need to buy 10,000 rolls of toilet paper. Where are you even going to put them?’

Governor Cuomo unveiled plans to turn facilities in the city – including the huge Javits Convention Center in Manhattan – into makeshift hospitals, and said the city had ordered two million 3M N95 masks to protect the city’s medical workers who will treat coronavirus patients.

The governor also warned New Yorkers they were in for a long slog to beat the virus, saying: ‘I do not believe it’s going to be a matter of weeks (to beat the virus).

‘I believe it’s going to be a matter of months, but we are going to get through it. It’s up to us.’ Gov Cuomo called on younger people to stop hanging out in groups to help speed-up his state’s recovery, and said: ‘It’s up to us. It depends on what we do.’

Two people an hour died of the disease in New York City on Friday between 10pm and 6pm on Friday.

One hospital in the Bronx is running low on ventilators – used to help patients whose lungs have been attacked by Covid-19 breathe – while an elderly woman suffering coronavirus died on the floor of a hospital in Queens.

Washington state is in second place, with 1,524 diagnoses and 83 deaths. And California has the third most Covid-19 cases in the US, with 1,255 cases and 24 deaths.

Diagnoses in New York soared after Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered widespread testing in a bid to establish just how bad the outbreak was, and to give officials a better idea of how to contain it.

Donald Trump has declared the entire state a major disaster area, with the US Army now poised to move in to help maintain order, and take over empty hotels and college dorm rooms to turn them into makeshift hospitals.

He has also dispatched US Navy medical ship the Comfort to New York to provide futher capacity to treat patients, amid fears the city could run out of ventilators by the end of the month, and be forced to leave thousands of vulnerable patients to die.


After dropping 999 – Olamide signs deal with empire records in U.S

We knew Olamide was surely going to pull a big announcement from his trip to America after he cut his dreads off and now he announced that he signed a deal with American record label, Empire.

The rapper took to his Instagram page to announce the new collaboration between his own record label, YBNL, and Empire. He shared a photo of himself signing the contract with the photo “@empire @ybnlmafiafamily JV = time to shake the world”. With this, the rapper becomes the first Nigerian hip hop act to be signed to the record label.



West Wing: Trump running crime syndicate – Former prosecutor

Pressure is building on Attorney General Bill Barr to resign after thousands of former Department of Justice officials and members of the Federal Judges’ Association expressed concern about his conduct.

By Monday, more than 2,000 former DOJ employees from both the Republican and Democratic parties had signed a letter demanding that Barr resign, while the Federal Judges’ Association had agreed to convene an emergency meeting to discuss the attorney general’s behavior.

Their concerns center on Barr’s handling of the Roger Stone case. Stone—a long-time adviser to President Donald Trump and a veteran GOP operative—is due to be sentenced later this month for crimes uncovered during the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Last week, prosecutors recommended a jail term of seven to nine years for Stone. But after Trump condemned the proposal, the DOJ said it would issue a more lenient sentencing memo. The four prosecutors that worked on the Stone case subsequently resigned in protest.

Though Barr publicly complained about the president’s tweets on the issue, critics have accused the attorney general of undermining the rule of law to protect the president and his allies.

The open letter signed by former DOJ staff claims that Barr “openly and repeatedly flouted” the principle of equal justice under the rule of law.

The letter also warned it was “unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case.”

John Flannery—a former federal prosecutor—was among those who signed the letter. He told MSNBC Monday that Barr “has no business in that job” and called on DOJ officials to “do the job right.” He described Barr as the president’s “consigliere” and said Trump is the “chief criminal who’s running a crime syndicate out of the West Wing.”

Other former attorneys reacted to the open letter and the Federal Judges’ Association meeting on Twitter. Harry Litman, for example, said the U.S. is now in “full on crisis mode,” describing recent developments as “mind-blowing.”

Former Associate White House Counsel Ian Bassin noted, “Our institutions are sounding alarms,” while former federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah said the open letter was a “extraordinary bi-partisan show of unity.”

Former U.S. attorney Barb McQuade—now a law professor at the University of Michigan Law School—said she was among those who signed the open letter, warning, “Even the appearance of partisanship has no place in the fair administration of justice.”

Laurence Tribe—a legal scholar at Harvard Law School who advised President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign—described the Federal Judges’ Association meeting regarding Barr as “rolling thunder.”

“One stuffed goose named Barr is cooked,” he added. “2000 DOJ alumni he can ignore. 1000 federal judges? That’s an altogether different kettle of fish.”


COVID-19: Victim evacuated from flights heading to U.S

More than a dozen infected Americans from a coronavirus-riddled cruise ship off Japan flew on evacuation flights to the US with other passengers on Monday, as the epidemic claimed more lives in China to take the death toll above 1,700.

The COVID-19 virus has infected more than 70,500 people in its epicentre of China and sparked panic buying, economic jitters and the cancellation of high-profile sporting and cultural events.

With fresh cases emerging daily in Japan, the government has advised citizens to avoid mass gatherings and cancelled public events, including annual celebrations in central Tokyo for the Emperor’s birthday and the amateur portion of the city marathon, affecting around 38,000 runners.

Beijing’s municipal authorities have ordered everyone arriving in the capital to self-quarantine for 14 days, the presumed incubation period of the virus. State media said China may postpone its annual parliament session, which has been held in March for the last 35 years.

Outside China, the biggest cluster of infections is from the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan’s Yokohama, where an additional 99 cases were revealed on Monday.

That brought the total to 454 diagnosed despite passengers being confined to their cabins during a 14-day quarantine.

As criticism grows of Japan’s handling of the ship crisis, governments are scrambling to repatriate their citizens, with Canada, Australia, Italy, and Hong Kong poised to follow Washington in removing nationals from the vessel.

Early Monday more than 300 passengers were transferred onto coaches via makeshift passport control and loaded onto two planes.

The first flight touched down at Travis Air Force Base in California shortly before midnight Sunday, with the second landing early Monday at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

Before they boarded the flights, US officials were informed 14 of them tested days earlier had received positive results. Authorities allowed them to fly but isolated them from other passengers in a “special containment area”.

Those on board were expected to undergo a further 14-day quarantine period on US soil.

“I am happy and ready to go,” Sarah Arana told AFP before leaving the ship. “We need a proper quarantine. This was not it.”

Australia became the latest country to order its citizens evacuated from the ship, with more than 200 citizens still on board due to be rescued on Wednesday.

Forty other US passengers tested positive for the virus and were taken to hospitals in Japan, said Anthony Fauci, a senior official at the National Institutes for Health.

It was not immediately clear if they were already counted among the 355 confirmed cases on the ship.

In China, authorities have placed about 56 million people in Hubei under quarantine, virtually sealing off the province from the rest of the country in an unprecedented effort to contain the virus.

New cases outside the epicentre have been declining for the last 13 days. There were 115 fresh cases outside the central province announced Monday, sharply down from nearly 450 a week ago.

Chinese authorities have pointed to the slowing rise in cases as proof their measures are working, even as the death toll climbed to 1,770 with more than 11,000 recovering.

But World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned it is “impossible to predict which direction this epidemic will take”.


United States approves Hijab, Beards as part of military uniforms

…as long as their appearance is neat and conservative

Sikhs and Muslim officers in the United States Air Force can now wear turban and hijab as part of their military uniforms.

According to the Air Force updated dress code reported by CNN, officers can also keep beards.

Under the new guidelines, which were finalised last week, Sikhs and Muslims can seek a religious accommodation to wear turbans, beards, unshorn hair and hijabs, and expect to be approved as long as their appearance is “neat and conservative,” except under extremely limited circumstances.

The final review for the accommodation must take place within 30 days for cases in the United States, and 60 days for all other cases, according to the guidelines. And for the most part, airmen can expect the religious accommodation to follow them through their career.

Sample of how it will look like. Photo credit, Google

Previously, Sikhs and Muslims serving in the Air Force individually requested religious accommodations that were granted on a case-by-case basis, but the approval process could be lengthy.

This update standardises that process and outlines a formal timeline for approval.


Island of Jersey, Nigeria, U.S signs repatriation deal of $318.4m

Federal Government has signed a Tripartite Agreement with the U.S. and the Island of Jersey for the repatriation of 318.4 million dollars looted by former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.

Mr Ferdinand Nwonye, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made this known in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, yesterday.

Nwonye said Nigeria signed the Tripartite agreement with the U.S and Island of Jersey on Monday in Washington D.C.

Nwonye said that the funds are to be used to fund three major projects, namely, the Lagos-Ibadan Express way, the Abuja – Kano Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge.

He said the projects will be supervised by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the United States of America and the Island of Jersey today, Feb.3, at the U.S Department of States, Washington DC.

“Signed a tripartite agreement for the repatriation of the sum of 318. 4 million dollars being an amount looted and starched away by former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.

“The agreement which was signed by the Attorney General of the Federation Mr. Abubakar Malami on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Mr. Mark Temple, Assistant Solicitor General of the Island of Jersey on behalf of the Island.

“And Mr. Kevin Drisioil, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the US Department of Justice on behalf of the Government of the United States was witnessed by the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

“And his counterparts from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment; Humanitarian Affairs, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, the National Security Adviser.

“Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Group Managing Director of NNPC, and the Nigerian Ambassador to the United States of America, among others,” Nwonye stated.


U.S donates $40m to assist humanitarian efforts in Nigeria

…Says it will hold Nigeria accountable if security forces violate human rights

As Nigerians grapple with the reality of the visa ban slammed on the country and five others, the United States has donated an additional $40 million to assist humanitarian efforts in the northeast.
The United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced the donation at the end of the 5th Session of the Nigeria-United States of America Bi-national Commission held in Washington D.C, United States.
The United States added that the amount will help in the rehabilitation of victims of Boko Haram insurgency, including others who have suffered similar fate in the northeast.
Pompeo who spoke after a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, recalled that the United States had in 2019, provided nearly the sum of $350 million to assist the victims.
He disclosed that the meeting centred on how to continue to strengthen the economic and security ties between both countries, which he said, was a real priority for the Trump administration in Africa because Nigeria is Africa’s most populous democracy and its largest economy.
Pompeo added that Nigeria is already America’s second-largest trading partner in Africa as United States companies from Google to Chevron to KPMG, invested over a billion dollars in Nigeria in 2018 alone, creating over 18,000 jobs and indirectly supporting three million others.
He further disclosed that both countries discussed how to tighten trade ties even further, including in infrastructure investment and embracing free-market policies that attract capital – private capital, ensuring consistent enforcement of the law, stating that doubling down on anti-corruption efforts are the surest way to grow prosperity in Nigeria and all across the region.
Pompeo added that the United States was pleased that President Muhammadu Buhari had prioritized that fight against corruption in the country which was why the United States signed an agreement to return more than $308 million in assets stolen by former military head of state, late General Sani Abacha.Pompeo who further spoke on the cooperation between the United States and Nigeria in the area of security, said the cooperation had been expanding.
“Case in point: Nigeria’s recent $500 million purchase of 12 U.S.-made A-29 aircraft. This supports President Buhari’s recently-stated goal of creating ‘a security force with the best training and modern weaponry.’
“He also pledged that those forces ‘will be held to the highest standards of… respect for human rights.’
“The United States will hold Nigeria to that pledge, and we’ll help you achieve it. The United States has already invested in the training of Nigeria’s military on human rights and the Law of Armed Conflict.
“Nigeria was one of the first African nations to join the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. America is now supporting the Nigerian fight against ISIS’s largest global affiliate, ISIS-West Africa – a dangerous threat to both of our countries.
“In part, due to this terrorism threat, on Friday, President Trump announced the suspension of immigrant visas for Nigerians because Nigeria has room to grow in sharing important national security information. I am optimistic that’s going to happen. In the proclamation, President Trump highlighted Nigeria’s importance as a strategic partner in the global fight against terrorism and recognized the government’s commitment to improving information sharing with us.
“The foreign minister and I also discussed today, the massive humanitarian crisis and the conflict with Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa and other religious and ethnic violence.
“We know that these issues are hard. We know that they’re complicated. But I strongly encouraged the Nigerian Government to do more to protect its civilians, including religious communities and the humanitarian organizations seeking to assist them.
“To aid in this effort, I’m pleased to announce today an additional $40 million in humanitarian assistance to Nigeria, adding to the nearly $350 million that we provided last year,” Pompeo said.On his part, Onyeama said the Nigeria-United States Bi-national Commission was a very important and valued framework for the cooperation between the United States and Nigeria which reflected the importance that Nigeria attach to the bilateral relations between both countries.
He stated that the areas highlighted by Pompeo such as security, democracy and governance, corruption and economic development were extremely at the heart of the Buhari administration.
“We – the three thematic areas that we dealt with, which were also mentioned by the secretary – of course, security. Security for us has become a major issue, an existential threat. But of course, we know that terrorism is a global threat, and we appreciate and value very much, the cooperation that we’ve received from the United States Government. As the secretary mentioned, there are some fighter planes, A-29 Super Tucanos that we hope to be able to procure to help us on this fight. But there are other areas – sharing of intelligence with our partners – that the United States has been supporting us in. We appreciate very much that support.
“Of course, we are faced with other security issues within Nigeria, and we know that some of them are causes of disquiet amongst our partners, and we are addressing a number of them. And in addressing those internal challenges, and especially in the security area, we absolutely make it clear and strive to uphold human rights. We have the greatest interest in protecting the – and respecting the human rights of our population, and we do that.
“Of course, the other area that we’ve discussed has been democracy and governance. And as the secretary has mentioned – and we thank again the United States for it – the sums of money that was restituted to Nigeria with the Bailiwick, it’s called, State of Jersey and the United States, $321 million, we appreciate the effort – and steps that have been taken in accessing these stolen funds. And it’s an area that we prioritize in our country because huge resources have been siphoned out of our country.
“And of course, in some of these cases, it takes a bit longer than we would like to have these funds returned to our country, but we’re working very closely with the United States and we appreciate the support being provided in recovering and repatriating these illicit financial flow funds, and also, of course, as I said, the government of Jersey,” Onyeama said.


Report – United States denied chibok girls of rescue

… influenced Muhammadu Buhari

A mercenary and chairman of a private army, Specialised Tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection International, Eeben Barlow, has alleged that the United States influenced the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to terminate the contract to rescue the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.

Barlow, who sponsored a similar private army, Executive Outcomes, which was shut down in 1998, said Buhari had no choice but to succumb to pressure from the US because his election campaign was sponsored by the American government in 2015.

Boko Haram abducted 276 girls from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, in April 2014.

While 57 escaped, 107 were released through negotiations. But 112 girls are still being held by the insurgents.

Speaking in an interview with Al Jazeera, Barlow claimed the momentum recorded against Boko Haram by the Goodluck Jonathan government was slowed down by the Buhari regime after the contract awarded to his company was terminated.

Barlow said his army was initially engaged to rescue the girls but that changed to combating Boko Haram, noting that Jonathan saw it as a last gasp opportunity to gain popularity and win the 2015 presidential election.

He said, “Our initial aim was not Boko Haram per se, it was to rescue the Chibok girls. They were the girls that were kidnapped and the Western response was #Savethegirls (#BringBackOurGirls). That type of nonsense does not save girls.

“Unfortunately, these girls became victims of a situation where the security had broken down in a specific area, they were kidnapped and that was the first mission – rescue the Chibok girls.”

To carry out the mission, Barlow said he had to train some Nigerian soldiers to conduct a hostage rescue operation, noting that a strike force was eventually set up to spearhead the mission.

He said, “We ended a selection process of the Nigerian soldiers, the soldiers were retained after a selection process, they were trained in a specific way to conduct a hostage rescue operation.

“The operation was in three phases; the first phase was to cut a dividing line across the North-East and isolate Boko Haram into two isolated areas and mop up. One area in the South was the start and after that then mop up in the North. The division will follow behind and occupy terrain.

“But we were never allowed to execute the entire operation. In one month, we took back terrain larger than the terrain of Belgium from Boko Haram. We were not allowed to finish because it came at a time that governments were in the process of changing.”

He added, “President Jonathan’s government saw the entire Boko Haram contract, if we call it that, as a last-grasp to regain popularity. Buhari was heavily supported by a foreign government and one of the first missions was to terminate our contract.

“We were told it was the US and they had actually funded President Buhari’s campaign and his campaign manager from the US.

“I’m not saying the US is bad, I understand foreign interests but I’d have thought that a threat like Boko Haram on the integrity of Nigeria ought to be a priority but it wasn’t.”

When asked why the US allegedly aborted the mission, he said, “I think the US can answer that, I have come to realise that when a foreign interest clashes with a state’s interest and domestic interest, conflict is bound to ensue and those conflicts continue with no end.”

The US Mission in Nigeria had yet to respond to the allegations by the mercenary as of the time of filing this report. An email sent to the embassy in Abuja on the allegations by Barlow was not replied to.


Presidency tells U.S government, says ‘My conscience is clear’.

President Muhammadu Buhari has responded to United States of America designating Nigeria as “a country of particular concern” with regard to religious freedom and the freedom of thought and conscience, saying his conscious is clear.

On December 20, the United States government issued a statement, through the U.S. Department of State and U.S. secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, designating Nigeria “a country of particular concern” with regard to religious freedom and the freedom of thought and conscience, declaring that “the protection of religious freedom is a top Trump Administration foreign policy priority.”

According to a statement by Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari described the designation as unfair, urging the US to ensure that its sources of information on Nigeria cut across all sectors as some people might provide misleading and manipulative narratives for self-serving purposes, ignoring the larger picture of a united country.

Buhari was speaking when he received Letters of Credence of United States of America Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Mary Beth Leonard, in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said the recent listing of Nigeria for human rights concerns created an impression that some people were being unfairly treated or marginalized in the country.

“I know that those with access have created an impression of being marginalized.

“I sit here with a clear conscience. I took an oath and I am honouring the office,” he said.

President Buhari said he took some time to explain the situation in the country when he met with President Donald Trump in Washington DC as the American President expressed concern with reports of attacks on segments of the society.

“It is not an easy task to work for the unity of the country, and I am doing my best. During your stay in the country I am asking you to ensure that your sources of strategic information cut across,” he added.

The president urged the envoy to use the opportunity of her posting to Nigeria, with her experience, knowledge and energy to get the facts on the country.

In her remarks, the United States Ambassador said Nigeria was listed on a watch list to deepen conversation on the humanitarian situation in the country, accepting that some people could “flare the flames and crystalize issues’’ that could affect peaceful-coexistence.

“There are people who make things less attractive than they seem,’’ she said, noting that the report will deepen conversation of the situation in the country, especially with religious leaders and mediators.

“I want to assure that the United States recognizes and celebrates the integration in Nigeria.”

She said the United States will always side with transparent processes.

The ambassador said Nigerians and America have a lot in common in terms of “being big among neighbours, enthusiastic and entrepreneurial”.

Leonard assured President Buhari of support from the United States, especially on the humanitarian challenges, while appreciating the willingness to always share useful information and intelligence with her country.

“I feel it’s a privilege and great honour to be here; coming to see the giant of Africa. I have worked for 30 decades before coming to Nigeria. We will do a lot together for peace, security and delivering humanitarian assistance,’’ she added.

President Buhari also received Letters of Credence from the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Nigeria, Ahamed Lebbe Sabarullah Khan.

The president appreciated the country for supporting Nigeria to provide the President of the United Nations General Assembly.

In his remarks, the High Commissioner said:

“Our countries face similar challenges and we will support each other.’’

He said Sri Lanka will also strengthen bilateral relations with Nigeria on trade and investments.


Malami – I have not receive any Letter from U.S lawmakers over sowore.

…unscrupulous elements in the society

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has said he is yet to receive any correspondence from the lawmakers of the United State of America over Sowore as at the close of work on December 20.

The Minister’s position is contained in a statement issued by the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Dr Umar Gwandu.

According to the statement issued on Sunday, Malami said, “foreign policy conventions do not support direct correspondence between the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and serving legislators of a foreign country”.

The statement noted that perhaps the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could be an appropriate Ministry for such correspondence and therefore reiterated the fact that Malami did not receive such a letter.

“Attorney-General of the Federation finds media reports on the purported claim of such correspondence to his office, peddled by some unscrupulous elements in the society, as not only inappropriate but inaccurate”, the statement said.

“It is essential to put in the record that the so-called letter has not been received at the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN at the close of the work of Friday 20th December, 2019”, it added.


FG says U.S as been misled by propaganda after comments on been religious intolerant.

The Federal Government has reacted to the addition of Nigeria to the Special Watch-List (SWL) of countries that allow severe violations of religious freedom.

Minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed who reacted to the addition of Nigeria to the SWL alleged that the United States Government has been misled by propaganda on farmer-herder conflicts and the Boko Haram insurgency which he claimed led to the addition of Nigeria in the religious intolerant country list.

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Lai Mohammed insisted that Nigeria will welcome constructive criticism and reject any attempt to sow seeds of mistrust among the various religious groups in the country. He added that Nigerians enjoy the freedom to practise their religion in the country.

He said;

“The deliberate effort to give religious coloration to the farmers-herders clashes and the Boko Haram insurgency, in particular, has undoubtedly helped to mislead the US into concluding that the government is doing little or nothing to guarantee religious freedom in the country.

“But, as we have always said, the farmers-herders clashes have nothing to do with religion but everything to do with environmental and socio-economic realities.

“The religious tag given to the clashes has no basis in fact, but is very convenient for those who will very easily give the dog a bad name just to hang it.

“On its part, the Boko Haram terrorists are extreme fanatics who do not subscribe to the tenets of any religion, in spite of their pretence to Islamic adherence.”