The newly-appointed Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that the organisation would get the global economy running again during her tenure as the WTO DG. She said this on 15 February while reacting to her appointment, which takes effect from 1 March, 2021. She said, “I am honoured to have been selected by WTO members as WTO Director-General. “A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. “I look forward to working with members to shape and implement the policy responses we need to get the global economy going again. Our organisation faces a great many challenges but working together we can collectively make the WTO stronger, more agile and better adapted to the realities of today.” Mrs Okonjo-Iweala is the first woman and African to hold the position. She had, a few days ago, received the backing of the administration of US President, Joe Biden, for the role. Nigeria’s first female finance minister trained as a development economist – she has degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard. 66-year-old Dr Iweala spent a quarter of a century at the World Bank, rising to be managing director and running for the top role in 2012.
Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the immediate deployment of a stabilisation force to Oyo state, police spokesman, Frank Mba, has announced. On 11 February, violence erupted in Shasha market, Ibadan, Oyo state, as a result of an ethnic clash. One person was confirmed dead, while several properties were destroyed, leading to the closure of the market on 13 February. According to Mr Mba, the deployed officers are to reclaim the public space, reinforce security and bolster public confidence in areas affected by the recent crisis. “The deployments, consisting largely of intelligence and operational assets of the Force, include four (4) Units of the Police Mobile Force (PMF), seasoned operatives from the Force Intelligence Bureau, and one (1) operational/surveillance police helicopter from the Police Air-wing,” the statement read in part. “The Intervention Force is charged with the responsibility of reinforcing and stabilising security in the State, preventing further breakdown of law and order, protecting lives and properties and ultimately enhancing public safety and general security in the State. “The Intervention Force is being coordinated by a Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG David Folawiyo, mni, who is expected to mobilise all relevant stakeholders towards achieving the mandate of the squad.” The IGP also called on the residents of Oyo and other Nigerians, to cooperate with the police in their efforts to ensure peace.
A high court in Owerri has voided the impeachment of Jude Agbaso as deputy governor of Imo. Mr Agbaso who was deputy to former governor, Rochas Okorocha, was impeached by the state house of assembly on 28 March, 2013, over allegations that he collected ₦458 million and Red Label scotch whiskey as bribes from J-Pro, a construction firm. The ex-deputy governor had contested his impeachment in court. Ruling on the matter on 15 February, trial judge I.S Opara okayed the consent judgement after parties in the suit opted to settle out of court. Chijioke Emeka, counsel to Agbaso, had informed the court that parties in the suit including his client, the state governor, the state House of Assembly and the chief judge of the state had on 1 February drafted terms of settlements which were filed before the court on 2 February. In his judgement, Justice Opara said the terms of settlements had become a consent judgement of the court. Speaking with journalists after the court session, Mr Emeka said that following the judgement, all entitlements due to his client as a former deputy governor of the state has been restored and he is legally authorised to hold public positions. He said the parties had to “shift grounds” in order to peacefully agree on the terms of settlements. Reacting to the judgement, Mr Agbaso said he felt delighted to be “vindicated” of fraud allegations after eight years. He accused Mr Okorocha of intentionally framing him up “just to get me out of the way”. “It has been a torturous eight years but I thank the good people of Imo State. I thank the government of Senator Hope Uzodinma for its bold stand, which hastened the resolution,” he said.
An outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea poses a regional risk that requires exceptional vigilance, a senior World Health Organisation official said on 15 February. Congo has confirmed four cases of Ebola since a resurgence of the virus was announced on 7 February in Butembo, the epicentre of a previous outbreak that was declared over last June. An Ebola vaccination campaign has begun in Butembo, in eastern DRC, the WHO said in a tweet on Monday. Separately, Guinea declared a new Ebola outbreak on Sunday, with seven confirmed cases and three deaths. “We have to be exceptionally vigilant, highly alert”, Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergency expert, told a news briefing. “This disease (Ebola) represents a regional risk”. The Ebola virus causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea and is spread through contact with body fluids.