Sat. Jun 19th, 2021

WTO DG: The World Can’t Continue To Wait For US Says Okonjo- Iweala

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Victoria Ogunrinde

Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said the World cannot continue to wait for the United States to give a nod to her candidacy as the Director- General of the World Trade Organisation.

Okonjo- Iweala, who in October 2020 emerged as the WTO consensus candidate said this in a tweet via her official handle.

The 67- year old’s reaction comes three months after the US blocked her appointed as the D-G of the largest multilateral trade block.

The former World Bank Managing Director fell out of the favour of the ex- US President, Donald Trump who favoured South Korea’s candidate, Yoo Myung-hee.

Yoo Myung-hee later dropped out of the race in November last year after the ex- finance minister secured 164 votes.

Trump’s move to block the Nigerian was over issues with China as the US has accused the Asian giant of unfair trade practice at the WTO.

But Scott Morris, US former senior official in the US Treasury during the Obama administration had in an opinion on Tuesday published by The Hills called for the Joe Biden administration to join the consensus.

He said, “The question is not whether Okonjo-Iweala alone will be tough on China. It is whether the administration will embrace the consensus pick in a manner that strengthens the U.S. position in this critical multilateral forum, or whether it will carry forward a damaging legacy of the previous administration by snubbing the will of America’s allies.”

The Center for Global Development on Tuesday also supported the opinion put out by Morris on the urgency to address the hanging issue at the WTO.

Okonjo- Iweala reacting said, it was time to support the WTO focus on more important issues bordering the world in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ex- Finance Boss said, “Thank you @Morris_ScottA and @CGDev for this timely commentary. WTO is important to global public health  and recovery from the pandemic. Ditto with global economic recovery. Time to support @wto to get to work on important global issues. The world cannot continue to wait.

Okonjo- Iweal who is the current Chair, Board of Gavi, had last month expressed optimism that the Biden administration would join the consensus.
[22:22, 2/2/2021] Victoria Aspheric: Rivers Defy Army, To Launch Security Outfit In March

Victoria Ogunrinde

The Rivers State Government is set to launch a security outfit named Rivers State Neighborhood Watch Safety Corps in March.

The Director – General of the outfit, Dr. Uche Mike Chukwuma, says the security outfit will begin operations before the end of March.

The Nigeria Army had on November 29th 2018 disrupted the training of applicants into the security outfit at the NYSC Orientation Camp in Nonwa, Tai Local Government Area, after describing it as a militia.

The Army had described it as an illegal militia training camp and subsequently shut it down.

But the DG, in an interview on Tuesday with journalists, said Governor Nyesom Wike had assured that the security outfit will commence operations this year.

“Govenor Wike has dictated that within the first quarter of this year, the operations of the Neighborhood Safety Corp Agency will be rolled out.

“One thing you need to know about the governor is that he doesn’t speak much but when he speaks, he swings into action immediately.

“We are expecting that between now and end of this first quarter, we will do what we need to do for the state. Giving back the security of the state to the people where we have to liaise with the community leaders, traditional rulers and operational bodies and then return the security back to the people where they can make contributions without the fear of molestation”.

Dr Chukwuma, who is a retired assistant Police Commissioner, also faulted the operational structure of the Nigeria Police Force saying it cannot accommodate community policing.

“The fact remains that we have been running an old policing system since 1861, doing the same thing all over and expecting to get a different result. It is not possible.

“We inherited policing from the British and since then, we have moved from the political era of policing into the community policing era where policing is in the hands of the people. That is why in the community policing, you see the community as the police but still working with the police.

“But here in Nigeria, the central control of directives lies with the police even when they said they are getting the traditional rulers into the security of their communities, what power or rights do they have? what voice do they have ? At what point are they coming in to play a role in the decision making in the police, “he asked rhetorically.

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