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US backs ECOWAS sanctions on Mali

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From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

The United States, has backed sanctions imposed on the Republic of Mali by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The United States support for ECOWAS followed a similar support by the Government of France.

The ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government had on Sunday at its extraordinary summit in Ghana to deliberate on the political situation in Mali, dismissed plans by the Malian military junta to extend the transition period to five years.

In its resolution, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, imposed additional sanctions on Mali which included air and land border closures, recall of member states ambassadors, a trade embargo, cut of financial aid and freezing of Mali’s assets at the Central Bank of West African States.

ECOWAS further announced the suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS member states and Mali, with the exception of essential consumer goods; pharmaceutical products; medical supplies and equipment, including materials for the control of COVID-19 products, and electricity

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The United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, in a Facebook post, commended the strong actions taken by ECOWAS in the defense of democracy and stability in Mali, following its extraordinary summit on January 9.

‘We share ECOWAS’s deep disappointment with the transition government of Mali’s lack of action or progress toward organizing elections, as it committed to do following the August 2020 coup d’état. We support ECOWAS’s decision to impose additional economic and financial sanctions to urge the transition government to keep its pledge to the Malian people to return their country to democracy,’ the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria said.

The United States further echoed ECOWAS’s concern over the likely destabilizing impact of Russia-backed Wagner group forces in Mali.

‘As noted in the Department’s statement of December 15, 2021, these forces will not bring peace to Mali and will divert resources away from the Malian Armed Forces’ fight against terrorism,’ the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria also said.

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Robbers ambush bullion van in Delta, escape with cash

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From Paul Osuyi, Asaba

Undisclosed amount of money was yesterday reportedly carted away by armed robbers who hijacked a bullion van in Otor-Owhe, a community along the Ughelli-Asaba expressway, Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State.

Local sources informed our correspondent that the bullion van was successfully robbed by the fierce-looking gunmen who emptied its contents into their getaway vehicle before zooming off. According to the sources, the gunmen, numbering about 10, shot randomly at the bullion van, forcing the driver to screech to a halt.

Some of the pellets broke through the windscreen, shattering it in the process.

“Shards of broken glass still littered the scene of crime,” a source volunteered.

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Our correspondent could not, however, ascertain if there were casualties during the attack.

Delta State Public Relations Officer, DSP Bright Edafe, said his office was yet to be briefed on the incident.

“I don’t have that information yet. So, I can’t really confirm it. But as soon as I get the information, I will definitely communicate what actually happened,” Edafe said.

However, Edafe said there was no money in the bullion van that was attacked by robbers

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Recruitment of 10,000 constables: PSC protests hijack by s

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From Molly kilete, Abuja

Staff of the Police Service Commission (PSC) in Abuja have protested the alleged hijack of the ongoing recruitment of 10,000 constables by the Police Force Headquarters, Abuja.

The workers, who shut down the commission’s headquarters, were also protesting lack of staff promotion and training by the PSC management and declared a three-day warning strike, beginning yesterday.

They accused the chairman of the commission, Musiliu Smith, a retired Inspector-General of Police, of handing over the constitutional mandate of the commission to the Police Force Headquarters.

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The workers in their hundreds took the senior officials by surprise as they forced the permanent secretary, William Alo, directors and other senior staffers out of their offices during the protest.

At the time of filing this report, the workers were still at the commission’s headquarters, where the protesters barricaded  the entrances to the office and prevented anyone from gaining access.

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More trouble for Kyari as PSC orders fresh probe into link with Hushpuppi

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The Police Service Commission (PSC) has directed the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to expand investigations into the alleged connection between the suspended former head of the  Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Intelligence Response Team, Abba Kyari, and Internet fraudster, Abbas Ramon, populary known as Hushpuppi.

Daily Sun gathered that the chairman of the PSC, former IGP,  Mr. Musiliu Smith, has given the IGP two weeks to turn in a report that would be reviewed by the PSC’s Committee on Discipline.

It was gathered further that the directive to the IGP was sequel to the advice from the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.

DCP Kyari had been suspended in July 2021 for alleged involvement in a $1.1 million Internet fraud allegedly perpetrated by Hushpuppi and four others; AbdulRahman  Juma (Abdul); Vincent Chibuzo (Kelly); Rukayat Fashola (Morayo); and Bolatito Agbabiaka (Bolamide).

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Kyari had insisted that he did not do anything wrong and maintained that he was ready to face any panel of investigation. A Special Investigation Panel headed by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department, Joseph Egbunike, had earlier probed Kyari.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation had alleged that Hushpuppi paid $20,600 to two bank accounts allegedly provided by Kyari on January 20, 2020.

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