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Kenya President, Ruto receives Ooni, lauds his Pan-African initiatives

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By Jeleel Olawale

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has been commended by President Williams Ruto of Republic of Kenya for his agenda for peace, unity and progress of the African people which he has continued to take around the world, describing him as a unique Pan-African king.

Ooni in a statement by his Director of Media and Public Affairs, Otunba Moses Olafare, said President Ruto made the disclosure at the State House in Nairobi, Kenya while playing host to the foremost African monarch, known for consistently championing the course of unification of the African people globally for peace and economic advancement.

“Your Majesty, I sincerely welcome you and your team on behalf of government and good people of Kenya. We have been told of how you have consistently used your throne to work for peace and prosperity of our continent and the world at large, you are indeed a very unique Pan-African king of our time. This is what kings should be doing.

“I am particularly impressed by the quality of your entourage here today, a team of investors and business magnates who are here in Kenya to contribute to the economic prosperity of our country and the entire East Africa sub region.

“Kenyans and Nigerians are partners in progress for the development of Africa. The two countries have enjoyed good diplomatic ties together and this your visit and your investment mission in Kenya will surely further strengthen the existing cordiality between our two countries.”

“Kenya is opening for big enterprises, come and set up businesses here and I can assure you and members of your Ojaja Pan-African Business Initiatives some of whom are already operating in some East African countries of the unflinching support of my government.”
President Ruto said.

Ooni Ogunwusi had earlier thanked President Ruto for his warm reception accorded him, his queen, fellow kings and other members of his very large entourage, describing him as a Pan-African president and exemplary leader the African people can trust.

Ooni, who is the Co-Chairman, National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) who recently launched his Ojaja Pan-African Business Initiatives, told President Ruto how he decided to take the investment initiative to Kenya for the African Economy, its rapid growth of business and investment, and its recent government policies that have allowed companies to flourish.

The monarch described Kenya as a leading stable democracy in Africa, expressing his confidence in the president’s capacity to deliver monumental dividends of democracy to the people of Kenya.

Ooni took his time to present different business plans he and his team have for the East Africa starting from Kenya. He also invited the investors and professionals on his entourage to present their respective businesses to the president one after the other.

“I feel so great being received by you today. Few days ago, I was in the South America country of Brazil hosted by President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva to join him unveiling the Annual African Traditional Day (ISESE DAY), he was so happy seeing me and didn’t want me to go, but begged him to allow me leave Brazil as scheduled because president and good people of Kenya were already expecting me. I had to fly almost 36 hours to get here from Brazil. This is my Pan-African spirit.

“Mr President, I present to you, these powerful investors as members of my entourage. These are technocrats and captains of industries with over 10 billion dollars investment portfolios operating across the world. While some flew with me from Nigeria, some flew from different countries to join me here in Kenya.

“Apart from my agenda of Peace and Unification of the African people which I have come to share with you today, kindly relax and listen to presentation from these professionals who are here for very huge investment plans,” Ooni said.

Some of the investors and business groups gave presentations to President Ruto with a view to showcase their businesses in different field of endeavors.

The Kenyan president who during the meeting requested to become a member of the House of Oduduwa was given gifts of artifacts and bronze cast from the visiting Head of the Oduduwa race worldwide who also decorated him as’Proudly Omo Oduduwa”. The two great African leaders went into the inner chamber for a closed door meeting.

Notable Yoruba traditional rulers on the Ooni’s entourage included HRM Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Oba Olusola.

Also, Alara of Ilara, Oba Olufolarin Ogunsanwo, Ajero of Ijero Ekiti, Oba Adebayo Joseph Adewole, Alapomu of Apomu Kingdom, Oba Afolabi Kayode Adenekan, Olori Temitope Adesegun Ogunwusi,

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U.S. army sets deadline for troop withdrawal from Niger

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The United States has initiated the withdrawal of its military forces from Niger Republic, following directives from the West African nation’s military leadership.

The withdrawal process, slated to be completed by September 15, 2024, marks the end of an era of American military presence in the country.

According to a press release jointly issued by the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland and the US Department of Defense on Sunday, discussions between the two parties, held from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Niger, aimed to ensure the orderly and safe withdrawal of US forces from the region.

Led by high-ranking officials such as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Christopher Maier, and the Chief of Staff of the Nigerien Army, Colonel-Major Mamane Kiaou, the discussions emphasised transparency and mutual respect.

The withdrawal encompasses troops stationed at key bases, notably the strategically significant $110 million drone base in Agadez.

“Representatives of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of National Defense of the Republic of Niger met from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Republic of Niger, as part of a Joint Disengagement Commission, to coordinate the orderly and safe withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger.

“These discussions between the militaries were conducted in complete transparency and with perfect mutual respect between the two parties.

“The U.S. Department of Defense delegation was led by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Mr. Christopher Maier; and the Director of Joint Force Development in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lieutenant General Dagvin Anderson. The delegation of the Ministry of National Defense of Niger was led by the Chief of Staff of the Army, Colonel-Major Mamane Sani Kiaou,” the statement read in part.

Despite the military disengagement, both nations affirmed their commitment to ongoing diplomatic dialogue and cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including counterterrorism efforts.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Ministry of National Defense of Niger have reached a disengagement agreement to effect the withdrawal of U.S. forces, which has already begun. It is therefore agreed that this disengagement will end no later than September 15, 2024.

“Both delegations confirmed the guarantees of protection and security to the American forces during their withdrawal. The delegations also established procedures to facilitate the entry and exit of U.S. personnel, including overflight and landing clearances for military flights.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Nigerien Ministry of National Defense recall the joint sacrifices of Nigerien and U.S. forces in the fight against terrorism and commend each other’s efforts to build up the Nigerien Armed Forces. The Parties undertake to continue cooperation in areas of common interest.

“The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger does not affect the continuation of U.S.-Niger development relations. The United States and Niger are committed to ongoing diplomatic dialogue to define the future of their bilateral relations,” it added.

The US initially established a military base in Niger to combat armed groups aligned with al-Qaeda and ISIL operating in the Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso and Mali. The primary airbase in Agadez, located about 920km from the capital Niamey, has been a crucial site for both manned and unmanned surveillance flights and other military operations.

On April 19, 2024, the US announced plans to withdraw its troops from Niger due to the West African nation’s growing alignment with Russia and its distancing from Western powers. Consequently, the US Department of State agreed to pull out approximately 1,000 troops from the country, which has been under military rule since July 2023.

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Reps seek more financial investment for federal teaching hospitals

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The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Health Institutions, Amos Magaji, has called for a sustained financial investment in the federal teaching hospitals across the country.

He said this will be in line with the Renewed Hope agenda of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration for the betterment of the citizenry.

Magaji disclosed this during an oversight visit of members of his committee to the Federal University of Health Sciences Teaching Hospital, Otukpo.

He stressed the need to allocate more funds in health sector, considering the primary responsibility of health institutions in the country.

Magaji appreciated the Chief Medical Director, CMD, and his management staff for showing interest in the growth of the teaching hospital, considering the tremendous achievements recorded within a period of one year.

He assured that he would work with his members to ensure that more funds are made available to develop the needed infrastructure including the medical equipment to meet up with the expectations of the people.

“We are glad to be in Otukpo today to see things for ourselves. We don’t want to depend on second hand information on the true condition of the Federal University Teaching Hospital Otukpo,” he said.

He assured the management of full support of the Federal House of Representatives as appropriate incentives would be given through interface with other critical stakeholders in Abuja.

The committee chairman enjoined the staff, whom he described as foundation staff to work as team despite the working condition, “we have seen how the environment is looking and we will continue to monitor the progress.

“So, as foundation staff, you all have the opportunity to write your name in gold.”

While welcoming the committee, the CMD, Prof Silas Ochejele, appreciated the federal government for the establishment of the teaching hospital in Otukpo which has drastically changed the medical services narratives in the state.

Ochejele thanked the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions for the pains to come down to Otukpo and believed that the visit has made them to see things themselves, which would go a long way in repositioning the hospital for the betterment of the people.

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JUST IN: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President crashes

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X. BREAKING: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President involved in an accident

A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X.

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