These are the stories that drove the conversation today:
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday inaugurated the new international terminal of Port Harcourt Airport, in Omagwa, Rivers, built by the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company Nigeria Limited as part of the $500 million concessional loan from the Export – Import Bank of China.
Speaking at the ceremony, Buhari said the new terminal will play a significant role in passenger growth as well as facilitate the movement of cargo, adding that the facility will also bring the airport to international standard to create economic growth for Rivers State and the country at large.
“Not much was done after these airports were built in the 70s and 80s to increase handling capacity of the airports and so we needed to take decisive steps to ensure that our terminals meet the minimum international global standards,” he said.
Similarly, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has lamented Nigeria’s trade imbalance with China, warning the country to be wary of becoming overexposed to Chinese loans in a way that could affect its sovereignty.
The rights activist who disclosed this on Thursday while speaking at a conference in Lagos, explained that the country’s large population provides a ready market for Chinese goods, but Nigeria, being import-dependent, gets “nearly nothing” in return, stressing that the country can never develop if interest is not focused in the immediate environment.
“The trade between Nigeria and China is so skewed in favour of China and we are getting nothing; we are import-dependent; everything is imported. If everything continues to be imported where is our hope? We import toothpicks from China,” Agbakoba said.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has reportedly urged the people of South-West to vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 elections to guarantee a return of power to the region in 2023.
The minister who allegedly disclosed this at a special town hall meeting in Abuja on Thursday, stressed that besides, the massive investments by the Buhari administration on infrastructure across the country and in the South-West particularly, the region would benefit politically by voting for Buhari, Punch reports.
Speaking in Yoruba language he is quoted to have said “Do you know that power is rotating to the South-West after the completion of Buhari’s tenure if you vote for him in 2019? A vote for Buhari in 2019, means a return of power to the South West in 2023. I am sure you will vote wisely.”
The Federal Government has assured that it will not restrain the activities of organised labour in the country but will continue to engage them in dialogue.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who disclosed this in Abuja, while receiving a delegation of the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU), said Section 40 of the constitution allows for freedom of association, adding that administration “does not believe in curbing the activities of the organised labour union.’’
“It is the same law that gave birth to the formation of political parties that also empowered the formation of labour unions, hence President Muhammadu Buhari will never tamper with the activities of the unions,” he said.
Former Governor of Bayelsa, Timipre Sylva, has debunked reports that he was contemplating leaving the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The APC chieftain who made this known in a statement issued on Thursday, in Yenagoa by his media assistant, Julius Bokoru, urged his supporters, members of the APC and the people of Bayelsa to remain steadfast, adding that he remains a loyal and committed member of the party he joined in building at both state and national levels.
“Members of the All Progressives Congress and the good people of Bayelsa State, whom this rumour is aimed at, let it be established that Sylva is firmly of the APC and nurses no plan to leave the party to any other party,” Bokoru said.
And stories from around the world:
Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said the assassination of Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul was “premeditated”, Reuters and AFP news agencies reported, citing Saudi state media.
In a related development, CIA director Gina Haspel is due to brief President Trump on her visit to Turkey this week over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (BBC)
Ethiopia’s parliament has named Sahle-Work Zewde as the country’s first woman President.
In a unanimous vote on Thursday during the second Special Joint Session of Ethiopia’s two houses of parliament – the House of Peoples’ Representatives and the House of the Federation – lawmakers picked the career diplomat for the largely ceremonial role. (Al Jazeera)
China’s military will take action “at any cost” to foil any attempt to separate the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own, the country’s defense minister said on Thursday. (Reuters)
The European Parliament on Thursday awarded the Sakharov human rights prize to Ukrainian Oleg Sentsov and called for Russia to free the filmmaker, jailed after opposing the annexation of his native Crimea. (AFP)
European members of NATO urged the United States on Thursday to try to bring Russia back into compliance with a nuclear arms control treaty rather than quit it, diplomats said, seeking to avoid a split in the alliance that Moscow could exploit. (Reuters)