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Trump Insists On US Troops Withdrawal From Syria

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Trump Insists On US Troops Withdrawal From Syria

The order to withdraw American troops from Syria has been signed, the US military said Sunday, after President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart agreed to prevent a power vacuum in the wake of the controversial move.

The announcement that US troops would leave the civil war-wracked country — where they have been deployed to assist in the multinational fight against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group — shocked global partners and American politicians alike.

“The execute order for Syria has been signed,” a US military spokesperson told AFP when asked about the withdrawal order, without providing further details.

Turkey was a rare ally that lauded Trump’s momentous decision on Syria, a country where it will now have a freer rein to target US-allied Kurdish fighters who have played a major role in the war against IS but are deemed terrorists by Ankara.

Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone on Sunday and “agreed to ensure coordination between their countries’ military, diplomatic and other officials to avoid a power vacuum which could result following any abuse of the withdrawal and transition phase in Syria,” the Turkish presidency said in a statement.

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Late Sunday, Trump tweeted that Erdogan had assured him that any remaining IS fighters in Syria will be eliminated.

“President @RT_Erdogan of Turkey has very strongly informed me that he will eradicate whatever is left of ISIS in Syria,” Trump said in a Tweet around midnight Sunday, using another acronym for the jihadist group.

Repeating a pattern of admiring comments towards global strongmen, Trump added that Erdogan “is a man who can do it.”

The US president concluded: “Our troops are coming home!”

Hours earlier, Trump had tweeted that he and Erdogan “discussed (IS), our mutual involvement in Syria, & the slow & highly coordinated pullout of U.S. troops from the area.”

US politicians — including those from his own Republican party — and international allies fear the withdrawal of the roughly 2,000 US troops is premature and would further destabilize the already devastated region.

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A US withdrawal, said Mutlu Civiroglu, a Kurdish affairs analyst, will open the way “for Turkey to start its operations against the Kurds, and a bloody war will begin.”

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday said he “deeply regretted” Trump’s decision, and that “an ally must be reliable.”

US troops will leave under the auspices of a new Pentagon chief set to start next month, after Jim Mattis resigned from the post citing key differences, including on Syria, with the often-impulsive Trump.

Several US politicians from both parties rejected Trump’s claim that IS had been defeated, and the decision also caused alarm and dismay in the US military over the prospect of suddenly abandoning Washington’s Kurdish partners.

Trump’s sudden decision sparked turmoil within his administration, prompting the resignation of Brett McGurk, the special envoy to the anti-IS coalition, as well as Mattis.

Plans for the troop withdrawal will now be overseen by Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who Trump on Sunday said would replace Mattis starting January 1.

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Mattis, 68, had said he would leave at the end of February to allow a smooth transition for the next chief of the world’s top military power — but a reportedly angry Trump accelerated his departure by two months.

Defense spokeswoman Dana White tweeted that Mattis would still assist in the handover, working with Shanahan to ensure the department “remains focused on the defense of our nation during this transition.”

According to US media, Trump voiced resentment over news coverage of Mattis’ stinging resignation letter that laid bare his fundamental disagreements with the president.

Days later, special envoy McGurk made a similar move, saying he could not support Trump’s Syria decision that, he said, “left our coalition partners confused and our fighting partners bewildered.”

Unlike Mattis, Shanahan has never served in the military and has spent most of his career in the private sector.

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Nigerian News

CCT Declines To Suspend Onnoghen’s Trial

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CCT Declines To Suspend Onnoghen's Trial

The Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, in Abuja, has declined to suspend further proceedings in the criminal charge against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

The tribunal, said in a two-to-one decision, it would go ahead to hear the application the CJN filed to challenge its jurisdiction to try him on the six-count charge entered by the federal government that bordered on his alleged refusal to declare his assets.

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There was a sharp disagreement between the chairman of the tribunal,  Danladi Umar and another member of the panel, William Agwadza Atedze, on the legal propriety of going ahead with trial, despite four separate interim injunctions, restraining all the parties from taking further steps in the matter, pending the determination of suits before different high courts and the National Industrial Court, NIC.

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Umar says the tribunal is not constitutionally bound by orders from both the high court and the NIC

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Nigerian News

House Of Reps Summons 21 Mgt. Staff Of PenCom Over Pension Fund

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House Of Reps Summons 21 Mgt. Staff Of PenCom Over Pension Fund

Still in the house, top management staff of the National Pension Commission and 21 pension funds administrators have been asked to appear before the House of Representatives on Thursday.

An ad hoc committee issued the summons on Tuesday as part of its investigation of the alleged sharp practices by pension administrators and custodians.

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The committee invited the acting director-general, PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, and other top executives of the commission, the pension administrators and custodians mandated with the management of pension funds.

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The committee is demanding information on the net assets of the contributory pension funds, details of supervisors and regulators of pension funds administrators and their key instructions and performances, compliances and defaults, details of payment into treasury single account, as well as bank accounts operated by the commission.

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Shell, Total Shut Down Four GenCos Over Debts

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Shell, Total Shut Down Four GenCos Over Debts

Four Gas Generating Companies (GenCos) have shut down production as a result of their failure to pay gas debts owed Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and total, as well as their inability to access fresh loans for gas.

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Some of the GenCos have now resorted to securing credit facilities from commercial banks to sustain their production.

 

The executive secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), Joy Ogaji said the power plants shutdown production because of lack of access to take loans.

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Ogaji says the 700 billion naira power assurance guarantee, which the federal executive council approved for the companies in the first quarter of 2017, has been exhausted.

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But there are hopes that the federal government would make the Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOS) pay at least 80 per cent of their invoices.

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