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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.

Nigerian News

We’re Still Working With Swiss Partners To Free Chibok Girls – Lai Mohammed

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We're Still Working With Swiss Partners To Free Chibok Girls - Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has told an international audience in Washington DC that the federal government has been working every day with its Swiss partners and others, to track and secure the release of remaining Chibok girls still in captivity.

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The minister was speaking an audience at Georgetown University in Washington DC where he said the government has never one day forgotten or closed the case of the abducted girls.

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The minister said the recent presidential elections in the country were a referendum on the integrity of president Buhari.  He said they also pointed to the triumph of the common Nigerian over the elite.

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Georgetown University is one of the top twenty in the US, and number four in international relations programmes.

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Nigerian News

Buhari Weighing Options For New Cabinet

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Buhari Weighing Options For News Cabinet

President Muhammadu Buhari is said to be mauling over getting rid of his current cabinet and replacing with fresh faces as a fresh term in office approaches.

Thisday newspaper is reporting that the president is weighing options for a new cabinet that would help him deliver on his campaign promises to Nigerians.

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Buhari had promised that he would consolidate on the gains of his first term, particularly in the areas of security, fight against corruption and revival of the economy.

Reports say the president wants to start his second term on a fresh slate, which would entail sacking all incumbent ministers with one or two exceptions.

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The president is said to be aware that Nigerians seem not to be too impressed with his administration’s performance during his first term.  He is said to be determined to do better during his second term.

His cabinet dissolution could happen as early as next month to pave the way for appointment of new ministers.  Although the president is said to be considering appointing technocrats this time around, some incumbent ministers have reportedly mounted strong lobbies to remain.

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Nigerian News

CCT Convicts Onnoghen, Orders Forfeiture Of Funds In Bank Accounts

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Breaking: CCT Convicts Onnoghen, Orders FG To Seize Funds In Five Bank Accounts

The Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, sitting in Abuja, has on Thursday convicted the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on all the six-count charge the Federal Government preferred against him. The CCT banned Justice Onnoghen who had voluntarily resigned on April 4, from holding any public office for the next 10 years.

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As part of its sentence, the Danladi Umar-led three-man panel removed Justice Onnoghen as both the CJN  and Chairman of the National Judicial Council, NJC.

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Onnoghen is also ‘convicted,’ to forfeit to federal government his money in five bank accounts that he allegedly failed to declare as part of his assets.

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