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Putin Revokes Russia’s Ratification Of Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed a law revoking Russia’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, a move strongly criticised by the United States.

The 1996 treaty outlaws all nuclear explosions, including live tests of nuclear weapons, though it never came into force because some key countries — including the United States and China — never ratified it.

The West has accused Russia of using reckless nuclear rhetoric since it launched its offensive on Ukraine last February.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticised Putin’s announcement on Thursday, and called on Moscow to commit to not carry out testing.

READ ALSO: Putin Accuses IOC Of ‘ Ethnic Discrimination’ Against Russians

“Unfortunately, it represents a significant step in the wrong direction, taking us further from, not closer to, entry into force” of the treaty, Blinken said in a statement.

This continues Moscow’s disturbing and misguided effort to heighten nuclear risks and raise tensions as it pursues its illegal war against Ukraine,” he said.

Putin last week oversaw ballistic missile drills in what Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said was practice for a “massive” retaliatory nuclear strike against an unnamed enemy.

Putin also said last month he was “not ready to say” whether Russia would carry out live nuclear tests.

READ ALSO: We Killed 600 Russian Soldiers, Destroyed Putin’s Party Headquarters In One Day – Ukraine

– ‘Deeply regrettable’ –

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) has urged Russia to continue its commitment to the treaty, including the use of monitoring stations capable of detecting the slightest explosion in real time.

“Today’s decision by the Russian Federation to revoke its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty is very disappointing and deeply regrettable,” CTBTO head Robert Floyd said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

France, one of the treaty’s original signatories, said it “deplored” Russia’s decision to revoke the ratification.

“Russia’s decision compromises the work of making the treaty universal. We reaffirm the importance of the CTBT and its full implementation,” it said.

The bill to revoke the treaty passed through Russia’s parliament last month in a fast-track process.

READ ALSO: Why We Shot At Fubara — Rivers Police

During parliamentary hearings, State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said the move to revoke the treaty was a response to the United States’ “cynicism” and “boorish attitudes” on nuclear weapons.

Although it never entered into force, the agreement was ratified by 178 countries, including nuclear powers Russia, France and Britain, and has symbolic value.

The United States as well as China have never ratified the treaty, a key obstacle for it coming into force.

President George H.W. Bush in 1992 signed into law a unilateral ban on US nuclear testing that has since been extended. But the Senate rejected ratifying the test ban treaty in 1999.

Current President Joe Biden and his Democratic predecessors have supported ratification but treaties under the US Constitution require two-thirds support, a prohibitive threshold with many Republicans wary of any international limits on US power.

The treaty’s backers say it established an international norm against live tests of nuclear weapons, but critics say the potential of the deal remains unrealised without the ratifications of major nuclear powers.

Russia’s parliament ratified the agreement in June 2000, six months after Putin first became president.

 

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FULL LIST: Agencies That May Be Scrapped Based On Oronsaye 800-page Report

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President Bola Tinubu has ordered the full implementation of the Oronsaye report.⁣

As a result, the government announced the merging, subsuming, scrapping, and relocation of several agencies.

In 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan established the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions, and Agencies, with Mr. Steve Oronsaye as the Chairman.

Coming from a private sector background, Oronsaye transitioned into the civil service at a senior level and ascended to the position of Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

Submitted in 2012, the Oronsaye report highlighted the existence of 541 Federal Government parastatals, commissions, and agencies, both statutory and non-statutory.

The 800-page report recommended the reduction of statutory agencies from 263 to 161, scrapping 38 agencies, merging 52, and reverting 14 to departments in different ministries.

A previous investigation by The PUNCH found that the Nigerian government has the potential to save more than N241bn if the recommendations are put into action.

READ ALSO: 20 Insights Into Oronsaye Report As EFCC, FRSC, Others Set For Merger

Below is a list of some of the agencies that may be scrapped if the Oronsaye report is fully implemented as ordered by President Tinubu:

One of the key suggestions in the report is the consolidation of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission into a single agency.

Additionally, the report recommended the elimination of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission and the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, with their responsibilities being incorporated into the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
The Salaries and Wages Income Commission is likely to face a similar fate..
38 Federal Agencies were recommended for abolition, including the Public Complaints Commission, National Poverty Eradication Programme, Utilities Charges Commission, National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, National Intelligence Committee, and more.
National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS be merged as a Department under the Centre for Disease Control in the Federal Ministry of Health.
The merger of National Emergency Management and the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Tinubu Orders Full Implementation Of Oronsanye Report⁣ ⁣

The Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa be abolished and its functions, along with those of the Technical Aids Corps, transferred to an appropriate Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Infrastructure Concessionary and Regulatory Commission be subsumed in the Bureau of Public Enterprises for greater synergy and their enabling laws amended accordingly.
It was suggested that the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, and the Nigerian Metrological Agency should be combined into a new entity called the Federal Civil Aviation Authority, with their laws adjusted to accommodate the merger.
The committee suggested merging the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council to enhance resource management and utilisation.
The committee suggested repealing the enabling law of the National Commission for Nomadic Education and transferring the Commission’s activities to the Universal Basic Education Commission.
The National Council of Arts and Culture will combine with the National Theatre and the National Troupe to form a single organisation.

READ ALSO: Peter Obi Knocks Tinubu Over Arrest Of BDC Operators

The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure be merged with National Centre for Agricultural Mechanization and Project Development Institute
The committee suggested that the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria and the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission be abolished, with the government focusing solely on offering consular services and vaccinations to prospective pilgrims.
The Nigerian Communications Commission, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission and the regulatory functions of the Nigerian Postal Services were recommended by the committee to be merged.
The National Information Technology Development Agency to be fused into the Ministry of Communication Technology
Nigerian Television Authority, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria & Voice of Nigeria into the Federal Broadcasting Corporation of Nigeria.
The Nigerian Army University to be merged with the Nigerian Defence Academy; to function as a faculty with the the Nigerian Defence Academy.

Air Force institute of Technology also to function as faculty within Nigerian Defence Academy.
Debt Management Office to become an extra-ministerial department in the Federal Ministry of Finance Public Health Department to return to the Federal Ministry of Health
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Council was recommended to merge with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council to enhance resource management and utilisation.

One important recommendation from the committee was to stop providing government funding to professional bodies and councils. Therefore, it is necessary to revise the Professional Bodies (Special Provisions) Act of 1972, which requires the government to offer financial assistance to these organisations.

The list comprises various professional councils and boards in Nigeria, such as the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, Computer Professionals Council of Nigeria, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, Nigeria Press Council, Architects Registration Council, Council for Registered Engineers of Nigeria, Estate Surveyors’ Registration Board, Town Planners Council, Nigerian Builders Council, Quantity Surveyors’ Registration Board of Nigeria, and Council of Nigerian Mining Engineers and Geoscientists.

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20 Insights Into Oronsaye Report As EFCC, FRSC, Others Set For Merger

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After years of clamour by Nigerians, President Bola Tinubu on Monday ordered the full implementation of the Oronsaye report.

By implementing the report, several agencies of the government would be merged, subsumed, scrapped, and relocated. ⁣

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, revealed this to State House correspondents after Monday’s Federal Executive Council meeting at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja. ⁣

Here are things to know about the report

– President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, in 2012, set up the Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies.

– The committee was headed by a retired federal civil servant and former Head of Service of the Federation, Stephen Oronsaye.

– After their painstaking assignment, the committee recommended the scrapping and merging of 220 out of the then existing 541 government agencies.

– If implemented, no fewer than 102 heads of agencies and parastatals will lose their jobs.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Tinubu Orders Full Implementation Of Oronsanye Report⁣ ⁣

– The committee’s 800-page report noted that the government’s parastatals and agencies’ functions are overlapping.

– The committee recommended the reduction of statutory agencies from 263 to 161.

– The committee recommended the abolition of 38 agencies, the merger of 52 and the reversion of 14 to departments in ministries.

– The committee also recommended the management audit of 89 agencies capturing biometric features of staff as well as the discontinuation of government funding of professional bodies/councils.

– Oronsaye said then that if the committee’s recommendation was implemented, the government would be saving over N862 billion between 2012 and 2015.

– The breakdown showed that about N124.8 billion would be reduced from agencies proposed for abolition; about N100.6 billion from agencies proposed for mergers; about N6.6 billion from professional bodies; N489.9 billion from universities; N50.9 billion from polytechnics; N32.3 billion from colleges of education and N616 million from boards of federal medical centres.

– If implemented, agencies that may be affected include the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, and Federal Road Safety Commission.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Tinubu Holds Crucial Meeting With Dangote, Elumelu, Others

– Other agencies cited doing overlapping functions are the Nigerian Communication Satellite Limited, the National Broadcasting Commission and the Nigeria Communications Commission in the area of frequency allocation.

– Also, the Universal Basic Education Commission, Nomadic Education Commission, and National Mass Literacy Commission are performing overlapping functions and should be brought under one body.

– The committee again believes NTA, FRCN, and VON should be under one management.

– After the committee’s report, the White paper committee set up by Jonathan’s administration rejected most of the recommendations, while those accepted were not implemented.

– In November 2021, the Federal Government inaugurated two committees; one of the committees was to review the Orosanye report and its white paper chaired by Goni Aji, a retired Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

– The second committee was constituted to review agencies created from 2014 till date, chaired by Amal Pepple, also a retired Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Tinubu Sets Up Tripartite Economic Advisory C’ttee

– Upon submission of their reports, the Federal Government in July 2022 set up another committee chaired by Ebele Okeke, a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to produce a white paper on the reports.

– Speaking during the presentation of the white paper to the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, in Abuja, Okeke stressed that it is important to discuss with the leadership of the National Assembly to achieve the desired result, adding that most of the agencies created were products of bills from the National Assembly.

– She said, “The committee observed that the legal framework/enabling Act of some of the PACs did not clearly define structure, management, and oversight. Most of the laws were used by agency, commission and board interchangeably. For instance, where the organisation is defined as a commission, the provisions of the law did not support the structure of a commission. In this regard, the committee recommended a change in status/name, and amendment of the Act/Law.

“The committee observed that most of the agencies created (especially under Education and Health) were Bills that emanated from the National Assembly. It is, therefore, important to engage and dialogue with the National Assembly to generate an understanding to streamline the creation of new PACs.

“It is noteworthy that some of the recommendations can be considered as low-hanging fruits that can be implemented immediately after approval of the white paper.”

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Qatar Makes U-turn, Says Investment Forum ‘ll Hold During Tinubu’s Visit

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Qatar has made a U-turn on its decision not to host the business and investment forum proposed by President Bola Tinubu during his visit slated for March 2, 2024, to the Arab country.

This followed a leaked memo on Saturday which showed that Qatar declined the proposed investment forum, citing the unavailability of the country’s minister of commerce and industry, Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Also, the embassy of Qatar in Abuja had said there is no agreement between the Arabian country and Nigeria regarding the investment forum.

Recall that the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Abuja stated this in a letter dated February 22 2024 addressed to the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nigeria.

READ ALSO: $6.2m Fraud: Presidency Asks INTERPOL To Arrest Three Suspects

But in the letter, which was received by the ministry on February 23 2024 and sighted by our correspondent on Saturday, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Qatar apologised for the rejection of the proposed business visit.

Reacting to the alleged rejection, the Presidency said the Qatari government did not snub Tinubu.

It explained that the botched investment forum between the Nigerian and Qatari business communities was only one of several events lined up ahead of the President’s state visit to the Gulf country.

“It is not correct for anyone to insinuate that the Qatari authorities have snubbed the Nigerian leader over a business and investment forum which is tangential to the all-important state visit and which President Tinubu is slated to attend as a guest,” a statement signed by Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, on Saturday read.

READ ALSO: Presidency Reacts As Qatar Allegedly Rejects Tinubu’s Visit, Business Talk

Onanuga, in a statement titled, ‘President Bola Tinubu’s state visit to Qatar,’ in response to a leaked note between the foreign ministries of both countries explained that Tinubu was expected to proceed to Qatar on the state visit as scheduled and during the visit, the Nigerian leader would engage in high-level bilateral discussions with Qatari leader on many important matters, covering the full range of diplomatic and economic issues.

However, in a twist of event, the Qatari has confirmed that the business parley will be held during Tinubu’s visit to the country in a memo dated Sunday, February 25, 2024, addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Qatar embassy said, “Regarding the upcoming State visit of H.E. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Qatar from 2nd-3rd March 2024 and with reference to our Note: Ref: QEA/FA/057/24 dated 22/02/2024 regarding holding of a Business and Investment Forum (BIF) on the margins of Mr. President’s visit to Qatar on 2nd March 2024.”

“The Embassy has the honour to convey that the Qatar Chamber of Commerce will host the above-mentioned event on March 3, 2024, as proposed by the Nigerian side.”

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