US, Iran Face-off: Trump Announces New Sanctions Hours After Strikes On US Bases
President Trump announced new economic sanctions against Tehran but did not call for more military action against the Iranians during his first formal public remarks about the conflict since ordering the drone strike of Iran’s most important general last week.
“The United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it,” Mr Trump said.
Flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and other military officials, the president did little to explain his reasoning for ordering the death of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.
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On Tuesday, the Iranians retaliated by launching more than 20 ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq where Americans are posted. Mr Trump said no Americans were killed.
The administration has referenced vague intelligence threats against American interests to explain the decision to kill the Iranian general. And even that was conflicting and confusing. Mr Trump was forced to walk back threats to target Iranian cultural sites after Mr Esper made clear that such actions would be a war crime.
“As we continue to evaluate options in response to Iranian aggression, the United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime,” Mr Trump said.
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The United States already has crippling sanctions in place against Iran. In June, Mr Trump announced a new round in response to Tehran’s aggressive actions against tankers in international waters. And in the spring of 2019, the United States cut off revenues from Iranian oil exports, hitting directly at the heart of the country’s economy.
(NYT via SUN)
Photo credit: sunnewsonline.com
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Edo Sets Up Task Force To Tackle Fuel Crisis
The Edo State Government has commenced inspection to check fuel scarcity, hoarding, and a hike in the price of premium motor spirits in the state.
According to the special adviser to the governor on media projects, Cruseo Osagie, The task force set up to regulate the product, on Tuesday, inspected fuel stations in the Benin Metropolis to check against hoarding, as well as address the issue of artificial scarcity and arbitrary hikes in prices of petroleum products in the state.
Speaking to journalists during the inspection, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Mining, Ferguson Enabulele, said the state government will carry out further engagements with relevant authorities on the matter.
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He said, “We discovered under-dispensing in some of these stations, over pricing which cannot be fully justified as some are saying the sector has been fully deregulated but there is no formal letter from the state government concerning that. So, we still stand with the old prices of these products.
“It’s a bit difficult to reach a specific position on this issue now (pricing). We will hold further conversations with the DPR Office in the State and thereafter, inform the state governor of our findings.
“We will invite owners of filling stations to engage with them also. It is when we have that information that we will now know what to do because as we stand, there is no formal authority deregulating that sector but as against what most of these petrol stations are acting on – as if the sector has been fully deregulated and they have control over their pricing.”
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He appealed to the residents to be patient as there is going to be more engagement with the Department of Petroleum Resources to arrive at an authoritative position.
Senate Amends ICPC Act, Slams 2 Year-imprisonment On False Petitioners
The Senate on Tuesday passed an amendment to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC Act with stiffer punishment for false petitioners.
Specifically, the amendment to Section 25 of the Act, now provides two-year imprisonment with no option of fine on anyone whose petitions to the commission is found to be false or intended to mislead.
This was sequel to the consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, chaired by Senator Suleiman Abdu Kwari (APC Kaduna North).
In the principal Act, the offence of false petition attracts a fine of N100,000.
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The amendment in Section (25) (1) says Any person who makes or causes any other person to make to an officer of the commission…any statement which to the knowledge of the person making the statement, or causing the statement to be made is false, or intended to mislead shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two (2) years.
The Red Chamber had in the past, planned to streamline the operations of the ICPC with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC so as to make it more proactive.
EFCC Told To Start Probing Buhari, Leave Ortom
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been urged to start probing the immediate past President, Muhammadu Buhari and leave ex-Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom.
Unconfirmed reports had it that EFCC had allegedly invaded Benue State, in an attempt to arrest Ortom.
It was claimed that the anti-graft operatives were invited on the orders of the Minister of Interior, George Akume.
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Reacting, Ortom had said the anti-graft agency operatives were welcomed into the state because he had nothing to hide.
However, a civil society organization wondered why EFCC was looking away from the alleged corruption allegations against Buhari’s government, but opted for Ortom.
Ternenge Bendega, the President of Benue Coalition for Democracy, BCD, recalled that in August 2018, after Ortom dumped the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on account of gross insecurity and his maltreatment by the leadership of APC in Benue State, the EFCC had went after him like a rabid dog.
A statement by Bendega reads: “Yesterday, the media were awash with reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC was laying ambush to apprehend the immediate past Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on alleged corruption charges. The reports however did not state what Chief Ortom’s offense was.
“The government of Muhammadu Buhari is on record as the most corrupt administration in the post-independence history of Nigeria! Trillions of naira have been stolen under the watch of “Mr Integrity”, but the EFCC and other anti-graft agencies always look the other way while the country is being raped. They prefer to oppress those who have volunteered to fight for justice, like Samuel Ortom.
“Former President Muhammadu Buhari did not hide his disdain for Ortom. He wanted Ortom removed at all costs and his agent for executing the “project” was Senator George Akume, the leader of APC in Benue State.
“Today, the EFCC, apparently following the wink and prompting of the immediate past President, has resumed the witch-hunt of Ortom? But what is the former Benue Governor’s crime? His only “sin” is his boldness to challenge the powers behind the Fulani occupation agenda. He has dared to take the tiger by the tail. Ortom is apparently the first Governor to directly question the Fulani subjugation machinery and refuse to shift even a foot backwards.
“The immediate past Benue State Governor also knew that the beast would fight back and he prepared his mind for the war ahead. In the last couple of weeks, he often told his audience that he was ready to visit the EFCC if the commission wanted him to appear before it. What is not clear is why the commission would want to arrest a man who is willing to answer charges against him.
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“EFCC has exhibited the height of impunity by its selective war against financial crimes in the country. The situation where the commission harasses innocent citizens on politically motivated grounds is unacceptable.
“We task the EFCC to beam its searchlight on corrupt officials in the immediate past administration of President Buhari who turned the national treasury to their personal estate.”
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