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Niger: ECOWAS Parliament divided over military intervention as option

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ECOWAS parliament

The ECOWAS Parliament was on Saturday divided over taking military action as an option aimed at tackling the political situation in Niger Republic and restoring civil rule there.

Some members made called for actions that would nip in the bud military incursion into politics within the region, while others identified diplomacy and dialogue as the best approaches to tackling the crisis.

No fewer than 22 parliamentarians participated in the virtual extraordinary meeting to discuss the political crisis in Niger.

Some members who were against military intervention highlighted the economic woes that the people of Niger could experience if invaded.

Ali Djibo, from Niger Republic said already at least 9,000 schools had been closed down owing to the crisis.

“War will only compound the economic woes the peoples of the sub-region are already going through.

“As we speak, over a thousand trucks, loaded with goods, are stranded at the border.

“If a coup happened in Nigeria or Cote’d’Iviore tomorrow, where’s the ECOWAS going to mobilise troops to fight the Nigerian or Ivorian military? How many borders are we going to close?

“We must also bear in mind that if we’re applying the ECOWAS treaty, it should be applicable to all.”

Awaji-Inombek Dagomie Abiante (Rivers), ECOWAS must pay keen attention and treat the root causes of coups in ECOWAS countries

Members of the ECOWAS Parliament making a case for military intervention in Niger said diplomacy had contributed in no small measure to the increase in the spate of military takeover of government in the West African sub-region.

Contributing, Adebayo Balogun, posited that ECOWAS leaders were proposing military action to remove the junta. not clamouring for a fully-fledged war.

He recalled that Niger was a signatory to ECOWAS’ revised protocol on non-military intervention.

Also, Bashir Dawodu expressed the belief that the body should open itself up to the possibility of a military option and apply pressure on the putschists while exploring dialogue.

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Putin Registers As Candidate For Russia’s Next Presidential Election

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Russia on Monday officially recognised Vladimir Putin as a candidate for the presidential elections in March, a vote that he is all but certain to win.

The 71-year-old has led Russia since the turn of the century, winning four presidential ballots and briefly serving as prime minister in a system where opposition has become virtually non-existent.

The Central Election Commission said it had registered Putin, who nominated himself, as well as right-wing firebrand and Putin-loyalist Leonid Slutsky as candidates for the vote.

The election will be held over a three-day period from March 15 to 17, a move that Kremlin critics have argued makes guaranteeing transparency more difficult.

Following a controversial constitutional reform in 2020, Putin could stay in power until at least 2036.

Rights groups say that previous elections have been marred by irregularities and that independent observers are likely to be barred from monitoring the vote.

While Putin is not expected to face any real competition, liberal challenger Boris Nadezhdin has passed the threshold of signatures to be registered as a candidate.

However, it is still unclear if he will be allowed to run, and the Kremlin has said it does not consider him to be a serious rival.

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Hong Kong court grants Chinese real estate giant reorganisation postponement

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Hong Kong’s Supreme Court has once again granted the highly indebted Chinese real estate giant Evergrande a postponement for its reorganisation plan.

Judge Linda Chan surprisingly postponed the decision until Jan. 29, the South China Morning Post reported on Monday.

The property developer, which has liabilities estimated at more than 300 billion dollars, is threatened with liquidation.

However, creditors from abroad had taken the company to court because of its missing several payments.

Chan had already said at the previous hearing that this would be the last postponement and that she would very likely agree to liquidation if China Evergrande did not find a plan for restructuring with its creditors.

According to reports, however, the lawyers of the Hong Kong-listed group had now held out the prospect of being able to reach an agreement with the lenders in the coming weeks.

In the case of liquidation, an insolvency administrator would monetise the company and pay out the creditors.

Meanwhile, some experts were of the opinion that liquidation would return less money to creditors than a reorganisation, China Evergrande argued the same in court, according to reports.

The group had been trying to submit a restructuring plan since 2022, without success. Its founder and once China’s richest man, Hui Ka Yan, is being investigated by the Chinese authorities.

Like many other property groups, the company had been in a serious crisis for some time because it is earning significantly less on the slumping property market.

The company is finding it more difficult to obtain state support and is no longer able to service its loans.

“The Evergrande case also shows that the era of large private property developers in China is coming to an end,’’ says Max Zenglein from the Merics China Institute in Berlin.

If Chan decides to wind up China Evergrande, this could also have an impact on other companies.

“One challenge for the government will be to prevent domino effects in the economy caused by major bankruptcies,’’ says Zenglein.

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