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Niger crisis: Tinubu welcomes Central Africa’s support for ECOWAS

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Niger crisis: ECOWAS Heads say all options still on table

President Bola Tinubu has praised the solidarity of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) on the political impasse in the Republic of Niger.

This is contained in a statement by Mr Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, on Tuesday in Abuja.

The President spoke when he received the Special Envoy of President Ali Bongo Ondimba and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Gabon, Mr Hermann Immongault, at the State House in Abuja on Tuesday.

The President said the special message of support and solidarity from President Bongo, who doubles as the Chairman of ECCAS, expressed the full support of ECOWAS resolutions on the unconstitutional takeover of government in Niger.

This, according to him, proved once more, that military interference in democratic governance is not acceptable anywhere, and certainly, no longer in the African continent.

“I appreciate the solidarity and support of President Bongo on the situation in Niger. We are working not to compound the problem. We have well-meaning people who have intervened.

“I understand the fear of our people on any form of military action. We are working to keep the sanctions in place, and we are following them to the letter.

“We are happy to know that ECCAS is with us on this. Interference in democratic governance is not acceptable to ECOWAS.”

Tinubu, who is also Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, promised to work with Bongo and the ECCAS to restore constitutional order in Niger.

He reinforced the position of the regional body not to accept any attempt by the military junta in Niger to intimidate and harass President Mohamed Bazoum.

“We will work with ECCAS and keep President Bongo informed on our actions and we will continue to collaborate,” Tinubu assured.

In his remarks, the Special Envoy commended the leadership of ECOWAS and President Tinubu for the steps taken so far to restore democracy in Niger.

He added that Bongo and ECCAS were in full support of all ECOWAS resolutions on the Niger Republic military takeover.

“President Bongo has been following your efforts and those of other ECOWAS leaders on the situation in Niger. President Bongo and ECCAS strongly condemn the coup in Niger.

“He sent me here to tell you that he supports ECOWAS and your leadership in what you are doing to ensure democratic governance is restored in Niger.

“With Boko Haram attacks in Cameroon, piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and the refugee situation in Chad, whatever happens in West Africa affects Central Africa.

“My President joins efforts with you and ECOWAS to find a solution to the crisis in ECOWAS,” he said.

The Special Envoy said he would communicate the firm solidarity between ECCAS and ECOWAS to the military authorities in Niger as they meet in the coming days.

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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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