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Trump sets to exit landmark Cold War nuclear missile treaty with Russia

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The United States said Friday it would exit a landmark Cold War nuclear missile treaty due to purported violations by Russia, which has warned of a new arms race in Europe.

Washington says a new Russian medium-range missile system breaches the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, although US officials also have an eye on China as the 1987 pact restricts the United States but not the rising Asian power.

President Donald Trump said the United States was suspending its obligations under the INF treaty as of Saturday and starting a process to withdraw in six months.

Brokered by US president Ronald Reagan with last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the treaty ended a superpower buildup of warheads that had frightened Europeans, banning ground-launched missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (around 300 to 3,400 miles).

“The United States has fully adhered to the INF treaty for more than 30 years, but we will not remain constrained by its terms while Russia misrepresents its actions,” Trump said in a statement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States, which formally announced its concerns two months ago, had raised the alleged treaty violation with Russia more than 30 times.

“Russia’s violation puts millions of Europeans and Americans at greater risk, it aims to put the United States at a military disadvantage and it undercuts the chances of moving our bilateral relationship in a better direction,” Pompeo said.

But Pompeo said the United States was still willing to talk to Russia in hopes that it comes into compliance.

Trump, speaking later to reporters, said he would like to “get everybody in a big and beautiful room and do a new treaty,” but in the meantime, the United States “can’t be put at a disadvantage.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has sought a warm relationship with Trump but is widely reviled by the US establishment, has declared that the US withdrawal would set off a new arms race

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Imo: House of Assembly recalled five members it suspended for months

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Imo State House of Assembly has finally recalled five of its members it suspended six months ago over alleged “un-parliamentary” conduct.

The lawmakers were recalled during the Tuesday plenary of the state Assembly presided over by Speaker Acho Ihim.

Announcing their recall, Ihim said the lawmakers were recalled after invitation for an interaction during the Assembly executive session.

The Imo State House of Assembly had in October 2018, suspended the lawmakers on allegations bothering on un-parliamentary conduct.

The recalled members are Chiji, Uche Oguwuike, Ifeanyi Nnataraonye, Donatus Onuigwe, and Kenna Nzeruo.

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Senator: Buhari has no favourite candidate – Yusuf

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The Senator representing Taraba Central senatorial district, Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, on Tuesday disclosed that contrary to speculations in certain circles, President Muhammadu Buhari was not supporting any particular aspirant for the office of the 9th Senate President.

Speaking with select newsmen in his office, Yusuf stated that Buhari told the aspirants to go into wider consultations with their colleagues in the hallowed chamber for support.

In his words, “I’m only speculating Mr. President on this issue.

“Buhari has no particular aspirant in mind to support. He said everybody is free to contest.

“He has asked all interested aspirants that they are free to aspire but urged them to consult widely with their colleagues for support.”

When further grilled, the Taraba senator said nobody among the aspirants should be contented with being nominated by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, leadership.

He added, “Since the position was zoned to the North-East, it is the duty of the lawmakers from the geo-political zone to harmonise and have a consensus candidate”.

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President Buhari congratulates newly elected Isreali Prime Minister

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President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the State of Israel on his victory in the parliamentary election.

President Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Sunday, extended best wishes to the people of the State of Israel in the aftermath of the successful conclusion of the poll.

The Nigerian leader, who also wished them peace, progress and stability, said he looked forward to continue to work with the Israeli Prime Minister to strengthen existing cordial and mutually-beneficial relations between the two countries.

Buhari wished Netanyahu a successful new term in office and prayed that his record fifth term would bring enduring peace and security to the Middle East.

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APC challenges Atiku’s nationality. The former vice president replies

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Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the 2019 election, has said the All Progressives Congress (APC) does not deserve an answer, after contesting his Nigerian citizenship.

The former vice-president stated this in a statement, signed by his media aide, Paul Ibe, on Saturday.

Atiku and the PDP are challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s victory at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, claiming that from the data in INEC’s server, he actually polled a total of 18,356,732 votes while Buhari recorded 16,741,430.

But APC urged the tribunal to dismiss PDP’s petition for incompetence, arguing that Section 131(a) of the Constitution stipulates that a person must be a citizen of Nigeria by birth to be qualified to contest for the office of the President.

Atiku’s statement read: “Dear citizens of our beloved country, Nigeria, His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, told us previously that he has verifiable and incontrovertible evidence to show that the last Presidential elections were fraudulent, not credible and did not reflect the will of the Nigerian people, and he has been vindicated by the response of the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, to his petition to the Electoral Tribunal hearing the petition he filed.

“The former Vice President based his case on facts and statistical evidence and challenged both the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC, to disprove his factual submissions.

“The fact that the APC chose to base its defence on the ridiculous assertion that the Waziri Adamawa is not a Nigerian should show to Nigerians the type of characters we have in the APC and its government, whose legitimacy runs out on May 29, 2019.

“The position of the APC is so pedestrian and shows such straw clutching desperation on their part, that I shall not dignify it with an answer. Our lawyers would, of course, do the needful in court. But the point I want to draw the attention of Nigerians to is that both the APC and its candidate have by this infantile logic admitted to the fact that they trampled on the will of Nigerians and that their only defence is to attempt an unconstitutional redefinition of the term ‘Nigerian’.

“I am, however, confident in the Nigerian judiciary, as well as in the Nigerian people. I trust that the Tribunal will treat such a claim with the contempt it deserves. We must maintain our fidelity to the rule of law and to our fountain of origin, the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended).

“Atiku Abubakar has served our nation diligently in various capacities, form the civil service, where he rose through merit, to the top of his chosen field, to public service, where, by the grace of God, he was the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Moreover, he has committed his assets and talents to developing our nation through the provision of tens of thousands of direct jobs and hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs.”

Atiku added that those who have made Nigeria the world headquarters for extreme poverty, are the very people whose Nigerians should be in doubt “and not a man who worked with President Olusegun Obasanjo to double the per capita Income of our nation in less than eight years.”

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