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France Wants ‘Clear Message’ From China To Russia Over Ukraine War

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France’s top diplomat said on Monday that Paris wants China to send “clear messages” to its strategic ally Russia over its war in Ukraine, after meetings with his counterpart in Beijing.

France and China have sought to strengthen ties in recent years and, during meetings in Paris in February, Foreign Minister Wang Yi told President Emmanuel Macron that Beijing appreciated his country’s “independent” stance.

But Paris has also sought to press Beijing on its ties with Moscow, which have only grown closer since the invasion of Ukraine.

While China says it is a neutral party in the Ukraine conflict, it has been criticised for refusing to condemn Moscow for its offensive.

Paris has, in contrast, become one of Kyiv’s firmest backers, with Macron in February even refusing to rule out putting troops on the ground in Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said Monday that Beijing “plays a key role in… the respect of international law, including on Ukraine’s sovereignty, and therefore we are clearly expecting that China will send very clear messages to Russia”.

“We are convinced that there will be no lasting peace if it is not negotiated with the Ukrainians,” he told a press conference in Beijing, speaking alongside his Chinese counterpart Wang.

“There will be no security for Europeans if there is no peace in accordance with international law,” he continued.

“It is an essential issue for us, which is why France is determined to maintain a close dialogue with China,” he said.

Sejourne’s visit is the second to China by a French foreign minister in less than six months, following a trip by his predecessor Catherine Colonna in November.

On Monday afternoon he met with Premier Li Qiang at Beijing’s opulent Great Hall of the People, telling China’s number two official he wanted to discuss “global situations that are fracturing and dividing the world today”.

“I am thinking of the situation in the Middle East, but also in Ukraine,” he said.

Li said he was “very happy” to welcome the minister to Beijing.

“Our two countries have a long history and splendid civilisations,” Li said, hailing their shared “spirit of independence and autonomy”.

“This explains why China and France have a natural sense of closeness,” he said.

Macron also visited last April, receiving a rock star welcome at a university in southern China from hundreds of screaming students and fans.

But he faced accusations of cosying up to Beijing and sparked controversy by saying Europe shouldn’t be a “follower” of the United States in the event of conflict with China over Taiwan.

His foreign minister’s visit this week comes as part of events marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China.

Sejourne will later in the day take part in the launch of the “Versailles and the Forbidden City” exhibition, where around 60 works of art and valuables from the palace can be viewed by the public until the end of June.

France’s efforts to improve ties with Beijing come as the EU seeks to shield itself from excessive reliance on China.

That “derisking” has emerged in recent months as a core pillar of the European bloc’s economic policy towards China, spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The term contrasts with the more drastic approach known as “decoupling” — pursued by some policymakers in the United States who aim to isolate China or cut all commercial ties with the country.

The EU increasingly views China as a “partner”, but also as “an economic competitor and systemic rival”, a report by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said last month.

In Beijing on Monday, Sejourne said decoupling was not on the cards.

But, he said, an “economic rebalancing” was needed to ensure trade was “healthy and sustainable”.

Foreign Minister Wang, in turn, said he “appreciates” Sejourne’s rejection of decoupling.

“It is not possible to decouple from China, and decoupling from China is the biggest risk,” Wang said.

“I believe that it has been proved, and will continue to prove, that China is an opportunity and not a risk for Europe. Both sides are partners and not rivals.”

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PDP Flays Appointment Of Many Aides By Ekiti Gov Oyebanji

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The Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has criticized Governor Biodun Oyebanji for wasting the meager resources of the state on a large number of political appointees, describing the exercise as an attempt to syphon the state’s treasury his second term ambition.

The opposition party is kicking against the recent appointment of over 110 Special Assistants (SAs), Senior Special Assistants (SSAs) and Technical Advisors (TAs) announced by the state government.

Oyebanj had earlier in November 2023 appointed no fewer than 162 aides including 79 senior special assistants (SSAs), 73 special assistants (SAs) and 10 technical advisors (TAs).

The PDP Publicity Secretary in the state, Raphael Adeyanju, in a statement made available to journalists in Ado Ekiti on Friday, said the governor has turned the state to a poverty alleviation center for his hungry party members.

“How can a reasonable government engage in this form of stupid exercise when the ordinary citizen is grasping for survival as a result of inhuman policies of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) both at the national and state levels?

“Before the recent outrageous appointment, the governor already has an over bloated cabinet with over 21 commissioners and 14 Special Advisers in a bid to enrich his party faithfuls at the expense of the generality of Ekiti people.”

Noting that Oyebanji has abandoned governance for politicking, the PDP spokesman claimed that the state governor has failed all the electoral promises he made to Ekiti people.

“How can a governor that has not spent two years in office be planning for a second term when he has not met the aspirations of the electorates?

“The failure of the APC led government is evident in the current biting economic hardship and unprecedented surging wave of insecurity in Ekiti.

“The best way to prepare for a re-election is to win the trust of the electorates by providing quality leadership with life-enhancing projects and people-oriented programmes that will endear the governor to his subjects.

“Instead of doing the right thing, the governor is busy running after endorsement of sycophants and enemies of Ekiti masses,” Adeyanju said.

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‘Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish’, Nigerians React As High Court Sentence Bobrisky To Six-Month Imprisonment

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Nigerians have taken to microblogging platform, X (formerly known as Twitter) to express their thought on the court judgment, which saw cross-dresser, Idris Okuneye, popularly known as Bobrisky, sentenced to six months imprisonment.


Recall that Bobrisky, on Friday, was sentenced to six months in jail with no option of a fine.

The judgement was passed by Justice Abimbola Awogboro of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Recall that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, April 4, filed six-count of money laundering and abuse of naira against him.

On Friday, April 5, the EFCC arraigned Bobrisky in court on six charges, including Abuse of the Naira and Money laundering.

The court, however, dismissed the money laundering charges but convicted him of Naira Abuse after he confessed to the crime.

Some Nigerians, reacting to the court judgement, saw the ruling as an injustice against the cross-dresser.

Others wondered which section Bobrisky will be in jail because of the controversy around the gender he aligns with.

See some reactions below:

@brodamike07 wrote, “If this is true, the judgment is harsh and should be condemned by all.”

@Grachidex wrote, “So is it gonna be the male or female prison?”

@iamkelechiO wrote, “I honestly don’t feel sorry for him. He’s a bad influence in the society.

“Good riddance to bad rubbish.”

@_konfam wrote, “This is not right at all, they’re sentencing him over what everyone is guilty of?”

@IamKonrade wrote, “I hope this sets precedence and that anyone who violates the naira, politicians inclusive, is sentenced.”

@JoyMart14 wrote, “May we not offend people wey no deh accept apology ”

@Iamlexprince wrote, “Ok, now this is pure wickedness and jealousy. Bobrisky is the least of our problem in this country. If they channel that same energy to the right people, we for no dey complain for this country.”

@divfee wrote, “This country funny, is she the first to spray money like this in naija??

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Bobrisky Wiill Have Difficult Experience In Prison – Effiong

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A Human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, says controversial cross-dresser and social media celebrity, Idris Okuneye, popularly known as Bobrisky, will have a difficult experience in prison.

According to Effiong, Bobrisky is not a freedom fighter and does not seem like someone who could stay in a restricted environment under harsh and excruciating conditions.

Effiong’s opinion came after a Court in Lagos sentenced Bobrisky to six months imprisonment for abusing the Nigerian currency, Naira.

Justice Abimbola Awogboro handed down the six-month sentence without the option of a fine.

Recall that the controversial celebrity has been in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, since his arrest last week.

However, following his sentencing by the court, the human rights lawyer fears that Bobrisky will be confronted by a culture shock when he enters Ikoyi Prison.

In a post on his X handle, Effiong suggested that he would begin to adjust to his new world after a few days.

He said: “Bobrisky will have a difficult experience in the Custodial Centre (prison) because he is not a freedom fighter and does not seem to me like someone that can stay in a restricted environment under harsh and excruciating conditions.

“The main key to surviving imprisonment is mental strength and courage.

The prison wall only breaks those who are not driven by strong convictions.

“For a freedom fighter, it is a training ground. No true activist goes to prison and comes out weaker. They always come out stronger and bolder. History shows this clearly. Any activist who is broken by imprisonment is a pretender.

If you are all about the ‘soft life’, and you are the fragile type and incapable of enduring physical discomfiture, you should avoid imprisonment.

Some of us came out stronger after our imprisonment because we have always been mentally prepared for it and due to our strong ideological disposition.

“Bobrisky will be confronted by a culture shock when he enters Ikoyi Prison and realizes that it is a different world from what he knows.

“After a few days, he will begin to adjust to his new world.

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