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JUST IN: Osinbajo departs Abuja for G7 Summit in Italy

 

The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has, Saturday, departed Abuja for Taormina, Sicily in Italy for the ongoing G7 Summit. The summit began on Friday, May 26 and will end on Saturday, May 27. The Special Assistant on Media to the Acting President, Laolu Akande made this known to newsmen on Saturday morning. According to him, “Acting President, Osinbajo, invited to ongoing G7 summit in Italy to represent Nigeria, leaves this morning and is expected back later in the evening today.”

 

Members of the G7 made up of the leaders of the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – countries collectively known as the Group of Seven (G7) – meet annually to discuss issues affecting the world in general. File: Ag. President Osinbajo leaving Nigeria The summit kicked off with a ceremony at an ancient Greek theater perched on a cliff overlooking the sea where war ships patrolled the sparkling blue waters. Leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States said they would hold talks on terrorism, Syria, North Korea and the global economy. “No doubt, this will be the most challenging G7 summit in years,” Donald Tusk, the former Polish prime minister who chairs summits of European Union leaders, said before the meeting got underway.

 

The U. S. White House economic adviser Gary Cohn predicted “robust” discussions on trade and climate. However, U.S President, Donald Trump, had dismissed human-made global warming as a “hoax” during his election campaign and he is threatening to pull the United States out of a 2015 climate deal clinched in Paris in 2015. But fellow G7 leaders are trying to convince him to stay in. Cohn and other administration officials have said Trump will wait until after the summit to decide.

 

“This is the first real opportunity that the international community has to force the American administration to begin to show its hand, particularly on environment policy,” said Tristen Naylor, a lecturer on development at the University of Oxford and deputy director of the G20 Research Group. The summit is being held near Europe’s most active volcano, Mount Etna. French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and British Prime Minister Theresa May will also be attending the elite club for the first time. May is expected to leave a day early, following Monday’s suicide bombing at a concert in northern England that killed 22 people carried out by a suspected Islamist militant of Libyan descent who grew up in Britain. G7 leaders were expected to issue a separate statement on terrorism on Friday, before issuing their formal communique on Saturday. Italian officials have suggested the final communique will be shorter than 10 pages.

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At the last G7 summit in Japan it totaled 32 pages. However, before Professor Osinbajo departed Nigeria for Italy, he made a dramatic visit to the Garki market in Abuja where he was given rousing welcome by traders who trooped en mass to see and welcome their Acting President. The visit of Osinbajo attracted a large turnout of traders, shoppers and onlookers who besieged his motorcade to welcome him and his entourage to the market. Osinbajo arrived at the market about 3:10 pm and spent 40 minutes interacting with traders who complained about high cost of shops as well as high cost of wares. The traders particularly complained of high cost of fish, onions and rice. He interacted with a fish seller who sought government’s intervention to reduce the cost of the shop which is N250,000 per annum. A rice seller, Alhaji Nasiru Maiyaki Kuryfi, complained of inadequate store space, saying that the market management had not been able to complete the shops they paid for long ago.
 

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