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Critics of Iran Nuclear Deal Debate the Way Forward

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FILE -- In this Dec. 29, 2016 photo, released by the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency, a long-range S-200 missile is fired in a military drill in the port city of Bushehr, on the northern coast of the Persian Gulf, Iran.
During his speech Tuesday to the U.N. General Assembly, U.S. President Donald Trump made his disdain for the nuclear agreement with Iran absolutely clear. "The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into," Trump said. "Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don't think you've heard the last of it, believe me."
On the sidelines of the UNGA, some prominent critics of the Iran nuclear deal endorsed his position Tuesday, debating how best to move forward to prevent Tehran from becoming a nuclear weapons state, while underscoring concerns about Tehran's links with North Korea.
Participants in the United Against Nuclear Iran conference (UANI) agreed they see flaws in the 2015 deal, which offered incentives to Iran in return for guarantees that it would not develop nuclear weapons. But speakers disagreed on whether the United States should attempt to renegotiate and expand the deal negotiated under former President Barack Obama, or scrap it altogether.
Imperfect, yet valuable
Former U.S. Ambassador Bill Richardson said that according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United States and other experts, Iran is largely complying with the nuclear deal. "It's not perfect, but I think we should retain that," he said.
Richardson, also a former member of Congress and governor of Arizona, is well-known for his role as a U.S. diplomatic envoy on missions to North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries during the 1990s — assignments that earned him three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. He cited the current threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and missile activity in his comments about the Iran agreement.
"We can't afford to have a nuclear Iran and a nuclear North Korea. Both of them, by the way, are working together," Richardson said. "So, I think it's important that we dramatically increase our commitment to get Iran to be more responsive on issues like terrorism. It's going to be hard."
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the brother and son of two former U.S. presidents, agreed it was probably best to use the 2015 deal for leverage over Iran, but to enforce it more rigorously.
FILE - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks during a Faith and Family Presidential Forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., Feb. 12, 2016.
FILE - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks during a Faith and Family Presidential Forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., Feb. 12, 2016.
"These technical defaults are serious. The idea that you call something technical when it's a violation of the agreement — there needs to be consequences," Bush told the UANI conference. "So I don't know what kind of leverage we would necessarily have if we get out of the agreement right now."
Critical of Obama
Bush, a former presidential candidate himself until Trump secured the Republican Party's nomination last year, criticized Obama's handling of the nuclear deal with Iran, and said Trump found himself in a tough position when he took over the White House this year.
"He was left a really difficult circumstance, because all of the benefits are front-loaded for Iran and all the possible benefits for the rest of the world, the United States, are theoretically at the end, maybe," Bush said. "And so, getting out of this agreement, we lose some of our leverage."
The U.S. is set to decide in October whether to recertify Iran's compliance with the deal, which was signed by the U.S., the European Union, China and Russia. The pact is known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. If the United States fails to recertify Iran next month, another question would arise: whether Washington should withdraw from the agreement altogether.
Supporters of the JCPOA argue that the 2015 deal was the best possible arrangement that the world powers could get Tehran to agree to, in order to prevent it from becoming a nuclear weapons state. Many fear pulling out of the agreement would lead to Iran's quick development of nuclear weapons, and most likely result in a military conflict, with unpredictable consequences.
Another former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, disagreed.
If Trump does not recertify Iran's compliance by mid-October, Bolton said, "the president has a subsequent decision [about] whether to pull out of the deal entirely. I think he should. I think we should abrogate the deal."
FILE - Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, May 22, 2015.
FILE - Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, May 22, 2015.
"I think the argument that you don't certify, but stay in, is a kind of one-shoe-on, one-shoe-off foreign policy," Bolton continued. "It may suit a 5-year-old; it doesn't suit the United States."
Pyongyang-Tehran cooperation
Bolton, widely viewed as a foreign policy hawk, said the Iranian deal was too similar to failed deals with North Korea, and the evidence of past nuclear cooperation between Pyongyang and Tehran did not bode well.
The UANI conference took place near the United Nations, where Trump lambasted the two "rogue states" in his first speech before the General Assembly.
Trump called the Iranian government a "corrupt dictatorship" whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos, and he blasted North Korea as a "depraved regime" responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of its people as well as imprisonment, torture, killings and kidnappings.
"If this is not twisted enough, now North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life," said Trump, who threatened to "totally destroy North Korea" if the U.S. or its allies were forced to defend themselves.

IPOB Members Storm UN Office To Protest Against President Buhari (Pics, Video)

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IPOB Members Storm UN Office To Protest Against President Buhari (Pics, Video)
Members of the Indigenous People of Bifafra IPOB, stormed in front of the United Nations office in New York to protest against president Muhammadu Buhari who is in the country for the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly.. According to them, they are agitating against the killings and destruction of properties during the military invasion in Abia state.

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Why e-Payment Start-ups Fail in Nigeria

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point of sales
For the electronic payment sub-sector of Nigeria’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry to grow its start-ups, some limiting factors must be overcome completely.
Challenges currently identified as stunting the growth of payment start-ups in Nigeria, include un-scalable business model; insufficient funding; no advantage over existing solutions; skills shortage; regulation and too much competition.
Africa Payments Innovation Jury 2017, an insider’s view to the Continent’s payment and Fintech services, presented at the just concluded Interswitch organized ‘Connect Conference’ made available to The Guardian, said the electronic payments industry experiences continuous innovation on a worldwide basis, with new entrants aiming to grab a share of the market, and established players trying to defend and grow their existing business.
Africa, according to the jury, is no exception to that trend, and there is additional impetuses in the region to innovate because of the opportunity to bring large sections of the population that currently have access to electronic payment services into the digital payment world.
However, according to them, there are challenges for the industry because operating margins are always under pressure, but the payment sector remains attractive because the market continues to expand, and there is opportunity for players to participate in the transaction value.
Giving further insight, the Jury explained that un-scalable business model accounted for 27 per cent of reasons for payment start-up failures; insufficient fund 24 per cent; no advantages over existing solutions 15 per cent; skills shortage 13 per cent; regulation 12 per cent and too much competition nine per cent.
The Jury disclosed that African payments and Fintech entrepreneurs are faced by a shortage of venture capital — more acute than in other regions of the world, which is restricting their ambitions.
They stressed that the shortage of investment is marked at the angel and series level. A stage with many investors opting to wait until the business model is proven and the company is profitable.
The Chairman, Africa Payments Innovation Jury, John Chaplain, said the main reason for the failure of start-ups is that the business models are not scalable, which is attributed to a shortage of strategic and product development skills.
Chaplain advised that when introducing electronic payments into substantially under-banked markets, although breadth of service offering is critical to long term profitability. “It is important to identify the first use cases that encourage consumers to use digital payments services. Arguably when a consumer uses one electronic payment service regularly, it is easier to encourage them to use further services—but the first service is key.”
The Global Jury, which includes eight African members, rated Asia as the home to most payments innovation over the next two years, a position that it has held since inaugural 2008 jury.
The top rating for Asia comes from China now being widely seen as the global Fintech leader and other countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand rapidly modernising their payments infrastructure. Africa is rated just behind Europe and ahead of North America and Latin America.
According to the Jury, with 81 per cent preference, Africa is seen as the best location to start payments business today.
‘Africa is at the beginning of its growth curve with significant opportunity for leapfrogging international trends. The potential is very promising and the market is still virgin. East and West Africa would be the preferred markets,” the Jury stated.

See The 18 Exotic Cars, Including 3 G-Wagon & 4 Lexus Intercepted By Customs In Abuja

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 See The 18 Exotic Cars, Including 3 G-Wagon & 4 Lexus Intercepted By Customs In Abuja  
Officials of Nigeria Customs Service in Abuja have revealed that they have intercepted a total of 18 exotic cars.

The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hammed Ali, during a briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, explained the reasons for the interception of vehicles.

He said the reason for the interception of vehicles bothers on non-payment of duties and the purchase of bulletproof cars without a permit from the office of the security adviser.

Some of the cars intercepted include two range rovers; one Rolls Royce; four Lexus jeeps; three G-wagon; one Prado jeep and one navigator jeep, among others.

See photos below;

 See The 18 Exotic Cars, Including 3 G-Wagon & 4 Lexus Intercepted By Customs In Abuja

Peter Okoye supports wife, Lola Omotayo after she posts message preaching about love and kindness!

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In the midst of a possible rift between him and his twin brother, Psqaure's Peter is standing in support of his wife and mother of his children, Lola.
Peter Okoye supports wife, Lola Omotayo after she posts message preaching about love and kindness!

Jonathan cautions Buhari against taking operations to South South, South West

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 Jonathan cautions Buhari against taking operations to South South, South West
Fayose wants UN to probe exercise
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has cautioned his successor, Muhammadu Buhari, against extending his military expedition to the South-South and South-West geopolitical zones.
In a statement yesterday by his aide, Reno Omokri, the erstwhile Nigerian leader faulted the military for labelling the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terror group, insisting that it lacks such right.
He stressed that since the country was under military rule, the armed forces ought to be separated from the police in a democratic setting. According to him, the soldiers were trained to contain external aggressions.
Slamming the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, for alleging that the activities of the agitators began after he lost the 2015 polls, Jonathan challenged him to identify, arrest and prosecute sponsors of the group.
His words: “We want to advise the Buhari administration, which has announced plans to extend the military show of force to the South-South South-West through Operation Crocodile Smile, to tread with caution.
“Nigeria is no longer under military rule. In a democracy, you separate the military from the police. The military is not meant to fight criminality within a nation because they are trained to fight a nation’s external enemies.
“It is the police that are trained to fight crime internally. When the military starts doing the job of the police and fighting what they call a ‘show of force’, the effect will not be to reduce crime. The effect will be to intimidate people.
“If the government in which Lai Mohammed serves knows which opposition members are sponsoring IPOB, then they should identify, arrest and prosecute them.”
He went on: “Ever since Lai Mohammed made his ill-advised statement, a principal member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government and Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has come out to say that the actions in the Southeast are troubling and some of it are unconstitutional. Is he also sponsoring IPOB too?
“It is our suspicion that Lai Mohammed is talking from history as he criticised my government for banning Boko Haram in a statement he released on June 10, 2013, even though our administration had gone through due process before proscribing that murderous sect.”
Meanwhile, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has called on the United Nations to investigate the ongoing activities of the military in the South East, maintaining that no extant law empowers the exercise.
In a statement yesterday by the his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, he described the Minister of Information as “an embodiment of contradictions,” asking him to also name the backers of the group.

NECA Faults NBS 2.19 Percent Growth, Says Economy Still in Recession

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Larry Ettah 
Larry Ettah
The Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA) has faulted recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that Nigeria had exited recession, saying the economy was still in the woods.
Speaking in Lagos recently, its President, Larry Ettah, said major policy responses must be considered to ensure robust and sustainable growth, as well as effective implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Dissecting the report, Ettah observed that while it was positive that headline year-on-year inflation had moderated from 18.72 per cent to 16.05 per cent largely due to base effects (high base occasioned by shock to energy prices in 2016), several components of inflation still remained high.
He said other components that remained high include clothing and footwear at 15.8 per cent, education 15 per cent, imported foods 14.1 per cent, furnishings and household equipment maintenance 12.3 per cent, transport 11.7 per cent and health 10.3 per cent.
He noted that the review of the NBS Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data showed that the marginal growth recorded in the second quarter (Q2) 2017 was weak and fragile, stressing that additional measures were required to ensure sustainable economic growth to the extent that the economy does not relapse into recession.
“We recommend strong implementation of the ERGP to boost local and foreign investors’ confidence in the Nigerian economy and generate additional investments, which appears critical to building a sustainable recovery.
“We note that against our population growth rate of 3.2 per cent, any GDP growth lower that two per cent makes no significant impact on poverty, unemployment and inequality and is insufficient to ensure business growth and profitability.
“We urge economic planners to adopt measures to attain the growth targets stated in the ERGP. Already, we fear that the 2.19 per cent growth target in ERGP for 2017 appears unattainable,” Ettah said.
He pointed out that the NBS report for Q2 confirmed the dire situation in most economic sectors including manufacturing, trade, telecommunications, hospitality, construction, real estate, transport and professional services.
Ettah added that it also showed the poor state of the country’s social sector, as shown by the recession in education and health sectors.
He stressed that it was clear that policy responses were yet to reverse these negative trends.
“We are of the opinion that government needs to adopt specific, targeted and effective policies to attract and promote private capital investments in the Nigerian economy, especially infrastructure and industry.
“So far, it does not appear as if the rhetoric in ERGP to make markets work and leverage private capital as the engine of growth, has been matched by appropriate policy responses.
“With regard to inflation, we are worried by the continued rise in food prices with domestic food inflation reaching 20.3 per cent in July 2017, according to NBS data,” he stated.

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