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Nigerian lawmakers approve $2.4 bn funds for security, coronavirus vaccines

Nigerian lawmakers on Wednesday approved some 982.7 billion naira ($2.4 billon) additional budget funds to help the government buy COVID-19 vaccines, and equipment for its security forces. Africa’s top oil producer, Nigeria is struggling with the economic impact of the pandemic and a slump in crude prices as well as surging violence from criminal gangs and its grinding jihadist insurgency. The approved amount is $216.8 million higher than President Muhammadu Buhari’s request made to the lawmakers in June and is expected to be sourced through international and local borrowing. Most of the funds – around 722 billion naira ($1.8 billion) would go towards the procurement of additional equipment for security forces, Senator Barau Jibrin, chair of the senate appropriation committee, said. Around...

Coronavirus: England to lift mask, distancing rules July 19

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday revealed plans to lift most of England’s legal coronavirus restrictions, including face masks and social distancing from July 19, urging personal responsibility rather than government edict. Johnson had initially aimed for a full reopening on June 21, but was forced to push back the date because of a surge in the highly contagious Delta variant. That variant now accounts for nearly all new Covid-19 cases in Britain, and infection rates have soared, sparking concern. But mass vaccinations have stopped a resultant surge in hospital admissions or deaths. “This pandemic is far from over, it certainly won’t be over by the 19th,” warned Johnson. “We must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from Covid. “There’s only one reason why we can contemplate g...

Mali coup: Ghana to host Extraordinary ECOWAS Summit in Accra

Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has stated that the country will on Sunday, May 30, host an Extraordinary ECOWAS Summit in Accra. Addressing the press, Saturday, Mrs. Ayorkor Botchwey noted that the purpose of the meeting is to enable several heads of state, led by Chairman President Akufo-Addo to address the current political tensions in Mali. “In line with the ECOWAS protocol on democracy and good governance, the President of the Republic, Nana-Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo in his capacity as chair of the ECOWAS authority of heads of state and government, following due consultations with his peers decided to convene this extraordinary summit. “The purpose of the Summit is to enable the authority to deliberate and take consequential decisions on the evolving polit...

President Buhari seeks international support for peaceful transition in Chad

President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday called on the international community to support a peaceful transition from military to democratic government in Chad. He made this known at a summit put together to discuss recent developments in Chad after the death of President Idris Deby last April. At the summit, Mr Buhari called on: “development partners and countries particularly France, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Russia; the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union, as well as other friendly and partner nations to support the transition framework put in place by Chad’s Transition Military Council led by General Mahamat Idris Deby.” ‘‘The need to support the Chadian government to effectively carry out its planned 18-month transition is sacrosanc...

President Buhari presides over extraordinary summit of Lake Chad Basin Commission

President Muhammadu Buhari has summoned an extraordinary summit of Heads of State and Government of Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. Newsmen report that other sub-regional leaders participating in the summit include the Presidents of Niger Republic, Mohamed Bazoum and Central African Republic, Faustin Touadera. Others are Mahamat Idriss Deby, President of the Transitional Military Council of the Republic of Chad, while Cameroon’s President Paul Bryan, was represented at the meeting. Other participants at the summit include representatives of Mohamed Al-Menfi, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, and the Sudanese President. Newsmen report that the leaders would be discussing the growing security threats in Sahel and Lake Chad region, politica...

ASEAN changed Myanmar statement on release of political detainees – sources

A draft statement circulating the day before a Southeast Asian leaders’ summit on the Myanmar crisis included the release of political prisoners as one of its “consensus” points, said three sources familiar with the document. But in the final statement at the end of Saturday’s meeting, the language on freeing political prisoners had been unexpectedly watered down and did not contain a firm call for their release, two of the sources said. The absence of a strong position on this issue caused dismay among human rights activists and opponents of the coup, fuelling criticism by them that the meeting had achieved little in the way of reining in the country’s military leaders. read more Activist monitors say 3,389 people have been detained in a crackdown on dissent by the military since the Feb....

President Buhari appoints new DTCA, NIIA chiefs

President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Ambassador Rabiu Dagari as Director-General of the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA). The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Gabriel Aduda, in a letter dated April 8, 2021, addressed to Dagari, said the appointment was for an initial period of four years with effect from March 16, 2021. Letter read: “The terms and condition of your appointment is as provided in the appointment of Chief Executives of Government Parastatals and Agencies in the Federal Public Services. “It Is hoped that your performance at the Interview/screening exercise as well as your experiences as a seasoned Diplomat/Administrator will be brought to bear in the discharge of your duties as the Director-General of the Directorate,” Aduda...

Ebonyi attacks: VP Osinbajo visits affected communities

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has assured the people of Ebonyi State that justice would be served in the case of persons recently killed by assailants in the Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Osinbajo stated this on Sunday when he visited the affected communities including Egedegede, Obegu and Amuzu. He was led to the affected communities by the state governor, Dave Umahi. The vice-president also directed the National Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Ministry Of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management And Social Development to assess the level of damage done by the assailants with a view of providing succor for the affected communities. According to the governor, at least 15 persons were killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen who attacked the communities on the ...

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan launch new Nile dam talks in DRC

A new round of African Union-mediated talks between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan has begun aimed at resolving a years-long dispute over a massive dam built by Addis Ababa on the Blue Nile, a main tributary of the Nile river. The three-day talks that kicked off on Saturday are taking place in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the current chair of the AU. Foreign and irrigation ministers of the three nations were attending the talks over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), along with AU experts, according to Ethiopia’s Irrigation Minister Seleshi Bekele. A Sudanese diplomat was quoted as saying by The Associated Press news agency that the experts from the three countries and the AU met on Saturday, ahead of ministers who would meet on Sunday and Monday. He s...

Senator Tinubu inaugurates Kano’s anti-graft commission office

The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Bola Tinubu, has lauded Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State for strengthening anti-corruption institutions. Tinubu gave the commendation on Sunday in Kano while inaugurating the Office of Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission. The APC leader praised Ganduje for “his efforts in fighting corruption”. “This is a welcome development indeed and we salute the governor for this encouraging effort. “In ensuring Nigeria becomes a member of a committed international community that frees us from the burden of corruption this and similar edifices could play an important role in that. “To a lot of us looking forward to a prosperous, corruption-free Nigeria and Africa today is dedicated to that objective,” he pointed out. In...

More than 90 killed in Myanmar in one of bloodiest days of protests

Security forces killed more than 90 people across Myanmar on Saturday in one of the bloodiest days of protests since a military coup last month, news reports and witnesses said. The lethal crackdown came on Armed Forces Day. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the junta leader, said during a parade in the capital Naypyitaw to mark the event that the military would protect the people and strive for democracy. State television had said on Friday that protesters risked being shot “in the head and back”. Despite this, demonstrators against the Feb. 1 coup came out on the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and other towns. The Myanmar Now news portal said 91 people were killed across the country by security forces. A boy reported by local media to be as young as five was among at least 29 people killed in...

Ex-pope Benedict chides ‘fanatical’ Catholics who reject his resignation

Former pope Benedict has chided conservative Roman Catholics who have not accepted his decision to resign as “fanatical”, telling them that there is only one pope and it is Francis. Benedict, now 93, in 2013 became the first pope in more than 600 years to resign instead of ruling for life, saying he no longer had the strength to govern the 1.3 billion-member Church. Some hardline conservatives unhappy with the more liberal Pope Francis have often voiced doubts about whether Benedict stepped down willingly, even though he has said several times in the past eight years that he did. “It was a difficult decision. But it was a fully conscious choice and I think I did well (to resign),” he told Italy’s Corriere della Sera in a interview published on Monday. “Some of my more fanatical friends are...