THE AFRICA DAILY Tue, 26 May 2020 17:14:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 South African Security Services failed to warn about the Coronavirus Tue, 26 May 2020 12:09:06 +0000 Every year South African tax payers spend billions of rands on our intelligence agencies to protect the State from foreign threats of all shapes. From every measure South Africa’s intelligence agencies have not risen up to the ongoing social and economic calamity emanating from Covid-19. Worse still, the thinking and practices of the state security establishment are an obstacle to what is required to arrest the global pandemic.

That the intelligence agencies failed to warn the ANC government of the Covid-19 outbreak is not an idle proposition. These agencies monumentally ignore the health related threats posed by the pandemic despite having huge budget and resources to do so.
The South African security system has thousands of employees and huge budget. Unfortunately the orientation of the intelligence agencies hasn’t changed to deal with the new exigencies faced by the new nation since 1994.

Repurposing the national intelligence agencies has become huge challenge but necessary. Yet the intelligence agencies have operated as if South Africa hasn’t gone through political, economic and social transformations.

Couple of years ago this author at the height of the Ebola virus crisis recommended to the Presidency the imperative for a medical intelligence unit to track how global health trends and contagions could impart international relations and military obligations out of the country. As it were the advice was ignored.

Regarding the Covid-19, I am informed the Intelligence agencies did their work as required. As to when the Coronavirus was reported and who received the information is still unknown.
Admittedly South Africa’s security system is a victim of its historic orientation. For intelligence agencies like ours fighting terrorism is appealing not least it justifies its relevance. Health emergencies such as the Coronavirus is best left to national health authorities.

It is my contention that failure by South African National intelligence agencies to warn and protect the country from the pandemic manifest the dangerously narrow outlook of the intelligence community.
It is still the strong opinion of this writer that South Africa’s intelligence agencies could have done better to prevent the calamity by gathering actionable intelligence on China as far back as November 2019.

At best South Africa should have leveraged its membership in BRICS to engage in intelligence sharing. That this was not done is a reflection of the poverty of our international relations and current lukewarm attitude towards BRICS.

In the main, preventing and arresting global pandemics such as Covid-19 requires unfettered exchange of information. It equally demands international solidarity.
Sooner or later Covid-19 crisis will fizzle away and hopefully South Africa will direct the state security infrastructure towards initiatives that protect ordinary South Africans’ security, rather than on amorphous concept of threats.

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OPEN LETTER TO THE UN, US, UK: ON IMPENDING GENOCIDE IN NIGERIA Sat, 23 May 2020 14:19:23 +0000 Dear Secretary General; The United Nations,  The Government of the United States, The Government of the United Kingdom, The Global Community,

While the whole world has been pre-occupied with the existential threats to humanity posed by the global pandemic, momentous developments have been taking place in Nigeria which we feel compelled to bring to the attention of the United Nations.

At the end of March 2020, General Mohammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria declared a national lockdown, barring Nigerians from coming out of their homes and declaring “no-movement” for cars except those on essential duties and no inter-state travels.

But under the cover of the COVID 19 lock-down, thousands of armed men between the ages of 18 and 35 years were being systematically transported across the length of Nigeria, over 1,000 kilometers from Northern Nigeria to occupy South East Nigeria, including other Southern parts of Nigeria.
They came hidden amidst bags of cement, inside oil tankers. They also came mixed with sack and sacks of beans, tomatoes and onions, while others simply boarded commercial vehicles and long distance trucks belonging to Dangote industries. The federal government’s claim of moving food from Northern Nigeria to the South of Nigeria turned out a cover for those who were moving arms and armed men into the South Eastern hinterland. On interception, it was gathered that the men are Fulani militias coming from all over Africa. It is understood that they are encouraged to come to Nigeria where the Life Patron of the Fulani World-wide Association of Cattle breeders, “MIYETTI ALAH”  is the President of the Nigeria.

Fulanis have historically harboured the dream of occupying one country all on their own in the African continent. Since General Buhari’s accent as President of Nigeria in 2015, they have seen Nigeria as the easiest place to take over, and the time of Buhari’s presidency as the best moment to strike. In the past five years, there has been a massive influx of Fulanis, many of whom do not speak English, applying and obtaining Nigerian passports. Others have spread all over the South especially South East Nigeria, using their cattle to eat up farm products, killing the farmers, raping their wives and daughters, burning down villages. In Nsukka, Enugu State, they wiped out a whole village. In Anambra state, the people of Amansea community in Awka South local Government Area awoke one day to see the bodies of 30 men of their village floating  on EZU River, there have been various other attacks in every part of Igboland such as, Imo State, Abia State, Ebonyi State and in other native Igboland across the River Niger such as Ibuzo, Okpanam and Asaba areas of Delta State Nigeria. 
None of the perpetrators of these crimes have been arrested or questioned, these crimes against humanity have gone without check, condemnation or a word of caution from the government of Buhari, he seems to relish each and every attack on the Igbos.

Buhari himself had in 2017, under the guise of a military operation code named Operation Python Dance mauled to death hundreds of unarmed Igbo youths whose only crime was to exercise their natural and inalienable rights to Self Determination, which rights are recognized and guaranteed in the United Nations Charter on Human Rights. Many of the youths that were arrested during this atrocious and barbaric military operation are still in detention at undisclosed locations, some have died in detention and their remains buried in unmarked mass grave, while some have been permanently damaged and maimed. 

To heighten these bizarre occurrences, helicopters were sighted on several occasions at night, dropping supplies for unknown persons in the thick forests of South Eastern (Igbo) heartland.

In 2019, the Fulani dominated federal government of Nigeria attempted to advance the agenda of occupation by creating colonies for Fulani people in every state of the federation. The scheme called the “Ruga Settlement” scheme was discovered and a massive outcry and opposition ensued forcing government to suspend it temporarily.
Now, the proponents have adopted a more brazen, violent tactic of armed conquest and land occupation. 

That was why while other Nigerians took cover to survive COVID 19, the Fulani were busy making more frantic efforts to conquer and occupy South Eastern Nigeria. What is bewildering is that the five states of South East Nigeria put together are only 29,525 square kilometers. This is less that the size of Kogi state, one of the smallest states in Northern Nigeria (29,833) square kilometers. Niger State of Nigeria alone, which is in the Northern part of Nigeria is bigger in land mass than the South East and South South of Nigeria put together. Why are they settled there?

Based on this, the idea is taking hold that their mission is not driven by a financial motive but must be propelled by a more compelling force. 
We believe that at the heart of this move is their long mission to force a change of religion and lifestyle on the people of Eastern Nigeria (IGBOs).

What has made the plan all the easier to execute is the complete control of the Nigerian government, Armed Forces and Police by people of Fulani decent and their northern accomplices. One of the first actions taken by President Buhari on ascent to the Presidency of Nigeria was to ensure the total control of the security architecture of the country by Fulanis and their Northern allies.  Today, the Chief of Air Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, the Director General of State Security Services, the National Security Adviser, the Director General of National Intelligence Agency “NIA”, the Head of Customs and the Inspector General of Police are all Northerners and Fulanis. Only the Chief of Naval Staff is from Southern Nigeria.  At the same time, all South Easterners on the top three tiers of the Arms Forces and security were retired.  As a result, the security of the country is planned and executed by one ethnic group that constitutes less than 2% of the population, to the exclusion of people of Southern Nigeria.

The lady Nigerian representative at the United Nations is also a Fulani, she has been sent there on purpose; which is to block any attempt to reach the United Nations, hence this open letter.

This letter is to brief you and alert the United Nations, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and indeed the global community on what appears to be an impending, well coordinated plan to attack, cleanse Eastern Nigeria of the Igbo stock, occupy and foist the Moslem religion on the area, taking advantage of the confusion and weaknesses introduced by the Covid 19 pandemic.

We assure you that we in the South East of Nigeria and the entire Igboland will not allow this to happen.

We therefore urge you to kindly advise the federal government of Nigeria not to further support or lend protection to this scheme which will without any doubt stir up big problems for the country. The President should be advised to identify and immediately take stringent action against members of his government involved in this obsession for conquest and land occupation in South Eastern, ans the entire South of Nigeria.

We conclude by requesting the United Nations, the United States Government, the United Kingdom and the International Community to do all in their powers to halt this barbaric endeavor which has gone on under the watch of Buhari and the federal government officials for some time now.

While looking forward to your kind prompt intervention, we extend the highest respects of the people of Eastern Nigeria to you and your organization, and your countries.

Most Respectfully,

Austin Okeke Esq.

Igbo Board of Deputies (Email: Twitter: @Boardigbo. Facebook: Igbo Board of Deputies)

Prof. Justin Akujieze

Ekwe Nche (USA)

The United States Government 
The British Government; The French Government; The Russian Government; The Israeli Government; The Government of Germany; The Government of Japan; The Australian Government; The Canadian Government; The South African Government; The African Union;  ECOWAS; The SADEC Region; The UNPO; The International Court of Justice; The United Nations Committee on Human Rights ; The East African Economic Development Community; The Commonwealth; The Government of Norway; The Government of Sweden; The Government of Denmark; The Americas; The Caribbean Islands Nations and Governments, The Government of South Korea; The ASEAN Nations

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Uncertainties rock Nigerian’s Downstream as Global Oil Price slumps! Sat, 16 May 2020 21:55:10 +0000 Read More "Uncertainties rock Nigerian’s Downstream as Global Oil Price slumps!"

By Oladotun Roy

The reality of having to bear the brunt of what Covid 19 pandemic has caused globally is gradually unfolding itself, particularly in what has become of oil and gas sector in Nigeria, one of the well known oil-based economies in the world.

There is no gainsaying, when there is a restriction in movement of the people from one point to another in a bid to avert the spread of a pandemic, automatically there would be sharp reduction in Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) demands.

This is with obvious exception of many Nigerians, who as a result of epileptic power supply still rely on Diesel and Petrol to power their Generating sets and even at that the consumption is nothing compare to vehicular consumption.

On one hand, it is an open secret, that the sudden crash in the global oil price is currently putting Nigeria amongst worst hit nations. However, several questions that civil society groups and concerned citizens are beginning to ask are:
What are the cushioning efforts by the federal government? How would Nigeria scale this dicey period? What does future hold for an economy like Nigeria that relies on Crude oil as mainstay? Are there hope for sustainable diversification of economy? All these questions amongst others are yet to be answered.

On the other hand, a critical assessment of myriads of challenges bedeviling the downstream sector that have made it non-existent over the years such as backlog of unpaid debts by the Federal Government to the Oil marketers, vandalisation oil pipelines, illegal bunkering among others depict a total bleak future for the oil and gas sector in Nigeria without strong policy directions.

This is in spite of subsidy removal efforts and the recent several reductions in PMS pump prices by Federal Government, a commendable moves with no clearly defined objectives.

As Oil based economy, Nigeria needs strong policy direction in terms of critically reviewing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in line with international standards as well as Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC) by leveraging several of its Twelve Percepts as guidelines in achieving long lasting reforms and transformation within the sector.

Precepts 7 of NRC outrightly speaks to channeling revenues from resource extraction to finance growth in non-resource economy and improve standards of living. It further suggests that if managed poorly, the government can squander revenues and subject the economy to economic shocks, leading to wasteful spending, poorer public and private sector investment choices, over-borrowing, debt crises and ultimately poorer human development.

Therefore, the optimal way to utilize the opportunities from resource endowment is to deploy the resource revenues for present needs without compromising the needs of the future generation.

Looking at the current juncture we are now as a nation, it shows a whole lot has gone wrong already. Perhaps had Precept 7 of NRC were put into cognizance, Excess Crude Account which is currently in red wouldn’t be. While the Sovereign Wealth fund would not be at USD2.2bn.

For several months, countless advocacy campaigns have been held urging the legislators to prioritise the review of PIB, having survived several amendments during the 8th Assembly. And yet, 9th Assembly has been foot-dragging regarding the review and passage of this important Bill in order salvage the Nigeria’s Oil and gas sector and be made to deliver on its original development agenda for the citizens.

Globally, nations with Oil and gas resources like Nigeria such as Canada, Qatar, Kuwait, have recorded massive developmental growth with unbeatable and unimaginable Gross Domestic Products while also topping global Human Development Index in the recent times, ever before the pandemic.

These nations could not have achieved these feats with rather dead or non-existent downstream sector.

A cursory look at several reports on how Canadian Oil and Gas Sector has transformed and harnessed her downstream sector to her advantage shows that no Oil based economy would survive hard times without a viable downstream sector and strong policy direction.

According to Nordor Intelligence, “as of 2018, Canada’s refining capacity was approximately 2.0 million barrels per day. The Canada oil & gas downstream market is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of more than 0.9% during the forecast period.

Canadian Downstream Growth prediction by CAGR from 2020-2025, Source:

It was also predicted that the rise in population, urbanization, and industrialization in Canada, is expected to drive the oil & gas downstream market during the forecast period.

Canada’s refining sector is expected to dominate in the market, on account of increasing demand for refined products from the petrochemical industry. That is typical example an economy that has prepared ahead for the days of uncertainties.

Another major issue Nigeria might have to contend with in the global market is the price of her crude oil in comparison with other major players such as Russia and Saudia Arabia who have decided to crash down the price of crude oil per barrel.

Recent reports have stated that Saudi Arabia now sells at about USD5 per barrel; Russia at about USD19 per barrel while unprepared Nations such as Nigeria still hoping to sell at SD25 -USD33 per barrel while the global oil price gradually slumps to USD19. So which would you rather buy from amongst three nations? Of course the cheapest would have more demand than those with relatively higher prices.

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DECLAN OKPALAEKE: WINNER CNN AFRICAN JOURNALIST AWARDS Fri, 15 May 2020 16:30:22 +0000 DECLAN OKPALAEKE,  in 1999 won the overall prize in the CNN African journalist of the year award in Johannesburg,  South Africa. 
Declan was the first Nigerian to win it, and still is the first person on the African continent to win in three different categories. 
The current President of South Africa; His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa was the special guest at the event. He had a chat with Declan after the event, and congratulated him for his excellent work and achievements.

The zenith any journalist on the African Continent could attain in the field of journalism is to win this covetous CNN African Journalist award.
This is an annual competition sponsored by CNN to support and empower journalists on the African continent. 
The award comes with a rich package of money,  glamor,  recognition,  trophy, contracts, and a tour of the CNN facilities in the USA. 
Declan on a different academic feat all together had won a one year fellowship program at Harvard. 

Most journalists on the African Continent look forward to the event held in Johannesburg, South Africa. They submit entries from which the panel of judges select winners of various categories,  and then the overall winner of the prestigious award at the end.
Declan Okpaleke won the overall award in 1999, which was held in Johannesburg. Declan would proceed to win more awards in subsequent years, these were in addition to several other awards he had won in Nigeria.

I am mighty proud to say that Declan was my classmate at Saint Finbar’s Catholic College Akoka in Lagos. He was our Senior Prefect at the time. 
Saint Finbar’s Catholic College was home to Stephen Keshi, Henry Nwosu, Wakilu Oyenuga, Olumide Banjo, Nduka Ugbade, Samson Siasia, Christopher Anigala, Sunday Joseph, Joseph Dosu of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic games gold medalist, my humble self and hosts of other great soccer stars Nigeria had so far produced.

Let me also add that Declan now wants to contest for a seat in the Federal House of Representatives  come the next general elections; he plans to go do the bidding for his constituency in Imo State of Nigeria. 
He has to win. Not only for fitness for purpose, but also for sincerity of purpose. These attributes are lacking in the polity of the geographical area currently known as Nigeria.
We must overhaul all the parliamentarians representing the South East of Nigeria. They all are of no good to the Igbo land. They have failed not only the very same people they purport to represent, but have gravely offended the land. They must go!

We need new crop of political leadership in both the States and National levels; we must ensure this come the next general elections in Nigeria. If there would be any at all, given that the rule of law has suddenly vanished. 
Nigerians deserve better than the mess that emanates everyday from the National Assembly and the Presidency in Abuja, Nigeria. That is if the geographical area currently known as Nigeria will still hold.

During and around 2001, one fateful Saturday morning, I had visited the late Tina Onwudiwe in her Johannesburg home.
She was there with her two lovely daughters; Camilla Mobolaji Johnson (the brother to a former governor of Lagos state is her father), and Nigi her younger sister. Xolani, her son and her eldest child born of a South African father wasn’t home at the time I arrived.
Tina was down. She couldn’t even stand from her bed; her speeches were slurred. I noticed she wasn’t going to make it without medical attention, I  immediately called an ambulance.
She was taken to the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg. A private and very expensive hospital it is.
I immediately informed the Consul General of Nigeria at the time; Ambassador Charles Onwuagbu about what had happened. He asked to speak to the ambulance personnel, this was to guarantee the hospital charges etc.
Ambassador Onwuagbu and Tina are from the same Ogbunike town in Anambra State of Nigeria.

In no time,  the Ambassador subsequently joined us at the hospital to ensure that Tina was admitted without any delay. He later swiped his credit card in fulfillment of his undertaking.
In a few days, Tina was diagnosed with cancer of the lungs. She used  to be a chain smoker in her hay-days, she confessed to me, but later quit as she got older.
We knew, and were rightly informed that Ambassador Onwuagbu would not sustain the hospital bill for long. The bill was huge.
I, as the leader of the Nigerian community in South Africa at the time, reached out to some Nigerians for financial assistance. I managed to raise a few here and there but, it didn’t last for long.
I would later lose one academic year of varsity, including the university fees I had paid as a result of Tina’s condition, and the task of raising funds for her. I don’t regret putting a stop to my studies for one bit. Someone got to do it, ain’t it?

I became frantic. I was determined not to let down a Nigerian music icon, not on my watch. I know of so many national icons that were abandoned by their own countries. What a shame. 
Tina would do the same for anyone. She would fight for you.
As fate would have it, the genius, Declan Okpaleke had come again in 2001 for yet another CNN African journalist of the year award. Again, he won that prestigious award. 
By this time, he no longer work for the Guardian newspaper in Lagos, he had started his own publication called “the insider magazine“ alongside other renowned journalists in Nigeria.

It occurred to me to take Declan to go visit Tina in the hospital. I thought of publicizing Tina’s condition in order to raise funds for her hospital bills. 
Declan and I had agreed and decided to publish Tina’s story in Nigeria using the insider newspaper. We had to raise funds by all means possible. 
The private hospital was running out of patience on its patient Tina, Ambassador Onwuagbu couldn’t overstretch himself, he has his own family to take care of.
I took Declan to see Tina in the hospital, he did the interview while I took pictures of Tina in dire straits in her hospital bed. I became a photo journalist only for this task.
Declan went back to Nigeria and immediately published the story of Tina’s desperate situation in a hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Our plan had worked out exactly the way we had envisioned.

The Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria “PMAN” got hold of the story and ran with it. They immediately contacted Declan, who in turn updated me.
Charlie Boy, Lady D, Onyeka Onwuenu, Vera Adesanya and hosts of other popular Nigerian musicians went to work. I am proud of them still. 
They organized fund raising activities for Tina in Nigeria, whilst my humble self was in far-away Johannesburg coordinating the much I could.
Nigerians opened their hearts. They donated money for our noble cause.
The then Lagos State Governor; His Excellency Governor Bola Tinubu gave substantial amount of money. Well meaning Nigerians also came to the party.

Charlie Boy, Lady D, Onyeka Onwuenu, and Vera Adesanya flew in to Johannesburg with the funds that had been raised.
It was a welcome relief for us in South Africa. It was a good show of solidarity for one of our own. 
Tina died a happy person. She died knowing that she was loved. She elected to be cremated; her dust inside a silver vase is at home in Nigeria.

Same year,  I had organized a Trade Mission for the then government of Taraba State of Nigeria. 
The delegation was led by His Excellency, Governor Jolly Nyame. He came with a team of 13 delegates; they have come to woo investors to Taraba State.
Just as I was driving with the Governor to the South African Broadcasting Station where I had arranged a live TV interview for him, I quickly told him about Tina’s story and about her three children that had now been left to fend for themselves.
Governor Jolly Nyame, during his television interview spoke kindly about Tina, this touched me.
On our way back to his hotel, he wanted to know from me how he could be of help.
I sold him the idea of Jolly Nyame Foundation for Children’s Education. That with it, he could sponsor Tina’s children’s education.
He immediately made me the Trustee, naturally so because it was my brainchild. Moreover, I live in Johannesburg with Tina’s children. 

The Governor advised me to come to Nigeria to prepare 9 other children to join with Tina’s 3 children, making a total of 12 children that I am to take to London to further their education. I wailed uncontrollably before the Governor and one other person.
I was astounded. I knew it wasn’t me. It was my altar ego; Jesus Christ the Lion of Judah that was at work in my life once again. Oh dear.

Before this time, the Nigeria Minister for Health at the time; Hon. A B C Nwosu, upon our invitation, had visited Tina’s children with sovereign guarantees to take care of their education. He was in Johannesburg for a Bi-National Commission business.
A similar idea occurred to me recently when the over 100 women protesters were detained and humiliated in Owerri, Nigeria.
The Lion in me roared again.

I successfully raised funds to support their lawyers, I was ready to go the extra miles for them had they not been released on time.
The Lion came alive when we agitated for the release of the 51 JEWISH DETAINEES in Abia State earlier this 2019. They were charged with nonexistent crimes. I in conjunction with Barrister Alloy Ejimakor, their lawyer in Nigeria ensured that the detainees were arraigned at the time the court was still on recess. 
The Lion then went to rest afterward.

I think this is an idea whose time has come again, in that we have other activists in detention without any hope of freedom soon. 
My Lion is roaring again  and restless as I write this piece. 

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Today the Nigerian Senate approved a motion for banning interstate crisscrossing.

Former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekwerenmadu tabled the motion which was supported by Senator Stella Oduah, Senator Uche Lilian Ekwunife, and Senator Sabi Aliu. There was also no objection by all Senators in respect hereof. 

This motion mandates police and all security agencies to implement the law. 
This further emboldens all the State Governors to enforce crisscrossing laws.

This is a welcome development especially for the health challenges posed by the Coronavirus Pandemic that is ravaging the globe at the moment.

The Nigerian security cluster do not now have any reason whatsoever to allow anyone, albeit those that fall within essential services, to move from one state to another indiscriminately like we had recently witnessed.
This also brings the much needed relief to the majority of Nigerians who legitimately believe that their safety and security have been compromised by the seemingly nonchalant nature the illegal movement of people had been handled by those tasked to protect their fellow citizens. 

Below is the text of the Motion as published by the National Assembly Press in Abuja Nigeria:

Today the Nigerian Senate approved a motion for banning interstate crisscrossing. Former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekwerenmadu tabled the motion which was supported by Senator Stella Oduah, Senator Uche Lilian Ekwunife, and Senator Sabi Uba. There was also no objection by all Senators in respect hereof. 

This motion mandates police and all security agencies to implement the law. 

This futher emboldens all the State Governors to enforce crisscrossing laws.

This is a welcome development especially for the health challenges posed by the Coronavirus Pandemic that is ravaging the world at the moment.

The Nigerian security cluster do not now have any reason whatsoever to allow anyone, albeit the those that fall within essential services, to move from one state to another indiscriminately like we had recently witnessed.

1. Need to enforce Presidential Order banning Interstate Movement.
Sponsor: Sen. Ekweremadu, Ike (Enugu West)

The Senate:
Alarmed at the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, which currently stands at 4,399 cases and 143 deaths;
Also alarmed that confirmed daily cases of COVID-19 by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC is now in hundreds;
Aware that the President, in his wisdom and relying on advisories by relevant authorities and powers conferred on him by Section 3 of the Quarantine Act, CAP Q2 Laws of the Federation 2004 issued the Proclamation Order on the General Management of COVID-19 banning non-essential inter-state passenger travels until further notice in order to contain the deadly novel Coronavirus;
Also aware of the presidential order declaring dusk to dawn curfew all over the country;
Seriously worried by the numerous reports and trending videos on the flagrant breach of the curfew and interstate travel;
Aware that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has raised alarm over what it described as“Increased level of interstate movement, worsened by the dubious concealment of people in food-carrying vehicles”;
Further aware that the Nigeria Governors’ Forum has equally raised serious concerns over the way Nigerians crisscross the country in their numbers despite the subsisting order to the contrary;
Conscious of the very grave implications of the brazen breach of the presidential order restricting interstate movements;
Equally Conscious of the fact that the nation’s security agencies, particularly the police, have the responsibility to enforce law and order, including the presidential ban on interstate movement;
Very worried about reports of alleged complicity in the said breaches by those who are supposed to enforce compliance with the directives of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Accordingly resolves to:

i. Condemn in strongest terms the barefaced breach of the presidential order on interstate movements;
ii. Enjoin Nigerians to strictly comply with these orders for their own safety and to quicken the nation’s victory over the COVID-19 pandemic;
iii. Direct the Inspector-General of Police, Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and heads of all security agencies charged with enforcing the ban on interstate travel to investigate the alleged complicity of their officers in the breach of the curfew and ban non-essential interstate travels and bring to book anyone found wanting; and
iv. Direct the Inspector-General of Police and the Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to fully enforce presidential orders on curfew and banon non-essential interstate travel as well as ensure that their various commands cooperate with respective State authorities in enforcing the presidential orders and other protocols aimed at rolling back the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are sincerely grateful for this timely intervention by all the Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is a welcome relief.

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WE ARE UNDER ATTACK BY TERRORISTS AND INVADERS. DEFEND YOURSELVES Mon, 11 May 2020 21:00:33 +0000 The latest edition of the Global Terrorism Index (November 2019), produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), ranks Nigeria as the third most terrorised nation after war ravaged Iraq and Afghanistan. 
The onslaught of Boko Haram extremists and armed cattle herdsmen is largely responsible for this protracted situation.  While the North East of Nigeria remains the epicentre of untold mayhem, other regions in the South and Middle belt continue to experience frequent brutal raids by armed herdsmen and terrorists.

It is public knowledge that under the guise of animal grazing, peaceful communities have been plundered mercilessly for decades by herdsmen from the Northern parts of the Nigeria and foreigners from the Sahel region. While open animal grazing on private property is obvious trespassing, the federal and state governments have refused to uphold the law and prosecute offenders.

We therefore note with deep concern, the unprecedented covert influx of thousands of men from the North into the Middle Belt and Southern parts of Nigeria, especially amidst a nationwide lockdown.

These men, as seen in several verifiable videos, have been confronted and questioned by security forces. We note that in most cases, these men do not have any identification. While some Northern governments dismiss these men as Almajiri (young boys, often destitute, seeking Islamic knowledge), we have strong doubt based on precedent and emerging facts.

Firstly, these migrants are often physically fit, able-bodied men of fighting age.  
Second, they present no identification and often have very poor command of English or the native language. 

We call on the people of the South and the Middle Belt to be vigilant….


A calamity of mammoth proportion is unfolding before us, our homeland and families soon would be invaded and violated; yet most of the so called political leaders seem to just sit and watch without offering any resistance or at least raise a protest against the acquiescence of the President of Nigeria.

We actually wonder what are we to do?

As if under some sort of spell, we happily engage in inconsequential arguments on various social media platforms as a convenient excuse for our cowardice. We continue to pretend that it will fizzle out on its own, while others simply want to mentally wish away the obvious. 
Kindly note that these imminent calamities are part of a script, which was written years ago to be played out today. 

It is called planning, strategy, and execution.

We have, with shock, been following the debates since the Covid 19 lockdown, the dramatic exportation of fulani trained militias disguised as vagrants from the North to the Middle Belt and the South of Nigeria; and the unimaginable consequences that would flow therefrom.  
To wait for these fulani militias to begin an onslaught that we can prevented is unconscionable.

The Yoruba security network Amotekun is on standby in Yorubaland for any eventualities, but the Middle Belt, the South East and the South South have no similar security networks.

Therefore  we need to mobilize our people to all the border areas, to be very vigilant, and to man the border posts. Push back now. 

In the absence of any meaningful intervention by the federal government and the state governments (Governor Wike of River State not included), we are left with no choice but to rise to the challenge, it is also part of our civic responsibilities to defend our sovereignty. And that we must do.

With the exception of Governor Wike of Rivers State, the other Governors are only interested in lining their pockets with the security votes they collect on behalf of their indigenes. We wonder what they do with the money meant for our collective safety and security?

We have very serious problems on our hands. On a daily basis, scores of battle ready young men are trucked into our land. We need to start asking hard questions.

1. Who sent them?
2. Who owns the trucks that will travel all the distance to end in the Middle Belt, South East, South West and South South.

Where do they disappear to when they arrive their destinations? 
How did they evade the security posts and roadblocks all the way from the North to the South if not that they were aided by the same fulani security personnel?

There are things we look out for when confronted with situations like these. We want everyone to take note of the following: 

1. These men are not economic migrants. Why?
In all the videos we have seen so far, we have not seen the following: families, a shred of personal belongings, and no despair when apprehended.

2. These men are trained soldiers.It takes a certain amount of discipline and training to stay huddled and hidden, with minimal oxygen for such a long journey. No breaks, no stops, no eating, no socialising.

3.The vehicles conveying them are very sound and sometimes almost new. They carry a highly reduced freight, if any at all. Who is bearing the cost of these movements?

4. The frequency, and the upsurge in their desperate push to get in and in place is unbelievable.

We do not think they are only spreading a disease. We think they are part of a strategy. They want to come in, take advantage of the protective masks meant to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, and them attack innocent people, leaving us no chance of identifying them.

We must accept and wake up to the fact that we are confronting a people with a historical strategy to get what does not belong to them.
They have a script.

Check it, all the so called almajiris/vagrants are men of fighting age. 
All the so called almajiris, like their Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram counterparts are men without females. 
These men are men and have feelings like men. That exposes every woman in our region. 

Already, the danger is there. Our mothers, daughters, and sisters are going through horrendous times. On the average hundreds of rape incidents happen daily but the victims keep quiet and lick their wounds. But that is just the start of the game for our traducers.

Our political leaders are not being of help, we must rise in defence of our lives and homeland. 

My people, the yam we are standing to harvest has broken. It is time for us to sit down to dig up the bottom of it. It is urgent.

Austin Okeke Esq (Igbo Board of Deputies) 
Prof Justin Akujieze (Ekwe Nche – USA)















































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Abba Kyari: Master Strategist Who Loved and Hugged Power Until Death by Senator Iroegbu Sat, 18 Apr 2020 20:52:10 +0000 Read More "Abba Kyari: Master Strategist Who Loved and Hugged Power Until Death by Senator Iroegbu"

In the world today, however, it is dangerous to seem to be too power hungry, to be overt with your power moves.”
“Do not build fortresses to protect yourself–isolation (COVID-19 style) is dangerous”, Robert Green, ‘The 48 Laws of Power’.

Mr. Abba Kyari, the reclusive yet powerful and intelligent Chief of Staff (COS) to President Muhammadu Buhari is dead.

Even though death is inevitable and provides a moment of sobriety for the living but that of those with an intriguing personality like Kyari often provoke reflexive introspection.

Moulded in the realist school of thought and could be likened to the American diplomatic enigma, Dr. Henri Kissinger, in terms of Presidential influence. Even though he is a more confined personality than Kissinger, the late COS died woven in a web of power play. He literally loved and figuratively hugged power until death. He will however, remain an invaluable book to be studied in the annals of Nigeria’s socio-political power dynamics.

Abba Kyari ignored both the administrative protocols and social distancing rules in the era of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic to hug the energy and ‘power’ industry players in Germany. He did this in place of the official Minister of Power who ought to broker the deal with German company that was being conscripted to help exorcise the demon of darkness, occasioned by incessant power failures across the Nigeria.

Kyari was able to usurp the administrative duties of the infamous ‘Minister of Darkness’, because he felt extremely powerful to do so. On return to Nigeria, even though he was honest and transparent enough to publicly declare his status as a Coronavirus patient but he was also unmistakably powerful to bypass the official channel of treatment for COVID-19 patients. He in deed, exercised his acquired power for privacy and exemption from the norm while in public office till his dying days.

But let’s dive a little deeper into the personality of the late COS to President Buhari.

Kyari outsmarted his competitors—
Abba Kyari, was a Chief of Staff to the President like no other before him and may never will be. He is one of a kind, an enigma and intriguing character who outsmarted his competitors in the game of power.

Speaking on AIT this morning, Public Policy Expert, Dr. Sam Amadi, summed up Kyari’s understanding, love and use of power.

“He is a member of Kaduna mafia and has been in the media and finance. He took power, he loved the power and exercised it. He made the appointments, made all the appointments and this is not what is expected from a Chief of Staff. Look at the last cabinet (Ministers) appointment, Abba Kyari had up to four and that is extremely unusual. He was politically powerful.

“In the office of the Chief of Staff, President Buhari has not acted illegally but has perhaps acted in a manner that concentrated power in a man that it is to the detriment of the official power holders-like the vice President, some ministers and others. Again he was a member of the NNPC board and we never had that before, he ruled himself in and perhaps as the face of the President who has not had the time and energy to perform as a member of the board. I think it is an elaborate strategy by the group to ensure that they govern (on behalf of the President) of which we do not begrudge them but you have to do it in such a way that you are held accountable.”

There is no doubt that the late COS to Buhari was a committed disciple of the Machiavellian style of leadership and mastered the arts of power as encapsulated in Robert Green’s famous book; ‘The 48 Laws of Power’.

His mastery of power helped him to appropriate for his base, the control of a collegiate Presidency that oozes flagrant loopholes for power grab. He ensured that the infamous cabal were effectively and totally in control of the presidential powers leaving competing blocs in helpless derision. He mesmerised his supporters and intimidated his detractors. His charismatic and mystic disposition reduced the stature of his opponents with less or no effort.

Mr. Fredrick Nwabufo in his piece; ‘Who will tell Abba Kyari’s story?’, enacted a succinct but point-blank imagery of how Abba Kyari’s personality gave him an edge in the Aso Rock battle for the control of lever of power as an undertaker propelling symbols of authority.

“He played in the background so well. Abba Kyari was the mystery of the presidential villa. Unobtrusive and self-effacing, yet his influence was palpable beyond the cloistered Aso villa. He understood his job as the president’s right-hand man and never did he outshine the master. He capered as the unseen but dutiful connoisseur of the throne; greatly misunderstood, uncelebrated, but feared,” Nwabufo wrote.

Unfortunately, Abba Kyari was not infallible as in his quest for more control, he outdid himself by failing to heed one of the holy grail of power. While Kyari noted religiously that: “it is dangerous to seem to be too power hungry, to be overt with your power moves”, but failed to heed the warning: “Do not build fortresses to protect yourself–isolation is dangerous”. He paid the ultimate price for his lapse in concentration. He was a human after all and prone to mistakes.

Kyari is an intellectual and professional giant

Love him or hate him, what you cannot deny is the fact that Kyari is an accomplished intellectual who dutifully earned his worth in the professional world.

In addition to his impressive academic and professional experience, Abba Kyari is a very diligent, skilled and smart man, which should the core attributes needed to shine under the notoriously boring Buhari’s Presidency. An objective observation is that it takes such a brilliant (but in a Machiavellian way) for someone to successfully manage what is largely seen as an absentee President in such a way Kyari has done. If he is dumb or not doing his job the President and Presidency would have unravelled, especially with Buhari’s undisclosed ill-health and frequent trips for treatment abroad. His master was barely around but he made coordination and running of the Presidency seamless.

Impressed by Abba Kyari’s Curriculum Vitae, a certain Gee Kay wrote in his Facebook page on March 31: “For the first time, I took an extraordinarily good look at Abba Kyari’s CV. Warwick, Cambridge, HBS and IMD. The man is loaded with Ivy League education. From Undergraduate to Postgraduate Law and Business Schools at Harvard and IMD. Very few Southerners parade this kind of CV. When you look deeply, two names matter in his career profile: Mamman Daura and Fani Kayode.”

Baffled at such level of intellectual and professional achievement, Kay arrived at erroneous conclusion. “So how come Nigeria is in so much mess when there is a Warwick, Cambridge and Harvard alumni so close to the President,” he queried.

But responding to his state of confusion, this writer noted: “You cannot outshine the master. So the personality and quality of the leader you serve matters a lot. The man’s brilliance is being dulled by Buhari’s personality but looking at his role as COS with the situation he is faced, the man has been brilliant so far. Put this man under a leader like Obj and you will instantly notice his strategic brilliance. Tell me unlike in the past, any shinning stars or outstanding Minister in the past five years of Buhari’s administration?”

A brief background of Abba Kyari as aggregated by Wikipedia and culled from Blueprint online noted that he was a Kanuri from Borno, who in 1980 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Warwick, and also received a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge.

He was called to the Nigerian Bar after attending the Nigerian Law School in 1983 and 1984 obtained a master’s degree in law from the University of Cambridge. Afterwards, he attended the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland and participated in the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School, in 1992 and 1994, respectively.

Kyari worked for the law firm Fani-Kayode and Sowemimo for some time after his return to Nigeria. He was Editor with the New Africa Holdings Limited Kaduna, from 1988 to 1990. Afterwards in the same year, he served as a Commissioner for Forestry and Animal Resources in Borno state.

In addition, Kyari from 1990 to 1995, served as the secretary to the board of African International Bank Limited, a subsidiary of Bank of Credit and Commerce International. He was also an executive director in charge of management services at the United Bank for Africa, and was later appointed the chief executive officer. In 2002, he was appointed a board director of Unilever Nigeria, and later served on the board of Exxon Mobil Nigeria.

Finally in August 2015, Kyari was appointed Chief of Staff to President Buhari, a position which he held after Buhari was re-elected in 2019 until his death on Saturday, April 17, 2020 having tested positive for COVID-19 on March 23. He was married to only one wife and has four children.

Kyari was the power centre

Modelled after American Presidency, the history of Nigeria Presidents are replete with one or two individuals who wielded enormous influence throughout their tenure. Despite the fact that President Olusegun Obasanjo was a hands-on leader who adores adulation and aura that comes with power, many ministers and appointees shone bright like diamonds under him.

However, there were few ones with exceptional influence including his domestic aide and now Senator Andy Ubah, who was a smooth fixer of all sorts at their time. In the same vein, the former First Lady Turai Yar’Adua and the infamous Kano-Katsina cabal held sway under late President Umaru Yar’Adua; while former President Goodluck Jonathan had certain influences bestowed on ex-Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala , former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezzani Allison-Madueke, and ex-National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), as well as his Principal Secretary, Amb. Hassan Tukur, as powerful figures and fixers.

As stated earlier, Nigeria’s experience mirrors that of the United States where President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Mr. Jared Kushner, wields enormous influence; President Barack Obama also had the Clintons’ men running the show especially in his first term; while President George Bush had Ms. Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney and his then Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld as the cabal of his administration. A step further revealed by Ronald Reagan’s wife/First Lady was at the top of her game, while the already mentioned master strategist and diplomatic icon, Henry Kissinger, defined Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford’s Presidency.

Nevertheless, as powerful and influential as above individuals appeared in the case of Nigeria, they were nothing compared to the imagined and real powers at Abba Kyari’s disposal. He was different things to different people depending on which camp you belong. However, the under listed roles and decisions Kyari was accused and alleged to have taken to the chagrin of some Nigerians will shed more some light on the man.

Exercised Presidential Powers: In addition to his traditional role as the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari was accused of issuing and allegedly signed Presidential orders without the knowledge of Buhari. The controversial memo leaked by the NSA, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd) alluded to this fact. Also recall the famous quote from the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir Lawal, when he was informed by the media that the ‘Presidency’ has relieved him of his duties. He retorted: “Who is the Presidency?” Kyari equally queried the former Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Florence Oyo-Ita in a brazen display of power, which came months after the duo had a public spat at one of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings.

Acted as the Vice President/Prime Minister: The late COS was alleged to have effectively cornered the job of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. The controversial memo sacking more than half of Osinbajo’s aides, which was even signed by Kyari himself is still fresh in our memory. If not for the intervention of COVID-19 pandemic, he almost succeeded in steering away the management of the nation’s economy from the Vice President who was once ridiculed as an “ordinary commissioner”.

Kyari was the face, spokesperson and enforcer of the cabal: Kyari is said to be the third leg of the dreaded cabal–the infamous triumvirate that were alleged to also include Messrs Isa Funtua and Mamman Daura. It was rumoured that it was this trio that actually run the Presidency. While he was the face, the other two are the powerful hands that controls the Presidency. We cannot forget easily how the Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, raised the alarm how two to three men have hijacked the Presidency.

He was the ‘Coordinator of national security’ and NSA: As Monguno’s memo exposed, Abba Kyari whose background had nothing in common with defence and security was calling the shots. He was alleged to superintend series of national security meetings with heads of defence, security and intelligence agencies in attendance. To this end, the NSA accused him of usurping both his powers and those of the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Kyari was Minister of Special Duties and Senior Special Adviser/Assistant to the President: Kyari as exposed by his last assignment in Germany that eventually sealed his fate, was in many ways the Minister of Special Duties as well as a Senior Special Assistant to the President.

He is always assigned to critical assignments that dwarfs the position of the Vice President, Ministers and made mockery of some SAs.

He was the Acting Minister of Petroleum: The late COS to the President imposed himself as a board member of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as representing the absentee Minister of Petroleum (President Buhari).

Kyari was the alternate leader and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as he was alleged to have nominated a number of current ministers. This was a responsibility that was the privilege of State party Chairmen and chieftains.

The list could be expanded but the above roles and responsibilities either assigned or usurped by Abba Kyari is enough indication of his colossus stature in Buhari’s administration. He had his tentacles in all spheres of influence and power in the government within the five years he was at the helm.

Kyari has left enormous administrative void

There is no doubt that Abba Kyari’s super imposing influence and coordinating abilities will leave a gaping hole in the Presidency. Even though it would be assumed that his power bloc also known as the cabal will have possible replacements but their seemingly unimpeachable position and influence maybe threatened by rival interest except for fact that like the Game of Thrones, their base is made up of men horned in the stealthy control of power.

Notwithstanding, finding an appropriate replacement for Kyari may be challenging but not impossible. This is also coming at a time the nation needed a focused and united front to combat the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic.

Also speaking on the possible impact of Kyari’s death, Amadi said: “This is Buhari’s government and he has chosen to trust one man, which is Abba Kyari with power and he has used it to the best he can.

Unfortunately at this time he is not with us and we have a vacuum. I will say that he is a powerful guy who knows how to play power. Even though some of the decisions he made were wrong, he probably would have allowed more official operations and stay behind but give and take, he has the strength and the energy to help the President that is struggling for competence and energy.

“Perhaps Abba Kyari is a man that understood his principal very well. He knew his shortcomings. He knew what he could withstand and what he could not withstand and he effectively filled that void.”

According to him, Kyari is a strong influence within the Presidency and this is not the time to have a vacuum especially with the President’s state of fragility, stressing: “he is actually the reservoir of both the energy and activities of the government that is not running on full throttle and hijacked by few”.

Possible lessons from Kyari’s eternal departure

The first vital lessons of Kyari’s death is that man is nothing but a dust and powerless to the inevitability of death. Again, his demise is an indication that the prevalent danger of Coronavirus pandemic, which calls for concerted efforts.

More importantly, it teaches us that no matter how powerful we may assume we are, all men will eventually be demystified by death. The only difference however, is in the legacy we would be dedicating to posterity.

This essence was well captured by Mr. Emmanuel Ogbeche, who in a brilliant piece entitled: ‘Abba Kyari and Morality of Power’, opined:

“In the end it is the verdict of history that matters. The legacy one leaves is what endures after the silver lining is severed from mortal body. The conclusion can be telling and leave a stain of ridicule, derision and scorn. It is for this reason those who wield power – elective or appointive- should strive to gauge public feelings and respond appropriately.”

Ogbeche asserted that it was imperative then as it is now, and stressed that the demands of public office include being honest, transparent and accountable however inconvenient. His conclusions were also given seal of approval by the former Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Group Captain Sadeeq Shehu (rtd) in his Facebook commentary on inevitability of death exemplified by the deceased.

Shehu agreed with the school of thought which says it is immaterial whether a man died through HIV, COVID-19, car or air crash, what matters is how he lived, which we have more control than when and how we will die.

But departing from the norm, a public affairs activist, Mr. Aminu Mohammed Ofs gave some soul searching posers to Nigerians gloating over the death of Abba Kyari. The central message of his nine-point questions was that no matter how we feel about his controversial roles in the political history of Nigeria, Abba Kyari died at a ripped age and a fulfilled man. He also noted that his death should remind us of the existing danger of COVID-19 and for the fact that we do not know if President Buhari would appoint a worse replacement.

After all said and done, one unshakable fact is that when the history of Buhari’s Presidency would be written, Abba Kyari’s name will feature prominently. He came, he saw, and he conquered but eventually bowed to pangs of death. Rest in Peace Mr. Kyari.

Senator Iroegbu is a media practitioner, security and public affairs analyst.

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Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation scale-up grant funding to fight #Covid19 in Africa, Asia Thu, 16 Apr 2020 09:56:10 +0000 Read More "Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation scale-up grant funding to fight #Covid19 in Africa, Asia"

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced an expansion of its funding for the global response to COVID-19. The increase includes an additional $150 million of grant funding plus a commitment to leverage the resources of the foundation’s Strategic Investment Fund, which could be deployed to catalyze the rapid procurement of essential medical supplies and help life sciences companies secure financing to produce COVID-19 products. In announcing the funding, the foundation called on world leaders to unite in a global response to COVID-19 to ensure equitable access to diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.

“It is increasingly clear that the world’s response to this pandemic will not be effective unless it is also equitable,” said Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates. “We have a responsibility to meet this global crisis with global solidarity. In addition to contributing to the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, these funds will support efforts against COVID-19 in low-and-middle-income countries, where local leaders and healthcare workers are doing heroic work to protect vulnerable communities and slow the spread of the disease.”

The foundation’s new $150 million commitment will fund the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, as well as new efforts to provide partners in Africa and South Asia with resources to scale their COVID-19 detection, treatment, and isolation efforts.

Bill and Melinda Gates

The foundation will also leverage a portion of its $2.5 billion Strategic Investment Fund, which uses a suite of financial tools to address market failures and incentivize private enterprise to develop affordable and accessible health products. These funds, which can include equity investments, loans, and volume guarantees, will be used to help health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) facilitate the rapid procurement of personal protective equipment for health care workers, COVID-19 diagnostics, oxygen therapeutics, and other essential medical supplies. Any financial returns generated by the Strategic Investment Fund are re-invested in Gates Foundation philanthropic programs.

The funding announced today builds on the $100 million the foundation has committed to date to support the global response, as well as $5 million in resources to support public health agencies and frontline response organizations in the greater Seattle region. Initial foundation funding has helped to kick-start the search for COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines; enhanced virus detection capacity in Africa; and contributed to the response in China. The foundation has also directed its programmatic technical expertise to support multilateral, national, and sub-national responses to the pandemic.

“COVID-19 doesn’t obey border laws. Even if most countries succeed in slowing the disease over the next few months, the virus could return if the pandemic remains severe enough elsewhere,” said foundation co-chair Bill Gates. “The world community must understand that so long as COVID-19 is somewhere, we need to act as if it were everywhere. Beating this pandemic will require an unprecedented level of international funding and cooperation.”

While there is not yet global consensus on the total resources required to turn back COVID-19, the figure is more than any one contributor will bear. A coordinated, international effort bringing together all sectors will be required to mobilize the billions in funding needed in the months ahead. Institutions such as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance are in place to coordinate the development and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, but they require an influx of new resources to do so. Other organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), national governments, and private companies will need to be involved in funding the at-risk manufacturing of vaccine candidates and deciding how to ensure equitable access to essential products for populations worldwide.

“This pandemic has unleashed an extraordinary philanthropic response. While significant, it is still only one small part of what must be a coordinated effort to beat this global crisis,” said foundation CEO Mark Suzman. “Philanthropy cannot—and should not—supplant the public and private sectors. What philanthropy is good at is testing out ideas that might not otherwise get tried, so governments and businesses can then take on the successful ones. With all sectors working together, we can avoid the worst-case scenarios of human, economic, and social costs.”

In announcing its new $150 million commitment, the foundation identified four priority areas for investment:

Accelerating Virus Detection
The foundation will provide partners in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia with funding to scale their COVID-19 detection, treatment, and isolation efforts. In some countries, this will include leveraging emergency operations centers normally deployed to support polio eradication and malaria elimination efforts toward COVID-19 detection.

Protecting the Most Vulnerable
Foundation funding will help partners in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia pilot different approaches to physical distancing and infection suppression in settings where stay-at-home policies and other physical distancing strategies may not be practical. The goal will be to identify infection suppression strategies that can be effectively sustained over time with minimal social and economic disruption. A key focus will be building on lessons learned from two decades of experience in implementing infectious disease prevention programs, specifically the importance of community-designed and community-led engagement efforts.

The foundation is also considering gender equality issues in its response, and it will support research into the differential health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic on women and girls in LMICs. This will help to inform the foundation’s short-, medium-, and long-term policy response to the pandemic and global policy responses. This effort will build on the foundation’s existing work to improve gender data by designing and implementing gender-specific metrics and surveys to capture data that reflects the experiences of women and girls.

Minimizing Social and Economic Impact
The foundation will provide non-medical funding to help LMICs strengthen social and economic support for people who are living in extreme poverty or who are at risk of falling back into extreme poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia together account for 85 percent of the 629 million people around the world who live on less than $1.90 per day, and past pandemics have had a disproportionate impact on people who cannot afford adequate nutrition, safe sanitation, and quality housing. People living in extreme poverty are also less likely to be able to practice physical distancing because they cannot afford to stop working.

The foundation will work with partners to help expand access to social payment systems to communities that are most at risk of serious social and economic disruption due to public health measures undertaken to suppress COVID-19 transmission.

Develop Products for a Sustained Response
The foundation will continue to invest in efforts to accelerate the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines for the COVID-19 response while working with governments, the private sector, and multilateral institutions to ensure scaled manufacturing and the equitable procurement and distribution of these products as they become available.

This work will include efforts to develop affordable and accessible point-of-care diagnostics, as well as support for the development of treatments and vaccines whose production can be quickly scaled once clinical trials have demonstrated their safety and efficacy. The foundation has committed to working with governments, CEPI, and the private sector to help provide financing for the at-risk enhancement of vaccine manufacturing capacity. This will allow the production of vaccine candidates so that global vaccine supply can be quickly scaled once clinical trial results are available.

The foundation will work with national governments and international organizations such as the WHO; UNICEF; Gavi; and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to ensure that LMICs have equitable access to essential commodities and to ensure that supply and distribution chains are well prepared to facilitate their rapid and widespread delivery to Gavi- and Global Fund-eligible countries.

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#5GNetwork is not the cause OF #Covid19 Pandemic!” – CDD Sun, 05 Apr 2020 17:50:19 +0000 Read More "#5GNetwork is not the cause OF #Covid19 Pandemic!” – CDD"

Centre of Development and Democracy (CDD) has once again exposed the real fact about the claims by the naysayers alleging that the recently launched of 5G networks in some selected countries of the world led to the outbreak of #Covid19 which has caused the death of close to 1.5million people across the globe.

The CDD after thorough fact checking declared the claim as “absolute false” and considered it an attempt by unscrupulous elements to sabotage the realization of World Digital economy agenda before 2030.

The Claim

As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps through the world, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) have been on their toes, fighting unfounded claims over its origin, spread among many others.
An example of such claims and conspiracy theory which has gained traction online is a possible link between the new 5G network and Coronavirus (COVID 19).

Facebook users across the world have continued to share posts claiming that the 5G network and not the coronavirus, is making people sick with many dying from its effect.

In Nigeria, a former senator who represented Kogi West senatorial district, Dino Melaye, claimed that his research shows that the novel virus is not the world’s biggest problem.
Melaye in a Facebook post on Saturday, April 4, 2020, said:

“From my research, this coronavirus is not the problem. The major problem is this 5G that has been delayed.”
The former lawmaker has since shared other post to prove his claims including a press release from mobile service provider MTN Nigeria announcing its trial of 5G network in Nigeria.

Similarly, Nigeria’s former Minister for Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode and General Overseer of the Christ Embassy, Pastor Chris have joined the train of prominent Nigerians who have spoken publicly. Both Fani-Kayode and Pastor Chris linked the 5G network to Coronavirus, a conspiracy they referred to the coming of the New World Order.

Also, between March 23 and April 4, 2020, dozens of voice notes with various claims from conspiracy theories and unverified facts have circulated on WhatsApp and other platforms.

Here is the real fact below:
5G does not cause COVID-19. There are two types of 5G: “sub-6 GHz”, whose wavelengths are under 6 GHz, and “millimeter wave”, whose frequencies are above 24 GHz. The sub-6 GHz signals are not exclusive to 5G; 4G networks, Wi-Fi and microwaves all operate using sub-6 GHz signals.
Conspiracy theorists point to the launch of 5G networks around the same time as the discovery of the first case in China as proof of the relationship. However, the 5G China installed is the sub-6 GHz type. In other words, your microwave hasn’t given you coronavirus in all your years of use, neither will 5G networks.
In fact, we shouldn’t expect any deleterious effects of 5G on health.

In a statement on its website, the WHO said:
“To date, and after much research performed, no adverse health effect has been causally linked with exposure to wireless technolgies.”

It also said it would continue to review research in this area and that a health risk assessment of all radiofrequency ranges will be published in 2022.

The WHO noted that main mechanism of interaction between radiofrequency fields and the human body is tissue heating. It also said that radiofrequency exposure levels from current technologies result in “negligible temperature rise in the human body”.

According to the international organisation, there is less penetration into the body tissues and absorption of the energy becomes more confined to the surface of the body (skin and eye)as this frequency increases.
It added that: “Provided that the overall exposure remains below international guidelines, no consequences for public health are anticipated.”

Concerning the spread of the novel COVID-19, the WHO and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) have maintained the virus might have been contracted from animals before its person-to-person spread.

In a quick reaction to the widespread rumour and concerns raised by many Nigerians, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, in a press statement on April 4, 2020, said no licence has been issued for 5G in Nigeria.
Pantami said a three-month study trial had commenced on the new 5G network on November 25, 2019, to critically review and study the health and security implications of deploying 5G in Nigeria.

He said: “As part of the study trial process, I directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to ensure that a team of experts, security agencies and other stakeholders fully participate in the trial process and my office also invited these agencies to participate in the trial and the trial process has been concluded and the study and reporting process is currently ongoing.’’

Final submission by CDD factchecker
There is no scientific connection between the introduction or installation of 5G network and the Coronavirus pandemic.
Furthermore, not one Nigerian network provider is transmitting on the 5G network as the government is yet to issue a licence to any of them to do so.
CDD urges the general public to be wary of influential persons peddling such unfounded conspiracy theories

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African Union Commission putting youth at the centre of COVID-19 Response! Fri, 27 Mar 2020 15:54:10 +0000 Read More "African Union Commission putting youth at the centre of COVID-19 Response!"

The African Union Youth Envoy is building a movement of youth-led accountability by putting young people central to the response to COVID-19 pandemic and reform of service delivery architecture.

The African Union Office of the Youth Envoy (OYE) launches a new initiative to empower Pan-African youth advocates. The African Youth Charter Hustlers initiative will engage African youth to lead continental, regional and national advocacy and accountability for the ratification and implementation of the African Youth Charter including progressive youth policies, youth funds and youth inclusion as well as the institution of effective monitoring and reporting mechanisms.   

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the African Union Commission remains committed to advocating for the contribution and central role of young people to reform African institutions. Article 17 of the African Youth Charter on Health, guarantees the right of African youth to enjoy the best attainable state of physical, mental and spiritual health and the institution of programmes to address health pandemics in Africa.  

As mandated by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission H.E, Moussa Faki, the African Union Youth Envoy published game-changer 2019/20 Action Plan with concrete strategies for youth advocacy. This is in line with the AUC’s 1 Million by 2021 Initiative, which seeks to provide opportunities for African youth in the areas of Employment, Education, Entrepreneurship and Engagement (4Es).

The African Union Youth Envoy Ms. Aya Chebbi said “The African Youth Charter Hustlers initiative provides an opportunity, in these challenging times, for youth-led advocacy, youth-led accountability and agency to ensure the reform of our service delivery architecture. African youth must play a central role to transform our systems to work for our generation including the improvement of health infrastructures that can prevent and respond to COVID-19 and other pandemicsand she added “We can only create a better peaceful, integrated and prosperous continent, when African youth become the custodians of their own development.”

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