South African authorities have granted landing permit to Air Peace Flight B777 to enable it to evacuate some 320 Nigerians escaping from xenophobia in that country, a Nigerian consular officer has confirmed.
Nigeria’s Consul- General in Johannesburg, Mr Godwin Adama, made the confirmation in a telephone interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday.
Adama spoke against the background of a complaint by the Managing Director of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema.
Onyema had said that the refusal of South Africa to grant the permit made it impossible for the flight to leave Lagos at 1a.m. for Johannesburg to convey the second batch of returnees.
But Adama said the permit had been granted the airline and that the flight would be late in the night of Tuesday.
Adama said, “They want Nigerians to arrive during the week, they are taking-off from here midnight.
“I do not know the exact time but they will be leaving (South Africa) midnight.
“I do not know why they were denied the landing permit. I think it is an airline operational issue. They did not get it yesterday but they told me that it came late yesterday (Monday).
“It was weekend and they were going to get it this morning; the airline did not tell me it was deliberate, but they explained to me that they have gotten it.
“Our manifest arrived last night towards the close of work and they were to take-off 1a.m. Nigerian time yesterday (Monday) but they did not because it was late.
“I have gotten it now so they will be able to make me know the time of their arrival here so that we can know when to take-off.”
Adama said buses provided to convey Nigerians wanting to return home were still at the mission premises and everyone was there.
“We are still really working on the number (320) to see how we can fill up the airline capacity with anyone that is readily available.
“We have more than enough, we are even trying to ensure that the aircraft is filled up that is why we are readily taking people who are on ground now.
“We have more than enough to fill the aircraft, the delay has also helped us because as we call names to board we see some people cleared at the last minute.
“The truth is they are people who have not been cleared, those who are ready to go are all here and we are trying to queue them up.
“We may not even be able to take all of them who are hopeful,” he added.
Adama said that the next batch of evacuation would be based on the Federal Government’s directives.
AU Disqualifies Okonjo-Iweala From Vying For World Trade Organisation Director General
The African Union has disqualified Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala from vying for the office of the Director General of the World Trade Organisation, it has been reported.
In July 2019, the Executive Council of the AU invited member states to present nominations into the office of the DG of the WTO so that the AU would agree on a consensus candidature.
Nigeria initially nominated Fedrick Agah while Benin and Egypt fielded Messrs Eloi Laourou and Abdulhameed Mamdouh respectively.
On June 4, 2020, Nigeria withdrew the nomination of Fedrick Agah and replaced him with Okonjo-Iweala.
However, in a document from the Office of the Legal Counsel of the African Union, Reference Number: BC/OLC/24/5056.20 dated June 15, 2020, the African Union says the nomination of Okonjo-Iweala violates Rule (11), 1, 2 and 3, Rule 12 and Rule 15(3) of the rules of procedure of the committee on candidatures within the International System of the AU as well as Council’s Decisions Ex CI 1072 (XXXV), Ec CI Dec 1090 (XXXVI) and Assembly Dec 795 (XXXIII).
The AU says its Executive Council had endorsed the nominations of Fedrick Agah, Eloi Laourou and Abdulhameed Mamdouh before Nigeria sought to substitute its nomination.
Meanwhile, the council’s endorsement was for the nominees in person and not for their countries.
In addition, the AU says Nigeria’s new nomination of Okonjo-Iweala did not meet the submission deadline and there are no more vacancies into, which Nigeria can make nomination.
The AU wrote, “It is a recognised principle of international law that a sovereign state has the right to substitute and replace a nomination of its citizens as it may wish for a position.
“However, the sovereign right does not endow that state any right to change existing rules, relevant decisions of the Executive Council and decisions of the ther policy organs of the union. A decision of the Executive Council should only be changed by another decision of the council not by any member state and a decision of the Assembly should be changed by a decision of the Assembly not by a member state.”
China Assures Africa On Coronavirus Vaccine
The President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, has assured African countries that they would be among the first countries to benefit from a coronavirus vaccine being developed by China.
The Embassy of China in Nigeria made the pledge in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to the statement, Jinping made the pledge in his keynote address on Wednesday in Beijing at the virtual extraordinary China-Africa Summit with African Presidents on solidarity against COVID-19.
He said that listing African countries as first beneficiaries of its vaccines was part of China’s support to Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, explaining that effective response called for solidarity among world leaders.
“First, we must stay committed to fighting COVID-19 together. China will continue to do whatever it can to support Africa’s response to COVID-19.
“China will lose no time in following through on the measures I announced at the opening of the World Health Assembly.
“We will continue to help African countries by providing supplies, sending expert teams and facilitating Africa’s procurement of medical supplies in China.
“China will start ahead of schedule, the construction of the Africa CDC headquarters this year.
“China will work with Africa to fully deliver the health care initiative adopted at the FOCAC Beijing Summit, and speed up the construction of China-Africa Friendship Hospitals.
“We will also speed up cooperation between paired-up Chinese and African hospitals and together, we will build a China-Africa community of health for all.
“We pledge that once the development and deployment of COVID-19 vaccine is completed in China, African countries will be among the first to benefit.’’
Jinping noted that in the face of COVID-19, China and Africa had offered mutual support to each other and that China would remember the invaluable support from Africa at the peak of its coronavirus battle.
He added that when Africa was struck by the virus, China was the first nation to rush in assistance and had since stood firm with the African people.
Jinping stated that COVID-19 was still affecting many parts of the world, stressing the need for both China and Africa to face the task of combating the virus while stabilising the economy and protecting people’s livelihoods.
He stressed the need for leaders to mobilise necessary resources, stick together in collaboration and do whatever they could to protect people’s lives and health.
The Chinese president noted that greater priority needed to be given to cooperation on public health, economic re-opening and people’s livelihoods.
Jinping stated that through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) framework, China would cancel debts of some African countries in the form of interest-free loans, due to mature by the end of 2020.
“For those African countries that are hardest hit by the coronavirus and are under heavy financial stress, China will work with the global community to give them greater support.
“We encourage Chinese financial institutions to respond to the G-20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative and to hold friendly consultations with African countries according to market principles.”
Jinping said that China would work with the UN, WHO and other partners to assist Africa’s response to COVID-19 and do it in a way that would respect the will of Africa.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that participants at the virtual summit included, President Muhammadu Buhari, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chair of the African Union, among others.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus were invited as special guests to the summit.
President Magufuli Declares Tanzania Free Of Coronavirus
President John Magufuli of Tanzania on Monday June 8, declared the East African country “coronavirus-free”.
The President who attributed the claimed success over the worldwide pandemic to prayers and fasting that the people of Tanzania offered to God, also commended the priest and worshippers for not wearing gloves and masks to protect themselves from the virus.
“It gives me joy to be the leader of a country that puts God first, God loves Tanzania.
“The works of the devil will always be defeated in Tanzania because Tanzanians love God and that is why even the corona has been defeated by God.”
This is coming after the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concern over the government’s strategy on the pandemic which includes not publishing data on the number of Coronavirus cases in the country.
As at April 29 when the last official data was released, 509 cases and 21 deaths had been recorded in Tanzania.
BBC reported that Mr Magufuli had said last week that only four patients were receiving treatment in the largest city, Dar es Salaam. He also dismissed a US embassy warning that hospitals in Dar es Salaam were “overwhelmed” and that the chances of contracting the virus was “extremely high”.
Kenya closed its borders with Tanzania and Somalia due to rising cases of imported COVID-19 cases
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