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Herdsmen Kill Farmer, Policeman In Edo

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Fulani Herdsmen

Suspected herdsmen have killed a farmer and a policeman in Owan community, Ovia North East local government area.

It was gathered that the farmer whose identity was yet to be ascertained was killed last Saturday by herdsmen.

The community called in the police to help retrieve the body but the herdsmen were said to have fired at the police and killed one of them in the process.

A brother to the farmer was also said to be hit by bullets fired by the herdsmen.

The killing made the community members block the Bénin-Akure highway to protest the killings and sought government attention to the crisis.

Motorists plying the road were stranded for several hours that the protest lasted.

One of the protesters who gave his name as Moses, said herdsmen in the bush have been killing and raping women in their community.

Moses said their crops have been destroyed by the herdsmen.

“They killed our person in the bush. We called in the police so that we can retrieve the body but they attacked again and killed a policeman. The government should come to our aid.

“Herdsmen are terrorising us. We need help so that we can go to our farms.”

When contacted for comments, Edo police spokesman, DSP Chidi Nwabuzor, said the policeman did not die.

He said the policeman and other injured persons are receiving treatment in the hospital and said that investigations have commenced.

Farmers at Igbanke community in Orhionmwon local government also protested destruction of the crops by herdsmen.

The farmers who protested to Bénin City said they could no longer enter their farms.

They alleged that yams, cassava and other crops were used to feed cows after which the farmlands are set ablaze by the herdsmen to enable fresh grass to grow.

An elder of Iganke, Mr. James Iguando, said, “We are afraid. We cannot take laws into our hands. We don’t have plantain, yams and others again. We are now hungry. Herdsmen take their cows to eat our produce.

DSP Nwabuzor said the police have received petition on the issue and was working on the matter.

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COVID-19: African Countries Need To Quickly Ask For Debt Relief — Okonjo-Iweala

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Former minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has advised Nigeria and other African countries to quickly pressure the G7 and G20 for debt-relief in order to deal with the economic and health issues arising from the novel Coronavirus.

The economic expert who played a huge role in getting Nigeria an $18 billion debt-relief as minister of finance, stated a debt relief will aid in getting resources to tackle the spread of Coronavirus.

Okonjo-Iweala averred that the money owed by some African countries can be channeled towards dealing with Coronavirus.

She told BBC;

“You know we have several sources, you’ve got the African Development Bank, which has just floated a social bond for $3 billion that will be available to the countries on the continent,” she said.

“You have the World Bank that has set aside $14 billion of which they’ve already committed $2 billion to 25 countries — and 11 of them are Africans. Many of our countries need to move, to take advantage of this, and they are willing to commit $150 billion dollars over the next 15 months.

“The IMF has put forward $50 billion as an emergency fund, and already 80 countries have applied for this, many of them African.

“It also has a $1 billion grant fund; catastrophe containment and relief trust, which they can approach. Let me mention my own organisation, GAVI, where I am chair of the board. We have made immediately available $200 million to $300 million grant.

“Once these monies become available, if the countries get debt relief, that means that the monies they would have been paying to service the debt that they’ve taken from other countries; bilateral debts or from institutions, this monies can now be used to procure food and supplied and support the livelihood of people in the rural and urban area.

“Government can use these resources as part of an intervention fund to help people directly, and I think this is what they should be looking to do. But we need to move quickly, the debt relief we haven’t got it yet.

“There needs to be a great deal of pressure on the G7, G20 to come forward with this measure and then countries need to start availing themselves of the already available resources, and then pressure for the debt relief.”

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COVID-19: FG Seeks National Assembly Approval For N500 BILLION Intervention Fund

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Zainab Ahmed

In a bid to conquer the Coronavirus pandemic in the country, the Federal government has approached the leadership of the National Assembly for approval for the establishment of a N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.

The Minister of Finance, Ahmed Zainab, met with the lawmakers today April 4th at the National Assembly complex. At the meeting, Ahmed said the proposed fund would be dedicated to upgrading of existing health facilities in states across the federation. She added that the fund if approved by the lawmakers, would also be deployed to take care of special Public Work Programmes currently being implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

“What we are proposing is an establishment of a N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund. This fund that we are proposing, that should be created, will involve mopping up resources from various special accounts that the government, as well as the Federation, have, to be able to pull this N500 billion. Our general view is that this crisis intervention fund is to be utilised to upgrade healthcare facilities as earlier identified” she said.

On how the fund would be pooled, the Minister said the fund would be drawn from various special accounts, grants being expected and loans from multilateral institutions.

President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, appreciated the Federal government for the palliatives being handed to Nigerians following the Coronavirus outbreak but called for more interventions asides doling of cash.

“I think the time has come for us to redefine the implementation of the Social Intervention Programme, probably going out to communities to give them N20,000 per person might not be the best way to go. It is still an effort, but I think we need a better approach that will be more efficient. The Federal Government also needs to be in a position to improve health care facilities not only in the states but to provide intervention to the states.

We know that there will be a need for the parliament to agree and approve the taking of loans from these special accounts and we will be coming back with a proposed bill in that regard that will define what the fund will be used for” he said

Earlier in his opening remarks, the President of the Senate said the meeting, the second time since President Buhari made the pronouncement on lockdown to combat the deadly scourge, was necessary to fast track the process of legislative approval for the Executive request.

“Just like we told Nigerians when there is need for us to meet or to take legislative action in support of ensuring that the government responds appropriately to developments issues and challenges in the country, we will do so. This meeting, the second in the series after we shut down the National Assembly for two weeks, is a clear testimony of what we have said. Governance requires that we work together, so we want to listen to those things that you have on your side and how we can also play our constitutional role in ensuring that Nigerians continue to benefit from governance and how we are able to weather the storm created by COVID-19. Going forward, we need to interact more because very fundamental decisions will need to be taken, and these decisions can only be said to be constitutionally legal if the legislature gives its stamp of authority for the executive to implement and execute.

“I think coming to us for those loans is critical because we are in an emergency and time is of the essence. So, we must work as expeditiously as possible to ensure that we place the request before the National Assembly.” Lawan said

In attendance at the meeting were Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy Speaker, Honourable Idris Wase and some other principal officers from both Chambers.

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French Doctor Apologizes After Asking For New COVID-19 Drug To Be Tested In Africa

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Jean Paul Mira, the French doctor who alongside his colleague Camille Locht asked for a new Coronavirus drug to be tested in Africa, has apologized after their statement triggered a worldwide outrage.

It was reported earlier that Jean Paul Mira and Camille Locht who spoke on a live TV interview, insisted that Africa is the best place to conduct such test as they recalled how an experimental treatment for AIDS was carried out in Africa.

The dcotors were discussing about a “repurposed” tuberculosis vaccine as a COVID-19 beater during an expert chat on television, when the suggestion was made. The drug is currently being trialled in several European countries and Australia.

Mira, who is the intensive care unit (ICU) head at the Cochin hospital in Paris has now apologized over his comment which incited an outcry.

In a statement released on Friday April 3, Mira’s employer, the Paris network of hospitals quoted him saying:

“I want to present all my apologies to those who were hurt, shocked and felt insulted by the remarks that I clumsily expressed on LCI this week.”

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