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Two Soldiers, 3 Civilian JTF Killed In Fresh Borno Attack

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Jihadists aligned with the Islamic State group have killed five security personnel in three attacks in northeast Nigeria, sources said Wednesday.

In the first incident, truckloads of fighters from the Islamic State West Africa group attacked a military post in Tungushe, a village near the Borno state capital Maiduguri, killing a soldier and injuring another, a military officer told AFP.

“The terrorists attacked around 6:00 pm (on Monday), leading to a gun battle in which a soldier was killed and another one was injured,” said the officer, who asked not to be identified.

He said two insurgents were killed while a gun truck was recovered along with weapons.

The militants withdrew and attacked troops in nearby Gajiganna, where they killed a second soldier and seized a gun truck, according to anti-jihadist militiaman, Ibrahim Liman.

Tungushe, which lies 22 kilometres (13 miles) from Maiduguri, has been repeatedly targeted by ISWAP and fighters from the rival Boko Haram faction, attacking troops and raiding the village for food and livestock.

Around the same time on Monday, insurgents on motorcycles and in four trucks fitted with machine guns stormed into the town of Rann near the border with Cameroon, attacking troops and militia positions.

“We lost three of our colleagues in the Rann incident,” Liman told AFP.

“Our consolation is that several terrorists were killed in the fight, including their commander, and one of their trucks was recovered,” he said.

ISWAP on Tuesday issued a statement claiming responsibility for three attacks, including the ones in Tungushe and Rann, resulting in the “killing and wounding” of several troops and the burning of 20 public buildings.

The militants have recently stepped up deadly assaults in the restive northeast.

On Sunday, jihadists killed at least 30 people in an overnight raid on Auno village along the highway leading to Maiduguri where travellers had stopped to comply with a nighttime curfew.

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Wednesday, made a rare visit to Maiduguri to express his condolences over that attack and called for better cooperation with local communities to provide intelligence on the fighters.

The decade-long jihadist uprising has killed 36,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes in northeast Nigeria.

The military has repeatedly claimed that the insurgency has largely been defeated but attacks against civilians and soldiers continue on a near daily basis.

The army last year launched a new strategy that saw it withdraw troops from remote bases into larger so-called “super camps”.

The military says the tactic has helped to stem jihadist violence but local residents and aid workers say it appears to have bolstered the jihadists by leaving vast swathes of territory unprotected.

AFP

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COVID-19: Air Peace Delivers Medical Supplies From Turkey

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The Federal Government at the weekend took delivery of the first batch of medical supplies intended to fight the spread of COVID-19 and treatment for infected persons.

The supplies were flown in by an Air Peace Boeing 777 aircraft which landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport , Abuja from Istanbul, the Turkish capital on Saturday night.

Immigration sources hinted that the aircraft with registration number 5N-BWI flew out of Nigeria early Saturday on a seven- hour flight to lift the medical supplies and made it back before midnight.

The source also disclosed that this was the first batch of the medical supplies from the federal government, noting that the airline would leave for China on Monday for another batch of medical supplies for government.

“Air Peace will also deliver another supplies for the federal government. It will leave for Beijing on Monday for 15- hour non-stop flight to China with its B777-ER with registration number 5N-BE,” the source said.

Chief Operating Officer of Air Peace, Mrs. Toyin Olajide, gave kudos to government on its efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic, noting that government was ahead of some countries in the fight against the pandemic.

She said: “The management of Air Peace commends the federal government for being proactive in the preparation for emergencies, preventing the spread of the virus and also providing the kits and other medical equipment for the treatment of those infected by the pandemic.

“This shows that government is ready to fight this disease and it is even more prepared than the governments of some of the advanced nations in the measures and strategies adopted to eradicate the virus.”

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COVID-19: Rivers Govt Concludes Plans To Distribute Foodstuffs

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike on Sunday announced that his administration has set in motion the platform for the distribution of food palliatives to Rivers people following the sit-at-home directive to check the spread of coronavirus.

Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt on Sunday after inspecting the State Food Bank established for the distribution of the food palliatives, Governor Wike informed that a State Committee will be set up to implement the distribution of the foodstuffs.

Wike was accompanied by Service Commanders who are members of the State Task Force on Enforcement of the Ban on Public and Religious Gatherings .

He said: “We inspected where we kept the relief materials for our palliative programme. Our intention is to ensure that we mitigate the impact of the sit-at-home directive.

“We are going to set up a committee for the distribution of the foodstuffs meant to serve as palliative for Rivers people.”

At the State Food Bank , the State Government has rice, garri, beans, noodles, yam, palm oil and salt to be distributed to the less privileged in all the 23 Local Government Areas.

Governor Wike warned against the politicisation of the fight against coronavirus, saying all stakeholders must make sacrifices.

“We say to our people, this is not a time to play politics. Nobody should play politics with the lives of people. Everybody has to make sacrifices to make sure everyone stays alive,” he said.

The Rivers State Governor said that the State Government is prepared to tackle the deadly virus.

He said: “For now, we are not hundred percent ready, but we are about 90 percent ready. Luckily for us, we have no serious cases.

“The confirmed case is doing very well. They have sent her samples and it came out negative. The final sample has been sent and we are expecting the results.

“We are doing quite well. All members of the security council are working together to ensure that we prevent the spread of coronavirus.”

On the monitoring of compliance by Churches, Governor Wike said the Task Force is happy with the level of cooperation from the Churches.

He said: “We are happy with the level of compliance that we have seen throughout Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas. The churches complied.”

The Task Force monitored compliance at
Omega Power Ministries, OPM, Saint Patrick’s Anglican Church, Rukpokwu and Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Chaplaincy, Catholic Institute of West Africa, Rumuibekwe.

Governor Wike also inspected the progress of work at the State Isolation/Treatment Centre under construction.

“We have visited this location to see the readiness of the isolation/treatment centre in Port Harcourt. Even though they failed to deliver the job on Saturday as promised, we are confident in the next four days, it would have been completed”, he said.

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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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