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67 Catholic Priests Die Of Coronavirus In Italy

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A total of 67 Italian priests infected with the novel coronavirus have died since the pandemic reached the Mediterranean country last month, the Avvenire newspaper said Wednesday.

The youngest of those listed by the Catholic Church-affiliated paper was 53.

“Priests get sick and die like everybody else, maybe even more than the rest,” the Avvenire wrote.

The paper said 22 of the fatalities were in the Bergamo diocese, at the heart of the outbreak not far from the financial centre Milan.

Pope Francis asked priests “to have the courage to go out and see the sick” when the pandemic was gathering strength across the country on March 10.

AFP

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US Demands Fresh Probe Of African Development Bank’s President, Akinwunmi Adesina

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The United States Department of Treasury has requested an independent investigation into allegations leveled against the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina.

Some staff of the AfDB had accused Adesina of 20 breaches of the bank’s code of conduct, including “unethical conduct, private gain, an impediment to efficiency, preferential treatment, and involvement in political activities”. The bank’s ethics committee carried out an independent investigation headed by Takuji Yano and cleared Adesina, insisting he was not guilty on all counts.

However, in a letter by US Treasury Secretary, Stephen Mnuchin dated 22nd May and addressed to Niale Kaba, chair of AfDB’s board of governors, rejected the findings by the ethics committee of the bank that “totally exonerated” Adesina and has called for a deeper investigation. The US Treasury owns the largest non-African stake in the bank.

Read the full text of the letter below:

The United States received your letter of May 5, in which you share your view that the board of governors of the African Development Bank should adopt the conclusions of the bank’s ethics committee and declare that the president is “totally exonerated of all the allegations made against him.” Our constituency cannot make such a declaration at this time. We have deep reservations about the integrity of the committee’s process.

Instead, we urge you to initiate an in-depth investigation of the allegations using the services of an independent outside investigator of high professional standing. We emphasize that undertaking an independent evaluation of facts, at any stage, is not at odds with a presumption of innocence.

The allegations set out in the whistleblower complaint submitted on January 19, 2020, raise significant issues that all relevant governing bodies of the bank must handle with the utmost care, using all tools available to them. Had the ethics committee undertaken a proper preliminary examination that was in line with the board of governors resolution B/BG/2008/l 1, standard practices at other international financial institutions, and the bank’s own rules and procedures, it would have reviewed available facts that could be gathered by external counsel and found in internal bank records.

We fear that wholesale dismissal of all allegations without appropriate investigation will tarnish the reputation of this institution as one that does not uphold high standards of ethics and governance. This is a serious risk when we need strong confidence in the AfDB to play an influential role in the current global economic and health crisis, and when many shareholders are seeking legislative support for payments under the recently-concluded general capital increase.

Therefore, the United States cannot support dismissing the allegations at this stage. We believe the board of governors must demonstrate that this institution takes governance, anti-corruption, and transparency seriously. We thus request that you take steps to initiate an impartial, independent investigation into these allegations. Whatever the outcome, the AfDB will emerge stronger for having taken seriously its obligations to uphold good governance.

The United States sincerely wishes the AfDB to remain a high-quality institution with the capability to address the needs of the African continent, particularly at this critical time. Considering the scope, seriousness and detail of these allegations against the sole candidate for bank leadership over the next five years, we believe that further inquiry is necessary to ensure the AfDB’s president has broad support, confidence, and a clear mandate from shareholders.
Please accept our regards and appreciation for considering our request.

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Wike Releases N450m To Victims Of 2019 ‘Bloody’ Poll

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Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has released a sum of N450m to victims of the 2019 bloody general elections in Ijaw communities in Abonema, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state.

The governor, who met with the victims, deceased families and the council of chiefs at their townhall in Abonema on Monday said their bank account numbers would be credited with the amount of money due them from Wednesday.

There were indications that the families of 37 persons, who paid the supreme price, were entitled to N9m compensation each.

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Southeast Governors, Inspector-General Clash Over Community Policing Plan

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The South East Governors Forum has expressed dismay that the Inspector General of Police allegedly reneged on its agreements on practice and composition for establishment of community policing in the zone.

The Chairman of the forum and Ebonyi Governor, Chief David Umahi made the disclosure at the end of its meeting in Enugu on Sunday.

The chairman said that the recent communication from the IG, Mr Mohammed Adamu, did not conform with the initial agreement reached with him during his visit to the Zone.

‘The South East Governors and their leaders request the IGP to revert to our initial agreement reached on Community Policing at Enugu.

“The forum agrees that all South East States House of Assembly should commence the process of enacting the state security laws in line with the South East Joint Security Programme.

“In the circumstance, we cannot begin implementation of it until the programme reflects our earlier agreement,” he said.

On COVID-19, the governors urged Igbos nationwide to stay safe and obey all directives to contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to him, the forum have directed all Igbos living outside Igbo land to obey all existing COVID-19 orders, Presidential directive on inter-state movement, World Health Organisation (WHO).

He said they should obey the Nigeria Centre of Disease and Control (NCDC) hygiene protocols, presidential Task Force and directives of South East Governors and directives of all Governors where they live.

The governor said that the forum agreed to further engage the NCDC to scale up testing of Coronavirus in South East States.

The governors commended President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Works and the Governor of Anambra, Willie Obiano on the extent of work at the second Niger Bridge,” he said.

On the economy, Umahi said the forum agreed to set up committees at the various states to work with Federal Government, World Bank, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) on repositioning the economy in the zone.

He said they would work in their various programmes lined up to rejig the economy, especially in areas of Agriculture, Small and Medium Enterprises and solid minerals.

The Chairman said it agreed also to hold a virtual meeting with the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the issue of linking South East State capitals with pipeline.

This, he said, should be done along with the pipeline programme of the Federal Government running from Imo to Lagos State.

Umahi disclosed that the forum agreed that Ohaneze should submit a working document in their next meeting on setting up of South East Stabilization Fund.

The forum also commended President, Minister of Aviation, the Governor of Enugu State and other governors of South East and the Committee headed by Mr Chris Okoye on the extent of work at Akanu Ibiam International Airport.

“We assure our people that with the progress of work at the site, we are hopeful that the Airport will reopen soonest subject to COVID-19 Federal Government Programme, “ Umahi said.

The governor he said that the next Executive Committee meeting of the South East Traditional Institution shall be hosted by Ebonyi State.

NAN reports that Governors of Imo, Hope Uzodinma and Enugu State attended the meeting while Gov Okezie Ikpeazu Abia was represented by his deputy, Mr Ude Oko-Chukwu and Anambra State governor, represented by his deputy, Mr Nkem Okeke.

Other notable personalities at the meeting were Obi of Onitsha, His Majesty Nnaemeka Achebe, Oh Anezi President General, Nnia Nwodo and some traditional and religious leaders.

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