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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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Fayemi Declares NO MERCY For Rapists In Ekiti

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Governor Kayode Fayemi says no person convicted for a sex offence, such as rape, in any part of the state would enjoy his powers of prerogative of mercy any more.

Fayemi stated this while signing into law the Sexual Violence Against Children (Compulsory treatment and care for child victims of sexual violence), recently passed by the state House of Assembly.

The governor lamented the rate at which women and the girl child are being violated in the country describing it as act of extreme violence that must be addressed urgently before it gets out of hand.

In the drive to combat the scourge nationally, Fayemi calls for a state of emergency to deal more effectively with the menace.

He directed the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Wale Fapohunda, to henceforth oppose bail or plea bargaining for rape offenders in the state.

He explained further that his administration had established a Register of Sex Offenders of all persons convicted of acts of sexual violence and adopted a policy of publicly naming and shaming convicted sex offenders as well as putting machinery in motion to strengthen the Gender-Based Violence Management Committee to oversee the implementation of the GBV Law.

He said, “In many respects, however, it is now obvious that we need to do more to confront the severity of the challenges we face. Our response must be efficient and proactive to end a culture of impunity and foster a culture of justice and deterrent. It is against this background that I now wish to enumerate some of the additional measures we will be taking.

“First, by virtue of the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Child Victims of Sexual Violence Law, 2020’ a child victim of sexual violence in this State will have rapid access to a medical facility that can administer emergency medical care, including treatment to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and counseling.

“We are going to overhaul and modernise our register of sex offenders to ensure it is effective in combating sexual violence. I have directed the Ministry of Justice to consider additional measures to make the register permanently accessible to the public.

“The Ministry of Justice is further directed to reaffirm state policy of opposing bail and rejecting plea bargain proposals from perpetrators of rape and child defilement. The State Government’s policy of ensuring that convicted sex offenders do not benefit from my power of prerogative of mercy remain in force.”

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AfDB Approves Independent Probe Of Adesina

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Akinwumi Adesina

The Boards of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has finally bowed to US pressure and has ordered an independent probe of President of the bank Akinwumi Adesina.

The board of governors reached the decision on Thursday June 4, in spite of sitting and former African leaders’ campaign for the bank to ignore the call for an independent investigation of allegations against Adesina as he has already been cleared by the bank’s ethics committee.

In a communique signed by the Chairperson of the bank’s Bureau of the Boards of Governors Niale Kaba, it was gathered that the independent review will be carried out by a neutral high calibre individuals with unquestionable experience, high international reputation and integrity within a short time period of not more than two to four weeks maximum.

The board also admitted that the ethics committee performed its role on the matter in accordance with the applicable role under resolution B/BG/2008/11.

It reads: “The Bureau reiterates that it agrees that the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors performed its role on this matter in accordance with the applicable rule under Resolution B/BG/2008/11 of the Board of Governors.

“The Bureau also reiterates that the Chairperson of the Bureau of the Board ofGovernors performed her role in accepting the findings of the Ethics Committee in accordance with the said Resolution.

“However, based on the views of some Governors on the matter and the need to carry every Governor along in resolving it, the Bureau agrees to authorize an Independent Review of the Report of the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors relative to the allegations considered by the Ethics Committee and the submissions made by the President of the Bank Group thereto in the interest of due process.

“The Independent Review shall be conducted by a neutral high calibre individual with unquestionable experience, high international reputation and integrity within a short time period of not more than two to four weeks maximum, taking the Bank Group’s electoral calendar into account.

“The Bureau agrees that, within a three to six month period and following the independent review of the Ethics Committee Report, an independent comprehensive review of the implementation of the Bank Group’s Whistle-Blowing and Complaints Handling Policy should be conducted with a view to ensuring that the Policy is properly implemented, and revising it where necessary, to avoid situations of this nature in the future.”

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Reps Reject Castration As Punishment For Rapists

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The House of Representatives has rejected the recommendation for castration of rapists.

The Nation reports that the reps voted against a prayer seeking to recommend castration for rapists at the plenary on Thursday, considered and adopted a motion on the rising cases of sexual violence in Nigeria.

A member of the house, Mr James Faleke, had recommended that persons found guilty of rape should be castrated.

The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, however, asked what would happen to an older female who rapes a younger male, just before the prayer was subjected to a voice vote.

The House of Representative put the prayer to vote and it was rejected by the majority.

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