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FG orders Missions to Probe Attacks on Nigerians in S’Africa

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  • FG orders Missions to Probe Attacks on Nigerians in S’Africa

The Federal Government has directed the Nigerian High Commission and consulate in Pretoria and Johannesburg to investigate the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Sola Enikanolaiye, explained that the findings of the probe would be on his table this week.

This was occasioned by the killing of Nigerians in Pretoria and the looting of their properties by South Africans last Thursday through Friday.

The permanent secretary informed one of our correspondents on Sunday in Abuja that the FG would take the appropriate response on getting the reports of the attacks on its citizens.

He advised Nigerians in South Africa to remain calm and law-abiding and assured them that everything would be done to protect them and their properties.

Enikanolaiye said, “In terms of what we have done so far, I have asked our mission in Pretoria and Johannesburg to file a full report, to investigate the alleged reported killing so that government would consider what is appropriate to the circumstance.

“I expect the report to reach me this evening (Sunday) or latest by tomorrow morning (today). I cannot do so until we have received the reports from our two missions.

“Nigerians should remain calm and law abiding and be confident that Nigerian government is watching development very closely.”

He stated that the government could not do anything now until it received a full briefing of the attacks, adding that the report of the investigation would be analysed and decisions on appropriate response taken.

Asked to comment on the reported alleged refusal of the South African police to protect Nigerians who were under attack, Enikanolaiye said it would be premature to speak further on the incident.

He stated that he had done the necessary thing by directing the mission and consulate to investigate the incident.

When asked about the failure of the South African Government to address repeated xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other immigrants, the permanent secretary retorted, “I can’t comment further until I receive full report from my two missions in Pretoria and Johannesburg and I’m in touch with them to file these reports to the government then we can take it further from there.”

Meanwhile, concerns over the killing of Nigerians in South Africa reverberated on Sunday as members of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Relations, sought improved dialogue between Nigeria and the authorities in South Africa over the rising incidents.

Speaking in Abuja, the Chairman of the committee, Ms. Nnena Ukeje, said that there was a huge understanding gap between South Africans and Nigerians, which must be addressed.

She explained that this should be done through intensified dialogue between the Federal Government and the South African Government on the need for the latter to pursue deliberate policies of educating South Africans to be hospitable.

Ukeje added, “What has happened over the years is that, at the level of government, the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa is cordial.

“The political leaders accord each other mutual respect.

“But, this has not trickled down to the level of individuals, in terms of how South Africans see Nigerians. They don’t extend that hand of friendship to Nigerians.

“And that is where the problem is. The Nigerians and the South Africans have issues; but the governments have no issues.

“So, we need to engage the government (South Africa) more; there is the need for them to talk to their people more. There is a lot in our long history of relationship that the South African Government must tell their people for them to begin to accommodate Nigerians as their brothers.”

Ukeje ruled out retaliation as a solution, much as it seemed the easily suggested option by many people.

She explained that since the killings were not “institutional murders,” it was difficult to directly accuse the South African Government of sanctioning the killings.

She added, “Mostly, you find that it is individuals killing Nigerians. There is the xenophobic factor against foreigners in South Africa, and Nigerians are the worst hit.

“It is not like a particular government institution in South Africa is ordering the killings.

“That is why engagement and more engagement is advisable. At the level of the legislature, we, as a committee, have made efforts to engage our colleagues in the South African parliament on this issue.

“More of these engagements have to be carried out honestly for us to begin to see real results.”

Regrettably, while the killings were on the rise, Ukeje said that the committee did not have the record of any successful prosecution of the suspected murderers.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

African Union Holds Global Conference to Accelerate African Vaccine Development and Manufacturing Capacity

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African leaders assembled at a global meeting to discuss the status of local pharmaceutical manufacturing on the continent, underscored the need to increase local production of vaccines and therapeutics to achieve greater public-health security.

“The production of vaccines and access to vaccines is an absolute priority,” Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, said Monday in opening remarks at the start of the two-day virtual meeting, convened by the African Union.

The meeting was attended by several African heads of state, health, finance and trade ministers from across the continent, as well as officials from global financial institutions, foundations, pharmaceutical manufacturers, business leaders, and the general public. The African Development Bank was represented by Solomon Quaynor, Vice President Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization.

Although Africa consumes approximately one-quarter of global vaccines by volume, it manufactures less than 1% of its routine vaccines, with almost no outbreak vaccine manufacturing in place. The region lags behind in procuring vaccines amid a global scramble for the medicines among wealthier nations. Thus far, only around 2% of the world’s vaccination against Covid-19 has taken place in Africa.

The need for a new public health order in Africa, which promotes domestic vaccine manufacturing, epidemic preparedness and upgraded healthcare systems to meet the needs of the world’s fastest-growing population, was the conference’s main objective.

The African Union and the Africa CDC said they would continue to work with all stakeholders to identify implementable actions, financing needs and timelines to competitively produce vaccines in Africa.

Quaynor noted that the current undertaking would require immense investment. “Vaccine manufacturing, because of its complexity, is not really an entrepreneurial drive but actually an institutional drive,” he added.

The African Development Bank is working with global and African stakeholders, to articulate a 2030 vision for Africa’s Pharmaceutical Industry in response to several calls received from African Heads of State, who have expressed a strong political will. This vision aligns with its “industrialize Africa” priority strategy.

The vision will build on previous efforts to produce a continental plan of action to boost local African pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity, such as the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa adopted in Abuja in January 2005 and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA), prepared by the African Union Commission and the United Nations in 2012, to assist local manufacturers with pharmaceutical production.

Quaynor said Africa could count on the African Development Bank’s support to secure Africa’s health defense system. “Leveraging on our comparative advantages, we will both provide upstream support to governments on the enabling environment, as well as provide financing to private sector and PPPs both indirectly through some of our private equity investee funds and directly through lending, and credit and risk guarantees. We will also use the Africa Investment Forum to bring in all relevant stakeholders and partner DFIs into bankable opportunities…”

The 2030 vision for Africa’s pharmaceutical industry would also work with pharmaceutical industry associations in Africa to create capacity development links between universities and industry in Africa, and work with African scientists in the diaspora, Quaynor said in remarks made on behalf of African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina.

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ITF, Nigerian Air Force, Others, Sign MOU To Advance Research

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The Industrial Training Fund, ITF has signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, and Equipment and Protective Application International Limited to establish the framework that will give room for optimal performance as well as enhance productivity.

The Director General, Industrial Training Fund, Sir Joseph Ari while speaking at the NAF headquarters in Abuja, said the MOU will be pursued with vigour and all the seriousness it deserves so that greater success would be the catalyst that will drive their intentions.

He explained that over the years, ITF had redirected its focus on technical, vocational training and education noting that developed nations are where they are today because of the initiative.

According to him, “even here in Abuja, we have a model of a skills training centre and the model was brought in from the Singaporean experience of the institute for technical education and services of Singapore”.

“We brought a semblance of it here to experience with five trade areas, Mechatronics and Autotronics, Computer Networking, ICT, Facility Technology as well as culinary in both African and Western cuisine is right there in the heart of Abuja in the ITF house, it is like a university”.

“The ITF is well positioned to work hand in hand with the Nigerian Air Force,” he said

The ITF boss added; “I must say that the Chief of Air Staff has a lot of foresight with his men to think about this Memorandum of Understanding because I deed, ITF is where you should be”.

“The ITF came into contact with the Nigerian Air Force even though a lot of the officers of the Air Force might have participated in its programmes in the past and since then I have noticed that NAF has not relented in its efforts to equipped it’s workforce and also upgrade and retrain its people,” Sir Ari added.

He also commended the men and officers of the NAF for their sacrifice in keeping the nation safe.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal, Oladayo Amao said the Nigerian Air Force has a highly technical Service and technology is the bedrock of all its operations.

Represented by the Chief of Standards and Evaluation, Air Vice Marshal, Olusegun Philip, Amao noted that in line with the focus of the Federal Government in promoting indigenous technology, the Nigerian Air Force has been looking inwards to gradually wean itself of overdependence on foreign technology and to become more innovative and resourceful.

“Therefore, in order to advance the Nigerian Air Force’s Research and Development efforts, we have deemed it necessary to formally collaborate with indigenous organizations through the signing of Memorandum of Understanding,” Amao stated.

“These collaborative efforts provide pedestals to leapfrog capability as well as a repertoire of capabilities that can be harnessed”.

“The collaborative efforts also provide platforms to synergise ideas for innovations that are key to achieving meaningful results to solve the technological challenges we currently face in a cost effective manner,” he said.

The Managing Director, Equipment and Protective Application International Limited, Engineer, Kola Balogun however, assured that the MOU entered would be for the overall economic benefit and development of the nation.

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SERAP Urges FG to Slash Politicians’ Allowances

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam, to urgently review upward the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for Nigerian Judges, and reduce the remuneration of President Muhammadu Buhari and other political office-holders in order to address the persistent poor treatment of Judges, and improve access of victims of corruption to justice.

The appeal came on the heels of a nationwide industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to press home their demand for financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government, and the federal government silence on the judiciary workers’ strike that has grounded court activities across the country.

In a letter dated April 10, 2021, which was signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said Judges should get all they are reasonably entitled to, and that it is unfair, illegal, unconstitutional, and discriminatory to continue to treat Judges as second-class people, while high-ranking political office holders enjoy lavish salaries and allowances.

SERAP expressed concern that the remuneration and allowances of Judges have fallen substantially behind the average salaries and allowances of political office-holders such as president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as members of the National Assembly.

The letter read in part: “According to our information, the last review of the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for political, public and judicial office holders carried out by RMAFC in 2009 shows huge disparity between the remuneration and allowances of judges and those of political office holders.

“Judges’ work is very considerable but they cannot give their entire time to their judicial duties without the RMAFC reviewing upward their remuneration and allowances, and closing the gap and disparity between the salaries of judges and those of political office holders such as the president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as lawmakers.

“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel the RMAFC to comply with our requests.”

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