- Xenophobic Attacks Continue in South Africa
There appears to be little respite for Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora at the moment. While those at home are facing economic challenges due to the current recession, those in South Africa are grappling with xenophobia from the citizens, while Libya has become living hell for many seeking greener pastures and wanting to cross to Europe.
Even those in Europe already, albeit, illegally, face deportation, while palpable fear stares those in the United States (US) in the face as a result of the policies of President Donald Trump.
On Thursday, no fewer than 43 Nigerians were deported from Germany, Belgium and Italy for alleged immigration-related offences and unruly behaviour.
Earlier in the week, 171 Nigerians returned from Libya with a tale of woes after their attempts to cross to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert failed.
Yesterday, the xenophobia protests continued across South Africa, with violence spreading to Pretoria, the country’s capital. The South African police said it arrested 136 people, as the anti-foreigner protesters clashed with African immigrants in the capital.
Acting police chief, Khomotso Phahlane, said the arrests were made during the past 24 hours, but did not disclose how many were South Africans and how many foreigners, according to News 24.
In Pretoria, a march organised by a group calling itself the Mamelodi Concerned Residents escalated into a tense confrontation between protesters and foreigners, some of who carried rocks, sticks and machetes, which they said was to protect their property.
The Police used tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators on both sides, according to Reuters. Video footage from the protests showed angry South Africans chanting and calling for African immigrants to be sent home.
The protesters accused African immigrants, including Nigerians and Somalis, of being involved in crimes, such as drug and sex trades. The incidents have prompted an angry response in Nigeria, where protesters in Abuja on Thursday marched to the offices of South African telecoms firm MTN and satellite cable service provider, DSTV.
Over a quarter of the South African population is unemployed and protesters have blamed foreigners for taking local jobs. The founder of a new anti-immigrant political party called South African First, Mario Khumalo, told news site Times Live that over 13 million foreign nationals were living in South Africa.
But South Africa’s last census in 2011 estimated that only 2.2 million people born outside the country were living there, according to fact checking site Africa Check.
The United Nations put the number of foreign migrants living in South Africa at 3.1 million in 2015. President Jacob Zuma denounced the violence against foreigners in a statement yesterday, saying: “It is wrong to brandish all non-nationals as drug dealers or human traffickers.
“Let us isolate those who commit such crimes and work with government to have them arrested, without stereotyping and causing harm to innocent people.”
The country’s Interior Minister, Malusi Gigaba, told South Africa’s Parliament on Thursday that authorities would crack down on the employment of illegal migrants by local businesses.
South African labour law requires 60 per cent of a company’s employees to be South African or permanent residents of the country. The country has experienced periodic outbreaks of xenophobic violence in the past. In 2015, at least five people were killed in attacks on African and international migrants in Pretoria and Johannesburg, while properties and businesses owned by foreigners were looted and torched.
In Abuja, a civil rights group, the Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), yesterday threatened to embark on series of coordinated actions that would send a strong message to South Africans to refrain from further xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.
CASER’s Executive Director, Frank Tietie, in a statement urged the South African government to match words with action by taking urgent steps to permanently arrest the recurring hate attacks on Nigerians.
CASER stated that its action is irrespective of what the two governments do or fail to do, even as it charged both governments to move beyond rhetoric and ensure that victims of the renewed xenophobic attacks in South Africa were compensated.
SERAP Urges FG to Slash Politicians’ Allowances
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.”
COVAX Delivered 38m Vaccine Doses To Over 100 Countries, Says WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday announced that more than 100 countries have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
It said the milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on February 24th.
In a statement, the United Nations’ Agency revealed that COVAX has now delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents, supplied by three manufacturers – AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Serum Institute of India (SII).
Of the over 100 economies reached, 61 are among the 92 lower-income economies receiving vaccines funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
It, however, said despite reduced supply availability in March and April – the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimising their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year.
According to the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley, “In under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting anywhere in the world, it is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached 100 countries.
“COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating economies in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers. As we continue with the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history, this is no time for complacency.”
The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet.
“If we are going to realise this great opportunity, countries, producers and the international system must come together to prioritise vaccine supply through COVAX. Our collective future, literally, depends on it.”
Approved Ibom Deep Sea Port, Proposed $1.4B Fertilizer Plant Will Change Akwa Ibom’s Economic Status – Gov. Udom
Akwa Ibom State Government has said the approved Ibom Deep Seaport and the proposed $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia Plant are expected to change the economic status of the state.
The State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, made the assertion in an Easter message to the people of the state.
He maintained that with the recent approval and take off of the federal government’s approved Oil and Gas Free Zone and the ongoing construction of the Sterling Petrochemical Plant at Eastern Obolo, the state would be ready to dump its status as a civil service state.
The governor said the fertilizer and ammonia plants should be supported by all indegenes and residents irrespective of political affiliation because of its capacity to change the economic fortunes of the state.
The governor who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the industrial projects in the state said construction work on the Ibom Deep Seaport would commence very soon.
“In recent past, we have been blessed with life-changing projects such as Sterling Petrochemical Plant in Eastern Obolo, where construction is in an advanced stage.
“Two months ago, the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) approved the license for us to commence the construction of our long desired Ibom Deep Seaport. Work would soon commence on this gigantic project. These are huge achievements for our State and our people.
“Ibom Deep Seaport will open up our economic fortunes; create employment and wealth opportunities for our people and throw open our State as a major maritime hub in our nation.
“We thank the President and the Commander in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for this kind approval,” he said.
Continuing, Emmanuel said: “About three weeks ago, we signed a $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia plant with our Moroccan counterparts. The plant will again create huge employment and other supply chain activities for our people, which will transform us from a civil service oriented state to a fast industrialising one.
“These are huge achievements that should gladden the hearts of every Akwa Ibomite irrespective of political affiliations.”
He reminded the people of the state that the essence of Easter would be lost if the resurrection of Christ is not allowed to illuminate their souls through love and sacrifice to one another.
“Let the fishermen in the ocean fronts of Mbo, Okobo, Eastern Obolo and Ibeno love one another. Let the farmers in the rice plantations at Ini, Ikono, Ika, Onna and Nsit Ibom love one another.
“Let the civil servants and public servants, politicians in all political parties, members of all denominations, preachers of all faiths, love one another.
“When we let love drive our every action and every thought, when we let it drip from our lips and from our hands, then shall the joy of Easter be complete, and our State shall surely attain the lofty height set for it by our ancestors when they named it Akwa Abasi Ibom State.” the Governor stated.
Covid19.nmfb.com.ng: How to Check Nirsal COVID-19 Loan Status
The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business Announce Major Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
Europa League: Arsenal in Tough Spot After Home Draw
Finance3 weeks ago
List of Microfinance Banks’ USSD Codes In Nigeria
Government4 weeks ago
FEC Approves $1.5 Billion For Repair of Port Harcourt Refinery
News4 weeks ago
Focus on bank MDs, Others, Workers Reply EFCC Over Asset Declaration
Government3 weeks ago
US Intelligence Says ISIS and Al-Qaeda Are Planning to Attack Southern Nigeria
Government4 weeks ago
Customers TO Pay N6.98 Per USSD Transaction – CBN, NCC
News4 weeks ago
EFCC Directs Bankers to Declare Assets by June 1
Banking Sector4 weeks ago
GTBank Records N201.4 Billion Profit After Tax in 2020
Economy4 weeks ago
5M Jobs Must be Created Yearly For The Next 10 Years to Tackle Unemployment in Nigeria – WTO DG