Up to half a million Afghans could flee their homeland by year-end, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday, appealing to all neighboring countries to keep their borders open for those seeking safety.
As a crisis unfolds in the country, a few thousand Afghans have been recorded as entering Iran daily, while traders continue going back and forth from Afghanistan to Pakistan, said Kelly Clements, deputy U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
“In terms of numbers, we are preparing for around 500,000 new refugees in the region. This is a worst-case scenario,” Clements told a Geneva news briefing.
“While we have not seen large outflows of Afghans at this point, the situation inside Afghanistan has evolved more rapidly than anyone expected,” she added.
There had been a “small uptick” in the outflow to Pakistan in the recent days, she said.
UNHCR’s contingency planning figure of half a million Afghan refugees over the next four months includes departures to Iran and Pakistan and to countries of Central Asia, Clements said.
She did not elaborate on what developments might trigger such a sudden increase in refugee numbers where an Islamic State attack on Thursday killed 85 people outside Kabul airport.
Filippo Grandi, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, has held talks with the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other donors regarding financial support for the agency’s plan to shelter and care for new arrivals, she added.
People are calling an Afghan crisis helpline, reporting “executions and beatings and clampdowns on media and radio stations”, said Najeeba Wazedafost, CEO of the Asia Pacific Refugee Network, who voiced special concern for women’s safety.
“They tell us their fear of being killed simply for being a female,”
EFCC Chairman, Bawa Slumps in Abuja
The Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, broke down while presenting his brief address and was rushed out of the banquet hall at the presidential villa on Thursday.
Bawa was offering his goodwill message at the National Identity Day celebration when he suddenly stopped speaking and asked to be excused.
“Please, excuse me, I can’t continue,” he said then walked off the stage before slumping on his chair and was eventually taken out.
Earlier, he mentioned that the EFCC was grieving the loss of a colleague.
He broke down while talking about a man the commission arrested in Ibadan, Oyo State, with 116 SIM cards.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, and other senior officials at the event accompanied the EFCC boss as he was taken out of the hall.
The Master of Ceremonies later announced that Bawa’s condition was stable.
“I am happy to announce to you that the EFCC Chairman is now stable,” he said.
The minister, during his speech, also said that Bawa was stable but should be put in prayers.
Osinbajo to Represent Nigeria at ECOWAS Meeting in Accra Concerning Situation in Guinea
President Muhammadu Buhari would be represented by his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, at the 2nd Extraordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on the political situation in the Republic of Guinea today.
Prof. Osinbajo had participated last week at the previous ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit on the political situation in Guinea and Mali. That meeting was held virtually on the 8th of September.
The Authority decided then that Guinea be immediately suspended from all ECOWAS governing bodies and statutory meetings. ECOWAS leaders had also called for the immediate and unconditional release of President Alpha Conde and other arrested persons; demanded the immediate return of Guinea to constitutional order; and decided to immediately dispatch a high-level ECOWAS mission to Guinea to assess the situation.
The physical meeting taking place today will review the situation in Guinea in light of the report of the ECOWAS high-level mission to Conakry.
The Vice President, who leaves Abuja this morning, would be accompanied by the Foreign Affairs Minister of State, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, and is expected back in Abuja later today.
Senate Passes Bills To Establish Two Federal Universities in Ekiti, Nasarawa states
The Senate on Tuesday passed two bills seeking to establish two federal universities in Ekiti and Nasarawa States.
The bills are the Federal University of Health and Medical Sciences Iyin, Ekiti State (Establishment) Bill, 2021, and Federal University Lafia Teaching Hospital (Establishment) Bill, 2021.
Both bills are sponsored by Senators Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central), and Tanko Al-Makura (APC, Nasarawa South).
The passage of both bills followed the presentation and consideration of two separate reports by the Committee on Health (Secondary and Tertiary).
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central), in his presentation, said the bill to establish the Federal University of Lafia Teaching Hospital was “necessitated as a result of the precarious health conditions faced by the resident.”
According to him, the bill to establish the Federal University of Health and Medical Sciences Iyin, Ekiti State, seeks to promote and emphasize teaching, research and extension of knowledge in the field of medicine and environmental sciences.
In a related development, the Senate on Wednesday passed a third bill to amend the University Teaching Hospitals (Reconstitution of Boards) Act.
The bill’s passage by the upper chamber followed consideration of a report by the Committee on Health (Secondary and Tertiary).
Senator Oloriegbe in his presentation explained that the amendment bill seeks to amend the First Schedule to the Principal Act to include the University Teaching Hospital, Lafia and Modibbo Adama University Teaching Hospital.
In a related development, a bill seeking to establish the Federal College of Education, Kaiama, Kwara State, scaled second reading during plenary.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Sadiq Suleiman Umar (APC, Kwara North).
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, after the bill was considered, referred it to the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.
The Committee which is chaired by Senator Ahmad Baba Kaita was given four weeks to report back to the upper chamber.
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