Deadly Earthquake Leaves Turkey and Syria in Crisis
A powerful earthquake struck Turkey and Syria last Monday, causing widespread destruction and leaving tens of thousands dead or injured.
The death toll continues to rise as rescuers pull more survivors from the rubble, but with each passing day, the chances of finding more survivors grow increasingly remote.
This has been the deadliest earthquake to hit Turkey since 1939, and the situation is only compounded by the ongoing civil war in Syria, which has already left many residents homeless.
In Antakya, one of the hardest hit cities in southern Turkey, business owners have had to empty their shops to prevent looters from stealing merchandise.
There have been widespread reports of businesses and collapsed homes being robbed, which is only adding to the misery of those affected by the disaster. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pledged to deal firmly with looters and to restore order to the disaster zone.
The earthquake has hit Syria particularly hard in the rebel-held northwest, where many people who have already been displaced several times by the civil war are now homeless once again.
The region has received very little aid compared to government-held areas, which has left many residents feeling abandoned. The United Nations aid chief, Martin Griffiths, has tweeted from the Turkey-Syria border, saying that the people in northwest Syria have “so far failed” and that he is focused on addressing the situation as quickly as possible.
The Chinese and Turkish rescuers have been praised for their heroic efforts, having saved a 54-year-old Syrian man who survived 156 hours in the rubble of Antakya. Despite the danger, rescue teams continue to search the rubble for any remaining signs of life.
Although the number of survivors pulled from the ruins has been declining, rescuers still managed to save several people on Sunday, including a father and daughter, a toddler, and a 10-year-old girl.
As the aftermath of the earthquake continues to unfold, building quality in Turkey has come into sharp focus. Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay has announced that 131 suspects have been identified as responsible for the collapse of some of the thousands of buildings that were destroyed in the affected provinces.
The government has promised to hold those responsible accountable and to bring the necessary legal action against them.
The earthquake has struck at a critical moment for Turkey, as President Erdogan faces presidential and parliamentary elections in June.
His popularity has already been declining due to rising inflation and a struggling economy, and the slow and inadequate relief efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake have only added to the criticism he faces.
In Syria, the situation is further complicated by the ongoing civil war, which has made it difficult to provide aid to those in need. Earthquake aid from government-held areas into the territory controlled by hardline opposition groups has been held up by approval issues with Islamist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which controls much of the region.
The United Nations is hoping to increase cross-border operations by opening two additional border points between Turkey and opposition-held Syria to allow for the delivery of aid.
As the crisis continues to unfold, the international community is rallying to provide aid and support to those affected by the earthquake. The United States has called on the Syrian government and all other parties in the country to immediately grant humanitarian access to all those in need, while several Arab countries have provided support to the Syrian government.
The first shipment of European earthquake aid has also arrived in Damascus, and the United Nations is working to ramp up its efforts to bring aid and support to those in need.
Lagos Govt Signs MoU With eTransact For Setbacks, Open Spaces Management to Boost IGR
In a bid to better manage the open spaces and setbacks in Lagos, the state government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a fintech firm, eTransact.
The Memorandum, Investors King reports will regulate the use of the setbacks and Incidental Open Spaces (IOS) to improve the state’s internally generated revenue while enhancing beauty and physical orderliness in Lagos State.
The pact was signed by the State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development at the State Secretariat in Alausa, Ikeja, to ensure smooth partnership between Lagos State Planning and Environmental Monitoring Authority (LASPEMA) and the fintech company.
The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Engr. Omotayo Bamgbose-Martins, who was represented by Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on e-GIS and Planning Matters, Dr. Olajide Babatunde and Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr. Oluwole Sotire signed for the state government while the Managing Director of eTransact, Mr. Niyi Toluwalope and Group Head, Legal of eTransact, Ms. Eme Godwin signed for the company.
In a statement, the eTransact promised to implement an integrated digitalised solution for the data collection and management of revenue collection through the use of technology, adding that businesses occupying setbacks and open spaces will be well monitored to further increase IGR of the state.
According to Babatunde, the official public-private partnership would ensure proper management of the environment.
He noted that there will be better accountability and growth in IGR to further serve the interest of the people of Lagos.
In his remarks, Toluwalope said that the partnership will improve social development, develop solutions on data collection and proper use of setbacks and open spaces through digital means.
He reiterated the company’s commitment to build an attray and prosperous city for all in partnership with the state government.
He said: “eTranzact is a premier technology solutions company in Nigeria. Today we are partnering with the Lagos State Government and LASPEMA for the enumeration and data management of the occupants of the setbacks and incidental open spaces within the City. We are licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide this service.
“The Lagos State Government has taken this laudable initiative to identify the setbacks, enumerate the people on these setbacks, do the necessary data capture, and manage the entire setback infrastructure in the state so that it is structured; following the proper model for setbacks, improves beautification, improves transparency within the environment and ensures that our critical urban infrastructure is well laid out properly to ensure Lagos functions as a major critical landmark with global recognition.”
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu Petitions NBC to Sanction Channels TV Over Alleged Breach of Broadcasting Code
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the President-elect, has reportedly filed a petition with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), calling for the sanction of Channels Television for allegedly breaching the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.
The petition alleges that the TV station allowed its guest, Labour Party Vice Presidential candidate Datti Baba-Ahmed to make several incendiary comments that impugned the integrity of the 25 February 2023 Presidential elections.
According to Tinubu’s petition, Baba-Ahmed claimed that the Labour Party won the election, which is “a fallacy and not correct,” and he alleged that President Buhari should not swear in the President-elect because he did not score 25% of the vote in the FCT, which is a prerequisite for being declared the winner.
Tinubu also accused Baba-Ahmed of making subversive, inciting, and inflammatory comments, which breached the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.
The petition calls on NBC to apply sanctions against Channels TV, stating that the TV station’s guest was “not only provocative but also inciting the public and the Labour Party followers to delegitimize the outcome of the elections but also propagate resistance against the incoming duly elected administration of Bola Ahmed-Tinubu and Kashim Shettima.”
This development comes amid tensions and uncertainties surrounding the aftermath of the 2023 Nigerian Presidential elections with some political parties and their supporters contesting the results and calling for a rerun. The Nigerian Broadcasting Code aims to regulate the activities of broadcasters and ensure that they promote national unity, peace, and social harmony, among other objectives.
NBC is yet to respond to Tinubu’s petition or issue any statement on the matter. However, this petition highlights the need for broadcasters and media houses to uphold journalistic ethics and professional standards, especially during sensitive periods like elections.
Court of Appeal Upholds Adeleke’s Victory in Osun State Governorship Election
In a landmark judgement, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has affirmed the victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke as the rightful governor of Osun State.
The ruling, which comes as a surprise to many, overturned the decision of the Osun State Governorship Tribunal which had earlier nullified Adeleke’s election victory.
Following the governorship polls in the state, an Election Petition Tribunal had sacked Adeleke from office, citing his failure to secure the majority of lawful votes during the July 16 governorship polls. However, in a unanimous agreement by a three-man panel led by Justice Mohammed Shuaibu, the Court of Appeal quashed the tribunal’s judgment and gave its verdict to uphold Adeleke’s victory.
The Appeal Court Panel revoked the tribunal’s order which directed that a Certificate of Return be withdrawn from Adeleke and issued to his predecessor and All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Gboyega Oyetola. The panel held that the Osun State Tribunal was wrong to have said that there was overvoting, a claim that only relied on the evidence by Oyetola and the APC, and as such, doesn’t prove their case in any way.
The judge faulted Oyetola and APC, that they only relied on the data from the back end server and failed to look at the voters register which forms the foundation of the whole electoral process and as such, cannot strengthen their allegations of overvoting. The court also resolved in favour of Adeleke on the issue of jurisdiction, stating that section 285(8) of the constitution as amended, the court has every right to entertain the appeal.
The ruling is a significant victory for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Adeleke, who had been locked in a legal battle with the APC over the governorship position since the election. Many Nigerians have applauded the Court of Appeal’s decision as a step towards consolidating the country’s democracy and upholding the rule of law.
The decision has also set a precedent for future electoral disputes in the country, as it highlights the importance of credible evidence in proving electoral malpractice claims. This ruling has shown that allegations of overvoting cannot be sustained without concrete evidence from the voters register, and political parties must be thorough in their investigations and presentation of evidence in such cases.
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