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650,000 people affected by floods in Sudan – UN2 minutes read

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About 650,000 people have been affected by flash floods caused by heavy rains that hit Sudan in mid-July, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) was cited to have reported that 650,000 people had been affected by floods in 17 out of Sudan’s 18 states.

More than 111,000 houses were either destroyed or damaged.

Floods also destroyed 1,700 ha (4,200 acres) of agricultural land, 179 public facilities (schools, health centres and government offices), 359 shops and warehouses and killed 5,500 head of livestock,’’ the UN agency said in a report.

More than 110,000 people have been affected by floods in the first week of September alone, the OCHA said

It added that nearly 43 per cent of those 650,000 are in the states of Khartoum, North Darfur and Sennar.

“The situation could deteriorate over the coming days, as heavy rains forecast in Ethiopia and several parts of Sudan will likely cause a further increase in water levels in the Blue Nile, leading to more flooding and destruction,’’ the report added.

HAC warned that more flood-related damages are anticipated in the
coming few days in River Nile and Northern states.

It said, “The most urgent needs are shelter, non-food items, and WASH services. Readiness to respond to health outbreaks as a result of floods and vector-borne diseases is urgent. More than 170,000 flood-affected Sudanese people and refugees are receiving non-food items in Darfur.

“Ahead of the rainy season, stocks were pre-positioned to facilitate aid delivery. Stocks were prepositioned for a full range of humanitarian response activities – not only for potential flood response – for 250,000 people. This number has now been revised to 750,000 people
affected, out of which 650,000 have been affected to date. Sectors are reporting that stocks are running low or are depleted given the scale of the floods”

Since mid-July, Sudan has been experiencing an unusual level of heavy rains, which intensified over the last week.

This has prompted the government to declare a three-month state of emergency in the country.

Business News

COVID-19: Nigeria’s ICPC Discovers School Feeding Funds In Private Accounts

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An anticorruption agency in Nigeria has discovered over N5 billion in private hands. The head of Nigeria’s Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, disclosed that the agency found N2.67bn meant for the school feeding programme in private accounts. An additional N2.5billion was found in the accounts of a deceased staff of the ministry of Agriculture.

Other things were discovered from the ministry such as 25 plots of land, 18 buildings and 12 business premises. All illegally diverted to private hands.

The professor of law made the announcement in Abuja. He was speaking second National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector, which was organised in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation.

The summit had the theme, ‘Together against corruption’, also included the launch of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy.

He explained further that between January and August 2020, investigations revealed that Open Treasury Portal showed that of 268 ministries, departments and agencies (MDA) 72 had infraction totaling N90milillion.

Also, 33 MDAs gave full explanation for N4.1billion transferred to sub-Treasury Single Account while N4.2 billion that had been paid to individuals could not be satisfactorily explained.

The professor added, “We observed that transfers to sub-TSA were to prevent disbursement from being monitored. Nevertheless, we discovered payments to some federal colleges for school feeding in the sum of N2.67bn during lockdown when the children are not in school, and some of the money ended up in personal accounts.”

In continuation of the agencies investigation called Constituency Tracking Initiative from last year, the ICPC also reviewed constituency and executive project. In all, 722 projects with a threshold of N100m (490 ZIP and 232 executive) were tracked across 16 states. He said the commission had special attention to track projects in agriculture, water resources, power, education and health.

The Constituency Tracking Initiative is meant to investigate fraudulent procedure and practices in the award of contracts for constituency and executive projects. And to make recoveries on projects or contracts confirmed to have been inflated or in which contractors under-performed or did not perform at all. The professor explained that projects tracked at phase one were selected by the steering committee comprising Budget Office, Office of Accountant-General of the Federation, Bureau of Public Procurement, Media, CSOs and the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors.

The ICPC helmsman said the 2020 exercise showed some improvement in project delivery, but the commission was faced with many challenges.

In details, Owasanoye said, “We discovered that a number of projects described in the budget as ongoing were new projects.”

“We discovered that projects are recommended for communities that do not need them. Such projects are abandoned, in spite of the huge sums appropriated for them.”

“We discovered that projects were sited in private houses on private land thus appropriating common assets to personal use and totally denying communities expected to benefit,” he adds.

The chairman said that the commission’s effort had forced 59 contractors handling projects worth N2.25 billion, back to sites, while it recovered and returned to beneficiaries assets worth about N700 million and cash of almost N200 million.

Owasanoye, said that the commission would, in future, prosecute false description of projects as ongoing, in accordance with extant rules. All affected projects have been listed in the ICPC’s Interim Report for 2020.

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North Africa

US Defense Secretary to Visit Morocco, Discuss Counter-terrorism

It has become a regular practice for American and Moroccan security officials to exchange visits to discuss cooperation and means to boost collaboration.

Bernard Akede

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US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is expected to arrive Morocco

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is expected in Morocco on Friday to discuss cooperations between both countries in counter-terrorism.

Esper’s visit to Morocco comes after trips to Tunisia and Algeria, a tour marking his first visit to Africa since he assumed office.

The defense secretary will open his tour on Wednesday with a visit to Tunisia to hold “bilateral talks with President Kais Ssaied and Tunisia’s Minister of Defense Ibrahim Bartagi.”

Esper is then expected to deliver a speech at the American military cemetery in Carthage, where American soldiers who died in North Africa during World War II are buried.

There are reports that the primary purpose of the visit is to further strengthen ties with Tunisia, a major ally in the region, and to discuss the threats posed by extremist organizations such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, in the North African country. This was according to a senior US military official.

On Thursday, the Pentagon chief will then leave for Algeria to hold talks with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

According to US military sources, the visit to Algiers seeks to “deepen cooperation with Algeria on key regional security issues, such as the threat posed by extremist groups.”

Esper’s Maghreb tour will end in Rabat to “strengthen the already close relations” in the aspect of security with Morocco, recalling that the African Lion military exercise which seeks to further strengthen cooperation between international partners to combat terrorism and insurgency, is hosted by Morocco.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event had to be canceled.

While speaking to AFP, the senior official who chose to remain anonymous did not reveal whether the US defense secretary would be personally received by King Mohammed VI.

Esper’s visit to Morocco comes a week after the US ambassador to Morocco David Fischer, was received by the country’s General Director of National Security and Territorial Surveillance – DGST-DGSN – Abdellatif Hammouchi. While on that visit, bilateral cooperation between the two countries in several fields, including security was discussed.

It has become a regular practice for American and Moroccan security officials to exchange visits to discuss cooperation and means to boost collaboration.

The U.S long ago described the Moroccan anti-terror approach as “comprehensive.”

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Central Africa News

Congo Lifts COVID-19 Curfew

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The Republic of Congo has lifted an imposed nationwide curfew in 10 regions and relaxed it in two main cities.

The curfew will now be enforced from 11pm to 5am local time in Pointe Noire and the capital, Brazzaville.

Since 14 March, the country has reported nearly 5,000 cases of Covid-19.

Several rights groups recently called for the full lifting of the curfew, saying relaxation of the measure has been counterproductive and has led to unemployment.

Meanwhile, 363 Angolans recently returned back to their country months after been stranded in the Republic of Congo and DR Congo since the outbreak of the coronavirus in March.

The returnees were welcomed back to the northern Cabinda Province of the country by the Angolan deputy consul in Muanda, Congo Central Province (DRC), Felisberto Zua, and the municipal administrator of Cabinda, Berta Marciano.

Speaking at the event, Zua said the repatriation process happened in a normal manner, further stressing that there are still many compatriots who are willing to return to Angola.

In DR Congo’s capital Kinshasa, taking temperatures and washing hands are still the norm in the residential district of Gombe, which is also the city’s diplomatic and economic centre.

But in working-class communities, masks are being pushed down to the chin and people are shaking hands again just like it is in Nigeria and major countries across the continent..

For many the latest buzz phrase is “corona eza te”, which translates to “there is no corona” in the local Lingala.

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