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Anthony Joshua and Odion Ighalo Weigh in on Violence in Nigeria as Soldiers Open Fire on Protesters

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Sports stars of Nigerian heritage have taken to social media to condemn the brutal crackdown on protesters in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos and other cities following days of protests in the country.

Since October 8, protesters have been carrying out peaceful demonstrations across the nation and social media calling for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police.

However, the protests assumed a violent dimension last week when thugs attacked peaceful protesters in Lagos and Abuja. And on Tuesday 20 October, the violence escalated with 43 protesters and six policemen reportedly killed. There were also reported cases of arson and looting.

Two-time unified heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua posted on social media that he was praying for peace in the country and doing his best to support victims. The WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion, whose full name is Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua, was born in Watford, England to Nigerian parents.

In a video uploaded on his Twitter handle, he said:

“This is a message to the people of Nigeria. Even though i’m no there with you in the physical, we’ve been making some tangible efforts to try and support your protests on the ground.

“I know it’s getting to a stage where things are heating up and tensions are high, but in my prayers at night, i’m praying for peace and positivity, because i know that the people on ground aren’t trying to be heard for their own benefit. It’s for the benefit of the next generation.

“Me myself, i’ve had to take time to understand the issues that people in Nigeria are facing. Why sometimes i’m silent is because i’ve learnt that my silence can’t be misquoted. So me and my family and my close friends have been trying to do something tangible things and we’re organizing many care packages for the people on the ground. So even if i’m in my training camp and we’re in London, we can support you guys from a distance.

“December the 12th, i’m competing and after that i’m going to try and make some plans to come to Nigeria to meet my friends and family and meet some of the people trying to make long lasting change. But for sure, from London and far and wide, your voices are definitely being heard.

“So keep on pushing, keep on striving. You have my support through and through. My ears and my eyes have been opened. I understand the issues that you guys are facing and for some people what i’m going to do will be enough. And for some people it may not be enough. But together as we hold hands and push for a better change, we all move forward in a positive direction. So keep on pushing. Your voices have definitely landed in my ears. And you definitely have my support.”

It was announced last week that Joshua would make a mandatory title defense against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev on December 12 at the O2 Arena in London.

However, Manchester United and former Nigeria international Odion Ighalo was particularly scathing of the authorities, condemning the violence and urging the UK government, the UN and world leaders to act.

Also speakng in a video posted on his Twitter handle, he said:

“I’m sad and heartbroken and i don’t know where to start from. I’m not the type of guy that talks about politics but i can’t keep quiet anymore about what is going on back home in Nigeria.

“I would say to the Nigerian government, you guys are a shame to the world for killing your own citizens. Sending military to the streets to kill unarmed protesters because they are protesting for their rights is uncalled for.

“Today 20th October 2020, you people will be remembered in history as the first (civilian) government that sent the military into cities to start killing its own citizens.

“I am ashamed of this government. We are tired of you guys and we can’t take this anymore. I’m calling on the UK government, calling on leaders all over the world, to please see what is going on in Nigeria and help us. The government is killing its own citizens. We are calling on you guys and the UN to see to this matter. And i want to call on my brothers and sisters back home to remain safe. Stay indoors and don’t come out because this government are killers and they will keep killing if the world does not talk about this.”

Ighalo posted the video after Manchester United won 2-1 at the Parc des Princes in Paris against Paris Saint-Germain in their opening Group H match of the UEFA Champions League. He was an unused substitute.

In the Lekki area of Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, armed soldiers allegedly shot sporadically at protesters, killing no fewer than seven persons in the process. The soldiers had been deployed to enforce a curfew announced by the Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Many protesters were also said to have sustained bullet wounds as a result of the attack that occurred suddenly after the giant video billboard on a tollgate where the protesters have been demonstrating for days and the streetlights within the area were switched off.

The Nigerian government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired military general, had announced the scrapping of the SARS unit as well as a raft of reforms over a week ago. Officials called for the demonstrations to be suspended to give the authorities time to make good on their pledges. However the move failed as protesters responded that they had no trust or faith in the government.

Around half of Nigeria’s 200 million population is estimated to live in extreme poverty. Unemployment is widespread among the youth who have been reportedly targeted for arbitrary arrests, extortion, abduction, torture and extra-judicial killings by the security forces, especially the much loathed and dreaded SARS.

Africa’s biggest oil producer is currently facing a recession as the fall in crude prices sparked by the coronavirus pandemic has battered government finances creating much social unrest.

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) estimates the Nigerian economy could have lost an estimated N700 billion (over $1.7 billion) to the #EndSARS protests in the last 12 days.

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Ghana and Switzerland Sign Historic Pact for Climate Action

Under the agreement, the National Clean Energy Access Programme (NCEP) will be implemented. It is expected to lead to the transfer of mitigation outcomes to Switzerland in exchange for financial resources and the extension of Swiss technical expertise as a demonstration of the scalability of Ghana’s conditional mitigation commitments.

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The government of Ghana and Switzerland has signed a bilateral pact as a framework for the implementation of Article Six (6) of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

After two years of negotiations between the two countries, the signing of the framework agreement marks the first of its kind in Africa, and second in the World. The new partnership will enable the adoption of green and low carbon technology solutions across the country resulting in social and environmentally beneficial outcomes.

With this Agreement, Ghana will receive funding from the Swiss side for sustainable development projects.  Switzerland will take carbon credits from the Ghanaian side for the emission cuts to meet her climate commitments without compromising Ghana’s effort to achieve her own climate actions.

The negotiations between technical teams of Ghana and Switzerland was further boosted by a Memorandum of Understanding signed in Bern between Ghana and Switzerland during the State visit to Switzerland by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in February, 2020.

​Read also: https://newscentral.africa/rwanda-to-create-green-energy-bank/

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner stated, “We are proud to have been able to facilitate the dialogue between Switzerland and Ghana, build trust in the process on both sides and offer our technical support in the implementation…”

Article six (6) of the Paris Agreement on carbon markets is an innovative voluntary instrument available to countries to mobilise finance and catalyse private sector investments for the implementation of nationally determined contributions.

Steiner further explains “…We hope this bilateral agreement will enable Ghana’s national clean energy access programme (NCEP) to fulfil its objectives by abating up to 2 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, providing energy access to millions and head towards a green recovery.”

Read also: https://newscentral.africa/experts-kenya-global-emission-challenge/

In his speech, the President of Ghana H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway called on the private sector of both countries to consider “this bilateral cooperation as a step to further strengthen collaboration between Swiss and Ghanaian companies to identify commercially viable and sustainable development projects over the next decade”.  

​In formulating this agreement both parties have highlighted practical ways of operationalising the envisioned architecture of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

Credit: wri.org

Read also:https://newscentral.africa/fossil-fuel-human-cost-powering-africa/

Under the agreement, the National Clean Energy Access Programme (NCEP) will be implemented. It is expected to lead to the transfer of mitigation outcomes to Switzerland in exchange for financial resources and the extension of Swiss technical expertise as a demonstration of the scalability of Ghana’s conditional mitigation commitments.

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South Sudan Appoints Awut Deng Acuil as First Woman to Chair University Governing Council

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South Sudan has appointed Awut Deng Acuil to chair the governing council of the University of Bahr El-Ghazal.

Acuil, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation from August 2019 until March 2020 and the current Minister of General Education and Instructions, became the first woman to be appointed to chair the governing body of a university.

Her appointment was announced in a presidential decree read on the national broadcaster, the South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation.

The university was established in 1991, when South Sudan was still part of Sudan. The country gained its independence in 2011

Acuil was also the first woman to serve as South Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

She relinquished the post following the appointment of a unity government in February to end the conflict between rival groups in South Sudan.

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Limited Number of Fans to attend CAF Champions League Final

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has given the thumbs up for fans to attend the CAF Champions League final between Egyptian giants Zamalek and Al Ahly, according to a board member of the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) Mohamed Fadl.

The final is set for the 27th of November at the Cairo International Stadium, and there were doubts earlier about the attendance of fans on the day amid the coronavirus crisis.

“We contacted CAF regarding fans’ attendance and we got the official approval today,” Fadl told a local TV channel late on Sunday.

“CAF agreed to allow from 5,000 to 10,000 supporters to attend in the stands amid applying all precautionary measures.

“Security authorities will make the final decision within 48 hours and if we got the approval work will start immediately to arrange stadium’s entries and ensure intervals between supporters,” he added.

Zamalek qualified for the final by beating Moroccan side Raja Casablanca with a 4-1 aggregate victory, while Al Ahly got to the final with a victory over another Casablanca based side, Wydad 5-1 on aggregate.

Al Ahly a looking to extend their Champions League record with their ninth title, and their first since 2013. For Zamalek they have won the CAF Champions League five times and re are looking to win the title for the first time since 2002.

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