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Hoodlums Posing As #EndSARS Protesters Almost Invaded Lagos Government House – Nigerian Army

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The Nigerian Army had given a graphic narration of the alleged dire security situation in Lagos that warranted them being invited to restore order in the state.

Brig.-Gen. Ahmed Taiwo, Commander of the 81 Division, Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, Lagos on Saturday told the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters that the Lagos had descended into a state of total chaos.

Taiwo was testifying before the panel on Saturday about the Army’s alleged role in the shooting of unarmed #EndSARS protesters on Oct. 20 at the Lekki Tollgate.

Taiwo who testified before the panel using a projector had shown graphic images of policemen being lynched, police stations being looted and burnt, as well as citizens resorting to cannibalism by eating the burnt flesh of the corpses of lynched police officers.

“Many of us have lived through the 70s to the 2000s, and one thing I have said is that once a peaceful protest goes beyond three days there are hoodlums waiting in the wings to hijack it and cause mayhem and this was no different.

“This state of affairs continued until Oct. 20 and even I was caught up in one of such mobs. The hoodlums I met are not the #EndSARS protesters we have come to see.

“It is the task of the armed forces to intervene when the security task overwhelms the police and other paramilitary services.

“Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu asked the army to intervene which was the correct thing to do,” he said.

Playing a video of the siege of the palace of the Oba of Lagos by hoodlums, Taiwo said that the monarch and his family had to be rescued from the chaos by the Nigerian Army.

“Both the Oba and his family were ferried to safety by the Nigerian Army,” Taiwo said as he played a video recording of the monarch and his family being rescued and taken into a military pickup truck.

“The business district areas were looted and offices were ransacked and destroyed. The hoodlums attempted to invade the Government House, but it was repelled.

“They attempted to break into the Ikoyi Prison and it was repelled. The 81 Division had to support the Correctional Services and the Police.

“They also burnt down the Igbosere High Court. The inmates had burnt part of the Ikoyi Prison, they all did this at the same time because they had gotten information about what was happening on the outside.

“They burnt Shoprite and Spar Lekki was looted. What was shocking and saddening to me was that mothers were taking their children to loot,” he said.

The officer said that he had received a distress phone call from the Managing Director of Spar pleading for the military’s assistance.

“The MD was pleading and saying that let them loot the place, but they should not burn it down.

“When we arrived, these looters had the temerity to come up to soldiers while holding looted goods and say come correct sir!

“A man we arrested had looted household items and when we went to his house to recover the items he had already installed them,” he said.

Taiwo said that while the trying to restore order at Spar Lekki, he had met looters looting Shoprite Lekki and that he had ordered soldiers under his command not to shoot at them, but into the air.

“I wanted to catch them and I did not want any casualty. All the looters our men arrested were taken to the 65 Battalion and we have people of almost eery tribe there that day.

“There was a voice note on social media purportedly from Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) saying Igbos should cause mayhem in Lagos.

“This could not be further from the truth because from my assertion, most of the businesses affected were owned by Igbos,” Taiwo said.

The Nigerian Army told the panel that financial institutions were the most targeted the by looters during the #EndSARS unrest, and that the army had evacuated about N2billion in two days for banks during the chaos.

He said the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. -Gen.Tukur Buratai, had ordered that the captured looters should be treated humanely by the military.

“They were fed three times a day and were given what the soldiers were eating. Some of them did not even want to leave,” he said.

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UN Seeks $147M Support For Ethiopians Fleeing Into Sudan

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The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has launched an appeal for $147 million to support as many as 100,000 people fleeing Ethiopia’s Tigray region into neighbouring Sudan.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), on Monday, said more than 43,000 people have fled across the border to escape fighting in Ethiopia in recent weeks, almost half of them children, the UN said in a statement.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, on Saturday, announced the capture of Mekelle, the Tigray regional capital, by the Ethiopian Defence Forces from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces.

Violence erupted at the start of November in Tigray involving federal and local forces, following the reported takeover of an army base in Mekelle, which prompted the prime minister to order a military offensive.

Mr. Grandi said in a statement that Sudan’s welcome of the refugees was an example to the international community and called for international support to bolster its effort.

“The Government of Sudan has kept the border open in the best tradition of African and Sudanese hospitality and I want to commend it as an example to the international community. But the government of Sudan needs a lot of help,” he said during a four-day visit to the region.

In its appeal document, UNHCR said its current planning scenario was for an anticipated increase in refugee numbers, with a total of 100,000 by April 2021, but the worst-case scenario was for an influx of 200,000.

UNHCR said on Friday it had begun airlifting aid to the refugees, sending the first of four planeloads of supplies to Khartoum, with a second flight due to bring 100 tonnes from Dubai on Monday, including blankets, solar lamps, mosquito nets, plastic sheets, tents and prefabricated warehouses.

The appeal for $147m aims to fund UNHCR, the UN and humanitarian community to help Sudan manage the crisis over the next six months.

During his trip, Mr. Grandi met Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and other Government officials in Khartoum, and he spoke to refugees at the hot and dusty frontier where they are coming across, many of whom said they wanted to return home as soon as it was safe, according to UNHCR.

Mr. Grandi also said he was worried about the situation facing almost 100,000 refugees from Eritrea who are hosted by Ethiopia in the Tigray region.

“Ethiopia is a very hospitable country for refugees, but now they are caught in this conflict, we don’t have access to them,” he said.

In a separate report, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said lack of funding had forced it to cut rations for refugees in East Africa, and WFP Ethiopia urgently needed $209m to assist 6.2 million beneficiaries from December 2020 to May 2021.

It said the fighting between the Ethiopian National Defence Forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation front had displaced more than 100,000 civilians, including those who had fled into eastern Sudan since 4 November.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Sunday that local hospitals and health facilities in the Tigray capital, Mekelle, are running dangerously low on medical supplies to care for the wounded as well as other mounting medical needs and conditions.

Ambulances run by the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) have been transporting the injured and deceased people to Ayder Referral Hospital in Mekelle, it said in a statement.

ICRC staff visited Ayder Referral Hospital on Saturday and found approximately 80 per cent of patients to be suffering from traumatic injuries.

The influx of the wounded forced the hospital to suspend many other medical services so that limited staff and resources could be devoted to emergency medical care, it said.

“The hospital is running dangerously low on sutures, antibiotics, anticoagulants, painkillers, and even gloves,” said Maria Soledad, the head of operations for the ICRC in Ethiopia, who visited Ayder Referral Hospital and is currently in Mekelle. “The influx of injured comes more than three weeks after supply chains were disrupted into Mekelle. We need to ensure that health workers have the supplies and conditions they need to carry out their lifesaving work.”

The hospital is also lacking in body bags for the deceased. Food supplies are also low, affecting particularly those recovering from surgery and requiring specific nutritional needs.

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East Africa Optimistic The U.S. Will Revive Trade Talks

This came to the fore as leaders from the EAC congratulated Biden for his election win, with many expressing hopes that his presidency will boost ties with the regional bloc.

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The East African Community is optimistic that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will revive the negotiations and implementations of the EAC-U.S. Trade and Investment Partnership.

This came to the fore as leaders from the East African Community congratulated Biden for his election win, with many expressing hopes that his presidency will boost ties with the regional bloc.

The Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which is a trade pact that establishes a framework for expanding trade and resolving outstanding disputes between countries, was agreed between U.S. and EAC partner states in June 2012, but was never implemented.

TIFA was signed on July 16 2008, as a framework for expanding trade and investment between the U.S. and EAC.

But since United States President Trump took over from his predecessor Barack Obama in 2016, not much has been heard from the arrangement.

Read also: Kenya, UK, Secure Trade Deal

“We all look forward to working with the new US administration and of course hope that America’s trade and investment policies will also advance the interests of East Africa. Reviving TIFA is one of them,” said Prof Manasseh Nshuti, EAC chairperson of the Council of Ministers, who is also Rwanda’s Minister of State in charge of the East African Community.

“EAC is better negotiating multilateral trade rather than bilaterally. This is because at the end of the day, what happens in Kenya affects Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania, in terms of trade and investments.”

In April 2016, Ministers from EAC and U.S. signed the EAC-US Co-operation Agreement on Trade Facilitation, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) but so far very little has been implemented despite the existence of agreed work plans.

Under the United States-East African Community-Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, partners consult on a wide range of issues related to trade and investment, but under President Donald Trump, this was never implemented.

Related: Kenya to be in breach of EAC, AfCFTA rules in proposed American trade deal

Topics for consultation and possible further cooperation include market access issues, labour, the environment, protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, and in appropriate cases, capacity building.

However, since 2016, the negotiations for the regional investment treaty stalled due to lack of consensus on the approach for discussions on the regional investment treaty.

“The U.S. has TIFAs with countries at different levels of development and trade and investment interests but none with the EAC,” said Dr. Peter Mathuki, CEO East African Business Council.

“As the private sector, we are expecting the revival of an up-scaled US-EAC Trade and Investment Partnership under U.S. presidential elect Joe Biden.”

EAC’s Director-General of Customs and Trade Kenneth Bagamuhunda also said he looks forward to a return to a multilateral trading system “where the trade rules will prevail over unilateralism”.

“We look forward to engagement with the US as a bloc at EAC and Continental level.”

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Lifestyle

NC Debrief | Between Tradition And Gender-Based Violence In Africa

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With the pandemic, there has been a spike in cases of gender-based violence and femicide. This is reflected in the number of reported cases in different parts of the continent. This episode of #NCDebrief Newscentral’s Tolulope Adeleru – Balogun, Youth Leader from Namibia, Bertha Tobias and Bongiwe Msomi from South Africa discussed the intersection between tradition and gender-based violence in Africa.

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