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Money Laundering: Niger Republic Extradites Fleeing Ex-Pension Boss, Maina, to Nigeria

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The Nigerian government has secured the extradition of a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Mr Abdulrasheed Maina, who jumped bail and fled to neighbouring Niger Republic.

Maina, a former director in the ministry of interior, is being prosecuted on 12 counts of money laundering to the tune of N2bn by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He was temporarily freed on bail after perfecting a bail condition, with Senator Ali Ndume standing as his surety.

After he jumped bail, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja issued an arrest warrant against him and also ordered the arrest of his surety.

According to local reports, Maina was arrested in Niamey, the Nigerien capital, on Monday by security agents from the Nigerian Police, the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) National Central Bureau, Abuja, and Niger.

Maina has been brought to Abuja, the Nigerian capital, and is currently been held in a police facility.

He will be interrogated before being handing over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) for remand in Kuje Custodial facility.

The Commissioner of Police, Interpol NCB, Garba Umar, reportedly confirmed Maina’s extradition.

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East Africa News

Somalia Threatens to Exit Regional Bloc Following Verdict on Dispute with Kenya

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Somalia has threatened to withdraw from a regional bloc after the group ruled in favour of Kenya in a diplomatic dispute between the two countries.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) last month led a fact-finding mission seeking viable intervention to ease tensions between the two East African countries.

Somalia severed diplomatic ties with Kenya on December 15 and wrote the regional bloc of eight members, demanding an independent mission to verify claims that Kenya is arming and training militia to fight the Somalia National Army forces stationed in Gedo near their common border.

The team, led by Djibouti’s Ambassador to Kenya Yacin Elmi Bouh, his counterpart to Somalia Aden Hassan Aden, and an IGAD observer, said they had found no evidence supporting violations by Kenya.

On Wednesday, Mohamed Abdirazak, the Somalia Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister said his country will reject the report “in its entirety” because the investigators had been “biased, partisan, unfair, compromised and predetermined to exonerate Kenya.”
“Somalia strongly holds to all its initial accusations against Kenya and will pursue all means to protect her sovereignty,” Abdirazak said in a statement, threatening that his country will withdraw from Igad.

Igad’s report criticised Somalia for severing ties with Kenya, arguing the historical problems faced by the two countries could only be solved through deeper diplomatic engagements.

Kenya on its part said it feels vindicated.

The Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the findings of the team are proof that Somalia’s claims were a political ploy meant to distract the region from security concerns.

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East Africa Politics News

COVID-19: Not Every Vaccine is Important to Us – Magufuli

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President John Magufuli of Tanzania has warned the country’s health ministry against rushing into embracing the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines promoted by foreign companies and countries.

Magufuli warned that the vaccines could harm people. He, however, failed to provide evidence to justify his claim.

“The ministry of health should be careful, they should not hurry to try these vaccines without doing research, not every vaccine is important to us, we should be careful. We should not be used as ‘guinea pigs’,” Magufuli said.

“Vaccinations are dangerous. If the white man was able to come up with vaccinations, he should have found a vaccination for Aids, cancer and TB by now.”

Magufuli, a devout Catholic, advised Tanzanians to continue taking precautions, saying prayers and traditional medicine, including steam inhalation, were the way to deal with coronavirus.

He said, “We have lived for over one year without the virus because our God is able and Satan will always fail. The Health ministry should be cautious, and avoid the temptation to turn us into a country where vaccination trials are conducted freely,” he said.

“In a certain country, its girl children – aged below 14 years – were vaccinated against what was said to be cervical cancer, but it later emerged that the vaccination was meant to make them infertile.” Dr. Magufuli said.

He added: “Many countries have lockdown, but in Tanzania there are no plan of lockdown and we’ll never introduce lockdown because our God is alive and he will continue to protects us.”

The president also failed to address reports from Denmark that two of its citizens – who had visited Tanzania – had tested positive for the new Covid-19 strain from South Africa.

He instead blamed citizens who travel out of the country for “importing a new weird corona”.

Recall that Magufuli had in June 2020 declared Tanzania free of Covid-19. Since then the country has stopped publishing official data about the virus.

However, the Catholic Church has contradicted Magufuli and has warned Tanzanians to observe COVID-19 safety protocols.

“After successfully containing the spread of the virus last year, Tanzania was now facing a new wave of the virus spread,” the church said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Our country is not an island. We have every reason to take precautions and pray to God so that we can be saved from this pandemic.”

Over the weekend, Bishop Yuda Thadei Ruwaichi of Dar es Salaam said “Covid is not finished, Covid is still here. Let’s not be reckless, we need to protect ourselves, wash your hands with soap and water. We also have to go back to wearing masks.”

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Central Africa Politics

D.R. Congo Passes Historic No Confidence Vote on Prime Minister

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Lawmakers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have passed an historic no confidence vote on Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilukamba, effectively removing him from power.

Embattled Ilukamba, who was not present in the chambers when the vote during a parliament plenary session in Kinshasa, has been given 24 hours to resign.

Ilukamba had refused to respond to the invitation of the provisional office of parliament, which he considers illegitimate under the constitution and internal regulations of parliament.

In a letter addressed to members of the provisional office of parliament and to deputies on Wednesday morning, Sylvestre Ilunga stressed that the proceedings against his government violated the country’s constitution and the rule of law.

The lawmakers accused Ilukamba, an ally of former President Joseph Kabila, and his ministers of poor performance.

The collapse of the government paves the way for President Félix Tshisekedi to appoint loyalists as ministers.

Last month, Mr Tshisekedi ended a coalition formed with his predecessor, whose allies dominated key ministries.

Since then, Mr Tshisekedi has been persuading MPs to defect from Mr Kabila’s alliance, which previously held the majority in parliament, stalling the president’s reform programme.

The prime minister’s impeachment garnered a large majority of votes in the absence of MPs loyal to ex-President Joseph Kabila who decided not to take part in the vote.

This will be the first time in DR Congo’s 60-year history that a government has been forced to resign.

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