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UK Pledges N3.7bn Aid to 430,000 Nigerians

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The United Kingdom (UK) has pledged an extra £47 million aid to provide food, nutrition, water, and shelter for nine countries and regions including Nigeria.

Gill Atkinson, the Acting High Commissioner of the British High Commission, in a statement on Thursday, said the aid is a demonstration of how dedicated the UK is to helping provide continued support to people in need.

A breakdown of the provision shows that £7m (N3.7bn) of the funding will be made available to Nigeria through the World Food Programme which is estimated to reach 430,000 Nigerians with unconditional food assistance and support for 108 days.

The aid is in addition to the £14 million provided for Yemen earlier in December and the £8 million provided for Nigeria in September 2020.

Atkinson said the aid was a demonstration of how dedicated the UK was to helping provide continued support to people in need.

“I’m pleased that the UK is making this additional commitment of a further £7m in humanitarian aid in Nigeria.

“It is imperative we prevent a further deterioration of food insecurity in northeast Nigeria and vital we work in partnership with the Nigerian government to mitigate further decline in the situation.

“We encourage other donors to do likewise and thanks as ever go to our United Nations and NGO partners who deliver life-saving UKAID on behalf of the well-wishes of the British people,” Atkinson said.

In September, at the launch of the new Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab announced an international Call to Action to tackle food insecurity.

Raab said hundreds of millions of people who lived in the world’s largest humanitarian crises were struggling to survive, threatened by conflict, starvation, and the coronavirus.

According to him, extra emergency UK aid will mean people can feed their families and prevent crises from escalating into widespread famine.

“We hope to see other donors step up to the plate with some extra funding to prevent these global crises getting worse,” he said.

Raab also appointed Nick Dyer as the UK Special Envoy on Humanitarian Affairs to drive the UK’s international Call to Action to tackle food insecurity and help deliver the vision of a Global Britain as a force for good around the world.

Dyer visited Nigeria in November to urge the government, the UN, and the international community to scale up collective action to mitigate the deteriorating food insecurity and to address humanitarian access and protection of civilians concerns.

“The extra UK aid announced will help continue the momentum and encourage other donors to step up with additional financing,” the statement said.

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Tunisians Protest over Viral Video of Police Officer Assaulting Shepherd

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Tunisians took to the streets in protests after a video showing a police officer assaulting a shepherd went viral online.

The video had shown the police officer scolding and pushing a shepherd whose sheep had entered the governerate headquarters in Siliana, Northern Tunisia.

After going viral online, violent protests broke out in no fewer than six Tunisian cities on Saturday night, including the capital Tunis and the coastal city of Sousse.

Security forces fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters who blocked roads and burnt tyres in Sousse, where young men also broke into shops.

Clashes were reported in the nearby city of Kalaa Kebira and in several areas of Tunis, including Ettadhamen, Mallassin and Fouchana and Sijoumi.

There were also night protests and riots in the northern towns of Kef, Bizerte and Siliana.

Activists said that it was unacceptable to harm the dignity of any citizen, a decade after Tunisians revolted against injustice and oppression.

The Public Prosecution office opened an investigation into the incident.

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Oil Spill Reported at Chevron Nigeria’s Facility in Bayelsa

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An oil leak has reportedly been spotted from the Funiwa oilfield operated by Chevron Nigeria (CNL).

The leak was reported on Sunday by fishermen, operating on the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean near Bayelsa State.

The fishermen, from Koluama in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa, raised the alarm in a chat with newsmen on Sunday in Yenagoa.

The fishermen, who operate on shallow waters near the ocean, said they noticed that crude was on the waters near the oil facility as helicopters were seen overflying the area.

Tombra Ebitimi, a fisherman from the coastal settlement, said that he observed the incident on Saturday night and subsequently reported the same to the community leadership.

He said that apart from helicopters sighted around the area possibly for assessment, meaningful response efforts had yet to begin.

“Some of us, who went on fishing, sailed into the oil-contaminated area near the Funiwa oilfield got our nets and fishing gear soaked with crude on Saturday.

But we noticed some helicopters hovering around the facility by today,’’ he said.

Ebitimi said it could be that community leaders have informed the company of the development, which made them deployed helicopters in the area.

He appealed to the company not to apply toxic chemicals from the sky to dissolve the crude oil, saying, “those chemicals are unfriendly to fishes and marine life generally’’.

He said that fishermen in the area had temporarily suspended fishing to avoid catching contaminated fishes that could jeopardise public health.

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Militia Kill 48, Injure 97 in Sudan

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No fewer than 48 people died in militia attacks on El-Geneina in West Dafur, Sudan.

A statement by Doctors Syndicate of West Darfur, on Sunday, said that 97 people were also injured, adding that the attacks began on Saturday.

The statement said that the medical personnel were making efforts to provide medical care to the wounded despite a shortage of supplies and nursing staff.

The Doctors Syndicate also appealed for armed transportation in order to transport medical personnel to government and private treatment institutions.

This recent attacks came weeks after UN peace-keepers began withdrawing from the region, where violence is increasing.

The Dafur Bar Association said the attacks were triggered when a member of the Masalit tribe stabbed a member of an Arab tribe.

“Armed militias took advantage of the incident and attacked El Geneina from all sides,” the association said, as well as the nearby Kreinding camp for internally displaced people, from where SUNA said there was now a wave of people moving towards the city.

The association accused the militias of looting and human rights abuses.

On Saturday, the governor of West Darfur declared a state of emergency, authorising the use of force in order to stabilise the situation and imposing a curfew.

While the military had begun to deploy, the bar association said the commander for the region had not responded to the state governor’s directives.

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