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UN Mission Chief Pledges to Support Sudan’s Democratic Transformation, Economic Recovery

According to the mission, Volker Perthes will remain in quarantine for seven days as part of COVID-19 protocols, before commencing a schedule of meetings with partners, colleagues, and national authorities.

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Volker Perthes, UNITAMS Chief

Volker Perthes, who heads the United Nations Integrated Transitional Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), has promised support for Sudan’s bid to achieve democratic transformation, peace and economic recovery.

UNITAMS early on Tuesday, reported Perthes’ arrival in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital to resume his functions as Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Sudan and Head of the UNITAMS.

“I am looking forward to working with the transitional authorities and the great people of Sudan,” Perthes was quoted as saying. “I will devote my energy on supporting Sudan to achieve its goals of democratic transformation, peace and economic recovery,” he added.

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According to the mission, Volker Perthes will remain in quarantine for seven days as part of COVID-19 protocols, before commencing a schedule of meetings with partners, colleagues, and national authorities.

Perthes said he looks forward to working with the UN family at large and its partners in the achievement of a peaceful transition to democracy in Sudan, as mandated by UN Security Council resolution 2524.

In 2003 after mostly non-Arab rebels rose up against Khartoum, conflict began to spread in Sudan’s western Darfur region. The combination of government forces and mainly Arab militia that moved to repress the revolt, were accused of widespread atrocities. It is estimated that 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million displaced during the crisis.

In April 2019, Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s former president, was deposed by the military following a popular uprising that lasted several months, and a transitional government was formed under a three-year power-sharing agreement between the military and civilian groups.

The Security Council established a UN political mission in June, with the responsibility of assisting Sudan’s political transition, assisting peace-building, supporting peace processes, protecting civilians and the rule of law, particularly in Darfur, and help coordinate humanitarian aid and development assistance.

Sudan’s transitional authorities were able to finalize a peace deal with some rebel groups from Darfur in October, but the group that has been most active on the ground was excluded from the agreement.

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Nigeria Ports Authority Commences Electronic Call Up System

The NPA also stated that about 7000 trucks have been certified fit for the proposed digitalised call up system. Henceforth, in order to access the ports, trucks must approach the ports from a holding bay or truck parks with a bar code.

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As part of efforts aimed at finding a permanent solution to truck congestion around Apapa and its environs, the Nigerian Ports Authority has commenced the Electronic Truck call-up system designed for the management of truck movement and access to and from the Lagos Ports Complex and the Tin Can Island Ports, Apapa, Lagos.

With effect from today 27th February 2021, the ETO app will be responsible for the scheduling, entry and exit of all trucks into the ports.

According to the NPA, about 7000 trucks have been certified fit for the proposed digitalised call up system.

Henceforth, in order to access the ports, trucks must approach the ports from a holding bay or truck parks with a bar code.

Players in the maritime sector have expressed optimism toward the commencement of the electronic call-up system, saying it will improve access and reduce corruption.

One of the executives of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa said the call-up system will put an end to artificial bottlenecks on the port access road.

Speaking further, the National Vice president, Association of Nigerian Liscenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto asked the NPA management to be steadfast in enforcing the call-up system.

Farinto said the ongoing repairs on the Oshodi-Apapa expressway must also be completed in good time for the call-up system to be effective.

“The road should be put in adequate place because there is nothing the call-up can achieve without a proper port access road.” he said.

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Zamfara, Kano States Close Schools After Schoolgirls Abduction

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Following the abduction of more than 300 school girls from the Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, in Talata-Mafara Local Government Area, the Zamfara State government has ordered the closure of all boarding schools in the state.

In the same vein, the Kano State government has closed down twelve schools in reaction to the rise in abductions in the region.

Zamfara State Governor Matawalle, in a broadcast on Friday evening expressed his sympathies with the affected families and said he’s in communication with security agencies to secure the release of the students.

He said helicopters have been deployed to help the rescue mission, while he appealed to the parents of the abducted girls to be more patient.

Matawalle said the disarmament operation going on in the state will continue as the continuous availability of weapons to rogues makes security more challenging to achieve.

Nigeria has recorded the abduction of more than 1,000 students since 2014, with two major abductions of school pupils already recorded in February 2021.

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Togo Bribe Scandal: French Group Fined $14.55M, Industrialist on Trial

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Vincent Bollore, a French industrialist, businessman, media owner and billionaire, will go on trial over bribery allegations involving a Togolese official, a court in Paris has ruled.

Also, the court fined the Bollore Group $14.55 million over the case, which involves the bribing of an official in Togo to win a contract to run the port of Lomé a decade ago.

Bolloré, Gilles Alix, managing director of the Bolloré group and Jean-Philippe Dorent, international director of the Havas agency, a subsidiary of Bolloré, had accepted an appearance on prior admission of guilt (CRPC, a sort of “plead guilty” at the French) and the payment of a fine of $450,000.

However, the judge in Paris ruled that the corruption trial of a leading French industrialist should go ahead, despite his guilty plea.

The court decided that the case against Bolloré was so serious that it should not be settled, as agreed with prosecutors, with a $450,000 fine.

Jean-François Bohnert, in a statement on Friday, said Bollore Group will pay a 12 million-euro ($14.55 million) fine following a transaction with prosecutors in the alleged bribery case.

The transaction effectively puts an end to the legal proceedings in the case against the conglomerate.

“The investigation had concerned the corruption of foreign public officials, abuse of trust and complicity in breaches of trust committed between 2009 and 2011,” the financial prosecutor said.

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