ADAMAWA APC: STOP ENDANGERING OUR LIVE’S TO COVID-19 BECAUSE OF YOUR DESPERATION.

News Rendezvous

The Adamawa APC has shown an outrageous act of civil disobedience to the measures put in place to curtail the spread of COVID-19 by wilful breaching and ignoring the state restrictions.

We condemn this act in its totality considering the efforts the State Government has and is still making to secure the freedom of the citizens as they implement successful public health policies in response to the COVID—19 pandemic.

To be clear: we all know in modern day politics in this part of the world, most crowds around desperate politicians are rented. But it should not be at the detriment of our lives and safety.

The truth is that only few politicians excite crowds to such a point where many would brave the odds and flock to rallies to listen to them. Gone are the days of speakers like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Bola Ige and maybe Tafawa Balewa. Gone are the myths that surrounded men like Awolowo and J.S. Tarka that made many troop out to come and see if it was true that they grew so tall while speaking that their heads reached into the sky.

Gone are the entertainers like Adegoke Adelabu who once drove his Volkswagen car to a political rally and allow crowds to enter in through one door and out the other to spite Awolowo whom he claimed was too elitist to permit such a thing. Politicians these days are too predictable, rhetoric too common and the only person I can think of who still draws huge crowds without mobilisation is Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri.

Now, crowds do not necessarily translate into acceptability or votes. Uncle Bola Ige in his book People, Politics And Politicians Of Nigeria: 1940-1979 said in relation to crowds that spectators will always be drawn to spectacles – people come to political rallies for different reasons and crowds are not always an indication of acceptance so I think the APC might be counting its chicks before they are hatched with the celebration of the carefully taken pictures of crowds they see at their political rallies. The desperation to make APC appear to many as an acceptable party in Adamawa may not be an exact reflection of what is actually on ground.

Now, crowds work in curious ways but usually in tandem with crowd mentality – a coinage from herd mentality where one goat jumps over a cliff and the rest follow – crowds tend to think in a particular dimension and here, I have a small concern for APC’s image in the mind of the crowds. They see the fanfare, they see the carefully sewn clothing and adornment but they also notice the fact that when they were in power, APC could not pay workers salaries, students couldn’t seat for WAEC and NECO, Hospitals were dilapidated, insecurity rising, gratuities increasing, education only for the rich, communal clashes always on the news, to mention but a few.

The crowds would notice that APC has nothing to tell them in respect to development because Governor Fintiri has now defined development in a way they can see, feel and touch.

A long shot to the way crowds think of course but then again: it’s called crowd mentality and it can work for or against a politician.

We hold that Adamawa APC should apologise to the government and people of Adamawa State for breaching and ignoring the state restrictions.

VANDI ZIRA (PRO)
Concern Northern Zone Forum

Buba Sinks Over 300 Boreholes in His Constituency -Calls on Other Elected Officials to Deliver on Promises

News RendezvousThe Adamawa lawmaker representing Gombi/Hong at the federal house of representatives, Yusuf Buba Yakub, had called for wider participation of political stakeholders towards deepening the gains of democracy across the country.Buba said wilder participation by all stakeholders to address the developmental needs in his constituency, has become critical and paramount.Buba Yakub Said, “I’ have sunk over 300 hundred boreholes across my onstituency.”Speaking against the backdrop of pictures making the rounds on the social media depicting acute water shortages in Kulda, a village in Hong Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Yusuf Buba Yakub says, “Have personally sunk over 300 boreholes in the entire Federal Constituency and calls on other stakeholders to contribute their quota.”Buba in a statement issued by his media aide, Nkem Anyata-Lafia, “As at the last count, I have sunk over 300 boreholes personally in the whole of the Constituency.”This represents one borehole for each of the 254 Polling Units of the Constituency.”If the Local Government Area whose primary responsibility is to provide such basic needs of the people like water, primary health care and rural roads can do half of what I have done, such villages like Kulda and the reported lack of water will not be existing in Hong LGA or in any part of the Constituency today.”I am proactive and developmentally minded that was why I set up the Captain Buba Industrial Village to train and empower Constituents in various skills.”But this is a clarion call by all principal stakeholders in the State, Local and National leadership spectra to do more to develop their land and offer a new lease of life to the people.”Some few weeks ago, the Member representing the area had flagged off a number of projects and commissioned some completed ones; one of which was at the behest of President Muhammadu Buhari.”Some of these projects, included a hospital project at Gombi North, a flood and an erosion- control project, a road project, a water project at Gombi, Garkida, Hong, Pella, Uba, among other areas.”It was important to highlight some of the above realities in the light of the prevailing circumstances in some areas of the Constituency and as part of efforts towards addressing part of the infrastructural deficits in the area and more commitment was required by all to achieve comprehensive results.”

Covid-19: Fintiri to Shutdown Business, Groups, Not Obeying Containment Rules

News Rendezvous

The Adamawa state governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, has warned that though the earlier rules imposed by the state to contain the spread of Covid-19 remains in effect, several organisations, business, have continued to flaunt the protocols.
The governor of warns that gatherings of more than fifty people are still banned, individuals are expected to wear Facemask in public gatherings and washing of hands and hand sanitiser must be observed and that any group found not to be in compliance to these rules would be shutdown.
This is contained in a statement issued by the press secretary to the, Humwashi Wonosikou, ane made available to newsmen, Monday, in Yola, Adamawa state.
The statement reads, “The Adamawa State Government has appealed for cooperation and support from the general public in its efforts to contain the new spike in COVID-19 pandemic.
“Governor Fintiri is worried with the lack of compliance to COVID-19 restrictions as Coronavirus Pandemic has emerged as a truly global health crisis.
“I am disappointment that mandated measures to reduce transmission which include advocacy of behaviours like wearing of face masks, social distancing, washing of hands, and restrictions on public gatherings have not been adhered to by the people as guidelines on Restriction Of Movement and Matters Incidental Thereto issued in March, 2020 that is still in force and advise the public to adhere to the provisions.
“Social gatherings of more than 50 people at a time is also still in force.”
Outlining the protocols for the containment of coronavirus in the state the statement reads, “The general public is hereby called upon to adhere strictly to the provisions of the guidelines namely;
“1. Compulsory use of face masks in any public gathering or public transport.
“2. Social distancing in any gathering.
“3. Ensure washing of hands and use of sanitizers.
“4. Hospitality businesses such as Clubs, Cinema halls, Event centres, Conferences and Congresses and other similar gatherings with population beyond 100 remain banned.
“5. Movement between 10 pm and 5 am is also not allowed.
“6. Leaders at Worship centres are therein advised to ensure use of face mask by all, while ensuring social distancing.
“Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri has also pointed out that this is done following identification of a new variant of the COVID-19 virus and directives in line with safety measures by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and what Adamawa State Government can do to intensify things to help bring the rate of infections down.
“The Governor has therefore warned that Any Club, Event centre or business premises so directed found contravening this rule will be closed down.
“While security agencies have been directed to ensure strict adherence to these protocols and any other protocol imposed by the Federal Government.
“I am of the view that we should not wait, as happened earlier, for this virus to again spiral out of control before taking action.
“The world is facing a surge in Coronavirus cases and hospital admissions, We want people to follow the rules in order to avoid stricter measures which looks increasingly likely, meanwhile, Government will ensure that all health facilities are prepared and ready to handle any eventualities.”

Buba Lauds Buhari for Approving N5 Billion to Reposition Foreign Affairs Ministry (Full Text at Budget Defense)

News Rendezvous

Every end of the year, the Legislature mobilises itself to carry out one of the fundamental duties entrusted on us by the electorate and the Constitution. Contrary to perceptions in certain quarters,the Annual Budget Defence process is not just a yearly ritual,but a serious mandate given to us , Parliamentarians, by the good people of this country ,whose very interests we represent, in the well- calculated bid to hold in check the commonwealth of this nation and to ensure proper utilisation of all funds and resources allocated to various Sub- heads in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government. This is the reason we have gathered here today. This kind of sessions provides us the opportunity to meet with these MDAs to pore through the budget proposals of the coming year.

This year’s exercise, coming at a time that even our nation’s youth are beginning to interrogate governance and question all that are deployed into the security and general well-being of the people, calls for the total commitment of all of us on both the side of lawmakers and on the side of the operators of these budget estimates.

I, therefore, welcome our Honourable colleagues who in the past few weeks have been saddled with the arduous task of ensuring that the hope of the Executive, particularly that of Mr President, who believes that the January-December target for our budget circle is best for our system, is achieved. I thank you for, once again,, rising to this clarion call to duty to carry out this important mandate and duty of the legislator. I urge you, Honourable colleagues, to give today’s task your best shot, knowing full well that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, alongside its Missions abroad, remains the window and mirror through which the global community sees our country, Nigeria,and that the Ministry as it is today needs more than just the efforts of those directly saddled with handling its affairs to make any desired impacts.

I welcome the Honourable Ministers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Permanent Secretary, the entire management and staff of the Ministry and salute you all as the veritable gate- keepers and purveyors of our foreign policy goals and ideals. Much as you have on your own done your bit to offer your services where you have found yourselves these past years since overseeing the Ministry,the truth remains that there has not been any marked departure from the poor value that Nigerians have continued to receive across the world.

Nigeria, as a nation, remains the weeping child of the world; we are buffeted on all sides and our nationals still suffer the very poor fate of carrying the green passport that much part of the world hates to see. The problem may not be about you directly,but there is,in the face of yearly allocations and concomitant spendings,a lacklustre performance in all areas where different indices are seen as parameters for scoring. We feel concerned and worried as a nation that we cannot get our international image to fit into the acceptable model of the international community.

We feel concerned that we do not hear of any programmes from the Ministry targetted at changing these narratives. All we continue to witness daily from Ghana to Gabon, South Africa to Libya is that Nigerians remain at the receiving end of, most times, state-supported violence and all forms of ill-treatment in foreign jurisdictions, including Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Today, as we gather to deliberate upon the figures that will determine the outcome of your efforts for the fiscal year 2021, it is only appropriate for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under your able leadership and our kind partnership to look back at the dying year to assess how we have fared, especially amidst the challenges we confronted with what was allocated to us for the year 2020.

An honest self-assessment, Hon. Ministers, very distinguished colleagues, will offer us the opportunity to see what we can do better in the year ahead. For me, there is no gainsaying the fact that the Foreign Affairs Ministry the way it appears and operates today is hardly the contemplation of its founding fathers.

And in the past few weeks since we have had the opportunity for interaction between the Ministry and us, parliamentarians, we have not hidden our disdain for the level of decay in the system and have also professed the hope that things can get better if we all choose to cooperate to re-enact and re-vitalise the ideals of the founding fathers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.For instance,we are not happy at the things we saw when we undertook our oversight visit to the headquarters.

We must appreciate the concern of Mr. President for approving and making releases of over USD18 Million, over 1 Million Pounds and over N5 Billion to clear off all the existing liabilities in our Foreign Missions and give a new face to the headquarters in order to start ahead on a clean slate in the new year. This is all part of a wider reform approved by Mr. President.

Yet,all we hear and see is that some are said not to be comfortable with the reform and,in fact,are resistant to it. Let us , therefore,warn that we do not want to see business as usual in the coming year. As a Committee,we emphasise that the oversight function of the Ministry will be strengthened in the coming year in order to ensure that the purpose for which every penny is earmarked is achieved. Any group or individual, therefore,that thinks they should tinker with any parts of the reforms,to us,must be making a huge joke of what Mr. President has approved.

We must appreciate his good intentions. And as a Parliament,we will stand and ensure that the Missions are cleaned up to, at least, represent our country’ s image outside the shores of this nation. Our concern is that no single individual or group should be given the opportunity to feel that they are greater than this country.

In the last few years since we took over this Committee of the House, I have had the opportunity to undertake visits to some of our Missions abroad. In spite of what is ,usually, allocated to these Missions, it is worrying that what we have as Embassies and High Commissions are places whose activities are far from what the nation requires of such places. In principle, every Nigerian Embassy should be a mini-Nigeria; a place where information on our country, our economy and our nationals in such a country should be on the fingertips of those who manage such Embassies’ or High Commissions’ Economic, Information and Cultural Desks.

That is the standard practice everywhere you go in other countries, but again, sadly for us, our Foreign Missions have not seen this to be worth the attention.

In the neighbouring Ghana here,for instance, where there have been constant altercations with Nigerian traders, during the visit with the Rt. Hon. Speaker Gbajabiamila I was taken aback at the level of disconnect between Nigerians and the High Commission.

The High Commission neither has the record of the number of Nigerians in Ghana nor any such important data. This is not right and this Committee expects to see a change in the new year.

Distinguished Members, Honourable Ministers, ladies and gentlemen, it is my honest belief and conviction that this year’s budget should be a game-changer in the activities and programmes of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The reason for the above is not farfetched. At a time that this budget defence has been preceded by the many interactions that the Committee and the Ministry have had in recent weeks, and coupled with the approval of Mr President of reforms that are aimed at moving the Ministry and the Foreign Missions forward, one expects nothing less than a huge success in the activities and programmes of the Ministry in 2021.

Let me, therefore, on a special note convey the appreciation of this Committee to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for his uncommon magnanimity at approving that set of reforms in the Foreign Affairs Ministry and backing that action with the necessary finances. Our candid expectation from the Ministry is to ensure a wholesome actualisation of Mr President’s kind directive and action.

I cannot end this address without making some copious observations in your budget proposals. But, as our traditions as lawmakers demand, Honourable colleagues, I believe we will have the opportunity to do justice to your findings when the line-by-line consideration of what we have before us comes up.

While we may have pointed out some gross disparities between expenditures and work actually done in the 2020 budget during our oversight visit to the Ministry’s headquarters, our intentions are that,iin line with the vision of the Buhari Administration, assist ourselves and our nation to ensure that every kobo in the budget estimates is judiciously applied in order to achieve the highest intended benefits and utility for our people.

Once again, Honourable colleagues, Ministers, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I thank you all for coming and invite you to make the best of this session.

Rt. Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub , MHR
Committee Chairman.

Buba Lauds Buhari for Approving N5 Billion to Reposition Foreign Affairs Ministry (Full Text at Budget Defense)

News Rendezvous

Every end of the year, the Legislature mobilises itself to carry out one of the fundamental duties entrusted on us by the electorate and the Constitution. Contrary to perceptions in certain quarters,the Annual Budget Defence process is not just a yearly ritual,but a serious mandate given to us , Parliamentarians, by the good people of this country ,whose very interests we represent, in the well- calculated bid to hold in check the commonwealth of this nation and to ensure proper utilisation of all funds and resources allocated to various Sub- heads in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government. This is the reason we have gathered here today. This kind of sessions provides us the opportunity to meet with these MDAs to pore through the budget proposals of the coming year.

This year’s exercise, coming at a time that even our nation’s youth are beginning to interrogate governance and question all that are deployed into the security and general well-being of the people, calls for the total commitment of all of us on both the side of lawmakers and on the side of the operators of these budget estimates.

I, therefore, welcome our Honourable colleagues who in the past few weeks have been saddled with the arduous task of ensuring that the hope of the Executive, particularly that of Mr President, who believes that the January-December target for our budget circle is best for our system, is achieved. I thank you for, once again,, rising to this clarion call to duty to carry out this important mandate and duty of the legislator. I urge you, Honourable colleagues, to give today’s task your best shot, knowing full well that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, alongside its Missions abroad, remains the window and mirror through which the global community sees our country, Nigeria,and that the Ministry as it is today needs more than just the efforts of those directly saddled with handling its affairs to make any desired impacts.

I welcome the Honourable Ministers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Permanent Secretary, the entire management and staff of the Ministry and salute you all as the veritable gate- keepers and purveyors of our foreign policy goals and ideals. Much as you have on your own done your bit to offer your services where you have found yourselves these past years since overseeing the Ministry,the truth remains that there has not been any marked departure from the poor value that Nigerians have continued to receive across the world.

Nigeria, as a nation, remains the weeping child of the world; we are buffeted on all sides and our nationals still suffer the very poor fate of carrying the green passport that much part of the world hates to see. The problem may not be about you directly,but there is,in the face of yearly allocations and concomitant spendings,a lacklustre performance in all areas where different indices are seen as parameters for scoring. We feel concerned and worried as a nation that we cannot get our international image to fit into the acceptable model of the international community.

We feel concerned that we do not hear of any programmes from the Ministry targetted at changing these narratives. All we continue to witness daily from Ghana to Gabon, South Africa to Libya is that Nigerians remain at the receiving end of, most times, state-supported violence and all forms of ill-treatment in foreign jurisdictions, including Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Today, as we gather to deliberate upon the figures that will determine the outcome of your efforts for the fiscal year 2021, it is only appropriate for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under your able leadership and our kind partnership to look back at the dying year to assess how we have fared, especially amidst the challenges we confronted with what was allocated to us for the year 2020.

An honest self-assessment, Hon. Ministers, very distinguished colleagues, will offer us the opportunity to see what we can do better in the year ahead. For me, there is no gainsaying the fact that the Foreign Affairs Ministry the way it appears and operates today is hardly the contemplation of its founding fathers.

And in the past few weeks since we have had the opportunity for interaction between the Ministry and us, parliamentarians, we have not hidden our disdain for the level of decay in the system and have also professed the hope that things can get better if we all choose to cooperate to re-enact and re-vitalise the ideals of the founding fathers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.For instance,we are not happy at the things we saw when we undertook our oversight visit to the headquarters.

We must appreciate the concern of Mr. President for approving and making releases of over USD18 Million, over 1 Million Pounds and over N5 Billion to clear off all the existing liabilities in our Foreign Missions and give a new face to the headquarters in order to start ahead on a clean slate in the new year. This is all part of a wider reform approved by Mr. President.

Yet,all we hear and see is that some are said not to be comfortable with the reform and,in fact,are resistant to it. Let us , therefore,warn that we do not want to see business as usual in the coming year. As a Committee,we emphasise that the oversight function of the Ministry will be strengthened in the coming year in order to ensure that the purpose for which every penny is earmarked is achieved. Any group or individual, therefore,that thinks they should tinker with any parts of the reforms,to us,must be making a huge joke of what Mr. President has approved.

We must appreciate his good intentions. And as a Parliament,we will stand and ensure that the Missions are cleaned up to, at least, represent our country’ s image outside the shores of this nation. Our concern is that no single individual or group should be given the opportunity to feel that they are greater than this country.

In the last few years since we took over this Committee of the House, I have had the opportunity to undertake visits to some of our Missions abroad. In spite of what is ,usually, allocated to these Missions, it is worrying that what we have as Embassies and High Commissions are places whose activities are far from what the nation requires of such places. In principle, every Nigerian Embassy should be a mini-Nigeria; a place where information on our country, our economy and our nationals in such a country should be on the fingertips of those who manage such Embassies’ or High Commissions’ Economic, Information and Cultural Desks.

That is the standard practice everywhere you go in other countries, but again, sadly for us, our Foreign Missions have not seen this to be worth the attention.

In the neighbouring Ghana here,for instance, where there have been constant altercations with Nigerian traders, during the visit with the Rt. Hon. Speaker Gbajabiamila I was taken aback at the level of disconnect between Nigerians and the High Commission.

The High Commission neither has the record of the number of Nigerians in Ghana nor any such important data. This is not right and this Committee expects to see a change in the new year.

Distinguished Members, Honourable Ministers, ladies and gentlemen, it is my honest belief and conviction that this year’s budget should be a game-changer in the activities and programmes of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The reason for the above is not farfetched. At a time that this budget defence has been preceded by the many interactions that the Committee and the Ministry have had in recent weeks, and coupled with the approval of Mr President of reforms that are aimed at moving the Ministry and the Foreign Missions forward, one expects nothing less than a huge success in the activities and programmes of the Ministry in 2021.

Let me, therefore, on a special note convey the appreciation of this Committee to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for his uncommon magnanimity at approving that set of reforms in the Foreign Affairs Ministry and backing that action with the necessary finances. Our candid expectation from the Ministry is to ensure a wholesome actualisation of Mr President’s kind directive and action.

I cannot end this address without making some copious observations in your budget proposals. But, as our traditions as lawmakers demand, Honourable colleagues, I believe we will have the opportunity to do justice to your findings when the line-by-line consideration of what we have before us comes up.

While we may have pointed out some gross disparities between expenditures and work actually done in the 2020 budget during our oversight visit to the Ministry’s headquarters, our intentions are that,iin line with the vision of the Buhari Administration, assist ourselves and our nation to ensure that every kobo in the budget estimates is judiciously applied in order to achieve the highest intended benefits and utility for our people.

Once again, Honourable colleagues, Ministers, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I thank you all for coming and invite you to make the best of this session.

Rt. Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub , MHR
Committee Chairman.

Nigerian Army, Neutralise 75 Boko Haram Terrorist, Seize Ammunitions, Vehicles

News Rendezvous

The troops of Operation Lafiya Dole in its operation Fire Ball , has confirmed the killing of about 75 Boko Haram insurgents Or Members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and the seizure of several of its operational vehicles.

This is contained in a press statement issued by the acting Director Defense Media Operations, Briigadier General, Bernard Onyeuko, and made available to News Rendezvous, Tuesday.

Bernard Onyeuko said the military has recorded a successful operation against the insurgent and that the military is committed clearing the north east and the country at large of the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents and other security threats.

Brig. Onyeuko said, “Sequel to the commencement of Operation FIRE BALL, a subsidiary operation under Operation LAFIYA DOLE which is meant to clear the remnants of the Boko Haram/ Islamic State West Africa Province terrorists from their identified enclaves in the North East region.

“The Operation has recorded tremendous successes within the short period from its existence with the last week of the preceding month proving to be the deadliest against the criminals.

“The troops in the various Sectors of the Theatre have continued to carry out their tasks relentlessly. The successes so far achieved wouldn’t have been possible without the sacrifice, commitment and gallantry exhibited by the well motivated troops some of whom have paid the supreme sacrifice.

“Within this period, the troops have carried out aggressive clearance operations, ambushes, robust day and night patrols in order to finally decimate the remnants of the Boko Haram/ISWAP criminals.

“Consequently, as a result of the aggressive offensive action carried out by the troops, several terrorists elements have been neutralized as large number of their equipment were captured while some were equally destroyed in the process.

“In this regard a total of 75 Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists were neutralized within this period. In terms of the criminals equipment 4 x Gun Trucks, 1 x Bedford Truck, 3 x Anti Aircraft guns,were destroyed. The captured weapons include: 6 x Gun Trucks, 4 x Anti Aircraft guns, 1x PKT gun, 4 x General Purpose Machine Guns,1 x Automatic Grenade Launcher, 1 x Dushka Gun, 1 x Light Machine Gun, 48 x AK 47 Rifles, 1x Locally made Pistol and 10 x AK 47 magazines.

“Furthermore, large cache of ammunition were captured also.

“This include: 1 x 36 Hand Grenade, 567 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition, 448 rounds of 12.7mm ammunition, 50 x Rocket Propelled Grenade bombs, 17 locally manufactured rounds, 3 shells for making Improvised Explosive Device, 1 x Smoke Grenade and 2 x belts of PKT rounds. Other assorted non lethal items were also captured from the criminals.”

He added that, “Regrettably, one officer and 2 gallant soldiers paid the supreme price while 4 other soldiers were wounded in action over the period.

“However, the wounded soldiers have since been evacuated to a military medical facility and are currently responding to treatment.

“The troops of Operation FIRE BALL under Operation LAFIYA DOLE are hereby commended for their resilience, doggedness and commitment exhibited since the beginning of the Operation.

“They are equally encouraged not to rest on their oars but build on the successes recorded so far.”

Assuring Nigerians and members of the north east he said, “The entire populace of the North East region are hereby assured of the Nigerian military high command determination to finally rout the remnants of BHT/ISWAP criminals from their enclaves in this zone.

“To you the members of the Press, I want to thank you most profoundly for your cooperation and commitment in covering our activities.

“You are well appreciated.”

Covid-19: Working Together Africa Will Win Against Coronavirus

News Rendezvous

Banding Together is the only way Africa will Beat COVID-19 By Dr. John Nkengasong and Commissioner Amira Elfadil Mohammed Elfadil)

As of 15th October 2020, the continent has a remarkably low 4.2% of the global burden of the disease and just a little above 3.5% of deaths

By Dr. John Nkengasong and Commissioner Amira Elfadil Mohammed Elfadil

Everyone knows by now that due to a combination of leadership, environment, social ecology, demographics and as yet unknown biological and other factors, Africa has been spared the worst of the havoc that COVID-19 has wreaked on other parts of the globe and was predicted to do here too.

As of 15th October 2020, the continent has a remarkably low 4.2% of the global burden of the disease and just a little above 3.5% of deaths.

Compare this against Africa’s share of the world’s population at 17%. Or the fact that Africa has nearly 5 times the global prevalence of HIV (hosting nearly 70% of all people living with the disease worldwide), and Africans contract 25% of all new Tuberculosis infections worldwide.

No one denies the continent’s remarkable COVID-19 biostatistical picture. But some have sought to attribute most of it to chance and the unknown.

We disagree. Africa locked down early, shut borders, closed schools and launched aggressive contact tracing with far more enthusiasm than most parts of the developed world.

That was not chance; that was bold leadership. Leadership rooted in communal values, and bedecked with ample evidence of the continent’s deep notions of solidarity during crisis.

Talking about solidarity, we can look at the speed at which private sector contributions into pooled funding mechanisms were mobilised to plug woeful gaps in states’ fiscal capacity. Hospitals were designed and constructed within three months in some countries, just like in China, but through civic, rather than just government, resource mobilisation. Even less recognised than the sterling leadership and solidarity examples that Africa has given the world is the flourish of innovations generally taken for granted.

African breweries and distilleries were among the first in the world to shift alcohol supplies to the manufacture of hygiene products. African fintech organisations deployed new services within days, and aggressively ramped down costs, even before lockdowns started to look like a long-term prospect. On 3rd February, even before the first infection was recorded, the continent inaugurated its joint taskforce.

Within 3 months, on 18th June, 2020, while in other places local governments were fighting with national governments over ventilators, we launched the Africa Medicines Supply Platform, the world’s first multistakeholder procurement consolidation platform at continental level.

And, on 5th October, the African Union and the Africa CDC, where I have the honour to serve as Director, launched the world’s first integrated digital public health response to the very difficult problem of reopening the skies whilst containing the pandemic.

Working with the continent’s leading airlines, laboratories, civic aviation authorities and technology actors, we unveiled Trusted Travel, an elaborate end-to-end solution allowing testing done in one country to be mutually recognised in other countries for seamless cross-border travel. Because of Trusted Travel, countries have the means to open their borders smartly and safely. Take Cape Verde, one of the countries that supported the launch of this effort, for instance. Literally one-third of the economy was nearly obliterated by COVID-19 because of the pandemic’s savage impact on tourism and transportation-related services.

Without an integrated solution to the travel challenge that restores confidence in travel, the path to full economic recovery would be painfully slow.

The more remarkable thing about the Trusted Travel intervention is how it emerged out of a “whole of society” campaign launched by the African Union on 20th August 2020 called the Saving Lives, Economies & Livelihoods initiative, an expansion of our PACT Initiative, which targeted nearly 10 million Africans for testing. It had become apparent, by June of this year, that an exclusive emphasis on disease containment would be a betrayal of the Africa CDC’s full mandate as a public health organisation.

One of the cardinal foundations of health leadership in our time is paying heed to the “social determinants of health”. Where “disease control” is itself becoming a barrier to the holistic wellness of the society, as has been the case with cross-border travel screening – with some people spending upwards of $600 on multiple, redundant, testing in a single round-trip journey (not to talk of the inconveniences and uncertainties) – it is critical that innovations that promote regional public health cooperation be prioritised.

This is precisely why between August and October, the Africa CDC expended enormous energy and effort on the diplomatically complex task of mobilising political will in Africa to harmonise public health restrictions on travel. And yet three months is in fact an unbelievably short time to mount something of this geopolitical scale.

Generating digital COVID-19 certificates and building the technical solutions for immunity certificates are by far the easiest part of the undertaking. Going through the political process of securing member state buy-in and convincing large private actors, like multinational airlines, to adopt common business processes is many times more challenging. And yet, this is what it takes, at the minimum, to assemble a credible multilateral innovative solution.

It is not surprising at all then, when one considers the general thrust of things since this pandemic began, that it is Africa that has been both bold and quick enough to launch something of this magnitude to balance the twin objectives of recovery and disease containment. Such a feat requires very optimal combinations of solidarity, leadership, innovation and communal thinking (which engenders the necessary trust for mutuality to work).

None of these values have been in short supply on the continent where COVID-19 has been concerned, even if the world has not been paying attention.

The only question left is this: what next is Africa going to do, long-term, to sustain this remarkable burst of world-leading thinking in tackling its multitudes of health challenges?

AFDB Launches Training for 80 Participants on Accessing Green Climate Fund

News Rendezvous

Akinmumi Adesina

African Development Bank launches a Training of Trainers Program for Developing Project Proposals to access Green Climate Fund

Bank builds a pool of 80 climate change experts

The African Development Bank (https://www.AfDB.org/) has designated representatives from 80 government institutions, civil society organizations and universities for training as experts in developing climate financing proposals.

The trainees will pass on their knowledge to potential beneficiaries of the Green Climate Fund, a $10 billion endowment set up in 2010 to help countries implement their climate agenda through loans, equity, guarantees and grants.

The 120-hour training program is managed by the Climate Change and Green Growth Department of the African Development Bank, with funding from the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation Trust Fund.

The scheme builds on ongoing work by the African Development Bank, the Green Climate Fund and other partners to support the Bank’s regional member countries to directly access Green Climate Fund resources.

“The Green Climate Fund is expected to be a major source of climate finance for the African continent.

Accessing finance from the Fund is challenging because of the complexities of designing climate change projects to fulfill the funding criteria.

This training will boost capacity amongst African nationally determined authorities, governments and consultants by training trainers to run future training courses,” said Gareth Phillips, Manager of the Environment and Climate Finance Division in the Department of Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank.

COVID-19 has resulted in the training shifting from in-person to online. This has the advantages of making it less costly to run and more carbon efficient.

The project’s theory of change is based on three main components, which complement ongoing work by the Bank to enhance the capacities of several African countries to access Green Climate Fund resources through small grants from the Africa Climate Change Fund.

FG Opens Portal for N75 Billion Investment Nigeria Youth Investmewnt Fund (Check it out and Apply)

News Rendezvous

The application portal for the N75 Billion Nigeria Youth Investmewnt Fund, #NYIF is officially open for registration.

Youths (18-35 years old) with business ideas that require funding can apply for N250,000 – N5,000,000 through the following link:

https://t.co/yCXQxchU1u 8 https://t.co/4OJ7fyK50q

NOTE:

Copy this link and paste in your browser to go into the funds site to submit your application👇

Husseni is A Rabble-Rouser and a Political Jobber, Fintiri Won’t Be Conned-Dogo

News Rendezvous

Good Intentions And Giant Strides Of The ATM Governor Wins Again.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Adamawa State Governor on Social Mobilisation, Victor Dogo, has cautioned the oppostion, frantically aiming a dig at the governor, suggesting that the looted palliatives were consignments received from federal government but not given to the people.

This notion was also voice by a known rabble-rouser, Husseini Gambo, whose utterances have been mischievously aimed at causing chaos and inviting some misguided youths to continue looting against the governments best wishes and intentions.

Gambo, the mastermind of the fake viral audio blackmail against Gov. Fintiri, is a man who has the habit of cooking up lies and hurling insults at elders in the state.

Dogo made this known in a statement made available to the Media Newsmen in Yola, Adamawa state.

He has in the past rained insults on some leaders in the state including former vice president Atiku, Boni Haruna, Nyako, Bindow, SGF present and immediate past, just to get financial benefit from them.

Now he seems to be applying the same evil tactics on the now passionate Governor of Adamawa state but Fintiri is not such a man to condescend to cheap blackmail.

It is however shocking to see a man who should play the role of an elder mischievously doctoring an audio and making comments tantamount to creating disturbing public peace, all aimed at gaining financial reward..

It is only apt and timely that the youth of the state call for investigation into his utterances and activities of this man as part of the process of getting to roots of factors instigating the recent unrest that led to the looting of government warehouses.

“We are totally disappointed and wish to call on the Executive governor to call him as a father to order because we are worried at the unwarranted and misguiding words.

“The first time my boss His Excellency heard of Husseni instigating unrest he was calm, yet Husseni went further trying to cause division until it has now become a habit.

“It is likely he instigated the recent comments that mislead the hoodlums and the Governor is not happy with this, so he should please desist from such actions.

“He is becoming a security risk in the state. The same man went further sending around his doctored audio pretending he is an innocent baby cat. But thank God we are aware of the long patience of the Governor all this while.”

His said, “The narrative is false, misguided and mischievous in all fronts.

“The mare endorsement of looting of public and private property by Husseni Gambo is enough to trigger an outburst of disdain.

“This is a man bent on using lies to plough evil at every given opportunity, this makes Husseni Gambo an enigma to the people it seeks to impress, it also leaves such a politician with the heavy duty of explaining how towing away of tractors, removing roofing sheets, brandishing knives and clubs, in any way resembles attempt to get food items.

Dogo said, “Since the flagging off of this Fresh Air government, it has been unapologetically committed to addressing the needs of the people of this state especially the young and the poor.

“So, for anyone to suggests that there exist federal government Palliatives lying dormant in the stores while our people languish in hunger is absolutely absurd and irresponsible.

Dogo put to rest the misconception peddled by some that federal government palliatives were the items stored to date.

The items looted by the mob action were the ones sent in by donors (CaCovid partners led by Dangote and other international partners). Noting that a larger part of the items are yet to arrive in particular rice.

Drawing attention to his previous radio interview a week back were he (SSA) revealed that plans are on the way by the ATM Governor for the disbursement of another phase of palliative sharing in Adamawa state.

“This was barely a week before this recent ugly incident, which we pray is not connected to the various instigating utterances by Husseni Gambo.

“The entire essence of governor Fintiri’s conversation was to the effect that the palliatives looted were not the ones received from the federal government as being twisted to suggests that the state government never received any palliatives from the federal.

“That answer was specific and a direct response to a question as to whether the state government had at this period received palliatives and had failed to deliver it to the people.”Dogo explains.

He added this in the response, “I must say that as painful as the situations are, the truth about some things that happened in this state recently was not the doing of Governor Fintiri but the response polluted hearts of some few that no matter how you explain they feel it is just right to give out anything in the government stores, forgetting the essence of state stores at emergency, and rescue situations.

“Well the truth is that I have not even mentioned the policy behind palliative, which in real practice during pandemic situations requires that it is to be given in batches within the period of events from the warehouses to cushion and manage the demands of the people as long as that situation lingers.

“This means they are meant for control so that suddenly it never goes empty. But I thank God the main stock of rice from CaCovid partners have not arrived.

“Also, note that what we feared at the beginning actually came to pass, some people wanted food but you must have seen that there are some evil people who have been lurking in the corner, seeking for opportunity to wreck havoc on the society, and that was what actually happened.

“We all protested for SARS reform because of its several human rights violations records but cautioned saying “I voiced out that it was wrong to demand for its scrapping without an alternative as it would create a security vacuum.

“I maintained that we could maintain SWAT as an alternative, while the endSARS advocates discuss details of gradual reforms and changes in the Police force as Nigerians cries have reached a crescendo.

“But this urge for drastic collapse of certain security units without immediate remedy always creates a security vacuum which breeds recklessness that only lend sleeper criminal cells like the “Shila Boys” the opportunity to once again unleash terror on innocent citizens of Adamawa after their activities have been eliminated.

“The truth is always seen as lies when it is laced with sentiments especially political ones.

“Governor Fintiri has by far, the best record as the most listening governor and a people friendly government.

“When public outcries began to register across the Country, what we expected and hoped for was that it would be done with grace, respect for one another and with caution because when good causes are intercepted by criminal elements, disgruntled few, the good message could be lost in the band wagon effect.

“What we witnessed in Adamawa in the past two days was a mob action and not a protest, this action rather lends a helping hand to criminals and men of the underworld who went about wrecking havoc and threatening innocent citizens with violence and unfortunately led to so many bad situations.

“The Governor is saddened by this because he would not have been moved (though not endorsing the action) had it been just food items were carted away and no man was hurt in the process, but this extent of destruction is disheartening.

“This is not what the initial protest wants to achieve and not what well meaning citizens looked forward to.

“The ATM Governor will put in more to improve the situation of willing youths through the ministry of entrepreneur, continue the open access to employment policy.

“The ATM vision remains the only way forward.”