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Elumelu Says Covid-19 Presents Opportunity To Reset Africa, Wants Youths Prioritized As SMEs Are Empowered

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The Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Tony Elumelu, has stated that the Coronavirus Pandemic currently ravaging the world presents an opportunity to reset the African continent so that Africans can be empowered to become more productive and self-reliant.

He said this today at the high-level Roundtable discussions made up of African leaders including Dr. Ngozi Okonjo – Iweala, the Special Envoy of the African Union on Covid-19 and Tidjane Thiam who is also a Covid-19 Special Envoy responsible for mobilizing international economic support for Africa.

During the session titled ‘Resilient World: An African call for a new world order’, Elumelu stated “I see this pandemic as an opportunity to reset Africa.’ Whilst pointing out that Africa as a continent has all it takes to emerge into a strong digital economy, the UBA Group Chairman advocated a martial plan that will galvanize the entire continent and make Africa less dependent on the ‘circularity of debt’ from developed nations, which according to him, has been a major setback for decades.

He said, “I feel that as we engage the rest of the world in providing relief, we need to look for a more fundamental solution to Africa’s challenges. I have often argued for martial plan overtime. We need to mobilize everyone. If we have a martial plan that mobilizes resources to address particular issues, then we can mitigate against this constant begging for assistance.”

Explaining further, Elumelu pointedly said, “The truth is that we have resources to help mobilize people. As the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, we committed to endow $100m to support young African entrepreneurs and we have been seeing the positive results this has yielded so far. It is evident that if we can fix access to electricity, ensure the stability of the macro-economic environment, ensure prioritization of the youth, empower our small and medium scale enterprises and fix youth migration, then we are in for a better and more resilient economy’. “There is an urgent need to prioritize our youths and empower our SMEs. The people who work hard need to be encouraged,” Elumelu noted passionately.

Tidjane Thiam who supported what Elumelu had proposed, said that rather than depend on international assistance at every point, there is the need for governments and institutions to invest in activities that will prioritize the youths and create a better enabling environment.

“I totally agree with Tony Elumelu. The major challenge is that we do not see enough entrepreneurs. Similar to what obtains in Asia and Europe, there is the need to promote a class of Entrepreneurs to drive the African economy. we need to groom more Tony Elumelus’ from Africa’ he said. Tidjane continued, ‘We know what needs to be done. We need government and multinational institutions to bring in the capital so that there will be an investment in health, infrastructure, and the like. We do need to get rid of this debt cycle because constant rescheduling and begging for relief for debts is not good for us as a continent,” Thiam said.

Okonjo-Iweala, on her part, called for a system where youths and women will be empowered to create and produce more to boost the African economy.

Whilst calling on private and government parastatals to engage in meaningful partnerships that will help to galvanize job creation and entrepreneurship among youths in Africa, she said, “As Tony pointed out, we can see this pandemic as an opportunity for the continent. We have the African Free Trade Agreement, and we have to make it real.

“We have to specialize in our countries to manufacture the things we need so we can trade with others. We need to produce good jobs for our young people. We need to empower our women and youths and put them at the center. It is said that Africa would have the largest number of youths in the world by 2050, so we need to fix this,” she noted.

The roundtable which was organized by the New York Forum Institute also had in attendance African Heads of States including President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger; President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya; President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire; President Macky Sall of Senegal and President Julius Bio of Sierra Leone;

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Nigeria Military Faults UN Report, Says 43 Borno Farmers Killed

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The Defence Headquarters, on Monday, faulted a report by the United Nations that 110 civilians were killed by Boko Haram in Saturday onslaught on farmers in the Jere Local Government Area of Borno State.

The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. John Enenche said as of Monday morning, 43 corpses were recovered from the incident scene in the Zabarmari area of the northeast state.

The terrorists were reported to have tied up the farmers, who were working on rice fields, before slitting their throats.

On Sunday, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, disclosed that at least 110 persons died in the horrific attack.

But reacting on Monday morning, Enenche said the troops counted the corpses together with the locals and 43 deaths were recorded.

He spoke while featuring on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme.

He said, “I knew it (the issue) is going to come up particularly because it is coming from the United Nations and not a source that does not want to be identified. This is a source that has identified itself that a 110 specifically (were murdered).”

Enenche, however, explained that he contacted the field commandants and “they gave me a synopsis of what happened. When the governor was to go (to the scene) and after they had recovered the dead, the troops had to move in there and they counted 43.

“Of course, some people ran into the bush and they started coming back and trickling in.

“As at 2 pm yesterday (Sunday), I called them and they got back to me at about 7 pm yesterday, still counting, looking if they will recover (more corpses). We call it Exploitation After Action Review.”

The DHQ Coordinator said the search for more remains of victims is still on but insisted that 43 corpses were retrieved from the scene as of today.

“Probably we may count up to the figure he (Kallon) gave in the future but as it is now, what we have counted with the locals is still 43 and we are hoping that we don’t get beyond that.

“This is the real situation. I did not sleep, we had to follow it because this is very relevant coming from the United Nations.”

The massacre of the rice farmers, who were buried yesterday, has attracted strong international and national condemnations with some Nigerians calling on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to sack the country’s service chiefs and overhaul the security architecture of Nigeria.

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Police In Argentina Launches Probe Into Diego Maradona’s Death, Raid Doctor’s Home and Clinic

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Police in Argentina has launched an investigation into Diego Maradona’s death.

Less than four days after the football legend suffered a fatal heart attack, officers raided the home and private clinic of one of his doctors.

They are working to establish whether the sporting great was treated with negligence prior to his death at the age of 60. His daughters have reportedly demanded to know what medication their father was taking.

On Sunday, several officers were seen stationed outside the house of neurologist Dr Leopoldo Luque in Buenos Aires.

Afterward, Dr. Luque told reporters that he had given investigators all records of his treatment of the footballer, as well as computers, hard drives, and mobile phones.

Growing tearful, he defended his treatment of the troubled star, who died on Wednesday. “I know what I did. I know how I did it…. I am absolutely sure that I did the best for Diego, the best I could,” he said.

The doctor added that he was not Maradona’s chief physician, but part of a medical team. The 60-year-old, one of the greatest footballers of all time, was buried on Thursday in a private ceremony attended by just two dozen people.

It followed a public vigil at the country’s presidential palace where tens of thousands of weeping fans lined up to file past his coffin.

Maradona died in a house outside the Argentinian capital where he had been recovering from a brain operation on November 3. He had suffered from a long series of medical issues, some related to overindulgence in drugs and alcohol.

He was reportedly near death in 2000 and 2004. Dr Luque described the former sportsman as a difficult patient, revealing that he had kicked the doctor out of his house several times. “Diego did what he wanted,” Dr Luque said. “Diego needed help. There was no way of getting through to him.”

 

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110 Rice Farmers Murdered By Boko Haram In Borno Attack —– United Nations

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The United Nations says more than 100 civilians were killed during an attack on farmers in Borno state on Saturday.

Although close to 45 persons were initially reported to have been killed in Jere local government area of Borno on Saturday, following an attack by armed men said to be members of the Boko Haram sect, the UN says “at least 110 civilians” were killed.

Edward Kallon, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, in a statement on Sunday, described the incident as “the most violent attack” targeted at civilians in 2020.

“I am outraged and horrified by the gruesome attack against civilians carried out by non-state armed groups in villages near Borno State capital Maiduguri. At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” he said.

“In the early afternoon of 28 November, armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields in Koshobe and other rural communities in Jere Local Government Area. Reports we are receiving are indicating these innocent farmers were the victims of this callous violence.

“I extend my sincere condolences to the families of the civilians who lost their lives in this atrocious attack. I also wish a speedy recovery to those who were wounded in the incident.

“We have also received reports that several women may have been kidnapped. I call for their immediate release and return to safety.

“My thoughts are also with the rural communities in the area, who are shocked by the brutality of yesterday’s attack and fear for their safety.

“The entire UN system and the humanitarian community working to provide life-saving and development assistance to the most vulnerable in Borno State is outraged by the incident. Such direct attacks against innocent civilians jeopardize the ability of the most vulnerable people to survive the adversity there are facing, and which we are striving to alleviate.

“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice.”

While noting that such attacks could worsen the food crisis already being experienced in Borno, Kallon called on the government to ensure adequate protection of residents in the state.

“It is, unfortunately, one of too many such attacks targeting farmers, fishermen, and families who are trying to recover some livelihood opportunity after over a decade of conflict,” the UN coordinator said.

“I strongly condemn this attack and any act of violence against innocent civilians and I firmly urge all actors on the ground to respect international laws and humanity.

“Rural communities in Borno State are facing untold hardships. Helping them to farmland and rebuild livelihoods are amongst our priorities and the only way to avoid the looming food crisis in Borno State. They and all other civilians need to be protected and spared from any kind of violence.

“Innocent women, children, and men desperately need food and other support and assistance, particularly at a time when we are recording some of the highest levels of food insecurity in Borno State. We owe to do our utmost to help them survive these difficult times.”

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