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Buhari borrows to execute projects, assist Nigerians

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President Muhammadu Buhari seeks foreign loans to fund projects and programmes Nigerians benefit from, the Presidency has said.

In a statement on Saturday, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu listed projects and beneficiaries of the loans.

The Buhari administration is under fire after the President wrote to the Senate to approve $4.054bn and €710million credit.

The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) warned that the All Progressives Congress (APC) government is trying to sell the country.

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The opposition said if the legislature approves the latest request, and an additional N5.62trillion loan proposed for the 2022 budget, Nigeria’s liability under Buhari will hit “N40trillion with no clear-cut repayment plan”.

But Shehu explained that 15 projects, across the six geo-political zones, are to be financed with the anticipated funds from multilateral institutions, under the 2018-2021 medium-term (rolling) external borrowing plan.

He said the loans will be sourced from the World Bank, French Development Agency (AFD), China-Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chartered/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE).

A breakdown of the ‘‘Addendum to the Proposed Pipeline Projects for the 2018-2021 Medium Term (rolling) External Borrowing Plan,’’ shows that the World Bank is expected to finance seven projects including the $125million grant for ‘‘Better Education Services for All’’.

The Global Partnership for Education grant is expected to increase equitable access for out-of-school children and improve literacy in focus states.

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The grant, which will be implemented by the Federal Ministry of Education and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), will strengthen accountability for results in basic Education in Katsina, Oyo and Adamawa States.

Other projects to be financed by the World Bank are, the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme for Results as well as the Agro-Processing, Productivity, Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project.

The benefiting states for the agro-processing project are, Kogi, Kaduna, Kano, Cross River, Enugu and Lagos with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as the implementing ministry.

“The objective of the project is to enhance agricultural productivity of small and medium-scale farmers and improve value addition along priority value chains in the participating States”, Shehu noted.

The World Bank, he added, is financing the Nigeria Sustainable Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project in Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina, Imo and Plateau States, for the next five years.

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Shehu assured that the project when completed, will improve rural water supply, sanitation and hygiene nationwide towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for water supply and sanitation by 2030.

A total of 29 states are listed as beneficiaries of the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Arid Zone Landscape project, which is expected to reduce natural resource management conflicts in dry and semi-arid ecosystems in Nigeria.

The benefiting states for the project to be co-financed by World Bank and European Investment Bank (EIB) are Akwa Ibom, Borno, Oyo, Sokoto, Kano, Katsina, Edo, Plateau.

Others include Abia, Nasarawa, Delta, Niger, Gombe, Imo, Enugu, Kogi, Anambra, Niger, Ebonyi, Cross River, Ondo, Kaduna, Kebbi, Jigawa, Bauchi, Ekiti, Ogun, Benue, Yobe and Kwara.

“The World Bank is also funding the Livestock Productivity and Resilience project in no fewer than 19 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

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“The China EXIM Bank is expected to finance the construction of the branch line of Apapa-TinCan Island Port, under the Lagos-Ibadan Railway modernisation project.

“The French Development Agency will finance two projects, which include the National Digital Identity Management project and the Kaduna Bus Rapid Transport Project. The digital identity project will be co-financed with World Bank and EIB.

“The Value Chain Development Programme to be financed by IFAD and implemented in Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun, Taraba, Nasarawa, Enugu and Kogi states will empower 100,000 farmers, including over 6,000 and 3,000 processors and traders respectively.

“The loan facility to be provided by European ECA/KfW/IPEX/APC will be spent on the construction of the Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) linking Nigeria with Niger Republic from Kano-Katsina-Daura-Jibiya-Maradi with a branch to Dutse.

“The specific project title, Kano-Maradi SGR with a branch to Dutse, has an implementation period of 30 months and will be implemented by the Federal Ministry of Transport.

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“The Chinese African Development Fund through the Bank of China is expected to provide a loan facility of $325 million for the establishment of three power and renewable energy projects including solar cells production facility Phase I & II, electric power transformer production, Plants 1, II, III and high voltage testing laboratory.

“The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) will implement the project aimed at increasing local capacity and capability in the development of power and renewable energy technologies and infrastructure.

“Credit Suisse will finance major industrialisation projects as well as micro, small and medium enterprises schemes to be executed by the Bank of Industry while SINOSURE and Standard Chartered Bank will provide funds for the provision of 17MW Hybrid Solar Power infrastructure for the National Assembly (NASS) complex.

“The project, with an implementation period of five years, is expected to address ‘‘NASS power supply deficit and reduce the higher overhead burdensome cost of running and maintaining fossil fuel generators (25MW installed capacity) to power the assembly complex”, the statement read.

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UN told Nigeria’s failure to deal with diversity root of Biafra crisis

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The United Nations Security Council has been told that the failure of Nigerian leaders to deal with diversity was the root cause of the Biafran crisis.

The person who made the presentation, was South Africa´s former president Thabo Mbeki, who lived in Nigeria for a few years in the late 70s during the anti-apartheid struggle.

Mbeki addressed the UN Security Council on Tuesday and listed African countries, apart from Nigeria, where the failure to deal with diversity was a root cause of conflict.

He blamed the current clashes in Ethiopia´s Tigray region, also on the failure to manage diversity.

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Mbeki recalled that the Nigerian government was victorious against secessionist-seeking Biafra 50 years ago and its leaders announced “that they would follow a policy of no victor, no vanquished.”

Looking at the “painful example” of the ongoing conflict between the Ethiopian government and ethnic Tigrayans, Mbeki said, “this is exactly what Ethiopia needs.”

Thabo Mbeki cited “the centrality of failure properly to manage diversity” in the conflicts in Congo, Burundi, Ivory Coast and Sudan.

He pointed to the 2004 report of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission “which tells the naked truth, that it was as a result of the failure to manage diversity that the country experienced a very costly 11-year war which started in 1991” — and there is a similar failure to manage diversity “in the violent conflict which has been and is still going on in Cameroon.”

France´s U.N. ambassador, Nicolas De Riviere, had some additions.

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In the Sahel region stretching across northern Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea, “terrorist groups use differences to stir up hatred between communities,” he said.

And ethnic and religious violence is also prevalent in the Middle East including Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

They spoke at a U.N. Security Council meeting on “Diversity, State Building and the Search for Peace” that was organized by Kenya, which holds the council presidency this month, and chaired by its president, Uhuru Kenyatta.

“The key message I wish to deliver today is that poor management of diversity is leading to grave threats to international peace and security,” Kenyatta said.

He said inequality within and between countries “is too often the result of exclusion on the basis of identity” that becomes institutionalized in governments and in economic relations.

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“And it manifests in stereotyping and bigotry,” leading among other consequences to lack of work for billions of people simply based on who they are, he said.

“The result is a profound sense of grievance and bitterness that populists and demagogues can easily exploit,” Kenyatta said.

“It is fodder for terrorism, insurgencies, the rise of xenophobia, hate speech, divisive tribalism, as well as racism.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cited a U.N.-World Bank study that found “many conflicts are deeply rooted in longstanding inequalities among groups,” which leave people feeling excluded and marginalized because they are denied opportunities based on their culture, race, skin colour, ethnicity or income.

He pointed to the sharp increase in armed groups at the heart of conflicts — “rebels, insurgents, militias, criminal gangs and armed trafficking, terrorist and extremist groups” — as well as a rise in military coups.

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While combatants can agree to end hostilities, Guterres warned, “without including a wide range of diverse voices at every step of this process — without bringing all people along — any peace will be short-lived.”

He said that women and young people must be “meaningful participants” and that “when we open the door to inclusion and participation, we take a giant step forward in conflict prevention and peacebuilding.”

Fawzia Koofi, the first woman to be deputy speaker of Afghanistan´s Parliament who left the country after the Taliban takeover on Aug. 15, said her country is the latest test of whether the global community can come together to uphold the principles of the U.N. Charter, including promoting the rule of law, justice and equality for men and women.

“There are serious reports that fundamental freedoms are being flouted,” she said.

“Women and girls are once again regarded as second-class citizens, literally. They are making us invisible again … (and) thousands of people from religious minorities and other minority groups are forced to flee their villages.”

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Koofi said the Afghan situation shows how the imbalance in power is “at the roots of so much conflict and inequality.”

Rwandan President Paul Kagame, whose country was the scene of genocide in 1994 in which 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred by the majority Hutu population., said sustainable peace can only be built if the root causes of conflict are understood by a broad range of the population, and it requires dialogue and search for solutions.

“It may not be possible to entirely prevent all conflict,” he said. “In fact, disagreements and grievances will always be there in one form or another. But the intensity and the impact of conflicts can be minimized by remaining attentive to local needs” and delivering “the results that citizens expect and deserve.”

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Gov Masari kicks against indiscriminate release of bandits, rapists on bail

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Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State has frowned at what he called the indiscriminate release of suspected bandits, rapists and other criminals on bail by the courts.

Masari made this assertion shortly after the swearing in of three newly appointed high court judges in Katsina State, NAN reports.

The Governor called on the Nigerian Bar Association to implore its members that are in the habit of supporting criminals to secure bail through the instrument of fundamental right enforcement to be ethical and avoid compromise under cover.

“We are in an unusual time of serious security challenges and must therefore put heads together to address these unusual challenges.

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“We have had incidents where suspected bandits, terrorists, armed robbers and rapists were released on bail only for them to commit the same offence.

“Such ugly incidents could have been averted if bail was not granted at all”, the Governor said.

“The overriding objective of every legal system, he said, is to deliver justice which is the best pivot and pillar that upholds the very best of decency and the best guarantee for peace, prosperity and good governance.

“The age long adage that Justice delayed is Justice denied, has been a thing of concern to the government.

“Thus there is the need to address the speed of justice among all stakeholders in the justice sector.

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“It was in response to the Justice Sector Reform in the state that the state Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) 2019 and the state Penal Code Law, 2019 were repealed and replaced with the new laws of 2021,” he said.

The Governor noted that the new laws addressed the shortcomings observed in the 2019 law.

He further stressed that, with this development, all actors and stakeholders in the Justice sector will now work towards a coordinated approach to ensure speedy disposition of criminal cases which involves arrest, investigation and prosecution’.

Masari said the state government was seriously disturbed over the trend of blame shifting by the justice sector actors.

Masari therefore directed the state’s monitoring and coordination committee to discharge its statutory mandate by ensuring that all criminal cases are handled with deserved dispatch.

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He further urged the committee to ensure that the ugly trend of releasing suspects with prima-facie records of crimes on bail is checked.

He further urged the new judges to consider their appointment as a call to duty that requires more dedication, professionalism and above all the fear of God.

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Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Usyk officially confirmed

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Anthony Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has confirmed that he has triggered his rematch clause with Oleksandr Usyk.

The fight is expected to take place in March next year.

Usyk has already said he would like to defend his newly-won titles in Ukraine.

However, Hearn has claimed that the rematch will take place in the UK.

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Joshua lost his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts to Usyk via a unanimous decision last week.

“Today we officially triggered the rematch for the Oleksandr Usyk fight, which we’ll see early next spring.

“Back in the game and we’re looking for him to become three-time world champion.

“A few niggles in camp for AJ, Usyk had a bad cut, it’s officially triggered, we’ll sit down with K2 Promotions and I think March is when you’ll see that fight.

“This was a disappointing loss to a pound-for-pound great. We don’t need to get back in the game with 10-rounders, he needs to rip those belts off Usyk,” Hearn told DAZN.

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