Nigeria. Abubakar Bello, governor of Niger, says his state has received “little or no support” from the federal government towards the rescue of students and staff abducted from Government Science College, Kagara.
Ghana. The first shipments of vaccines as part of the global COVAX program that’s attempting to make vaccine access more equitable have landed in Ghana, kicking off what will be the largest mass inoculation drive in human history.
Iran. Iran announced a law that would restrict international inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities, a bid that appears to pressure European countries and the US to lift economic sanctions and restore the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal.
India. The government announced a large program with roughly $1Bn in incentives that’s aimed at bringing computer production to the country.The end goal of the deal is to “...bring the world’s top five global champions to India and produce for the world”.
1885 Congress of Berlin gives Congo to Belgium and Nigeria to England
1616 Roman Inquisition delivers injunction to Galileo demanding he abandon his belief in heliocentrism, which states the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun
1991 Coalition planes bomb Iraqi forces retreating from Kuwait during the Gulf War, killing hundreds and creating the so-called 'Highway of Death'
2020 Saudi Arabia bars overseas pilgrims from accessing religious sites of Mecca and Medina because of COVID-19 fears for 1st time in living memory
Covid infection in Lagos ‘greater than Africa’s official total’
Image Source: BBC
The Story The official infection figures of the coronavirus might not be the real representation of things in Nigeria.
How? A COVID-19 antibodies survey in Nigeria suggests that four million people in Lagos state alone have had the virus – more than has been officially recorded for the whole continent of Africa. The study was done on 10,000 people from four states, Enugu, Gombe, Lagos and Nasarawa, to estimate the extent of coronavirus in Africa’s most populous nation, and was conducted before a second wave began in early December.
So it could even be worse now? The findings of the seroprevalence survey, carried out in September and October by Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Institute for Medical Research (IMR), are staggering. Rates of infection were initially thought to be low during the first wave of the pandemic, but a subsequent widespread non-compliance with official protocol seems to have done a great damage. Nigeria recorded its highest daily infection rate in January, when it logged 1,600 new cases, suggesting many more people were infected in the second wave.
How do we address this? While the procurement process of vaccines is being finalized, compliance with official prevention protocols must be taken seriously. “80 to 90% of the population in these four states are still susceptible to the virus which makes the vaccination efforts we are about to start in Nigeria even more important,” said Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of the NCDC. The official figure for Nigeria as of Monday, 22 February 2021 is 153,000 cases with 1,862 deaths. SOURCE
Niger Delta militants resurface, threaten to carry out attacks in Lagos, Abuja
Image Source: The Cable
The Story The Supreme Egbesu Liberation Fighters, a group of Niger Delta militants, has threatened to destroy infrastructure in Lagos and Abuja.
Why would they do that? In a video published on Tuesday, the group accused the FG of marginalising the region and failing to deliver on the amnesty programme. Reading from a statement, a masked member of the group said after accepting the amnesty pact, “till date, there are no schools, no potable water, no light, no hospital and access roads for our people to enjoy”. The group also complained that “no meaningful progress has been made” with the Ogoni clean-up project “because the Nigerian government has decided to place politics against the meaningful development of our people”.
Outsourcing of jobs in the region. “Rather, what is visible is the presence of military gunboat and the numerous military personnel dispersed to the Niger Delta who are killing, raping, and maiming the innocent people of the region. “Look at the security surveillance contract taking place in our region through the federal government, these agencies have decided to shortchange our people. Now in our territorial waters, it is an Israeli company that is providing waterway security which we have competent hands with expert knowledge to manage.
Have they been in talks with the FG before coming out with the threat? There was no indication of such in the group's statement. “Don’t worry, because we are coming to destroy all your infrastructure in Abuja and Lagos", the group said. They, however, nominated former President Goodluck Jonathan and Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike to mediate between it and the FG. The threat of attacks by the militants is coming at a time when Nigeria is grappling with a security crisis involving banditry, kidnapping, ethnic distrust and terrorism in various parts of the country.
What's their request now? They asked the government to allow the region to manage its resources “the way Zamfara gold mining sector is being handled by their own people”. “Over the years, the Niger Delta people have made frantic efforts to create an enabling environment… but to our great dismay, the Nigerian government over the years has decided to handle the issues of the Niger Delta with kid gloves. They have betrayed the struggle and have left the people to their fate,” a member of the group read from a statement. SOURCE
Nigeria's debt problems - An Analysis
Image Source: The Punch
The Story The issues surrounding Nigeria's debts have continued to create worries for observers.
What is it this time? The Federal Government has disregarded the Central Bank of Nigeria Act (2007) as it moves to restructure its estimated $25.6B (an equivalent of N9.7 trillion) overdrafts with the monetary authority into a 30-year debt. The amount, which sources said is unverifiable and could have been discounted following the high level of secrecy around the processes leading to the loans, consists of the existing short-term advances granted by the apex bank.
What's the motivation for this? The government may have, by the facility restructuring, heeded the warning by International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Fitch that the mounting overdrafts were responsible for the accelerating inflation, which hit 16.47% in January. But like its procurement process, the planned loan liquidation faces major legal hurdles, among which is the CBN Act 2007 that spells out how advances extended to government should be treated as well as repayment processes.
What does the Act say? Section 38 of the Act stipulates that the apex bank “may grant temporary advances to the Federal Government in respect of temporary deficiency of budget revenue.” It, however, restricts the amount to 5% of the previous “year’s actual revenue of the Federal Government.” The CBN-enabling law also mandates government to offset any advance before the end of the financial year it is granted. Failure to repay, according to the law, the government should be deprived of accessing the window to plug its funding gap.
As government defers its responsibility indefinitely — as many do not believe it would be able to pay up even within 30 years — economists have warned that the securitisation plan, as disclosed by the Debt Management Office (DMO), would put enormous pressure on future generations who are ill-prepared for the demand. SOURCE
“The Deadliest Middle East Construction Project Since The Pyramids”
Image Source: The Guardian
The Story The beauty and thrill of the FIFA World Cup tournament are always a great sight to behold, but those pleasant moments come at a huge cost, including that of human lives.
How do you mean? On December 2, 2010, FIFA announced that Qatar would host the 2022 World Cup --- a first for a Middle East nation. Over the next ten years, thousands of migrant laborers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka came to Qatar to work on the elaborate preparations for the world's biggest football tournament. Sadly, during that period at least 6,500 of those workers have died, according to an analysis by the Guardian.
Seriously? The findings were compiled from government sources, and mean that an average of 12 migrant workers from the five South Asian nations have died each week since the announcement was made. The total death toll is significantly higher because the figures don't include deaths from other countries like the Philippines and Kenya that send large numbers of workers to Qatar. Also not included are deaths occurring in the final months of 2020. More deaths have undoubtedly occurred since preparations for the 2022 tournament continue.
What are the organizers doing about this? There has been a controversy over the handling of the deaths, especially with official records on the cause of death. There have been 37 deaths among workers directly linked to construction of World Cup stadiums, of which 34 are classified as “non-work related” by the event’s organising committee. Experts have questioned the use of the term because in some cases it has been used to describe deaths which have occurred on the job, including a number of workers who have collapsed and died on stadium construction sites.
How's Qatar's government responding? A report from Qatar government’s own lawyers in 2014 recommended that it commission a study into the deaths of migrant workers from cardiac arrest, and amend the law to “allow for autopsies … in all cases of unexpected or sudden death”. The government has done neither. It says that the number of deaths – which it does not dispute – is proportionate to the size of the migrant workforce and that the figures include white-collar workers who have died naturally after living in Qatar for many years.
In the past 10 years, Qatar has embarked on an unprecedented building programme, largely in preparation for the football tournament in 2022. In addition to seven new stadiums, dozens of major projects have been completed or are under way, including a new airport, roads, public transport systems, hotels and a new city, which will host the World Cup final. SOURCE
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QUESTION & ANSWER
What screams "I'm upper class" in Scandinavian culture?
Sweden has an upper class, but it is doing an excellent job not to be visible as such.
While life in Sweden is comfortable enough for everyone, there are some people who really are exceptionally wealthy.
The only way you can tell is when you catch a social media glimpse of “their weekend house in Fjällnäset” or their boat in Bovallstrand harbour - and that boat is a yacht four times the size of their house, and they show up in the background accidentally.
But you probably won’t see these glimpses, because it is considered extremely uncool to show off.
So, watch out for that quiet, friendly guy with the Ray Bans and the perfectly restored Volvo P1800. If he’s headed to the family summer home on the west coast despite being from Stockholm, you may have an upperclass person on your hands. SOURCE