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Omicron: Obasanjo, Uganda’s former VP, in joint article, lambast western world for red listing African countries

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Obasanjo

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo and the former vice-president of Uganda, Specioza Wandira-Kazibwe, have condemned the travel ban on African countries over concerns relating to the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

A number of countries in Europe banned travel from countries in Africa following the discovery of the variant by South African scientists.

Obasanjo is a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, while Wandira-Kazibwe, the immediate past chair of the African Union Panel of the Wise, was the first female in Africa to become vice-president of a sovereign nation.

Speaking on the development regarding Omicron, the duo, in a joint article published yesterday in The Africa Report, expressed concern over the actions taken to shut out certain countries.
“What message was being sent? That each country by unilaterally bolting its gates will be able to hold back the tide of a pandemic, alone? That contributing to our global understanding of the evolution of a world plague, by sharing the fruits of years of genomic capabilities development, should lead to a country being ostracised?” they asked.

They also wondered how countries gather annually in New York to address injustice “and yet refuse to align on how to make quicker progress on a host of issues, from labour rights to agricultural subsidies and healthcare related patents.”

According to them, rather than issue travel bans, what the world needs “in these Omicron times is smart multilateralism.

“Even after we had learnt that shutting the doors made no sense at this point, the emotive comfort of locking out the other proved too tempting to resist,” they said.

The two leaders continued: “Yet, to run effective contact tracing in a time of rapid global physical connectivity, information and goodwill is required from countries far and near to plot the trajectory of a virus moving at the speed of flight. Detecting a variant in a person who happens to be from or at point A on the globe says nothing about all the other places the variant may have touched before eventually slipping into the cells of the unfortunate carrier.

“A very different form of global hyper-cooperation is required to match the pace of such a fast spreading virus. We in Africa have learnt the hard way that we are in an age where the old models of multilateralism have run their full course.

“Marked by slow bureaucracy and symbolisms of comity rather than pragmatic trust and modern instruments, this old multilateralism has frozen attempts to reform global trade to serve the people rather than corporations.

“It has hobbled efforts to turn the energy transition into a moment to balance the obscene imbalances in population and consumption. And it has led to a world where annually we assemble in New York to address injustice and yet refuse to align on how to make quicker progress on a host of issues, from labour rights to agricultural subsidies and healthcare-related patents.

“When COVID-19 threatened to disrupt Africa’s biggest multilateral endeavour in half a century – the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) – ‘radical agility’ became our only path forward.

“Africa’s embrace of smart multilateralism is manifest in being the first continent to agree on a common digital platform for bio-surveillance and biosecurity. Absolutely convinced that the each-for-herself idea embodied in border closures has serious limits, we set out to work with the private and civil society sectors to create both institutional and technological innovations to keep the borders open but the virus out.

“Through a combination of skillful compromises and modern technologies, we pressed on and ensured that the timeline for start of trading would be maintained. It was as clear as noonday to those of us championing African multilateralism that retreating behind the walls of nationalist survival would be continental suicide. It would also be generational suicide because COVID and AfCFTA are both once in a lifetime opportunities.

“This is smart multilateralism at work. It is the only way forward for a continent like ours that has long been marginalised in the global scheme of things. But the more we look at the state of globalisation in the world today, the more convinced we are that it is the whole world that needs smart multilateralism and not just Africa.”

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Nigerian students’ association threatens to shut down all international airports over prolonged ASUU’s strike

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ASUU to begin fresh strike

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Southwest Zone D has threatened to shut down all international airports over the failure of the Nigerian government to address the lingering strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities and other staff unions.

Coordinator of the NANS Zone D, Adegboye Olatunji in a statement said the students had waited long enough for the government to resolve the crisis.

He added that students would take the bull by the horns and no longer keep quiet, pointing out that President Muhammadu Buhari’s position on the crisis could ruin their future.

The statement read, “It is timely and urgent to address this press conference today with a view to putting an end to the long lingering strike action of ASUU and ASUP (Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics), a total reformation of the educational sector.

“The Leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students Southwest (Zone D) in conjunction with the National Association of University Students Southwest (NAUS) has taken it upon herself to categorically stand against the dilapidated state of the educational sector in Nigeria.

“We are at a time when Nigerian Students have lost hope and do not know what’s next on the radar. ASUU strike has been on for over 3 months without forgetting the ASUP warning strike of 2 weeks.

“We have also waited for long to see if the Federal Government will dance to the music of Nigerian students who have been clamouring for an end to the ASUU strike but the reverse is the case. We’ve had several press conferences, granted several interviews, and held several meetings to plead with both ASUU and Federal Government. Our future is been jeopardised. We’re in a country where age is a key factor in labour market.

“Aviation unions gave a 2-day warning strike on shut down of flight operations. A meeting was scheduled by the Federal Government and strike action was called off in less than 24hours because the first-class citizens would be affected. But it is so obvious that none of them is affected by ASUU/ASUP Strike. They have their children all over the world enjoying a smooth educational system.

“On Monday, May 16th, 2022, the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris was arrested over alleged money laundering and diversion of public funds of at least N80 Billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Where is the integrity of the government preaching against corruption? How much of the public funds would have settled the educational sector and put an end to the yearly ASUU/ASUP Strike action.

“For so long, ASUU/ASUP strike has been ongoing and the Federal Government has not been showing concern through the Minister of Education.

“We are ready to take the bull by the horns as Nigerian students will not keep silent and watch our future being ruined by the prolonged ASUU/ASUP Strike.

“According to the Commandment of Solidarity, we’re on the last C of ALUTA which is Confrontation. This is the time to call on all Nigerian students across all zones to come out in mass to take over all international airports in the country. Nigerian students are tired of the long-overdue strike action.

“The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students Southwest (Zone D) in conjunction with the National Association of University Students (NAUS) hereby declares a massive protest to shut down all international airports in Nigeria. We must state categorically to the Federal Government that all activities shall be shut down by over twenty-two million five hundred and twenty-seven (22,575,000) Nigerian students across Southwest Nigeria until ASUU / ASUP Strike is called off totally.”

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VIDEO: Tension as Okada riders, policemen clash in Lagos

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There is tension in the Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos over an attempt by policemen to enforce the state government ban on the operation of commercial motorcycle operators also known as Okada riders.

The state government had on Wednesday issued a total ban on the activities of the Okada riders in six local government areas of the state over the killing of a sound engineer, David Imoh, at Lekki.

Policemen from Onireke Police Station, Ojo, had impounded some commercial motorcycles for operating along the Mile 2 – Badagry expressway, an action which the riders resisted.

The riders attempted to overrun the station and possibly set free some of their members who were arrested by the policemen.

The riders set fire in the middle of the road, while the owners of vehicles abandoned them by the side of the road due to the chaos.

The crisis led to a stampede as pedestrians fled for fear of being caught up in the crossfire.

Moreso, the incident created heavy vehicular movement on both sides of the road.

While the policemen fired several shots into the air to disperse the commercial motorcycle operators, the riders themselves pelted the officers with stones, daring the policemen to come after them.

A yet to be ascertained number of persons sustained different wounds as they tried to run away from the trouble zone.

Presently, a combined team of anti-riot policemen and some soldiers have been deployed to return normalcy to the area.

WATCH THE VIDEO OF THE CLASH BELOW:

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Army Major commits suicide 3 days to court-martial verdict

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A former Battalion Commanding Officer who led the fight against Boko Haram in the North East, Major UJ Undianyede, is said to have committed suicide.

According to sources, he killed himself less than 72 hours to the verdict of a court-martial trying him for alleged military infractions during the war.

The sources, who confirmed the incident last night, said the Major killed himself on Monday on the premises of the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna, with his service pistol.

“I think he killed himself because of the judgment of the court-martial which has been fixed for tomorrow (today, May 19). We only learnt about his death today (Wednesday).

“In prosecuting the war, the Major with some of his colleagues allegedly committed some infractions for which he was being tried at the 1 Division in Kaduna,” one of the sources said.

The offences listed against the deceased officer by the court martial in the 1 Division included misappropriation of funds, abandonment of military post, insubordination, and desertion, among others.

Another source attributed the Major’s death to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), noting that he had been in the North East for some time battling Boko Haram terrorists.

The Major, a Course 55 Regular Officer and other members of his class, were said to be due for promotion to the rank Lieutenant Colonel this September.

When contacted, the spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, said he had not been briefed.

However, the Public Relations Officer of the NDA, Major Bashir Jajira, dismissed the report, saying no officer of the academy was involved in suicide.

“No personnel of the academy was involved in suicide as reported, and in fact, our cadets are presently in Kachia for combat shooting training, they are not in the academy. So, no such training took place.”

In the same vein, the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 1 Division Headquarters, Kaduna, Major Musa Yahaya stated that he was not aware of any court-martial taking place in the division as earlier reported.

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