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Buhari Approves 50 Volunteers For Liberia




By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Monrovia, Liberia said that Nigeria will this year provide 50 volunteers in the field of education and health to support Liberia addresse its challenges in those field. 

This, the President said would be done through the nation’s Technical Assistance Programme.


President Buhari also assured that the continent’s largest nation was also prepared to deploy additional volunteers in the other fields, in order to contribute to the capacity building in Liberia.

Buhari who conveyed the felicitations of Nigerians to their brothers in Liberia, said “Today represents yet another significant milestone in the life of the brotherly nation of Liberia.


“Nigerians rejoice with all Liberians on this momentous occasion. It is a matter of pride that Liberia, the first country in Africa to gain its Independence, has successfully preserved its unity and cohesion, despite the tragic events that culminated in an unfortunate civil war.

“I am here to celebrate with you this remarkable achievement while at the same time recalling the enormous contributions and sacrifices made by Nigeria in your recent history.”

The Nigerian leader further assured Liberians of continued support of the country to its development: “As Liberia sustains its notable efforts towards economic recovery, I wish to assure you of Nigeria’s commitment to continue to partner with the country, for all possible assistance with a view to making our modest contributions that will positively impact on the security and economic well-being of the Liberian people.

Speaking on Nigerian experience, the president explained that having realised the futility in continuing to subject the Nigerian economy to the vagaries of  its mono-product dependence, his administration has instituted policies aimed at diversifying the national economy which were yielding positive results.

He added that the Economic and Recovery Growth Plan launched by his administration in 2017 was creating  the enabling environment for growth, security and economic revival.

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“Our government had to adopt appropriate measures including diversification and reforms to address such underlying causes exemplified by our continued dependence on a single-commodity, crude oil, lack of fiscal buffers, leakages, corruption and high governance costs.

“Furthermore, in our efforts to stimulate the economy, our government initiated bold policy interventions that are beginning to yield positive results,”he stated.

Buhari, who was honoured at Liberia’s 172nd Independence Anniversary occasion with the country’s highest award, the “Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of the Pioneers of the Republic of Liberia with Grade of the Knight Grand Cordon”, said he accepted it ” on behalf of all Nigerians and as a tribute to all our country men who paid the supreme price in aid of Liberia’s unity and stability.”

He also thanked the Government and people of Liberia and expressed his resolve to continue to strengthen cooperation within the sub region.

Buhari added that,  “This gesture can only strengthen my resolve to rededicate myself to the service of my country, work for the prosperity of our people in the sub-region.”

The President likened the Liberian economic situation to what obtained in Nigeria when he assumed office in 2015 and praised the administration of President George Weah for its social intervention programme.

He told President George Weah that, “I am fully aware that on assumption of office, your country was experiencing severe economic challenges occasioned by the fall in commodity prices, the main source of revenue for Liberia. This situation is akin to what I inherited on my election in 2015. That was a difficult period for the Nigerian economy which later lapsed into recession.”

He commended Weah’s leadership and vision for initiating since coming to office, people oriented projects and programmes including the “Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development” (PAPD) launched in 2018.

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“I am convinced that this well-articulated programme which is quite similar to our Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020, if well implemented, could bring the desired transformation and sustainable development to Liberia.”

The President encouraged his Liberian counterpart to take decisive actions to further stimulate the economy of the country:  “Mr. President, Liberia under your leadership may wish to learn from our experience by taking courageous steps to diversify its economic base by developing the productive sector that would complement earnings from rubber, iron ore and the increasingly dwindling funds from Development Partners.

“In this regard, the need for proper management of human resources and investment in agriculture, solid minerals and other sectors such as tourism where the country has comparative advantage, cannot be overstated.”

Meanwhile, the Ambassador of Nigeria to Liberia, Mer. James Dimka told newsmen that the what was deserving because, “We have done what no other African President has done to the country.  We have had close relations (Nigeria and Liberia) and this has only strengthen our relations. Liberia was in war for 14 years and the major country that stood by them was Nigeria. Our military just left this country about a month  ago. At some point the United Nations, ECOWAS were but Nigeria stayed till the end.

“And so you will recognize that there is a strong relations between Nigeria and Liberia.”

Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti said, Nigeria has sacrificed so much for the country even though Liberia is older going by flag independence record. 

He said: “Nigeria has done a lot to keep Liberia one. This is the first country we sent the first ECOMOG to and several Nigerians lost their lives to. Uptil very recently, a Nigerian, Gen. Abdulrahman was Chief of Defence Staff  here and he lost his life in the course of serving this country. Before him other Nigerians headed their military, Gen Obiakor was the head of mission. I spent sometime here on the flip side of the conflict as the mediator and negotiator in the difficult days here. President Obasanjo was critical in the management of the conflict and President Buhari followed on in that capacity and he is still doing a lot for peace in West Africa as Chairman of ECOWAS.

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“So, it is a fitting and proper honour done to him and by extension to all of us in Nigeria. Because, somethings Nigerians wonder why we do so much in the subregion and Africa without getting much in return. Return comes in various forms and recognizing with the highest honour in the land shows how grateful the Liberians are in the role Nigeria continues to play in the country. 

Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe  said, the honour is for President Buhari and Nigeria considering the role he is playing in the west Africa subregion and the continent.

He said the award shows how much respect the President commands from his counterparts in the region.

The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said award is in recognition of all the country has done to help Liberia. 

“This country with the longest history of independence but couldn’t hold together and was helped majorly by Nigeria, with everything we had, our armed forces, resources in other to help them to remain as one united people.

“It is also in recognition of Nigeria’s support for Liberia to rebuild. He has offered 50 technical aid corp to Nigeria and has promised many more in case there is need.”


Thuggery, Intimidation, Attacks, Abductions Characterise Recent Polls – EU Mission




The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM), has said that there were at least 21 reported deaths in the just concluded general election.

The election monitoring group said the fatalities were recorded on election day.

In its second preliminary report released yesterday, the EU-EOM said there were “multiple incidents of thuggery and intimidation” that interrupted polls in several voting units across the country on election day.

The EU-EOM said, “obstruction and organised violence limited the free expression of the will of the voters, despite efforts by civil society to promote democratic standards”.

It also said vote-buying was recorded in the election, affecting the proper conduct of the exercise.

“The 25 February post-election environment was largely peaceful, with parties appealing to supporters for calm. However, a few days before the 18 March elections, violence abruptly increased with more than a dozen attacks and abductions of candidates by thugs and unidentified gunmen, some of which resulted in fatalities. Violence shortly before and on election day appeared to strategically suppress voter participation,” the report reads.

“Overall, on election day, multiple incidents of thuggery and intimidation interrupted polling in various locations, primarily across the south but also in states in the central and northern areas. There were reportedly some 21 fatalities. In polling units in several states, violent incidents targeted voters, INEC personnel, citizen observers, and journalists.

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“Most polling units opened with materials and personnel deployed on time, although a dismal level of voter participation meant less pressure on INEC operations throughout the day. Vote-buying, also observed by EU EOM observers, further detracted from the appropriate conduct of the elections.”

The election observers said journalists were attacked while carrying out their duty and that security operatives turned blind eyes instead of prosecuting the attackers.

“Law enforcement agencies failed to prosecute persons who attacked, intimidated or harassed journalists during or after the presidential polls in at least five southern states with fiercely contested state-level races,” the EU-EOM said.

“In two further states, police arrested two journalists on bogus charges. EU EOM observers confirmed 10 incidents involving media; only in one instance, police opened a case.

“Impunity encouraged by police inaction is detrimental to freedom of expression, particularly as independent and trusted outlets are targeted. This does not accord with Nigeria’s regional and international commitments to the protection of the media.”

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AU commends Aisha Buhari over Peace Mission




The First Lady, Dr. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, has commended the African Union (AU) Commission for its efforts to strengthen the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM). She was speaking while receiving a 6-man delegation from the Commission, on Friday, March 17, 2023, at the State House, Abuja.


Buhari, who is the elected president of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, recognized the contributions of the Commission, especially in the area of peacebuilding and conflict resolution on the African continent, harping on the need for more women’s involvement.
She noted that women are the main victims of conflict, and called for the recognition of first ladies as facilitators.

“Africa has many present and past First Ladies who are willing and ready to provide their services to this cause and all they need is a platform like the Africa First Ladies Peace Mission.” She said.

She said the building of the headquarters of the Mission was conceived by Nigeria to provide such a platform that will also serve as a secure environment for women of all shades and ages to connect. The building, which she said is 90% complete, is to be commissioned in May 2023.

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She thanked the President of the Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat for his positive contributions in the area of conflict prevention, management, and resolution in Africa.

Earlier, the Head of the AU delegation, Ambassador Adeoye Bankole, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, conveyed the message of appreciation to the First Lady, expressing the full support and commitment of the Commission to her initiatives as President of AFLPM and noted that the construction of a Secretariat for the Mission is an expression of her zeal and commitment, and her work exemplified what visionary first ladies everywhere should be doing.

He said the support of the AU Commission to the Mission is in line with Agenda 2063 of the AU and UN Security Council Resolution 1325, both of which provide for the involvement of women in peace and security.

Earlier, the team had inspected the construction work at the headquarters building of the AFLPM.

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Foreign News

Burundi Announces 1st Polio Outbreak in 30 years – WHO




By Cecilia Ologunagba

World Health Organisation (WHO) says health authorities in Burundi have detected eight samples of polio, officially declaring the landlocked African nation’s first outbreak in more than 30 years.

Heath authorities said there was a confirmed case in an unvaccinated four-year-old child in Isale district, in western Burundi, as well as two other children with whom he had been in contact.

“Additionally, five samples from environmental surveillance of wastewater confirmed the presence of the circulating poliovirus type 2.

“The detection of the circulating poliovirus type 2 shows the effectiveness of the country’s disease surveillance,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa said in a statement on Friday.

“Polio is highly infectious and timely action is critical in protecting children through effective vaccination…

“We are supporting the national efforts to ramp up polio vaccination to ensure that no child is missed and faces no risk of polio’s debilitating impact.”

The disease is transmitted through contaminated water and food, or by contact with an infected person, many do not become seriously ill, but some can go on to develop acute flaccid paralysis.

Its early detection is critical in containing a potential outbreak.

Burundi declares an outbreak of poliovirus type 2.

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The Burundian Government – which has declared the detection of the virus a national public health emergency – plans to implement a vaccination campaign to combat polio in the coming weeks, aiming at protecting all eligible children, from newborns to age seven.

The health authorities, with support from WHO and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners, have also begun to investigate the epidemiology of the limited outbreak, including risk assessments to ensure containment.

Burundi is further bolstering polio surveillance, with WHO experts in the field supporting additional sample collection as well as assessing the possibility of opening new environmental surveillance sites for early detection of the silently circulating poliovirus.

Circulating poliovirus type 2 is the most prevalent form of polio in Africa and outbreaks of this type of poliovirus are the highest reported in the region, with more than 400 cases reported in 14 countries in 2022.

Type 2 infection can occur when the weakened strain of the virus contained in the oral polio vaccine circulates among under-immunized populations for long periods. (NAN)

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