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ECOWAS Parliament: Nigeria, others Seek Support for Regional Security

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Nigeria is pushing for the enhancing of regional security to guarantee peace and economic growth in West Africa.

Nigeria’s position is contained in its Country Report presented to the 2023 second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja.

It harps on the need for member countries to work together in addressing security challenges through various approaches to ensure stability.

Reports says that the report was presented by Lynda Ikeazu on behalf of the Nigerian delegation.

Ikeazu said Nigeria would want to see the harmonisation of the regional security agenda geared towards a mutual linked security goals.

“Given the transnational nature of the threats, non-military peace efforts would take priority over an overly militarised approach to security.

“A military approach has had the unintended effect of protracted armed conflicts across West Africa.

“Given Chad’s proximity to Sudan, ECOWAS under Nigeria’s leadership will take on an active role in finding a solution to the crisis in Sudan.

“Which emphasises President Bola Tinubu’s July meeting with leaders of Niger, Guinea-Bissau and Benin to discuss the security challenges in the region at the Nigerian nation’s capital.

“A key element of Tinubu’s likely ECOWAS agenda is the prioritising of security.

“Tinubu said in his speech that, without a peaceful environment, progress and development in the region will continue to remain elusive,’’ she said.

Reports says that Cape Verde, Senegal, Cote d’lvoire and the Gambia, also presented their countries reports with key attention on regional security.

Cape Verde expressed worries that the the country is located at a crossroad of routes normally used by transnational organised criminals.

“It has numerous shelters on all the islands, which has been exploited with some intensity in the relatively recent past by drug traffickers.

“However, the state has invested heavily in securing its borders.

“Also, by relying on international cooperation, it has been determined and firm in combating the phenomenon of drug trafficking, and has been successful in doing so.

“With regards to internal security and organised crime, the state has adopted a series of measures based on the principle of zero tolerance of crime,’’ it added.

For Senegal, the country said though it has enjoyed political stability, it is however located in a sub-regional environment charactrised by instability and security challenges.

“The ranking of the country on the World Bank’s political stability and absence of Violence/Terrorism Index improved from -0.28 in 2011 to -0.17 in 2021, on a scale of -2.5 to 2.5.

“However, in terms of security, there are still pockets of hostilities around the borders with Mali, Guinea-Bissau and Gambia in the Casamance region,” it stated.

The Gambian report, on the other hand, indicated that the country has experienced relative calmness and peace, which enabled it to record major successes within the security sector including the Security Sector Reform.

It stated that the reform was centered on conducting series of trainings for the security sector particularly the Gambia Police Force, Immigration, Drug Law Enforcement Agency, and Prison Service.

“All these efforts are geared towards guaranteeing the protection of human rights and non-recurrence of the violation of fundamental human rights by security forces.’’

In another report, the International Academy for Counter-Terrorism (AILCT) has trained security and judicial personnel across countries on the fight against terrorism and prevention of radicalisation.

“AILCT offers three types of training; a unit training camp, a management training school and a research institute.

“To date, almost 1,000 trainees have been trained at the academy, including soldiers, gendarmes, police officers and judges from 26 African countries.”

All the reports were adopted during the session presided by the Speaker, Mr Sidie Tunis. (NAN)

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February Ends with Extreme Heat – WMO

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The UN weather agency, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), says February saw more extreme heat and unusually high temperatures in both hemispheres.

Summarising the state of the climate, it said the month ended with extreme heat in the southern hemisphere where it is summer, while high temperatures atypical of the northern hemisphere winter prevailed.

Parts of North and South America, northwest and southeast Africa, southeast and far eastern Asia, western Australia and Europe all saw record-breaking temperatures, either on a daily basis or for all of February.

“The anomalous heat is consistent with the persisting warming observed since June 2023, with seven consecutive new global monthly temperature records, including January 2024,” Alvaro Silva, a climatologist working with the WMO, said in a statement.

Global sea surface temperatures were record high. While the El Niño weather pattern “has stoked temperatures in some parts of the world, human induced climate change is the long-term major contributing factor,” he added.

Conversely, a large part of northwestern Canada, central Asia – and from southern central Siberia to southeastern China – witnessed exceptional cold during the last week of the month.

The meteorological winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the southern hemisphere finished officially at the end of February.

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) raised increasing concern on Friday that more refugees would cross into Chad from Darfur in the coming weeks amid a worrying lack of food and other essentials.

Almost a year since the start of the civil war between rival militaries in Sudan, neighbouring Chad urgently needs more humanitarian aid and significant development investment, the agency reported, especially in its eastern areas which are hosting the refugee influx.

This investment will allow the country to continue its generous open-door stance towards refugees.

“Chadian officials are concerned that many more hungry Sudanese families will come in the next weeks,” said Kelly Clements, UNHCR’s Deputy High Commissioner, who is in the country to review the relief operation.

“The country is committed to keeping its borders open, despite the fragility of this region.

“But, doing so will put even more strain on Chad, which has so graciously been hosting refugees from Sudan’s war – now raging almost a year – and other refugees still here from earlier emergencies.” (NAN)

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More Than 30,000 Killed in Gaza Strip War – UN Officials

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More than 30,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Israel launched its military offensive in October, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Thursday.

Volker Türk quoted the number during a meeting of the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The head of the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also used the figure in a post on X, formerly twitter.

“The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 30,000 a large majority women and children.

Over 70,000 Palestinians have been injured,” he wrote.

“This horrific violence and suffering must end.

Ceasefire.”

Neither Türk nor Tedros quoted a source.

An official confirmation from the health authorities in Gaza, who usually post the figures daily, is expected later.

Israel launched its assault on the Gaza Strip in response to Palestinian militants from Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organisations killing of more than 1,200 people inside the Jewish state on October 7. (dpa/NAN)

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Saudi Arabia places Orders for 120 Helicopters with Airbus

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Saudi Arabia’s The Helicopter Co. (THC) has ordered up to 120 Airbus helicopters.

Also, the German helicopter emergency medical services operator, DRF Luftrettung, placed orders for up to 10 Airbus H145 helicopters.

The airline manufacturer made the disclosure on Wednesday.

The companies signed the deals at the HAI Heli-Expo currently taking place at Anaheim Convention Centre in southern California, according to Airbus.

Airbus’s framework agreement with THC, a premier provider of commercial helicopter services and fully owned by the Public Investment Fund, will include up to 120 Airbus helicopters of various types.

These will be delivered over the next five years to seven years.

The deal included a firm order for eight H125s along with 10 H145s that were converted options from an earlier contract.

This brought THC’s total Airbus helicopter fleet to 60. Twenty-five of the 60  are already in service.

The new H125 helicopters would support the delivery of THC’s range of services in areas including aerial work and tourism.

Furthermore, DRF Luftrettung’s orders for up to 10 H145 helicopters include seven firm orders and three options. (dpa/NAN)

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