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UNDP Grants Nigeria $30m For North-East Development

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The UN Development Programme (UNDP), has released 30 million U.S. dollars to Nigeria from the regional stabilisation facility for the humanitarian crisis in the North East.

UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria, Mr Mohamed Yahya disclosed this on Friday, in Abuja at the first inaugural meeting convened on the way forward in actualising the ‘Nigeria window’ of the Regional Stabilisation Facility.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Regional Stabilisation Facility was launched in July in Niamey, Niger at the second Governors Forum to contribute support to the affected regions of Nigeria,

NAN also reports that the project was expected to be implemented between Sept.

1, 2019, and Aug. 31, 2021.

Governors from Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, and regional stakeholders attended the meeting in Niamey under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC).

Those who pledged to deploy funds in Niamey to support the project, which will be monitored by the UNDP and the African Union (AU), include the governments of Sweden and Germany and the regional governors from Borno, Adamawa, Yobe (Nigeria), Lak, Hajder-Lamis (Chad), Diffa (Niger) and Far North and North regions in Cameroon.

NAN reports that the UNDP is expected to provide seed funds to run the facility yearly.

He said the regional stabilisation facility is aimed at providing rapid response to support immediate stabilisation in the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe affected by insurgency.

He also said that the ‘Nigerian window’ was expected to receive over 30 million USD which would facilitate recovery and stabilisation interventions including; livelihood support for communities, massive civil engineering works and strengthening of local security structures.

Yahya, said that the board had two years to provide work of stabilisation in the affected states.

He said that the entire facility might not work if there was no local authorities such as the military and the police, adding that more work needed to be done in terms of coordination.

Also speaking, Minister of Finance,Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed said that the government of Nigeria was optimistic that the facility would support in addressing the immediate stabilisation needs in the newly liberated areas.

She said this would also sustain development in the region and allow the return of Internally Displaced Persons to their various permanent place abode.

According to her, the facility will in no doubt assist the government to demonstrate its value to the citizens in providing resilience and stabilisation for the population affected by Boko Haram insurgency in the north east.

She said that the Ministry would collaborate with UNDP, the three affected states and all relevant stakeholders to ensure accountable utilisation of the stabilisation facility fund.

Similarly, the Executive Secretary, Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), Amb. Mamman Nuhu expressed the Commission’s readiness to provide strategic regional guidance for the implementation of the regional stabilisation strategy at the national and state level through the facility.

He said the commission would provide enabling environment by mobilising regional support to ensure coordinated approach yo the challenge.

“Our transboundary mandate provide us the requisite platform to mobilise the political and strategic spaces available across the region for the success of the regional stabilisation strategy.

” Our objective is to ensure local, national and regional ownership in the implementation of the regional stabilisation strategy through the regional stabilisation facility.

” We urge all national partners to ensure consistent coordination with the Lake Chad Basin Commission through the Secretariat of the regional stabilisation strategy” Nuhu said.

According to him, Nigeria is the worst hit country, with the biggest humanitarian and development needs of all the four affected countries.

“It is therefore expected that Nigeria should demonstrate not only in the fight against boko Haram but also in ensuring that the thousands of people affected across the three front line states are supported to live a life of dignity” he said.

The Governors expressed their readiness to ensure effective implementation of the regional stabilisation facility.(NAN)

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Cambodia Arrests 2 Foreigners for Smuggling 2.27 kg Narcotics

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Cambodian customs police at the Phnom Penh International Airport said they have arrested two South Korean nationals for an attempt to smuggle 2.27 kg narcotics to South Korea.

The duo, a man and woman, were caught Sunday night while they checked in for a ZA215 flight bound for Seoul.

The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia said in a news release on Monday.

In their body searches, our customs officials found many packs of drugs wrapped around their waists, the news release said.

“As a result, some 1.29 kg of crystal methamphetamine and 0.98 kg of ketamine were seized from the two suspects’ possession.’’

The Southeast Asian country has no death sentence for a drug trafficker.

Under its law, someone found guilty of trafficking more than 80 grammes of illicit drugs could be jailed for life.

According to the country’s Anti-Drug Department (ADP), Cambodia nabbed 3,899 drug-related suspects, including 106 foreigners, in 1,659 cases from Jan. 1 to March 3, 2024.

According to the report they confiscated a total of 2.79 tonnes of narcotics.

Most of the seized drugs were ketamine, crystal methamphetamine, methamphetamine tablets, heroin, ecstasy, and cocaine. (Xinhua/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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