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Xenophobia: Over 400 Nigerians Ready for Evacuation From S/Africa

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The Nigerian Mission in South Africa says no fewer than 400 Nigerians have indicated interest and registered to be evacuated from South Africa following the recent xenophobic attacks.

Nigeria’s Consul General in Johannesburg, Godwin Adama, said this in a telephone interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

Adama noted that Air Peace had offered to airlift those willing to return home sequel to the attacks on Nigerians and their businesses by South Africans.

According to him, the first batch of Nigerians who are willing to return home will be repatriated on Wednesday.

“We have more than enough for that aircraft.

Over 400 Nigerians have already registered; more are still coming,’’ he said.

The Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Kabiru Bala, also said that Nigerians had responded positively in good numbers.

Bala said that the mission was equally responding to the needs of those willing to return, especially those who had issues with their documents.

“We are documenting them. Those without travel documents, we shall provide them with Emergency Travel Certificates.

“There are other governmental procedures that we must observe. Relevant agencies of government in Nigeria must be informed and must be ready to receive the returnees.

“Hard work is now going on at the High Commission and Consulate in this regard. As soon as all procedures and relevant protocols are observed, the return is assured and guaranteed.

“A little more patience will be helpful. The response of Nigerians is just amazing,’’ Bala said.

President, Nigeria Citizens Association, South Africa (NICASA),  Ben Okoli, said all efforts were geared towards evacuation of those who were ready to come back home.

Okoli said the figure of those ready to come was in hundreds as many had lost their means of livelihood and had nothing to fall back on.

“The Consulate is sorting out the issue of documents. Nigerians are being registered and issued with the necessary travel documents to enable them make the trip to Lagos.

“Some lost their passports in their homes and businesses from the fire that gutted it, while others had their documents and properties stolen by the locals,’’ he said.

The association, he said, was still pushing ahead with the demand for compensation as there was sufficient evidence available to them that the attacks were premeditated and orchestrated.

He also noted that normalcy was gradually returning, stressing that there was no longer tension, or violence against any set of people.

“The violence and hostility have ceased. Many Nigerians were, however, affected by the crisis and lots have been highly distressed with nothing to fall back on.

“So, some of those affected have decided to call it quits and go back to Nigeria.

“Presently, we are collating the data of Nigerians that are to be evacuated back to Nigeria.

“We have it on good record that the first batch will be leaving on Wednesday.’’

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s effort in sending a special envoy to South Africa.

Okoli said that the move was able to boost the morale of the Nigerian community to go about their normal businesses without fear of molestation or attacks.

“We have actually regained some strength knowing that our government is backing and supporting us, especially at this time.

“So we are no longer afraid because we believe that so long we are doing the right thing, the lawful thing, we have nothing to fear.

“We want to thank President Buhari for the steps he has taken. The special envoy did come to us and pushed the case of Nigerians. We are very grateful and thank him for what he has done so far,’’ he said

Okoli also commended the Management of Air Peace for offering to airlift Nigerians home and urged the airline to endeavour to airlift all Nigerians who were ready to return come home. (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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