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News & Announcements

Tanzania President Maintains Stance On COVID-19, Says Pandemic, Lockdown Satanic

President John Magufuli of Tanzania has maintained his passive stance on the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on Monday during his ruling party, Champa Cha Mapinduzi (CCM)’s campaign trail in Chato Grits on the bank of Lake Victoria and close to the Rwanda and Burundi border, said the “coronavirus pandemic is satanic.

The Star reports that Magufuli called the Covid-19 pandemic “satanic” and said he had not instituted a lockdown as this would harm people’s livelihoods.

“How would those depending on fishing make ends meet? How would those working earn a salary? Those that were calling on a lockdown had no wisdom,” Magufuli said.

He continued: “I can confirm that there has never been and there will be no lockdown and we shall continue to roll because we believe in our God, who is bigger than any disease”.

The presidential candidate for CCM took a dig at other countries enforcing the lockdown, specifically Kenya, whose police force has been involved in several instances of police brutality and killings while enforcing the country’s dusk-to-dawn curfew.

He said: “You have seen elsewhere people have been killed for walking beyond recommended hours. Others walk and work throughout the day with nose and mouth covered. This is really unfortunate.”

Magufuli boasted about the increased number of health facilities the country has, before stating: “You cannot build an economy with a sick population, thus why investing in their health is key.”

Magufuli has on multiple occasions in June and July told the public how God defeated Covid-19 in Tanzania, according to the BBC and Daily Monitor.

No Covid-19 statistics have been communicated by his government since May 8. The World Health Organization (WHO) still reflects 509 reported cases of Covid-19 in Tanzania, with 21 deaths.

Political campaigns began and were unbanned on August 26 and will end on October 27. The election is scheduled for October 28, according to The Africa Report.

Previously, Magufuli imposed a blanket ban on political activities in 2016 until 2020, according to Amnesty International.

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African Cannabis Bill Enriches The Rich, Discriminates Against The Poor

The Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill – released for public comment – does not reflect the spirit of the Constitutional Court ruling that decriminalised the private use of dagga, says the SA Drug Policy Initiative (Sadpi).

According to iol.co.za, affluent communities will benefit enormously from the bill as it stands, it said, but its requirements effectively exclude the millions of South Africans who lack the space to grow and consume cannabis in such strict conditions of privacy.

“It discriminates against the indigent by imposing a de facto prohibition on their use and cultivation of cannabis, and leaves vulnerable communities at risk of excessive penalties and continued human rights abuses by the criminal justice system.

“Equally as important, it has little prospect of reducing the scope for organised crime and corruption. A sensible, non-discriminatory approach, rather than one focused on criminalisation and punishment, is needed to control the use and trade in cannabis products,” Sadpi said.

The bill sets a maximum jail term of 15 years for anyone who deals in cannabis or sells it to a child. Anyone who smokes in public may be jailed for up to two years, while smoking around children can result in up to four years in jail.

Legal limits for personal, legal use at home are set to: unlimited for seeds and seedlings, four flowering plants for those living alone, eight for homes with two adults or more, 600g of dried cannabis if you live alone, or 1.2kg in homes with two or more adults.

Janet O’Donoghue of the SA Cannabis Community and Regulatory Association rejected the bill, saying: “This bill will further entrench economic discrimination against already marginalised ordinary citizens who could easily produce a substantial viable income through self-employment and micro-industries in a legal market with zero infrastructure costs in our climate.”

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I Almost Commit Suicide, Says Sierra Leone Based Nigerian Professor Accused Of Forgery

The story of Emmanuel Femi Gbenga Ajayi, a Professor of Law and former Head of Department of Law at Njala University is one that could have ended in tragedy if not for his exoneration.

The Nigerian was accused of using fake credentials to gain employment in a public institution in Sierra Leone, an allegation he denied, leading to his detention.

His ordeal started last year in Sierra Leone where he had live and worked for several years when he was alleged to have gained public employment through fake certificates.

Consequently, the Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) whisked him away in a clear case of gross abuse of his fundamental human rights and gross injustices against his person. He was arrested and clamped into detention.

However, after  months of investigation, he was found innocent by the ACC, and vindicated. His qualifications are all in order.

The ACC found him innocent after after he was victimized, arrested, detained, and humiliated by the Anti-Corruption Commission.

But sadly, the professor has been left mentally broken, with his university career and reputation in tatters, while corrupt officials in high places in the government and parliament are protected from investigation and arrest by the ACC.

Speaking at a press conference two days ago, Professor Ajayi said: “No expression could possibly encapsulate what I went through, I nearly went mad! I lost appetite, could not sleep nor answer the call of nature properly. 

“Imagine waking up in the morning with nothing to do, for 231 days while I was under investigation by ACC? My ordeal is rather imagined, than experienced.

“The way ACC handled my case, to say the least, is very unfair. If I were a Sierra Leonean, would they have done that? And upon all the reputational damages done to me, there is no remorse and no apology.”

This is the statement released by Professor Emmanuel Femi Gbenga Ajayi last Wednesday 9th September 2020, telling his tragic story in his own words:

“I was invited for an interview scheduled for 18th July 2019 at 10 am by ACC, over anonymous allegations of forged results and impersonation, amongst other unprintable fabrications of lies, to “pull me down” (PhD).

“On arrival the interview started. All sorts of questions were posed to me by six officials, all my results were thoroughly examined, ditto my previous appointments, my publications, and copies of all my results were deposited.

“The interview turned to stressful interrogation and at about 4:30 pm, I was thoroughly fagged out and I pleaded that, I should be allowed to go home, and that if my attention is needed, I shall return. I was rudely told that I cannot until I meet with the ACC Commissioner. I was taken to his office and tersely, he told me that I was under arrest! ACC threw me into police cell, like a common criminal. I nearly fainted when the gates of CID HQs, closed behind me.

“What started like a drama, became an event that lasted for 231 days of humiliation, arrest and detention.

“On 18th July Sept 2019, the two certificates which were originally queried, arrived from Nigeria that I indeed earned them genuinely; but ACC did not believe the authenticity of the results, a development which prompted ACC to dispatch officials to Nigeria; thereat, six institutions spread across the vast country were visited and seven of my results that I obtained from Nigeria, were personally confirmed by ACC officials, as genuine.

“ACC officials came back from Nigeria in October 2019, and another round of investigations aimed at nailing me commenced, but I thank God for seeing me through the ordeal.

“I suffered so much that, despite my overflowing armory of grammatical expressions, I have not been able to find the right words, to express my feelings. You can imagine a bubbling person with such a very high academic profile, reduced to nothing by ACC.

“No expression could possibly encapsulate what I went through, I nearly went mad! I lost appetite, could not sleep nor answer the call of nature properly. Imagine waking up in the morning with nothing to do, for 231 days while I was under investigation by ACC? My ordeal is rather imagined, than experienced.

“The way ACC handled my case, to say the least, is very unfair. If I were a Sierra Leonean, would they have done that? And upon all the reputational damages done to me, there is no remorse and no apology.

“How do you make such hullabaloo over anonymous allegations? ACC should not have investigated those spurious allegations, better still, they could do so underground and if found guilty, then the press can be invited. My case went viral, all known medium of communications, to wit, Radio, TV, Newspapers and the Internet carried my news as a criminal, and that accounts for why I have not been able to get another appointment whether in SL or elsewhere in the world.

“Can you imagine that I was living in an incomplete house?; in my culture as a Yoruba man, only the lunatics live in incomplete houses; my gratitude in that respect, goes to those who housed me, they are Sierra Leonean UK based Mr. Lawal and USA based Ms Zainab Kebbie.

“I was able to survive the trauma by the special grace of God and people who stood by me. First, is the Nigerian Ambassador to SL, Dr. Ibrahim Habiss Ugbada, the HOC Sona Charles, President of Nigeria in Diaspora Engr. Abiodun Oyebola, Sec Gen Bala Tijani, Dr. Mrs Fela Adeyemi, Chief Mrs. Kemi Lawal, Engr Ola Ogunfehintimi, and Sierra Leonean Mr. Horace Kpakra, Mrs. Regina Kamara, Godfrey Sandi and above all, the Human Right Group Native Consortium headed by Edmond Abu that have been there right through till date.

“My profound gratitude also goes to Prof Mallam O. Sankoh the current Ag Vice Chancellor Njala University, for his intervention and support, and all my colleague lecturers and students, who in diverse ways empathize with me through those dark days of my life!!!

“As human beings, we are cannot do without hurting one another. All through my ordeal, I took solace in Late Nelson Mandela’s exemplary life and words on the marble, which neither rain nor shine, could obliterate.

“Regarding his words while stepping into freedom after 27 years of solitary confinement at Roben Island… He said, if I do not forgive the injustices done to me, I would for as long as I live, still be in prison.

“On above note, I sincerely aver that I have forgiven all the injustices meted to me. Am no longer bitter. If God were not with me…see Psalm 124

“Please quote me “Life is an experience…full of ups and downs… if everything is rosy and smooth, the propensity of self-celebration would be hyper; when you pass through storm, you cannot be same again. I think I am a better person now, having gone through storms, in the last fifteen months.

“Am profusely thankful to God and the people He used, to see me through. I fervently pray that what happened to me, shall not be your portion in Jesus name Ammmmeeeeennnnnn!!!”

Signed: Prof. EFG Ajayi, BSc (Hons), MBA, MA, M. Intl Law, LL B, LL M, PhD, BL, FIIU.

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Two American Sheriff’s Dept Deputies In Critical Conditions After Gunshot

Two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies were shot on Saturday night in an apparent ambush and are in critical condition, authorities said.

“One male deputy and one female deputy were ambushed as they sat in their patrol vehicle. Both sustained multiple gunshot wounds and are in critical condition,” tweeted the Sheriff’s Department.

“They are both currently undergoing surgery. The suspect is still at large,” it said.

Both deputies were shot in Compton, a city situated south of downtown Los Angeles, and transported to a local hospital, according to the department.

Law enforcement officials were searching for a suspect or suspects after the attack.

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The health workers in Nigeria have dated their Federal Government and will, barring any last-minute change, proceed on strike in the midnight today.
Under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), the health workers will proceed on the strike from Sunday, September 13, 2020.
Joy Josiah Biobelemoye, Chairman of JOHESU restated the decision on Sunday in Abuja, following an expanded National Executive Council meeting of the Union which held on Saturday, September 12, 2020.


The latest industrial action may come despite warnings from the country’s Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, against embarking on strike to spite the government. 
JOHESU in a memo to her members, said: “You would recall that at the end of the meeting held in your office on Thursday, 10” September 2020, JOHESU demanded that the outcome of the meeting between JOHESU and the Federal Government be reported back to our expanded NEC meeting and give feedback to the Federal government within 48 hours.


“In the light of the above, the meeting of our expanded NEC was held today, Saturday, 12” September 2020. 
“And at the end of the meeting, which was held both physically and virtually, it was unanimously agreed that since nothing concrete was achieved at the said meeting with the Federal Government, that the strike notice is still germane and alive.
“Therefore, the 15-day ultimatum still subsists and with effect from midnight of Sunday, 13th September 2020, our members shall withdraw their services due to Federal Government inability to meet their demands.
“Kindly accept the assurances of our high esteem.”


Meanwhile, earlier on, the Labour Minister, while meeting with Executive members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), criticized them for embarking on strike, despite huge releases to settle their hazard and inducement allowances. 
JOHESU which comprises of over forty professional health institutions has been having a running battle with the Federal Government over failure to pay 50percent Special Inducement Allowances to frontline health workers involved in the containment of Coronavirus in Nigeria. 

Part of the grievances which may necessitate a full-blown strike in the health sector is the alleged shortchanging of the union in payment of COVID-19 Special Inducement and Hazard Allowance.  Prior to meeting with the Federal Government last week to try to resolve the thorny issues, JOHESU said it is forced to draw attention to the deliberate short-changing of our members in the payment of COVID-19 Inducement Allowances. 

“The FMoH ought to redress and supervise the adherence to payment of 40% or 50% COVID-19 Special Inducement Allowances as appropriate to all health workers in Isolation centres, the FHIs or other related health facilities without discrimination bordering on clinical or non-clinical status based on our MoU of 21st April 2020, and as admitted by the Federal Ministry of Health at a meeting of 1st July 2020, that the payment of 10% was done in error. 

“Consequently, FMoH agreed to correct the anomaly and pay the outstanding balance of 40% of Consolidated Basic Salary to all beneficiaries hitherto earning N5,000 as Hazard Allowance. “The Federal Government did not ensure total and full implementation of the July 1, 2020 agreement between JOHESU and the Federal Government when it disbursed the 3rd tranche of the allowance for June 2020.  
“This has created rumbles and grumbles across our membership and has now created the challenge of assuaging the affected members what have become restive and thus making it impossible to guarantee industrial harmony within the generality of JOHESU members. “It is rational logic to put on the table that infecting viruses will not decipher who a clinical or non-clinical staff is in the various Health Institutions before striking the would-be victims. This is why this variant of discrimination should be embarrassing to the nation.


“It becomes imperative to inform you that if the FG does not meet these demands by midnight of September 13, 2020, JOHESU will have no other choice than to commence a nationwide 7-days warning strike of our members in all the Federal health institutions FHIs, the States and LG Health institutions are placed on red alert for possible entry into the fray if the FG foot drags in attending to our demands.”
The Union has alleged that government was not forthcoming in the payment of all withheld salaries of members at JUTH, FMC  Owerri, LUTH, including April, & May 2018, salaries as well as adjustment of CONHESS salary structure. 

The health workers union also criticized a recent increase in the pump price of fuel and hike in electricity tariff, describing it as ill-timed. 
“We, in strong terms reject the hike in electricity tariff especially at this crunch period occasioned by COVID, as it clearly amplifies the sufferings of poor Nigerians where our members belong.  As a short term solution, we demand urgent fix of our refineries to begin local refining and mitigate the volatility of the petroleum products prices with attendant anti-masses effect. “We at JOHESU take cognisance of the deregulation of fuel prices by the PPPRA and we condemn it as insensitive to the plight of the people just as the introduction of stamp duties to be paid by tenants in properties to the FIRS remains the climax of absurdity.  We, therefore, request the FIRS to reverse the stamp duty. “It is worrisome that when other countries are offering palliatives as well as reducing inclination towards social dysfunctions, our leaders appear to be sowing seeds of hardship and bitter pills to bring depression to the doorstep of citizens, “Josiah stressed.

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Bloomberg Plans To Inject $100m For Biden’s Presidential Bid

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who spent $1 billion on his 2020 Democratic presidential bid before dropping out, plans to inject at least $100 million to help Democrat Joe Biden’s effort against Republican President Donald Trump in the important swing state of Florida.

The decision comes as Trump’s initial financial supremacy over former Vice President Biden earlier this year has largely evaporated after high spending from the campaign and a surge in fundraising by Democrats.

Florida is one of the biggest prizes on Election Day, and it is also the most expensive of the expected battlegrounds in which to campaign. But polls there show a race that is effectively tied.

The Republican president, who trails Biden in national opinion polls before the Nov. 3 election, told reporters last week that he would spend his own money if needed.

“I thought Mini Mike was through with Democrat politics,” Trump said on Twitter in reaction to the news. “Save NYC instead.”

Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee on Wednesday said they raised a combined $210 million in August, falling far short of matching Biden’s record-breaking haul of $364.5 million for the month.

“Mike Bloomberg is committed to helping defeat Trump, and that is going to happen in the battleground states,” said Bloomberg adviser Kevin Sheekey, who said the spending “will mean Democrats and the Biden campaign can invest even more heavily in other key states like Pennsylvania, which will be critical to a Biden victory.”

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Sierra Leone To Boost Small Businesses With Micro Credits

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic in the countries of the world, the Ministry of Trade n Industry of Sierra Leone has planned a sustained micro-credit scheme for small businesses in the country.
This was disclosed recently by Dr. Hinga Sandy, the minister in charge of the ministry, noting that the ministry has embarked and still embarking on various institutional reforms for effective service delivery.
Sandy noted that the new order would attend to the needs of the populace.

He thus averred that one of the biggest projects his ministry was working on along with the Ministry of Finance was the implementation of a National Micro Credit Scheme that would provide funds for small businesses.   

Sandy said his ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Sierra Leone, had been able to secure essential consumer commodities to meet the needs of the people of Sierra Leone, by providing Five Hundred Billion Leones credit facility to importers.

According to Sandy, as a result of this credit facility, and despite the country going through a difficult times due to the coronavirus pandemic, prices of essential consumer items remained stable.

Rice, he said, is available in the country for up to the end of this year, and that more was expected to be imported for 2021.

The minister added that there were enough petroleum products in the country and that the government had opened up the market by introducing a new player in the petroleum sector who will also be bringing in petroleum products.

He reported that Sierra Leone has joined two large market opportunities – the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme that allows companies within West Africa to trade with businesses in the sub-region, and the Continental Free Trade Agreement that has already been ratified.

Sandy said that his ministry has registered thirty-one companies that are producing goods in Sierra Leone for exporting to other countries.

Several industry promotion policies are currently under review, Sandy said, whilst noting that the ongoing reforms will attract more investments into Sierra Leone.

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Ivory Coast Relocates Elephants To Save Dwindling Population

An elephant named Hamed by residents in a southern region of Ivory Coast has been captured and relocated to the zoo in Abidjan as he awaits transfer to a park where authorities hope he will have a non-human company instead.

Hamed is part of the wild elephant authorities are catching and relocating because they have disrupted farming communities, in a bid to save the animals’ dwindling population in the West African nation.

Hamed had made his way from Azagny National Park to the region of Guitry, where he lived for some years until he started to destroy farmers’ land and scare residents.

“At the beginning, like any elephant, we thought that he was the emblem of Ivory Coast and should be honored,” said resident Eric Serge. “But a moment came and he began to be very aggressive, and the whole population began to worry about his presence.”

Col. Jerome Ake, the country’s deputy director-general of forests and wildlife, said the elephant will go “where there will be no more nuisance.”

Guitry´s leader, Patrice Loua, called the operation encouraging.

Ivory Coast once was home to more than 1,100 elephants in various habitats. Now, experts estimate only 300 remain, living in small groups or isolation and vulnerable to poachers seeking their tusks for ivory.

The country is considering adopting a law to preserve the animals’ population.

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Cape Town Police Sustain Probe Into Killing Of Restaurant Patron

Police in the Western Cape are probing a murder case after a patron at a restaurant was gunned down in broad daylight.

On Thursday, just before 3.00 pm, a 40-year-old man was shot and killed while sitting at the popular Gordon’s Bay eatery Talla’s Tavern.

CCTV footage which has been spread widely across social media platforms shows a strip along Beach Road and a man seated on the veranda of the establishment, enjoying his meal with his back to the road.

Opposite the road, a biker can be seen parking his motorbike. As soon as a vehicle passes, he crosses the road and walks towards Talla’s Tavern.

He pulls out the firearm from his black leather jacket, heads over to the patron, and shoots him at close range.

The gunman, wearing blue jeans and his bike helmet, can be seen waiting for the patron to drop to the floor before turning around and leaving.

He places the firearm in his pants, gets on his motorbike, and flees the scene.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut confirmed the incident and said no arrests have been made.

“The circumstances surrounding the death of a 40-year-old man are being investigated after he was shot and killed while sitting on the veranda of a tavern in Gordon’s Bay yesterday afternoon at around 2.45 pm.

“The suspect fled the scene on a motorbike and is yet to be arrested,” Traut said.

Sources told African News Agency that the victim had links to the underworld; however, police did not respond to questions about gang affiliation.

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How Israel, UAE Peace Deal Got Trump Second Nobel Prize Nomination

It can be revealed now that the role played by President Donald Trump of the United States in the recent peace deal struck between Israel and the United Arab Emirates could have galvanized the nomination of President Donald Trump of the United States for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

This is coming less than two months before the US election and the Republican flag-bearer obviously has something to celebrate, as he bagged his second nomination for a Nobel Prize.

A far-right Norwegian politician put Mr. Trump’s name forward for the 2021 prize, citing the president’s role in the recent peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Christian Tybring-Gjedde told Fox News on Wednesday: “For his merit, I think he has done more trying to create peace between nations than most other peace prize nominees.”

Adding that he was not a big Trump supporter, he added. “The committee should look at the facts and judge him on the facts – not on the way he behaves sometimes.”

Of course, a nomination is not the same as winning – we won’t know the winner for another 13 months – so what can we make of this news?

SO WHO GETS TO NOMINATE A PERSON?

For a nomination alone, the barrier to entry is low: all nominations from heads of state or politicians serving at a national level are accepted.

University professors, directors of foreign policy institutes, past recipients of a Nobel Prize, and members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee are also among those deemed qualified to submit a nomination for the prize. The nominations require no invitation and as long they are entered before 1 February of the qualifying year, they will be accepted.

For the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize – the winner of which has not yet been announced – there were 318 candidates. The Norwegian Nobel Committee doesn’t publicly comment on its nominees, which are kept secret for 50 years.

THIS IS TRUMP’S SECOND NOMINATION

And for the second time, he has Mr. Tybring-Gjedde to thank. In 2018, the right-wing politician was one of two Norwegian lawmakers to nominate Mr. Trump for the same prize, then for his efforts to bring reconciliation to North and South Korea.

Mr. Trump did not take home the prize that year, but Mr. Tybring-Gjedde, a member of the conservative Progress Party, insists the US president meets the criteria this time.

Last month, Israel and the UAE reached a deal to normalize relations, with Israel agreeing to suspend its controversial plans to annex part of the occupied West Bank – announced by Mr. Trump in a surprise statement.

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