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UPDATED: President Buhari orders immediate evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa after receiving the report of the Special Envoy sent to South Africa to meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa over the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.

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Nigeria signs African Trade Insurance Agency agreement, Xenophobia, FG returns tollgates sixteen years after Obasanjo scrapped it from federal roads

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa after receiving the report of the Special Envoy sent to South Africa to meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa over the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.

The President gave the order, stating that all Nigerians who are willing to return to Nigeria should do so immediately. The special envoy had conveyed the deep concern of the President and Nigerians about the reoccurring violence against Nigerians and their property/business interests in South Africa.

Although President Buhari is deeply worried that the constant xenophobic attacks could negatively affect the image of South Africa if nothing is done about it, he assured South African authorities that the Nigerian Government would guarantee the safety of lives, property and business interests of South Africans in Nigeria.

President Ramaphosa also condemned such violent acts which damaged the reputation of the country and the relationship the country has with other African countries.

Buhari further directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama to continue to discuss with the appropriate South African authorities so that appropriate measures would be taken to end the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

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[READ ALSO: South Africa High Commission in Nigeria shuts its offices]

Prior to this development, Air Peace had offered free flight services to the Nigerians living in South Africa back to the country. In a statement made available by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chairman and Chief Executive officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema was quoted to have said the airline would release its aircraft to bring Nigerians home. 

Why this matters: Several businesses owned and operated by Nigerians have been put at risk, as their outlets and shops have been subjected to attacks by South Africans in the xenophobia. Many Nigerians had lost their lives during some of these attacks, just as some had also lost their means of livelihood. 

This move is expected to help save the lives of some Nigerians who might be in danger and are stranded over there in South Africa.  

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[READ MORE: A look at the negative economic impacts of South Africa’s xenophobia]

The backstory: The current xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners in South Africa were triggered by the death of a South African cab driver reportedly killed by a Tanzanian drug dealer. The incident happened about a week ago in the Pretoria area of South Africa, after which many foreign-owned business outlets and houses were looted and razed with fire. 

Chidinma holds a degree in Mass communication from Caleb University Lagos and a Masters in view in Public Relations. She strongly believes in self development which has made her volunteer with an NGO on girl child development. She loves writing, reading and travelling. You may contact her via - [email protected]

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Coronavirus

COVID-19: FG to launch Rapid Response Register for urban poor

The FG has moved to inaugurate an emergency intervention database for the poor residing in urban centres and affected by the pandemic.

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Nigeria blows past 40,000 COVID-19 cases

The Federal Government has announced that it would inaugurate a COVID-19 Rapid Response Register (RRR), which would be a health emergency response for the poor living in urban centers that have been affected by the pandemic.

This was disclosed by Mr. Joe Abuku, Communications Manager, National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO), on Sunday in Abuja.

Mr. Abuku said the register would identify Nigerians that have been made poorer due to the pandemic, targeting mainly Traders and SME Owners.

He added that the scheme was designed by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, through NASSCO, in partnership with the World Bank, and will be inaugurated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

What Joe Abuku is saying

  • “This register is being built by NASSCO as an expansion of the existing National Social Safety Nets Project (NASSP). It targets small business owners, street vendors, petty traders, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and service providers.
  • “Others are low wage employed individuals and families, including daily wage-based laborers, urban poor and destitute (persons with disabilities), and vulnerable families in slum areas, affected by the pandemic.
  • “The category of Nigerians who will be in this register is typically the urban/semi-urban poor engaged in the informal sectors of the economy, who lost their source of livelihood due to the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and jobs. The Federal Government plans to extend cash transfers to households in this register for a period of 12 months.”

He also stated that NASSCO would use geographical satellite sensing to locale the wards where the urban poor live, as the targeting of the poor would be done via cell phone Short Messaging Service (SMS) technology that allows residents of targeted communities register to be assisted by following simple steps using USSD codes.

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The SMS approach would be integrated through data gathered by the National Living Standard Survey Assessments and would be complemented by existing databases of Non-Governmental Organisations and local self-help-support groups.

  • “Mobile phone numbers of those deemed eligible for assistance will be linked to digitized bank accounts to receive cash support, under an expanded cash transfer program of the Federal Government. These cash payments are designed to boost consumption for these households, build their resilience, and in some cases, inject fresh capital into small businesses.”

What you should know

  • Nairametrics reported last year that the World Bank said the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic could make an additional 5 million Nigerians poor.
  • The Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report 2020 by the World Bank Group indicate that between 88 million and 115 million people could fall back into extreme poverty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This is in addition to an increase between 23 million and 35 million in 2021, potentially bringing the total number of new people living in extreme poverty to between 110 million and 150 million.

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Covid-19: Nigeria needs serious controls not a second lockdown – House Committee on Education

A member of the lower legislative house has advised the government to focus on serious control measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Professor Julius Ihonvbere, Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education & Services, said the Federal and States governments should not impose a lockdown, but rather focus on serious control measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

He disclosed this during an interview with Channels TV on Sunday evening.

  • “I do not think we need a national lockdown now, I think what we need now is the first instance is serious controls. Let me say that the Governor of Lagos is the ‘poster man’ for the fight against covid-19. If we see you outside without a mask, we will arrest you and charge you to court, that is the kind of courage we need.”

He cited serious controls like buying hand sanitizers and washing materials to schools and urban areas in Lagos as part of the controls that should be commended.

  • “The issue is not a lockdown. If you lock people down, and you are not doing the right thing inside the lockdown, the cases will still increase. They (masses) will break it and will challenge it as they did during the first lockdown. So, the real issue is to bring out the policies and implement them.
  • “The Federal Ministry as a supervisor, yes states have the autonomy, but we give the state’s money from UBEC every year, we give them billions, what are they doing with it?

He urged that the FG should investigate what States use their Universal Basic Education Funds for, as Nigeria is in a time for “retooling and repurpose” and UBEC funding should be utilized in the fight against Covid-19.

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported last week that the Federal Government said Nigeria is not contemplating another lockdown and urged Nigerians to ignore social media posts circulating the possibility of another lockdown.

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Covid-19: Ghana’s healthcare could be overwhelmed – President Akufo-Addo

Ghanaian President has warned that he might impose a partial lockdown as healthcare facilities are overwhelmed by growing cases of coronavirus.

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Africa: Ghanaian inflation rate drops for the 3rd straight month to 10.1%, Ghana’s cedi becomes investors’ best choice ahead Nigeria’s naira, Ghana restricts flights into country after detecting Coronavirus but Nigeria ignores measure

The Ghanaian Government has warned that Ghana’s second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is rising fast and could overwhelm its already extended Covid-19 treatment centres.

This was disclosed by President Nana Akufo-Addo on Sunday in a Reuters report.

The Ghanaian President warned that he might impose a partial lockdown in the coming weeks as cases might reach peak levels.

Active cases in Ghana climbed to 1,924 from about 900 since the 5th of January. He also confirmed that the new variant was present in the country, as cases were imported from people entering Ghana.

The President said,

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  • “Our COVID-19 treatment centres have gone from having zero patients to now being full because of the upsurge in infections. At this current rate, our healthcare infrastructure will be overwhelmed.
  • “Work is ongoing to determine the presence and extent of spread of the new variants in the general population.”

What you should know

  • Nairametrics reported that the Federal Government also alerted Nigerians that hospitals across the country were running out of facilities to handle more serious cases of coronavirus infections, as the virus is spreading fast with mild symptoms in some victims and severe illnesses and death in others.

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