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AfDB launches record-breaking $3bn ‘Fight COVID-19’ Social Bond

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has raised an exceptional $3 billion in a three-year bond to help alleviate the economic and social impact the Covid-19 pandemic will have on livelihoods and Africa’s economies.

The Fight Covid-19 Social bond, with a three-year maturity, garnered interest from central banks and official institutions, bank treasuries, and asset managers including Socially Responsible Investors, with bids exceeding $4.6 billion. This is the largest Social Bond ever launched in international capital markets to date, and the largest US Dollar benchmark ever issued by the Bank. It will pay an interest rate of 0.75%.

The African Development Bank Group is moving to provide flexible responses aimed at lessening the severe economic and social impact of this pandemic on its regional member countries and Africa’s private sector.

“These are critical times for Africa as it addresses the challenges resulting from the Coronavirus. The African Development Bank is taking bold measures to support African countries. This $3 billion Covid-19 bond issuance is the first part of our comprehensive response that will soon be announced. This is indeed the largest social bond transaction to date in capital markets. We are here for Africa, and we will provide significant rapid support for countries,” said Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group.

The order book for this record-breaking bond highlights the scale of investor support, which the African Development Bank enjoys, said the arrangers.

“As the Covid-19 outbreak is dangerously threatening Africa, the African Development Bank lives up to its huge responsibilities and deploys funds to assist and prepare the African population, through the financing of access to health and to all other essential goods, services and infrastructure,” said Tanguy Claquin, Head of Sustainable Banking, Crédit Agricole CIB.

Coronavirus cases were slow to arrive in Africa, but the virus is spreading quickly and has infected nearly 3,000 people across 45 countries, placing strain on already fragile health systems.

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It is estimated that the continent will require many billions of dollars to cushion the impact of the disease as many countries scrambled contingency measures, including commercial lockdowns in desperate efforts to contain it. Globally, factories have been closed and workers sent home, disrupting supply chains, trade, travel, and driving many economies toward recession.

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Commenting on the landmark transaction, George Sager, Executive Director, SSA Syndicate, Goldman Sachs said: “In a time of unprecedented market volatility, the African Development Bank has been able to brave the capital markets in order to secure invaluable funding to help the efforts of the African continent’s fight against Covid-19. Not only that, but in the process, delivering their largest ever USD benchmark. A truly remarkable outcome both in terms of its purpose but also in terms of a USD financing”.

The Bank established its Social Bond framework in 2017 and raised the equivalent of $2 billion through issuances denominated in Euro and Norwegian krone. In 2018 the Bank was designated by financial markets, ‘Second most impressive social or sustainability bond issuer” at the Global Capital SRI Awards.

“We are thankful for the exceptional level of interest the Fight Covid-19 Social Bond has raised across the world, as the African Development Bank moves towards lessening the social and economic impact of the pandemic on a continent already severely constrained. Our Social bond program enables us to highlight our strong development mandate to the investor community, allowing them to play a part in improving the lives of the people of Africa. This was an exceptional outcome for an exceptional cause,” said Hassatou Diop N’Sele, Treasurer, African Development Bank.

Fight Covid-19 was allocated to central banks and official institutions (53%), bank treasuries (27%) and asset managers (20%). Final bond distribution statistics were as follows: Europe (37%), Americas (36%), Asia (17%) Africa (8%,) and Middle-East (1%).

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Troops kill Boko Haram commanders

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Scores of high profile Boko Haram commanders have been killed in a counter-attack conducted by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole following a failed attack on troops location at Banki Junction, The Nation learnt.

Those killed in the attack include Manzar Halid, Amir Abu Fatima and Nicap, among others, including 72 members of the sect.

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Also, the Nigerian Air Force has made history with the conduct of an operational Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) mission by an all-female crew.

Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, made this known in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

Daramola said the mission, which was conducted on May 28 using the NAF Beechcraft KingAir ISR aircraft, had Flying Officers, Oluwabunmi Ijelu and Genevieve Nwaogwugwu as Captain and Co-Pilot, respectively.

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He said on the mission, were also Sergeant Njoku Patience as the Airborne Tactical Observation System (ATOS) mission operator and Lance Corporal Shawulu Godiya as the on-board technician.

“It is noteworthy that Flying Officer Ijelu is the first female officer to become a Captain on a NAF aircraft. The aircraft was also marshalled by a female Marshaller, Aircraftwoman David Precious.

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SARS extorted me in Gbagada, Lagos man alleges

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A Nigerian man has narrated how he and others were allegedly extorted by SARS officers who arrested him after getting a haircut.

He said the SARS officers were from the Anti Cultism Unit in Gbagada Charlie Boy, Lagos and they picked him up before 8pm on Wednesday, June 3.

@Dav_Okwulili also alleged that the security operatives arrested people sitting in front of their houses and assaulted those who resisted.

The Twitter user who claims he and others were bailed out with N10,000, said there was a lady who has been in the police cell for two days because he refused to sleep with one of the police officers.

He tweeted;

MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE @PoliceNG SARZ (Anti Cultism Unit)

@segalink @YemieFASH

Why i am writing this is basically not because of me, but because we have a messed up & unprofessional set of people being employed without proper process and orientation.

I left my house around past 6pm yesterday to get plastic buckets with a friend because he just moved into a new apartment around Gbagada. On returning, i branched into a saloon to have my hair cut which was around past 7pm. I was done with my hair by quarter to 8pm then paid …and left, i got across the road to take Napep from the salon to where i stay.

The next thing, i saw four men in black, boldly written on their shirt “Anti Cultism Unit” with guns. Then one of them grabbed me from the waist, while he said i should get into the bus, i asked why?…he said, they are police that i should get inside. I obeyed and entered (before i start receiving slaps).

Then i was searched, which i was having just 4k and my atm card, my phone and its charger. They said i should give them my phone, i refused and said that it was private….that they ain’t permitted to search it. They asked what do i do, i said i am a Software Developer and i mentioned the company i work with, they requested for my ID Card, i said i just came to cut my hair and i did not come with an ID (which in my head i said f**k up).

They said i should not call anybody nor use my phone. Few minutes later, a call from the office came in, cause we have been working remotely, i picked and the phone was dragged from my hand, which i didn’t bother dragging cause i can’t afford to start fixing Samsung screen.

(fast forward)… They drove us down to Gbagada Ifako, Yetunde Brown street, to Deeper Life HQ, and to New Garage. Tho while they where driving, they picked more people, even those that where sitting in front of their houses, if you resist, they will use slaps and punches…which i was clearly avoiding, they even used tear gas on one.

We got to the station (Anti Ciltism Unit, Gbagada Charlie Boy) around quarter to 10pm. We came down from the bus with our hands up, which i so felt humiliated and portrayed as a criminal. They removed our slippers… & shoes, took us inside, while they wrote down our names, and went out for second parade. I saw alot of people, both female & male, in which more were still being brought in by different units. I over heard some saying they picked them from Ikorodu, OniPanu, Mushin, Oshodi…Bariga & Ketu etc.

One of the girls said she has been there for 2days now, cause she didn’t agree to sleep with one of the policemen. We were treated as criminals, they took us to the passage of the cell, told us to sit on the floor, while more people were brought in.

The odour from the toilet covered the cell, in which I had to hold my urine till I couldn’t take it anymore. Not to talk of the cell itself, the mosquito were vampires, they ate the living hell out of me, cause there was no light. For a while, I couldn’t sleep.

I woke up more than 20times to find out it was still 3AM. Also everyone was sharing how they got picked. By day break, we were called out by the unit that brought us in. We were taken to the back of the cell to write statement sitting on the floor

They gave us our phones to call someone, one by one, it was in the process i took those pictures, inwhich one of them noticed and requested for my phone, but was smart enough to do the needful, so i was unable to capture their faces. To cut this story shot…

I was finally bailed by both of my friends that have been trying to reach me all through yesterday till today. Note: We were so much that i couldn’t count. But an estimate of the money they made: You will bail one person with “at least N10,000”, nd if you multiply…

N10,000×200 people, we have 2million. Also before you go into the station to see anyone, you will deposit N1,000 at the gate. I can not express this more as everything that happened is still funny to me, cause this is my first time ever, sleeping over in a police…station, combined with how messy this one is. This is just to create awareness of the mess the society is in, cause i believe there are still some people that will spend the next 5 to 7 days in that station.

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COVID-19: Lagos Catholic Archdiocese opposes continued closure of churches

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The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev Alfred Adewale Martins, on Wednesday, opposed the continued closure of worship centres by the state government.

The Archbishop in a statement by the archdiocese’s Director of Social Communications, Rev. Fr Anthony Godonu, called on the Lagos State Government to ease the restriction on religious gatherings in the state.

Martins was reacting to a statement by the state government through its Commissioner for Home Affairs, Mr Anofiu Elegushi, who on Tuesday said the ban on religious gatherings had not been lifted.

He wondered why it was concluded that the virus could spread at places of worship when people gathered in markets, motor parks and banks.

Martins stated,

“There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic is real, and we all feel concerned that the numbers are rising. However, we know also that the virus will be with us for some time and more testing will reveal more infected persons but at the same time the truth is that life must go on. We believe strongly that churches as institutions are better able to exert control of situations and maintain discipline among their faithful than most other institutions.”

“The argument that we can pray in our individual houses and God will hear our prayers is true but it is also true for us as Christians that gathering together to worship is our heritage and practice arising from the Holy Bible. It was in the gathering of the Apostles that the Holy Spirit came down upon them(Acts.2:1); the early Christians gathered together in private homes for prayers and the breaking of the Bread(Acts 2:46) until the number became too large to handle in private homes and it became necessary to have Church buildings.

“If Christians were willing to suspend their right to gather in Church buildings for the sake of common good at a time when all gatherings of people were suspended, it is unfair and unjust for government to restrict gatherings for worship when other gatherings are being allowed. Anyone who argues that gathering to worship is not essential as it is to eat and get money from the bank, obviously does not understand the spiritual, emotional, and psychological soothing that Christians get from gathering together to worship.

“In any case, are we saying that it is more dangerous for people to gather to worship than it is to gather for banking and trading or that it is gathering for worship that is responsible for the spread of the virus?”

He said the archdiocese considered as fair, the position of Lagos State Government that it would approve a set of guidelines and monitor adherence to them.

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Martins stated,

“The monitoring is even more easily done in churches than in markets and motor parks or other places where the virus can even be more easily spread. This “volte-face” of government gives the impression that the position of Christians is considered secondary and of no consequence in the affairs of the state.”

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