President Muhammadu Buhari will Friday depart for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to participate in the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union.
In a statement by the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, Buhari is to champion anti-corruption campaign at regional level.
The highlight of the President’s engagements during the visit will be his Statement under the historic theme for the AU Summit, namely:
“Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”
This is the first time in the 54-year history of the AU that anti-corruption will be made a theme of the gathering of the regional leaders.
It would be recalled that on July 4, 2017, during the 29th Session of the AU, African leaders unanimously endorsed President Buhari to champion the fight against corruption on the continent.
The endorsement was in recognition of his personal commitment and widely acclaimed anti-graft drive at the domestic level.
On July 25, 2017, the President in a letter to President Alpha Conde of Guinea, who is also the out-going AU Chairperson, formally accepted his nomination to lead members of the AU on this crucial crusade against a veritable socio-economic vice that is anti-development.
While thanking his colleagues for the honour, he reiterated his “commitment to contribute towards our collective efforts to strengthen good governance and development on the continent.”
Apart from anti-corruption, other issues lined for consideration by African leaders and their delegations include peace and security (transnational terrorism); institutional reforms of the continental body; free movement of persons; climate change; trade; aviation; education; gender and development.
President Buhari will also hold bilateral meetings with some of his colleagues on issues of common interests.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau; the Minister of State (Aviation), Hadi Sirika; the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; and the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
Russian COVID-19 cases rise by 6,736 to 681,251
Russia recorded 6,736 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking its total to 681,251, the country’s coronavirus response center said in a statement on Sunday.
The death toll rose by 134 to 10,161, while 450,750 people have recovered, including 3,871 over the last 24 hours, said the statement.
Moscow, the country’s worst-hit region, reported 650 newly-confirmed cases, taking its tally of infections to 224,860.
On Saturday, 280,347 people were still under medical observation, while more than 21 million virus tests have been conducted nationwide, Russia’s consumer rights and human well-being watchdog said on Sunday in a separate statement.
Africa records over 444,000 cases of COVID-19
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, says there are currently over 444,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Africa.
The UN health agency gave an update on its regional official Twitter account @WHOAFRO.
“There are over 444,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent – with more than 214,000 recoveries and 10,800 deaths,’’ it said.
The regional office stated that South Africa has 177,124 cases and 2,952 deaths, followed by Nigeria with 27,564 confirmed cases and 628 deaths, while Ghana has 18,892 confirmed cases and 117 deaths.
It added that Gambia, Lesotho, and Seychelles were countries currently with the lowest confirmed cases in the region as the Gambia had 55 confirmed cases with two deaths.
Lesotho had 63 reported cases and zero death, while Seychelles had 81 reported cases with no death, “the office said.
Meanwhile, WHO in a statement posted on its website urged African countries to take strong safety measures against COVID-19 as they resumed air travel.
“As African countries begin to reopen borders and air spaces, it is crucial that governments take effective measures to mitigate the risk of a surge in infections due to the resumption of commercial flights and airport operations.
“Many African governments acted swiftly, implementing confinement and travel restrictions in the early days of the pandemic.
“In the WHO African Region, 36 countries closed their borders to international travel, eight suspended flights from countries with high COVID-19 transmission, and others had partial or no restrictions.
“So far Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania, and Zambia have resumed commercial flights. The 15-member Economic Community of West African States is expected to open their airspace on July 21.
“While open borders are vital for the free flow of goods and people, initial analysis by WHO found that lockdowns along with public health measures reduced the spread of COVID-19.’’
The UN health agency said even with border restrictions, imported cases had sometimes brought back COVID-19 to countries that had not reported cases for a length of time.
“For example, Seychelles had not had a locally transmitted case since April 6, 2020, but in the last week 66 new cases – all crew members of an international fishing vessel – have been recorded,’’ it said.
The statement quoted Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, as saying: “Air travel is vital to the economic health of countries.
“But as we take to the skies again, we cannot let our guard down. Our new normal still requires stringent measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.’’
To resume international air travel, WHO recommended that countries assess the epidemiological situation to determine whether maintaining restrictions outweighs the economic costs of reopening borders if, for instance, there is the widespread transmission of the virus.
“It is also crucial to determine whether the health system can cope with a spike in imported cases and whether the surveillance and contact tracing system can reliably detect and monitor cases.”
According to the statement, it is important that countries have systems in place at points of entry including airports.
“Comprehensive entry and exit screening should be considered based on risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis, and as part of the overall national response strategy.
“Such screening may target, as a priority, direct flights from areas with community transmission. In addition, observance of preventive measures such as personal hygiene, cough etiquette, physical distancing remains crucial.
“Passengers should be registered and followed up, and if they develop symptoms be advised to inform health authorities.’’
The statement further quoted Moeti, as saying: “The resumption of commercial flights in Africa will facilitate the delivery of crucial supplies such as testing kits.
“It will also facilitate the delivery of supplies such as personal protective equipment and other essential health commodities to areas that need them most.
“It will also ensure that experts, who can support the response can finally get on the ground and work.”
Fire guts Oloje market, Ilorin
A fire started in one of the shops at the popular Oloje market located along Alimi Road, Oloje area, Ilorin, Kwara state, and has now gutted parts of the market on Sunday.
The Nigerian Tribune gathered that the cause of the fire was suspected to be an electric spark in the wiring system of one of the affected shops, leading to the inferno.
It was learned that the fire started at about 2:00 am on Sunday and completely burnt down five shops out of about 50 shops in the ancient Oloje market, Illorin.
Newsmen gathered that it took efforts of the men of the state fire service to prevent the fire from spreading to other shops.
According to the head, media, and publicity for the Kwara state Fire Service, Hassan Hakeem Adekunle, “The Kwara State Fire Service was summoned to the incident through telephone exchange call by one Mr. Isaqi around 02:44hrs.
“We arrived at the scene exactly 02:49hrs and met the fire well alighted. But due to the potential of our well experienced and especially skilled personnel in the State Fire Service, the fire was quickly put under control from further spreading to other shops within a twinkle of an eye, before it was totally extinguished.
“Out of about 50 shops, only five shops were affected as a result of tremendous performance of able firemen on the ground.
“However, the cause of the fire was suspected to be an electric spark in the wiring system of one of the affected shops, thereby caused the inferno.
“Therefore, the director of Kwara State Fire Service, Alhaji Waheed I. Yakub, urges the general public to cultivate the habit of “playing safe” at all times. Also, pray for the victims to recover all their loss on time in the name of Almighty God. Ameen”.
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