Nigeria’s Tinubu, 36 state governors to sign health pact with WHO
Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the 36 state governors of the Nigerian federation will on Tuesday sign an agreement that will reform the health sector.
The health renewal pact, involving some international partners, is the climax of this year’s world Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day
The partners include the World Health Organisation (WHO), the CEOs of GAVI, the Global Fund Against Tuberculosis and Malaria and Bill and Melinda Gates.
According to documents secretly revealed to Nigerian Sketch, the pact has been designed for “transformational sector-wide approach to improve health outcomes”.
The agreement will be witnessed by WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus.
One of the documents reads in part: “I am pleased to invite you to the commemoration of World UHC Day and the unveiling of a Health Sector Renewal Compact, between the Federal Government and all the 36 state governors of the federation.
“This event, which will be hosted by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will have in attendance the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the CEOs of GAVI and the Global Fund Against Tuberculosis and Malaria as well as the President of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“The highlight of this year’s event in Nigeria is the signing of a Health Renewal Compact by the Federal and State governments as well as development partners, to actualise the transformational sector-wide approach to improve health outcomes, as approved by Mr. President in October 2023.”
Another document gave insights into the new initiative to save the health sector.
It says: “In line with Mr. President’s Renewed Hope Agenda, we would like to respectfully invite the governors to the commemoration of the World UHC Day and unveiling of a Health Sector Renewal Compact, between the Federal Government and all the 36 State Governors of the Federation, in Abuja.
“We are expecting to have global heath leaders to join us in Abuja, including the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who will come from Geneva Switzerland.”
“UHC Day is officially designated by the United Nations every 12th of December to celebrate global progress towards health for all and raise awareness on the need for strong and resilient health systems in achieving UHC.
“The theme for 2023 UHC Day is ‘Health for all: Time for action’. The theme emphasizes the need for immediate and tangible steps to back the 2023 political declaration on UHC.”
A government official, who pleaded for anonymity said the pact may lead to an overhaul of the nation’s health sector.
The official said: “The President is determined to avert the rot in the health sector. His interface with international partners has brought goodwill to the country.
“Tinubu is securing the buy-in of the governors and the nation will be better for it.”
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‘I will not give up’ on push for Gaza humanitarian ceasefire, says UN’s Guterres
The UN Secretary-General on Sunday pledged that he would “not give up” on appealing for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, adding that inaction on the Security Council was undermining its credibility.
“The preeminent forum for the peaceful resolution of international disputes is paralysed by geostrategic divisions”, António Guterres told the Doha Forum taking place in Qatar, following Friday’s meeting in New York during which the United States vetoed a resolution demanding that Israel and Palestinian militants end the intense fighting across the enclave which erupted on 7 October with the Hamas terror attacks.
“I urged the Security Council to press to avert a humanitarian catastrophe and I reiterated my appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared”, said the UN chief.
“Regrettably the Security Council failed to do it but that does not make it less necessary. So, I can promise I will not give up”, he told delegates to the global platform in Qatar, which brings world leaders together to discuss collective security and other challenges.
He said a sclerotic Security Council where splits between the permanent members, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the US have produced only one resolution narrowly focused on aid delivery, needed reform.
‘Equality and solidarity’ essential
“We need a serious effort to bring global structures up to date, rooted in equality and solidarity and based on the United Nations Charter and international law”, he said, noting that the Council’s divisions were “undermining solutions from Ukraine to Myanmar and the Middle East.”
The horrific terror attacks by Hamas and resulting “relentless bombardment” of Gaza, have only produced a single resolution “which I welcome. But that delay comes at a cost”, he added.
“And the resolution is not being implemented”.
Also addressing the conference in Qatar, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said the dehumanisation of Palestinians has allowed the international community to tolerate Israel’s continued bombardment of Gaza, which has led to more than 17,000 deaths since 7 October.
“There is no doubt that a humanitarian ceasefire is needed if we want to put an end to hell of earth right now in Gaza”, said Philippe Lazzarini.
Later on Sunday in New York, the President of the UN General Assembly announced that following requests from the Chair of the Arab Group and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, calling for the emergency special session on the Israel-Palestine crisis to resume, delegates from the Assembly will reconvene this coming Tuesday.
When the special session first resumed in October, Member States voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution calling for an immediate and sustained humanitarian truce.
Weak global governance
Together with other ‘forces of fragmentation’ gaining ground, Mr. Guterres said now is the time to build bridges and find shared solutions to global challenges.
Beyond the Security Council, Mr Guterres said global governance is failing to manage two existential threats.
First, on the climate catastrophe, he said far more ambition was needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure climate justice.
“Despite promises and pledges, our climate is in breakdown. Emissions are at an all-time high. And fossil fuels are a major cause,” he said and added: “Renewable energy is cheap, clean, and infinite,” and can meet world’s growing energy demand without poisoning the environment and suffocating our planet.
He urged fossil fuel companies and their backers to use their enormous resources to lead the renewables revolution. And likewise urged leaders at COP28 in Dubai to agree on deep cuts to emissions, in line with the 1.5-degree limit.
“This is the only road not only to climate sustainability, but economic sustainability,” the Secretary-General said.
Multilateral Development Banks must change their business model and leverage far more private finance at reasonable cost for developing countries to invest in climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Second, he highlighted the threat posed by new technologies, saying generative AI could provide solutions to many global challenges, but without adequate regulation, “it will also lead us into deep and troubled waters.”
“These technologies cry out for governance,” Mr. Guterres continued, lamenting that AI is already supercharging hate speech and division, enabling data harvesting and mass surveillance, and exacerbating vast inequalities.
To help advance the search for solutions, he has appointed a multistakeholder High-Level Advisory Body on AI which will provide preliminary recommendations by the end of this year. It met in New York last week.
Summit of the Future
He went on to say that reforms to global governance must be grounded in the Universal Declaration and the enduring values of the UN Charter.
Next September’s Summit of the Future is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for these important decisions.
“We have put forward a series of proposals to Member States and I look forward to their engagement and support,” he said, laying out a three-point ‘to-do’ list for the Summit:
A Global Digital Compact to mitigate the risks of digital technologies and help to harness their benefits.
Reforms to the global financial architecture that would enable governments in developing countries to invest in education, health, jobs and social protection for their people.
Reforms to the Security Council, and a proposed New Agenda for Peace, that would help to prevent and resolve conflict, deliver equity and justice, rebalance geopolitical relations, and give developing countries a greater voice on the international stage.
“Now is truly the time for building shared futures – uniting behind solutions and transforming our world for good,” he told the Doha Forum, concluding his remarks.
Angry Moroccans demand halt to ties with Israel over attacks on Gaza
Moroccans waving Palestinian flags took to the streets of the capital Rabat on Sunday calling on the government to cut ties with Israel in protest against continued Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip which have killed thousands of civilians.
Protests against Israel’s war in Gaza have repeatedly drawn thousands of people in Morocco since the conflict began two months ago, mostly led by pan-Arab and Islamist groups.
Sunday’s march by about 3,000 protesters was the first to have been led by the PJD, Morocco’s biggest Islamist party which led the elected government from 2011 until 2021, a sign the movement is growing more vocal in opposition.
Protesters chanted “Palestine is not for sale”, “Resistance go ahead to victory and liberation” and “the people want an end to normalisation”, referring to the policy of Morocco and other Arab states normalising ties with Israel.
Israel vowed to annihilate Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, after Hamas militants burst across the fence on Oct. 7 and went on a rampage through Israeli towns, gunning down families in their homes, killing 1,200 people and seizing 240 hostages.
Since then, Gaza’s health authorities say at least 17,700 people have been confirmed killed in Israeli strikes, with thousands more missing and presumed dead under the rubble.
Morocco agreed to strengthen ties with Israel in 2020, under a deal brokered by the U.S. administration under then President Donald Trump that also included Washington recognising Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
Despite their policy of normalising ties with Israel, Moroccan authorities have said they continue to back the creation of a Palestinian state and have urged a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and the protection of all civilians there.
Islamist and leftist parties and groups in Morocco have increasingly spoken out against the normalisation policy since the start of the war in Gaza on Oct. 7.
Protesters on Sunday also called for a boycott of brands they accuse of supporting Israel.
“We call on Morocco to end diplomatic relations with Israel, a country that killed children and women in Gaza and destroyed hospitals in full brutality,” said Ahmed El Yandouzi, as he was queuing to sign a petition with a Palestinian scarf around his neck.
Although Morocco and Israel have not yet completed the process of setting up full embassies in each other’s countries as they agreed to do, they have moved closer together, signing a defence cooperation pact.
The PJD was in office when Morocco agreed the normalisation deal with Israel, with its then leader Saad Dine El Otmani signing it as prime minister, but the policy was ultimately set by King Mohammed, who sets overall strategy.
Man accuses policemen of ‘kidnap’, N1 million ransom collection
One Mr. Samuel Soyemi has recounted how some men who claimed to be police officers from Zone 2, Onikan, Lagos State invaded his house and drove him and his family away in their vehicle.
In what Soyemi described as both an abduction and armed robbery, he said the cops transferred the sum of N1,025,000 from his account before he, his wife and other family members were let go.
As per PUNCH Metro, Soyemi said the incident happened at around 11 p.m. on October 10 when the armed men invaded his house in the Osiele area of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
According to him, the police officers accused him of being a ritualist and cultist, an allegation he said was untrue and unfounded.
The young man recalled how the officers drove them to the premises of the Ifo Police Station and asked them to pay a sum of N10m, otherwise, they would not be seen again.
Without going into the station for any documentation, Soyemi said the officers later succeeded in transferring money from his bank account into an Opay account.
“We hardly eat at home as I am talking to you, because I had to borrow the money I sent to them that day. My wife and I are going through hell, with a nine-month-old baby at hand. Everything they took from me is almost N3m, including phones and jewellery. I need justice. We went to Zone 2, but nothing was done about the matter. The Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, should come to my aid,” he cried out.
Soyemi‘s lawyer, Kayode Aderemi, said a petition had been written to the office of IGP Egbetokun.
A copy of the petition, it was gathered, was also made available to the Nigeria Police Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, on November 30.
According to a copy of the petition, seven armed men reportedly stormed Soyemi’s residence in Osiele, seizing valuables worth over N2m aside from extorting him to the tune of N1,025,000.
The petition read, “At about 23:00 hours (11:00 p.m.) of October 10th, 2023, seven men stormed our clients’ house at Alanco axis, Osiele, Abeokuta, Ogun State. These men were fully armed with guns. They later identified themselves as police officers from the Police Zonal Command, Zone 2, Onikan, Lagos State.
“Without stating allegation of any crime against our clients, they ransacked our clients’ two-bedroom flat and took several valuables belonging to our clients. The valuables include a golden bracelet worth N750,000; a diamond earring worth N650,000; an iPhone 11 worth N400,000; a New Age power bank (20 mAh) worth N20,000; and three iPhone chargers worth N6,000 each.
“After all these items were forcefully taken at gunpoint, our clients (a total of six family members) were arrested that same night and driven to the Ifo Police Station, Ogun State.
“While at the Ifo Police station, the police officers told our clients that if they did not transfer the sum of N10,000,000, they would be killed and no one would know, since their arrest at Abeokuta was not documented.
“Afraid for their lives, our clients immediately placed emergency calls to family and friends to request financial support. Then, a total N1,025,000 was immediately transferred to the account provided by one of the officers later identified as Officer Oladapo Olayemi.
“The account that the police officer received the money N1,025,000 is OPay 9126240487, belonging to one Olufunke Ebunoluwa Samuel. Our clients later learned that on the same night, the money was remitted to the Access bank account of Officer Oladapo Olayemi.
“Our clients also informed us that they have reported the matter to the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 2 who has invited them. Our clients have honoured the invitation but that nothing concrete has come out of it.”
In his appeal, the counsel pleaded with Egbetokun to investigate and prosecute the seven police officers “that committed this act tantamount to robbery.”
He also asked that Soyemi’s N1,025,000 and other items taken away be recovered.
Aderemi urged Egbetokun to protect the Soyemis over fear that the cops could return to harm them, “since these seven police officers already know the house and other details of our clients.”
He added, “We are ready and willing to provide statement of account to evince the transactions referenced above should they be required.”
When contacted on Thursday, the FPRO, Adejobi, acknowledged the petition, stating that every petition was treated objectively, especially when the petition bothers on unprofessionalism and corruption.
Asked if any action had been taken, Adejobi expressed assurance that necessary action must have been taken on it, asking the complainant to follow up through police complaint platforms.
“Definitely, every petition is attended to and treated objectively, more so when it borders on unprofessionalism, highhandedness, and corruption.
“I am sure necessary action must have been taken on it. He can also follow up on the case through our complaint platforms,” Adejobi said in a text message.
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Nigerians lament cash scarcity, as CBN gives excuses
Repeated complaints by some bank customers on the scarcity of naira notes at the counters, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Points of Sale (PoS), and Bureaux de Change (BDCs) has prompted the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to give explanations.
In a statement issued by the Corporate Communications Department of the CBN, the apex bank said the seeming currency scarcity was occasioned by large volume withdrawals of cash from various CBN branches by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).
It stated that panic withdrawals by bank customers were also partly responsible for the seeming scarcity.
The CBN said there is no shortage of naira notes, noting that there is an adequate supply of the currency in the economy.
“The attention of the CBN has been drawn to reports of alleged scarcity of cash at banks, ATMs, PoS and BDCs in some major cities across the country.
“Our findings reveal that the seeming cash scarcity in some locations is due largely to high volume withdrawals from the CBN branches by DMBs and panic withdrawals by customers from the ATMs.
“While we note the concerns of Nigerians on the availability of cash for financial transactions, we wish to assure the public that there is sufficient stock of currency notes for economic activities in the country.
“The branches of the CBN across the country are also working to ensure the seamless circulation of cash in their respective states of operation,” it said.
The CBN had introduced redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations in October 2022 and certain deadlines were set for the old notes of these denominations to cease as legal tender.
But last November, the apex bank informed the public of its desire to extend the legal tender status deadline of the old design of N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations, “ad infinitum”.
Meanwhile, naira scarcity is biting harder across the country as banks have limited cash withdrawals.
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Huge blow to rapper Reminisce, as first rap effort met with ‘buffoon’ comment rejection
Foremost Nigerian indigenous rapper, Remilekun Abdulkalid Safaru, (Reminisce) has recalled his “first major” rejection in the music industry.
The ‘King Of Boys’ star said his first major rejection was when a radio station rejected his and singer 9ice’s CDs because they performed their music mostly in Yoruba.
He disclosed this in a recent interview with Zikoko.
Reminisce said, “My first major rejection was with 9ice on the Island at a radio station where we went to submit our music CDs for airplay, and the feedback we got was that we would never make it.
“They said 9ice was singing like Babalawo [native doctor] cos he sings in Yoruba.
“The other guy told me: ‘why am I rapping like a buffoon, can’t I see Ruggedman? He said that we should both go back and look for something to do with our lives and be better.
“That was my first major rejection. I will never forget it, even 9ice I’m sure he hasn’t forgotten it.”
Remilekun Khalid Safaru (born January 26, 1981), known by his stage names Reminisce and Alaga Ibile, is a Nigerian singer, rapper, songwriter, and actor originating from Ogun State. He performs in English and in his native language, Yoruba.
Who is Reminisce?
According to Wikipedia, Reminisce is from Ajilete, Yewa South LGA in Ogun State, the western part of Nigeria. He was born on January 26, 1981, in Kaduna state, Northern Nigeria. In school, he listened to various genres of local and foreign music and performed in school activities. He studied purchasing and supply at Kwara State Polytechnic.
He recorded his first song in a studio in 2006 and recorded a hardcore rap album at Coded Tunes, but the album was never released and he decided to focus on his studies and complete schooling. In 2008, Reminisce returned to the music scene, performing a rap verse on a track titled “Bachelor’s Life” off 9ice’s sophomore album titled “Gongo Aso”. His first single, “Ever Since”, featured 9ice, and was a story about his life till that moment. His second, “If Only”, was a love song produced by Dtunez.
His song titled “Local Rappers” in 2015, which he featured Olamide and Phyno had some controversial comments from fans as they felt the song was targeted at rappers who rap with English language such as MI and Mode.
In 2015, Reminisce was named a brand ambassador for the Orijin alcoholic beverage brand.
Reminisce is signed to Les Roses Rouge (LRR) Records, and he is the only Nigerian rapper to have two albums debut on the billboard charts; Baba Hafusa at number 12, and El-Hadj at number 13.
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CAF AWARDS 2023: Nominees, Former winners, how to watch, everything to know
CAF Awards 2023 was set to be held at the Palais des Congrès in Marrakech, Morocco on Monday, December 11.
Africa’s most esteemed sporting awards will be draped in a fine combination of elegance, power, royalty and success as a celebration of the continent’s finest.
Known for its red clay walls across the city, this touristic and scenic city on the foothills of the famous Atlas Mountains is the home of the CAF Awards 2023. A remarkable story of resilience and a never-give-up attitude from a people that survived a tragic earthquake this September killing almost 3,000 people.
As Marrakech hosts this year’s celebration of African talent, her people are receiving the world with great warmth and a kindred spirit ready to embrace the crème de la crème of African Football.
How to Watch
The CAF Awards 2023 will be broadcast live across the world with the national broadcasters in Algeria (EPTv), Côte d’Ivoire (RTI), Ghana (GBC), Morocco (Arryadia), Rwanda (RBA), South Africa (SABC) and Uganda (UBC) as well as OnTime Sport in Egypt.
New World TV will have the Free to Air and Pay TV rights in Togo as well as BeIN Sport that will be the go-to channel in Asia, Europe, Middle East and North Africa as well as in the USA.
Canal+ has the rights for the CAF Awards 2023 in France and Francophone Africa.
Here are the nominees in different categories ahead of the award ceremony:
CAF Player of the Year (Men) 2023 nominees
1. Ramy Bensebaini (Algeria and Borussia Dortmund)
2. Riyad Mahrez (Algeria and Al Ahli)
3. Edmond Tapsoba (Burkina Faso and Bayer Leverkusen)
4. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Cameroon and SSC Napoli)
5. Vincent Aboubacar (Cameroon and Besiktas)
6. Ibrahima Sangare (Cote d’Ivoire and Nottingham Forest)
7. Seko Fofana (Cote d’Ivoire and Al Nassr)
8. Chancel Mbemba (DR Congo and Olympique Marseille)
9. Fiston Mayele (DR Congo and Pyramids)
10. Mahmoud Abdel Moneim “Kahraba” (Egypt and Ahly)
11. Mohamed Abdelmonem (Egypt and Al Ahly)
12. Mohamed ElShenawy (Egypt and Al Ahly)
13. Mohamed Salah (Egypt and Liverpool)
14. Mohammed Kudus (Ghana and West Ham United)
15. Thomas Partey (Ghana and Arsenal)
16. Serhou Guirassy (Guinea and VfB Stuttgart)
17. Yves Bissouma (Mali and Tottenham Hotspur)
18. Achraf Hakimi (Morocco and Paris Saint-Germain)
19. Azzedine Ounahi (Morocco and Olympique Marseille)
20. Hakim Ziyech (Morocco and Galatasaray)
21. Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco and Manchester United)
22. Yahya Jabrane (Morocco and Wydad Athletic Club)
23. Yassine Bounou (Morocco and Al Hilal)
24. Youssef En-Nesyri (Morocco and Sevilla)
25. Peter Shalulile (Namibia and Mamelodi Sundowns)
26. Victor Osimhen (Nigeria and SSC Napoli)
27. Sadio Mane (Senegal and Al Nassr)
28. Pape Matar Sarr (Senegal and Tottenham Hotspur)
29. Percy Tau (South Africa and Al Ahly)
30. Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane (Tunisia and Ferencvaros)
CAF Awards 2023: Best Goalkeeper of the Year category:
Senegal exerts their dominance in this category. The Goalkeeper of the Year 2023 is a category many are keeping an eye out for, with top nominees who had a successful 2022 and 2023 all receiving a nomination in this category.
Here is the list of nominees:
Goalkeeper of the Year (Men)
1. Mohamed ElShenawy (Egypt and Al Ahly)
2. Yassine Bounou (Morocco & Al Hilal)
3. Andre Onana (Cameroon and Manchester United)
4. Ronwen Williams (Sout Africa and Mamelodi Sundowns)
5. Edouard Mendy (Senegal and Al Ahli)
6. Oussama Benbot (Algeria and USM Alger)
7. Youssef El Motie (Morocco and Wydad Athletic Club)
8. Djigui Diarra (Mali and Young Africans)
9. Pape Mamadou Sy (Senegal and Generation Foot)
10. Landing Badji (Senegal and AS Pikine)
Interclub Player of the Year (Men)
1. Aymen Mahious (Algeria and USM Alger/Yverdon-Sport)
2. Oussama Benbot (Algeria and USM Alger)
3. Zineddine Belaid (Algeria and USM Alger)
4. Fiston Mayele (DR Congo and Young Africans/Pyramids)
5. Makabi Lilepo (DR Congo and Al Hilal/Valenciennes)
6. Hussein El Shahat (Egypt and Al Ahly)
7. Mahmoud Abdel Moneim “Kahraba” (Egypt and Ahly)
8. Mohamed Abdelmonem (Egypt and Al Ahly)
9. Mohamed ElShenawy (Egypt and Al Ahly)
10. Mostafa Fathi (Egypt and Pyramids)
11. Djigui Diarra (Mali and Young Africans)
12. Yahia Attiyat Allah (Morocco and Wydad Club Athletic)
13. Yahya Jabrane (Morocco and Wydad Athletic Club)
14. Youssef El Motie (Morocco and Wydad Athletic Club)
15. Peter Shalulile (Namibia and Mamelodi Sundowns)
16. Percy Tau (South Africa and Al Ahly)
17. Ranga Chivaviro (South Africa and Marumo Gallants/Kaizer Chiefs)
18. Ronwen Williams (South Africa and Mamelodi Sundowns)
19. Ali Maaloul (Tunisia and Al Ahly)
20. Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane (Tunisia and Esperance Sportive de Tunis /Ferencvaros)
CAF African Club of the Year 2023
Here are the nominees for the club of the year 2023:
1. CR Belouizdad (Algeria)
2. USM Alger (Algeria)
3. ASEC Mimosas (Cote d’Ivoire)
4. Al Ahly (Egypt)
5. Raja Club Athletic (Morocco)
6. Wydad Athletic Club (Morocco)
7. Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)
8. Marumo Gallants (South Africa)
9. Esperance de Tunis (Tunisia)
10. Young Africans (Tanzania)
CAF National Team of the Year (Men) 2023 Nominees
1. Cape Verde
2. The Gambia
3. Guinea Bissau
4. Equatorial Guinea
Young Player of the Year (Men)
1. Dango Ouattara (Burkina Faso and Bournemouth)
2. Souleymane Alio (Burkina Faso and New Stars)
3. Ernest Nuamah (Ghana & Olympique Lyonnais)
4. Abdessamad Ezzalzouli (Morocco and Betis)
5. Bilal El Khannous (Morocco and Genk)
6. Gift Orban (Nigeria and KAA Gent)
7. Lamine Camara (Senegal and Generation Foot/Metz)
8. Pape Amadou Diallo (Senegal and Generation Foot/Metz)
9. Pape Demba Diop (Senegal and Zulte Waregem)
10. Amara Diouf (Senegal and Generation Foot)
Coach of the Year (Men)
1. Abdelhak Benchikha (USM Alger)
2. Marcel Koller (Al Ahly)
3. Juan Micha Obiang (Equatorial Guinea)
4. Tom Saintfiet (The Gambia)
5. Baciro Cande (Guinea Bissau)
6. Amir Abdou (Mauritania)
7. Walid Regragui (Morocco)
8. Chiquinho Conde (Mozambique)
9. Aliou Cisse (Senegal)
10. Pape Thiaw (Senegal – CHAN)
List of former winners in years past
As we look ahead at the CAF Awards 2023 on Monday, here is a list of past winners that were recognized for their excellence on the pitch and have since become an inspiration in their countries, on the continent and across the world.
Ghanian lawmakers set to crush LGBTQ+ by passing anti-gay bill
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and others (LGBTQ+) activities may have suffered a huge setback in Ghana as lawmakers are set to pass a law to promote proper sexual behaviors.
The Speaker of the Ghanian Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has affirmed that the proposed legislation titled “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values” will be enacted before the parliamentary recess for the festive season.
This assurance follows recent accusations by sponsors of the Anti-Gay bill, claiming that the Majority in Parliament is obstructing its passage. The controversy emerged when the First Deputy Speaker reportedly declined a request to move the bill to the consideration stage.
Mr. Samuel Nartey George, a proponent of the bill and Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, accused the Majority Caucus of intentionally impeding the legislative process. He asserted that the next approach would involve exposing Majority MPs allegedly influenced by individuals advocating for LGBTQ+ activities in the country.
The Majority Caucus has refuted these allegations. Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi, Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Committee in Parliament, denied claims of sabotage, asserting that the Ningo-Prampram MP is aware of the underlying issues causing delays in the bill’s passage.
In response to the parliamentary developments, Speaker Bagbin expressed confidence that the bill would be approved before the House adjourns for the Christmas and New Year break.
He emphasized the collective expectation to address the legislation promptly, underscoring potential consequences for members’ political careers if it is not enacted before the recess.
“I know that nobody in this House is opposed to the bill and I know the bill will see the light of day before we rise because the people of Ghana are expecting us to pass the bill before we go on recess. Failure to do so will have serious consequences on members as they want to advance in their political careers,” he said.
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JAPA: Bishop Kukah encourages Nigerian youths to leave Nigeria
Nigerian Bishop, Matthew Kukah has encouraged young Nigerians wishing to leave the country not to look back.
Nigerians refer to the recent rush to leave the country by its youths as the ‘Japa syndrome’
The Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto however prayed that the right and conducive environment be created so that those left behind can compete favourably with their foreign counterparts.
Bishop Kukah, the Pro-chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of Veritas University, Abuja, said this while addressing graduands of Veritas University, on Saturday during the school’s convocation ceremony.
He said: “I encourage young people who want to leave Nigeria to please, feel free to leave. The country is big enough. We can assure you that by the time you settle down in the United States of America or wherever you have gone, you will discover that Nigeria needs you.
“And for those you left behind, our hope and prayer is that they will be competing at the same level with you. We have everything that it takes to turn the corner.
“We are Veritas University will continue to inspire and shape the new generation so that the change we expect in our country is not the change we expect from politicians.
“It is the change that will come with a big intellectual understanding of the complex nature of this country. So every graduate who walks out of the portals of Veritas will be truly equipped mentally and intellectually to conquer Nigeria.”
Kukah tasked the graduates to remain focused and remember the school they were leaving behind. He also appealed to teachers to strive to be role models for the students.
According to him, “The quality of help and support you will get from the alumni will be determined by how they left this university.
“As you prepare to spend a new chapter in your life, I encourage you to remain focused on your dream. Do not forget your alma mater because you are standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before you. Do not forget the sacrifices you have made.
“This is why we also appeal to teachers to become sources of inspiration because the quality of help and support you will get from the alumni will be determined by how they left this university. If they leave this university feeling sorrowful, they are not likely to look back.
“So we want to encourage you parents to please endeavour to serve as models and mentors to these young people. Remember it could have been done anywhere. It’s not by accident that they are in Nigeria,” he added.
He noted that some teachers were sacrificing to give their best to the country. Kukah said contrary to the claim that teachers’ rewards were in heaven, they are here on earth, appealing to them not to rest on their oars.
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UK court orders P&ID to pay Nigeria £20 million in damages within 28 days
A United Kingdom Court has awarded the Nigerian government £20 million in damages and compensation in the $11 Billion case with Process & Industrial Developments Limited (P& ID).
The court ruled that P&ID must pay the Nigerian Government the £20 million damages within 28 days.
“. . . But the court ruled that they must pay £20 million to Nigeria, which must come in 28 days. Then came the request for appeal. Their request for an appeal on the currency at which they were going to pay Nigeria was also denied. So, in 28 days, P&ID must pay Nigeria at least 20 million pounds”, Arise News said.
In October this year, Nigeria won against P&ID over a $11 billion debt case.
P&ID had filed for fresh arbitration to revive their claims against Nigeria for an alleged breach of a 2010 gas supply agreement.
However, the High Court in London ruled that the arbitration could not proceed as long as the 2023 judgement remained in place.
On October 23, 2023, Robin Knowles, justice of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales, halted the award enforcement by upholding Nigeria’s prayer that it was obtained by fraud and violated Section 68 of the English Arbitration Act 1996.
The judge found that P&ID had paid bribes to Nigerian officials involved in drafting the gas supply and processing agreement (GSPA) in 2010.
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Nigeria’s federal govt considers handing over power utilities to states
Nigeria’s government is considering handing over its stake in 11 power utilities to state governments to improve oversight and address the country’s chronic power shortages, the minister of power said on Friday.
The federal government holds a 40% interest in 11 power distribution companies (DISCOs) that were privatised a decade ago, each of which operates a franchise spanning three or more states.
Nigeria’s Minister of Power Adebayo Adelabu said the federal government is open to swapping its shares in the DISCOs for shares in the privately managed Niger Delta Power Holding Co, a separate power firm it jointly owns with the states and local governments.
“We are committed to collaborating closely with the state ministries of power to tackle challenges in the distribution segment, considering its retail nature,” Adelabu said in a post on X.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation of more than 200 million people, produces a fraction of its installed power generation capacity of 12,500 megawatts, leaving millions of households and businesses reliant on generators for electricity.
President Bola Tinubu, who has embarked on Nigeria’s boldest reforms in decades, signed a new law that allows state governments to generate and distribute power, replacing a previous law that gave only the federal government exclusive rights.
Nigerians have however said his reforms are causing a lot of hardship to the country’s average people.
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Israel pounds Gaza’s Khan Younis after US, UK frustrate UN ceasefire call
Israel ordered residents out of the centre of Gaza’s main southern city Khan Younis and pounded the length of the enclave overnight, after the United States wielded its U.N. Security Council veto to shield its ally from a demand for a ceasefire.
Since a truce with Hamas in the two-month-old war collapsed on Dec. 1, Israel has expanded its ground assault into the southern half of the Gaza Strip, pushing into Khan Younis, where residents reported fierce battles. Both sides reported a surge in fighting in the north.
Israel said its campaign was making progress. National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said Israeli forces had killed at least 7,000 Hamas militants, without saying how that estimate was reached, and military chief Lieutenant-General Herzi Halevi told soldiers “we need to press harder”.
An official toll of deaths in Gaza from the Palestinian health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave exceeded 17,700 on Saturday, with many thousands missing and presumed dead under the rubble. The ministry has said about 40% of deaths were of children under 18.
Israel launched its campaign to annihilate Gaza’s Hamas rulers after their fighters burst into Israeli towns on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 240 hostage, according to Israeli tallies.
Some 137 hostages remain in captivity, and thousands of Israelis rallied in Tel Aviv on Saturday to demand their release. A soldier who fought on Oct. 7 died from his wounds, the Israeli army said early on Sunday, adding four other soldiers died fighting in southern Gaza.
Most of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have been forced from their homes, often several times. As fighting rages across the territory, residents and U.N. agencies say there is effectively nowhere safe to go, though Israel disputes this.
Israeli forces say they are limiting civilian casualties by providing maps showing safe areas, and blame Hamas for harming civilians by hiding among them, which the fighters deny. Palestinians say the campaign has turned into a scorched-earth war of vengeance against the entire population of an enclave as densely populated as London.
Israel’s Arabic-language spokesperson on Saturday posted a map on X highlighting six blocks of Khan Younis to evacuate “urgently”.
Some residents reported hearing tank shelling and fierce gun battles between Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters, and a series of air strikes as Israeli forces attempted to advance further west.
“We try to put the children to sleep and we stay up fearing the place would be bombed and we’ll have to run carrying the children out,” said Zainab Khalil, 57, displaced with 30 relatives and friends near Jalal street where evacuations were ordered. “During the day begins another tragedy, and that is: how to feed the children?”
With food and medical supplies scarce, a senior U.N. World Food Programme official said a new system could bring more aid into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel, but Israel has not yet agreed to open it.
In central Gaza, Israeli tank shelling resumed on Bureij and Maghazi refugee camps, residents said, while Palestinian health officials reported an Israeli air strike in Bureij killed seven Palestinians.
In Khan Younis, the dead and wounded arrived through the night at the overwhelmed Nasser hospital.
U.S. VETO MAKES WASHINGTON ‘COMPLICIT’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday welcomed Washington’s veto at the United Nations Security Council a day earlier to reject a vote backing a humanitarian ceasefire resolution, saying: “Israel will continue our just war to eliminate Hamas.”
Washington has said it told Israel to do more to protect civilians but still backs Israel’s position that a ceasefire would benefit Hamas. On Saturday, the Biden administration bypassed the U.S. Congress to approve an emergency sale of ammunition to Israel.
Ezzat El-Reshiq, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, condemned the U.S. veto as “inhumane”. Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority which lost control of Gaza to Hamas in 2007, said the veto made the United States complicit in Israeli war crimes.
STASCO is one of the largest trading companies in Nigeria as well as globally, trading over eight million barrels of crude oil per day. The STASCO cargo contained one million barrels from Agbami and sailed to Dangote Refinery’s Single Point Mooring (SPM) where it was discharged into the refinery’s crude oil tanks.
The maiden one million barrels, which represent the first phase of the six million barrels of crude oil to be supplied to Dangote Petroleum Refinery by a range of suppliers, should sustain the initial 350,000 barrels per day to be processed by the facility.
The next four cargoes will be supplied by the NNPC in two to three weeks and the final of the six cargoes will be supplied by ExxonMobil.
This supply will facilitate the initial run of the refinery as well as kick-start the production of diesel, aviation fuel, and LPG before subsequently progressing to the production of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
Dangote Petroleum Refinery stated that this latest development will play a pivotal role in alleviating the fuel supply challenges faced by Nigeria as well as the West African countries.
Designed for 100 per cent Nigerian crude with the flexibility to process other crudes, the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote Petroleum Refinery can process most African crude grades as well as Middle Eastern Arab Light and even US Light tight oil as well as crude from other countries.
Dangote Petroleum Refinery claims it can meet 100 per cent of the Nigeria’s requirement of all refined products, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and aviation jet, and also have surplus of each of these products for export.
President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote stated that, “we are delighted to have reached this significant milestone. This is an important achievement for our country as it demonstrates our ability to develop and deliver large capital projects. Our focus over the coming months is to ramp up the refinery to its full capacity. I look forward to the next significant milestone when we deliver the first batch of products to the Nigerian market.”
Country chairman of Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mr. Osagie Okunbor stated, “we welcome the startup of a refinery that is designed to produce gasoline, diesel, and low-sulphur fuels for Nigeria and across West Africa and are happy to be enabling it.”
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In a message he shared on his X account on Friday, Mr Jibrin refuted rumours circulating in the media that his party, the NNPP, is in merger negotiations with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to a widely circulated message on some sections of the media that our great party, NNPP is in talks with the PDP and other parties for possible coalition.
“There is no any element of truth in this. It’s a blatant lie. Our party has consistently maintained a neutral stand that we are open to collaboration, alliance, and even merger with the APC, PDP, LP and any other political party.
“There is presently no any talk whatsoever ongoing and the party did not attend any meeting to discuss coalition or merger with PDP or any other party. It is an act of mischief makers and should be regarded as such.”
Special prayers were said on Monday in Kano for President Bola Tinubu and Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso, the National Leader of the NNPP, according to a different statement made by the lawmaker’s media assistant, Sani Paki.
In his brief remarks at the event, Mr Kofa said his relationship with Mr Tinubu is no secret.
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When the Nigerian Navy signed a contract with the Nakura International Ltd, for the supply of 12 units of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, otherwise called UAVs, little did they know that the man behind the company, Alhaji Ahmed Nakura, has a very high passion for excellence and a niche for the pre-eminence of the Nigerian Navy in modern ways of reconnaissance as well as navigation.
And indeed yesterday, 8th December 2023, history was made by the Nigerian Navy, as it commissioned the UAVs at the Ojo Naval base Lagos, to the applause of many serving and retired naval officers.
In his speech at the commissioning, the commandant Naval Air base Ojo, Navy town Lagos, Commodore Ega said and I quote, “We are gathered here today to celebrate a significant milestone in our Naval aviation capabilities. It is indeed an honour to stand before you on this historic occasion to midwife the commissioning ceremony of 12 CTS Ovation Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), into the Nigerian Navy Air operation.
This occasion also provides me the opportunity to present the revised Local Operating Procedure as well as Local Training Order for adoption. Before we proceed, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the CNS, Vice Admiral EI Ogalla, for procuring the UAVs, his magnanimous support to NN Air Arm and to the Base in particular. The commissioning of this UAV squadron represents a quantum leap in our naval operations. These advanced UAVs are force multipliers that will enhance our reconnaissance, surveillance, and maritime security capabilities of the NN fleet like never before. The UAVs would also complement the already existing helicopters by increasing our surveillance capabilities with enhanced real time Maritime pictures”.
Speaker after speaker, everyone registered appreciation for the quality of the drones and the speedy manner of executing the contract. According to a renowned business man, Alhaji (Dr.) Usman Yahaya Kansila of the UYK conglomerate, a close friend and business associate of Alhaji Ahmed Nakura, the speed with which Nakura executed the contract, would surely make indigenous contractors proud, and shame critics, who think Nigerian contractors are always lacking in business rectitude. Also, the fact that the Nigerian Navy had issued the certificate of practical completion to the vendor, is another testimony to the Nakura niche for excellence, in his desire to see the pre-eminence of the Nigerian Navy in modern way of navigation. No doubt he said, the business profile of the company has received a giant boost, as such, we should give thumps up to Alhaji Ahmed Nakura for this wonderful feat.
Although the contract for the supply of the UAVs was given by his predecessor, the present Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogala, has the vision of wiping out all manner of sea crimes, through the use of technology in a way that would reduce human casualties, hence his resolve to continue with the project. It is in the pursuit of that vision, that he is giving support to indigenous entrepreneurs of merit like the Nakura International.
Experts say the use of drones in naval and submarine operations has become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a range of benefits for military personnel and operations. Drones are highly versatile, providing a cost-effective and reliable means of monitoring, reconnaissance and surveillance.
The chief of Naval staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogala was represented by Rear Admiral Z.S. Muhammad, who commented thus:
“These drones are expected to enhance one of our trinities of action, that is the surveillance leg of the trinity. Others are response and enforcement. These drones would be integrated into our existing maritime domain awareness infrastructure and would better enhance our real time reconnaissance and surveillance, so that the Nigerian Navy would continue in its effort to curtail maritime criminality that include crude oil theft, piracy and others. The acquisition of the drones came along with a training package, pilots have been trained on it, so also are Engineers, trained for the maintenance and the training would continue”.
The CTS Ovation are precision drones that are equipped to locate and track enemy targets, which can then be targeted by artillery, missiles, or other weapons systems. They can also be used to assess the damage caused by these weapons, providing valuable information to military planners. This will help the Nigerian military reduce the incidence of accidental bombing to the barest minimum. Just last week, the people of Kaduna state were sent into mourning, pursuant to a miscalculated drone strike that killed scores of civilians celebrating a religious festival.
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Two rare political developments in Ekiti State motivated the writing of this piece. The first was the unanimous endorsement of Governor Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji (BAO) for a second term in office by four former Ekiti State Governors, Niyi Adebayo, Ayo Fayose, Kayode Fayemi and Segun Oni. The other one was the flag-off of the construction of the 17.85km First Ring Road by the governor.
Before all else, that a former governor would vouch for an incumbent governor, especially when they are not from the same political party, is a fantastic achievement. It is also proof that ‘a person that’s loved by many people is always seen as a faultless personality’. With just one year in office, what the endorsement has shown is that, since the governor ‘is well-mannered, he will always be privileged with the elders.’ So, whether BAO takes it to the bank or he takes it on its face value, it also means that even the governor’s enemies are now at peace with him. Yes, it’s only the Word of God that has promised that: ‘even your enemies will be at peace with you’. As things stand, the lines are falling for the governor in pleasant places. It is just for him to do more, and his legacy is assured.
Whichever way we look at it, good governance will always promote unity in any society. Therefore, good governance, which, from all indications, is the main focus of the Oyebanji-led government, should remain his goal throughout his stay in office. That exactly is a panacea or remedy for trouble. Once that is done, his name will be written in gold, for good governance breeds fairness, equity, justice and sustainable development, all rolled into one.
One of the things that make the state unique is that the founding fathers of the Ekiti axis saw the entire area as one before the notorious military incursion and the misfortune of Nigeria being ruled by the jackboot brought them to this sorry pass. So, the beauty of the democracy that they are currently enjoying lies in the people’s ability not to forget their ancestral origin.
Governments go and governments come! Governments also rise and governments fall! But undiscerning governments only allow themselves to be railroaded by the shouts of circumstances and situations of the marketplace; and they end up paying dearly for it. In a state like Ekiti, a man of finesse and little creativity who is not too distant from his nativity can survive any political tests. How? Government policies will reflect fairness in the distribution of benefits to the villages and hamlets, irrespective of the governor’s nativity. Immediately the villages are able to come to terms with the fact that they’re not neglected or abandoned in the scheme of things, the governor can go to sleep with his two eyes closed because the support for the party in power will be total. Even as tough as the late Tunde Idiagbon was, he did that! Fayose also did it! The only disadvantage of this approach is that it must remain unknown to the public; otherwise, the government will become messed up. The irony of life is that knowledge is a conscious attribute which moves only in the direction of those seeking after it. The more reason any government worth its essence must review its strategies periodically.
In Ekiti, education has become an industry. Put differently, the natural status of education in the state is an advantage to the governor. Matter-of-factly, almost all the families in the state can boast of at least a graduate. So, it is reasonable to say that Ekiti as a specific entity is spatially educated. Time it was when its sons and daughters were all focusing on becoming professors. Thank God it has now paid off, for when education and associated professions come to bear in Nigeria, Ekiti has only gone to show that learning and knowledge are never wasted ventures; they have a way of reproducing and repaying ‘for themselves, by themselves through themselves.’
The major responsibility of the national government is to provide an enabling environment for businesses to thrive while the state and the local governments have a responsibility to provide particular services to the people. Needless to repeat, Oyebanji’s decision to construct the first Ring Road Project is a step in the right direction. However, it will be in the best interest of the state and the good people of Ekiti to see the project completed. The old and unprofitable practice whereby projects were initiated but abandoned midway should be a thing accursed under this dispensation.
Ekiti State is 85% agrarian; and that also speaks for the state. Remember also the timbering and lumbering business. Without doubt, what the operators rake in daily from it is humongous. The only challenge is that those who are feeding fat from it are protective of it. Tourism sector is also supposed to be a thriving business but that has been over-flogged, especially with the security challenges, which, from the look of things, are reluctant to take a flight. Thankfully, the governor has promised “more ferocious wars against … criminalities in the state to bolster investment and ensure security of lives and property”.
Distinctively BAO is deep. He has shown that governance is not only about construction of roads or building of hospitals but more about making the generality of the people comfortable. What that tells us is that ‘the stealthy movement of the leopard is not out of cowardice)’. But then, there’s always a problem for a sitting powerful man in government, and that’s about reach, access and control. It is natural for certain individuals to create access to the president, or Mr. Governor, or other powerful people in any society. The truth is: we must allow those people to be ballooned and intoxicated with fool’s wine. The president, governor or the powerful people, too, should not be too carried away by their antics, for they are always there! Anywhere you find the orbit of power, there will be those who will say: ‘I have access to his ear’ and ‘he listens to me’. Old schoolmates, old colleagues at work, people one has lived with can be a hindrance. That’s the nature of politics, especially in this part of the world. Therefore, it is for Oyebanji’s eye not to shift from the central goal of bringing the Ekitis together, for wherever – starting from different political parties – the central thing is Ekiti State. What binds them together is the state.
In Ekiti, in exactly the same way as other states, power is always concentrated in the hands of few people within the ruling party. The antidote is performance. So, it will be in Oyebanji’s interest to embark on projects that will open up the economy of Ekiti. Surely certainly, that will keep the public to his side as well as keep the powers-that-be in reasonable check.
Lastly, there is an advice for the Ekitis, and it’s to look beyond party partisanship, religious differences and ethnic colouration and appeal to the origin of ‘Ekiti Parapo’ in making a valid construct of an ethnic group. Once this is embedded in their socialization and orientation, it becomes difficult for an outsider to infiltrate them or bring about a strange orientation. On its part, the administration must find a way of making sure that the people are detribalized and set free from religious fanaticism, for anything outside the central goal of development can only amount to a mere waste of time.
*Makinwa wrote in from Osogbo, Osun State.
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How US, UK truncate efforts to ensure Gaza ceasefire at UN Security Council: See their reasons
The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting Friday morning New York time to discuss the catastrophic situation in Gaza.
This followed Wednesday’s urgent letter by Secretary-General António Guterres – one of the most powerful tools at his disposal – urging the body to help end carnage in the war-battered enclave through a lasting humanitarian ceasefire.
A resolution tabled late afternoon in the chamber calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire was vetoed by the United States.
The Security Council meeting has adjourned.
Here are the key points:
The US vetoed a resolution put forward by the United Arab Emirates and backed by over 90 Member States. There were 13 votes in favour and the United Kingdom abstained.
The UN chief began this latest meeting on the crisis with a stark warning that “the conditions for the effective delivery of humanitarian aid no longer exist.”
He said “the eyes of the world – and the eyes of history – are watching”, demanding that the international community “do everything possible” to end the ordeal of the people of Gaza.
Mr. Guterres said “the UN is totally committed to stay and deliver for the people of Gaza.”
The resolution which failed to pass took note of the Secretary-General’s invocation of Article 99, expressed grave concern over the “catastrophic situation” in Gaza, and emphasized that both Palestinian and Israeli civilians must be protected.
It demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, and the immediate and unconditional release of hostages as well as humanitarian access.
It did not condemn the terror attacks perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October.
‘Humanity must prevail’: Palestine
Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the Observer State of Palestine, said it was “beyond regrettable” and “disastrous” that the Security Council was prevented from upholding its responsibilities – through a newly adopted resolution – in the face of the crisis.
“Millions of Palestinian lives hang in the balance, every single one of them is sacred and worth saving,” he said, adding that instead of allowing this Council to follow its mandate by finally making a clear call, after two months of massacres and atrocities, “the war criminals are given more time to perpetrate their crimes.”
“How can this be justified? How can anyone justify the slaughter of an entire people?”, he said.
UK: Hamas must be condemned
Explaining the UK’s abstention from the draft resolution, Ambassador Barbara Woodward said her country could not vote in favour of a resolution that fails to condemn the atrocities Hamas committed on innocent Israeli civilians on 7 October.
“Calling for a ceasefire ignores the fact that Hamas has committed acts of terror and is still holding civilians hostage,” she said, noting that Israel needs to be able to address the threat posed by Hamas and it needs to do so in a manner that abides by international humanitarian law.
She reiterated the importance of working meaningfully towards a two-State solution “which delivers statehood for the Palestinians, security for Israel and peace for people on both sides.”
‘No contradiction’ in fighting terror and protecting civilians: France
France’s Permanent Representative Nicolas de Rivière said the UN chief was correct to raise the alarm over the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Gaza.
“It is for this reason that France voted in favour of this resolution and it is for that reason that we plead for an immediate and lasting humanitarian truce”, he added.
“For our part, we do not see any contradiction in the fight against terrorism and the protection of civilians, in strict respect of international humanitarian law,” he said, adding “we would have wished for this Council to finally have been able to condemn the Hamas attacks and those of other terrorist groups on 7 October.”
“Unfortunately once again, this Council has failed. With a lack of unity and by refusing to genuinely commit to negotiations in doing this, the crisis in Gaza is getting worse and it runs the risk of extending,” he said.
Resolution ‘divorced from reality’: US
The US engaged in good faith on the text, said Deputy Permanent Representative Robert A. Wood, that would increase opportunities for hostage release and more aid to reach Gaza.
“Unfortunately, nearly all of our recommendations were ignored” leading to an “imbalanced resolution that was divorced from reality that would not move the needle forward on the ground in any concrete way. And so, we regretfully could not support it.”
He said the US still could not understand why the resolution’s authors declined to include language condemning “Hamas’s horrific terrorist attack” on Israel, of 7 October.
It killed people from a range of nationalities, subjecting many to “obscene sexual violence.”
He said he had explained earlier in the day why an unconditional ceasefire would simply be “dangerous” and leave Hamas in place, able to attack again.
It was “a recipe for disaster for Israel, for Palestinians and for the entire region”.
Any ceasefire leaving Hamas in control would also deny Palestinians the chance to build something better for themselves, he added.
US vetoes resolution
The vote took place, with 13 members in favour.
The US voted AGAINST, with the UK abstaining. Owing to the US veto, the resolution was not therefore adopted.
Dmitriy Polyanskiy, Russia’s representative, said US diplomacy was “leaving scorched earth in its wake”. He said if an immediate ceasefire was blocked by the US again, how could the country look its partners in the eye? He called on the US to “make the right choice” and support the demand for an end to violence.
Speaking before the vote, the representative of the UAE, said at least 97 Member States have co-sponsored their resolution: “It is clear in its intention – an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”
Saving lives right now, must supercede all other considerations, he said.
The president of the Council, the permanent representative from Ecuador, has brought the meeting to order again. A long list of non-member countries who have co-sponsored the resolution, are joining.
Security Council reconvenes for the vote
The meeting is back in open session with the cameras rolling and a vote is believed to be imminent once it formally begins.
Meeting behind closed doors
Ambassadors are now meeting behind closed doors, ahead of an anticipated vote on a new draft resolution tabled by the United Arab Emirates, which many members referred to during the morning session discussing the Secretary General’s letter under Article 99.
The resolution takes note and specifies it is acting on the letter from the UN chief under the special powers invoked by Article 99.
The draft demands an immediate humanitarian ceasefire as well as an immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. Ambassadors have been negotiating intensely in the past few hours over the final text.
The draft also reiterates the demand of the Council for all warring parties to comply with their obligations under international law, notably with regard to protection of civilians in both Palestine and Israel.
Draft resolutions do not represent an official position of the Security Council until they are adopted.
Meeting in recess
The meeting has adjourned. The UN chief began this latest meeting on the crisis with a stark warning that “the conditions for the effective delivery of humanitarian aid no longer exist.”
He said “the eyes of the world – and the eyes of history – are watching”, demanding that the international community “do everything possible” to end the ordeal of the people of Gaza.
Security Council members, meanwhile, continue negotiations on a new draft resolution on the crisis, and are currently scheduled to reconvene at 5:30 PM New York time.
Mr. Guterres said “the UN is totally committed to stay and deliver for the people of Gaza.”
We need to respond with urgency: UK
Barbara Woodward, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom (UK) to the UN, started off by stressing “we need to respond, and to respond with urgency.”
“The sheer scale of civilians killed is shocking,” she said.
Noting that her country continues to support Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas terrorism as it seeks the return of well over 100 hostages still held in Gaza, she stated: “we are absolutely clear that Israel must be targeted and precise in achieving that goal.”
“Civilians must be protected,” she underscored.
Ambassador Woodward also noted the need for a marked increase in sustainable and unhindered lifesaving aid and essential services to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe from taking place.
“As we work to halt the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, we need also to work to avoid escalation in the West Bank, including in Occupied East Jerusalem,” she said, noting that Israel’s announcements approving new settlements there is alarming and that it will only raise tensions.
“Let us be clear: settlements are illegal under international law. They present an obstacle to peace, and they threaten the physical viability and delivery of a two-State solution,” she said, calling for an immediate reversal of Israeli policy on expansion.
Condemn Hamas terror, agree a fresh truce: France
France’s Permanent Representative Nicolas de Rivière, reiterate his nation’s call for “a new, immediate and lasting humanitarian truce”, which must lead to a permanent ceasefire.
We must act and continue our collective mobilization for the population of Gaza, he said.
Given the gravity of the situation, he said France deplored the decision of the Israeli authorities not to renew the visa of Lynn Hastings, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, who is now due to leave next week.
We must also put an end to Hamas actions and “it unacceptable that this Security Council has not yet been able to condemn these acts”, he said, referencing the terror acts of October 7.
Israel can count on France to fight against Hamas, he said, which, along with the other groups, must release all hostages they are holding inside Gaza, immediately and unconditionally.
The situation in the West Bank is equally worrying. We reaffirm our strong condemnation of recent decisions regarding colonization and the violence carried out by settler groups against Palestinians, said Ambassador de Rivière.
France is considering measures to ban travel and freeze assets. But “what is important now is to restore a political horizon, on the basis of the only viable solution”, that of two States living side by side in peace and security.
The President of France is fully committed, he said and continues his discussions towards a resolution, with partners in the region.
A ‘fundamental disconnect’: US
Robert A. Wood, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States (US) to the UN, said that the Security Council’s failure to condemn Hamas’ 7 October terrorist attacks including its acts of sexual violence and other unthinkable evils, is a serious moral failure.
“It underscores the fundamental disconnect between the discussions we have been having in this chamber and the realities on the ground,” he said.
An “undeniable part of that reality”, he added, is that if Israel unilaterally laid down its weapons today, Hamas would continue to hold hostages.
Ambassador Wood stated that as of today, Hamas continues to pose a threat to Israel and remain in charge of Gaza, stressing that no government would allow such as threat to continue to remain on its borders, after events like the 7 October massacres.
Ceasefire will ‘plant seeds for the next war’
“For that reason, while the US strongly supports a durable peace in which both Israel and Palestine can live in peace and security, we do not support calls for an immediate ceasefire. This would only plant the seeds for the next war, because Hamas has no desire to see a durable peace, to see a two-State solution,” he said.
In his remarks, the Ambassador said that Israel must respect international humanitarian law and conduct its operations in a way that minimizes civilian harm.
To back up these words and protect civilians, the US has supported establishing an effective humanitarian deconfliction mechanism with the UN, where it also monitors implementation.
“In every conversation we also have underscored that Israel must avoid further mass displacement of civilians in the south of Gaza, many of whom previously fled violence,” he said, adding, “Israel must further ensure sufficient humanitarian support exists for displaced individuals.”
He also noted that civilians displaced in Gaza must have an opportunity to return as soon as conditions permit.
“There must be no enduring displacement or reduction in Gaza’s territory. Under no circumstances would the US support forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank,” he said.
Immediate ceasefire will save lives: China
Representative of China Zhang Jun, paid tribute to the Secretary-General for his statement on the seriousness of the situation in Gaza.
The draft resolution submitted by the UAE reflects the call of the international community, which China supports and co-sponsors because only an immediate ceasefire will save lives and pave the way for the two-State solution, he added.
“A larger crisis is imminent,” and regional peace and security is “on the precipice”. The world is watching. Member States must act, he warned.
Save Palestinians ‘from extermination’, Russia urges
Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative, Dmitriy Polyanskiy, said that with the humanitarian pause, the parties got their break in hostilities and realized their tactical objectives but then Israel, with the “proactive support” of the United States, moved on to a new, even more bloody phase of its ground operation in Gaza.
He quoted from the UN chief’s letter, emphasizing the desperate conditions being faced by civilians.
Meanwhile, the Security Council has not adopted any clear, binding decision demanding – not calling – for the parties to stop the violence.
The discussions here amount only to “empty words”, he said.
Flooding Gaza with seawater by the Israeli military as a tactic of war, would amount to a war crime, he said.
Today the Council has a good opportunity “to end to this abnormal situation and do what the international community expects of it”, he declared, by passing a ceasefire resolution later today.
We hope that all colleagues will find the strength and courage to adopt the draft resolution prepared by the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Polyansky added.
Of course, we should not lose sight of the prospects for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement based on the “two-State formula,” which we consider to have no alternative.
We are ready to work on this, he said, but today, the primary task is to stop hostilities and “save Palestinian civilians from extermination.”
Security Council must act: UAE
Mohamed Issa Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the UN said that for many Gazans who have never left the enclave, “their entire world is systematically demolished before their eyes”.
He stated the Security Council must act on the crisis when too little aid is getting in and humanitarian workers are unable to deliver it for the fear of getting killed.
“Despite the recent temporary pause, the violence and danger to civilians has not abated, in fact this conflict has now graduated to a new and more dangerous phase,” he added, noting that the siege of Khan Yunis and other parts in southern Gaza has now started.
“There is literally no safe haven for the millions of people trapped and under attack,” the Ambassador said.
Ceasefire will only prolong Hamas ‘reign of terror’: Israel
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador, said the globe has been reeling from the impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Yet not once, has Article 99 of the UN Charter been invoked by the current Secretary-General, citing other grinding conflicts which have destabilised entire regions.
He said regional stability in the Middle East can “only be achieved once Hamas is eliminated”. Calling for a ceasefire would not achieve that end, he insisted.
He said that on 6 October, a ceasefire held, but the following day “thousands of Hamas Nazis” carried out a massacre the like of which has not been seen since the Holocaust.
Mr. Erdan said if Hamas was not destroyed, then atrocities would be carried out by the group “again and again”. Gazans have been forced to live in poverty, he said, and calling for a ceasefire would ensure that the suffering and the fighting will continue.
He said it sent a clear message: “that Hamas is forgiven for their deliberate atrocities, and Hamas’s oppression of Gazans is given a green light by the international community.”
The Israeli ambassador said Hamas’s main weapon was terror and was seeking to “maximize civilian casualties” to put more and more pressure on Israel to relent.
He said Hamas was the root cause of the situation in Gaza, and yet there has been “zero accountability for their evil”, questioning why Hamas was not being held responsible for its actions.
He said fuel tankers and medical supplies had been allowed into Gaza during the ceasefire by Israel, but Hamas had violated the terms of the truth, he added.
With 138 hostages still being held “Hamas has not even allowed the Red Cross to visit them and provide their families with the most basic sign of life. This is an abhorrent war crime”, he said.
He said Israel would continue with its mission, while supporting “every humanitarian initiative”, but the destruction of Hamas is the only option.
Aim is not security: Palestine
Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the Observer State of Palestine to the UN, outlined the impact of the strikes by Israel, saying the bombardment “placed every possible impediment on humanitarian aid and access.”
“And we are all supposed to pretend that this aggression is not aimed at the destruction of the Palestinian people in the Gaza strip, when it has besieged and bombed our people and deprived them of all requirements of life?” he said.
“I keep reading in the media that Israel has no clear war objectives, are we supposed to pretend that we don’t know the objective is the ethnic cleansing of the Gaza Strip?” he continued.
He said that if anyone says they are against the destruction and displacement of Palestinian people, they have to be in favour of an immediate ceasefire.
“When you refuse to call for a ceasefire, you are refusing to call for the only thing that can put an end to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. This is how Israel is conducting the war, through atrocities,” Mr. Mansour said.
Mr. Mansour noted that the aim of the war by Israel is not security, but to “prevent for ever any prospect of Palestinian impudence and peace”.
“These intentions are clear in the Gaza Strip as well as in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” he said.
He further underscored the universality of international law, stating that the “Israeli exceptionalism has to end, and it has to end now”.
“Stop rewriting international law to fit Israeli crimes and stop calling for respect for international law while supporting an assault that has torn it into shreds,” he said.
“The Palestinian people will not die in vain, the Palestinian people deserve respect … we have earned it, we have paid the heaviest price to end it … show us respect, not in words but in deeds, show us respect for our lives and our rights,” he added.
Conditions for effective aid delivery ‘no longer exist’ – Guterres
The president of the Council has gavelled the meeting to order, and invited the UN chief to speak.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres thanked ambassadors for their response to his invocation of Article 99 saying he had written because “we are at breaking point” in the war between Israel and Palestinian militants.
“There is a high risk of the total collapse of the humanitarian support system in Gaza, which would have devastating consequences.”
He said public order could completely break down, increasing pressure for mass displacement across the border into Egypt.
“I fear the consequences could be devastating for the security of the entire region”, he said, adding that the Occupied West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, had already been drawn in to the conflict to varying degrees.
There is clearly, in my view, a serious risk of aggravating existing threats to the maintenance of international peace and security”.
He said more than 130 of his colleagues had already been killed: “this is the largest single loss of life in the history of this Organisation. Some of our staff take their children to work so they know they will live or die together.”
The conditions for the effective delivery of humanitarian aid no longer exist – UN Secretary-General
Despite this, the UN is totally committed to stay and deliver for the people of Gaza, said the UN chief.
He said the humanitarian situation however, was “simply becoming untenable.”
“The conditions for the effective delivery of humanitarian aid no longer exist.”
Horror of ‘human pinball’
The UN chief went on to note the catastrophic situation continues to worsen by the day.
More than 17,000 Palestinians have reportedly been killed since the start of Israel’s military operations, including over 4,000 women and 7,000 children. Tens of thousands are reported to have been injured, and many are missing, presumably under the rubble.
About 85 per cent of Gaza’s population has been displaced; hospitals, schools and UN facilities have been damaged or destroyed.
There is also a serious risk of starvation and famine, Mr. Guterres reported, noting that half the people in northern Gaza and more than one third of displaced people in the south are “simply starving”.
“Attacks from air, land and sea are intense, continuous and widespread,” he said, adding that people in Gaza “are being told to move like human pinballs – ricocheting between ever-smaller slivers of the south, without any of the basics for survival.”
‘Unreserved condemnation’ of Hamas attacks
The Secretary-General also reiterated his “unreservedly condemnation” of Hamas’ brutal attacks on Israel on 7 October, stressing that he is “appalled” by the reports of sexual violence.
“There is no possible justification for deliberately killing some 1,200 people, including 33 children, injuring thousands more, and taking hundreds of hostages,” he said, adding “at the same time, the brutality perpetrated by Hamas can never justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”
“While indiscriminate rocket fire by Hamas into Israel, and the use of civilians as human shields, are in contravention of the laws of war, such conduct does not absolve Israel of its own violations,” Mr. Guterres said.
He underscored that international humanitarian law includes the obligation to protect civilians and to ensure that civilians’ essential needs must be met, including by facilitating the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian relief.
Looking into the abyss
Stressing that the people of Gaza “are looking into the abyss”, the UN chief called on the international community to do “everything possible” to end their ordeal.
The eyes of the world – and the eyes of history – are watching – UN Secretary-General
“I urge the Council to spare no effort to push for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, for the protection of civilians, and for the urgent delivery of lifesaving aid,” he said, recalling also the importance of the two-State solution, based on UN resolutions and international law, with Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security.
“This is vital for Israelis, Palestinians, and for international peace and security. The eyes of the world – and the eyes of history – are watching,” he said.
Following the discussions, Council members are expected to vote later in the day on a draft resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire as well as an immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.
The draft resolution also reiterates the demand of the Council for all parties to comply with their obligations under international law, notably with regard to protection of civilians in both Palestine and Israel.
Draft resolutions do not represent an official position of the Security Council until they are adopted.
In his letter the Secretary-General invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter, which grants him with the responsibility to “bring to the attention” of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.
It was the first time ever that Mr. Guterres had used the rarely invoked clause.
“Facing a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system in Gaza, I urge the Council to help avert a humanitarian catastrophe & appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared,” Mr. Guterres wrote on X, formerly Twitter, after dispatching the letter.
Council’s last meeting
The Security Council last discussed the situation in Gaza, in an open doors meeting, on 29 November. Here are the highlights:
“We need a true humanitarian ceasefire,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, describing a catastrophe on the ground in Gaza and underlining the need to release all hostages
Tor Wennesland, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, had “a message that resonates today as we mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People: There must be a new and different approach, or we are doomed to return to the path of managing a conflict that clearly cannot be managed”
Council members, including many ministers, roundly decried the unfolding humanitarian crisis and commended the ongoing pause in fighting, with some calling for the full implementation of its resolution 2712 on the crisis
“We cannot afford to lose more lives,” said the ambassador of Malta, penholder of resolution 2712, adopted in mid-November following several failed attempts
Non-Council members echoed those calls, with Qatar’s Prime Minister saying “it is high time to take real measures towards peace; the region will not enjoy peace and security without the establishment of a Palestinian State”
Israel’s ambassador said the Council has not addressed Hamas’s “central role in the ruin of the region”
“We are at a historic crossroad,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the observer State of Palestine.
How Kano politicians plan against state interest – Hon Alhassan Doguwa
Politicians from Kano State have been urged to always consider the interest of the state in every thing they do, so as to move the state forward in all spheres of life.
The member representing Doguwa/Tundun Wada Federal Constituency of Kano State at House of Representatives, Hon Alhassan Ado Doguwa, gave this advice while speaking to our reporter from Saudi Arabia.
The federal lawmaker, who narrated his ordeals in the hands what he called “politics of negativity” said he was grateful to “The Almighty Allah for vindicating me after all the conspiracies the opposition politicians planned against me.”
According to him, the ruling of the Nigerian Federal High Court on the 1st of December, 2023, that voided the directive of Kano State governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, that ordered the state’s Attorney-General to review the former A-G’s legal advice on the alleged murder case earlier preferred against him, was a true reflection of the working of the rule of law in Nigeria.
Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court had ordered Governor Yusuf to refrain “from further interfering with the fundamental rights of the applicant whatsoever”, while awarding a N25 million in damages against the governor for causing psychological pain and damage to Hon Doguwa.
Doguwa said he won the February 25, 2023 National Assembly Election in his constituency convincingly, “despite all the negative vibes exuded by the opposition.”
According to him, he delivered the most quintessential electoral victory for his party in his constituency. Tudunwada/Doguwa was the only federal constituency in the whole state that delivered for APC in all the elections held. APC won in the presidential election and defeated the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) Presidential Candidate, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, in both Doguwa and Tudunwada. The party also won the Senatorial election, while clinching the two State Assembly seats.
He said his House of Representatives seat was the only one won by APC in the whole Kano South Senatorial Zone comprising of 16 local government areas.
Slated to vie for the leadership of the House of Representatives in 2023, Doguwa said his chances were very bright but “the clog they threw in the wheel caused a drawback. The opposition in Kano State believed it was better for the state to lose the Speakership of the House of Representatives than for Doguwa to get it.
“But it shouldn’t have been about Doguwa. It should have been about Kano State.”
He pledged to continue to work tirelessly in the scheme of Nigeria’s legislative businesses, saying as the Chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum Resources and Chiarman of the House Special Committee on Crude Oil Theft and Pipeline Vandalization, he was ever ready to give his best to justify the confidence reposed in him.
He also said he appreciated the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Tajjuddeen Abbas, for appointing him as Chairman of the Northern Regional Caucus of the 10th National Assembly, a position always reserved for elder statesmen parliamentarians.
Doguwa finally advised Kano politicians to always eschew politics of bitterness.
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UN Security Council to meet Friday, as WHO, others decry ‘apocalyptic’ conditions in Gaza
Two months to the day since Hamas’ terror attacks in Israel prompted a massive Israeli military retaliation in Gaza, the situation in the war-torn enclave is becoming “apocalyptic” with hostilities making meaningful humanitarian efforts “nearly impossible”, UN humanitarians warned on Thursday.
In a joint statement, 27 aid organisations, including UN agencies and their partners issued a call for an immediate stop to the fighting, stressing that conditions in Gaza are “amongst the worst we have witnessed”.
Emergency meeting in New York
Meanwhile, in New York, Ecuador – which holds the presidency of the Security Council, announced that an emergency meeting to discuss the Palestine-Israel crisis would take place at 10 AM local time in New York on Friday.
UN chief António Guterres called on the 15-member Council on Wednesday – invoking the rare but powerful Chapter 99 tool – to “press to avert a humanitarian catastrophe” and unite in a call for a full humanitarian ceasefire.
In a letter to the Council he highlighted the “potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians as a whole and for peace and security in the region”.
Permanent Representatives from the Arab Group of nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, addressed reporters outside the Security Council in New York late on Friday morning local time, calling for action towards a ceasefire in Gaza.
‘No food, just bombs’
Meanwhile on Thursday Israeli troops reportedly entered the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, where hundreds of thousands of displaced people have been sheltering.
Intense Israeli bombardments across the Strip and rocket firing by Palestinian armed groups into Israel have continued over the past two days, UN humanitarian affairs coordination office OCHA said, and more than 100 people were reportedly killed on Wednesday in the bombardment of “multiple residential buildings” in Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza.
“Almost no one in Gaza has enough food. In some areas, nine out of 10 people went a full day and night with nothing to eat,” UN World Food Programme (WFP) representative in the occupied Palestinian territory, Samer AbdelJaber, wrote on social platform X, while UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) spokesperson James Elder, who recently returned from Gaza, summed up conditions in the enclave as: “No water. No sanitation. No food. Just bombs.”
Humanitarian operation ‘in tatters’: Griffiths
“We do not have a humanitarian operation in southern Gaza that can be called by that name anymore,” UN emergency relief chief Martin Griffiths told journalists in Geneva. He said that the humanitarian plan to protect civilians in the enclave is “in tatters” and no place is safe anymore as a result of the intense pace of the Israeli military assault in the south of the Strip.
He dubbed the current state of affairs “humanitarian opportunism” with aid deliveries which have become “erratic, undependable and frankly… not sustainable”.
Mr. Griffiths stressed that the aid agencies on which the people of Gaza have relied on “for many decades” will remain by their side, but that the “only serious policy response” to the crisis is to silence the guns.
He also highlighted some “promising signs” in ongoing negotiations in the COGAT committee, which “meets daily and nightly” and brings together key stakeholders including the UN, Israel, Egypt and the United States, on aid access to Gaza through the Kerem Shalom border crossing from Israel.
“If we get that it would be the first miracle we’ve seen in some weeks and a huge boost to the logistical base of the humanitarian operation,” he said. So far Rafah in the south of the Strip has been the only border crossing open for aid deliveries since those resumed on 21 October.
‘We need peace for health’ – WHO
UN health agency WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed support for Mr. Guterres’ letter, stressing that “Gaza’s health system is on its knees”.
“We need peace for health,” he insisted.
As of Wednesday, WHO had documented 212 attacks on healthcare in the Strip affecting 56 facilities and 59 ambulances. Only 14 out of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are at least partially operational.
The latest facility to stop functioning, the Kamal Adwan hospital in Jabalia, saw the evacuation of most patients and staff by the Gaza health authorities on Wednesday due to intense fighting and a lack of essentials.
“This will deprive thousands of people of essential lifesaving care,” WHO’s Tedros warned.
In a statement on Thursday a UN-appointed independent expert condemned Israel’s “unrelenting war” on the health system in Gaza. “We have descended into depths from which we must quickly emerge,” said Tlaleng Mofokeng, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health.
Meanwhile, stranded trucks, telecommunications blackouts and the inability of staff to report to the Rafah border crossing due to the hostilities have been limiting the UN’s ability to receive incoming aid, OCHA said.
For the fourth consecutive day on Wednesday Rafah was the only governorate in Gaza where aid distributions took place, as according to OCHA the intensity of the fighting “largely stopped” operations in the neighbouring Khan Younis governorate. There has been no access from the south to areas north of Wadi Gaza since the pause in fighting came to an end on 1 December.
On Wednesday 80 aid trucks and 69,000 litres of fuel entered through Rafah into Gaza – “well below the daily average of 170 trucks and 110,000 litres of fuel that had entered during the humanitarian pause”, OCHA stressed.
Evacuations in Khan Younis
The fighting in Khan Younis has pushed tens of thousands of people to flee to Rafah in the past few days, OCHA said. On Wednesday five schools run by UN agency for Palestine refugees UNRWA and serving as shelters in eastern Khan Younis governorate were evacuated following orders from the Israeli military.
Additionally, an area accounting for about a quarter of Khan Younis city was designated by the Israeli military for immediate evacuation.
In Rafah, shelters are over capacity and new arrivals have been settling in the streets and in empty spaces across the city. UNRWA is supporting the displaced with tents while WFP is distributing hot meals, in the midst of what the UN agency has dubbed a “catastrophic hunger crisis” across the Strip.
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