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Ramaphosa Becomes AU Chairman, Pledges to End Era of Colonialism, Imperialism in Africa

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to lead a revolution into infrastructure development across Africa, a challenge he said if realised would see an end to all manifestations of colonialism and imperialism on the continent.

Mr Ramaphosa took over on Sunday as the new chairperson of the African Union in Addis Ababa, using his acceptance speech to rail against decades of neglect that had rendered Africa a minor player in world trade and notorious dumping ground for substandard goods.

“The era of colonialism and imperialism under which Africa is a pit stop in the global assembly line has passed,” Mr Ramaphosa declared as he took over from Egypt’s Abdel Fatah El-Sisi for the one-year tenure on Sunday afternoon.

The South African leader expressed high expectations of the recently-adopted African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He said its implementation would mark the beginning of prosperity in a continent that has had its potential suppressed for too long.

“We are a continent that is rich in natural resources but also in history, intellectual output, culture in its sense of humanity,” he said, adding that he would use his leadership to kickstart a process that would guarantee an “Africa connected through a vast network of roads and railways, enabling the free movement of goods, people and services.”

Driving force

The 33rd Summit of the African Union that got underway earlier this week has been packed with discussions around urgent implementation of AfCFTA, a continent-wide trade treaty adopted in 2018. Fifty-two out of 54 countries and territories that make up the African Union have endorsed the treaty. Legislative bodies of all the countries have already commenced ratification processes.

African leaders believe the agreement would spur intra-continental trade amongst the member states, which is currently very low, notwithstanding their common borders and shared cultural heritage.

“The success of the AfCTA depends on infrastructure development,” Mr Ramaphosa said, adding that a road would be constructed between Cape Town and Cairo as part of the agenda. A slew of “outstanding issues” around AfCFTA, especially on the definition of what constitutes an ‘African good or service’ would be finalised before the official commencement of the policy, he added.

Women and youth would also play a major role in driving AfCFTA implementation due to their indispensable potentials for economic mobility, Mr Ramaphosa said.

He promised to reduce gender-based violence that has become a key impediment to social development and technological breakthrough on the continent.

“We have heard the calls of the women and the girls of Africa for liberation from the shackles of patriarchy, violence and economic exclusion,” Mr Ramaphosa said. “Africa must drive a skills revolution and an Africa intelligence forum must be established to include those in the diaspora.”

This year’s AU summit, which has non-African leaders like Antonio Guterres and Canada’s Justin Trudeau in attendance, focused on silencing the guns to foster economic development on the continent. It would wrap up on Monday after consideration of all pending policy initiatives that were presented to the leaders of the 54 member states.

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Prepare for Increase in Electricity Tariff, Nigerians Told

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Nigerians should be prepared to pay cost-reflective electricity tariffs in order to enjoy the benefits of the liberalisation of the power sector, the government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria has said.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, TCN, Mr Usman Mohammed, who said this on Thursday, noted that the government had continued to pump money into the power sector despite privatising it more than six years ago.

Mohammed spoke in Lagos during the groundbreaking for the replacement of old wires on the Ikeja West-Alimosho-Ogba-Alausa-Ota transmission lines.

He said when completed, the project would allow Ikeja Electric to take the full capacity of all the transformers along the substations to be supplied by the lines.

He said, “We are working to transform the TCN to be one of the best transmission companies in the world. But I want to tell the Nigerian public that we cannot move forward if we don’t pay for electricity.

“I want to tell Nigerians that there is no relationship between poverty and payment for electricity.”

According to the TCN boss, Nigeria has the cheapest electricity tariff in West Africa.

He said the government had sunk N1.5tn into the power sector in terms of payment assurance guarantee for power generation.

Mohammed said, “We have to stop this government intervention and we can only stop it when contracts become effective. Contracts can only be effective when you have cost-reflective tariffs.”

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission in its December 2019 Minor Review of Multi Year Tariff Order 2015 and Minimum Remittance Order for the Year 2020 for the 11 Discos, had said on January 4 that consumers would start to pay more for electricity from April 1, 2020.

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See Reasons Senate’s Establishing Agency for Repentant Boko Haram Members

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The Senate on Thursday started work on a bill for a law seeking the establishment of a national agency for education and rehabilitation of repentant Boko Haram insurgents.

When it eventually becomes a law, it will ensure de-radicalisation of repentant Boko Haram militants and other insurgents.

The bill, which was sponsored by the All Progressives Congress member representing Yobe East Senatorial District, and former governor of Yobe State, Senator  Ibrahim Gaidam, passed the first reading on Thursday.

It was supported by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.

Reading the bill, Geidam, who is from the same state with the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said the document titled, “National agency for the education, rehabilitation, de-radicalisation and integration of repentant insurgents in Nigeria,” would ensure that repentant insurgents were fully integrated into society.

The proposed agency, according to the legislation, would provide educational opportunities for the insurgents.

It will also rehabilitate,  de-radicalise and integrate the repentant insurgents in the country.  The proposed agency, according to the bill, will provide recreational sports and fine arts programmes for the repentant insurgents.

The bill also states that the agency will be able to gain a greater understanding of both the immediate needs for combating Boko Haram, as well as tool for counter-radicalisation in the future, by maintaining open lines of communication.

The proposed agency will also provide vocational rehabilitation facilities for the repentant terrorists to learn carpentry, clay shaping, pottery and the like.

The bill adds that repentant insurgents will make use of art through drawings, guided by professional art therapists in their art. rehabilitation.

The main aims of the bill are to “provide avenue for rehabilitating, de-radicalising, educating and reintegrating the defectors, repentant and detained members of the insurgent group Boko Haram to make them useful members of the society.

“Provide avenue for reconciliation and promote national security. Provide an-open-door and encouragement for other members of the group who are still engaged in the insurgency to abandon the group, especially in the face of the military pressure.

“Give the government an opportunity to derive insider-information about the insurgent group for greater understanding of the group and its inner workings.

“Gain greater understanding of the insurgents will enable government to address the immediate concerns of violence and study the needs of de-radicalization effort to improve the process of de-radicalization.

“Help disintegrate the violent and poisonous ideology that the group spreads as the programme will enable some convicted or suspected terrorists to express remorse over their actions.

“Make them repent and recant their violent ideology and re-enter mainstream politics, religion and society.”

Recall that the military established a rehabilitating centre in Gombe State for repentant Boko Haram terrorists.

The centre, it was reported,  had trained and rehabilitated over 1,000 insurgents since its inception over three years ago.

The Borno State Government had also revealed that about 1,400 repentant Boko Haram suspects had been released by the military and rehabilitated into society.

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Just In: Police Nab Suspected Killer of Aso Rock Director

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Preliminary investigation into the suspected murder of Laetitia Naankang Dagan ‘f’, an Assistant Director with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, by the Criminal Investigation Department of the FCT Police Command led to the arrest of one Edirin Ohonre ‘m’ who is suspected to have conspired with others now at large to perpetrate the crime.

This was a revelation in a press statement signed and released on Wednesday by the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Anjuguri Manzah of the FCT Police Command.

The statement said the suspect, who is currently under interrogation, is assisting the team of police detectives with information that will lead to the arrest of the other suspects connected to the crime, that are now at large.

While commiserating with the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased on the unfortunate incident, the FCT Police Command is assuring members of the public that it has deployed relevant investigative tools to unravel the circumstances surrounding the victim’s unfortunate death and ensure the arrest and prosecution of suspects behind the heinous act.

The Command is urging members of the public to disregard insinuations making the rounds in some social media platforms, and also wish to appeal to the members of the public to desist from preempting the ongoing police investigation.

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