The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms Amina Mohammed, says the world is yet to unite for a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mohammed stated this on Tuesday at a virtual meeting of Ministers of Finance on Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond.
She said: “ with lockdown measures continuing, borders closed, debts skyrocketing and fiscal resources plunging, the pandemic is pushing the world towards its worst recession in decades”.
Mohammed emphasised that immediate multilateral actions were required for the world to defeat the virus and sustainably recover from the attendant social-economic crises.
She said although international institutions, including the World Bank and the International Monterey Fund (IMF), had taken actions to address the pandemic, the measures were working only for some countries.
“We have heard the projections of the dire consequences: between 70 and 100 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty, and additional 265 million people could face food shortages by the end of this year.
“An estimated 400 million jobs have been lost, disproportionately affecting women. Some 1.6 billion learners have had their studies disrupted.
“Finding an immediate and lasting solution is our responsibility,” she said.
Mohammed called for a new global financial system that would work in “these unprecedented times”.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the meeting was convened by the Deputy Secretary-General and the Finance Ministers of Canada and Jamaica.
Among others, the meeting was to present a single ambitious menu of policy options to countries, to recover from the health and its attendant social-economic crises.
The Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, Ms Chrystia Freeland, also underscored the essential role of multilateralism in tackling the challenges.
Freeland, who is also Canada’s Minister of Finance, said the global health and economic systems required collective strength to deliver.
“In today’s interconnected world, the global health system depends on the strength of all of us and on our collaboration first to control and conquer COVID-19 and to ensure a sustainable global economic recovery.
“We can only overcome these challenges together. The pandemic has made acutely clear the vulnerabilities at domestic and international levels.
“It has also highlighted what we can do better to build back, in order to respond to this crisis to ensure no one is left behind,” she said.
Speaking in the same vein, Mr Nigel Clarke, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and the Public Service, stressed the need for the global community to “mount an urgent, effective and coordinated response”.
“While we are all affected, certain regions are more exposed and need urgent support.
“The tourism dependent and moderate to highly indebted economies of the Caribbean, other small island developing states as well as many low-income countries have borne the brunt of the social economic impact of the pandemic.
“An external shock of this magnitude has obvious credit implications, which will be more acute in developing countries that are encountering the crisis with high debt burden, low level of foreign exchange reserves and large current account deficits.
“As such, we support the multilateral and other initiatives that have been taken to assist developing countries to access the credit needed to finance the COVID-19 response,” Clarke said.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Ifeyinwa Omowole
Edo Polls: Foundation commends security personnel
Cleen Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has commended the conduct of the security personnel deployed for the Edo State Governorship election on Sept. 19.
Mr Benson Olugbuo, the Executive Director of the foundation, gave the commendation in a preliminary statement on the conduct of the election.
Olugbuo said that the conduct of the security agents made the electorate feel safe and confident while carrying out their civic duty.
“We observed the feeling of safety at the polling units. Our reports showed that 78 per cent of the polling units were safe and secure while 22 per cent were observed to be somewhat safe and secure.
“Report from our observers also showed that 94 per cent of the security personnel at the polling units were approachable and 83 per cent of the security personnel were impartial.
“However, we observed that at Uwa Primary School, Ward 10, Pollin Unit 21, Oredo Local Government Area, party and security agents were observed monitoring electorate’s votes in the cubicle disregarding the secrecy of the balloting system,” he said.
He lauded the security for early arrivals at 86 per cent of the polling units and for not scaring or threatening the safety of the electorate with the possession of firearms.
Olugbuo said its foundations observers also reported that on the aggregate, 83 per cent of the polling units had three or more security personnel which boosted voters’ safety and confidence.
He said that 96 per cent of security personnel were observed to be wearing easily identifiable name tags, which also encouraged voters to feel safe.
He said that apart from wearing of facemasks, there was no physical distancing and there was absence of sanitisers.
He said that other observations were vote trading across the state, malfunctioning of some smart card readers and late commencement of voting in few places.
Olugbuo said that the organisation would continue to observe the elections and issue its post-election statement to detail more on the overall conduct of the security personnel.
He said that the observation was done by its trained observers under the platform of the Election Security Support Centre (ESSC), of the foundation, in collaboration with the Police Service Commission (PSC).
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Donald Ugwu
NCDC records 189 new COVID-19 cases, total now 57,145
The NCDC made this known on its official twitter handle on Saturday.
“As at Sept. 19, 2020, 189 new confirmed cases and one death was recorded in Nigeria.
“Till date, 57,145 cases have been confirmed, 48,431 cases have been discharged and 1,095 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” it said.
The agency stated that the 189 new infections were reported from 15 states of the federation.
“Lagos (70), Plateau (37), FCT (24), Kaduna (19), Rivers (12), Oyo (5), Ogun (4), Ebonyi (3), Katsina (3), Ondo (3), Osun (3), Imo (2), Yobe (2), Ekiti (1), Nasarawa (1),” it said.
The agency said that cloth masks provide protection when properly worn and cared for.
“Wear mask covering your nose and mouth, handle mask with clean hands and wash cloth face masks after each use.
“MaskOnNaija with other preventive measures. Learn how to make your own face mask: covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/media/files/DI… ,” it advised.
“TakeResponsibility and adhere to all non pharmaceutical preventive measures of COVID-19 if you must travel,“ it said.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujini/Sadiya Hamza
United States initiates ‘snapback’ process to reimpose sanctions on Iran – Pompeo
The United States has initiated the so-called snapback process to restore almost all previously lifted UN sanctions against Iran, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Saturday.
“Today, the United States welcomes the return of virtually all previously terminated UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror and anti-Semitism,” Pompeo said.
He said the snapback of previously terminated UN sanctions became effective at 8 pm Washington time (0000 GMT).
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected the United States move, saying that the snapback mechanism and reimposed sanctions were invalid.
“This step is not supported by the UN Security Council because the United States is no longer in the nuclear agreement and accordingly no longer plays a role in UN resolution 2231,” Zarif said referring to the resolution in which the UNSC backed the Iran nuclear deal signed in Vienna in 2015.
The move by Washington was merely a “propaganda trick” ahead of the United States election, Zarif said on Iranian state television.
Washington’s plans to reimpose international sanctions on Iran have been met with overwhelming opposition from other countries.
Other members of the UN Security Council (UNSC), including key United States allies who are part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, have rejected Washington’s move and have vowed to ignore it.
Under the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Tehran limited its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief.
“Sanctions are being re-imposed on Iran pursuant to the snapback process under UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2231. On August 20, the United States notified the President of the Security Council of Iran’s significant non-performance of its JCPOA commitments,” Pompeo said in the Saturday statement.
“Virtually all @UN sanctions have returned on Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism and anti-Semitism.
“This includes a permanent extension of the arms embargo. This is great news for peace in the region!” Pompeo added on Twitter.
He later added that Washington would soon “announce a range of additional measures to strengthen enforcement of @UN sanctions on Iran.”
“Our maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian regime will continue until it stops spreading chaos, violence, and bloodshed,” he said.
United States special representative for Iran and Venezuela Elliott Abrams had already signalled Washington’s determination to reimpose sanctions on Tehran earlier this week.
The United States launched a formal bid in August to revive the UN sanctions under the “snapback” mechanism included in the Iran deal.
Those sanctions include the indefinite extension of an arms embargo that would otherwise expire in October.
But few countries believe Washington’s move is legal, as United States President Donald Trump unilaterally exited the JCPOA in 2018.
Washington said it would provide more information this weekend and next week on how the United States intended to enforce the global sanctions.
“In the coming days, the United States will announce a range of additional measures to strengthen implementation of UN sanctions and hold violators accountable,” Pompeo said in Saturday’s statement.
“Our maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian regime will continue until Iran reaches a comprehensive agreement with us to rein in its proliferation threats and stops spreading chaos, violence, and bloodshed,” Pompeo asserted.
Trump is likely to address Iran in his speech next week to the UN General Assembly’s largely online meeting of world leaders.
The stand-off between the United States and other member states over the issue threatens a diplomatic crisis at the world body.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
NIDO-Ghana plans webinar to mark Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary
The Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), Ghana chapter, said on Saturday that it would organise a webinar as part of events to celebrate Nigeria’s sixtieth independence anniversary.
Mr Elija Iposu, Public Relations Officer of NIDO-Ghana, disclosed this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria .
Iposu said the event would be organised by NIDO-Ghana in collaboration with a Ghana-based private firm, Diplomats Extra and Milestone Communications.
According to him, the webinar, which will hold on Oct. 2, is a virtual ceremony with Zoom ID: 742450910 and the title: ’60 years of Ghana-Nigeria diplomacy’.
Prof. Bola Akinterinwa, former Director-General Institute of International Affairs, and Amb. Bulus Lolo, former Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria are among high-ranking personalities expected to participate in the event.
Some other expected guests are Mr Oluwaseyi Adeyemi, Publisher, Inside Watch Africa Magazine, Mr Emmanuel Bombande, UN Senior Mediation Advisor, Prof. Baflour Agyeman-Duah, former UN Special Governance Advisor and Affail Monney, President Ghana Journalists Association.
NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on Sept. 16, unveiled the logo and theme for the 60th independence anniversary celebration.
He said that the celebration would be observed for a whole year, to end on Sept. 30, 2021 and would be muted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim