The Russian lower house of parliament ratified the incorporation of four occupied Ukrainian regions on Monday and fast-tracked the relevant legislation as the West rallied further to Kiev’s aid.
More than 400 deputies in the Russian Duma, in a move unrecognised by most of the international community, voted unanimously in favour of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya, and Kherson becoming part of the Russian Federation as well as enacting various laws.
“The laws fully strengthen the main social and economic guarantees of people living in the territories and create a system of legal protection for citizens,” Pavel Krasheninnikov, head of the Duma legal committee, said according to the Interfax news agency.
Russian citizenship is to be granted to all residents of the occupied regions who apply for a passport and take an oath to the country’s constitution, which will prompt pension payments and health care.
The Russian rouble will be introduced as the currency, but until the end of the year residents will still be able to pay with Ukrainian hryvnia.
By June 1, 2023, new administrative bodies will be created.
President Vladimir Putin, whose forces invaded Ukraine in February, signed the treaties of accession on Friday with the Duma having to approve them.
A similar rubber-stamping by the upper house – the Federation Council – is considered a formality.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was a guest at the Duma and accused the United States of moving against Russia just like Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler once did against the Soviet Union.
S. has subjugated practically the entire collective West and mobilised it to make Ukraine an instrument of war with Russia – just as Hitler gathered the majority of the countries of Europe for an invasion of the Soviet Union,” Lavrov said.
International condemnation in recent days included several European countries – including Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, and Belgium – summoning the Russian ambassador to condemn Moscow’s illegal land grab.
Meanwhile, the European Union on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding on providing Ukraine with another €5 billion ($4.9 billion) in macro-financial aid.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also said her country was well aware Putin’s threat of nuclear war could be real but would not allow itself to be blackmailed by Moscow.
“We take his words very seriously; anything else would be negligent,” she told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper.
Ukraine has been backed by massive Western arms and Putin has mentioned the possible use of nuclear weapons in the conflict, with his quest to capture the whole country having stalled.
Further nuclear worries have been exacerbated by fighting near the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.
On Monday, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi tweeted that he had “received confirmation” that plant director Ihor Murashov had been “returned to his family” after having been abducted.
On the battlefield, Ukrainian troops again recorded successes in their counter-offensive, advancing against Russian invaders in the east and south.
In the Luhansk region, Ukrainian soldiers have already established themselves near the city of Lysychansk, a military spokesperson for the Moscow-controlled Luhansk separatists wrote on Monday on the Telegram news service.
But the Ukrainian units are nevertheless under constant fire from the Russian army.
Previously, President Volodymyr Zelensky had also confirmed an advance of Ukrainian forces in the southern region of Kherson and the recapture of the local towns of Archanhelske and Myrolyubivka.
Faced with stiff Ukrainian resolve, Putin has called for a partial mobilization of new Russian troops.
But the mobilization is plagued by organizational problems and a lack of enthusiasm among potential conscripts.
The Defense Ministry in Moscow said first recruits called up as part of the mobilization have been transferred to Donetsk and Luhansk.
“Mobilized servicemen are undergoing their combat training in the Donetsk People’s Republic,” the Defence Ministry said on its Telegram channel.
It also posted a video showing soldiers conducting live-fire exercises.
But in the Khabarovsk region in Russia’s far east, Governor Mikhail Degtyarev said that half of the “several thousand” conscripts had returned home.
The men in question had been called up for duty even though they did not meet criteria.
The governor did not explain how the mistakes could have happened.
The responsible head of the district military office had been dismissed, Degtyarev wrote on Telegram.
Meanwhile Putin loyalist Ramzan Kadyrov said he wants to send three of his underage sons to the war against Ukraine.
Kadyrov, the notorious head of the Russian republic of Chechnya, said that his boys Achmat, Selimchan and Adam – aged 14 to 16 – are ready to put the combat skills they have trained for to the test in Russia’s current “special military operation” in Ukraine.
“And I’m not joking,” he wrote on Telegram.
“ Soon they will be sent to the front and will be in the most difficult sections of the contact line.
” He also published a video showing his sons doing target practice.
At least 300,000 reservists are to be drafted from across Russia to fight in the occupied Ukrainian territories.
Hundreds of thousands of Russians have fled abroad to avoid being sent into military service.
President Barrow today outlined plans to implement the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission's (TRRC) recommendations during a discussion with a leading expert on transitional justice, the U.S. Ambassador-General for Global Criminal Justice, HE Beth Van Schaack, at the State House in Banjul.
Ambassador Van Schaak asked the President to extend the support of the Government of the United States to bring justice to the victims of the old regime.
After her meeting with President Barrow, Ambassador Van Schaack informed the media that The Gambia has an amazing reputation globally when it comes to international justice.
She praised the TRRC as a model for the rest of the world.
She applauded Gambia's efforts to bring a case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice for the genocide against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority.
Reporting further on the implementation of the TRRC, Ambassador Van Schaack said that President Barrow recognizes the importance of this process and emphasized the need for reparations to ensure that those guilty of human rights violations by the Commission are held accountable.
He extended the support of the US government in this process, saying: ''you are creating the state of the art of transitional justice and we are ready in the United States to support your process.'' The Ambassador also reported that she updated the President on the case of a former 'Jungler' who lives in the United States.
She said charges had been filed against that individual, six counts of torture and one count of conspiracy to commit torture.
Ambassador Van Schaack was accompanied to the Chair by the US Ambassador to The Gambia, HE Sharon L.
Cromer, and other senior Embassy officials.
Ruth Anne Stevens-Klitz, Public Affairs Counselor at the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, formally launched "Tech Camp Addis", a year-long national project made possible by a grant from the Government of the United States.
Tech Camp Addis will be facilitated by international and local trainers, who are designers, developers, and disinformation trackers with experience in mobile video production, investigative journalism, and fact-checking.
Sixty women and men including journalists, fact-checkers and digital citizens from all over Ethiopia will participate.
Upon completion of this first workshop, participants will work through mini-tech camps, workshops, and training opportunities when they return to their communities.
These Tech Camps will empower Ethiopian journalists and digital citizens to work together to combat misinformation and disinformation.
This project aims to help journalists and Internet users ensure that they are sharing factual information with the people they interact with inside and outside of Ethiopia.
Tech Camp Addis 2022 is designed to strengthen media literacy skills and responsible journalism and to build the capacity of media workers to promote professional journalism through mini-tech camps, workshops and training opportunities.
Nigerians from all walks of life on Saturday set New York City aglow and painted the city with green-white-green insignia.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Nigerian community leaders and envoys joined other compatriots to temporarily close down some parts of the Second Avenue in Midtown.
Notable among those who attended the parade and carnival were the Ambassador of Nigeria to the United States, Dr. Uzoma Emenike and the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande (Middle) The Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Lot Egopija and the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, Amb. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande at the 2022 edition of Independence Day Parade on Saturday in New York Mayor of New York Eric Adams and the Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Lot Egopija and first Nigerian-American congressman, Adeoye Omolewa, also joined the revelers at the colourful parade.
Also, a young talented 12-year old Saxophonist, Temilayo Abodunrin, was among the instrumentalists leading the parade.
(Right) A Nigerian 12-year-old Saxophonist, Temilayo Abodunrin playing saxophone at the Independence Day Parade in New York on Saturday The Parade, which began at the Second Avenue on E.
54th Street and terminated at E.
44th Street at Nigeria House, drew thousands of Nigerians who had the best of time as they sang and danced to Nigerian music.
known as the largest celebration of Nigeria outside the homeland, the annual Nigerian Independence Day Parade, in its 30th year, celebrated the very best, which showcased Nigeria’s unique culture.
The event also promoted the positive image of Nigeria to the rest of the world as several other nationals joined in dancing to the Nigerian music.
The parade later proceeded to the Dag Hammarskjold Park, where Timi Dakolo, Goya Menor, sensational kid saxophonist Temilayo Abodunrin and Ijoya Dance Crew reveled in the moment.
The Mayor, while addressing the excited crowd, paid glowing tribute to Nigeria and Nigerians’ unique way of life.
“No one throws a party like Lagos in Nigeria.
No one knows how to celebrate life, like Nigeria.
“And right here in New York, your rich culture and contribution to the city is unbelievable,” Mayor Adams said.
The mayor thanked Nigerians for their support when he was running to become the mayor of the City of New York. President of the Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN), Mr Solomon Bakare, congratulated Nigerians on the 62nd independence anniversary.
President of the Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN), Mr Solomon Bakare, congratulated Nigerians on the 62nd independence anniversary before the commencement of Independence Day Carnival in New York The Nigerian community leader, lamented the state of the nation after 62 years of independence, saying the dreams of the founding fathers had not been realised.
Bakare challenged Nigerian leaders to improve the lives of the common man and redouble their efforts in building the country as truly the giant of Africa.
The official said the parade and carnival, which started in 1991, was a way to showcase Nigeria to the world and address the negative stereotypes of Nigerians in the American media.
He said the OAN, which annually organised the parade and carnival, was founded in 1989 by a group of concerned Nigerians to address the needs of the Nigerian community.
At that time, Nigeria and Nigerians were suffering seriously from negative stereotypes in the American media.
Prior to OAN’s formation, there was no organisation committed to the broader issues facing the Nigerian community in the United States.
OAN filled the void by creating an umbrella organisation, which embraced Nigerians from all works of life, regardless of their ethnic and religious backgrounds.
The three leading presidential candidates in the 25th February 2023 Nigerian presidential election, Messrs Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu, on Saturday, took their campaign ‘fight’ to Nigerians in the United States.
The Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria reports that the support groups for Abubakar, Obi and Tinubu converged on New York at the Nigeria Independence Day Parade and Carnival to canvass votes for their candidates.
Abubakar is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while Obi is that of the Labour Party (LP) and Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The support groups for the leading presidential candidates joined the Nigeria Independence Day Parade and Carnival in a float, with DJs and supporters dancing to the candidates’ campaign lyrics.
They later regrouped at the Dag Hammarksjold Park where they continued singing and dancing to attract Nigerians to their candidates.
Save Nigeria Group for float at 62nd Independence Day parade in New York on Saturday Speaking with NAN, the Coordinator of Save Nigeria Group for , Mr Stephen Osemwegie, said Nigerians in the diaspora wanted a Nigeria that works for everyone, bemoaning the economic situation in the country.
“When people call us from home, the calls are no longer ‘how are you’.
The calls are ‘please help me, save me’.
So we in the diaspora are trying to get involved and being engaged,” he said.
“We found Obi to be a competent leader with integrity.
He does say ‘go and verify’ and we verified his claims and they are largely true.
“Except maybe he may miss one number or the other but if you go through his antecedents, he is really a good man.
“And in Nigeria, we don’t have this type of people coming out very often.
So we see this as a one in a lifetime opportunity.
“That’s why we came out in full force to let people know that this ‘Obidient’ movement is not just a Nigeria thing,” he said.
He also said that many Nigerians in the diaspora would vote adding, “because I will be in Nigeria for the election, I’m that determined.
Many of us are going to buy our tickets”.
“One of the things Save for Nigeria Group is doing is to ask Nigerians, ‘instead of going for Christmas, go in January or February and vote.
“We are also asking people to support grassroot movements in Nigeria.
Support them through your finances if you can.
Also call your family members that call you for money.
“Ask them, ‘do you have your PVC’?
‘No PVC, no dollars.
That’s what we are doing,” Osemwegie said.
Atiku Abubakar support group float at a parade to commemorate the 62nd Independence Day in New York on Saturday in New YorkThe Chairman of the PDP in the United States, Pastor Joe Olobor, said he was rooting for Atiku because he was the most experienced and prepared among the frontrunners for the election.
Olobor said: “Nigerians in the diaspora are actually influencers and that is why it is very important that we sell our candidate to them to be able to galvanise and utilise their influence over the many people they have in Nigeria.
“We in the diaspora especially in the United States send a lot of money to Nigeria to take care of our people back home.
And we will not continue to do that if we have a good government to actually do the right thing.
“Of all the three candidates, Atiku is the most prepared candidate, the most experienced and the greatest unifier, both South and North.
That’s what we are selling,” he said.
Atiku Abubakar support group float at a parade to commemorate the 62nd Independence Day in New York on Saturday in New YorkAlso speaking with NAN, the Coordinator of the Tinubu Support Group, Mr Lukman Ajasa, said Tinubu was the best among the presidential candidates because he had antecedents.
Ajasa said particularly, Tinubu would be able to address the security situation in the country, stabilise the economy and provide welfare for the citizens.
“My candidate is an accountable politician.
He has fixed Lagos States and we can all see what Lagos is now.
“If you compare him to what the other candidates have done, they have not even done a quarter of what he (Tinubu) has done.
I believe Tinubu is the best president for the country.
” Ajasa said.
He, however, warned politicians against taking the Nigerian electorates for granted, saying the people can now fight back through their votes.
“The candidate need to open their ears and listen to what the people want.
The electorates have heard enough and are ready to fight back.
“So as a politician, you must listen to the electorates and what they want.
You must tell them how you want to fix the grassroots, particularly, the local governments.
“Fix the local governments and you have fixed Nigeria,” he said.
NAN reports that no fewer than 20 Nigerian Associations, groups and religious bodies joined the parade and carnival, including the UN Staff Recreation Council, Association of Nigerian Physicians, Akwa Ibom State Association and Christ Apostolic Church first in the Americas
Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared four Ukrainian provinces to be part of the Russian Federation as he signed a document to formally annex the regions occupied by Moscow’s troops.
The Russian president urged Kiev to recognize the annexation of the regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson, conducted after referendums a week ago that Moscow said showed an overwhelming majority in favour of leaving Ukraine and joining Russia.
Kiev and Western powers denounced the five-day vote, which ended on Tuesday, saying the results were a foregone conclusion that would never be recognised internationally.
There were reports of residents being coerced into voting, sometimes at gunpoint.
As expected, Russia vetoed a resolution in the UN Security Council condemning the Russian annexation as a violation of international law.
Ten countries voted in favour of the US-Albania-sponsored document in New York on Friday which also called on Russia to immediately withdraw from Ukraine.
Four countries in the most powerful UN body with a total of 15 members abstained.
These were China, India, Brazil, and Gabon.
Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia criticised the vote on the draft resolution as a provocation and an openly hostile act.
Putin urged Ukraine to come to the negotiating table, in a bid to end the fighting that began when Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, however, ruled out negotiations with Putin.
He said Ukraine is ready for dialogue with Russia, but only under a different Russian president.
He also said his country is applying for an “accelerated” accession to NATO.
“De facto, we have already started our path to NATO.
Today, Ukraine is applying to make it de jure (legal),” Zelensky said in a video published on Telegram.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said a membership “remains open” to the country and that the alliance supports “Ukraine’s rights to choose its own path to decide what kind of security arrangements it wants to be part of.
” However, he stressed the unanimity required among members for new applicants to join the alliance.
As the terms of NATO’s founding treaty considers an attack on one NATO ally an attack against all members – it is viewed as unlikely that the Western military alliance would allow a country at war like Ukraine to join the alliance.
After Putin’s speech, the European Union has vowed to never recognize the “illegal annexation” of the Ukrainian provinces.
“Russia is putting global security at risk,” read a joint statement from the 27 EU member states, calling on states and international organisations to reject the annexation.
“These decisions are null and void and cannot produce any legal effect whatsoever.
Crimea, Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk and Luhansk are Ukraine,” the statement read.
Top representatives of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have condemned Moscow’s moves to annex Ukrainian territories as “illegal” and “unacceptable.
” The organization, of which Russia is a member, once again called on Moscow “to withdraw all its forces from across Ukraine.
” Stoltenberg, meanwhile, said this is “the largest attempted annexation of European territory by force since World War II” and that the alliance and its allies “will not, recognise any of this territory as part of Russia.
”Stoltenberg stressed that the move “represents the most serious escalation since the start of the war.
” The U.
S. announced it is imposing further sanctions on Russia, with measures targeting among others, further Russian government representatives, their family members and members of the military.
Networks for the procurement of defence equipment, including international suppliers, are also affected.
“The United States condemns Russia’s fraudulent attempt today to annex sovereign Ukrainian territory,” U.
S. President Joe Biden said on Friday.
“The United States will always honor Ukraine’s internationally recognised borders.
” The areas annexed by Moscow have been occupied since soon after the start of Russian invasion.
Putin said last week that Moscow would see Ukrainian attacks on the annexed regions as attacks on Russia itself and would use all means to defend them – a thinly veiled reference to nuclear weapons.
Together with Crimea, nearly 20 per cent of Ukraine’s territory is under Russian control, although Kiev has reclaimed some of the occupied territory in recent weeks.
But the Kremlin said on Friday that speculation it would resort to nuclear weapons are only designed to spread fear.
“People who talk about nuclear escalation are acting very irresponsibly,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
Despite the annexation, Kiev’s forces are making gains, with some of the recent fighting focused on Lyman, a small, strategically important town in Donetsk.
But the fighting also meant more fatalities.
At least 23 people were dead after a rocket attack on a convoy of civilian vehicles near the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhya, with another 28 injured, according to the regional governor.
Zelensky lashed out at the attack, calling it Russian retribution for the unbroken Ukrainian resistance to its failed invasion.
“Only absolute terrorists operate this way, the kind of people for whom there is no place in the civilised world,” he wrote in the wake of the attack.
“Peaceful Ukrainians are being wiped out cynically because he long ago lost all of his humanity.
” However, the head of the Russian occupation authorities, Vladimir Rogov, wrote on Telegram that Ukrainian troops had fired the shot.
He also put the death toll at 23, but said there were 34 injured.
The City of Washington DC, United States, has proclaimed Oct. 1 as Nigerian American Day in celebration of Nigeria’s 62nd Independence Day anniversary.
The proclamation was made in a statement by the Mayor of Washington DC, Muriel Bowser.
Bowser said the District of Columbia had one of the largest Nigerian immigrant populations in the U.
S., adding that DC residents saluted the contributions of Nigerian Americans as civic leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs.
According to her, Nigerian music and art, particularly Afrobeats and Nollywood, enrich the cultural economy and strengthen cultural ties.
“The Nigerian Center, an immigrant and cultural center in Washington, DC, provides a platform for the African diaspora to learn about their Nigerian heritage and expands pathways for recently arrived Nigerian immigrants to become Nigerian Americans.
“The city’s Office on African Affairs works with the Nigerian Center to foster economic inclusion and advancement and to promote Nigerian culture,” Bowser said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Nigerian Center is the first immigrant and cultural center for the Nigerian diaspora in the U.
S. It was established to connect to the Nigerian culture while offering financial inclusion and social justice opportunities for members of the Nigerian American community in the U.
The center also curated cultural programs for first-generation Nigerian-Americans and supported newly arrived immigrants.
Also, the Nigerian center is opening a walk-in immigration clinic in Washington, D.
C. for community members who required legal assistance regarding immigration and naturalisation.
The center and several community organisations serving the Nigerian American community will announce the opening on Oct. 4.
More than two years after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in the United States sparked the global Black Lives Matter movement, there has been only "gradual progress" in addressing systemic racism, the office said on Friday.
Human Rights Council (OHCHR).
in a new report.
While more people have been made aware of systemic racism and concrete steps have been taken in some countries, the Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights urged states to demonstrate greater political will to accelerate action.
Tweet URL “There have been some initiatives in different countries to tackle racism, but for the most part they are piecemeal.
They fall short of the comprehensive evidence-based approaches needed to dismantle the entrenched structural, institutional and social racism that has existed for centuries and continues to inflict profound damage today,” said Nada Al-Nashif, who will present the report to the UN.
Human Rights Council on Monday.
She specifically pointed to the key recommendations made in the OHCHR Agenda for Transformative Change for Racial Justice and Equality.
Triggering change The report outlines the international, national and local initiatives that have been taken to end the scourge of racism.
These include a White House Executive Order on advancing effective and responsible policing and criminal justice practices in federal law enforcement agencies; an Anti-Racism Data Act in British Columbia, Canada; measures to assess ethnic profiling by the police in Sweden; and the collection of census data for the self-identification of people of African descent in Argentina.
The European Commission has issued guidance on the collection and use of data based on racial or ethnic origin; formal apologies issued, commemoration, review of public spaces, and research to assess links to slavery and colonialism in various countries.
'Barometer of success' The report points out that poor results continue for people of African descent in many countries, especially in access to health and adequate food, education, social protection and justice, while poverty, disappearances forces and violence continue.
Highlights “the continuous allegations of discriminatory treatment, illegal deportations, excessive use of force and deaths of African migrants and Afro-descendant migrants at the hands of law enforcement officials” “The barometer of success must be a positive change in the lived experiences of people of African descent,” continued Ms. Al-Nashif.
“States must listen to people of African descent, meaningfully engage them and take genuine steps to act on their concerns.” Higher death rates When available, recent data still point to disproportionately high death rates faced by people of African descent, at the hands of law enforcement, in different countries.
“Afro-descendant families continued to denounce the immense challenges, barriers, and lengthy processes they faced in their search for truth and justice for the deaths of their relatives,” the report says.
It details seven cases of police-related deaths of people of African descent, namely George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (USA); Adama Traore (France); Luana Barbosa dos Reis Santos and João Pedro Matos Pinto (Brazil); Kevin Clarke (UK) and Janner [Hanner] Garcia Palomino (Colombia).
Although there is some progress towards accountability in some of these emblematic cases, "unfortunately, no case has come to an end in its entirety, and these families continue to seek truth, justice and guarantees of non-repetition, and prosecution and punishment”.
of all those responsible,” the report says.
Ms. Al-Nashif urged States to “redouble efforts to ensure accountability and redress wherever African and Afro-descendant deaths have occurred in the context of law enforcement, and take steps to address legacies that perpetuate and sustain systemic racism.”
Senior officials from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have visited agricultural projects in Borno State, northeast Nigeria, which have transformed the lives of members of the conflict-affected community.
Borno state, which borders the Lake Chad region, has been hit by a decade-long insurgency that has reduced food security and destroyed livelihoods.
High food and fuel prices, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and the economic impacts of COVID-19, are also reducing food security.
In association with local authorities and partners, FAO has established several projects aimed at improving production and nutrition, and building resilience against future shocks.
In the Gongulong community in Jere, the delegation saw FAO-supported projects including integrated aquaculture and vegetable production, centers for fish processing and briquetting for energy-efficient stoves, and a Farmer Field School where participants learn methods for better production.
“What we have heard from the community today is that livelihood restoration projects are changing the lives of many people,” said Abebe Haile-Gabriel, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa.
“These projects show that investments in agricultural projects and programs, in collaboration with partners, can reduce acute food insecurity, poverty and unemployment,” he said.
Innovative solutions for better production The integrated aquaculture and vegetable production project contemplates the training of aquaculturists to raise catfish in tanks.
Nutrient-rich wastewater from the fish tanks is used to irrigate and fertilize nearby family gardens, benefiting the community through access to nutritious fish, onions, spinach and okra, and providing a new source of income.
“I can teach others how to establish and maintain fish farming and vegetable production to earn more income,” said Bukar Suguli, a fish and vegetable farmer, adding that the business has restored livelihoods for the entire community.
The Farmer Field School (FFS), or 'school without walls', helps improve the adoption of innovative and sustainable farming practices over the course of a farming season.
It has been widely adopted in Nigeria and throughout Africa as an effective method for agricultural extension services.
Since 2018, FAO has trained more than 100 facilitators and established more than 400 farmer field schools in five Nigerian states.
Participants have reported higher yields of up to 40% compared to other farmers.
At the FFS in Gongulong, women farmers have learned how to overcome local challenges, such as a parasitic weed that destroys cowpea crops.
They have tackled this by planting improved cowpea varieties that are resistant to weeds and have higher yields.
FAO has also launched the FAO Thiaroye Technology (FTT) fish smoking oven for the safe and efficient processing of farmed catfish.
The oven dramatically reduces smoke-related health impacts on female processors compared to older methods, and extends the shelf life of fish by 6 months.
Safe access to cooking fuel is another critical issue being addressed through FAO's work in Maiduguri.
Women and children who traditionally collect firewood are often at risk of attack when away from their homes.
The Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) program was introduced by FAO through training to produce fuel-efficient stoves and briquettes.
At the briquetting plant in Gongulong, women are being trained to make and sell stoves and fuel, providing them with a source of income.
Innovative stoves reduce firewood collection trips from 4 times a week to just over once a week on average, and cut the amount of firewood normally needed in half.
Briquettes use agricultural bio-waste, reducing the need to cut down trees for fuel.
FAO's work in northeast Nigeria, including Borno State, is funded by Belgium, Canada, the European Union (EU), the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
FAO is also collaborating with other United Nations entities in implementing the interventions, including the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), UN Women and the World Food Program.
The visiting delegation includes the FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, Abebe Haile-Gabriel, the Deputy Director of the FAO Office of Emergencies and Resilience, Shukri Ahmed, and the FAO Representative in Nigeria, Fred Kafeero.
A missile attack on a convoy of cars in southern Ukraine killed a number of civilians on Friday, hours before President Vladimir Putin was due to proclaim Moscow’s rule over lands it has seized in his invasion.
The convoy was assembling in a car park near Zaporizhzhia city to carry people and supplies into Russian-held territory in Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhzhia province.
The regional capital is still controlled by Ukraine.
A missile had gouged a crater in the ground near two lines of vehicles.
The impact had thrown chunks of dirt into the air and sprayed the vehicles with shrapnel.
The windows of the vehicles – mostly cars and three vans, were blown out.
Reuters saw around a dozen bodies, four of them in cars.
“So far, 23 dead and 28 wounded.
All civilians,” Zaporizhzhia regional governor Oleksandr Starukh wrote on Telegram.
The vehicles were packed with the occupants’ belongings, blankets and suitcases.
A body leaned from the driver’s seat into the passenger seat of a yellow car, his left hand still clutching the steering wheel.
The attack took place hours before President Vladimir Putin was due to stage a ceremony in an ornate Kremlin hall to proclaim Russia’s rule over around 15 per cent of Ukraine, the biggest annexation in Europe since Hitler.
It would be followed by a celebratory pop concert outside the Kremlin walls on Red Square.
Russia’s annexation of the Russian-occupied areas of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia has been condemned in the West and beyond.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called it a “dangerous escalation” and a violation of the United Nations charter.
In a Thursday evening address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said: “It can still be stopped.
But to stop it we have to stop that person in Russia who wants war more than life.
Your lives, citizens of Russia.
” The Russian annexation, held after what the West denounced as phoney referendums at gunpoint in occupied territory, followed weeks of defeats for Moscow’s forces on the battlefield in which they were routed from their positions in Ukraine’s northeast.
Putin has ordered the call-up up of hundreds of thousands of Russian reservists, a move that prompted tens of thousands of Russian men to flee over borders to escape being shipped off to war.
Military experts said Russia could soon be facing one of its biggest defeats of the war so far, with thousands of troops trapped in Lyman, the last major Russian stronghold in the north of Donetsk province.
The town’s fall would pave the way for Ukraine to recapture swathes of land Russia is now claiming.
Kyiv has so far kept silent about the situation there, but Russian military bloggers have described the Russian force as all but surrounded, with advancing Ukrainians having cut off the last possible routes of escape.
“Possible that the pocket collapses tonight or tomorrow, which would overshadow the annexation announcement,” tweeted Rob Lee, an expert on the Russian military and senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
Since his troops were forced to flee from Ukraine’s Kharkiv province, Putin has chosen to escalate the war.
Last week he endorsed the annexation, ordered the call-up of reservists, and threatened to use nuclear weapons if Russia is attacked.
Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, have explicitly said the threat of nuclear retaliation would apply to any attacks on the areas they plan to annex, in spite of the thousand km-long (600 mile) frontline through it.
Ukraine has said it would take back all its territory.
Zelenskiy promised a strong response to the annexations and summoned his defence and security chiefs for an emergency meeting on Friday where “fundamental decisions” will be taken, an official said.
On the eve of the annexation ceremony in the Georgievsky Hall of the Great Kremlin Palace, Putin said that “all mistakes” made in a call-up announced last week should be corrected, his first public acknowledgement that it had not gone smoothly.
Putin’s call-up order gave no details of who must be drafted.
Russian officials have publicly said older men or those with no military experience should by exempt, but call-up notices have been given to men of all ages and background.
Members of ethnic minorities say they have been particularly targeted, leading to unrest in southern Russia and Siberia.
At Friday’s event, Putin will give a speech and meet Kremlin-backed leaders of the four regions.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not say whether Putin would attend the concert, as he did at similar event in 2014 after Russia proclaimed it had annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region.
A stage has been set up in the Moscow square with giant video screens and billboards proclaiming the four areas part of Russia.
S. President Joe Biden said the United States would never recognise Russia’s claims on Ukraine’s territory, denouncing the referendums.
“The results were manufactured in Moscow,” Biden said at a conference of Pacific Island leaders on Thursday.
Guterres told reporters: “Any decision to proceed with the annexation … would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned.
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