UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned the Wednesday attack on Afghan Vice-President, Amrullah Saleh, the spokesman for the Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric, said.
On Wednesday, 10 people were reportedly killed and 10 others injured in a blast on Kabul’s Taimani Square that targeted Saleh, who was slightly harmed.
The attack comes as the Taliban and the Kabul government are expected to begin the intra-Afghan talks leading to a withdrawal of foreign troops and political stabilisation, after almost two decades of war and insurgency.
“The Secretary-General strongly condemns the attack today in Kabul on the official convoy of First Vice-President Amrullah Saleh, which resulted in dozens of civilian casualties,’’ Dujarric said in a statement.
He expressed condolences to the families of the victims and wished soon recovery to those injured.
“The Secretary-General reiterates the urgency of achieving a peaceful settlement to the conflict in the country and reaffirms the UN commitment to supporting the people and Government of Afghanistan in this important endeavour,’’ Dujarric added.
Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the radical movement had no links to the explosion.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde
Nigerians gifted with exceptional confidence, resilience, mental acuity – Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigerians are gifted with exceptional attributes of confidence, resilience and mental acuity.
He said that the attributes were best demonstrated in how Nigerians exceled even in other countries in sciences, medicine and politics.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, said the vice president delivered the keynote address at the 111th Founders’ Day Lecture of King’s College, Lagos.
According to Osinbajo, teaching young people Integrity, innovation and hard work is the foundation of a good society.
“Teaching young people that there are huge rewards from creativity, innovation with a culture of integrity in business and personal life, coupled with hardwork and diligence, is the foundation of a good and prosperous society.
“When people are nurtured in the notion that rent-seeking or the prebendal capture of wealth or benefit by access to power is the path to success, then the society will not prosper.
“A few will capture all the resources, everyone else will be poor or on their way there.”
Citing Edward Banfield, American Political Scientist, Osinabjo explained that the exceptional attributes did not free people from the moral basis of a backward society, which was the self-interested, family-centric society where often the public good was sacrificed.
He said that while receiving an education, the mind of a young person must be lifted up beyond self as education must teach the primacy of community, of the good and the well-being of the collective over self.
The Vice President said that the educational design and content must take into account, the current moral and social circumstances, as well as the physical and mental constraints we face as a people.
“There must be, as a rule, a prevailing moral standard, corruption or deviance must be the exception, not the rule.
“Concerns faced at the lower levels of our society; the problems of out-of-school children and the huge deficit in the education of girls,” he said.
For her part, Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, who was the guest speaker, commended the Federal Government’s response to COVID-19 through the Economic Sustainability Plan.
Mohammed said that scaling up infrastructure for connectivity will be crucial as well as access to digitalised curricula, digital skills training for teachers and students, and methods to protect privacy.
Other dignitaries at the event included the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who virtually-delivered a goodwill message from President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Security Adviser, retired Maj.–General Babagana Monguno.
The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folashade Adefisayo and the former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido II, among others also featured.
Edited By: Felix Ajide
UN urges Belarus to grant entry to UN rights expert
Belarus should grant free access to specialised UN experts to monitor human rights issues, including prisons, the UN Human Rights Council urges in a resolution.
In addition to demanding entry for UN Belarus monitor Anais Marin, the Human Rights Council also calls on Belarus to stop using violence, torture and arrests to quash civil rights.
The resolution, which was initiated by European countries says Belarus authorities should start a dialogue with the opposition and civil society.
The resolution was adopted with 23 yes votes, two no votes from Eritrea and Venezuela, and 22 abstentions.
Similarly, Belarusian opposition leader, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, appealed to the UN on Friday for an international monitoring mission to be sent to Belarus to document an ongoing violent police crackdown on her supporters.
“The scope and the brutality of the extensive force used by the regime is in clear violation of all international norms and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN,” Tikhanovskaya said in an address to the UN Human Rights Council.
At least 7,000 protesters have been detained in Belarus since a disputed presidential election more than a month ago.
The UN has received 450 reports of torture and other abuse of detainees.
President Alexander Lukashenko, 66, has led Belarus, a former Soviet republic between Russia and EU member state Poland, for more than a quarter-century, tolerating little dissent.
Tikhanovskaya placed second in the Aug. 9 election, according to the disputed official tally.
She says she won and has demanded a new election. There have been protests in Belarus every day since the vote.
“We demand … an international monitoring mission to document the regime’s atrocities,” Tikhanovskaya, 38, told a special meeting of the UN council via video link.
She dismissed the Belarusian leadership’s allegations that, by seeking to intervene in Belarus’ post-election crisis, foreign powers have been meddling in the country’s internal affairs.
“It is very important to recognise that standing up for democratic principles and human rights is not interfering in internal affairs.
“It is a universal question of human dignity,” Tikhanovskaya said.
The UN Human Rights Council held the urgent debate in spite diplomats from Belarus and its close allies trying to prevent reports on violations from being presented at the meeting in Geneva.
“It is vital for the future of Belarus to break these cycles of increasing repression and violence,” Deputy UN Rights Chief Nada al-Nashif said.
“Civil society is a valuable partner, not a threat,” she added.
After al-Nashif’s speech, envoys from Belarus, Russia, Venezuela and China raised a long series of points of order to complain that the UN official had been allowed to speak, and to stop additional reports from a UN rights investigator and from Belarusian civil society representatives.
The Austrian diplomat, who presides over the Human Rights Council, Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, finally issued a ruling to stop these interventions.
Belarusian Ambassador Yury Ambrazevic rejected all accusations voiced in the council, which heard video messages from the foreign ministers of Denmark, Slovakia, Poland, the Netherlands and Ukraine.
“We believe it is not acceptable to use this body here to interfere in the election in any individual country,” Ambrazevic said.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ifeyinwa Omowole
SDGs: Nigeria to mobilise NYSC members, ICONIC Leaders to champion implementation at grassroots — Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria will engage the services of youth corps members and 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Ambassadors across the country to champion the implementation of SDGs 2030 at the grassroots.
The President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in a statement in Abuja, said Buhari stated this on Friday at the virtual inaugural SDGs Moment, convened by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, during the high-level week of the 75th UN General Assembly.
In his video message to the meeting, the Nigerian leader provided an update on SDGs progress in the country.
He outlined Nigeria’s vision for the next decade in fighting poverty, combating illicit financial flows and ensuring economic recovery amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
”Our National Assembly has established Committees on Sustainable Development Goals.
”The National Youth Service Corps Scheme is also ensuring that Nigerian graduates actively participate in SDGs implementation processes by serving as SDGs champions at the grassroots.
”Going forward, we will invigorate the Goal achievement process at the grassroots by engaging the services of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals Ambassadors we appointed to support our efforts at the national level.
”We will also encourage more sub-national authorities to appoint and train SDGs Champions,” he said.
The president also re-affirmed Nigeria’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other Internationally Agreed Development Goals.
Buhari told the meeting that anti-corruption institutions have been strengthened to enable the administration effectively combat illicit financial flows and recover proceeds.
He also acknowledged that the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic had threatened to derail the progress in achieving SDGs.
According to the president, Nigeria is addressing the threat by re-dedicating efforts towards economic diversification, focusing on agriculture and the mining sectors.
”Nigeria has made good strides in SDGs domestication processes, as we have commenced the re-alignment of the National Statistical System with the requirements and indicators of the SDGs.
”We have developed a novel home-grown ‘Integrated Sustainable Development Goals Model, as an analytical framework for assessing how policy making can better address the indivisible nature of the Sustainable Development Goals.
”Nigeria has also set up a Model Private Sector Advisory Group and an SDGs Donors’ Forum with a view to engaging critical stakeholders towards the attainment of the SDGs,” he added.
The president recalled that Nigeria presented its second Voluntary National Review on SDGs to the UN High-Level Political Forum in July 2020.
According to the president, the second Voluntary National Review highlighted the nation efforts to meet SDGs targets on the critical issues of poverty and an inclusive economy; health and well-being; education and gender equality; enabling environment of peace and security; and partnerships.
He noted that these targets were based on current development priorities, as captured in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020), as well as the Medium Term National Development Plan (2020-2025).
Buhari also pledged Nigeria’s commitment to mainstreaming the SDGs into subsequent development plans.
While setting out Nigeria’s vision for the Decade of Action, the president pledged that the country will implement unique initiatives such as the re-aligned National Statistical System to effectively track and monitor the implementation of the SDGs on annual basis.
He said other initiatives include the Nigeria Integrated SDG simulation Model to support the domestication of the Planning Model across the 36 states and the Integrated National Financing Frameworks for SDGs.
The president added that government would ensure smooth implementation of the scaled-up National Social Investment Programme to reach more poor and vulnerable Nigerians in line with government’s commitment to lift 100 million people out of Poverty within a 10-year period.
”We will be engaging all segments of the society for the achievement of the SDGs,” the Nigerian leader said.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
United States Embassy in Afghanistan warns of extremists’ Attacks on women
The United States Embassy in Afghanistan has issued a security alert for its citizens, warning about an increased risk of attacks on women by the extremist organisations.
“The United States Embassy in Kabul warns United States citizens that extremist organisations continue to plan attacks against a variety of targets in Afghanistan, including a heightened risk of attacks targeting female government and civilian workers.
“Others including teachers, human rights activists, office workers, and government employees,” the diplomatic mission said in a statement.
At the same time, it did not specify which organisations could carry out the attacks.
The intra-Afghan peace talks started in Doha on Saturday after the Afghan government and the Taliban movement successfully completed a long-awaited prisoner exchange arrangement.
The talks are now expected to pave the way for a peace process and withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan after almost two decades of war and insurgency.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim