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Army Denies Recruiting Boko Haram Ex-Fighters

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The Defence Headquarters has been notified of false information peddled in some online media, insinuating that deradicalized Boko Haram ex- fighters are being absorbed into the Nigerian military. One of such insinuations is contained in a trending video footage published by Roots TV, where one Balhatu Musa Ezekiel claimed the Nigeria Army had recruited de-redicalized Boko Haram Ex-fighters into the Army and was therefore recycling insurgency.
The Defence Headquarters wishes to unambiguously state that Balhatu’s claims are not only bereft of truth, but laced with mediocrity emanating from poorly researched and uninformed position.

Contrary to his claims , no Boko Haram ex- fighter has been recruited into the Nigerian military and no such plan is in the offing.

The de-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration program is a Federal Government program conducted under the auspices of Operation Safe Corridor as a non- kinetic operation.

Nigeria’s De-radicalization model is a very effective one, targeted at low risk combatants and has become a classical example in the Lake Chad Basin Region and West Africa.

Over 250 repentant insurgents who willingly abandoned their struggle and surrendered to federal troops have been de-radicalized, rehabilitated and re-integrated into the society by their respective state governments in conjunction with traditional and religious institutions.

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Nigeria’s De-radicalization model is therefore not new in the global community, as such model exists in Algeria, Colombia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, where persons involved in violent extremism have been de-radicalized and rehabilitated . This process is therefore an internationally acceptable practice now.

So far in Nigeria, the de-radicalized ex-fighters are doing well in their respective communities, as no adverse report has been recorded against the de-radicalized repentant ex fighters by Operation Safe Corridor’s monitoring unit. There has not been report of molestation or harassment of any sort against them by members of the communities, where they are resettled. As a matter of verifiable fact, the reintegrated ex- fighters are doing well in their various endeavours and are positively impacting on their respective communities.

It is also expedient to state, that the Federal Government of Nigeria has continued to prosecute BHT/ISWAP suspects in courts of competent jurisdiction and over 500 terrorists have so far been convicted. Meanwhile, the next round of prosecution of another batch of terrorism suspects is due to commence shortly.
Members of the public are therefore enjoined to please discountenance the misinformation and misguided views peddled by Balhatu Musa Ezekiel, as it constitutes outright aberration of extant recruitment procedures and practice of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

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The Defence Headquarters reiterates its commitment to ensuring a well motivated, trained and equipped Armed Forces that is professionally responsive to national security commitments.
Please disseminate this information through your news medium.
Thank you for your cooperation.

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AfDB President, Adesina wins All Africa Business Leaders Awards

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African Development Bank, President , Dr Akinwumi Adesina received the African of the Year Award from the All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA), Thursday, in recognition of his bold leadership and the innovation of the Africa Investment Forum which “opened up billions of dollars of investment into the continent.”

The ninth edition of the awards, organized by AABLA in conjunction with CNBC Africa, seeks to honour leaders who have contributed and shaped the African economy.

The Africa Investment Forum, inaugurated in 2018, has been a trailblazer in tilting investments into the continent. The second edition of the Forum which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa ended on 13 November. It was attended by over 2,000 delegates and secured investor interest worth $40.1 billion – up from $37.1 billion the previous year.

“It is indeed a great honour,” Dr Adesina said in remarks during the exclusive gala dinner held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, at which the awards were announced.  Adesina added that he was overwhelmed to follow in the footsteps of his “big brother” President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who won the award in 2018. “My heartbeat is to serve the people of Africa,” Adesina said.

The event was attended by an A-list of business leaders, government representatives including David Makhura, Premier of Guateng Province, who gave the opening address. The event also attracted some of South Africa’s leading personalities. Vibrant music was provided by The Muses, a south African all-female string quartet and “Dr Victor And The Rasta Rebels.”

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The awards are decided by a jury of continent-wide judges led by Sam Bhembe, CNBC Africa Non-Executive Director, following evaluation of a shortlist of finalists to determine the overall category winners.

Bhembe said the award reflected how the winner would “shape the future of the African continent,” and that the winner would brace the cover of a special edition of Forbes Africa.

In other categories of the 2019 awards, Nigerian Co-Founder of Kobo360, Obi Ozor won Young Business Leader of the Year; Naspers CEO: South Africa, Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa took the Business Woman of the Year award; while Nedbank, won the Company of the Year award.

Adesina dedicated his award “to the people of Africa who inspire me… I do not work alone.” He also said it was very rewarding to be at the helm “of an organisation that paves the way to progress.”

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Soyinka, top musical artists, business leaders rally for children’s rights

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Leaders from Nigeria’s private sector and entertainment industry on Thursday joined Nobel Laureate,  Prof. Wole Soyinka for a reading of his poem A Child Before a Mirror of Strangers, dedicated to children around the world in commemoration of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which celebrates a milestone 30th anniversary this year.

There is one common bond among all of us — and that bond is childhood,” said Prof. Soyinka.  “We have the responsibility to protect and preserve the integrity of that sole common bond, which is pertinent to all humanity.”

The event, a collaboration between UNICEF and the British Deputy High Commission, brought key leaders and influencers from Nigeria’s private sector and entertainment industry together to discuss how these sectors can help advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the realization of children’s rights.

“Achieving the SDGs and achieving child rights go hand-in-hand,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Representative.

“Both will only be achieved if all sectors of business are fully engaged. Child rights and the SDGs need to be integrated into business principles, strategies and plans, which, in turn, can contribute to more robust and inclusive economic growth and improved employment of young people. That is good for children, good for business and good for Nigeria.”

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With a population close to 200 million people and an ever-increasing youth bulge, Nigeria is experiencing increasing demands on schools and health facilities, and growing challenges for young people to find work, amongst other challenges.

In an appeal directly to children, musician, producer and songwriter Cobhams Asuquo said, “You are all that is right in Nigeria because you are the chance to rewrite all of wrongs that generations before you have done.  You have a chance and a clean state to make this country the place we all dream of.”

A strong push will need to be made by all if Nigeria is to meet the SDGs by 2030. The private sector could be a critical key in unlocking opportunities for young people, and also addressing poverty, combatting inequality and tackling environmental problems.

“We are pleased to work with UNICEF, the private sector, and young people themselves on ideas that will contribute to a better Nigeria for current and future generations of children,” said Harriet Thompson, British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria.

“With the anniversary of the CRC this year, the 30th anniversary of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child next year and only 10 years left to achieve the SDGs, we must work together and with urgency to scale-up solutions in Nigeria that will improve our planet and all people’s lives, especially our children.”

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World food prices jump in November – Report

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World food prices rose significantly in November, reaching their highest point in more than two years, driven by jumps in the international prices of meat products and vegetable oils.

The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly-traded food commodities, averaged 177.2 points over the month, up 2.7 percent from October and 9.5 percent from the same period a year earlier.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index rose by 10.4 percent in November, as palm oil price quotations rose amid robust global import demand, increased use for the production of biodiesels and expectations of possible supply shortages next year. Rapeseed and soy oil values also rose.

The FAO Meat Price Index increased by 4.6 percent, its largest month-on-month increase in more than a decade. Price quotations for bovine and ovine meats rose the most, buoyed by strong import demand, especially from China ahead of year-end festivities. Pig and poultry meat prices also rose.

The FAO Sugar Price Index rose by 1.8 percent from October, buoyed by mounting indications that world sugar consumption in the coming year will surpass production – which is being hampered by less-than-ideal growing conditions in Thailand, India, France and the United States of America.

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The FAO Cereal Price Index, by contrast, declined by 1.2 percent amid stiff competition among the world’s leading wheat exporters. Rice values also fell while U.S. maize export prices remained under downward pressure even as those for Argentina and Brazil were generally firmer.

The FAO Dairy Price Index rose marginally from October, nudged up as milk production in Europe entered its seasonal low and global demand remained strong.

Record cereal production expected for 2019

FAO also released a new worldwide cereal production forecast for 2019, anticipating an all-time high harvest of 2 714 million tonnes, which would be 2.1 percent higher than in 2018.

The latest upward revision, contained in the new Cereal Supply and Demand Brief also released today, reflects higher-than-previously predicted coarse grain yields in China, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

World output of coarse grains including maize is now forecast at 1 433 million tonnes, marginally short of the record level registered in 2017. After an upward revision for the European Union, global wheat production in 2019 is now forecast to rise by 4.8 percent from 2018 to reach 766.4 million tonnes. World rice production is likely to reach 515 million tonnes, a mere 0.5 percent drop from the record set in 2018, with Egypt, Madagascar and Nigeria all poised to spearhead a rebound for African rice production this season.

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FAO’s world cereal utilization forecast for 2019/20 stands at 2 709 million tonnes, up around 21 million tonnes from the previous season. World cereal stocks at the close of seasons in 2020 are now expected to reach 863 million tonnes. At this level, the global cereal stock-to-use ratio would approach a relatively high level of 31 percent, underscoring a comfortable global supply situation.

World trade in cereals in 2019/20 is forecast at 416 million tonnes, some 1.1 percent higher than in 2018/19.

Weather hits cereal harvests in East and Southern Africa

There are 42 countries today in need of external assistance for food, according to FAO’s quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, also released today.

Compared to the September issue of the same report, Zambia, affected by drought conditions and record-high staple food prices, has been added to the list, which includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

The report also provides details on floods that followed earlier severe dryness, cutting harvest expectations in East Africa, and adverse weather conditions that caused a steep production decline in Southern Africa. Unfavorable harvests and significantly high staple food prices in Zimbabwe, set against an economy that has sharply deteriorated, will likely almost double the number of food-insecure people in the country during the first three months of 2020.

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While the cereal output of Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries (LIFDCs) in Africa is expected to decline due to adverse weather that of LIFDCs in Asia is projected to increase, notably in Afghanistan and Syria.

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