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Facebook blocks terminally ill Frenchman from streaming his death

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Facebook said Saturday it would block the live stream of a Frenchman suffering from an incurable condition who wanted to broadcast his death on the social media platform.

Earlier, Alain Cocq announced that he was now refusing all food, drink, and medicine after President Emmanuel Macron turned down his request for euthanasia.

Cocq, 57, who suffers from a rare condition that causes the walls of his arteries to stick together, said he believed he had less than a week to live and would broadcast his death from Saturday morning.

“The road to deliverance begins and believe me, I am happy,” he wrote on Facebook shortly after midnight in a post announcing he had “finished his last meal”.

“I know the days ahead are going to be difficult but I have made my decision and I am calm,” he added.

Facebook has been increasingly criticised over the way it polices the content it carries and said Saturday its rules did not allow it to portray suicide.

“Although we respect  (Cocq’s) decision to want to draw attention to this complex question, following expert advice we have taken measures to prevent the live broadcast on Alain’s account,” a Facebook spokesman told AFP.

“Our rules do not allow us to show suicide attempts.”

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– Calls on supporters –

Cocq had been trying to post another video earlier Saturday when he messaged: “Facebook is blocking my video broadcast until September 8.”

“It is up to you now,” he said in a message to supporters before giving out Facebook’s French address “so you can let them know what you think about their methods of restricting free speech”.

“There will be a back-up within 24 hours” to run the video, he added.

Cocq had written to Macron asking to be given a substance that would allow him to die in peace but the president wrote back to him explaining this was not allowed under French law.

Cocq has used his plight to draw attention to the situation of terminally ill patients in France who are unable to be allowed to die in line with their wishes.

“Because I am not above the law, I am not able to comply with your request,” Macron said in a letter to Cocq, which the patient published on his Facebook page.

“I cannot ask anyone to go beyond our current legal framework… Your wish is to request active assistance in dying which is not currently permitted in our country.”

– ‘With profound respect’ –

In order to show France the “agony” caused by the law in its current state, Cocq planned to broadcast the end of his life — which he believed would come in “four to five days” — on his Facebook page, he told AFP.

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Cocq said he hoped his struggle would be remembered and “go down in the long term” as a step towards changing the law.

Macron said in his letter that “with emotion, I respect your action”.

The president added a handwritten postscript: “With all my personal support and profound respect.”

An official from the president’s office told AFP that Macron wanted to hail Cocq’s commitment to the rights of people with disabilities.

Right-to-die cases have long been an emotive issue in France.

Most polarising was the case of Vincent Lambert, who was left in a vegetative state after a traffic accident in 2008 and died in July last year after doctors removed life support following a long legal battle.

The case divided the country as well as Lambert’s own family, with his parents using every legal avenue to keep him alive but his wife and nephew insisting he must be allowed to die.

AFP

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Surging violence in Nigeria drives displacement to Niger

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is alarmed at surging violence in north-west Nigeria which has fuelled displacement into neighbouring Niger’s Maradi region, where violence is also on the rise.

Fearing armed groups and communal clashes, more than 7,660 refugees have fled Nigeria into Maradi this year and another 3,500 citizens of Niger have been displaced inside the country. Most of the refugees are women and children, displaced following recent attacks in Nigeria’s Sokoto state.

The Maradi region, in southern Niger, now hosts nearly 100,000 displaced people, including 77,000 Nigerian refugees, who have fled relentless attacks in Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara states.

UNHCR commends the generosity of Niger as it continues to grant access to asylum, despite border restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNHCR teams in Niger have recorded a spike in deadly violence inside Maradi itself, with more casualties and serious incidents reported in January and February 2021 than in the second half 2020. Refugees describe gruesome murders, kidnappings for ransom, and looted villages. Many have also been caught up in clashes between farmers and herders as well as vigilantism, as self-defence groups are being set up in most villages.

People fleeing are in urgent need of water, food, shelter, and health services. Most have fled empty handed in the rush to save their lives.

UNHCR is providing life-saving assistance and protection and has scaled up border monitoring activities. Our teams are also registering new arrivals to identify people with vulnerabilities and other specific needs.

We are working closely with Nigerien authorities to relocate refugees away from the border and into safer localities where basic assistance and services are available. Since October 2019, some 11,320 refugees have been relocated to other villages where UNHCR and its partners have strengthened water, health, sanitation, and education infrastructure for the displaced and their hosts, helping to ease pressure on communities who have shown incredible generosity but have limited means.

Armed groups in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions have been fuelling one of the world’s fastest growing displacement and protection crises. To date, more than 3.2 million people have been displaced by violence in the Lake Chad Basin.

Humanitarian efforts to respond to the emergency are dangerously overstretched –UNHCR’s Lake Chad Basin operation requires US$128.6 million and is only 10 per cent funded. UNHCR is urging the international community to boost support for the region and to help governments root out the causes of this forced displacement and to boost strategic and sustainable development.

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Akeredolu intensifies effort to address insecurity, directs LG chiefs to set up local vigilantes

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As part of his efforts to tackle insecurity and rid the state of criminal elements, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has charged the elected chairmen across the 18 local government areas of the state to set up local vigilante.

Governor Akeredolu urged the council chairmen to engage local hunters who will work effectively with the state security network codenamed “Amotekun”.

The governor gave the directive on Tuesday during a meeting with the local government chairmen at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the Governor’s office, Alagbaka, Akure.

Akeredolu assured that, at least, two vehicles will be provided for the Amotekun Corps in each of 18 local government areas of the state, as operational vehicles to aid their fight against criminality.

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Security: Makinde hosts Kwara gov, as states plan joint committee

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Governments of Oyo and Kwara States have agreed to set up a joint committee to address the challenges of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in 13 villages of Kwara State, following skirmishes in Ibarapa axis of Oyo State recently.

The joint team is to work out modalities on how the two states could mutually address the situation and surmount security challenges within their territories and to also seek alignments and collaboration on economic and security fronts.

A statement by Mr. Taiwo Adisa, Chief Press Secretary to the Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, indicated that the governors announced the position while briefing newsmen at the end of a closed-door security meeting held at the Executive Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Agodi, Ibadan.

The meeting had in attendance Governor Makinde and his Kwara State counterpart, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, as well as service commanders from the two states, including the General Officer Commanding, 2 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major-General A.B. Omozoje, the Commissioners of Police of Oyo and Kwara states commands, among others.

Also in attendance at the meeting were major traditional rulers from Kwara as well as some members of the cabinet of both states.

Speaking shortly after the closed-door session, Makinde, who spoke on behalf of the two governors, appreciated the efforts of the security agencies in the two states, charging them to deepen their intelligence-gathering efforts with a view to dealing more decisively with the security challenges facing the country.

According to Governor Makinde, the meeting was necessitated by the urgent need to work together and to look at the security challenges in the states and come up with solutions, especially as it regarded movement of some residents of Oyo State into Kwara, following threats in parts of Ibarapa.

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According to Makinde, the actions of non-state actors who tried to spread hatred, had led to a number of residents of the state moving into Kwara and constituting a challenge to the state, a situation which he said would be jointly addressed by the two states.

He explained that leaders in the country, most especially the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, must speak with one voice and be firm in dealing with the security challenges that the country is facing currently.
He said: “We had a joint security meeting. We appreciated the efforts of our security agencies and thanked them for the work they are doing in our country and we encouraged them to do more.

“We also acknowledged the fact that non-state actors are getting the upper hand in communicating and spreading hatred within our country. So, we asked that our leaders must speak with one voice, especially the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. We have to be firm and decisive in dealing with the security challenges we are currently faced with.

“We have also taken notice of the fact that our intelligence-gathering efforts have to be deepened. Considering some of the situations we have been faced with recently, we have had to react instead of being able to act before those things occur, due to some intelligence failure.”
Governor Makinde equally called on the traditional rulers in Oyo and Kwara States to come together and exchange information and ideas on how to surmount the security challenges.

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He said: “Also, traditional rulers on both sides of the boundaries, between Oyo and Kwara States, will be encouraged to come together in unity and exchange information.

“In that manner, our intelligence agencies will be able to proactively deal with the situation rather than being reactive.”

The governor added that the meeting agreed that there was the need for a working relationship between the two states and that the states will announce the members of the joint team in a matter of days.

He stated: “We agreed that a more detailed working team is to be set up between Oyo and Kwara states. We know that the issues to be addressed have wider national ramifications.

“Yes, they asked somebody to leave Igangan and that has created issues in Kwara State, where Internally Displaced Persons are now spread over 13 villages and seven local government areas in the state, with its attendant challenges of maintenance of those individuals.

“We believe that the working team to be set up should be able to dispassionately look at those challenges and come up with solutions, which my brother-governor and I will be able to look at and solve.”
He also assured that Oyo State would take advantage of the National Livestock Transformation Plan, which, according to him, is already being implemented in Kwara State, with a view to further collaborating on the economic and security levels.

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“Also, the National Livestock Transformation plan is currently not implemented in Oyo State but Kwara State has started its implementation over a year ago. So, we believe that there is lateral learning that Oyo State will be able to take advantage of and this should lead to further collaboration on the economic and security levels. So, that is what we have discussed so far.

“I believe in the days ahead, probably within the next couple of days, we should be able to disclose to the public the members of this working team between Oyo and Kwara States. And in the weeks ahead, we will also be taking recommendations from them for implementation.”

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