The damage done to Libya will already take “years to mend” but unless fighting around the capital Tripoli stops, the country risks “descending into a civil war which could lead to the permanent division of the country”.
That was the blunt assessment of UN Special Representative to Libya, Ghassan Salamé, who also heads the UNSMIL Support Mission, briefing the Security Council on Tuesday, following weeks of intensifying conflict in and around the outskirts of Tripoli, instigated by the self-styled Libyan National Army forces of General Khalif Haftar who also leads a parallel administration based in the eastern city of Benghazi.
Mr. Salamé said grimly, that he had spent two years hoping to avoid having to deliver such a bleak in-person briefing to the Council, noting there were already 460 dead – 29 civilians – since the offensive began in early April. More than 2,400 have been injured, and 75,000 forced from their homes, the majority civilians, with half of the displaced women and children.
Violence began on the eve of an UN-backed National Conference planned to bring more than 150 representatives together from across the country, which had to be postponed. “There was great public excitement about what the conference could yield” said the top UN official, “in terms of a way forward to end Libya’s eight-year long period of transition” which threw him “into the deepest level of sadness for the opportunity lost”.
Tripoli violence could spark ‘long and bloody war’ across region
“I am no Cassandra” he added, referencing the mythical Greek figure who uttered prophesies which nobody believed, “but the violence on the outskirts of Tripoli is just the start of a long and bloody war…imperilling the security of Libya’s immediate neighbours and the wider Mediterranean”.
Mr. Salamé noted that in southern Libya, terrorist group Daesh, or ISIL, was flying its distinctive black flags, and reportedly had been responsible for four attacks, killing a total of 17, with more than 10 wounded, and eight others kidnapped, since Libya’s militias turned their guns on each other this year, not the common extremist threat.
“There are numerous reports of extremists, persons under international sanctions, and individuals wanted by the International Criminal Court appearing on the battlefield on all sides. All parties must publicly disassociate themselves from such elements without delay and refer to the ICC those for whom arrest warrants have been issued”, he said.
He bemoaned the flow of weapons back into the country noting “many countries” were providing arms to all sides. “Without a robust enforcement mechanism, the arms embargo into Libya will be come a cynical joke. Some nations are fuelling this bloody conflict; the United Nations should put an end to it”, he added.
Turning to the humanitarian needs he said health facilities were struggling to cope, with 11 ambulances “directly hit” by airstrikes, rockets and shelling. “I am appalled by the apparent disregard for the due protection of personnel engaging in vital medical tasks”, he noted, expressing deep concern for the rise in abductions, disappearances and arbitrary arrests in the past 6 weeks. He called on the Council’s “unequivocal support” in applying International Humanitarian Law.
UN remains ‘alongside the Libyan people’
Mr. Salamé said despite scaling-down non-essential UN staff in Tripoli and Benghazi, “we remain in Libya alongside the Libyan people to deliver as best we can”, with over 42,000 receiving aid so far. He said through local democratic elections held since 30 March, the people were showing their stoical resolve too, saying it was “vital to keep the pilot light of democracy alive”, and appealed for Council support to “the municipal election process.”
“There is no military solution” he reiterated, “and it is high time for those who have harboured this illusion to open their eyes and adjust themselves to this reality. Libya’s mosaic of communities cannot be governed without alliances and relationships stretching across the whole country”. He said Libyans would need to adjust in light of the attempts to take Tripoli by force since 4 April.
“A better future is still possible, but we all must be seized with the fierce urgency of now, while the front lines remain on the outskirts of Tripoli, and before the battle moves, God forbid, to the capital’s more densely populated neighbourhoods. This will require concerted and immediate action by the international community”.
He concluded with a call for the Council to act immediately, in support of politics over any military solution. “Full civil war in Libya is not inevitable. It may occur by the will of some parties, and by the inaction of others. I hear Libyans resigning themselves to a conflict of many months or even many years. My duty, and
that of this family of nations, is to tell them: ‘No. You need to stop the fighting and stop it now, for the sake of your loved ones, for the sake of your country, and for the sake of international peace and security.”
Fayemi Approves N3.4 Billion For Road Rehabilitation In Four LGAs
The Kayode Fayemi – led government in Ekiti state has approved the rehabilitation of some failed portion of state roads in four local government areas of the state.
The government said its decision was to ensure that there is a better road network linking all the towns and villages in the state.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode made the disclosure while briefing the Press on the outcome of the
State Executive Council meeting in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. He added that Governor
Fayemi had promised to fix the state’s roads as soon as there was improvement in the weather.
Oyebode informed that the Council also approved Ekiti State Waste Management Authority Bill (2019) in its drive to ensure improved sanitation.
He further announced that the council has approved N3, 211,848 for the rehabilitation of Oye-Iye-Ikun-Otun road which would include
earthworks, covering the eroded portion of the road as well as construction of line drains in Isan, Imojo, Itaji, Ayede, and Igogo.
According to him, the Council also approved N1,167,884,936.87 for the rehabilitation of Aramoko-Erijiyan-Ikogosi road both with a completion period of 12 months.
The Chief Press Secretary also disclosed that the Council also approved the revocation of the Agbado-Ode-Isinbode-Omuo road contract which was awarded in 2014 but abandoned by the contractor.
He said further that the extent of works done would be evaluated by the Ministry of Works and Transport to know if it commensurate to the advance payment collected by the said contractor.
Exclusive: Laribikusi Ruling House to Produce Next Eleruwa
Following the recent Supreme Court Judgment which terminated the 21 year royal reign of former Eleruwa of Eruwa, Mr. Samuel Adebayo Adegbola and consequently declared vacant the stool of the popular town. The Laribikusi Ruling Quarters billed to produce the next king have begun to reach out to the kingmakers, Mega Icon Magazine exclusively gathered
Eruwa, the headquarters of Ibarapa East Local Government Area in South-western Nigeria located in Oyo state. Eruwa is 72 km South west of Ibadan and 60 km North east of Abeokuta.
According to Eruwa declaration of 1958, the Akalako (Akalakoyi) Ruling Quarters and Laribikusi (Olaribikusi) Ruling Quarters are the only two Families that can produce the Eleruwa of Eruwa.
Our reporter reliably gathered that the Laribikusi Ruling Quarters with candidates from four sections; comprising of Omoni, Sabi, Ajao and Lasubu would be considered by the Kingmakers. They have started discreet moves to position their respective candidates for the exalted position.
Our further checks revealed that the sacked Eleruwa of Eruwa, Adegbola’s predecessor, the late Oba Bolanle Olaniyan Gbajumola II, who reigned between 1972-1994 came from the Akalako Ruling Quarters, therefore; it is the turn of Laribikusi Ruling Quarters to produce the next Eleruwa.
“Declaration that following the death of Oba Bolanle Olaniyan from the Akalako Ruling Quarters, is the turn of Laribikusi Ruling Quarters to present the new Eleruwa and the first defendant, being a member of the same Akalako Ruling Quarters with late Oba Bolanle Olaniyan is not qualified to contest or ascend the throne”, the Supreme court judgement reads.
Members of the Laribikusi Ruling Quarters, whose candidates would be considered for the throne had started in house screening of aspirants in readiness for when the race would formally begin. However, one of the major traditions being considered, according to an informed source, was that the next successor must have his forebear (s), as a former king buried in Igbo Iwaye, where the late kings were interred .
The source added that the next king must be educated, popular, outspoken, integrity personified, exposed and be an outstanding personality that would command respect of all and sundry. “He must also be able to use his influence to attract more development to the town”, he concluded.
Makinde signs Anti-Corruption Bill into Law
Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has signed the Oyo State Anti-Corruption Bill 2019 into Law.
The Governor, who assented to the bill passed last week by the State House of Assembly, said that his assent was a signal his government was ready to enforce probity and accountability.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, confirmed that Governor Makinde, immediately after his assent, transferred the law to the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo for further administrative actions.
The Governor had, as part of initial declarations upon assumption of office, declared that the State under his watch would establish its own anti-corruption agency to ensure probity, accountability and good governance.
While signing the bill into law on Wednesday, Governor Makinde said: “We have just signed the anti-corruption law for Oyo State. There is nothing to be afraid of. Why we have domesticated the anti-corruption law is that just as we want the governance to get closer to the grassroots. We also want to guard the resources of the state in the same manner.
“Yes, corruption kills the society. When money meant for projects, salaries and certain developmental initiatives are diverted, we miss the opportunities.”
The Governor, who spoke at the Executive Council Chambers of the Governor’s Office, said that the law has no political colourations, as according to him, corruption and underdevelopment have no political leanings.
“This is not a law meant to witch-hunt anyone. It is not about politics or political interests. It is not about APC or PDP but about Oyo State. We know for a fact that if we tackle corruption, we will have enough resources to take care of our people and that is exactly what this law is meant to achieve for us,” he said.
The Governor reiterated his readiness to waive his immunity and face any corrupt charges against him, if he commits any infractions to the law.
He added: “So, we believe we have to tackle corruption. I said it during my inaugural address as the Executive Governor of Oyo State that I will be ready to waive my immunity to face any corruption charges against my person and I still maintain that position.”
The Governor, therefore, enjoined every citizen of the State to alert the Government of any unscrupulous activities, adding; “if you see something, say something.”
He also warned against writing frivolous petitions, adding that anyone found guilty of such would equally be prosecuted.
“I want to implore everybody, the citizens of Oyo State to say something when they see something. And I can give you the assurance that we will act. We do know that people may want to take certain things for granted.
“They may want to use this law to settle scores, because we have seen situations where people wrote frivolous petitions against somebody they have hatred for and, with that, they think they have the opportunity to square up.
“Well, we won’t condone that. If you write a frivolous petition to us, you will also be sanctioned because that is corruption in itself.”
He warned the Civil Servants not to petitions themselves wrongly as anybody found doing so would face the law.
“And for my constituency, the civil servants, I do know that people jostle for positions, where they malign themselves to get into a higher position. This is not what the law is about. This law is to ensure that due processes are followed in our financial dealings and to ensure our resources are deployed for specific reasons why they were appropriated for, in the first instance.
The Governor further said: “So, it’s a new opportunity for us to show the world that we can run a transparent and accountable government. I do hope that nobody here will fall into the trap of corruption.
“I did mention that there is a serious temptation in this job. For instance, I am being paid N550,000 and I have to run a yearly budget of over 200 billion Naira. Of course, we will be tempted but we have to resist the temptation.
We have to know that whichever position we occupy is based on the trust of the people and when we leave, we will still go back to the larger society and, if we perpetuate corruption, the effect is waiting for us out there.
“So, I want to assure the people of Oyo State that this law will keep us in check, hold us accountable. And if you have anything about any of us, don’t hesitate to bring the facts out and the law will take its full course.”
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