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Libya on verge of civil war, threatening ‘permanent division’

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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”.

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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.

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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

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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.”

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Makinde presents cash donation to Yemi Likedat’s widow

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Oyo state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde has presented a cash donation to the family of the late Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member, Comrade Yemi Adeniran (Likedat).

This came two months after the government gave an automatic employment to the wife of the deceased, Mrs. Yetunde Adeniran, at The Polytechnic Ibadan.

 

The Special Assistant (Print Media) to Governor Makinde, Moses Alao, in a statement signed on Tuesday revealed.

 

Yemi Likedat, as he was popularly known, died in a motor accident in December 2019 on his way from Abuja, shortly after witnessing the Supreme Court judgment on the 2019 governorship election in Oyo State won by Engineer Makinde.

 

The statement added that Governor Makinde who was represented by his Special Adviser on Strategy and Political Matters, Honourable Babatunde Oduyoye at  the event which  took place at the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan naintained that the administration will continue to identify with the family though nothing could replace the deceased party loyalist.

 

The governor said: “On behalf of the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, I want to welcome you to the Secretariat. About eight months ago, we lost a friend, a comrade, someone who believed in the vision of this administration.

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“We were there together for the service of songs and the burial and we promised to stay with the family. We identified about four steps. This is the second step.

 

“The governor intends to give succour to the family. There is nothing that the government can do to replace Yemi but, at least, we will continue to do what we should do to identify with the family and ensure that the children, most especially, get the best of education he would have loved to give them.

 

“We want to show how important he is to this administration and that is why we have few people around to welcome you here.

 

“So, this government will continue to stand by you. We have taken care of the first step and this is the second one. Insha Allah, the two others will come to pass by the grace of God. So, on this note, I thank you for coming and urge you to continue to stand for the children. We also thank you for honouring us by coming.”

 

While speaking on behalf of the family, the wife of the deceased Mrs. Yetunde appreciated Governor Makinde for supporting and fulfilling promises he made to the family.

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“We appreciate what the Governor did today in supporting and assisting the family; God will continue to provide for the family,” she said.

 

Government officials at the event include the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr.Taiwo Adisa and the Special Assistant to the governor on Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Kazeem Bolarinwa among others.

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Ex-president Obasanjo tests negative for COVID-19

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Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has tested negative to Covid-19.

The ex- President took the test last Friday, August 7, 2020, at his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) Pent House residence, Okemosan, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

His special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, who disclosed this on Sunday explained that the samples of the test, conducted by one Dr. Olukunle Oluwasemowo of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory 54gene, Lagos, Nigeria, was returned negative on Saturday.

The laboratory, as gathered  is one of the accredited laboratories approved by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to conduct the crucial Covid-19 test on both asymptomatic and symptomatic.

 

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Oyo: Makinde fires Works commissioner, swaps two others 

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Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has fired his Commissioner for Works, Infrastructure and Transport, Professor Raphael Afonja of his appointment.

 

Governor Makinde, in a letter dated August 10, 2020 and signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun, said the termination takes immediate effect.

 

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the letter titled “Termination of appointment” as saying: “I wish to convey the approval of His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde, on the termination of your appointment as Honourable Commissioner, with immediate effect.

 

“Consequent upon the above development, you are hereby directed to hand over all the government items in your possession to the Permanent Secretary (Ministry of Works, Infrastructure and Transport).

 

“I am to add that, your contribution within the time of your sojourn is appreciated and commendable, and therefore, wish you successes in your future endeavours. I thank you.”

 

In another development, the governor has also approved the redeployment of two Commissioners, who were asked to swap portfolios.

 

An internal memo signed by the SSG with the subject: “Redeployment of EXCO members” indicated that the Commissioner for Special Duties, Chief Bayo Lawal, has been moved to the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, while his counterpart who was manning that Ministry, Hon. Funmilayo Orisadeyi, is to move to the Ministry of Special Duties.

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The memo indicated that the redeployment takes immediate effect.

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