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Zambia: 2.3 million people face severe food insecurity

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A “catastrophic” combination of drought and communities’ declining resilience has left an estimated 2.3 million people facing severe acute food insecurity – up from an estimate of 1.7 million people a month ago.

Communities across southern Africa have been affected by drought since late 2018.

This year, large parts of southern and western Zambia received their lowest seasonal rainfall totals since at least 1981, the base year from which normal rainfall is benchmarked. At the same time, northern and eastern parts of the country were affected by flash floods and waterlogging, resulting in poor harvests.

Mr Kaitano Chungu, the Secretary General of the Zambia Red Cross, said:

“Before the communities could recover from the impacts of flood episodes that characterised the 2017/2018 season, the 2018/2019 season has been hit by drought. The successive mixture of drought and flooding has been catastrophic for many communities. In most of the affected areas there isn’t enough drinking water, which means that people and animals—both livestock and wildlife—are having to use the same water points. This is unacceptable as it exposes people to diseases and creates a heightened risk of animal attacks.”

Some families in the worst-affected areas are surviving the food shortage by eating wild fruits and roots, a coping mechanism that exposes them to poisonous species which may be life-threatening or pose serious health risks.

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Some of the Zambia Red Cross branches are among the aid groups that have been distributing food relief to hunger-affected communities on behalf of government for a few months now, but more help is needed.

The Zambia Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are today appealing for almost 3.5 million Swiss francs. This appeal will fund efforts to provide sustained emergency and recovery-focused assistance to about 57,000 people who are among the worst-affected by the current crisis.

Through the Red Cross operation, targeted families will receive unconditional cash grants, as well as assistance designed to improve future food production.

Dr Michael Charles, the head of IFRC’s Southern Africa cluster office, said:

“Our priority is to quickly provide emergency cash to vulnerable families. However, we want to go beyond simply stabilizing the situation: we want to offer sustained support so that people are better able to face and navigate future climate threats without needing external assistance. Ultimately our goal is about helping people become more resilient.”

According to experts at the Global Change Institute (GCI) at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, temperatures in southern Africa have risen on average by twice as much as global temperatures.

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In addition, GCI estimates that, based on current emissions, temperatures in the regional interior could climb 5°-6°C by the end of the century – well above the anticipated global temperature rise.

Warming of that magnitude would be potentially catastrophic. Life-threatening heatwaves would become more frequent. The production of staple crops such as maize and wheat would be severely impaired. Water resources, already at their limit throughout southern Africa, would be dramatically reduced in quality and quantity. Livestock would not be viable over much of the sub-continent.

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NDDC: Akpabio threatens legal action over fake news of $5m bribe to Malami to secure sole administrator

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Senator Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, has denied the news making the rounds in some media outfits that he offered a bribe of $5 million to the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, to secure the appointment of a sole administrator for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Also, the former governor of Akwa Ibom State has threatened legal action against the purveyors of the news inorder to clear his name and that of the Attorney General from the malicious publication.

The position of the Minister was contained in a statement signed by his media aide, Anietie Ekong, and made available to newsmen.

The statement read, “the attention of the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has been drawn to a piece of fake news which claimed that Senator Akpabio paid $5 million bribe to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and others to secure the appointment of a Sole Administrator for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

“We wish to state categorically that  this is a piece of malicious concoction manufactured from the pit of hell by mischief -makers. It is a figment of the imagination of the author of the fake news. Senator Akpabio denies the story in its entirety. The authors of the fake news should be ready to back up their claim or face the full wrath of the law.

“The story is a desperate attempt by some unscrupulous bloggers to impugn the integrity of the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and the Honourable Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami as the claim is not only spurious but utterly ridiculous.

“The fact is that in a suit number ABJ/CS/617/2020 filed by a Civil Society Organization, Forum for Accountability and Good Governance, at a Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Ahmed Mohammed had granted an order restraining the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC from performing the functions of the board and accessing the Commission’s offices and files.

“The Order clearly listed the Managing Director Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, Acting Executive Director of Projects Dr Cairo Ojougboh, Mrs Caroline Nagboh and Cecilia Akintomide as those restrained. The Order also asked that “the most senior civil servant or administrator in the Commission be appointed” to take charge of the Commission.

“It was based on this order that President Muhammadu Buhari approved the elevation of the Acting Executive Director of Finance and Administration, Mr Effiong Akwa, being the most Senior Administrator to take over the headship of the NDDC as an Interim Administrator pending the completion of the Forensic Audit Exercise.

“It is therefore absurd for anyone to even imagine that the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio would bribe the Attorney General before an Order of the Court is complied with as the purveyors of the fake news have stated. The general public should discountenance this piece of trash.

‘It is obvious that some  persons who are scared of the ongoing forensic audit of the NDDC as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari are working tirelessly to scuttle the exercise by blackmailing the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.  Their modus operandi is to churn out fake news in a bid to stop Senator Akpabio from sanitizing the NDDC. Otherwise, how can a responsible news website make such a grievous allegation without any shred of evidence to back up its claim.

“However, we wish to state that no amount of sponsored fake news and blackmail would deter Senator Akpabio from doing the right thing as directed by Mr. President. The Minister has the overwhelming support of the impoverished masses of the Niger Delta who have borne the brunt of underdevelopment of the region over the years”, it concluded.

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Alaafin of Oyo, encyclopedia of Yoruba culture and tradition – Tegbe

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A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo state, Engr. Olasunkanmi Tegbe has described the Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III as an encyclopedia of the culture and traditions of the entire Yoruba race.

Congratulating the custodian of culture on his 50th coronation anniversary, Tegbe said Oba Adeyemi has displayed uncommon wisdom and emotional intelligence in administering his domain, fostering peace and sustainable development.

In a statement signed on Thursday and made available to Mega Icon Magazine, the APC chieftain added that the Alaafin has not only “sustained our heritage and identity as a people”, but also used his throne to build bridges of friendship and harmony in the state, across Yoruba Land and beyond.

“I felicitate with His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III on the 50th Anniversary of his ascension to the throne.

“In half a century, Kábíyèsí has displayed uncommon wisdom and emotional intelligence in administering his domain, fostering peace and sustainable development.

“Iku Baba Yeye has sustained our heritage and identity as a people. He is best described as an encyclopedia of the culture and traditions of the entire Yoruba race.

“Our Father has used his throne to build bridges of friendship and harmony in the state, across Yoruba Land and beyond.

“I remain proud of his progressive ideals, particularly the legacy of peace and harmony which Yorubas are known for.

“I pray that Kabiyesi spends many more years in good health”, the statement read.

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Oyo PDP Chieftain, Abioye Fetes Less Privileged to Mark Birthday

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In the spirit of showing love, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State, Hon. Abioye Mathew Adegboyega has extended hands of fellowship to the orphans at Ibadan Home for Morheless Babies, Ibadan and beggars by donating cash gift to them to mark his birthday yesterday.

Abioye, who was a two term former member of the Oyo State House of Assembly informed that he took the decision to further display his passion for the deprived in the society to let them have sense of belonging.

According to him, “this is what I have been doing every year to relate with the poor. Coming to orphanage homes is to celebrate with sober reflection on the sad happenings experienced in the country and the world as a whole since last year especially the Corona virus disease that has killed millions of people and to thank God that despite that, God still preserve me to witness yet another birthday.”

While promising to continue to render assistance for the less privileged as long as he lives, the former lawmaker, however appealed to well meaning Nigerians and philanthropists to extend their wealth to the less privileged in the society.

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