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Sanctions-hit Mali facing isolation as countries cancel flights

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Malian President Assimi Goita

Airlines from neighbouring countries and former colonial ruler France cancelled flights to Mali on Monday, helping isolate a military junta under regional sanctions for trying to extend its hold on power.

Ivory Coast’s national carrier Air Cote d’Ivoire halted flights to the Malian capital Bamako on Monday.

Flights from Senegal were also disrupted, according to a Reuters reporter trying to enter Mali.

Air France had also cancelled flights, an airline spokesperson said, because of security risks, without providing further detail.

The head of Mali’s airports, Lassina Togola, said in a statement that Air France flights on Monday were cancelled but not suspended long-term.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), on Sunday, imposed strict sanctions on Mali over the interim authorities’ failure to hold democratic elections next month as agreed after a 2020 military coup.

ECOWAS countries on Sunday ordered the withdrawal of its ambassadors in Mali, closure of land and air borders between member states and Mali including the suspension of financial transactions.

While reacting to the sanctions, the interim authority had said “these measures run counter to the efforts of the government and its readiness to engage in a dialogue with the aim of reaching a compromise with ECOWAS on the timetable for election in Mali.’’

Assimi Goita, Mali’s current leader and one of several colonels who overthrew President Boubacar Ibrahim Keita in August 2020, called for calm in a statement on Monday, adding that Mali had the means to withstand the latest sanctions.

This is the toughest stance ECOWAS has taken on Mali since it implemented similar measures in the immediate aftermath of President Boubacar Ibrahim Keita’s ouster in August 2020.

The Malian government has promised it will try to ensure a normal supply of goods to the public, but sanctions are likely to further hobble the economy in one of the world’s poorest countries where an Islamist insurgency rages, fuelled in part by widespread poverty.

(Reuters/NAN)

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NUC approves two more universities for Lagos: Sanwo-Olu

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Sanwo Olu.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos says the National Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the establishment of two more universities for the state. 
Mr Sanwo-Olu dropped the hint at the public presentation of a book titled: Oluwatoyin Temitayo Ogundipe @60; Audacity of Resilience, on Tuesday in Lagos.

According to him, the development is timely, as it will expand access to the teeming youth who aspire for higher education.

He stressed that the two existing universities in the state were not enough to accommodate the quest for the growing number of youths seeking higher education.

The governor emphasised that education remained the only potent weapon to eradicate poverty and breach all limitations.

According to him, there is also the need to groom future leaders, as well as develop a curriculum that speaks to the needs of tomorrow.

Mr Sanwo-Olu added that Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu would henceforth become University of Science and Technology, while Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education would now merge with Michael Otedola College of Primary Education and upgraded as University of Education.

(NAN)

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INEC withholds pay of 630 ad hoc staff over election materials

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Prof. Yakub Mahmood

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it withheld the allowances of 630 ad hoc staff who failed to return election materials and devices used for the gubernatorial election in Anambra on November 6, 2021.

The state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Nkwachukwu Orji, during a news conference on Tuesday, said the commission was displeased that the ad hoc staff failed to return the commission’s materials.

“The commission has taken the unfortunate decision to withhold the allowances of staff involved in the act, pending the return of the materials to the commission,” he said.

The INEC official named some of the materials to include; Bio-modal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) machines, battery chargers, cables and other accessories.

Mr Orji said although some of the staff concerned have started returning the items, the commission has resolved to place an order that all the materials must be returned before payment would be made to them.

The REC also announced that INEC had lifted the suspension placed on the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) in the state.

“INEC suspended CVR in Anambra on Sept. 15, 2021 because of the governorship election in the state, but with the election successfully completed, the commission has from today Tuesday Jan. 25 lifted the suspension,” he said.

He said the exercise would take place in the 21 LGAs of the state and the commission’s headquarters in Awka.

(NAN)

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Willing Muslims can wear hijab in public schools: Kwara Govt

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Kwara state governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq

The Kwara state government on Tuesday directed heads of schools to allow the use of hijabs in all categories of public schools, warning that attempts to sabotage the peaceful coexistence among state residents will not be tolerated.

The Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, Sa’adatu Moddibo-Kawu, made this known on Tuesday at a meeting with Muslim and Christian stakeholders of Ijagbo, Oyun LGA, held at the Ministry’s headquarters in Ilorin on Tuesday.

A statement issued by Yakub Aliagan, the ministry spokesperson, said the policy statement allowing willing Muslim schoolgirls to wear the hijab was binding on all public schools, including grant-aided ones.

“This conforms with the judicial pronouncements of the courts of law and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the statement said.

The commissioner, therefore, appealed to both Muslim and Christian leaders to allow peace to reign and thereafter directed the school heads of Oyun Baptist High School, Ijagbo, to immediately implement the policy statement on the use of the hijab in public schools.

According to the statement, the meeting was also attended by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, the Teaching Service Commission and TESCOM Board members, ANCOPSS/ NUT members.

Also in attendance were the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Ijagbo, Rev. Samuel Ajayi, Chairman Muslim Stakeholders, Offa & Oyun LGA, Abubakar AbdulWasiu and the Chairman, Kwara state Muslim stakeholders, among others. 

(NAN)

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