This Week in Review: Ethiopia Plane Crash, Lagos Building Collapse, Brexit Countdown, New Zealand Mass Shootings Top this Week News

Alao Abiodun
20% Complete
 16-Mar-2019

The week in review has been full of activities all around the African region and the wider world. Here’s a roundup of this week’s top stories across Africa and the rest of the world.

Sunday’s crash, minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa for a flight to Nairobi, inflicted a particularly heavy toll on the United Nations, which has large offices in both cities. At least 21 staff members were on board, said Stephane Dujarric, a UN spokesman.

The Addis Ababa-Nairobi route is also popular with tourists and business people, who are drawn to East Africa’s popular safari parks and fast-growing economies. The 157 victims, including 149 passengers and eight crew members, came from more than 30 countries, the airline said. They included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians and eight each from Italy, China and the United States. There were no survivors. Read More: Ethiopian Airline Crash: 157 People Onboard Killed As Boeing 737 Crashes Minutes After Takeoff

In another tragic occurrence, No fewer than 18 persons died this week, when a four-storey building collapsed on Lagos Island. Forty-one others were injured. The incident occurred at No 14, Massey Street, Opposite Oja, Ita-Faaji.

It was, however, reported that 45 pupils were rescued from the wreckage of the building. it was gathered that an illegally run school was located in the building that suddenly caved in, killing some of the occupants. Witnesses said no fewer than 45 pupils were rescued from the rubbles, but many of the pupils and other occupant were still trapped in the rubbles at the time of filing this report.

The building, housing Ohen Private Nursery and Primary School on its third floor, caved in at about 10:20am, trapping scores of pupils. Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Jide Idris, who confirmed the casualty figure, said many of the rescued were taken to Lagos Island General Hospital, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), among others.

According to Lagos State Emergency management Agency (LASEMA) General Manager Adeshina Tiamiyu, over 41 people were rescued from the rubble of the building, which had been marked for demolition since 2014. Read More: Building Collapses in Lagos, School Kids Trapped, Many Feared Dead

Other major stories includes; the concern of Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room over the shortcomings of the 2019 general elections which, it said, recorded the death of 58 Nigerians.

The group said there were reports about the prevalence of vote-buying in Adamawa, Sokoto, Lagos, Delta, Enugu, Ekiti, Bauchi, Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kwara, Zamfara, Kebbi, Oyo, Kano and Osun States within the range of N500 and N5,000.

While demanding an independent inquiry into the exercise, the organisation condemned the spate of violence and bloodshed, especially in Rivers State in the governorship and House of Assembly elections, the CSSR said, “since 2011, elections in Rivers State have been a major theatre for violence.”

While appreciating the existing security challenges across the country, Situation Room said it was worried about reports of excessive military involvement in the elections, particularly in the South-South and South-East, specifically Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Imo states. Read More: 58 Nigerians Killed in 2019 Elections – Situation Room

In this week’s review, APRECON gives a brief recap of various headlines across Africa and the rest of the world. Missed this week’s top stories? Read our quick round-up.

CENTRAL AFRICA

A Police officer has been killed and some health workers injured after a rebel group attacked an Ebola treatment centre northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) this week. The tragedy is the aftermath of yet another onslaught on a treatment centre in Butembo in the North Kivu Province.

It experienced a similar attack last week. Saturday’s attack coincided with the visit of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to the troubled country.

“It breaks my heart to think of the health workers injured and the police officer who died in the latest attack, as we continue to mourn those who died in previous attacks while defending the right to health,” Ghebreyesus said. The UN envoy said the organisation was not deterred by the recurrent deadly attacks in their efforts to halt the Ebola outbreak that has claimed over 500 people since August last year. Read More: DR Congo: Rebels Launch Bloody Attack On Ebola Clinic

A UN investigation has revealed the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo last year and as such amount to crimes against humanity. It revealed that at least 500 people were killed, including families burnt alive in their homes and a two-year-old who was thrown into a septic tank.

Ethnic violence broke out when one community wanted to bury one of their traditional chiefs on another community’s land. The investigation adds that violence could flare up again at any time.

Investigators said the violence between 16 and 18 December was “planned and executed with the support of customary chiefs”. Members of the Batende community attacked Banunu villages “with extreme violence and speed, allowing little time to escape”. Read More: 500 People Killed, Burnt Alive in DR Congo Says UN Investigators

NORTH AFRICA

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will not be running for a fifth term and a new constitution will be submitted to a national referendum, the country’s presidency said on Monday.

The presidency also announced the postponement of presidential elections which were due to take place in April, as well as a government reshuffle. The announcement follows weeks of mass protests against the leader’s candidacy.

Tens of thousands of people from all social classes have been demonstrating almost daily against Mr Bouteflika’s decision to stand in the election, rejecting a stale political system dominated by veterans of an independence war against France that ended in 1962. Bouteflika has ruled for 20 years.

His declarations raise a lot of questions,” chief legal adviser at non-profit MENA Rights Khadidja Nemar told The National. “He denies having ever thought of a fifth mandate while declarations from his party were pretty clear about it.” Read More: Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika Will Not Run For 5th Term, Says Presidency

The Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir this week has welcomed the initiative of the University of Khartoum (UofK) to resolve the country’s political crisis. On Monday, al-Bashir received a delegation of professors representing UofK’s Dialogue and Policy Forum in his office at the Republican Palace.

During the meeting, al-Bashir praised the role that the UofK has continued to play regarding the national issues. For his part, the chairman of the Dialogue and Policy Forum, Abdel-Malik Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, said the forum seeks to develop solutions for the problems facing the country.

He expressed the UofK’s readiness to provide a vision to achieve political and economic stability in the country as part of its national responsibility. Read More: Sudan’s Al-Bashir Welcomes Initiative for Interim Government

Sudan’s Parliament says lawmakers have approved a state of emergency across the county, but shortened an initial proposal to six months.

It says lawmakers this week discussed President Omar al-Bashir’s February decision to declare a yearlong state of emergency. Parliament can extend the term after it expires.

Al-Bashir also disbanded the federal government and replaced all state governors with senior army officers.

He banned unauthorized gatherings and gave security forces sweeping powers to quash the most serious protests yet against his three-decade rule. Read More: Sudan Lawmakers Approve 6-Month State of Emergency

EAST AFRICA

Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday, signed a long-awaited petroleum bill into law to regulate oil exploration and production.

This law will further outline how revenues will be shared between local communities and companies.

Tullow Oil and its partner Africa Oil discovered commercial reserves in the Lokichar basin in 2012. Read More: Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta Signs Petroleum Bill into Law

The Government of Tanzania expects to spend Tshs.33.1 trillion ($14.3 billion) in the 2019/2020 financial year up from 32.5 trillion ($14.1 billion) it projected in the current 2017/2018, the Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Philip Mpango revealed in the capital, Dodoma.

This is an increase in spending by Tshs.600 billion ($260.8 million), equivalent to 1.9 per cent of the current budget. The Minster did not however explain the mechanism leading to the rise even as questions abound over the disbursement of money for implementation of development projects.

Dr. Mpango said that in the next financial year, the government plans to spend Tshs.20.9 trillion ($9.08 billion) in recurrent expenditure which will include financing of this year’s civic polls and preparation of the for the general elections slated for next year. Read More: Tanzania Unveils Financial Plan of $14.3 billion For 2019/2020

200,000 people in Malawi have been displaced by floods that have affected half of the country’s 28 districts. The government has recorded at least 56 deaths and over 500 injuries, as of Wednesday.

Forecasters have warned that more rain is on the way. Many of those affected are in evacuation camps because of floods that have destroyed their houses, damaged roads, washed away bridges and killed livestock.

Weather experts say the flooding was a result of a tropical cyclone that blew in from neighbouring Mozambique. MacDonald Clemence, one of the victims, said it was at midnight while he was fast asleep when he was awakened by the sound of something falling down with a thud. Read More: Malawi Floods Kill More than 50, Displace 200,000

The Pilot of the downed Ethiopian Airlines flight had “flight control problems” shortly before the fatal crash, according to the company’s chief executive.

A recorded conversation with air traffic control detailed the final moments of the flight, CEO Tewolde GebreMariam told CNN’s Richard Quest on Tuesday.” He was having difficulties with the flight control of the airplane, so he asked to return back to base,” GebreMariam said.

He added that the pilot was granted permission to return to ground. That happened at the same time the flight disappeared from radar. All 157 people aboard the Boeing (BA) 737 MAX 8 died when it crashed soon after takeoff from Addis Ababa on Sunday.

It was the second time in less than six months that a 737 MAX 8 was involved in a fatal incident, after a Lion Air flight from Indonesia went down in October. GebreMariam said the Ethiopian Airlines pilots had received additional training on the flight procedures involving the 737 MAX 8 after the Lion Air crash. Read More: #EthiopiaPlaneCrash: The Pilot Had ‘Flight Control Problems’ Says Ethiopian Airlines CEO

WEST AFRICA

The International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) have regretted what they described as the lack of progress in election administration and conduct of political parties in Nigeria.

The United States agencies noted that the Nigerian government had not given vent to the 35 percent affirmative principle captured in the 2006 National Gender Policy, adding that the National Assembly had continually bungled the opportunity to adopt legislation that supports greater participation of women in politics.

Addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, the African Regional Director of IRI, John Tomaszewski, expressed the disappointment of his delegation at the conduct of the polls, stating that opinions of Nigerians on the entire exercise pointed to retrogression, as the country had not made any significant progress since the 2015 outing. Read More: Nigeria Election Management Needs Urgent Reform Says U.S, EU Observers

The National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) have resolved to commence enforcement of the National Identification Number (NIN) on the new enhanced 10 years validity e-passport.

The President had on Tuesday, 15th January 2019 while unveiling the new enhanced e-passport with a 10-year validity, directed that the NIN which is issued by the NIMC be inserted as additional data in the new passports.

This was made known to DAILY POST by Loveday Chika Ogbonna, Head, Corporate Communications National Identity Management Commission and Sunday James, Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Immigration Service.

The National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) have resolved to commence enforcement of the National Identification Number (NIN) on the new enhanced 10 years validity e-passport. Read More: NIMC, NIS Begin Enforcement of the National Identification Number On New E-Passport

The Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on Thursday said Nigeria had been ranked the 4th country with the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Adewole disclosed this during the presidential unveiling of the 2018 Nigeria AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) result at the Banquet Hall of Aso Rock, Presidential villa.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the goal of the survey was to examine the distribution of HIV disease and commodities in Nigeria and assess the coverage. Also to ascertain the impact of HIV services on the population level and to measure HIV related risk behaviours using a nationally representative sample.

The survey was conducted within nine months as it commenced June through December 2018 in the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory. Read More: ‘Nigeria, Fourth Country With Highest HIV/AIDS Victims’

REST OF THE WORLD

House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi is setting a high bar for impeachment of President Donald Trump, saying he is “just not worth it” even as some on her left flank clamor to start proceedings.

Pelosi said in an interview with The Washington Post that “I’m not for impeachment” of Trump. “Unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” she said.

While she has made similar comments before, Pelosi is making clear to her caucus and to voters that Democrats will not move forward quickly with trying to remove Trump from office. And it’s a departure from her previous comments that Democrats are waiting on special counsel Robert Mueller to lay out findings from his Russia investigation before considering impeachment. Read More: House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi Opposed To Impeaching Trump

Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaido vowed Tuesday to take Nicolas Maduro’s place in the presidential palace “very soon,” as thousands of people took to the streets of Caracas to protest.

“We need an office to work in, so very soon, and when we have the armed forces totally on our side, we’ll go to find my office there in Miraflores. Very soon,” Guaido told supporters, who chanted back: “Yes, you can!”

Demonstrators banged pots and sounded car horns at the protest in a square in the east of the capital. Many waved large banners calling on Maduro to go. Read More: Venezuela Crisis: Guaido Vows To Oust Maduro As Thousands Protest

Boeing has grounded its entire global fleet of 737 Max aircraft after investigators uncovered new evidence at the scene of the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash.

The US plane-maker said it would suspend all 371 of the aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration said fresh evidence as well as newly refined satellite data prompted the decision to temporarily ban the jets.

The FAA had previously held out while many countries banned the aircraft.

All 157 passengers and crew died in Sunday’s crash. Ethiopian Airlines said on Thursday that the black box flight recorders from the aircraft have been flown to Paris for analysis. Read More: Boeing Grounds Entire 737 Max Crash Aircraft Fleet

49 people have been killed, and at least 20 seriously injured, after shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

New Zealand police say they have arrested three men and one woman. One man has already been charged with murder. An account believed to belong to one of the attackers featured a link to an 87-page manifesto filled with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim ideas.

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern has described the attack as an “unprecedented act of violence” and called it “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.” Meanwhile, police have mobilized every national police resource to respond to the attack.

New Zealand commissioner, Mike Bush said the attack was “very well-planned,” adding mosques across the country would remain under police protection for the moment. Read More: Mass Shootings at Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand 

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