BREAKING: Boko Haram Frees 21 Chibok Girls
By Ebitonye Akpodigha
Reports just reaching us indicate that members of the outlawed Boko Haram terrorists’ group have released 21 schoolgirls they abducted in April 2014 in Borno State to the Nigerian government.
The girls were dropped at Banki area of Borno State on Thursday morning, reports say.
They were thereafter reportedly picked up by military helicopter.
The 21 released girls are said to be among the over 200 girls kidnapped by the group in 2014 at Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) in Chibok, Borno State.
Since their abduction in 2014, there have been calls from around the globe for their release.
In a recently released video by Boko Haram, the group promised to release the girls if the Nigerian government frees some of its arrested fighters.
The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had in the past expressed his readiness to dialogue with the group as long as they confirm the authenticity of the group’s leadership.
InTouch, GTP to Unlock Financial Inclusion for African Consumers
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A partnership targeted at unlocking financial inclusion for African consumers has been entered between GTP, a specialised provider of prepaid and virtual card processing solutions, and InTouch, a leading pan-African fintech.
This collaboration will commence in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire and expand into the rest of the continent. The goal will be achieved by democratising access to card credentials for millions of African consumers, as it would bridge the gap between digital payment platforms and card-based transactions, giving InTouch customers access to cross-border transactions through Visa credentials.
“With this partnership, we are democratizing access to card payments and enabling international and online payments as well as cash in and cash-outs in our TouchPoint network in Senegal and Ivory Coast and very soon in 16 other African countries.
“Our goal is to offer the simplest and most accessible solutions for digital payments to millions of customers across the African continent,” the founder of InTouch, Omar Cissé, said.
Also, the chief executive of GTP, Christian Bwakira, said, “InTouch is an innovative pan-African payments aggregator that has demonstrated consistent innovation in markets in which it operates.
“By working together, we will unlock the power of card credentials for millions of Africans across the continent and make borders matter less for them in the global digital economy.”
Access to card credentials plays a pivotal role in Africa’s financial ecosystem, opening doors to a wide range of economic opportunities and driving financial inclusion.
Studies currently estimate that 90 per cent of transactions conducted in Africa are still reliant on cash, highlighting the significant gap in digital financial inclusion across the continent.
But McKinsey argues that card-linked digital wallets are already a significant driver of growth in the issuance and usage of cards.
Prepaid cards are decoupled from the traditional banking infrastructure, allowing banks and fintech companies to give more people access to a globally accepted payments method without a need for a traditional bank account.
By partnering with GTP, an MFS Africa company, InTouch aims to democratise access to card credentials for its African customers across its 13 markets. This collaboration will enable users of InTouch’s innovative digital platform, which aggregates over 400 services through its API` to seamlessly link their digital wallets to card credentials, enhancing their access to the global digital economy.
Through the integration of GTP’s robust prepaid and virtual card processing solutions, InTouch users will be able to tap into the advantages of card-based transactions, including wider acceptance, enhanced security, and seamless integration with global payment networks.
Nigeria’s Acute Food Insecurity May Worsen from June— FAO, WFP
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that Nigeria remains among the highest-level countries facing acute food insecurity, which is likely to deteriorate further during the outlook period from June to November 2023.
For the outlook period, FAO and WFP issued an early warning for urgent humanitarian action in 18 hunger hotspots, including two regional clusters comprising a total of 22 countries.
According to the report, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen remain at the highest alert level. Haiti, the Sahel (Burkina Faso and Mali) and Sudan have been elevated to the highest concern levels; this is due to severe movement restrictions for people and goods in Burkina Faso, Haiti and Mali and the recent outbreak of conflict in Sudan.
All hotspots at the highest level have communities facing or projected to face starvation or are at risk of sliding towards catastrophic conditions, given they already have emergency levels of food insecurity and are facing severe aggravating factors. These hotspots require the most urgent attention, the report warns.
The Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan and Syria are hotspots with very high concern, and the alert is also extended to Myanmar in this edition.
All the above hotspots have a large number of people facing critical acute food insecurity, coupled with worsening drivers that are expected to further intensify life‑threatening conditions in the coming months. Lebanon has been added to the list of hotspots, joining Malawi and Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) that remain hotspots.
In the hunger hotspots, parts of the population will likely face a significant deterioration of already high levels of acute food insecurity, putting lives and livelihoods at risk. Targeted humanitarian action is urgently needed to save lives and livelihoods in all 18 hunger hotspots.
In eight of these – Afghanistan, Haiti, Nigeria, the Sahel region (Burkina Faso and Mali), Somalia, South Sudan, the Sudan and Yemen – humanitarian action is critical to prevent starvation and death.
Speaking on this, Mr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General, said, “Business-as-usual pathways are no longer an option in today’s risk landscape if we want to achieve global food security for all, ensuring that no one is left behind.”
“We need to provide immediate time-sensitive agricultural interventions to pull people from the brink of hunger, help them rebuild their lives, and provide long-term solutions to address the root causes of food insecurity. Investing in disaster risk reduction in the agriculture sector can unlock significant resilience dividends and must be scaled up,” he added.
“Not only are more people in more places around the world going hungry, but the severity of the hunger they face is worse than ever,” said Ms Cindy McCain, WFP’s Executive Director.
“This report makes it clear: we must act now to save lives, help people adapt to a changing climate, and ultimately prevent famine. If we don’t, the results will be catastrophic,” she warned.
The report warns of a major risk of El Niño conditions, which meteorologists forecast to emerge by mid-2023 with an 82 per cent probability. The expected shift in climate patterns will have significant implications for several hotspots, including below-average rains in the Dry Corridor of Central America, and raises the spectre of consecutive extreme climatic events hitting areas of the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.
Adegoke’s Murder: Court Sentences Ife Hotelier Rahman Adedoyin to Death
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The owner of Hilton Hotel in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Mr Rahman Adedoyin, has been sentenced to death by hanging over the death of a postgraduate student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Mr Timothy Adegoke.
Mr Adegoke was murdered in his hotel in 2021 after he lodged in the facility. His corpse was moved away from the hotel and hurriedly buried in the vicinity.
The hotelier was arrested and has arraigned in court.
On Tuesday, according to Vanguard, the Osun State Chief Judge, Justice Oyebola Ojo, found Mr Adedoyin culpable in the murder of the deceased.
The judge also found other suspects guilty in the murder of the deceased and dismissed the alibi that the hotel owner was in Abuja for many days around the time the death of the late Adegoke occurred.
But four members of the staff prosecuted alongside Mr Adedoyin were discharged and acquitted of charges against them.
The matter became known to the public after his family raised an alarm that he had been missing after he lodged in the hotel and that efforts to reach him were abortive.
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