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Germany returns 7,000 Benin artefacts to Nigeria October – Official

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By Gistflash News

July 26, 2021

No fewer than 7,000 artefacts plundered from Benin Kingdom are expected to be repatriated by Germany to Nigeria not later than October, Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said.

The Permanent Secretary, Amb. Gabriel Aduda, disclosed this at the Inaugural Nigerian Cultural Show exhibiting Nigeria’s diverse cultural heritage, sites and traditional festivals held at the Cultural Centre, Nigeria House, New York.

Aduda also said the reparation of the artefacts would go with building an ultramodern museum in Edo and the training of some curators that would man the artefacts.

He said Nigeria had reached an advanced stage of discussions with Germany to return thousands of different pieces of Benin Bronzes back to the country.

The Nigerian official said the ministry had been at the forefront alongside relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to facilitate the repatriation of thousands of Benin artefacts from the Republic of Germany.

“We are working with relevant MDAs, we have had several high level meetings with the republic of Germany and we are at stage where thousands of art works are to be returned to Nigeria.

“There are over 7,000 different pieces of artefacts that Republic of Germany wants to give back to Nigeria,’’ he said.

“We have talked deep into this that the reparation is not only at giving back, but they are coming to put a modern day museum in Edo State and they are training 25 curators that will man the museum for sustainability.

“We have gone far and we are thinking that this will be concluded in October this year.

“We are hoping it will be a window to reach out to other European countries to return to us what was taken from us years back,” he said.

The permanent secretary commended the Consulate-General in New York for inaugurating in April, a Culture Centre and Library, equipped with books, cultural artifacts, research materials and historic documents on Nigeria for public use.

He said the participants were part of history as Cultural Centre hosts its first Cultural Show, saying “I believe that we will leave this event with a better understanding of our country.

“Also, with a heightened sense of admiration for our rich and unique ancestral heritage that has been the bedrock of our unity as a nation.

“We are encouraged by your interest and being a part of our story telling today and I invite you to Nigeria to witness these festivals coming up later this year.’’

Aduda said the Argungu International Fishing Festival and the Osun-Osogbo Festival promoted at the event are just two of the many festivals that characterise Nigeria.

In his remarks, a New York Senator, Sen. Robert Jackson, urged Black people to be proud of their race and culture.

“If we are not proud about out race and culture, how do you expect other people to do it for us?

“I have come to be part of the cultural event and to learn about the rich culture of Nigeria,’’ he said.

Also Speaking, Amb. Cuthbert Ncube, Chairman of the African Tourism Board, said culture was a viable tool for development and should not be underestimated as the colonial masters did.

Ncube said the board was open to engaging like-minded stakeholders as Africa re-writes its own narratives and starts identifying the capacities God had deposited in its citizens.

“Culture is a veritable social capital deployed for growth and development and can translate to economic and technological capital,’’ he said.

The New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event, with the theme “Nigeria: Our Community, Cultures and Unity’’, also showcased Nigeria’s cultural dance troupes, musical performances and cultural fashion displays.

The Show was organised by the Consulate-General of Nigeria, New York, in collaboration with the New York African Chorus Ensemble, the African Tourism Board and the Nigerian-Americans Public Affairs Committee.

The Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Lot Egopija; his Atlanta counterpart, Amb. Amina Smaila; and Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Amb. George Edokpa, were among the dignitaries that attended the event.

NAN

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Foreign

Sri Lanka extends nationwide quarantine curfew till Oct. 1

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By Gistflash News

Sept 17, 2021

Sri Lanka’s Health Minister, Keheliya Rambukwella said the nationwide quarantine curfew which had come into effect from August had been extended till Oct. 1 to curb the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

The minister made the announcement on Friday after a meeting with the country’s Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

He said that the president had decided to extend the quarantine curfew till 4:00 a.m. local time on Oct. 1.

He, however, said government essential services impacting the economy will be allowed to function during the curfew.

“ I will be consulting with Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa to decide which government institutions will be kept open as essential services that contribute to the economy.

“While the lockdown is in progress, I urge all citizens to get the available vaccines as soon as possible,’’ he said.

Sri Lanka was to lift the ongoing quarantine curfew on Sept. 21 but extended it following a recommendation from the health experts.

According to health experts, the country is facing a rapid spread of the Delta variant of the virus with 498,694 people infected with the virus since March last year and 11,817 people dead from the virus.

Xinhua/NAN

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ECOWAS resorts to sanctions over Guinea, Mali coups

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By Gistflash News

Sept 17, 2021

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday imposed sanctions against the junta in Guinea and those slowing Mali’s post-coup transition.

The imposition of the sanctions is the bloc’s toughest response yet to a run of military takeovers.

The move was agreed at an emergency summit of ECOWAS in Accra to respond to last week’s coup in Guinea and perceived slow progress towards constitutional rule in Mali following a coup last year.

Regional heads of state decided to freeze the financial assets and impose travel bans on Guinea’s junta members and their relatives, insisting on the release of President Alpha Conde and a short transition.

“In six months elections should be held,” said ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou at a briefing.

The bloc also piled more pressure on Mali’s transitional government, demanding they stick to an agreement to organise elections for February 2022 and present an electoral roadmap by next month, according to the post-summit communique.

Anyone in Mali hindering preparations for the elections faces the same sanctions as those imposed in Guinea, it said.

Leaders who took part in the summit hailed this more hardline stance.

West and Central Africa has seen four coups since last year – political upheaval that has intensified concerns about a backslide towards military rule in a resource-rich but poverty-stricken region.

Reuters/NAN

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Philippine govt. says ICC has no jurisdiction on drug war probe

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By Gistflash News

Sept 16, 2021

Philippine President,  Rodrigo Duterte’s legal counsel, says  the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction to investigate killings under the “war on drugs” campaign of the administration.

Chief presidential legal counsel, said on Thursday that  Salvador Panelo,  added that the ICC’s decision to open a full investigation neither bothered nor troubled the president and his administration.

“The foreign institution has no and never had jurisdiction over the affairs of the Republic of the Philippines and its people.

“We stress that we are able and willing to prosecute those who abuse their power and commit crimes against the citizenry,  if only genuine complainants come forward to the proper authorities instead of personalities who will use their plight for political ambitions,’’ he said in a statement.

Panelo also noted that since the authorisation to investigate was given more than two years after the Philippines’ withdrawal from the ICC took effect in March 2019, “there is no longer any matter for the ICC to pursue.’’

In authorising a full probe on Wednesday, the ICC’s pre-trial chamber said it still had jurisdiction because the alleged crimes took place between July 1, 2016 and March 2019, when the withdrawal took effect.

The war on drugs was launched by Duterte after he was elected president in 2016 on an anti-crime platform.

More than 7,000 people had been killed in police operations against illegal drugs in the Philippines in the past five years.

Human rights groups have alleged that the toll could even be three times that number.

dpa/NAN

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