The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, – a Nigerian-based non-governmental organization that monitors human rights violations and advocates for peace and integrated society, – has asked the United Nations (UN), the Commonwealth Secretary General, the African Union (AU) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and other international organizations to step up efforts to address rising armed attacks mostly on civilians in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The latest letter, a copy made available to Modern Diplomacy, titled “Calling For Urgent International Intervention To Stop State Protected Fulani & Other Jihadists From Wiping Out Christians In Nigeria” and was addressed to H.E. (Mr.) Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, Rt. Hon (Madam) Patricia Scotland, QC Secretary General of Commonwealth, H.E. (Ms) Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the Int’l Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor, ICC Headquarters, among others.
It said in part: We, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, are a federally registered human rights group in Nigeria, formed in 2008 with thematic mandate of campaigning for promotion and advancement of democracy and accountable governance, civil liberties and rule of law and public security and safety.
As a core part of our thematic mandate, Intersociety has, since 2010, followed, monitored (including patterns and trends of anti-Christian butcheries), researched, investigated, documented and published or exposed inter faith and intra faith intolerance and violence including massacre of Christians by Jihadists in Nigeria or any part thereof and persecution of Shiite Muslims by Sunni Muslim political and security actors.
Intersociety strongly opposes use of violence for religious propagation and adoption whether in principle or in practice, of any particular religion as a state religion by any sitting Government or its security and law enforcement agencies.
As a result of the above, Your Excellencies; and with greatest respect and humility, we wish to bring the attention of Your Excellencies to the following facts:
1. That Christians are at high risk of being wiped out by state protected Islamic Jihadists, especially the Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen, parented by three major Fulani associations (Miyatti Allah, FUNAM and Fulani Houta lHore), all recognized and registered till date by the present central Government of Nigeria. Other jihadist groups massacring Christians in Nigeria are: Boko Haram, ISWAP, Ansaru and Jihadist “Bandits”. Of the named Jihadist groups, Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen enjoy full state cover and protection and are also independently found dominating other jihadist groups.
2. That from January to July 2020, Jihadist Herdsmen have been responsible for no fewer than 1,027 Christian deaths and destruction or burning of thousands of houses and hundreds of worship and learning centers belonging to Christians. All their victims since 2015 and before then are Christians. The Jihadist group is further responsible for over 15,000 Christian deaths and destruction or burning of at least 1,500 churches and Christian learning centers in Nigeria since 2009.
3. That combined with anti-Christian killings by other Jihadists including Boko Haram, ISWAP, Ansaru and Jihadist “Bandits”, over 32,000 Christian lives and more than 17,000 churches and Christian schools have been lost since July 2009. Owing to the inaction and strongly suspected conspiratorial role of the present central Government of Nigeria since mid-2015, the number of Jihadist groups in Nigeria has also increased dangerously and uncontrollably from three (BH, Ansaru and Herdsmen) in mid-2015 to not less than 20 including splinter and autonomous jihadist groups.
4. That this is to the extent that they now operate, kill, maim, torture, rape, massacre and convert Christians and loot, plunder, burn and destroy their churches and other properties at will; with Nigeria’s central Government and its security forces looking the other side or doing little or nothing.
5. That specifically, Your Excellencies, a total of1,421 Christians have been hacked to death by Nigeria’s Jihadists in Jan-July 2020; a period of seven months. The breakdown of the massacre carefully monitored by Intersociety, shows that Jihadist Herdsmen accounted for 1,027 Christian deaths, Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) 310 Christian deaths and Jihadist Ansaru and Jihadist “Bandits” over 60 Christian deaths. Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen also accounted for over 9,000 Christian deaths since mid 2015 when the present Government of Nigeria came on board.
6. That in Southern Kaduna alone, 683 Christian lives have been lost to Jihadist Herdsmen in the past 570 days or 19 months (1st Jan 2019-31st July 2020). Not less than 363 Christian lives were also lost to Fulani Jihadists in the past seven years or 1st Jan-31st July 2020 and in July 2020, alone, no fewer than 175 Christians were butchered by the same Jihadist group in the State.
7. For more details, Your Excellencies, please access the follow links concerning the ongoing butchering of Christians in Nigeria and strongly suspected complicity of the present central Government of Nigeria and some State Governments in the troubled areas including the present Government of Kaduna State.
a. Our latest report, dated 3rd August 2020: 1,421 Christians Hacked To Death By Nigeria’s Jihadists In Jan-July 2020:
b. Our updated Statistical Data File backing our recent reports on massacre of Christians in Nigeria, updated on 3rd August 2020:http://intersocieng.org/phocadownload/2019/file%20containing%20statistical%20sources2-converted%20new.pdf
c. Our recent statement, exposing eight major indicators vicariously and directly linking the present central Government of Nigeria to Fulani & BH Jihadism in the country, dated 31st July 2020:http://intersociety-ng.org/component/k2/item/558-eight-major-indicators-vicariously-linking-the-present-government-of-nigeria-to-herdsmen–bh-jihadism
d. Our recent letter to Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police urging the NPF to intervene and end ceaseless massacre of Christians in Southern Kaduna, dated 22nd July 2020:
f. Our updated version of the periodically reviewed reports on massacre of Christians in Nigeria, released on 12th July and updated on 24th July 2020 (1,202 Nigeria’s Christians Hacked to Death by Jihadists in Jan-June 2020): http://intersociety-ng.org/component/k2/item/556-nigeria
Our writing,Your Excellencies is in recognition of Your Excellencies’ respective international mandates for promotion and sustenance of global peace, security and stability. Going by enormous powers and responsibilities at Your Excellencies’ disposal, it will be gravely calamitous to sit and watch by and allow Nigeria, a country of multi-ethnicity and religions with explosive population of over 200m people; to explode into ‘complex humanitarian emergencies’; incapable of being managed if allowed to explode..
To UN Secretary General: We therefore urge the Secretary General of UN, H.E., Antonio Guterres, to consider the situation in Nigeria as dicey and a time-bomb and adopt effective measures to reverse same. These include investigating the massacre of Christians in Nigeria by the country’s Jihadists and the role of the present Government of Nigeria as well as doing the needful by briefing the UN Security Council and recommending to same to act without further delays. Totality of these is in line with the Principles and Purposes of the United Nations including international peace and security. The situation in Nigeria is a serious threat to international peace and security under the UN’s Principles and Purposes.
To Commonwealth Secretary General: We urge the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Rt. Hon Patricia Scotland, QC, to act by investigating the state actor and non-state actor roles in the Nigeria’s anti-Christian butcheries. The Secretary General is reminded about the Harare Commonwealth Declaration (1991) which affirmed that human rights are among the fundamental political values of the Commonwealth. … The Commonwealth Charter, agreed to by the Commonwealth’s Heads of Government in 2012 also underscores the commitment of Member States to Commonwealth principles and values inclusive of human rights. Nigeria, as a key member of Commonwealth, must not be allowed to transform into and exist as a jungle.
To the ICC’s Chief Prosecutor: We urge the Chief Prosecutor of ICC, H.E. (Ms) Fatou Bensouda to break its long years of silence and inaction regarding the ongoing butcheries in Nigeria. The delays by the ICC to do the needful in Nigeria since 2010 when it “opened its investigations on Nigeria” are technically responsible for the loss of over 32, 000 Christians and 17,000 churches and Christian schools and tens of thousands of Christian houses and hectares of their ancestral lands.
Such delays are also technically responsible for the massacre of thousands of Muslims by fellow Muslim radicals including victims of Jihadist Banditry attacks and state actor massacre of over 1300 Shiite Muslims and over 480 Judeo-Christians dominated by Igbo citizens. In line with the plain wording and language of the ICC Statute of 1998, ratified by Nigeria in Sept 2001, “crimes against humanity including massacre of Christians; war crimes and genocide (including anti-Christian butcheries) have been committed in ‘industrial scale’ in Nigeria by state actors and non-state actors and are still ongoing”. We, therefore, urge the ICC to act immediately.
African Union’s Inaction on Ethiopia Deplorable – Open Letter
A group of African intellectuals says in an open letter that it is appalled and dismayed by the steadily deteriorating situation in Ethiopia. The letter, signed by 58 people, says the African Union’s lack of effective engagement in the crisis is deplorable. The letter calls on regional bloc IGAD and the AU to “proactively take up their mandates with respect to providing mediation for the protagonists to this conflict”.
The letter also asks for “all possible political support” for the AU’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, whose appointment was announced on August 26, 2021. A United Nations Security Council meeting on the same day welcomed the former Nigerian president’s appointment.
Earlier in August 2021, UN chief Antonio Guterres appealed for a ceasefire, unrestricted aid access and an Ethiopian-led political dialogue. He told the council these steps were essential to preserve Ethiopia’s unity and the stability of the region and to ease the humanitarian crisis. He said that he had been in close contact with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and had received a letter from the leader of the Tigray region in response to his appeal. “The UN is ready to work together with the African Union and other key partners to support such a dialogue,” he said.
August 26, 2021 was only the second time during the conflict that the council held a public meeting to discuss the situation. Britain, Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway and the United States requested the session.
Fighting between the national government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front broke out in November 2020, leaving millions facing emergency or crisis levels of food insecurity, according to the United Nations. Both sides have been accused of atrocities.
Africa: The G20 Must Recommit to Covax
It is one year since the international community gave its backing to the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) facility to lead a worldwide effort to end the acute phase of the pandemic. The initiative aimed to ensure that every country, and not just those with sufficient money or resources, could access life-saving vaccines once they became available. As G20 health ministers prepare to meet in Rome on September 5-6, they are in a position to ensure that COVAX fulfills its mission.
A year ago, no one knew when or even if it might be possible to develop a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19, let alone the 20 that are available today. But since making its first international deliveries in February, COVAX a partnership established by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance has delivered more than 235 million vaccine doses to 139 countries, and expects to deliver another billion doses in the fourth quarter. Only China, India, and the United States have delivered more. This start to the largest and most complex vaccine rollout in history has given hope to millions of people and laid solid foundations for how we respond to future pandemics.
Yet, so much more could, and should, have been achieved by now. It is unacceptable that only 1.8% of people in low-income countries have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 82% in high- and upper-middle-income countries. This shocking inequality is as economically senseless as it is destructive to human life, with the latest estimate of the cost of the slow rollout amounting to $2.3 trillion.
The world was woefully unprepared for a pandemic, and this is reflected in the challenges COVAX has faced. By the time initial funding arrived, wealthy countries had already locked up early vaccine supplies. Export bans affecting key suppliers, and difficulties experienced by many manufacturers in scaling up production to the required level, also undermined COVAX’s ability to access doses early.
Given increasing global vaccine inequity and the rise of new, more contagious coronavirus variants, we must put these challenges behind us. Thanks to the support of almost all G20 governments, alongside that of foundations and private businesses, COVAX has now raised nearly $10 billion and secured more than 600 million donated doses. All the preparations are in place for the most comprehensive vaccination effort that the world has seen.
Based on the committed orders COVAX has placed with vaccine manufacturers and the additional donations, hundreds of millions of new doses should now be available each month. We need to make sure they reach poorer countries and get into people’s arms. To avoid further delays, and for the facility to succeed, we need support from G20 leaders in four key areas.
First, we need doses, and we need them now. The premise of COVAX was always that the facility should be able to negotiate and buy its own doses. With our early vaccine access compromised, donations have played a vital role in maintaining our ability to keep doses flowing to those most in need. Of the 600 million doses pledged to COVAX to date, 100 million have now been delivered. We need more, and soon, with longer shelf lives and greater certainty so that recipient countries have time to plan their rollout. This can be achieved without jeopardizing high-income countries’ national vaccination efforts.
We also need G20 leaders to support our call for transparency. COVAX has legally binding agreements with manufacturers for more than four billion doses, but has all too often faced delays in accessing them. Without greater clarity regarding firms’ order books, it is impossible to know whether these holdups are due to production challenges or preferential treatment for bilateral arrangements. Insisting that manufacturers are transparent about their order timelines can ensure a level playing field where no one particularly those living in developing countries gets bumped to the back of the vaccine queue because of another bilateral deal.
In addition to ensuring that manufacturers keep their commitment to COVAX, governments should make global vaccine access their highest priority. Countries with pending orders for doses that they currently do not need should allow COVAX to take their place in the queue so that we can get doses to needy countries now.
Finally, lower-income countries require continued financial and technical support for their COVID-19 vaccine rollouts. Strengthening national health systems will help these countries to ensure delivery of doses and mitigate the pandemic’s secondary effects, and will leave in place infrastructure critical to future global health security.
By recommitting to COVAX, G20 leaders will recommit to a multilateral solution that builds on the astounding scientific progress of the past year. Based on COVAX’s latest forthcoming supply forecast, when topped up with doses through bilateral deals, equitable COVID-19 vaccine access can protect up to 60% of the adult population in 91 lower-income countries. This would represent a huge step toward the WHO target of 70%, which is needed to suppress the coronavirus everywhere, and COVAX represents the best opportunity to achieve it.
Failure would mean more lives lost, broken health-care systems, even deadlier and more transmissible variants, and a pandemic with no end in sight. The G20 must not allow that to be an option.
More African Countries Register Russia’s Sputnik Vaccine
Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is a specialized technical institution of the African Union (AU) that strengthens the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions as well as partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks, based on data-driven interventions and programmes.
During the outbreak of the coronavirus, the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), was established by African Union, as a component in support of the Africa Vaccine Strategy and was endorsed by the AU Bureau of Heads of State and Government on 20th of August 2020.
Dr John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), has emphasized: “Africa has to team up with development partners to achieve its 60% continent-wide vaccination in the next two years. I think that is why we should as a collective of the continent, and of course, in partnership with the developed world make sure that Africa has a timely access to vaccines to meet our vaccination targets.”
An official media release in February 2021, the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team from the African Union (AU) informed that Russia would supply and deliver 300 million Sputnik V vaccines to Africa. That step was intended to support African countries to attain their targeted immunization of 60% of the population by the year-end. That vaccine story disappeared, but instead what become so common is the speedy registration of Sputnik V on bilateral basis in various African countries.
According to the latest, Nigeria has become the 68th country in the world to approve the Russian vaccine. The use of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine has been approved in Nigeria, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said in an official statement.
“The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund) announces the approval of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control of Nigeria (NAFDAC). Nigeria has become the 68th country in the world to approve the Russian vaccine. Total population of all countries, where Sputnik V is approved for use, now exceeds 3.7 billion people, which is nearly half of the global population,” the statement said.
“Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa, and the approval of Sputnik V will provide for using one of the safest and most effective vaccines in the world. Sputnik V is based on a proven human adenoviral vectors platform and is successfully used in over 50 countries. Approval in Nigeria will make an important contribution to the country’s fight against the pandemic,” CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Kirill Dmitriev said.
Besides Nigeria, other African countries have registered Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. Reportedly, the vaccine has been registered in Algeria, Angola, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Tunisia, the Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zimbabwe.
Russia’s drive to share Sputnik V vaccine, of course, offers a chance to raise its image and strengthen alliances in Africa. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation has made efforts promoting the vaccine using all its channels. But supply and delivery have largely lagged behind, the pledges have simply not been fulfilled. Russian authorities have oftentimes said that they would step up efforts for fruitful cooperation in combating coronavirus in Africa.
Promising more than can be delivered appears to be a universal problem with coronavirus vaccines, and it is a real risk for Russia as well, said Theresa Fallon, Director of the Brussels-based Centre for Russia Europe Asia Studies. “They have won the gold medal for creating this very effective vaccine,” she said. “But the problem is how are they going to implement production and delivery?”
Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), with profit motivation, has attempted supplying the Russian vaccines through, Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, from the Monarch family and a third party in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to a number of African countries. For instance, the Republic of Ghana reportedly signed US$64.6 million contract for Sputnik V vaccine from Russia through Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum. It was double the price from the producer as reported in the media.
On the other hand, Russian President Vladimir Putin has noted, in a speech early September, that advanced countries that produce vaccines against the coronavirus do little to protect humanity from the pandemic.
“The benefits of vaccination are enjoyed mostly by advanced economies. The bulk of the vaccines is made there, and it is used to protect their own population. But very little is being done to protect humanity in the broad sense,” Putin said at the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, the Far East of Russia. “This is very bad for the producers, because all this boomerangs around the globe. For instance, in Africa the level of protection with vaccines is minimal, but contacts with the African countries continue. There is no getting away from this. This infection will return again and again.”
According to an official release obtained late February, the Sputnik V vaccine the following advantages:
• Efficacy of Sputnik V is 91.6% as confirmed by the data published in the Lancet, one of the world’s oldest and most respected medical journals; It is one of only three vaccines in the world with efficacy of over 90%; Sputnik V provides full protection against severe cases of COVID-19.
• The Sputnik V vaccine is based on a proven and well-studied platform of human adenoviral vectors, which cause the common cold and have been around for thousands of years.
• Sputnik V uses two different vectors for the two shots in a course of vaccination, providing immunity with a longer duration than vaccines using the same delivery mechanism for both shots.
• The safety, efficacy and lack of negative long-term effects of adenoviral vaccines have been proven by more than 250 clinical studies over two decades.
• The developers of the Sputnik V vaccine are working collaboratively with AstraZeneca on a joint clinical trial to improve the efficacy of AstraZeneca vaccine.
• There are no strong allergies caused by Sputnik V.
• The price of Sputnik V is less than $10 per shot, making it affordable around the world.
In February, peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet published an analysis from Phase III clinical trial of the Russian vaccine, showing its 91.6-percent efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19. The Sputnik V vaccine was developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.
Sputnik V was registered in Russia on August 11, 2020 as the world’s first officially registered coronavirus vaccine. Russian vaccines have advantages as no deaths have been reported after vaccination with the Sputnik V, Alexander Gintsburg, Director of the Gamaleya Center, the vaccine developer, said and was reported by TASS News Agency. “As of today, no deaths after vaccination with Sputnik V have been registered,” he said.
Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is Russia’s sovereign wealth fund established in 2011 to make equity co-investments, primarily in Russia, alongside reputable international financial and strategic investors. RDIF acts as a catalyst for direct investment in the Russian economy. RDIF’s management is based in Moscow.
In Africa, during first of September, the coronavirus-related death toll has topped 196,190, while more than 6.9 million recoveries have been reported. South Africa accounts for a majority of coronavirus cases and deaths across Africa – 2,777,659 and 82,261 respectively. The death toll in Tunisia climbed to 23,451, and 664,034 cases have been confirmed. Egypt recorded 16,736 deaths and 288,441 coronavirus cases.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopia is ranked second to South Africa (308,134 cases and 4,675 deaths) and is followed by Kenya (235,863 cases and 4,726 deaths) and Nigeria (191,805 and 2,455). The total number of COVID-19 cases has reached almost 8 million in Africa, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Africa.
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