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Despite reports of right abuses, US approves sales of $1 billion military helicopter to Nigeria

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Despite concerns about the Nigerian army’s human rights record, The Biden administration in the US has granted approval for Nigeria to buy advanced attack helicopters worth nearly $1 billion.

The State Department on Thursday announced the approval of the $997 million sales of 24 Bell AH-1Z Viper helicopters and related equipment to Nigeria. The related equipment includes guidance, night vision, and targeting systems as well as engines and training support, the department said in a notice to Congress.

According to the rights group, Amnesty International, the Nigerian security forces have committed a catalogue of human rights violations and crimes under international law in their response to spiralling violence in Southeast Nigeria, carrying out a repressive campaign since January which has included sweeping mass arrests, excessive and unlawful force, and torture and other ill-treatment.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a strategic partner in Sub-Saharan Africa,” the department told Congress.

The deal will also “better equip Nigeria to contribute to shared security objectives, promote regional stability and build interoperability with the U.S. and other Western partners” and “will be a major contribution to U.S. and Nigerian security goals,” the notice said.

Blinken had hinted in his visit to Nigeria in November that the U.S. was looking forward to seeing the full results of the investigation and would make a decision on arms sales to Nigeria based in part on the findings and whether those responsible were held accountable.

Terrorist activities have taken an upward trend in Nigeria since the deadly Boko Haram sect based in North-Eastern Nigeria, which is also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon was founded in 2002. It is believed that the acquired combat helicopter will enhance Nigeria’s battle over insurgency and terrorism at a large.

Musings From Abroad

Transport cleaning staff in UK to join strike train over pay – union

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As industrial actions continue to across the United Kingdom, cleaners have joined other transport workers to strike over pay in Britain, the Rail, Maritime, and Transport union.

The union made the position known on Saturday, stressing that its members, working as cleaners throughout the transport network, had voted to hold their first national strike action.

Over 1,000 contracted-out cleaners working for the likes of Churchill, Italian Servest, and Mitie are said to be eligible to strike.

The union is demanding that the cleaners be paid 15 pounds ($18.14) an hour, with sick pay, holiday entitlement, and better pensions.

Industrial actions have been on the rise in Britain lately with railway workers, nurses, doctors, and teachers, as well as emergency services, postal services, and telecoms workers have either on strike or planning action.

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Musings From Abroad

Britain introduces policy to reduce influx of international students

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Britain in an attempt to manage the influx of Africans into Europe has introduced plans to reduce the rate of immigration to the United Kingdom by limiting the number of foreign students entering the country.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that approximately 560,000 people migrated to the UK as of June. This marked a sharp increase from the comparable period last year, driven by the influx of Ukrainian refugees.

Under the new arrangement, there will be limitation on the number of family members that international students are allowed to bring into the country.

The policy move would be a reversal of the 2019 International Education strategy which sought to boost the country’s education exports to £35 billion per year.

Africa, particularly Nigeria has a large number of students in the United Kingdom. Nigerians consistitute a third non-EU country with the most students in the UK with 21,305 students currently enrolled in UK institutions, ahead of the United States with 19,220 students.

China and India with 143,820 and 84,555 students respectively have the highest number of students in the UK.

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