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Family of real life ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero files $400m suit against government following conviction

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Following the controversial conviction of the world famous ‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero, Paul Rusesabagina by a Rwandan court last month, his family has filed a $400 million lawsuit in the US over his alleged abduction and torture by the government in Kigali.

Rusesabagina, whose heroism during the 1994 Rwandan genocide was depicted in the Hollywood film ‘Hotel Rwanda,’ is respected the world over as a hero who saved the lives of thousands by providing shelter for them when he was the manager of a luxury hotel in Kigali during the genocide when ethnic Hutus killed more than 800,000 people, mostly from the Tutsi minority.

The lawsuit filed by Rusesabagina’s family names the Government of Rwanda, President Paul Kagame, and other senior officials including the former Justice Minister and Intelligence Chief as part of those who abducted and tortured him.

A lawyer to the Rusesabagina family in a statement on Saturday, said:

“The complaint alleges that the Government of Rwanda, the President and high-ranking Rwandan officials conspired to facilitate and execute an elaborate plot to lure Paul Rusesabagina from his home in Texas to Rwanda, where he would be tortured and illegally detained.”

According to the family, the 67-year-old Rusesabagina who is a holder of a US green card, as well as Belgian citizenship, was tricked into travelling from the US to Burundi in 2020 by the promise of work.

“Instead, he was drugged and taken to Rwanda where President Paul Kagame’s security agents forcibly abducted him, tortured him, and forced him into illegal imprisonment,” according to the statement.

The family also aver that the conviction of the ailing hero is effectively a death sentence for him.

He is now currently serving 25 years in prison on terrorism charges following a trial last year, which his supporters say was riddled with irregularities.

He was first brought to Rwanda in 2020 and convicted in September 2021 for alleged involvement in a rebel group blamed for deadly attacks in Rwanda in 2018 and 2019.

Rusesabagina’s family and lawyers say they will hold a news conference in Washington, DC on Wednesday, May 4, to announce further details of the suit, which is seeking at least $400m (380 million euros) in compensation, as well as punitive damages.

Metro

Despite hardship in Nigeria, Tinubu insists on harsh economic reforms

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Despite the hues and cries of agony by Nigerians over the excruciating high cost of living and economic challenges occasioned by the policies of the present administration, President Bola Tinubu says his administration remains steadfast in implementing his economic reforms that he believes will facilitate business growth and create investment opportunities that support Nigeria’s growing population.

The Nigerian President, who made the pledge on Thursday when he recieved a delegation from the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) led by Florizelle Liser, its President and Chief Executive Officer, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, further expressed his administration’s
unwavering commitment to Nigeria’s economic growth and stability, emphasizing that he was not relenting until his vision for Nigeria was achieved.

Tinubu emphasized that though he is not oblivious of the fact that a large percentage of Nigerians are currently going through unbearable conditions, his bold reforms will, in the long run, come good and Nigerians will be better off.

While addressing the delegation, the President said he would not relent until his vision for Nigeria was achieved.

”I am happy that the Council is interested in various segments of Nigeria’s economy. We are right in the middle of a challenging stage of our reforms. We have headwinds, no doubt, but we are not going back,” he said.

”We are challenged, and we believe we will overcome the challenges. I have a can-do attitude that must be translated into a must-do attitude. We have a good team, and we must remain focused to get the goal accomplished,” he reiterated.

President Tinubu also reaffirmed his commitment to creating an enabling environment for business to thrive, emphasizing that his administration’s focus on investing in key sectors, such as agriculture, solid minerals, energy, health, physical infrastructure, trade promotion, financial services, digital enterprise, and the creative economy is underpinned by the need to ensure the welfare and prosperity of citizens.

”We are going to do more on security and investing in education, as we believe that education is the greatest weapon against poverty. We welcome partners like CCA, and we will strengthen our partnership to achieve our goals,” he added.

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Metro

Zambia: Opposition FDD calls for creation of agric bank

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Zambian opposition party, the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), has called on the government to re-establish an agricultural bank in the country.

The party’s Information and Publicity Secretary, Caeser Liteta, who made the call in a statement on Wednesday, said it was important that government to set up an agricultural bank to provide financing for farmers to invest in irrigation facilities as a result of the drought being experienced in the country.

Liteta added that government should take stock of affected small scale farmers through the extension officers under the Ministry of Agriculture and ensure that a true reflection of affected small scale farmers was captured and prioritised as beneficiaries of farming inputs during the 2024 – 2025 farming season

“The UPND government must consider re-establishing a farmers’ bank similar to the defunct Lima Bank Limited to provide financing need to invest in irrigation facilities,” Liteta said.

He noted that the effects of climate change had become visible and more pronounced and it was high time President Hakainde Hichilema and his Cabinet considered re-establishing the farmers’ bank to help mitigate effects of climate change in the agricultural sector.

“The current Super El Nino being experienced in the country has devastating effects on the rainfall pattern and going by media reports, we may only have a few days of rainfall in the next five weeks, but sustained rainfall is finished for the 2023 – 2024 farming season, especially for farmers in Lusaka, Central, Eastern and Southern Provinces,” Liteta said.

Liteta stated that the FDD as a party, had taken effects of climate change seriously and, as a policy matter, had developed the soon to be adopted Environmental Strategic Plan that was centred on Agriculture, health and water and sanitation respectively.

“Through the programmes, our party hopes to mitigate effects of climate change in areas of agriculture, associated diseases and challenges in depleting sources of clean water both, rivers and boreholes.”

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