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Malawian President orders probe of missing $4.7m COVID-19 fund

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Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera has ordered a probe into a missing $4.7 million COVID-19 funds which was discovered during an audit.

The missing money was discovered during a second audit into money set aside to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic in the country and now President Chakwera has promised severe punishment for any government official indicted by the probe.

“President Lazarus Chakwera’s concerns were raised on Friday after the audit into Covid spending in Malawi found that around $4.7m (£3.7m) could not be accounted for from $21m set aside to deal with the second phase of the pandemic,” a statement from the Presidency said.

“This is on top of $881m from the first phase that a 2020 audit showed had been spent irregularly or was not accounted for,” it added.

The Presidency added that after the first audit, President Chakwera promised to crack down on the culprits and several officials were taken to court.

The latest investigation which is a 66-page report by the country’s auditor general, has listed several irregularities which include undelivered medical supplies, allowances paid without attendance sheets and fuel acquired without official documentation.

“The audit has been presented to the Minister of Finance for immediate action,” the statement said.

An official of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) said this “second exposé shows that public systems for managing resources in Malawi are broken, with no political will to hold people accountable.”

“We lost many countrymen and women because funds that could have been used to buy basic equipment and essential drugs were abused; sadly we do not have a leadership that is showing enough concern to change things,” the official, Sylvester Namiwa, who heads the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiative (CDEDI), said.

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Terrorists attack Nigerian Correctional Service Centre, release dangerous criminals

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A premium Correctional Service Center, the Kuje Medium Prison, in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja, came under severe attack by heavily armed terrorists who laid siege to the facility on Tuesday night and by the time they were done, hundreds of dangerous criminals, including fellow terrorists, were released into the society.

Residents of the immediate vicinity of the prison who sent out distress messages on social media at the time of the attack which occurred at about 10:30pm, narrated how the gunmen who numbered over 100, used explosives and machine guns to overpower the security operatives stationed at the prison reputed to be one of the safest in the West African country.

The frightened residents also revealed that the terrorists invaded the facility from the back of the premises which has less security personnel and shot their way into the facility where they attacked the officers on duty and ended up releasing some of the inmates believed to be members of terrorist groups locked up in the prison.

While confirming the attack on the Custodial Centre in the Federal Capital Territory, in a statement on Wednesday by its spokesperson, Umar Abubakar, the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) said calm has been restored to the area as the armed squad of the service were on the trail of the gunmen in collaboration with other security agencies.

“I wish to confirm that at about 2200hrs, some yet-to-be-identified gunmen attacked the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje, in the Federal Capital Territory.

“However, men of the Armed Squad of the Nigerian Correctional Service and other security agencies attached to the Custodial Centre have responded and calm has been restored to the facility and the situation is under control. Other details will be made available soon.”

In the last three years, several prisons across Nigeria have come under attacks by gunmen whose main objectives have been to free some inmates.

Prisons in Owerri, Imo State in the South-East region of Nigeria, Kogi and Plateau States in the North-Central, Ibadan, Oyo State and Owo in Ondo State in the South-West, have been attacked by gunmen where thousands of inmates were freed.

According to Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, in an interview in November 2021, a total of 4,369 prisoners were set free by the gunmen in the various attacks on the custodial centres during various incidences of prison breaks, with many of them yet to be recaptured.

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Terrorists attack President Buhari’s convoy in Salah home coming. Who is safe?

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The presidency in Nigeria has confirmed that bandit attacked the presidential convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesman, Garba Shehu, in a statement revealed the President Buhari was not in the convoy at the time of the attack but security operatives and an advance team heading for Daura, Buhari’s hometown, ahead of Sallah, were attacked near Dutsinma in Katsina.

Shehu said the attack was repelled by “gallant presidential guards”.

“The Presidency has described as sad and unwelcome, the shooting incident near Dutsinma, Katsina State, at the convoy of cars carrying the Advance Team of security guards, protocol and media officers ahead of President, Muhammadu Buhari’s trip to Daura for Sallah.”

“The attackers opened fire on the convoy from ambush positions but were repelled by the military, police and DSS personnel accompanying the convoy.

“Two persons in the convoy are receiving treatment for the minor injuries they suffered. All the other personnel, staff and vehicles made it safely to Daura,” Shehu said in a statement.

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.

Numerous bandit groups exist in north-west and north-central Nigeria with activities ranging from cattle rustling, kidnapping civilians for ransom, armed attacks and community invasion. Recall that the Nigerian government was slow to regard the bandits as terrorists, till it gazetted it in January.

The audacity of the attacks has grown in recent times. There have been attacks on an international airport, a train but an attack on a presidential convoy is a new height.

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