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Anger, reactions as Nigerian Army jet ‘mistakenly’ bombs religious gathering, kills 85

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Anger is currently simmering after a Nigerian Army warplane dropped bombs on a religious gathering in Tudun Biri in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State in north-west Nigeria on Sunday, which left no fewer than 85 villagers dead.

Residents of the affected communities said the people were celebrating an Islamic ceremony known as Maulud when the warplane released the bombs on the crowd in what the Army has now said was a “mistake” as the jet was on the trail of fleeing terrorists.

The Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, who issued a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said the Nigerian Army’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) detachment had at “about 2200hrs on Sunday, observed the movement of terrorists at Ligarma, known to be a terrorist-infested area of Kaduna State.

“The aerial surveillance captured the movement of groups of people synonymous with terrorist tactics and modus operandi.

“The surveillance team observed advance of the terrorists that were gathered posed a threat to key infrastructure within reach of their activities.

“The threat was eliminated to prevent terrorists from unleashing terror on innocent civilians. It should be noted that terrorists often deliberately embed themselves within civilian population centres for civilian population to bear the consequences of their atrocities.

“Nevertheless, the Nigerian military does its best at all times to distinguish between civilians and terrorists.

“The military views every civilian death in the cause of operations as a tragedy, as such tragedies are needless and unwanted, which causes the armed forces to take extensive measures to avoid them”.

But despite the clarification by the DHQ, the incident has triggered both local and international condemnation, including President Bola Tinubu who condemned the unfortunate killing of innocent Nigerians.

In a statement on Tuesday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, President Tinubu said the incident was not only unfortunate but disturbing and painful. He commiserated with the families of victims.

“President Bola Tinubu sympathises with the families of victims, the people and government of Kaduna State over the bombing mishap in a village at Tundun Biri in Igabi Local Government Area of the state,” the statement said.

“The President directs a thorough and full-fledged investigation into the incident and calls for calm while the authorities look diligently into the mishap.

“The President also directs swift and comprehensive medical attention for surviving victims while praying for the repose of the souls of the deceased,” the statement added.

Metro

Zambia signs creditor agreement deal with China, India to resolve debt crisis

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President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia has announced the signing of an official creditor agreement with China and India that will help resolve the country’s debt crisis.

Hichilema, who made the announcement on Saturday, said the agreement would also help pave the way for the country to negotiate with private creditors.

Before signing the agreement, Zambia had struggled to revive its debt restructuring process after a deal to rework $3 billion Eurobonds was rejected by its official creditors, with international media reporting that China and other creditors did not believe that it offered comparable debt relief to that of bondholders.

Earlier on Friday, Minister of Finance, Situmbeko Musokotwane, had assured that the government was trying to clarify the meaning of a “comparable treatment” with bondholders.

However, while addressing a gathering during the Nc’wala ceremony of the Ngoni speaking people of Eastern Province, President Hichilema confirmed the signing of the agreement with the two Asian nations.

“On the official creditors’ side, the last two countries that had not signed, China and India, have now signed,” Hichilema said.

The President added that Zambia was now turning to the private creditors in a bid to address the debt issue because the had defaulted on its foreign debts in November 2020 and that its restructuring had been beset by delays.

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Metro

Four of 10 Nigerians indebted to loan sharks— Report

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A report from a research carried out by Nigerian fintech platform, Piggy Vest, has revealed that four out of 10 Nigerians are indebted to online loan sharks and are finding it difficult to come out of such debts.

The report noted that 26 per cent of average Nigerians were indebted to different loan apps spread across the country which is as a result of the harsh economic challenges brought about by different unfavourable government policies.

The report which was discussed at a Finance Roundtable in Lagos on Saturday by co-founder and COO of PiggyVest, Odun Eweniyi, lamented the widening wealth divide among Nigerians, saying it was inimical to economic growth as a vast majority of Nigerians live below the poverty line.

According to Eweniyi, the report ‘captures the attitude of different demographics in the country viz- a-viz their savings and spending habits, debt management, and future financial plans.’

As a panacea to solving the problems of indebtedness, Eweniyi advocated ‘savings before spending in order to avoid running into debt,’ adding that the option of savings was still elusive to Nigerians who live below the poverty line of $2 per day dollars per day.

“We must also know that while innovation is key, it cannot go far without social interventions for the people.”

She urged the government to focus on Nigerians at the bottom of the pyramid in its conversation as well as simplify access to public credit facilities to improve income status of average Nigerians.

“This is why government must as much as possible explore collaboration with private sector to improve the living conditions of Nigerians and also drive financial literacy and inclusion,” Eweniyi emphasized.

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