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Malawi declares state of disaster in ‘armyworm’ affected districts

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President of the Republic of Malawi, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, has declared a state of disaster in all districts affected by fall army worms.

A statement released by the Government of Malawi says the disaster has affected 20 out of 28 districts in the country.

It says the President has done this in accordance with powers conferred upon him by Section 32(1) of the Disaster Preparedness Act with effect from, 15th December, 2017.

According to the statement since the onset of the 2017/ 2018 cropping season and as at 8th December 2017, the Fall Armyworms had affected thousands of hectares and 133,083 farming families in the process.

The statement further says that the fall Armyworms are mostly attacking maize, sorghum and millet. Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (MoAIWD) and development partners, is implementing interventions to contain the spread and impact of the Fall Armyworm outbreak.

So far, a cumulative total of 56,082 litres of pesticides (i.e. Dursban and Cyperimethrin) have been procured and distributed to Agriculture Extension Planning Areas (EPA’s) where smallholder farmers are accessing them for spraying infested fields.

However, the current stocks of pesticides are not adequate to contain the situation as the cropping season progresses; hence there is need for more resources to procure additional pesticides. The plan is to procure 400,000 litres of pesticides that will be distributed to farmers through their EPA’s.

Government, with support from development partners has also procured and installed pheromone traps in several districts to monitor the prevalence of the pest.

Furthermore, Government has intensified the training of front-line staff, traditional, political and church leaders as well as farmers on identification and management of the pest. Government has also enhanced sensitization and awareness campaigns through extension channels and the media.

As a long term strategy, Government has also commenced developing the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy in order to augment the chemical control that is being done currently and will also embark on further studies for better understanding of the biology and ecology of the pest as well as biological control of the pest.

In these circumstances, it is clear that the country will have a serious crop pest infestation that is posing a major threat to food security in the country.

The President is appealing for more support from the international donor community, the relevant United Nations agencies, non-Governmental organisations, the private sector as well as all fellow citizens of goodwill, so that they help in dealing with the Fall Army Worm infestation.

Crime

Nigeria Football Federation boss Amaju Pinnick under fresh corruption probe

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Several properties belonging to top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), including its president Amaju Pinnick, have been seized in a fresh corruption probe.

The latest investigation and seizures are being carried out by the country’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission’s (ICPC).

The ICPC has published a newspaper advertisement about the properties seized – half of which belong to Pinnick.

According to the statement published in the Nigerian papers one of Pinnick’s properties is in London.

It comes amidst wide-ranging claims over how money meant for football development allegedly disappeared.

“We can’t go into further details beyond the fact that many officials of the NFF are under investigation,” ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa said.

“It’s basically because what they have is in excess of what they have earned.”

The ICPC has also taken control of properties belonging to the NFF second vice-president Shehu Dikko and the general secretary Muhamed Sanusi among others.

Source: BBC

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24 Hours Across Africa

Rwanda ban Burundi,s music star ahead of annual festival

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Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, has told the BBC he is confused by Rwanda’s decision to ban him from playing at the upcoming Kigali Jazz Fusion festival.

Kidum is one of Burundi’s biggest music stars and has performed in Rwanda for the past 16 years.

But a police official phoned the musician’s manager to warn that he would only be allowed to make private visits to Rwanda.

“[My manager was told] Kidum is not supposed to perform, tell him to leave. If he comes for private visits fine, but no performances,” the musician told BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.

The mayor of Rwanda’s capital said that in this instance permission had not been sought from the authorities for him to perform at the festival in Kigali.

Kidum was a leading peace activist during Burundi’s civil war between 1993 and 2003 and used his songs to call for reconciliation.

The 44-year-old musician said he had never had problems with Rwandan authorities until recently when three of his shows were cancelled at the last minute – including one in December 2018.

That month Burundi had banned Meddy, a musician who is half-Burundian, half-Rwandan, from performing in the main city of Bujumbura.

Kidum said he was unsure if the diplomatic tensions between Burundi and Rwanda had influenced his ban.

“I don’t know, I don’t have any evidence about that. And if there was politics, I’m not a player in politics, I’m just a freelance musician based in Nairobi,” he said.

He said he would not challenge the ban: “There’s nothing I can do, I just wait until maybe the decision is changed some day.

“It’s similar to a family house and you are denied entry… so you just have to wait maybe until the head of the family decides otherwise.”

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