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Israel’s response to Hamas attack ‘collective punishment’ on Gaza – Egyptian President, Al-Sissi

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Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi expressed his view on Sunday, characterizing Israel’s response to Hamas’ recent attack as a form of “collective punishment” against the densely populated Gaza Strip.

Following the surprise attack on October 7th, Israel has initiated a series of airstrikes on Gaza, raising the likelihood of an imminent Israeli ground incursion into the region.

“I believe the ongoing actions have surpassed Israel’s right to self-defense and have evolved into a form of collective punishment against the 2.3 million Palestinians residing in the Gaza Strip,” he stated during televised remarks while meeting with United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Cairo.

Blinken’s visit to Egypt is part of a broader regional tour aimed at preventing the conflict between Israel and Hamas from escalating into a larger regional conflict. He has already visited Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Al-Sissi called for facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip to alleviate the suffering of its people.

“It is of utmost importance to de-escalate tensions and ensure the smooth passage of aid into the Gaza Strip,” he emphasized.

Israel has imposed restrictions on the entry of essential supplies such as food, fuel, and medicines into Gaza, leading to severe concerns about the well-being of the impoverished territory’s inhabitants.

Al-Sissi stated that Egypt is actively working to mitigate the situation and prevent other external actors from becoming involved in the conflict.

Earlier on Sunday, Al-Sissi presided over a meeting of Egypt’s National Security Council to address the escalating violence in Gaza.

A presidential statement issued after the meeting outlined Egypt’s commitment to intensify efforts to deliver humanitarian assistance to the neighboring Gaza Strip, particularly in light of the growing fears of mass displacement.

The Rafah border crossing, the sole passage from Gaza to Egypt, is presently closed due to Israeli retaliation attacks on the strip.

Unidentified Egyptian sources were quoted in the media on Saturday as suggesting that Cairo links the passage of foreign nationals from Gaza through the crossing to the facilitation of aid deliveries to the strip.

The Israeli military had instructed civilians in northern Gaza to head south in anticipation of an impending incursion, which was reportedly delayed due to adverse weather conditions.

As the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, Egypt is concerned about a potential mass exodus of Gazans into its territory. In response, Egypt emphasized its rejection and denouncement of any displacement policy or attempts to undermine the Palestinian cause at the expense of neighboring nations.

The presidential statement further outlined Egypt’s plans to host a regional and international conference on the “developments and future of the Palestinian cause.”

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PHOTO: Gov Makinde Host Nigeria Police Games

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1: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) and Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

2: From left, Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Barr Bayo Lawal; Governor Seyi Makinde; Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun and his wife Elizabeth, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

3: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) take a salute from the Police Mascots, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

CREDIT: Oyo Gov Media 

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Economic crisis: Find more ways to improve your IGR – President Tinubu to universities

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The Nigerian government has called upon universities in the country to broaden their sources of funding amidst economic challenges. President Bola Ahmad Tinubu made this assertion during the 6th & 7th combined convocation ceremony of Federal University, Dutse, which took place on Saturday.

Speaking through Professor Kabir Bala, the Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who represented him at the event, President Tinubu stressed the government’s dedication to facilitating a conducive environment for universities despite resource limitations.

He urged universities to actively explore alternative funding channels, underlining the significance of self-reliance in the prevailing economic circumstances. The President also encouraged universities to seek international funding opportunities for research, advocating for collaborations and the attraction of funds from global sources.

President Tinubu emphasized that government alone cannot shoulder the financial burden of universities, particularly amid economic challenges and competing demands from various sectors. Nonetheless, he reiterated the administration’s commitment to providing the necessary support within the available resources to ensure universities function as pillars of educational advancement and national development.

He further urged universities to pursue innovative strategies for generating revenue and to tap into international research funding opportunities. He assured that his administration remains dedicated to supporting universities in achieving their objectives as outlined in the Renewed Hope Agenda.

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Contempt threat against NLC, TUC leaders over public protest uncalled for – Femi Falana replies FG

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Human rights advocate and constitutional lawyer, Femi Falana, has clarified that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have every right to organize the nationwide public protest scheduled for February 27 and 28, asserting that it does not constitute contempt of court.

As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Falana emphasized that Nigerian workers are entitled to freedom of assembly and expression as enshrined in the country’s Constitution. He urged the federal government, in a strongly worded letter to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, to ensure maximum security for the workers and to participate in the protest.

In response to the AGF’s threat of contempt charges against the NLC and TUC leaders, Falana’s letter dated February 24 countered the threat, arguing that it lacked legal basis.

Falana pointed out the history of negotiations between the government and the labor unions following the removal of fuel subsidy in 2023, which resulted in court orders restraining the unions from striking. Despite compliance with these orders, the unions challenged them, and the contempt proceedings initiated by the government were subsequently withdrawn.

He highlighted subsequent legal actions initiated by the government against the unions, noting that these actions were contested by the unions on grounds of abuse of court process and lack of jurisdiction. Falana emphasized that since the contempt proceedings were withdrawn, there is no basis for the government’s threat of contempt charges regarding the planned protest.

He cited legal precedents affirming citizens’ rights to protest on matters of public interest without the need for police permits, emphasizing the democratic importance of freedom of speech and assembly.

Falana urged the government to respect these fundamental rights and directed the Inspector-General of Police to provide adequate security for the protesters in accordance with the Police Establishment Act.

In conclusion, he called on the government to reconsider its stance and assured that the protests would be conducted peacefully.

The federal government had previously warned of invoking relevant laws to charge the NLC leadership with contempt if the protest proceeds, citing it as a breach of agreement and a challenge to the court’s authority. The AGF, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, conveyed this warning in a letter to Falana, urging the NLC to abandon the protest to avoid violating the court’s order.

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