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ICRC trains 5 Judges, others on International Humanitarian Law

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ICRC trains 5 Judges, others on International Humanitarian Law

 

Training

The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) has trained five Judges and 20 members of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice to boost their capacity on International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

Mr Jean-Francois Quequiner, Deputy Head of Delegation, ICRC Nigeria, made this known on Thursday while speaking at the opening ceremony of the training in Abuja.

He said the training was aimed at strengthening the expertise of the Judges and other members of staff of the court on the application of IHL.

Quequiner emphasised that the success of the workshop would be depending on strong participation of participants.

He identified the dialogue with member states as an essential tool that would enable ICRC to build the necessary trust to carry out its operations in the protection and assistance of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence.

Quequiner noted that the committee mandates included promotion and ensuring respect for IHL, which provides for protection for persons, “who are not or who are no longer participating in hostilities.”

He emphasised that their engagement with ECOWAS Community Court of Justice starting with the two-day training was an opportunity for both ICRC to interact and as well exchange knowledge.

He further noted that it would as well facilitate the committee’s understanding of how the court functions.

According to him, the court’s human rights jurisdiction gives members the responsibility to hear from vulnerable individuals seeking redress for infringements on their right to life and dignity among others.

“Over the last few years we have seen armed conflicts spread throughout the region, affecting many of the most vulnerable population in the region.

“From these conflicts, cases complicating breaches of IHL are likely to appear before the court in the future as survivors begin to find their voices.

“While we understand that IHL has not played a large role in the court’s past decisions, we want to ensure that the court is fully prepared to tackle the necessary elements of IHL that might come up.

“This workshop is only the beginning of what will hopefully be a long and productive collaboration.

“The dialogue will of course respect the requirements of confidentiality to which the court and ICRC are bound.

“The ICRC’s confidential dialogue with member states is an essential tool that allows us to build necessary trust to carry out our operational role in the protection and assistance of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence,” he noted.

Quequiner identified ICRC as an impartial, neutral and independent organisation whose exclusively humanitarian mission was to protect the lives and dignity of victims of violence among others.

“Our protection work focuses on seeking to restore family links for those who might have been separated as a result of armed conflict, working with the vulnerable in the civilian population to make sure they have the tools needed to live in dignity and safety.

“We are also providing facilities with information on missing relatives among others,” Quequiner said.

Economy

FG makes next level moves on Ibom Deep Water Port procurement- ICRC DG

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The Federal Government is set to move to the next level of the procurement process of the Ibom Deep Water Port (IDWP) through the Public Private Partnership (PPP).

Mr Chidi Izuwah, the Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), made this known while presenting the Full Business Case (FBC) Compliance Certificate to the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi.

Izuwah said in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja that the IDWP project involves the development of a Greenfield Deepsea Port and accompanying Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Akwa Ibom.

“The proposed Port and FTZ are part of the planned Ibom Industrial City initiative that will be established on a 14,400-hectare site donated by the Akwa Ibom State Government (AKSG) free of charge.

The IDWP project is planned to become a major national and regional economic gateway that will provide additional container handling capacity for the country.

“In addition to containers, the IDWP is expected to handle petroleum products, crude oil, natural gas, vehicles and bulk trade in natural resources,” he said.

Responding, Amaechi thanked ICRC for providing timely guidance throughout the development and procurement process of the project.

He added that the project was in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire to expand and further develop the nation’s transport sector in the overall interest of the economy.

The Bollore/Power China emerged the preferred bidder for IDWP following the transparent bidding process held earlier.

It added that conclusion of negotiations and due diligence were ongoing with the preferred bidder.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that ICRC was established to regulate PPP activities in Nigeria to address physical infrastructure deficit which hampers economic development.


Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Foreign

Hundreds killed in South Sudan tribal clashes – ICRC

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Hundreds of civilians, including three aid workers, were killed in a series of tribal clashes in villages in South Sudan’s vast Jonglei state, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday.

The territory of South Sudan has been plagued for decades by ethnic clashes over cattle and land, as well as blood feuds.

But violence has risen in recent months after the government in February designated ten new states, including Jonglei, but failed to agree on governor appointments, creating a power vacuum.

Fighting between Lou Nuer and Murle groups broke out on Saturday in and around the town of Pieri, leaving hundreds injured and thousands displaced.

Aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said in a statement on Tuesday it had lost a South Sudanese staff member and two others were injured in the clashes. A South Sudan Red Cross volunteer was also killed.

ICRC warned that COVID-19 restrictions had made it more difficult to evacuate those wounded and to provide surgical care for trauma injuries.

They said more lives will be lost if violence keeps escalating.

South Sudan’s five-year civil war erupted soon after the country’s formation in 2011 and created the worst refugee crisis in Africa since the Rwandan genocide.

“If we see the same level of violence that we saw in 2019 we can expect a greater loss of life and deeper suffering as COVID-19 hampers our ability to respond,” said James Reynolds, the ICRC’s head of delegation in South Sudan.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, which is currently investigating the clashes, condemned the violence and urged the government to find a deal over the appointment of governors.

“We strongly urge the Government and other parties to compromise and agree on these critical positions so the states can take measures to prevent conflict, build peace, and assist with the COVID-19 response,” said David Shearer, head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Economy

FG to improve Kaduna Polytechnic accommodation through PPP – ICRC

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The Federal Government says it is renovating and upgrading  existing Kaduna Polytechnic Students’ hostels through Public Private Partnership (PPP).

 

Mr Chidi Izuwah, the Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), made this known in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

 

Izuwah had presented the Full Business Case (FBC), Compliance Certificate, to Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, Minister of State for Education.

 

He said that the renovation was the first PPP project in the education sector in Nigeria to reach the Full Business Case level.

 

“We hope to see more PPPs in the education sector with the twin objective of raising infrastructure standards and quality while reducing the burden of financing the sector from the treasury,” he said.

 

The director-general commended the Rector of the institution and his team for working assiduously to get the project to its current level.

 

He also appreciated the Ministry of Education for giving its full support toward ensuring the realisation of such historic project.

 

Nwajiuba, who received the certificate on behalf of the Ministry, said the importance of decent accommodation for the youths could not be over emphasised.

 

“We hope this will mark the beginning of good things in the Nigerian educational sector using the PPP model.

 

“Thank you for showing us that this can be done in the industry,” he said.

 

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that ICRC was established to regulate PPP activities in the country and to address physical infrastructure deficit which hampers economic development.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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APO

COVID-19 – Africa: International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) response to the coronavirus in Africa

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The COVID-19 pandemic, also known as coronavirus, has overwhelmed advance health care systems all over the world. The African region has not been so severely affected so far, but if action is not taken immediately to contain the virus, it could have devastating effects particularly in places affected by conflict and violence.

Governments have acted quickly to put travel bans, self-quarantine, and other preventative measures in place. These are critical steps taken towards curbing the spread of COVID-19, but an outbreak in areas grappling with congestion, lack of access to clean water, and weakened health care systems will likely face a new humanitarian crisis.

The tens of millions of people around Africa who are living in overcrowded displacement camps and informal settlements, often with poor access to health care, clean water and sanitation, are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. They cannot practice social distancing. At the same time, if the virus spreads into places with active conflict, cases will be harder to trace.

The fear now is that unless urgent action is taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19, the virus could take hold in some of the world's most vulnerable communities, with devastating consequences. The ICRC's work to serve people affected by armed conflict and violence in Africa will not grind to a halt because of COVID-19. More than 40% of ICRC's operations are in Africa. Many of these programs are life-saving and in places where few other organizations have access.

A coordinated response

All delegations in Africa are reorienting their plans to face the challenges ahead, both in terms of adapting existing programs to respond to the shifting needs COVID-19 creates and developing new programs to tackle COVID-19 head-on.

Across the continent, the ICRC is working with Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers to share accurate information on COVID-19 and how people can protect themselves and their families from the disease. This includes radio spots, small group sessions, flyers, posters, tv spots, and targeted information campaigns inside places of detention.

Burkina Faso

In Burkina Faso, some 1.5 million people have seen their access to health care cut or seriously reduced since 2019 due to the escalation of violence. As of February 2020, some 109 health centres were closed and 140 were operating at minimum.

The ICRC is running radio spots to share information on how people can protect themselves from COVID-19. In areas where people have been displaced from their homes by violence, the ICRC is continuing to improve access to clean water and soap. The ICRC will also distribute soap and hand sanitizer in places of detention and train guards in infection prevention and control.

Mali

Access to health care in Mali is limited as conflict and underinvestment has forced some health care facilities to shut down. Nearly 20% of health care facilities across Mali have been partially or completely destroyed and 93% of facilities in the north have been completely destroyed. Those that remain are totally overwhelmed with injuries from conflict and general health needs of IDPs.

Right now, the ICRC is setting up an infection prevention control in all the primary health clinics that the organization supports, including quarantine capacity at two facilities. The ICRC is also prepared to set up transit sites for suspected COVID-19 patients before they are transported to treatment centres. Chlorine, chlorine sprayers, and other disinfectant equipment will also be provided to health care facilities.

South Sudan

People in South Sudan must often walk for hours, and even days, to reach the nearest health care facility. The WHO estimates there is only one physician for every 65,000 people, while less than half of the health care facilities in the country are functional.

In addition to adapting how the ICRC treats gunshot and other life-threatening injuries, the organization is supporting the National Prison Services of South Sudan to run information sessions on COVID-19 to prevent the disease from entering places of detention. The ICRC is also installing handwashing facilities in the most populated prisons and distributing hygiene items to detainees.

Somalia

Less than 50% of people living in Somalia's urban areas have access to medical care. In rural areas, it drops to only 15%. The country suffers from outbreaks of measles and other diseases and one million children are estimated to be malnourished.

The ICRC has provided tents for isolation to the Mogadishu hospital that it supports, which can be used if there is a surge of cases of COVID-19. Health education sessions are being conducted in addition to providing soap to communities, clinics and hospitals, together with the Somali Red Crescent.

The ICRC is also implementing a surveillance system (EWARN) and contact tracing at the clinics' level in collaboration with Somali Red Crescent to collect information and monitor suspected cases. Hygiene items are being provided in places of detention. The ICRC is also providing soap, chlorine tabs and hygiene information on COVID-19 to more than 120,000 households with the help of Somali Red Crescent volunteers.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is still reeling from an outbreak of Ebola. It also suffers from chronic outbreaks of disease like cholera and measles. These outbreaks put a further strain on local health services, which are now also facing COVID-19. There have also been indiscriminate attacks on the delivery of health care services and humanitarian aid.

In response to the threat of COVID-19, the ICRC is supporting the Ministry of Health in setting up quarantine and isolation measures in two provincial hospitals in Bukavu and Goma. The organization is also training staff in eight referral hospitals in suspected case isolation and helping all supported clinics and hospitals in infection prevention control measures.

The ICRC will continue its health care visits, training staff on the symptoms and case management, and putting in place infection control measures to reduce the risk of the virus from entering places of detention in the first place. With family visits no longer allowed in places of detention, the ICRC is looking into scaling up food and other assistance to detainees.

Cameroon

In the Anglophone region of Cameroon, The ICRC's teams are delivering soap and other household goods to 650 families. However, going forward, there are planning to distribute 22 tons of soap and 44,000 jerry cans in prisons and communities in different parts of the country. The ICRC also plans to provide bleach and cleaning products to detention centres.

Ethiopia

The ICRC is providing soap to detainees and setting up handwashing stations in 20 places of detention in Ethiopia, reaching 40,000 detainees. These initial places of detention were selected based on their sizes in relation to the number of detainees they have, and their proximity to cities and towns.

In addition, the distribution of flyers in places of detention with information on COVID-19 prevention, symptoms, and actions to be taken if someone is sick is ongoing. The ICRC is also sharing guidance and recommendations with authorities to limit the risk of outbreaks of COVID-19 in places of detention. Together with the Ethiopia Red Cross, the organization is sharing information with communities on prevention measures such as handwashing and physical distancing.

Kenya

The ICRC is working together with the Kenya Red Cross to support the Kenya Prison Services on infection prevention control, helping to develop protocols, providing hygiene training to prison staff, supporting the installation of screening, quarantine and isolation facilities, and guiding authorities on humane management of the restrictive measures imposed on the daily life of the inmates.

Djibouti

In Djibouti, the ICRC is working in coordination with the Ministry of Justice to conduct an awareness session for the staff and management of Gabode prison and shared protocols on infection prevention and control. Hygiene items, personal protective equipment and materials to set up the screening station at the gate have been provided to the prison management.

Southern Africa

From the ICRC regional delegation in Pretoria that covers southern Africa, the ICRC is appealing to governments to suspend all arrest and forced deportation of migrants to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in holding facilities and in the region. Countries of return are mostly countries with compromised health care systems due to conflict and armed violence.

The vulnerability of migrants, notably those in irregular situations or living in precarious conditions, should be factored in any national plan to respond to COVID-19, to ensure their adequate access to information, their inclusion in the prevention response and their access to health care should they fall sick.

Sudan

In Sudan, the ICRC is accelerating efforts to get communities access to water by repairing dozens of handpumps in Al Geneina, West Darfur, which was the scene of clashes earlier this year and home to tens of thousands of displaced people. There are also plans to provide soap and COVID-19 health education.

The ICRC is speeding up an urban water project together with local authorities in Damazine, Blue Nile State, where the town's existing water supply is under severe strain due to the growing presence of displaced people around its periphery over the years.

Additionally, the ICRC is helping federal and state Ministries of Health to build up contingency stocks of gloves, gowns, disinfectant and personal protective material. It plans to offer support to detention authorities for hygiene promotion with water stations, soap, awareness messages and posters in prisons. At the same time, the ICRC is supporting the Sudanese Red Crescent Society in their health activities, and their COVID-19 awareness campaigns, especially where the ICRC is working in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

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Politics

ICRC advises NASS to domesticate International Humanitarian Law

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Mr Eloi Fillion, Head of Delegation, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has advised the National Assembly to domesticate the International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

Fillion said this in a statement issued by ICRC Public Relations Officer, Mr Aliyu Dawobe on Thursday in Abuja.

Dawobe said Fillion gave the advice at the ongoing joint 2-day workshop by the House of Representatives and ICRC in Abuja.

“The IHL protects those who do not, or no longer participate in hostilities, like civilians, detainees, the wounded and the sick.

“ The aim of the workshop is to improve the understanding of IHL.

“We hope that the workshop will inspire the parliamentarians to prioritise the domestication of IHL treaties.

“Such as the Kampala Convention on internally displaced persons, to strengthen the protection of civilians and foster good relationships between the House of Representatives and the ICRC,’’    Fillion said.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, said the IHL had guided members to deploy appropriate method in warfare.

“IHL is how we regulate the means and methods of warfare so that we may yet safeguard our humanity from the tribulations of war,” he said.

Gbajabiamila, was represented by the Deputy House Leader Mr Ahmed Idris Wase at the event.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ali Baba-Inuwa
(NAN)

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Economy

ICRC urges MDAs to regularise all PPP arrangements they have with private sector

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The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), has asked all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to regularise all arrangements it has with the private sector with the ICRC.

Mr Chidi Izuwah, the Director-General, gave the directive at the First Quarter, Public Private Partnership Units Consultative Forum (3PUCF) on Thursday in Abuja.

He added that the regularisation would help to harmonise all PPP programmes of the Federal Government.

“We shall be doing this in association with the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) and all other agencies to ensure revenue leakages are blocked.

“We shall issue further statements on this in due course,’’ he said.

Izuwah said it was in line with presidential directives to ensure that all revenues from PPPs go into one dedicated Treasury Single Account (TSA) to ensure that proper data in terms of investment and revenues coming in from PPP were accounted for.

“The Special Concession Account (SCA) is very crucial and we are working with the Ministry of Finance to put it in place.

“In compliance with the Treasury Circular by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF), TRO/861/VOL.1/052A and dated June 26, 2018, the ICRC has established a Department for Revenue and Investment.

“In compliance with Section 9 of the ICRC (Establishment, etc) Act, 2005, we have opened the SCA as required by law at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“The SCA is an account under the TSA which seeks to provide key information on all government PPP programmes,’’ he said.

Izuwah added that the organisation would issue a formal set of instructions and guidelines in association with other agencies of government to help recover the funds.

“Many MDAs have leased properties and gone into all sorts of arrangements with the private sector and we regard them as PPPs.

“So, all those arrangements of leasing government assets to the private sector are covered under Section 1 of the ICRC Act.

“Everybody would be informed of the full notice and advice and the process for the regularisation.’’

Mrs Ekaro Comfort, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, said the ministry had attracted private sector investors for the development of some PPP projects in the water sector.

Represented by Mr Peter Nwaba, the Director, Special Duties, she said the ministry had concessioned the 40 Mega Watts (MW) Dadinkowa Hydropower Project in Gombe state.

She added that it had also developed 136 MW Manya and 182 MW Bawaku Hydropower project in Taraba and Benue states among others.

According to her, PPP options have been globally recognised as an infrastructure project delivery scheme.

Nigeria News Agency , reports that ICRC was established to regulate PPP activities in Nigeria to address physical infrastructure deficit which hampers economic development.

Edited By: Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

 

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Health

ICRC calls for protection of Red Cross emblem across Nigeria

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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has stressed the need for the protection and the use of Red Cross emblem across the country.

Mr Eloi Fillion, Head of the ICRC delegation in Nigeria made the call on Wednesday in Abuja at a round table on the use of the emblem in Nigeria and adoption of the Geneva conventions of 1859.

According to him, people are often not aware that this emblem was created almost 160 years ago for a very specific purpose, and that there is need for the emblem to be protected.

“The emblem of the Red Cross is one of the most recognised emblems in the world. It is also however, oftentimes misunderstood.

“Many of us associate the Red Cross simply with hospitals or pharmacies, and others believe it has a religious significance,” he said.

Fillion stated that, there was need for people to protect and care about the emblem because of the international recognition it has under the international law.

He said that part of the ICRC role adopted at the Geneva conventions was on humanitarian care for wounded soldiers at the war front.

He added that between 2012 and 2014, almost 2,400 attacks against the medical mission in armed conflicts in 11 countries were recorded.

According to him, such attacks have effects beyond the immediate loss of life and medical infrastructures but cripples the entire healthcare systems.

He added that the emblems are not just ordinary symbols, and their use must be reserved under the international law as well as the domestic law.

Mr Bolaji-Anami Akpan, President of the Nigeria Red Cross Society (NRCS) also stated that his organisation had played major roles in regard to humanitarian needs in the country from the civil war to the current armed conflict in the North-East Nigeria.

He said that the volunteers of the organisation had in the past paid various supreme sacrifices as they provide succour to most vulnerables in the society.

“This is why it is very important to us as we discuss the uses, protection, indication and identification of the emblem.

“The NRCS is the largest community based humanitarian organisation in Nigeria, with branches in all the states and the FCT, with over 800,000 trained volunteers serving and supporting the people.

“They are serving not only in situation of disasters, disease emergencies and displacements, but also on health/hygiene, nutrition, livelihood/cash-transfer, and environment issues.”

Edited By: Nick Nicholas/Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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APO

Ethiopia: International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) engages with police officers on international human rights standards on policing

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Thirty-five police officers drawn from Bishoftu city, Oromia Region, enhanced their knowledge of international human rights standards and humanitarian principles on policing through a two-day seminar conducted in Bishoftu City from 23 to 24 January 2020.

Police responsibilities and powers, use of force and firearms, police ethics and investigative techniques on sexual violence were among the major topics discussed during the seminar, organized by the ICRC in collaboration with the Oromia Region Police Commission.

“The seminar will help the members of the police force to understand and apply relevant rules of international human rights law in their day-to-day works,” remarked Aster Andualem, facilitator of the seminar who is working for the ICRC as a police program adviser.

Police officers working mainly in the area of crime investigation took part in the seminar. The seminar was also an opportunity to update participants on ICRC work in Ethiopia in the realm of protection with particular emphasis on the purpose of its visits to places of detention and the protection it provides to detainees.

In Ethiopia, the ICRC promotes international human rights and humanitarian standards and apply principles among members of both federal and regional police forces through seminars and trainings.

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Foreign

Africa needs new forms of humanitarian assistance – ICRC

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Africa requires new forms of humanitarian aid amid a host of crises, including the impact of global warming on agriculture, Peter Maurer, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said.

“Over the last couple of years, we were coping with the increasing complexity of crises where underdevelopment, violence, economic and social factors, and climate change have reunited into an explosive mix of destabilizing societies,” he said.

The ICRC president noted that the people in Africa have often talked about climate change, especially the issue of irregular rainfall, and that they were having difficulties in managing the consequences of such developments.

“So we see the necessity increasing to look at new forms of humanitarian assistance – agricultural assistance, which makes crops more resilient to climate change or helps re-establish health systems so that they are able to cope with some of the illnesses that are directly related,” he said.

He added that the Sahel and the Horn of Africa have been affected the most by climate change.

“I think what counts at the end of the day is also whether states negotiate by consensus a vision on how to deal with people who are displaced, particularly through climate change.

“As far as I see, we are still far away from the international community accepting that this is a consensual norm that should be respected,” he answered.

Since the beginning of the African decolonisation in the 1950s, the continent has been plagued by a plethora of issues, including civil wars, political instability, disease outbreaks, and food and medical supply shortages.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Felix Ajide

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