Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari travelled to London for a “routine” medical check-up two days before the country’s doctors go on strike over unpaid salaries. Buhari, 78, left the country Tuesday after meeting the country’s security chiefs. The trip will last until the second week of April. It’s Buhari’s first medical trip abroad since the pandemic, which stripped much of Africa’s elite of the option of flying to Europe and Asia to see a doctor. While Buhari consults with doctors in London, millions in Africa’s most populous country will be left without access to medical treatment from 1 April, when doctors will stop going to work. They’re complaining about the non-payment of medical interns for months and demanding an upward review of hazard allowances and Covid-19 care incentives, according to a statement issued by the National Association of Resident Doctors on 29 March. Nigerians have for decades suffered from an inadequately funded health-care system, squalid clinics and hospitals, and poorly paid and overworked health care workers who frequently move abroad for employment. There are at least 8,178 medical doctors of Nigerian origin working in the U.K., according to data on the U.K. General Medical Council website, a 50% increase from 2015. The exodus has worsened health care in a country that has one doctor for every 5,000 people, according to the Nigeria Medical Association.
Six persons were feared dead Monday at Adani in Uzo-Uwani Local Council of Enugu State, following a clash between armed herdsmen and Eastern Security Network (ESN). The clash reportedly started when some herdsmen allegedly shot a member of Igga community in his farm and blocked sympathisers from taking the victim to the hospital. It was gathered that the refusal to allow the wounded farmer get medical treatment triggered rumpus that attracted ESN members to the scene, leading to a showdown. The Guardian cited an unnamed source as saying that it was during the attempt to resuscitate the farmer, who suffered a bullet wound that some angry youths on motorcycles stormed the scene and started shooting at those barricading the farmer from receiving medical attention. The ensuing fracas, The Guardian said the incident led many residents of the agricultural community of Adani to flee the area to neighbouring communities in Nsukka and Igboetiti local councils. Some residents of Adani, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed that hunters and even some local vigilante had encountered some unfamiliar faces suspected to be ESN personnel in the forests in the area, who told them that they were not after law-abiding residents. The Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Aliyu, and other top security operatives in the state visited Adani to investigate the incident. The state police commissioner, Daniel Ndukwe confirmed the incident.
The FG on Tuesday announced that it had begun the collation of data of all out-of-school children across the country. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, said the exercise was being handled by the National Steering Committee on Alternate School Programme. She disclosed this in Abuja during the second meeting of the committee which was held at the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation. Farouq said about 12 million children were currently out of school in the country, citing data released by the National Bureau of Statistics. She said, “This committee will work with the statistics made available by the NBS to engage these out of school children. “The alternate school programme possesses the potential for every child to gain access to quality education, irrespective of social, cultural or economic standing. “It will also provide a means of improving household incomes for their respective families through the Federal Government’s social investment programmes.” The minister said the committee had worked closely with the Federal Ministry of Education and other ministries to refine the concept of the alternate school programme.
A French airstrike in January killed 19 civilians and three armed men at a wedding in the remote desert of central Mali, United Nations investigators said on Tuesday, contradicting France’s account that only Islamist militants were hit. The human rights division of the United Nations mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said it had visited the village of Bounti where the attack took place on Jan. 3, analysed satellite images and interviewed more than 400 people, including at least 115 in face-to-face, individual sessions. “MINUSMA is able to confirm that a wedding celebration was held that brought together about 100 civilians at the site of the strike,” the report said. It said 19 people, including 16 civilians and three armed men who were attending the wedding, were killed immediately in the air attack, while three more civilians died while being transferred to medical care. “There were five armed individuals among them (wedding party), presumed members of Katiba Serma,” the MINUSMA report said, referring to an armed group affiliated with al Qaeda. The French defence ministry rejected the report’s findings. In a statement, the ministry said the strike followed a “robust targeting process” that identified the targets as militants. “The only concrete sources on which this report is based are local testimonies. They are never transcribed, the identity of the witnesses is never specified, nor the conditions in which the testimonies were gathered,” it said. “It is therefore impossible to distinguish credible sources from false testimonies by possible terrorist sympathisers or individuals under the influence (including threats) from jihadist groups.” The French military said in the days afterwards that it had killed about 30 Islamist militants identified by aerial surveillance. Local officials in northern Mali accused France’s military last week of killing six civilians in another airstrike. French forces said they had again hit Islamist militants. France has been embroiled in an eight-year conflict in Mali, a former French colony, where Islamist insurgents with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State operate in the vast desert. The groups have used bases there to carry out attacks across neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso, destabilising large swathes of West Africa’s impoverished Sahel region.