1. Deadly fire decimates wedding party in northern Iraq
At least 113 people were killed and more than 150 were injured when a fire broke out during a wedding at an event hall in the northern Iraqi town of Hamdaniyah, officials said. As at the time of this report, 113 people have been confirmed dead, according to Nineveh Deputy Governor Hassan al-Allaq who spoke to the Reuters news agency.
Aljazeera: https://www.aljazeera.com/gallery/2023/9/27/photos-deadly-fire-during-wedding-in-northern-iraq. Accessed: 26th September, 2023.
2. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Nigeria Raises Alarm Over Unprecedented Diphtheria Outbreak, Urges Urgent Vaccination
In the midst of the most severe diphtheria outbreak in recent global history, UNICEF Nigeria is sounding the alarm about the urgent need for widespread vaccination. The outbreak has so far resulted in over 11,500 suspected cases, more than 7,000 confirmed cases, and claimed the lives of 453 people, mostly children.
UNICEF is providing urgent support to the Nigerian government in its efforts to combat the outbreak. A crucial part of this support includes the procurement of vaccines to support the government’s response. So far, on behalf of the government, UNICEF has deployed 9.3 million doses of diphtheria vaccines to affected states including Kano, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Katsina, Kaduna and Jigawa. Of these, 4 million doses have been dispatched to Kano, the epicentre of the outbreak. Another 4 million doses of vaccines are being procured and will be handed over to government in the coming weeks
https://african.business/2023/09/apo-newsfeed/the-united-nations-childrens-fund-unicef-nigeria-raises-alarm-over-unprecedented-diphtheria-outbreak-urges-urgent-vaccination Accessed: 28th September, 2023.
3. UN Chief Closes UNGA Warning Against ‘Madness’ of Nuclear Arms Race
UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for countries to reverse a brewing nuclear arms race as he addressed the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on its final day. The number of nuclear weapons could rise for the first time in decades, undermining the global hard-fought gains to prevent their use. The warning came as North Korea, which has conducted repeated missile tests in recent months, claimed in the same session that the United States was driving the Korean Peninsula “closer to the brink of nuclear war.”
AlJazeera: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/FMfcgzGtxSpBvxvTntBRcHzkkxzZMnfp Accessed: 28th September, 2023.
4. China issues warning for military exercises in parts of South China Sea
Chinese authorities have issued a navigation warning over planned military exercises in some parts of the South China Sea on September 28, 2023. They stated in a statement to the press that Military exercises will be conducted in some waters of the South China Sea and navigation is prohibited. China claims almost the entire South China Sea under its controversial nine-dash line. In recent months, tensions have risen with the Philippines, whose claims overlap with China’s, over the Second Thomas Shoal and Scarborough Shoal. Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam also claim parts of the sea near their coast and have reported incidents of harassment by Chinese ships.
China issues warning for military exercises in parts of South China Sea Accessed: 28th September, 2023.
5. North Korean parliament enshrines nuclear ambitions in constitution
North Korea’s parliament has unanimously moved to enshrine its nuclear programme in the country’s constitution. The news follows a meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly, North Korea’s rubber-stamp legislature. The country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, addressed the assembly to support the passage of the amendment. Kim called to “accelerate the modernisation of nuclear weapons in order to hold the definite edge of strategic deterrence” against perceived threats, like the United States, South Korea and Japan, an alliance leader Kim Jong Un has compared to an “Asian-version NATO”.
North Korean parliament enshrines nuclear ambitions in constitution Accessed: 28th September, 2023.
6. Philippines condemns ‘floating barrier’ in South China Sea
The Philippines has accused China’s coastguard of installing a “floating barrier” in a disputed area of the South China Sea. The coastguard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources strongly condemned China’s installation of the barrier in part of the Scarborough Shoal because it prevents Filipino fishing boats from entering the shoal and depriving them of their fishing and livelihood activities. Scarborough Shoal is within the 200-nautical-mile (370km) EEZ of the Philippines as defined by international maritime law and affirmed by a ruling of The Hague’s International Court of Arbitration. Beijing claims the area as part of its territory and refers to Scarborough Shoal as Huangyan Island.
Philippines condemns ‘floating barrier’ in South China Sea Accessed: 28th September, 2023.
7. Russia says Ukraine’s western allies assisted in black sea fleet hq attack
Russia accused Ukraine’s Western allies of helping plan and execute a missile attack on the Russian Black Sea fleet’s headquarters in the annexed Crimean Peninsula. Moscow’s Foreign Ministry said through a spokesperson that Western reconnaissance data, NATO country satellites and spy planes were all used in the attack carried out by Ukraine on the fleet’s headquarters.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/9/28/russia-says-ukraines-western-allies-assisted-in-black-sea-fleet-hq-attack Accessed: 28th September, 2023.
8. What’s next for security in Somalia after the AU mission ends?
In a dusty military compound in Somalia’s coastal town of Adale, soldiers from the African Union peacekeeping force and the Somali National Army gathered in a makeshift building. Since the beginning of June, similar ceremonies have been taking place at military bases across Somalia. These ceremonies come as the African Union (AU) is winding down its peacekeeping mission in the country, leading to concerns about what will happen when AU soldiers finally depart at the end of 2024. Established in 2007, the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), previously known as the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), gradually drew an estimated 22,000 troops from Uganda, Burundi and neighbouring Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.The AU peacekeeping forces aimed to assist Somalia’s federal government in its war against al-Shabab.
https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2023/8/25/whats-next-for-security-in-somalia-after-the-au-mission-ends Accessed: 26th September, 2023.
9. US and Kenya sign defence deal ahead of possible Haiti mission
The United States and Kenya have signed a defence agreement that will see the East African nation get resources and support for security deployments as it has volunteered to lead an international mission to violence-plagued Haiti. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Kenya’s Defence Minister Aden Duale signed the accord at a meeting in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, guiding the countries’ defence relations for the next five years.
10. Egypt: presidential election dates announced
Egypt will hold a presidential vote on December 10 to 12, 2023, the country’s election authority announced. Walid Hassan Hamza, chairman of Egypt’s National Election Authority, said the winner will be declared on December 18. “The final results of the presidential elections will be announced and published in the official newspaper no later than January 16th. Therefore, the entire election process will conclude before January 17th, 2024.” Although yet to formally announce his candidacy, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is widely expected to win reelection.
https://www.africanews.com/2023/09/25/egypt-presidential-election-dates-announced/ 26th September, 2023.
11. France to end its military presence in Niger and pull its ambassador out
French President Emmanuel Macron announced that France will end its military presence in Niger and pull its ambassador out of the country after its democratically elected president was deposed in a coup.
France to end its military presence in Niger and pull its ambassador out Accessed 24th September, 2023.
12. Countries struggle to keep pace with rapid urbanization
The number of people living in urban areas in Africa will double to more than 1 billion by 2042, according to World Bank estimates.
Countries struggle to keep pace with rapid urbanization 24th September, 2023.
13. Youth Rep, Yemie Fash raises alarm over alleged human trafficking to Burkina Faso
Ondo State-based youth representative and social media influencer, Oluyemi Fasipe has raised an alarm on the newly devised means of trafficking youths from Ondo State to Burkina Faso. Fasipe raised this alarm on his social media platform. He also posted voice notes, videos and pictures sent to him by persons who had already become stranded in Burkina Faso.
Youth Rep, Yemie Fash raises alarm over alleged human trafficking to Burkina Faso Accessed September 25, 2023
14. Fee Hike: 50% of students will drop out of school in two years – ASUU
President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, has warned that 40 to 50 per cent of students will leave school in the next two to three years if the federal government fails to stop the arbitrary increment in school fees by the universities.
Fee Hike: 50% Of Students Will Drop Out Of School In Two Years – ASUU Accessed 25th September 2023
15. Coup Attempt in Burkina Faso
The junta in Burkina Faso, which toppled a military regime to gain power, has announced that there was a coup attempt. In a statement, the junta said an attempt by some army officers to seize power and plunge the country into chaos was thwarted.
Coup Attempt In Burkina Faso Accessed 28th September 2023.
16. French troops to withdraw from Niger
The French troops withdrawing from Niger were seen as a key line of defense for about a decade in Western efforts against jihadi violence in Africa’s Sahel region, the vast arid expanse south of the Sahara Desert. Niger’s political crisis threatens those ambitions in regard to counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel, analysts say. The region accounted for more than 40% of extremist deaths in the world in 2022, according to the Global Terrorism Index. Many of the attacks in the region occurred in Niger’s neighbors, Burkina Faso and Mali, and the relative peace it enjoyed as well as the line of defense it hosted — through Western support — could be further endangered, analysts say.
https://apnews.com/article/niger-sahel-france-us-coup-counterterrorism-ce19912950c6641e0281d8a10741a8de Accessed 28th September 2023.
17. NIMET Warns Nigerians of heavy downpour
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency has notified the residents of the Federal Capital Territory, Edo, Kwara, and 22 other states of 48-hour downpour. https://punchng.com/expect-48-hour-downpour-in-fct-edo-23-states-nimet-alerts/ Accessed 28th September 2023.
18. Vietnam jails environmental activist for three years over tax fraud
Vietnam has sentenced prominent environmental activist Hoang Thi Minh Hong to three years in prison on tax fraud charges.The state-run Thanh Nien newspaper said Hong, the founder of CHANGE, a now-defunct environmental campaign group, was convicted after a one-day trial in southern Ho Chi Minh City.
https://www.bing.com/ck/a?!&&p=03f6dc9bea7055f3JmltdHM9MTY5NTg1OTIwMCZpZ3VpZD0zYjQ1MmE0ZC00MmQ0LTY5MTgtMGUwOS0zOGI1NDNjOTY4MjAmaW5zaWQ9NTE4MQ&ptn=3&hsh=3&fclid=3b452a4d-42d4-6918-0e09-38b543c96820&psq=vietnamese+climate+activist+jailed+for+three+years&u=a1aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuYWxqYXplZXJhLmNvbS9uZXdzLzIwMjMvOS8yOC92aWV0bmFtLWphaWxzLWVudmlyb25tZW50YWwtYWN0aXZpc3QtZm9yLXRocmVlLXllYXJzLW92ZXItdGF4LWZyYXVk&ntb=1 Accessed 28th September 2023.
Gen. LEO. Irabor Centre for Early Warning Systems
Power generation and national Grid challenges in Nigeria
Nigeria’s national power grid serves as the backbone of the country’s electrical infrastructure. It facilitates the transmission and distribution of electricity across the country’s vast and populous territory. The national grid is a complex network of interconnected power stations, substations, transformers, and transmission lines that work together to deliver electricity to households, businesses, and industries. At its core, the grid comprises several key components. Power in Nigeria is generated by a variety of sources that include thermal or fossil fuels, hydroelectric, and to a minor extent, renewable energy. Power stations across the country convert energy into electricity. The generated electricity is then fed into high-voltage transformers, which increase the voltage for efficient long-distance transmission. The transmission network consists of a series of high-voltage transmission lines and substations, responsible for carrying electricity over significant distances. The lines are sustained by strategically positioned towers and pylons that traverse Nigeria’s diverse terrain that includes forests, plains, and urban areas.
Source: Researcher’s Analysis
Substations play a crucial role in regulating voltage levels and facilitate the transfer of electricity from the generating stations to the distribution network. The distribution network represents the final stage of the grid, where electricity is converted back to lower voltages for local use. This is achieved through transformers located in substations at various points within cities, towns, and rural areas. Distribution lines then carry the electricity to homes, businesses, and industries. However, Nigeria’s power grid has faced persistent challenges. Factors such as inadequate investment, outdated infrastructure, insufficient maintenance, and pilferage contribute to system inefficiencies and frequent grid failures. Additionally, the demand for electricity in Nigeria far exceeds the available supply, leading to recurrent power outages and load shedding. Efforts have been promised by the government to modernize and expand the grid, incorporating technologies like smart grids and integrating more renewable energy sources to diversify the energy mix.
The Minister of Power, Bayo Adelabu, narrated that the Federal Government is working towards generating 20,000 megawatts of electricity by 2026 and 60,000MW by 2060. This aims to improve reliability, reduce losses, and ultimately meet the increasing energy demands of Nigeria’s rapidly growing population and expanding economy.
Cases of National Grid collapses
In September 2022 Nigeria’s national electricity grid collapsed, leaving many parts of the country without power, according to electricity distribution companies. The reasons given by the Electricity distribution Companies (DISCOs) and the Transmission Companies of Nigeria (TCN) were technical problems. Nigeria’s national grid that connects power generation stations to electrical loads throughout the country has collapsed multiple times in recent years. The latest outage occurred on September 14th, 2023, and affected all 36 states and the capital. The collapse of the national grid is a significant setback for Nigeria’s economy and development because the power outages experienced in the country are estimated to cost the country billions of dollars annually. Nigeria has 12,500 MW of installed capacity, but the grid has struggled to keep up with demand, resulting in frequent blackouts.
According to an analysis conducted by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) from Jan 2010 to 2022, the national grid collapsed 216 times. In 2021, the grid collapsed 216 times. In 2021, the grid collapsed in February, May, July and Aygust 2021. By the end of the year 2022, the national grid had crashed up to 7 times in. On September 19th, 2023, the national grid collapsed again, with power generation dropping to 42.7 MW. The cause of the collapse is not clear, but authorities have blamed technical problems in the past.
The national grid is designed to operate with certain stability limits in terms of voltage (330kv +5%) and frequency (50Hz +5%). When the system operates outside these stability ranges, it becomes unstable, power decreases and eventually leads to wide scale supply disruptions that result in grid collapses, failures, or national blackouts. When demand exceeds the supply for electricity or supply exceeds what is demanded, some power generating plants and equipment become highly liable to get damaged. Some of them cannot tolerate the condition under which they are being managed in Nigeria.
The Osun power station got hit all 7 times the incidents were recorded in 2022. The grid has been forcefully shut down over 140 times since the government privatized the power sector. The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), which is the umbrella body of DisCos in Nigeria, has blamed the national problem on repeated system collapse that can be attributed to obsolete analog systems being used by the Transmission Companies of Nigeria (TCN). Power sector observers have called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) to enable the mobilization of resources to tackle the challenges facing the sector.
About Author: Olumayowa Albert is a Research Fellow at the Gen LEO Irabor Centre for Early Warrning Systems of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos State, Nigeria. His research focuses on Civil Protests and Mass Demonstrations as well as International Peace and Security.
Is One of Russia’s Closest Allies Slipping from the Kremlin’s Orbit?
To answer this question, it is pertinent to trace a little bit of antecedence. The majority of Armenia’s territory became part of the Russian Empire following the 1828 Treaty of Turkmenchay, signed after the Russo-Persian War. Armenia had a brief independence following the 1917 Russian Revolution but later joined the Soviet Union in 1922. Armenia regained independence in 1991 following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After the Soviet Union dissolved, Armenia aligned itself with Russia’s approach to strengthening the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Both countries are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance that Armenia considers vital for its security. Various agreements, including a 1997 treaty of friendship and mutual aid, govern Russian military presence and activities in Armenia.
However, tensions arose in the relationship after Nikol Pashinyan became Armenia’s prime minister in 2018. Disputes, arrests of key figures, and business conflicts involving Russian companies strained government-to-government ties. Russia played a significant role in Armenia’s victory during the First Nagorno-Karabakh War from 1988-1994. However, during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Russia’s intervention was limited, partly due to tensions between Putin and Pashinyan. Eventually, Russia mediated peace talks and a ceasefire agreement in 2020. In a 2023 interview, Prime Minister Pashinyan criticized Armenia’s reliance on Russia for security, stating that Moscow couldn’t meet Armenia’s needs. By implication, Armenia looked towards diversifying its security arrangements with the European Union and the United States.
The decline in Russia-Armenia relations became even more evident during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Armenia hosted thousands of Russian professionals and activists who fled the conflict. Furthermore, Armenia’s refusal to negotiate with Russia over the Lachin corridor and the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Putin escalated tensions even more. Russia retaliated with a ban on Armenian dairy imports.
On June 2, 2023, Prime Minister Pashinyan emphasized that Armenia was not an ally of Russia stemming largely from the perceived invasion of Ukraine on the 24 th of February 2022. On the 3 rd of September 2023, Pashinyan reiterated the mistake of relying on Russia for security. Three days later, the Russian government expressed concerns over Armenia’s military drills with the United States as part of efforts to strengthen ties with Western countries. Taking a cue from Russia’s failure to decimate its opposition in the ongoing Russia-
Ukraine war, as Russia envisaged overrunning Ukraine within a short time. The war still
lingers, and some pundits have iterated that the war could continue for months or even years as a war of attrition. Some other pundits opine that Russia’s inability to win the war swiftly could be a clear signal that Russia is experiencing a serious hegemonic decline within its subregion. With this decline comes the diminishing inability of the hegemon to control or shape the policies and actions of other states in the region, and there is a possibility for other regional actors to begin to assert themselves.
The recent presence of US troops in Armenia for a peacekeeping training exercise has angered the Russian government, which has traditionally been the sole security guarantor for Armenia. The exercise, involving 85 US and 175 Armenian soldiers, aims to prepare Armenians for international peacekeeping missions. This exercise is seen as another in a series of;unfriendly actions by Armenia, including sending humanitarian aid to Ukraine and potentially ratifying the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute, which could require the arrest of Russian President Putin if he enters Armenia. Armenia’s pursuit of new international alliances reflects its frustration with Russia’s perceived inability to defend it against neighboring Azerbaijan, raising doubts about Russia’s influence across the former Soviet empire. Armenian President Pashinyan has admitted the strategic mistake of relying heavily on Russia for security, as Russia faces its own challenges in supplying Armenia’s defense needs. The questions that follow, would be;
- Are more countries in Eastern Europe going to defy Russia’s regional hegemonic authority?
- Will Russia indulge America in this zero-sum game? by using proxies within and outside its region to engage the United States?
- Is the world going to see the resurgence of another Cold War?
Contributions, observations, and comments would help in making this piece a rich debate. This is us at GLIC telling you to have a dialectic with us, as we look forward to hearing from you.
By Ifeanyi Ani.
Ifeanyi Ani is a Research Fellow at the Gen LEO Irabor Centre for Early Warning Systems of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos State, Nigeria. His research focuses on Migration and Diaspora Studies.