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Royal Air Maroc begins direct flight from Abuja

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Prominent Moroccan airline, Royal Air Maroc, on Monday begins a direct flight from Abuja, in Nigeria to Casablanca in Morocco. According to the airline, other international routes can be connected from the operation which begins on June 23.

Direct flights begins from Abuja to Casablanca

This direct route will operate three times a week on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The airline aims to expand its global network and enhance travel options and convenience for passengers in Nigeria. The schedule also provides flexibility for passengers to explore Morocco or connect to other international destinations easily.

 Sports Village Square has earlier gathered that departure from Casablanca will be at 1:15 a.m. for arrival at Abuja international airport at 6:10 a.m. local time.

Departure from Abuja, on the other hand, will be scheduled from 7:10 a.m. for arrival in Casablanca at 11:55 a.m. local time.

With the opening of these new routes, the Moroccan national airline is reaffirming its ambitions to strengthen its positions in strategic markets, in line with its development strategy.

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On the continental level, the Moroccan air carrier seeks to expand its African network to 27 destinations served from its Casablanca hub.

“The launch of these three new routes is part of our development plan to open air routes in several promising markets. We are also responding to strong demand in certain countries with large Moroccan communities,” said RAM Chairman and CEO Hamid Addou.

Addou added that the launch of these routes also aims to strengthen the continental positioning in favour of the African Diaspora, particularly in Nigeria, stressing that the opening of these routes is to make air travel a lever for promoting Morocco as a tourist destination.

Also, Royal Air Maroc (RAM) is launching flights linking Casablanca to Naples, Manchester.

The opening of these flights are part of the company’s plan to strengthen its network in preparation for the summer season.

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The airline will resume direct flights to the Italian city Naples, operating two flights per week on Monday and Saturday.

The Casablanca-Naples flight will take off from Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport (CMN) at 4:15 p.m., and arrive at 8:30 p.m. local time. Meanwhile, the Naples-Casablanca flight will be scheduled at 9:30 p.m. to arrive in Casablanca at 11:50 p.m. local time.

RAM has also launched a new air route linking Casablanca to Manchester with three frequencies per week: Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Departure from Casablanca will be at 1:45 p.m. and arrival in the English city at 5:20 p.m. local time. As for the return flight, it is scheduled at 6:20 p.m. for an estimated arrival in Casablanca at 9:45 p.m. local time.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

SPECIAL REPORT

Morocco celebrates Wole Soyinka

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Morocco Royal Academy Celebrates Renowned Nigerian Author Wole Soyinka

The Royal Academy of Morocco has honored Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka in a special ceremony, marking the 90th birthday of the acclaimed Nigerian writer.

The event, held in collaboration with the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA), served as a tribute to Soyinka’s immense contributions to African and global literature.

Titled “Africa Celebrates Wole Soyinka in Morocco,” the round-table discussion brought together cultural figures, academics, and diplomats.

It explored Soyinka’s prolific career, highlighting his unwavering commitment to social justice and his unique voice that champions African cultures.

Born in 1934, Soyinka’s literary journey began in Nigeria before flourishing internationally. His works, including “ A Dance of the Forests” (1966) and “ Death and the King’s Horseman” (1975), grapple with tradition, modernity, and the human condition.

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His latest novel, “Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth” (2021), employs satire to critique societal ills.

Permanent Secretary of  the Royal Academy Royal Academy Abdeljalil Lahjomri, lauded Soyinka’s unwavering dedication to portraying African realities in an interview with the local press. He described Soyinka as a “defender of African cultures” and a keen observer of the continent’s complexities.

Lahjomri specifically mentioned Soyinka’s rejection of the Negritude movement, emphasizing his constant fight against all forms of domination.

Wale Okediran, Secretary-General of PAWA, commended Soyinka’s multifaceted talent – poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, and satirist.

He hailed Soyinka as a source of inspiration for aspiring African writers, praising his ability to raise critical questions and elevate African voices on the world stage.

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Soyinka, in his address, expressed his gratitude for the celebration, emphasizing its role in strengthening cultural ties between Morocco and West Africa.

The author drew historical parallels, citing the strong relationship between Morocco and Senegal, exemplified by his friendship with the late Senegalese president, Léopold Senghor.

Professor Raphael Liogier, a scholar at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, viewed the event as a powerful symbol of Africa’s potential.

“Africa is capable of taking charge, opening up to the world, and opening the world to itself,” Liogier remarked, highlighting the significance of recognizing African talent like Soyinka.

-Morocco World News

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Morocco Embassy denies granting visa to fugitive Kogi former governor, Yahaya Bello

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H.E. Ou Ali Tagma, Ambassador, Kingdom of Morocco

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

The embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Abuja has denied ever granting visa to former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello  who is now on the run.

The immediate past governor is facing an N80.2 billion naira fraud charge but has not appeared in the court since the case began. 

An online publication, Intelregion, had published a report that the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, has uncovered Bello’s plan to leave Nigeria for Morocco via Cameroon.  

 The Moroccan Embassy has denied the report. The ambassador, Ou Ali Tagma informed that “the embassy of Morocco in Nigeria has never granted an entry visa to Mr. Yahaya Bello”  and so, denies the allegations in the said publication.

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The former governor, now at large, is facing a 19-count charge including allegations of money laundering, breach of trust, and misappropriation of public funds amounting to about N80.2 billion.

In statements credited to the former governor, he denied the allegations but paradoxically, refused  to appear before Justice Emeka Nwite on scheduled dates.

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Several dead as Police open fire on demonstrators in Kenya

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People attend a demonstration against Kenya's proposed finance bill 2024/2025 in Nairobi, Kenya, June 25, 2024. REUTERS/Monicah Mwangi 
  • Summary
  • Protesters, police clash outside parliament
  • At least five people shot dead – witness
  • Strike called against proposed tax increases
  • Protests take place in other cities

Police opened fire on demonstrators trying to storm Kenya’s legislature on Tuesday, with at least five protesters killed, dozens wounded and sections of the parliament building set ablaze as lawmakers inside passed legislation to raise taxes.

In chaotic scenes, protesters overwhelmed police and chased them away in an attempt to storm the parliament compound. Flames could be seen coming from inside.

Police opened fire after tear gas and water cannon failed to disperse the crowds.

A Reuters journalist counted the bodies of at least five protesters outside parliament. A paramedic, Vivian Achista, said at least 10 had been shot dead.

Another paramedic, Richard Ngumo, said more than 50 people had been wounded by gunfire. He was lifting two injured protesters into an ambulance outside parliament.

“We want to shut down parliament and every MP should go down and resign,” protestor Davis Tafari, who was trying to enter parliament, told Reuters. “We will have a new government.”

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Protests and clashes also took place in several other cities and towns across the country.

Parliament approved the finance bill, moving it through to a third reading by lawmakers. The next step is for the legislation to be sent to the president for signing. He can send it back to parliament if he has any objections.

The protesters oppose tax rises in a country already reeling from a cost-of-living crisis, and many are also calling for President William Ruto to step down.

Ruto won an election almost two years ago on a platform of championing Kenya’s working poor, but has been caught between the competing demands of lenders such as the International Monetary Fund, which is urging the government to cut deficits to access more funding, and a hard-pressed population.

Kenyans have been struggling to cope with several economic shocks caused by the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, two consecutive years of droughts and depreciation of the currency.

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The finance bill aims to raise an additional $2.7 billion in taxes as part of an effort to lighten the heavy debt load, with interest payments alone consuming 37% of annual revenue.

The government has already made some concessions, promising to scrap proposed new taxes on bread, cooking oil, car ownership and financial transactions. But that has not been enough to satisfy protesters.

Tuesday’s protests began in a festival-like atmosphere but as crowds swelled, police fired tear gas in Nairobi’s Central Business District and the poor neighbourhood of Kibera. Protesters ducked for cover and threw stones at police lines.

Police also fired tear gas in Eldoret, Ruto’s hometown in western Kenya, where crowds of protesters filled the streets and many businesses were closed for fear of violence.

Clashes also broke out in the coastal city of Mombasa and demonstrations took place in Kisumu, on Lake Victoria, and Garissa in eastern Kenya, where police blocked the main road to Somalia’s port of Kismayu.

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In Nairobi, people chanted “Ruto must go” and crowds sang in Swahili: “All can be possible without Ruto”. Music played from loudspeakers and protesters waved Kenyan flags and blew whistles in the few hours before the violence escalated.

Police did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.

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Thousands had taken to the streets of Nairobi and several other cities during two days of protests last week as an online, youth-led movement gathered momentum.

On Sunday, Ruto praised the protesters, saying they had been peaceful and that the government would engage with them on the way forward. But while protesters initially focused on the finance bill, their demands have broadened to demand Ruto’s resignation.

The opposition declined to participate in the vote in parliament, shouting “reject, reject” when the house went through the items one by one. The bill will then be subjected to a third and final vote by acclamation on the floor of the house.

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The finance ministry says amendments would blow a 200 billion Kenyan shilling ($1.56 billion) hole in the 2024/25 budget, and compel the government to make spending cuts or raise taxes elsewhere.

“They are budgeting for corruption,” said protester Hussein Ali, 18. “We won’t relent. It’s the government that is going to back off. Not us.”

-Reuters

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