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Nigeria: President Buhari sends delegation to register displeasure over xenophobic attacks in South Africa
September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

President Buhari with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Buhari with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a delegation to South Africa to register his “displeasure” over the killings of Nigerians in South Africa.

In a statement by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Buhari, Femi Adesina, the delegation will arrive South Africa on Thursday to find a resolution to the reported attacks.

Mr Adesina said Mr Buhari has “noted with deep concern, reported attacks on Nigerian citizens and property in South Africa since August 29, 2019.”

“Consequently, the President has instructed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, to summon the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria and get a brief on the situation; express Nigeria’s displeasure over the treatment of her citizens; and assurance of the safety of their lives and property.

“President Buhari has also despatched a Special Envoy to convey to President Cyril Ramaphosa his concerns and also interact with his South African counterpart on the situation.

“The Special Envoy is expected to arrive in Pretoria latest Thursday, September 5, 2019.”

The presidency did not name the special envoy.

Earlier, the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa said Mr Buhari would travel to South Africa next month over the attacks.

The high commission condemned the attacks and pledged to defend the interests of Nigerians in South Africa.

“All Nigerian victims of the current attacks are requested to come forward to report their situation to the high commission and the consulate,” Kabiru Bala, the high commissioner wrote in a statement.

Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, has also condemned the attacks which have been condemned by most Nigerians.

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Zimbabwe: Hit and Hide, Mouse and Cat Relationship, ED Mnangagwa versus Tim Olkonnen
September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

President Emmerson Mnangagwa with EU Ambassador Head of Delegation to Zimbabwe Tim Olkonnen

President Emmerson Mnangagwa with EU Ambassador Head of Delegation to Zimbabwe Tim Olkonnen

Harare—Stealth tempers are flaring in Zimbabwean Politics between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and EU Ambassador Head of Delegation to Zimbabwe Tim Olkonnen . The EU Ambassador has over the past days encouraged President Mnangagwa to exercise Human Rights.

The Head of Delegation in Zimbabwe last week challenged the new Regime to prove it had moved away from the Robert Mugabe old days.

‘’We are witnessing these days several developments that put constitutionalism and the rule of Law in question. A number of abductions have been witnessed in the country. The new regime must move away from the past act of doing. Zimbabwe should show it genuinely it has made a break from the past.’’ Olkkonen was quoted by Journalists in Harare.

In evidence to show the flare of vented anger in a cat and mouse relationship, President Mnangagwa responded;

‘’The rule of Law Observance is not needed for the purpose of pleasing other countries. We need it because it is proper for ourselves’’.

Another wave of political acrimony has burst with the avail of the information from a source who spoke to Pan-African –Visions Journalist early this week. The gathered information is that the police is training soldiers in a bid to thwart any opposition head-way towards initiation of political violence.

Several Army personnel confirmed the clandestine trainings in the country. The only grip of fear is that they are not feeling comfortable if caught suspected to have divulged the information.

‘’The Army will work with the police in a new strategy that is harmless to the public. This is not for the first time. In January this year, Army helped police. Now its vice-verse.

‘’A number of Army officers have been trained. Actually, this is the Third Batch. The training is that they are trained to play the game smart and smooth. They are trained to manage large crowds without using guns or any military weapon. Thus why it is police training the military’’, he took a strong breath.

Asked to comment, an MDC official who gave a short comment said they are a number of demonstrations in planning with opposition. He pointed out that the opposition party is moving into ZANU PF strongholds.

‘’ Nevson , Just tell them and know we have a spate of planned demonstrations in our mind . We do it , we win it because people are suffering. We have plans as well to move around the country in towns and cities. I think these people are in panicky mode ‘’ he concludes.

The source from MDC denied any knowledge about military trainings by the police .

Known sources to the Pan-African Visions took it a hide and locked their phones after realisation that there were calls in question. A source from the Civil Society Elston Chitombo said that is the reason why military is being trained because the past aborted demonstrations left scars of anger in MDC. He also commented that the Government wanted to follow International standards of human rights observation.

‘’They are afraid of MDC. A number of demonstrations were expected but Central Intelligence and police kept awoke. The Government fears Western powers over abuse of human rights. They now want to act well.

‘’It seems and looks like there is nasty secret hit and hide between Mnangagwa and the EU and America. This is so because EU Head of Delegation to Zimbabwe called for Zimbabwe’s observation of Human Rights in the country. Lastly USA Ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols visited some victims of abduction and torture. One victim’s legs were broken by eight men who abducted him. This is a hit and hide relationship   , Mnangagwa versa EU and USA’’, He concludes.

 

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Time to Make Energy Work for Africa
September 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

It is past time that Africa’s natural resources benefited Africans

By Prince Arthur Eze*

It is long past time that we made energy work for Africa. It is past time that Africa’s natural resources benefited Africans; that every African had access to electricity; and that the wealth created by oil and gas would lead to the sustainable development of African economies.

Certainly, much needs to be done to make these dreams a reality, and the continent’s top leaders in the energy industry will gather in Cape Town on October 9-11 in Africa Oil & Power 2019 (http://www.AOP2019.com) to drive the conversation forward and #MakeEnergyWork.

Thankfully, success stories and opportunities abound.

The incredible story of Senegal, for example, stands as a roadmap on creating a transparent government; building the needed infrastructure to support future development; creating an attractive regulatory framework to bring in much-needed FID and new investment; and for using the oil and gas sector to spur new growth. The country, led by H.E. Macky Sall, the President of the Republic of Senegal, has seen tremendous growth in the last decade, consistently ranking in the top ten fastest-growing economies in the world. Government reforms, led by Sall, have improved Senegal’s image both domestically and abroad, encouraging a string of new investment in oil and gas, electricity, roads, fisheries and tourism.

The outlook for the country’s oil and gas sector, led by Sall, is bullish, with two of the world’s most-watched projects — SNE oilfield and the Great Tortue/Ahmeyim gas project — moving forward. Both are expected to start producing export revenues in the early 2020s.

H.E. Sall, winner of the prestigious “Africa Oil Man of the Year” award during the 2019 Africa Oil & Power conference, has certainly provided Africans with a strong example of leadership and cooperation. We are honored to recognize and support H.E. Sall’s achievements and continued efforts at Africa Oil & Power (https://AfricaOilandPower.com/).

At Atlas-Oranto, we are proud to be leading pioneers in the sustainable development of Africa’s energy sector, ensuring growth in countries like South Sudan, where we are honored to operate Block B3; in Equatorial Guinea where we operate Block I and in Nigeria, where we operate OML109. In total, Atlas-Oranto is active in 11 countries in Africa and we are committed to working with the governments and communities of these countries to ensure our operations meet the highest standards of energy development. In Equatorial Guinea, for example, we are currently investing $350 million into the country’s gas monetization and backfill project.

At Atlas-Oranto — Africa’s largest privately-held, Africa-focused exploration and production group — we have faith in Africans, and we invest heavily in frontier markets so that the continent as a whole can continue to grow. We know first-hand what it takes to get new investments off the ground and how to grow small-to-medium enterprises. It takes boots on the ground, as well as understanding and coordination with our brothers and sisters around the world.

Indeed, with new investment opportunities on the horizon and a new drive to cooperate across borders, now is the time to spur this sustainable growth in Africa with energy as the catalyst.

At Africa Oil & Power 2019, many of these opportunities will be featured, including the ongoing licensing rounds in Equatorial Guinea and Angola; the launch of the South Sudan licensing round; and more.

For three days, over 1,200 of Africa’s foremost thought leaders, industry experts, private sector executives and government officials will gather together to discuss the incredible role of technology in Africa’s energy sector; the rise of renewables; the incredible upstream opportunities from South Africa to Senegal and the need for cooperation.

Let’s get busy and #MakeEnergyWork.

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Elumelu Challenges Japan – “Partner with us in Empowering African Entrepreneurs”
August 30, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7): Japan, South Africa and the African Development Bank unveil priorities to accelerate Africa’s technology transformation journey
August 29, 2019 | 0 Comments
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group

Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group

“Let’s be visionary. Let’s be bold. Let’s support concrete initiatives to boost science, technology, and innovation in Africa,”- Akinwumi Adesina

YOKOHAMA, Japan, August 29, 2019/ — Science, technology and innovation as well as human resource development are critical in Africa, a continent, which has the biggest potential on earth, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at the Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum held in Yokohama, on Wednesday, as part of TICAD 7.

The Science and Technology in Society forum (STS forum) is one of the largest and most influential nonprofit organizations established in 2004 by Mr. Koji Omi, a former Japanese Minister of Finance. The Forum aims at strengthening cooperation between Japan and Africa in science, technology, and innovation.

In his address, Prime Minister Abe also noted the important role that science and technology played in the history of Japan’s modernization.

In attendance were Mr. Yasutoshi Nishimura, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group (http://AfDB.org), Koji Omi, founder and chairman of the STS forum, and Asako Omi, member of Japan’s House of Representatives.

“South Africa endorses the focus on science, technology, and innovation as a priority theme for TICAD 7, given its great potential to accelerate African development through mutually beneficial partnerships with Japan, President Ramaphosa told participants.

“The STS forum has successfully changed global discourse on the role of science in development, we seek the forum’s support in changing the discourse on the role of Africa in science and innovation,” Ramaphosa concluded.

Adesina shared insights on the Bank’s work and support to train and develop the next generation of scientists. Since 2005 the Bank has provided financing of over $2 billion to support education, resulting in educational opportunities for 6 million students.

“We are proud of our investment in supporting the establishment of the Regional Center of Excellence in Kigali in conjunction with the Carnegie Mellon University, which is providing world-class Masters degree training in ICT. I am delighted that all the students that have graduated from the university have 100% employment, including setting up their businesses,” Adesina said in his keynote remarks.

The Bank has supported the establishment of ICT digital parks in Senegal and Cape Verde and is working with the Rockefeller Foundation, Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn and Safaricom to establish coding centers in several countries.

Adesina offered some key areas to prioritize in science and technology, including the establishment of regional centers of excellence; the urgent need to increase the share of GDP devoted to science and technology and close the gender gap in higher education.

“Let’s be visionary. Let’s be bold. Let’s support concrete initiatives to boost science, technology, and innovation in Africa,” he concluded.

Ministers for Science and Technology, Ambassadors, executives of international and national Agencies and business in Africa and Japan attended the Forum.

TICAD 7 runs from 28-30 August in Yokohama, Japan.

*AFDB

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Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7): PM Shinzo Abe says Japan will help double Africa’s rice production by 2030
August 29, 2019 | 0 Comments
“We must end hunger in Africa. Yes, we must! Hunger diminishes our humanity” – Adesina urges
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe African leaders at opening of TICAD7

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe African leaders at opening of TICAD7

YOKOHAMA, Japan, August 28, 2019/ — The Sasakawa Association will work with the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), to help double rice production to 50 million tonnes by 2030.  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the announcement at the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) symposium held on Wednesday during TICAD7.

“Japanese technology can play a key role in innovation which is key to agriculture,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told delegates.

Discussions at the Symposium focused on Africa’s youth bulge, unemployment rates, agricultural innovations and technologies, solutions and job creation opportunities in the agricultural sector.

“We’ve always believed in the agriculture potential of Africa,” said Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon foundation. “We are paying more attention to income-generating activities. We want to help shift the mindset of small-holder farmers from producing-to-eat to producing-to-sell. We are hopeful that Africa’s youth can take agriculture to a new era, and that they can see a career path in agriculture,” he added.

In a keynote address, African Development Bank Group President, Akinwumi Adesina, called for urgent and concerted efforts to “end hunger”.

“In spite of all the gains made in agriculture. We are not winning the global war against hunger. We must all arise collectively and end global hunger. To do that, we must end hunger in Africa. Hunger diminishes our humanity,” Adesina urged.

According to the FAO’s 2019 State of Food and Security, the number of hungry people globally stands at a disconcerting 821 million. Africa alone accounts for 31% of the global number of hungry people – 251 million people.

Commending the Sasakawa Association’s late founder, Ryochi Sasakawa, for his tireless efforts in tackling hunger, Adesina said: “Passion, dedication and commitment to the development of agriculture and the pursuit of food security in our world has been the hallmark of your work.”

Between 1986 and 2003, Sasakawa Association in Africa, operated in a total of 15 countries including – Ghana, Sudan, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Mali, Guinea, Zambia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Mozambique.

Harnessing the potential of new technologies

Adesina expressed confidence in the ability of technology to deliver substantial benefits in agriculture. To accelerate Africa’s agricultural growth, the African Development Bank has launched the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) to deliver new technologies to millions of farmers. ‘TAAT has become a game changer, and is already delivering impressive results, Adesina said.

Working with 30 private seed companies, the TAAT maize compact produced over 27,000 tons of seeds of water efficient maize that was planted by 1.6 million farmers.

Tackling climate change: a top priority

Hiroyuki Takahashi, founder of Pocket Marche, a platform that connects Japanese farmers and producers with consumers, shared insights and lessons learnt from Japan’s experiences, historic cycles of climate disasters and the country’s rebound.

“The power to choose what we eat is the power to stop the climate crisis and bring sustainable happiness to a world with limited resources,” Takahashi said.

It is estimated that Africa will heat up 1.5 times faster than the global average and require $7-15 billion a year for adaptation alone. Limiting the impacts of climate change is expected to become a top priority for Africa.

“Africa has been short changed by climate change. But, it should not be short changed by climate finance,” Adesina said in his concluding remarks.

“Let’s be better asset managers for nature. For while we must eat today, so must future generations coming after us. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we do not leave empty plates on the table for generations to come,” Adesina concluded.

*AFDB

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NJ Ayuk in Billions at Play Explains How Energy Underpins the African Dream
August 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
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African Development Bank President Adesina leads delegation to 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD
August 27, 2019 | 0 Comments
President Akinwumi Adesina

President Akinwumi Adesina

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 26 August 2019 – A high-level African Development Bank delegation, led by President Akinwumi Adesina, is set to join global leaders at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD7 from August 28-30.

TICAD7, hosted by Japan and co-organised by the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (UN-OSSA), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), aims at “promoting high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners.”

President Adesina, is expected in Tokyo on Tuesday. Whilst in Japan, he will address the second plenary session of TICAD on the theme: “Accelerating Economic Transformation and Improving Business Environment Through Innovation and Private Sector Engagement”.

Several other engagements are also scheduled for Adesina and senior Bank management, including an International Finance Corporation/African Development Bank side event: “The Digital Africa 2020 and Japanese investment Panel: Creating markets to digitize Africa, and a side event co-hosted by the World Food Programme and the African Union Commission on “Strategic investments in Africa: Food security, human capital, sustainable agriculture, innovation and private sector partnership.”

The Bank’s senior management attending TICAD7 include, Dr. Celestin Monga, Bank’s Chief Economist and Vice President, Economic Governance and Knowledge Management; Dr. Jennifer Blanke, Vice-President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development;  Ms. Bajabulile “Swazi” Tshabalala, Vice President for Finance and Chief Finance Officer; and Khaled Sherif, Vice-President, Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery.

VP Monga will address a panel on “Africa’s Socio-economic Transformation through Innovation” while VP Sherif will be a speaker on another panel:“Building a Better World through Business – Challenges in Humanitarian Assistance in Africa and the Role of Private Sector,” held at Waseda University.

VP Blanke will take part in sessions on “Investing in Human Capital Development in Africa- A case for Education & Skills, Nutrition, Health and Jobs for Youth”, and an African Leaders for Nutrition event: Designing sustainable and resilient societies.

A major announcement is expected in support of the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance (EPSA) Initiative, an innovative, multi-component, multi-donor framework.

The initiative seeks to support development to meet the infrastructure needs of Africa, with a special focus on the private sector.

The 7thTokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), led by Japan, started in 1993. African heads of states and key business leaders from around the world are scheduled to attend, providing an opportunity to explore investment opportunities. The event, held every 3 years, has been convened alternately in Japan and Africa since 2016.  The last TICAD was held in Nairobi, Kenya.

 

 

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 Nigeria has become another theater to be fought over -Prof Bolaji Akinyemi
August 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

Says:

 ‘There are two files in the British secret archives affecting Nigeria

*Government does not do what is right unless it is pushed

20 thousand people can paralyze the work of the national Assembly

* Those afraid are those benefiting from the overwhelming power attached to the centre

* There is need to criminalize acts that demonized any religion in the country

 Nigeria has become another theater to be fought over 

By Olumide Samuel

 

Prof Bolaji Akinyemi

Prof Bolaji Akinyemi

Professor Akinwande Bolaji Akinyemi’s involvement in Nigeria’s statecraft spans over 43 years. The former Minister of External Affairs in a chat with newsmen, maintained issues he believes are affecting the Nation which he said is in the British secret archive in two files re-embargoed by the British government for another 50 years and other issues that resulted to religious and ethnic intolerance, Youths unemployment, banditry, kidnapping, killings among others. Excerpts:

What in your estimation is state of insecurity in Nigeria?

There is very little I can add to what everyone has been saying. The likes of Sheikh Gunmi, the Sultan, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Baba Ayo Adebanjo and General Obasanjo (Rtd), even the President himself and the governors. I can’t add to their list of dissatisfaction on the state of the nation. So insecurity, Youths unemployment, hate and unguarded speech by people who should know better. 

What now looks like religious conflicts, when I was growing up, there was religious tolerance. At least I come from a culture where you could hardly have a family that does not have Christians, Muslims and Traditional worshipers among them and they coexist happily. All of a sudden to be confronted  by intolerance, murder, mayhem targeting people of other religion. I find it very very disturbing indeed. My grandfather once told me a story to illustrate the tolerance towards various religious groups in ancient times. He said an Oba of a neighbouring town sent a delegation to the Oba of our town, asked the Oba of our town to send a delegation to join them in a celebration. So the Oba of our town then asked the delegation what they wanted celebrate, and they said they want to welcome one of theirs whom had gone on a pilgrimage. So the Oba of our town sent a delegation to rejoice with them and take part in their celebration. When the delegation came back and they briefed our Oba the story of the celebration. He called a meeting of the heads of the quarters in the town and to them, that the other town now has an Alhaji, while our town don’t. What he did was to levy every quarters, every religious institutions in the town including Anglican, Methodist and Aladura. So that we can send somebody from our town to Mecca the following year and we also can claim we have an Alhaji. And that was what happened. How did we come to a situation where even among Yoruba we are starting to talk about religious intolerance? You have governors in the South-west who for political reasons are exhibiting religious intolerance not to talk about the whole country. It’s very disturbing and very unnerving. 

But some are of the view that religious intolerance had been before independence….

We had four sources through which religion penetrated into Nigeria before the Europeans came. The first was through traders from Mali. Then, we had Islamic religion that came through Turkey to the Southern part of Nigeria. That’s why you have titles like Shita Bay in Lagos and then you also have Christian missionary who came into the Southern part of Nigeria. The last was the Jihad which came from the Futa Jalon that led to the establishment of the Sokoto caliphate. However, the penetration of Islam from Mali, Turkey and the Christian missionaries were peaceful but the Jihad was not. So that was where problems of intolerance started. The moment you decide to establish a religion by force then you talk about intolerance. Intolerance was evident when the British came but they were able to sustained it but it has never left. It’s just that organization and movements respond to external factors. For instance; what is going on in other part of the world in term of conflicts: ISIS, the Taliban ,the problem between the Shiites and the Sunnis Muslim. All these are world phenomenon and Nigeria is not immune to these phenomenal. Nigeria has just become another  Futa Jalon.  be fought over by all these phenomenon. 

The Northern Christian Elders Forum recently argued that the nation’s democracy battles with Islamism as a form of government, what your thought on this?

They made a good point and I think we shouldn’t loose sight of that point. And that is the point I also try to make. They said the problem is not with Islam as a religion, this is what I meant when I said we had Islam from Mali, from Turkey there was no problem. They said the problem started when those advocating that Islam should not be more than a religion but a political religion. It meant that you put your religion in competition with other religions. There is a problem with Islamic Jihad and Christianity. The Jihad embodies competition, conflicts, imposition and violence. The way forward is to separate Islam as religion from Islam as a political weapon.

So how do we separate Islam as a religion while some forces within the system are using it as political weapon?

Laws should be enforced to protect each religion from intolerant acts by another religion. We all have to be accept that Nigeria is a multi religious nation. Both Muslims and Christians have a right to exist in Nigeria. And to also there is need to criminalised speeches and acts that demonized any religion in the country.

What is your thought on ‘REVOLUTION’ that have been misconstrued by some quarters? 

The Constitution provide as a right for peaceful protest. The moment you go beyond the margin of a peaceful protest, then you are asking for a push-back by the institutions of governance. You could see it in Hong Kong, when the protest by the activists are peaceful, the push-back by the police is peaceful. When the the protest by the activists crossed the red line into violence, then the push-back by the police is violent. People who are dissatisfied with the way things are in Nigeria are entitle to a peaceful advocacy. What they are not entitled to is violent advocacy because the push-back from the system is then likely to be violent.

But we observed the push by DSS even before the protest commenced ….

Peaceful protest is a right and entitlement by people who are dissatisfied with what is happening. What is not an entitlement is violent protest. Whether that violent is by language or activities. Language could be violent. If I am planning a Revolution, I will not go on the pages of News paper or radio to argue and advocate for a Revolution. I will plan under ground. That is the way you do it if you are planning a Revolution. You do it underground, hold secret meetings because the moment you broadcast that you are planning a revolution, the push-back by the system is also likely to be revolutionary in terms of being violent and that what you got in this case you’re referring to. However, to have progress in any country, it is either the government itself takes care of the interest of the people or there would always be elements within the country that would always fight for the people. Anthropologist will tell you that that is how progress comes about. Progress doesn’t come from people laying back hoping that government would do something that is right. Yes, there may be times when government do what is right but most often than not, government does not do what is right unless it is pushed. Look at the United States, in the 60s. How many times did Martin Luther King go to jail? he kept protesting and kept pricking the conscience of the American people until it became a movement for change that could not be ignored by the government. But they paid dearly. He was eventually assassinated. I was in the United States at that time, the brutality of the police towards civil rights activists was severe, they killed a lots of them. Secondly, look at what is happening globally on the environment, demonstration are being held, things are being paralyze because people feel they are fighting for the future of the planet. There are government who are in self denial about environmental degradation in the world. So there are demonstration going on and people haven’t gone to sleep. If there is dissatisfaction with what is going on in Nigeria, expect the youth to rise up and say this is our future we are fighting for. Because unless things change, Nigeria is in trouble. The economy is not growing, Youths unemployment have been described as a time bomb. Elections were rigged mercilessly. Elections have always been rigged in Nigeria, but I don’t even see a mass movements for electoral change . I served on Justice Muhammed Uwias committee for electoral reform, we wrote a report that we felt addressed the issue but that report was buried by the government of the day. No reaction but the law of karma had actually set in that the government of the day is now the opposition, they’re now screaming their head of about how elections were rigged. When we submitted the report to them, they did nothing about it. Now they are screaming.

Former Governor of old Kaduna state, Alhaji Balarabe Musa once referred to the calling for restructuring as a Separatists agenda, what is your thought on this?

I am always scared to react to statement by people because sometimes you always confer too much weights on what is been said especially when it doesn’t make sense. How can the call for restructuring be equated to separatism? People who are calling for restructuring say look at the the Constitution at Independence or if you like look at the Constitution of 1963 compare it the Constitution we have now and you will see that there is too much power vested in the centre and very little power at the State and local government level. It was not like this at independence, at the eve of the coup. It was the military that changed it. Now that the civilian are in charge let us go back to 1963 so that local government can manage affairs at the local government level, State government can manage affairs within the State environment and that the Federal government would then manage very limited issues like foreign affairs, defense among others. Bring out the 1963 Constitution, bring out the 1999 Constitution and look at the subject listed under State government and look at what is listed out for the Federal government, you will see, the blind will see the deaf will hear the difference. Let us go back to what functioned for Nigeria. That is all restructuring is all about. So what has it got to do with separatism? I was the deputy chairman of the national conference, all these issues came up with 600 recommendations. And each recommendation was adopted unanimously. The report is there, if you don’t like the report, set up a committee to take a look at all the reports on structural changes in the country that have been advocated and take the one addressing the problem of the day. I don’t see how that amount to separatism unless you want to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. In any case has the El-Rufai committee not also called for restructuring?

Who then is afraid of Restructuring?

I don’t know. Maybe Balarabe Musa. People who don’t like restructuring, are the people benefiting from the overwhelming power attached to the centre. 

What is your take on the call by Professor Wole Soyinka for State of emergency on security in South-west?

What would be achieved by the call because all the element on security are under the control of the Federal government . Without changing the Constitution, you cannot transfer some of those powers to the States. You cannot transfer by just declaring a state of security emergency. Declaring a state of emergency will not give governors power over the Nigerian army within the South-west region . Prof. Soyinka means well as himself is fed up with the state of insecurity. He’s angry about it and he came up with what he think is solution to it but if we think is not going to yield the desired result, let us think about other alternatives. 

Government does not do what is right unless it is pushed ,says Prof Akinyemi

Government does not do what is right unless it is pushed ,says Prof Akinyemi

How can Nigeria live in peace and unity?

The totality of what we desire is to allow local government to handle what should be handled at the local government level, State government to handle what needs to be handled at the State level. That’s the sum total of what will work. At the local government level they know the criminals among them. If there is synergy between the authorities at the local government and the local government police, if there is trust, people themselves will inform the local police where bad group hang out and the local police will investigate because they know the nooks and cranny of the village. But when the security in the village is depended on decisions taken in Abuja, it won’t work. Secondly, the decision that affect unemployment cannot be taken in Abuja for the whole country. Panadol doesn’t cure every headache. But, the State government has the power and the resources to fix the roads under there jurisdiction, that would provide employment if the state have control over whatever it is that is localized in there area, they can address a lot of these issues. Finally, policies that are then made by the local government or the State government cannot violet the custom and culture of that particular area . It cannot because they are aware of the peculiarity culture over land. I cannot go to my village and want to build on a plot of land. But if I come from an area where the policies are different. In other words, let the local government do what can efficiently be done by them rather than some colossus called federal government. Restructuring was advocated even when Obasanjo was President, it was advocated when Jonathan was President. After-all Jonathan was in power when the 2014 national Conference was flagged off and we created the blue print for decentralization of the country. All I am saying is not targeting Buhari but targeting a bad constitution which need to be rewritten.

But its the responsibility of the National Assembly to determine better constitution?

The National Assembly will not do it if the NGOs and civil society groups seat on their behind and not put pressure on the nation’s Assembly.

Is the 9th Assembly a rubber-stamp?

I don’t know if they are rubber-stamped or Guguru stamped or Epa stamped. All I am saying is it has to be a synergy between the people. It’s easy to blame the the government but what are the NGOs and the civil society organisations doing? There are so many case that should go to court. You know the Court can amend the constitution through interpretation. But if you don’t take a case to court, how can the court help to amend the constitution. If cases are not taken to court? Unfortunately civil society organisations, NGOs are busy fighting other big battles maybe because where they get their money from they have their own agenda different from the agenda at home. How will the national assembly feel the heat from the people if there are no demonstration. When I say demonstration, I don’t mean a one million match. 20 thousand people can paralyse the work of the national Assembly. Demonstrations everyday with focus on what they want. When the National Assembly feels the heat, they will start to respond but if they don’t feel the heat from the people, they feel the people are not ready for change. But in fairness there have been silent changes in the nation’s Asssembly from 1979 up till now. Not enough changes but they have amended the constitution not enough but they have made changes.

What is your thought on the issue of presidential zoning ?

That is not the major problem facing Nigeria. There are many more critical issues affecting the existence of Nigeria than talking about zoning ahead of 2023.

What is more existential in Nigeria than the controversial Presidential zoning ahead of 2023?

We have the issue of Ruga. We have youth unemployment. We have the issue of an over burdened federal government as against decentralization we have been talking about. We have the issue of State police, local government police, are these not issues that have an immediate impact on the existence of Nigeria? After all from 1979 up till now, we have rotated offices, what good has it done this generation in providing employment for the youths? What good has it done the standard of education in our universities? It hasn’t raise the status of our universities to being among the first 100 in the world. Instead we clap for being among 20 in Africa. In the 60s, I grew up at a time when Nigerian university is rated among the best in the world. We keep going down. There was a time a coup took place and they announced that one of the reasons was because our University teaching hospitals are mere consulting clinics, has it gotten any better since then? And we are talking about zoning presidency. Please!

How did we get here ?

We got here because we have never been allowed to have free, fair and transparent election in Nigeria. Even the British rigged elections in Nigeria. I was reading how the British rigged election in Nigeria. There are two Nigerian files in the British secret archives affecting Nigeria history. These files are suppose to have been declassified so scholars could have access to it. The British two years ago re-embargoed it for another 50 years. What is in those two files that the British don’t want us to know? What exactly are there? They want this present generation to die off before the declassify those files. We have never been allowed to choose our leaders, maybe that’s how we got to where we are. Because they are going to rig elections, do programmes matter, do party manifestos matter, even if they allow you to vote, they won’t count your vote. This means you cannot pick your leader and you cannot punish leader who don’t deliver, you can not show preference of leaders with better appreciation of the problems and you cannot change leaders when they are failures. That how we got to where we are.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

It maybe the light of the train that is going to crush all of us. But I don’t see any light at the end of any tunnel. I don’t even see the end of the tunnel not to talk about seeing a light.

Do you agree with Prof. Soyinka that Nigeria is heading toward extinction?

It heading that way but It doesn’t mean it will get there because of that indomitable spirit in people to fight back. Maybe when we actually see the edge, all of us would say no, we are not going to allow this. Never give up hope. Keep hope alive. Human history is not made by people giving up hope. It has never been and it will never be. We just haven’t got to our own stage of fighting back. We will get there. We will eventually fight back.

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Gambia:Sheikh Omar Faye is New Defence Minister
August 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

File Picture.President Adama Barrow with Sheikh Omar Faye

File Picture.President Adama Barrow with Sheikh Omar Faye

In a cabinet shakeup in Gambia, President Adama Barrow has appointed Sheikh Omar Faye as Minister of Defence. Omar Faye a former Ambassador of the Gambia to the USA was until his appointment Consul General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Acting under sections 71 (3), 71 (4), 167, and 168 of the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia has made the following changes in his Cabinet with effect from Thursday, 22nd August, 2019 , the shakeup saw the departure of Ebrima M.Mballow as Minister of Interior. He was redeployed to the Foreign Service. Former Inspector General of the Gambia Police Force Yankuba Sonko is the new Minister of Interior

The Permanent Secretary at the Office of the President Muhammed B.S. Jallow was appointed as the new Secretary General and Head of the Civil service in replacement of Ebrima O.Camara redeployed to the Foreign Service.

The new Defence Minister Sheikh Omar Faye served his country with brio in the tumultuous transition period. He was the first high profile Diplomat to publicly urged President former President Yaya Jammeh to peacefully hand over to Adama Barrow who had been proclaimed as the winner of the 2016 elections. For this, Faye was fired by Jammeh before been reinstated.

Gambians and friends of Gambia gave Faye great credit for the tact and patriotism that guided his actions during chequered transition period. His stint as Ambassador saw the acquisition of a building to host the Gambian Embassy, and a more vibrant relationship with Gambians in the USA.

 

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Kagame and Museveni agree to end hostilities
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

President Museveni (left) shaking hands with Kagame (right) after signing while João Lourenço looks on

President Museveni (left) shaking hands with Kagame (right) after signing while João Lourenço looks on

 

President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has come to the agreement after signing memorandum of understanding to end years of hostilities between the two countries.

The agreement was signed this Wednesday in Luanda the capital city of Angola before the host president João Lourenço; Félix Tshisekedi of Democratic Republic of Congo and Denis Sassou Nguesso of Republic of Congo.

Inside the agreement, both parties have agreed to respect the sovereignty of each other’s and of neighboring countries,  refrain from conducive to destabilization or subversion in the territory of other party and neighboring countries thereby eliminating all factors that may create such perception as well as that of acts such as financing, training and infiltration of destabilizing forces.

Rwanda has been accusing Rwanda of imprisoning, torturing Rwandans living in Uganda without giving them justice. It also accuses Uganda of supporting groups that aim at destabilizing Rwanda.

Uganda has accused Rwanda of sending spies on its territory.

Both countries have agreed to protect and respect the rights and freedoms of nationals of the other party.

Since March this year, Rwanda had advised its nationals to avoid crossing to Uganda, over ill treatment they may get if they enter. The busy Gatuna border was also closed on Rwanda side, thus bothering the movement of goods and persons.

The Agreement signed today urges both party  to resume as soon as possible the cross border activities including the movement of persons and goods.

 

After signing, President Kagame promised to act accordingly with the agreement, and he said it is not difficult to do so.

“I think it is not very difficult to address many of the problems we have had, it may take a bit of time to understand each other but I think we have come a long way”, said Kagame adding that “I see no problem in Rwanda working with President Lourenço, President Tshisekedi and more specifically with President Museveni to address what we have agreed to address.”

Kagame emphasized that  “when you have an open border, you have goods and people. When you create a problem for people to move across the border from one side to another, then you have closed the border to people and goods.”

For Kagame, respecting the agreement means respecting mediators who brought both countries together.

“We are not going to be found wanting in not only respecting the communique, but also our brothers who have brought us together to reach this understanding”, he added

President Museveni noted that even the problem was in the line of being resolved however the agreement comes as reinforcement.

“I was already in touch with President Kagame through our own channels, but this came as a reinforcement. We are just re-affirming what we have always held as principles of the African Union”.

The pact that was signed says that agreement enter  into force immediately upon signature.

 

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Cameroon: Serious Fair Trial Violations In Such A Rushed Process- ICC’s Charles Taku on Life Sentence for Ayuk Tabe & Others
August 21, 2019 | 1 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

The trial, conviction and sentencing to life imprisonment of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and others may complicate the much sought after but so far elusive dialogue, says Chief Taku

The trial, conviction and sentencing to life imprisonment of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and others may complicate the much sought after but so far elusive dialogue, says Chief Taku

 

Chief Charles Taku, immediate past President of the International Criminal Court Bar Association- ICCBA, says the trial and life sentence slammed on Julius Ayuk Tabe and others does little to foster the peaceful settlement of the current dispute as articulated by the international community. In an interview with Pan African Visions, the legal luminary says there were serious fair trial violations in the rushed process that culminated in the sentence for Ayuk and others arrested in Nigeria and brought to Cameroon .

To Chief Taku, the prompt condemnation of the sentences is a clear indication that the leadership of the struggle will unite no matter what to confront this and other challenges on the way towards attaining their defined objectives

“International justice may never entirely look  away from impunity and atrocity crimes;” Chief Taku said in warning to those excelling in gross human rights abuses.  

Chief Taku, what is your reaction to the jail sentences to Julius Ayuk Tabe and his co-detainees abducted from Nigeria?

The trial and its outcome do not advance the objectives of a peaceful settlement of the dispute favoured by the International Community.

From what you have learned, on what grounds did the court based its arguments in giving its verdict?

The information that I have about the judgment is incomplete. However, I have learnt that the trial, conviction and judgment took place in one day, underscoring the fact that the trial might have been rushed. I cannot second guess the reasons for the rush to convict and sentence them to life imprisonment.  There must be serious fair trial violations in such a rushed process.

Is there any legal precedent for this kind of cases in Cameroon?

Precedents exist within the legal framework that existed in the past. Since the enactment of a new Criminal Procedure Code a few years back, it is no longer possible to conduct a trial of this magnitude in a single day, deliberate, convict and enter judgment.  Each process in a trial requires procedural fair trial imperatives that may give rise to interlocutory appeals. Without a copy of the judgment before me, I am unable to ascertain the fair trial hurdles the tribunal panel surmounted to attain this feat.

What options are available for Ayuk and others, could the judgement be appealed?

This is one case where the integrity of the trial will be tested on appeal.  Fair trials and the due process of the law has taken central stage in the international human rights regime.  This appellate outcome of this trial and judgment will surely define the extent to which Cameroun is compliant with international human rights treaty obligations.

Looking at the whole conduct of the case, what does this tell the world about justice in Cameroon?

The world will surely not make an informed determination about the quality of justice in Cameroon and Cameroon’s commitment to its international human rights multilateral treaty obligations based on an informed evaluation of this and other judgments.  What I am certain is that, international human rights bodies have expressed strong reservations about submitting civilians to court-martials and military justice.  This type of justice is unconstitutional even under the operating Cameroun’s constitutional arrangement.

Just a hypothetical question Chief Taku, if this case was on trial in the kind of common law system that Anglophones Cameroonians clamor for, how different would the process have been?

A fundamental attribute of justice is fundamental fairness.  Through fair trials, the standards and precedents for future trials are established, including trials in which the judges themselves may be defendants some time along the line. This is the threshold on which the common law system that Southern Cameroonians once upon a time enjoyed and are clamoring for.  To underscore the rationale for this quest for a credible system of justice where rule of law and fair trials are well-founded, permit me to quote the memorable submissions of the Hon. Justice Robert H. Jackson of Counsel for the United States before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg established to hold Nazi war criminals accountable for the crimes that shocked the conscience humanity on November 21, 1945, reminded the Military Tribunal and the world at large that: “Fairness is not a weakness but an attribute of our strength. We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants today is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well. We must summon such detachment and intellectual integrity to task that this trial will commend itself to posterity as fulfilling humanity’s aspirations to do justice”

At a time when people are calling for dialogue, what impact do you think the sentencing of Ayuk, and others could have on the present crisis?

The trial, conviction and sentencing to life imprisonment of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and others may complicate the much sought after but so far elusive dialogue to examine the root causes of the crisis.  I strongly call for the vacation of these sentences and their release to facilitate the dialogue and the peace process.

Some people have mooted the idea of a Presidential pardon or the kind of amnesty that was granted to people like Issa Tchiroma, and others accused of plotting the 1984 coup d’état, do you see this as an option?

I cannot second-guess the political calculations of the government of Cameroon in pursuing this route when the international community is insistently calling for an all-inclusive dialogue with no preconditions to tackle the root causes of the conflict.  Most people believe that these sentences and others before and perhaps after, will not bring about an acceptable solution to the crisis that is claiming the lives and property of millions of civilians.  The sentences will complicate and aggravate the peace and security situation.  Will an amnesty or pardon attenuate the situation? I sincerely cannot tell.  What I believe is that a prompt vacation of the sentences no matter how, may be a palliative to calming the storm in attempts to averting an escalation in times when the mode of the international community is for a negotiated settlement.

The prompt condemnation of the sentences is a clear indication that the leadership of the struggle will unite , says Chief Taku

The prompt condemnation of the sentences is a clear indication that the leadership of the struggle will unite , says Chief Taku

There has been near unanimity from all segments of the fractured leadership in condemning the verdict, could this move have the unwitting effect of uniting the various leadership factions of the Southern Cameroons struggle?

Indeed, there were clear indications that the various components of the leadership were pussyfooting towards some form of unity towards the prosecution of the struggle and the proposed peace process.  This move towards unity might have been fast tracked had some activists not kept the fuel of disunity, needless rancor and misdirected antagonism alive.  Activists have played a critical role in this struggle and may continue to do so. However, they must be alive to the fact that their intended audience is more sophisticated that some of them can image.  They must finetune their language of delivery of their ideas or commentary to meet acceptable degrees of decency, respect and humility.  The prompt condemnation of the sentences is a clear indication that the leadership of the struggle will unite no matter what to confront this and other challenges on the way towards attaining their defined objectives.

And for all those perpetrating gross human rights abuses, could the ICC that you are part of hold them accountable someday?

I am just a lawyer at the international criminal court and other international criminal tribunals but I may venture to state that International justice may never entirely look  away from impunity and atrocity crimes.  

 

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