African e-Logistics Start-up Kobo360 Secures $30M Funding
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
August 14 2019. Kobo360, the digital technology platform disrupting African third-party logistics, today announced the completion of a $20M Series A equity round led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from Asia Africa Investment and Consulting Pte. and existing investors including TLcom Capital, Y Combinator, the International Finance Corporation. An additional $10M in local currency working capital financing has been secured from Nigerian commercial banks.
Launched in 2017 by Nigerian entrepreneurs Obi Ozor and Ife Oyedele II, Kobo360’s tech-enabled full truckload offering enables the development of an efficient supply chain for end-to-end long-haul freight operations, connecting and supporting cargo owners, truck owners & drivers, and cargo recipients. The company has moved over 500Mkg of goods, aggregated a fleet of over 10,000 drivers and trucks, and services SMEs and over 80 large enterprises such as Dangote Group, DHL, Unilever, Olam, African Industries, Flour Mills of Nigeria, and Lafarge. Located in key strategic trade hubs in Western and Eastern Africa, the e-logistics company will continue its expansion with the ambition to build a Global Logistics Operating System [G-LOS] powering trade and commerce across Africa and emerging markets.
With the funding, the team will continue to scale the organization, develop the technology offering and accelerate supply growth – planning to add 25,000 drivers to the platform in the coming months to power the recent Africa Free Trade Continental Agreement, expected to catalyze intra-African trade. Kobo360 is also planning to significantly broaden its reach in Africa, entering 10 new countries by the end of 2020 beyond its footprint in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya.
Obi Ozor, Co-founder and CEO of Kobo360 said, “Our Series A allows us to invest in growing our talented team that is working hard on the ground to systematically address the inefficiencies within the African logistics sector, and strengthen our already extensive network of clients and truck owners across the continent. We are also focusing on developing the partnership with drivers, ensuring that they are trained to use mobile-enabled technology, so they can convey goods seamlessly and earn more money. We are already seeing drivers running trips on the Kobo360 platform increase their monthly earnings by 40%, as we work together to mobilize logistics across Africa.”
Jules Frebault of Goldman Sachs said, “Kobo360’s on-demand logistics offering has generated impressive traction and we are excited to support Obi, Ife and the team as they harness technology to tackle one of Africa’s most pressing development challenges – increasing market transparency, improving reliability and unlocking efficiencies for all participants in the logistics ecosystem”.
Senior Partner of TLcom Capital, Omobola Johnson said, “We see this Series A round as a means to support an ambitious, laser-focused company who are using technology to actively solve problems for enterprises across the continent, and we look forward to working with them as they continue to scale and transform the African logistics sector.”
Kobo360 is also developing a suite of driver-focused products to support the over 10,000 drivers on the Kobo360 platform. It has launched KoPAY, offering access to up to $5,000 monthly working capital; KoboSAFE, access to an insurance product; and KoboCARE, access to discounted petrol, comprehensive HMO packages and an incentive-based education program for drivers’ families.
Wale Ayeni, who heads venture investing in Africa for the International Finance Corporation, added, “IFC’s continuous investment into Kobo360 stems from the company’s successful track record. Kobo360 is empowering and enhancing the capacity of the vast underserved network of “micro” fleets in Africa to serve the huge unmet long-haul freight needs of large enterprises and SMEs, delivering value to both sides.”
Kobo360 is a digital logistics platform that aggregates end-to-end haulage operations to help cargo owners, truck owners and drivers, and cargo recipients to achieve an efficient supply chain framework. Developing an all-in-one logistics ecosystem, Kobo360 leverages data and technology to reduce logistics frictions, empowering rural farmers to earn more by reducing farm wastages and helping manufacturers of all sizes to find new markets. Kobo360 enables unprecedented efficiency and cost reduction in the supply chain, providing 360-visibility while delivering products of all sizes safely, on time and in full. The Kobo360 mission is to build the Global Logistics Operating System that will power trade and commerce across Africa and emerging markets. With operations in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya, Kobo360 is one of the fastest growing tech start-ups out of Africa.
IFC – a sister organization of the World Bank and a member of the World Bank Group – is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
TLcom Capital is a Sub-Saharan Africa focused tech VC, with offices in Lagos, Nairobi and London. The company invests in a number of areas including financial services, eCommerce, B2C applications (including but not limited to: health, education, energy, media and entertainment), software solutions to corporates and SMEs; and access to data service. TLcom manages total commitments of approximately $300 million.
About Goldman Sachs
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world.
Sierra Leone’s National Football Team hires Ghanaian as new coach
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
The Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) has today announced the appointment of Ghanaian born Sellas Tetteh Teivi as Head Coach of the national team a press statement from the association said on Tuesday.
According to the association, the appointment of Sellas Tetteh Teivi as the head coach came after a thorough interview process done by the Sierra Leone Football Association Head Coach Recruitment Committee adding that based on scores earned by the various candidates, the Ghanaian born scored high.
‘’The Executive Committee of the Football Association wishes to announce to the general public and the football family the appointment of Mr. Sellas Tetteh Teivi as the Head Coach of the National Senior Team (Leone Stars),’’the release said.
The release further stated that the newly appointed coach is expected to assume office and take up his duties within the next 48 hours adding that it is the responsibility of Mr. Tetteh, as Head Coach to appoint his backroom coaching staff.
Sellas Tetteh Teivi is one of five foreign coaches, Stevanovic Goran, a Serbian, Raoul Savoy-Swiss -Spanish, Tahseen Jabbary- Dutch and Peter Butler – English that were shortlisted for the job.
The Ghanaian born replaces John Keister, former Sierra Leone International who was appointed as head coach of the country team in May 2017 but failed to qualify for Leones Stars for the 2019 Africa Nations Cup.
However, following the announcement of the foreign coach, people took to social media with some expressing happiness whilst others lambasting the FA in the country for not recruiting locally based coach.
African scientists’ top chart at 2019 World Champions colleting 22 of 46 awards
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
–Talk education in the 21st century, talk Africa.
By Amos Fofung
Once more the continent has scored high at the world stage, this time in the scientific domain. During the just-released 2019 World Championship recognition, African scientists grab twenty-two of the forty-six awards listed this year.
This includes the award for Mass Communication (Media Convergence) received by Oluchi Emma Okoroafor from the United Kingdom ,and a decedent of Nigeria.
Nigerian scientists scooped over ten of the continent’s awards in fields such as; statistic, medical laboratory science (antiretroviral therapy), physics (Einstein Plenary Equation), and computer mathematics (numerical integration) among others.
With submission said to have been received from over 97 countries worldwide in most categories, the honorees from Africa most at times had to beat thousands of competitors before securing their awards. Such is the case with Dr. Yakubu Nura of the University of Maiduguri Nigeria. The native of Yobe state won World Physics Competition by defeating some 5720 contenders from 97 countries.
Aside from Nigeria, Scientists from Mauritius, Kenya, Algeria, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Congo all received awards for their contribution to the scientific world.
Organized by the International Agency for Standards and Ratings, IASR, this year, African scientist excelled over thousands of applications and nominations received from Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, South America.
About the World Championship
With an advisory board of 33 top-notched scientists from Kenya, USA, Australia, South Africa, India, Japan, and Taiwan among others, the World Championship is a platform for world’s latest and breakthrough research.
According to its organizers, the Legends on World Championship are Iconic Megastars and recognized as brilliant Intellectuals scientists who create history with their unbeatable leadership and stardom.
The annual championship identifies the World’s Most Influential Scientists who are changing the world as the standout as a role model for scholars, Industrialists, policymakers, scientists, and academicians.
International meritorious competitions are organized for Best Thesis and Dissertation Award, Doctoral Research Award and milestone international research articles.
Verve Card goes global after penning landmark agreement with Discover in New York
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
Verve, a leading payment technology and card business in Africa, and Discover Global Network, a U.S.-based direct banking and payment services company have sealed an agreement launching the Verve Global Card.
According to the penned agreement that took place in New York, Verge cardholders will now have the ability to use their Verve Global Cards on the Discover Global Network which provide acceptance in more than 190 countries and territories worldwide.
The deal which will greatly expand Verve’s existing suite of tailored payment products and solutions for its customers will facilitate new international and cross border transactions for the card holders who can now make payments outside Africa on the Discover Global Network.
An Interswitch digital payment company that prides itself as a pacesetter in facilitating seamless electronic circulation of money as well as value exchange in Africa, Verve now opens its customers to the world.
With the first transaction operated successfully, the Global Card, according to Mitchell Elegbe, Interswitch Group Managing Director, Group Managing Director, commented on the “agreement with Discover Global Network will enable Verve to compete with other global card offerings, providing cardholders with an enhanced customer experience when transacting globally outside Nigeria.”
“Creating a solution which facilitates international payments for our consumers will help to eliminate existing barriers and simplify the process when transacting abroad.”
Holders of the Verve Classic card can still continue to freely transact as was before within Africa and can acquire the global card which according to Verve officials works worldwide and can be used for payment across Point of Sale (PoS), ATMs and online platforms in Nigeria, Africa and beyond, wherever the Discover, Diner Club, Pulse Network and Verve logos are available.
To Ricardo Leite, senior vice president of international markets at Discover, customers should be provided with the choices they want.
“It is important to us that we are working with groups around the world to extend acceptance for their cardholders…at Discover, we recognize the importance of being able to use your card of choice no matter where you are traveling,” he said.
Verve is Interswitch Group’s innovative card scheme, offering products and solutions that enable
consumers to transact all over Nigeria and across international markets. As the first African card scheme to be recognized as a valid, globally accepted e-payment gateway, we have built a world-class value chain ecosystem that benefit from the services that we provide.
Verve Global Card launches 1st International Transaction In New York, USA
August 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
- Rides On Global Partnership With Discover Network
New York, August. 12, 2019 – Verve, a leading payments technology and card business in Africa, and Discover Global Network, the payments brand of Discover, today held an event to launch the Verve Global Card. Cardholders will now have the ability to use their Verve Global Cards on the Discover Global Network which provides acceptance in more than 190 countries and territories. This will expand Verve’s existing suite of tailored payment products and solutions for its customers.
The first transaction occurred today at Swarovski in New York City. Senior executives from First Bank, Access Bank and Fidelity Bank purchased various items from Swarovski using their Verve Global Card on the Discover Global Network.
The agreement with Discover Global Network will facilitate new international and cross border transaction capabilities for Verve Global Card customers, meeting the needs of its increasingly global customer base. Holders of the new card can make payments outside Africa on the Discover Global Network which includes anywhere Discover, Diners Club International and Pulse and affiliate network cards are accepted. Verve Global Card also delivers additional benefits to cardholders including broad reward and loyalty schemes; benefits that are available both locally and internationally.
Mitchell Elegbe, Interswitch Group Managing Director, commented on the announcement: “The agreement with Discover Global Network will enable Verve to compete with other global card offerings, providing cardholders with an enhanced customer experience when transacting globally outside Nigeria. Creating a solution which facilitates international payments for our consumers will help to eliminate existing barriers and simplify the process when transacting abroad.”
“It is important to us that we are working with groups around the world to extend acceptance for their cardholders,” said Ricardo Leite, senior vice president of international markets at Discover. “At Discover, we recognize the importance of being able to use your card of choice no matter where you are traveling.”
Mike Ogbalu III, Verve International Divisional Chief Executive Officer, also commented on the announcement saying, “The launch of the Verve Global Card, provides consumers with the ability to transact globally across the US and other countries, addressing challenges that many Nigerians have experienced while travelling abroad. Our partnership with Discover Global Network will help us to optimize the overall experience of every Verve Global card holder by guaranteeing consistent and efficient payment solutions regardless of where they are in the world”.
Verve is Interswitch Group’s innovative card scheme, offering products and solutions that enable consumers to transact all over Nigeria and across international markets. As the first African card scheme to be recognized as a valid, globally accepted e-payment gateway, we have built a world-class value chain ecosystem that benefit from the services that we provide.
About Interswitch Group.
Interswitch is a digital payment company of African Origin focused on providing convenience and real value for consumers. We facilitate the seamless electronic circulation of money as well as value exchange on an ongoing, real-time basis.
We began in 2002 as a transaction switching and electronic payments processing business, building and managing payment infrastructure, delivering innovative payments solutions and driving transactions across the African continent and other international markets. We provide secure, solutions and services that facilitate convenience and real value for consumers, businesses, governments and other organizations, helping to reduce costs, improve operational efficiency and drive sustainable revenue growth.
Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America’s cash rewards pioneer, and offers private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit through its direct banking business. It operates the Discover Global Network comprised of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance around the world. For more information, visit www.discover.com/company.
*Source Verve. PAV will be coming up with more reporting and interviews on the launch.
Cameroon angered by Equatorial Guinea’s Border Wall Plans
August 10, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
Uneasy calm reigns between Malabo and Yaounde over Equatorial Guinea’s plans to construct a border wall so as to stop Cameroonians and West Africans from illegally entering its territory.
Equatorial Guinea’s announcement comes as officials of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) regional economic bloc, of which Equatorial Guinea is a member, are encouraging the free movement of people and goods to boost economic growth in the region.
Some days ago when news broke that Equatorial Guinea was building the wall and had gone as far as erected milestones on the border near the Cameroon town of Kye-Ossi, Cameroon army chief Lieutenant General Rene Claude Meka visited the border after news spread that the neighboring state was not respecting territorial limits and was encroaching on Cameroon land to erect their wall. He said the Cameroonian army would not tolerate any unlawful intrusion.
Anastasio Asumu Mum Munoz, Equatorial Guinea ambassador to Cameroon, was called up by Cameroon’s Minister of External Relations on Thursday August 8, to respond to the intrusion accusation.
The ambassador, reports hold, said his country plans to build a wall, but that reports that the its military had installed milestones in Cameroon territory are misleading.
Equatorial Guinea has always accused Cameroon of letting its citizens and West Africans enter its territory illegally.
This is not the first time Equatorial Guinea is having problems with Cameroon over border issues. On several occasion, it has often sealed its border with Cameroon, complaining of security threats posed by illegal immigration.
Cameroon: Hospital Director suspended following death pregnant woman and child
August 10, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
The director of Kaele District Hospital, Doctor Djongmo Daissala in Mayo Kani Division, Far North region of Cameroon has been slammed with a three-month suspension from his responsibilities following the death of a pregnant woman and her unborn child.
His suspension attributed mostly to negligence is contained in a communique signed by the Minister of Public Health, Dr Manaouda Malachie.
The communique suspends Dr Djongmo Daissala from his responsibilities as Director of the State institution for absence of a deontology and serious breach of professional obligations as he failed to deliver in his duties resulting to the lost of two lives which could be very much prevented.
Last weekend, a 38-year-old pregnant lady died due to lack of medical attention at the Kaele District hospital. Reports hold that she was not attended to due to absence of health personnel and finally succumbed to her labour pains.
Angered the news, the Health minister who has made it his mission to restore professionalism in the public health sector in Cameroon, took the decision to sanction the recalcitrant director.
The same communique appoints the District head of the Kaele health centre to replace him during the three months suspension period.
This is not the first time a pregnant lady in dying in Cameroon due to negligence on the part of health personnel. In 2016, Koumate Monique who was seven months pregnant with twins died at the La Quintinie hospital in Douala due to the passiveness of hospital staff who are reported to have requested down payment before she’s attended to.
Kenya’s bid to have Al-Shabaab sanctioned objected
August 10, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27
A group of activists and humanitarians have submitted letters to Donald Trump administration, Cabinet members and leading members of Congress seeking to block Kenya’s proposal to have the Somali based militia group Al-Shabaab be included in the global list of terrorist groups under the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1267 of 199.
They warned of the consequences of such move saying it will interfere with life- saving process in Somalia. The rebels have recently launched deadly attacks in Mogadishu among other towns with an aim to destabilize the Federal Government of Somalia, attacks which have caused several deaths and devastation of property worth millions of shillings. They also argued the listing of the group is irrelevant given that they have already in a different UN sanctions programme.
“The proposal would put the lives of hundreds of thousands at risk without discernible impact on the challenge posed by Al-Shabaab,” said the head of the Refugees International NGO Eric Schwartz.
Kenya last week through Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau submitted its initiative to the UN urging the global body to include the militants in the list that contained Al-Qaeda, Taliban and ISIS saying it posed threat to her residents, East African region, African and entire world. Mr. Kamau said Kenya wants the UN to focus its attention in fighting the group which has terrorized her borders and carried a series of attacks in the East African country with the latest being Riverside Complex attack that consumed 21 lives early this year. The Al-Shabaab had pledged allegiance to both Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
“It has caused serious havoc, not just on Kenya but the region and the world in general. It is important that all global efforts now come together to combat this,” said Kamau.
The proposal which US have put on hold until August 29 risks being dismissed in case one member of the 15-nation UN Security Council formally rejects it.
Burkina Faso: Christians issue SOS over attacks from foreign backed Islamist Groups
August 8, 2019 | 0 Comments
The World was concerned during the month of May 2019 when it seemed that a Church was attacked on a weekly basis in the West African Nation of Burkina Faso. Since January of this year 20 people have been killed and several Churches have been destroyed by Islamist Forces that are operating in the region.
Events in the region remain fluid at best. It does appear that some of these attacks were inspired by a video recording made by the head of IS Al-Baghdadi urging attacks against French interests in the Sahel region of Africa. The incidents in Burkina Faso can be acknowledged as part of an effort to locate a new base of operations for the group.
After a month of relative quiet in Burkina Faso the alarm bells for the country have started ringing yet again. On the first of August 2019 Bishop Laurent Dabire who currently is the President of the Bishops Conference for Niger and Burkina Faso issued a call for the World to step in and stop what he called the massacres against Christians in Burkina Faso by Foreign Backed Islamist Groups. These attacks have been gradually increasing in scope since the ouster of former President Blaise Comparie in 2014. It should be noted that in his remarks that the Bishop claimed that the Islamist Militants are better armed than the Security Forces are.
The Government of Burkina Faso is doing what they can to protect Christians. On July 12th the Vatican signed an accord with the Burkinbe Government which guarantees the legal status of the Church in the country and to collaborate on the moral, spiritual and material well being of the human person and for the promotion of the common good. Currently it is estimated that one out of every five persons of the population of 16.5 million describe themselves as being a member of the Catholic Church.
Also during a Press Conference that was held on July 31st remarks were made by the President of Burkina Faso Marc Christian Kabore that praised the actions of his immediate neighbors in assisting in the efforts to combat terrorism that appears to be running rampant in the region. . However in a more somber statement he did say that Burkina Faso was “paying a heavy tribute” for the attacks which he stated were impeding “efforts at National Construction.” Just like in several other nations in the area Burkina Faso does suffer from High Youth Unemployment lack of Opportunity and other factors that lead to radicalization.
The situation in Burkina Faso has not been ignored by Washington either. Earlier this year the African Country was linked to the National Guard of the District of Columbia under the State Partnership Program to assist in fighting terrorism. The Country already receives assistance from the United States under the auspices of the TSCTI (Trans Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative) program.This move is just another of several steps that are currently being undertaken by the Trump Administration to address the acute security crisis in the region.
During the week of August 6th the White House issued a Press Release stating that the President sent the name of Sandra E Clark to the United States Senate to be nominated for the position of Ambassador to Burkina Faso. Filling this position is a positive signal from the White House showing that it is aware of the situation in the Sahel and will take the necessary steps to show those on the ground that they are not ignoring the situation in the region.
Sierra Leone:Former VP turns sod for the construction of Berewa Academy
August 8, 2019 | 0 Comments
The former Vice President of Sierra Leone Republic of Sierra Leone together with the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) has on Tuesday 6th August, turned the sod for the construction of the Solomon Ekuma Berewa Academy at the Mogegba, Mothaim Community, Regent, Western Rural District.
Speaking at the Foundation Mass and turning of the Solomon Ekuma Berewa Academy, former Vice President of Sierra Leone, Solomon Ekuma Berewa said, he has only met Moses Sesay the proprietor of the school for the second time adding that his son , a father in the Catholic Church have interacted a lot with Moses whom he spoke that he wanted to use my name in his school he wanted to build.
‘’So, my son contacts me, and of course that very area that Moses has told you about, I have a school there already at the Charlotte, named Solomon Ekuma Berewa School if you go there, you will see it there. So as Moses came to me, I didn’t refuse and agreed instantly and told me that he wanted to turn the sod of the school on the 5th August and told him the 6th August will be my birthday and so he decided to do on my birthday.
He said he felt very proud that as a country, that we still have young people like Moses who chose to build a school instead of building a house for his family adding that he honestly admired him a lot and prayed that God help him.
‘’ Anywhere education is, I will go there, tomorrow, tomorrow, the only thing that will make this country develop is education. I travelled all over the world and I have seen it. This clique business won’t help,’’ Solomon Berewa said.
The former States man added that most young men and even some elder people that have money don’t think of the poor and needy and therefore asked the people to pray for him for his kind heart and good intention for his people.
‘’ Just last week Thursday, I went to my town, I spent long time talking to school children and parents. I told them what the President meant by the Free Quality Education. It is very important for us to do that, as he was going. Let’s try and help the young ones’’
The former states man also mentioned about the bad state of education in the country, referencing that the girl child isn’t safe anymore. Teachers are thieving, university lecturers sell questions, asking the crowd how long a country will as, be in this kind of state.
He however asked people to support the school and promised that from time to time he will be visiting the school and will see how best they will harness resources to develop the school.
Alpha Osman Timbo, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary School (MBSSE) in his statement congratulated the Moses Sesay for his brilliant initiative as young person to see the need to invest in education.
‘’ Any thing that is done in honour of Solomon Berewa and some of us are around, we will be at the forefront to make sure that it is achieved,’’ he said, adding that he is very proud of the former states man as his commitment to serve humanity is unparallel.
He said the President Julius Maada Bio introduced the Free Quality Education to see that the country develops to change the narrative adding to make it happened we must make sure that we promote quality education.
‘’We have to empower these children to make sure that we change the narratives that would take the country forward’’
He added that the commitment that the President has made, that they have a responsibility they succeed in that area despite it has huge financial implication which he boasted they were very much prepared to make those priorities.
‘’With that I just I want to tell the community people to take the project as their own. stating that any body that will benefit from this school, this Mogegba, Mothaim community will be the first to benefit,’’ Minister Timbo stressed.
The MBBSE Minster assured the proprietor for his links to help in the building of the school.
Proprietor of the Solomon Ekuma Berewa Academy, Moses E. N. Sesay said the school will be a four-story building comprising of over 12 class rooms adding that it would cover the Mogegba community and its environs.
He said he decided to name the school, the Solomon Ekuma Berewa because he believed that the former states man is a true father of democracy stating that he deserved a lot of respect and honour.
He further said that the children that would be attending the school will not pay a cent adding that it will help in the development of the country.
‘’This has been my long dream, and my long vision, the reason why I decided to open a school is that I come from a humble background. I used to break stones to pay my fees I struggled a lot and I promised myself if I made it in life I will build a school,’’ Moses Sesay said.
He however called on the people to join him in the building of the school and to take ownership as this development will be a lasting considering the academy will be the first of its kind in that part of Freetown.
Head man Mogegba Village, Benjamin A. Sesay thanked Moses for bringing this development and promised that they will cooperate with him to see that the project become a reality.
Sierra Leone:Legal Link Calls on IPCB to investigate allege Police brutality on Njala Students
August 8, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Christian Lawyers Centre, popularly known as Legal Link, a non -profit legal advocacy group has in a letter to the Chairman, Independent Police Complaint Board (IPCB) has on Wednesday 7th August , called on the board to mount up an independent, robust, credible and speedy investigations into allegations of Police brutality and to determine the veracity or the lack thereof of the incident which happened at the Njala University.
According to Legal Link, as an organization that defends the rights of vulnerable groups in society including students, they take the greatest exception to the unprofessional conduct of the Sierra Leone Police with respect to their handling of the entire incident at the Njala University in Bo, Southern Sierra Leone.
‘’Surprisingly also, despite the increased condemnation and outcry from the public over the video clips showcasing brutal and excessive force by the SLP, LEGAL LINK notes with utter dismay, the apparent reticence or the lack thereof by the top Management of the SLP to officially condemn this barbaric and unprofessional behaviour of subordinates over their execution of brutal and excessive force to harmless students that were merely trying to pursue a career path for a better life and future,’’ Legal Link said, adding that this outright complicity at the top is not only worrying but reveals without doubt, the degree of impunity and non-accountability that prevails within the law enforcement architecture in Sierra Leone.
Legal Link further said that Such complicity they further maintain, invites a possibility for the applicability of the principle of Command Responsibility on the leadership of the SLP to be held vicariously liable for the atrocious acts of subordinate officers against vulnerable students on that fateful day citing that various specialized trainings on the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials have been organized in time pasts by the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone and the Independent Police Complaints Board to help the SLP understand how to manage such riotous situations including their application of the use of force to restore law and order.
‘’As had always been emphasized, the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials dictates that, even when provoked, the ‘repelling force to be used must be equal, reasonable, proportionate and necessary in the given circumstances. Against this backdrop, while we condemn the acts of the few disgruntled university students who reacted in uncivilized ways during the protests, we vehemently and unequivocally condemn the over-reaction of the Sierra Leone Police in unleashing brutal and excessive force over unarmed protesting students,’’ the right group noted.
The Right Group further noted that, even when the tensions had de-escalated, the callousness and unprofessionalism of the SLP became much more apparent stating that Video clips recorded by on lookers at the scene of crime show complicity and a conspicuous pattern of torture and brutal display of force even on female students.
‘’LEGAL LINK therefore wants it to be known by the government and leadership of the SLP that the right to freedom of torture as provided under the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT) to which Sierra Leone is a signatory is a non-derogable right (Edgaromnes) and a per-emptory norm of Customary International Law. This means that under no circumstances can it be justified to torture any human being in a democratic society needless to talk about women’’
The Right Group believed that all the police were mandated and required to do by law on that fateful day at Njala University was to effect arrest on all alleged rioters, investigate and charge perpetrators to court for public order offences as enshrined under the Public Order Act of 1965 for which the police decided to engage on a frolic of their own and acted outside the remits of the law by overtly torturing and executing brutal and excessive force on harmless university students, in such scale and magnitude, amounts to a violation of not only the UN Convention Against Torture, but also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, among other human rights instruments
‘’Even though Chapter 2 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone does not recognize education as a legal and justiciable right, all the above international, regional and domestic instruments nonetheless puts obligation on Sierra Leone in ensuring that the right to education is fully guaranteed within her jurisdiction. Any infraction or limitation towards the access of; and the enjoyment of this right will therefore amount to a violation of both international and domestic law’’
The group however urged the leadership of the SLP and the government of Sierra Leone (GOSL) to take full responsibility for the excesses that have occurred, and to ensure the unconditional release of all student detainees and hold constructive dialogue with the student leadership and administration of Njala University so as to determine how victims can be medically treated and or compensated for violations of their fundamental human rights.
The Lobbying group lamented that going forward, LEGAL LINK commits itself to be publishing a quarterly Newsletter titled: ‘POLICE WATCH’ to help showcase not only the excesses within the SLP but also the good developments and success stories within the security architecture of Sierra Leone.
‘’In sum, whilst we heartily welcome the efforts of the BIO led government in prioritizing education under the New Direction agenda, we equally call on the government to show leadership by ensuring that the rights of the beneficiaries of its education agenda are protected and guaranteed within the state. This is the case because, education is an empowerment right; and no society can develop or progress beyond the level of the educational investment it accords to its citizens,’’
Amos Fofung: Freedom of press starts with the government
August 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
Cameroonian journalist Amos Fofung was nominated for our Newcomer of the Year award during Free Press Live 2018. News which only reached him months after because he was in the midst of fleeing Cameroon for his own safety. Now, almost a year later he lives in the United States and shares with us his story and ideas on press freedom in Cameroon and the rest of the world.
Passion for journalism
Amos started his career as a journalist during his second year University in 2014. “I have always been fascinated with journalism because journalists don’t just tell stories, they actually make a difference and have a positive impact by telling these stories.” However practicing a passion for journalism and investigative reporting is far from easy in a country like Cameroon where there are many restrictions and threats to journalists. Amos confirms: “In my country it is common for journalists to deal with threats, intimidation and aggression on a daily basis, I actually consider that as normal here. So I definitely knew what I was getting myself in to but it didn’t scare me away at the time. If you know that what you are fighting for, it is worth it.”
Detained without charges
On February 9, 2017 the situation took a more serious turn when Amos was called down by the police to make a statement together with two other journalists. They were told they could go home after the statements but once they arrived to the station the story changed, “the police just arrested us without any official complaint or explanation” Amos explains. The next day he and the other two journalists were moved to the political capital of Cameroon Yaoundé where they would stay in a high security prison for 6 months. Amos is convinced that his extensive reporting on the Anglophone crisis, which has seen an escalation of violence in the past year, was the reason behind his arrest. “I was kept in prison for 6 months and one day they just let me go like that. No charges, nothing, only a warning to stop my reporting on the Anglophone crisis.”
Press freedom in Cameroon
Unfortunately, Amos’ story is one of many that reflect the decrease of press freedom in Cameroon. According to a report released by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) the Cameroonian government uses an ‘anti-terror’ law installed in 2014 to constantly harass, intimidate and silence the media. If as a journalist you are charged under the 2014 ‘anti-terror’ law you can face up to 10 years or more in prison. “A colleague journalist Thomas Awah was sentenced to 11 years in prison under this law. And unfortunately there are many more who have been arrested, released, threatened and intimidated since” Amos confirms.
Government leads the way
In Cameroon threats to journalists often come but are not limited to the government. Amos believes the problem is that journalists are viewed as anti-government and spreader of fake news instead of a source of unbiased information. But an overall change in attitude towards journalists will only happen if the government leads the way. “In order for journalism to thrive the government needs to openly protect and respect it’s independent media.” Amos explains. “A good example of this we can even see in a developed country like the United States of America, where an executive openly attacked the media creating an environment where people will go as far as creating a bomb scare to media offices.” Journalists are not enemies of the government they are agents of development and “my hope is that one day journalists everywhere will be given the respect and place they deserve in society” Amos concludes.
*Source Free Press Unlimited