• BIAFRA: 47 years after, shouts for BIAFRA rents the air, a sign all not well with NIGERIA

    15/Jan/2017 // 1135 Viewers

     

    This day 47 years ago, General Yakubu Gowon received the formal instruments of surrender from General Philip Effiong in an elaborate ceremony at Dodan Barracks, Lagos. That marked the end of hostilities between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the breakaway Republic of Biafra.

    Hostilities ended on January 12, 1970 when the Nigerian third marine Commando mivision (3MCD) overran the Orlu- Owerri axis at a time Biafran leader, General Emeka Ojukwu decided to embark on a trip to Cote d’Ivoire in search of peace. Many knew it was a move that signalled the beginning of his life in exile. Effiong was the next in command and it was his lot to risk death with such men of honour as Justice Luis Mbanefo, Professor Eni Njoku and Brigadier Patrick Amadi.

    They first met with Col. Olusegun Obasanjo, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 3MCD before flying to Lagos to declare the end of Biafra.

    After almost three years of crisis, Gowon made his famous declaration of “No Victor, No vanquished”. He described it as a war of brothers since no medals were awarded to any officer or men. The general showed bias intention of carrying on as a true leader when he flashed a policy of Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, the three Rs.

    The idea was to bring back the former Biafrans back to the Nigerian family as quickly as possible. The policy was only effective on paper.

    The impoverished Biafrans were further pauperised by the obnoxious policies of the Gowon administration. For instance, for all the money a former Biafran had, million pounds or a penny, he got a paltry sum of 20 pounds from the Federal Government. Many Nigerians did not see the evil in that decision which was the first sign that to survive the peace was going to be as difficult as surviving the war. There was also the issue of Abandoned Property.

    This affected houses owned by the Igbo in Port Harcourt which was part of the Eastern Region in the First Republic but had become the capital of Rivers State, one of the 12 created by Gowon in 1967. The Draconian Law implied that those houses were to be forfeited by the owners. It is instructive that this only happened in Port Harcourt. It did not affect properties in today’s South-West or the North.

    Many factors led to the war. The major reason was that the British,in creating Nigeria did not have the interest of the various peoples at heart. Colonisation was based on protecting British aspirations first. The colonies were therefore used to further enrich the a British empire and subjugate the conquered territories. The British therefore created crisis through a divide and rule style of administration.

    The legion ethnic nationalities in Nigeria were played against themselves while London benefited hugely from the deceit. When the rest of the country wanted Independence in the second half of the 1950s, the North was not ready. And when self government eventually came in 1960, the cracks were there.

    It began widely in the West as the Yoruba believed the North had annexed their region politically. Then came a military coup in January 1966 which further polarised the country. Erroneously regarded as an Igbo coup, the aim was to release Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a Yoruba, from prison and instal him as Prime Minister.

    Prominent politicians and military officers, majorly from the North and West were killed. A counter coup followed in July 1966 and its main objective was to kill the Igbo. It snowballed into a pogrom which the world sadly turned a blind eye to. War was therefore inevitable.

    The Eastern Region led by Ojukwu and the rest of the nation met in Aburi, Ghana in search of a solution. An agreement was reached by Ojukwu and Gowon. When both delegations returned, Nigeria reneged on the accord

    . Today, those factors that led to crisis are here again with us. The country is divided along ethnic lines. There is bloodletting on a daily basis either through the activities of Boko Haram or the brigandage of Fulani herdsmen. There is tension in the Niger Delta. And above all, there are echoes of Biafra in the same old Eastern Region.

    President Muhammadu Buhari was a combatant during the war. Gowon and Obasanjo are still alive. Ojukwu, Effiong and Amadi are gone. The trio of Gowon, Obasanjo and Buhari in all sincerity know the state of the country today. They also know what to do to let peace prevail. That people are still shouting Biafra in 2017 is a sign that all is not well with Nigeria.


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  • ECOWAS leaders under BUHARI have failed to arrange POWER TRANSFER in THE GAMBIA - President-elect ADAMA BARROW laments

    15/Jan/2017 // 2619 Viewers

     

    Representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have failed to convince Gambian President Yahya Jammeh to give up power following his defeat in the December 1 election, president-elect Adama Barrow said.

    A statement from Barrow's office late on Friday said Jammeh's meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Liberia's Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ghana's former president John Dramani Mahama was "unproductive."

    Barrow's spokesman Halifa Sallah said ECOWAS would nevertheless continue its mediation efforts.

    The ECOWAS mediators also met Barrow on Friday. The president-elect was due to attend a Franco-African summit in the Malian capital Bamako, which will attempt to resolve the crisis on Saturday. Jammeh is not due to attend.

    Gambia has been in a political deadlock since Barrow, a real estate mogul who was little known before he announced his candidacy, defeated Jammeh in the election.

    Jammeh, who has ruled the small West African nation for 22 years with an iron fist, refuses to accept the election result and has filed a petition to challenge it at the Supreme Court.

    Buhari is expected to offer Jammeh political asylum if the 51-year-old autocrat agrees to hand over power.

    The talks with ECOWAS came several hours after Gambia's ruling party filed a motion with the Supreme Court to prevent Barrow from being sworn into office on January 19.

    ECOWAS earlier pledged to send troops to ensure a peaceful transition of power in Gambia if Jammeh persists in his refusal to step down. 


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  • Mali urges Gambia's leader JAMMEH to avoid 'BLOODBATH' and step down

    15/Jan/2017 // 2898 Viewers

     

    Bamako (AFP) - Mali's president called Saturday for Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh to step down and avoid an unnecessary "bloodbath" by clinging to power and forcing a potential military intervention.

    The Gambia's political crisis dominated a summit co-organised by Mali and France as Gambian president-elect Adama Barrow made a surprise appearance to meet with west African leaders seeking their help to end the impasse.

    "On January 19, I dare to hope that African wisdom will convince our brother (Jammeh) that the good Muslim that he claims to be understands the greater good for The Gambia, which does not need a bloodbath," President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita told journalists.

    Barrow is expected to take power on January 19 when Jammeh's mandate runs out, but the strongman has refused to cede power after disputing the result of a December 1 election won by Barrow.

    "We have made a strong gesture. First, we have received the president," said Keita, referring to Barrow.

    Barrow flew to Bamako unexpectedly on Friday after holding crisis talks in Banjul with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Liberian leader Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ghana's John Mahama.

    Malian and Ghanaian sources confirmed to AFP heads of state had also received Barrow on the margins of the summit.

    The leaders of at least 30 nations had gathered in Bamako to discuss jihad on the continent and Africa's impact on the European migrant crisis -- but the Gambian crisis ended up topping the agenda.

    - Military option -

    The Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), a 15-nation bloc, has repeatedly called on Jammeh to respect the result of the vote and leave after 22 years in power.

    The spectre of a military intervention rose after declarations by the United Nations and African Union in recent days that boots on the ground could get the green light without a rapid resolution of the crisis.

    Mohamed Ibn Chambas, head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel, said on Friday that ECOWAS would ask the Security Council to approve the deployment of troops to The Gambia if Jammeh continues to refuse to leave office.

    ECOWAS has made clear in the past force will not be ruled out as a last resort.

    Meanwhile, west African defence chiefs met in Abuja to discuss the crisis, Nigeria's chief of defence staff said, "as part of efforts to mitigate the political impasse," notably including neighbouring Senegal.

    In a sign of Barrow's growing international clout, French President Francois Hollande met the president-elect and was pictured shaking his hand.

    There are just four days left of Jammeh's five-year term, but he warned the international community on Tuesday that "undue external interference" was unnecessary.

    Jammeh has said he will not stand aside until the country's Supreme Court decides on his legal challenge seeking to annul the result of last month's polls, which he had initially conceded.

    The ruling however is unlikely to happen before May. - YAHOO NEWS


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  • Tough times await GAMBIA's strongman, JAMMEH, as ECOWAS vow to take necessary actions to swear in ADAMA BARROW

    15/Jan/2017 // 1260 Viewers

     

    UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) says ECOWAS has decided to take all necessary actions to enforce the results of the Dec. 1, 2016 presidential election in The Gambia.

    Mohamed Chambas, Head of UNOWAS, disclosed this while briefing the UN Security Council on the political and security situation in the region.

    Mr. Chambas is also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General.

    Mr. Chambas pointed out that there was progress in West Africa and the Sahel, but warned of the region’s political challenges, the Secretary-General’s spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, said at the briefing.

    The UN envoy cited a “rising tide of democracy” throughout the continent, noting that a number of countries had recently held elections which largely complied with electoral norms and standards, upholding their status as a model in the region and beyond.

    Referring to the presidential elections in the Gambia, and the ensuing crisis, Mr. Chambas said: “However, some countries in the region had witnessed political uncertainty or significant security challenges.’’

    “We were saddened by the quickly unfolding political crisis resulting from President Jammeh changing his mind and deciding to reject the results,’’ he said.

    He further updated the 15-member council on the initiatives to resolve the situation there taken by ECOWAS that agreed to uphold the elections results and decided to take all necessary actions to enforce the resul

    “UNOWAS is fully involved in supporting the ECOWAS-led mediation, which continues to explore all avenues towards a peaceful transfer of power,” the UN envoy added.

    The Secretary-General’s West Africa and Sahel envoy also informed council members of elections in Cape Verde and Ghana as well as in Guinea, where polls anticipated to be held in February had been postponed.

    In his briefing, Mr. Chambas also spoke of the continuing security and humanitarian challenges in Nigeria due to frequent attacks perpetrated by the Boko Haram militant group.

    He appealed for more funding and support for relief programmes in the country.

    He further updated the council on UNOWAS’ close collaboration with other UN missions in the region and in the context of the drawdown of the UN missions in Côte d’Ivoire, and Liberia.

    He added that it worked on issues related to regional stabilisation, technical support and in the implementation of its Resolution 2282 (2016) and the General Assembly Resolution on Sustaining Peace.

     


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  • JAMMEH OUT, ADAMA BARROW IN, military option inevitable, JAMMEH long reign ends as ECOWAS defence chiefs conclude in ABUJA

    15/Jan/2017 // 5439 Viewers

     

    The Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin, on Saturday hosted colleagues from other West African countries as ECOWAS steps up preparation for a possible military action in the Gambia.

    The meeting, held at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja, was part of the preparation for the inauguration of an Ecowas Military Intervention Group (ECOMIG) for the small West African country should President Yahya Jammeh makes real his threat not to step down when his tenure expires on January 19.

    Mr. Jammeh lost the December 1 2016 election to Adama Barrow of the opposition.

    While welcoming the participants and ECOWAS officials to Nigeria, Mr. Olonisakin, a General, expressed the readiness of regional leaders and military commanders to continue the pursuit of dialogue with the political leaders of Gambia and ensure peaceful transition of power in accordance with the Gambian’s constitution and the peoples' will.

    A source close to the meeting told our correspondent that a decision was taken that the defence chiefs should return to their various countries to prepare troops for possible deployment in Gambia.

    A statement published on the website of the Defence Headquarters listed notable
    dignitaries at the event to include the chairperson of ECOWAS Chief of Defence Staffs, Daniel Ziankahn of Liberia (Brigadier General); CH Gueye of Senegal; ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Hajiya Salamatu; Vice President of the Commission; the Ghanian Chief of Defence Staff and principal staff officers from Defence, Army, Navy, and Air Force headquarters.

    No communique was issued at the end of the meeting, which held just as ECOWAS vowed to take all necessary actions to enforce the will of the Gambian people.



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  • JUST IN: BARROW flees GAMBIA, moves to SENEGAL for safety ahead of JANUARY 19, fear of unrest pushes OTHERS across border into SENEGAL

    15/Jan/2017 // 1860 Viewers

     

    Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow is now in neighbouring Senegal, a coalition member and local media said on Sunday, a day after West African leaders failed to persuade President Yahya Jammeh to step aside.

    Barrow went with President Muhammadu Buhari to attend the Africa-France summit in Bamako, the Malian capital on Friday, from where he appeared to have moved to Senegal.

    Barrow, a former real estate agent, won a Dec. 1 election in the former British colony by a slim margin.

    Long-ruling Jammeh conceded defeat but then changed his mind, plunging one of West Africa’s tourist hot spots into crisis.

    Barrow, backed by the West and the African Union, is due to be inaugurated on Jan. 19, although Jammeh is seeking to block this pending a Supreme Court ruling on his legal challenge to poll results.

    “He (Barrow) is in Dakar. He will be back for the inauguration and we are mobilising the whole country for that,” said Isatou Toure, a member of Barrow’s coalition.

    A spokesman for Senegal’s government was not immediately able to confirm his arrival which was also reported by state-owned news agency APS. Toure did not say why Barrow had gone to Dakar, although other supporters said he felt vulnerable given a lack of security.

    The regional mediation mission to Banjul on Saturday, led by Nigeria’s President Buhari Muhammadu Buhari and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was seen as the last attempt at a diplomatic resolution to the political impasse.

    Talks with regional bloc ECOWAS in December had also failed.

    The bloc will seek formal approval to send troops if Jammeh continues to refuse to step aside, U.N. Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohammed Ibn Chambas said earlier this week.

    “His Excellency the President reiterated his position and that of The Gambia Government,” said a statement for Gambia’s President on the State House website after Saturday’s meeting.

    Jammeh has cited irregularities in the polling process and is challenging the election results at Gambia’s Supreme Court.

    But the court could not rule on his challenge this week because judges from Nigeria and Sierra Leone did not show up. The Supreme Court has indicated it may not be able to sit again until May.

    GAMBIANS FLEEING

    Meanwhile the prolonged political uncertainty and fear of unrest has pushed thousands of Gambians across the border into neighbouring Senegal and further afield to Guinea-Bissau.

    Tibna Sambe Na Wana, the national coordinator for Guinea-Bissau’s refugee commission, said more than 1,000 Gambians had crossed into the country, where they do not require a visa, in recent days.

    “It is clear that the total number is far higher than a thousand and rising daily,” Na Wana said.

    Women, children and the elderly made up the greatest numbers, the official said, with more than 500 passing one border post near the town of Jegue in three days.

    “They say they are scared of a military escalation,” Na Wana added.

    In Senegal, the UN’s refugee agency said “several thousand people” had crossed into the southern Casamance region from The Gambia, especially children.

    Senegal and The Gambia have deep ethnic and linguistic ties, and most families have relatives living across the border.

    “Most arrivals in Senegal are Gambians and Senegalese who have been working or living in The Gambia,” said Liz Ahua, UNHCR’s representative for West Africa in Dakar, but added Africans from several other nations were also crossing.

    A nation of fewer than two million people, The Gambia already accounts for the highest number of migrants per capita of any nationality crossing the Mediterranean on smugglers’ boats to Italy.

    The effects of the crisis were further scrutinised across the continent in Addis Ababa, where the African Union (AU) declared it would no longer recognise President Jammeh as head of state on January 19, regardless of the Supreme Court case.

    Citing “the inviolable nature of the outcome of the presidential elections held on 1 December 2016 in The Gambia,” the AU called on Jammeh to respect the constitution and cede power to Barrow on that date.

    Jammeh has said he wants to wait for the Supreme Court to sit and hear his case, but the Gambian Bar Association said Friday his term could not legally be extended except through a referendum altering the constitution.

    The president has few allies and has faced almost universal condemnation for clinging to his post, though Nigerian House of Representatives said Thursday the country should consider offering him asylum.

    *(AFP, NAN report.)


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  • Gambia threatens military action against Senegal

    15/Jun/2016 // 6885 Viewers

     

    (AFP) - Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has threatened military action against Senegal if the alleged protégées of President Macky Sall attack his country.

    The Africa’s French magazine Jeune Afrique Tuesday quoted President Jammeh as  saying that 'President Sall had become worse than his predecessors'.

    The Gambian leader said his anger stemmed from the fact that Senegal allowed Gambian dissidents to express themselves freely in Senegalese media.

    “His (Macky’s) government protects all those who plot against my country, all those who commit crimes in the Gambia and flee, claiming that their rights are violated,” President Jammeh was  further quoted as saying.

    “I have him sent a message and I was very clear: if they attack the Gambia, I will attack Senegal; I’m ready!”.

     Last week, a former Gambian soldier suffered gunshot injuries after he allegedly escaped an attack by armed men allegedly sent from Gambia to execute him.

    Go to hell: 

    The media in Senegal quoted the renegade Gambian soldier as saying from his hospital bed that he had parted ways with President Jammeh over allegations that he planned to carry out a coup.

    Last week also, Jeune Afrique quoted the Gambian leader as telling the UN and Amnesty International to go to hell for requesting him to facilitate independent investigation into the death of the opponent, Mr Solo Sandeng.

    “Ban Ki-moon and Amnesty International can go to hell! Who are they demanding that? Why do not they ask the United States to open investigations on all those blacks who are killed by the police?” he was quoted.


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  • Gambia to leave International Criminal Court Nov. 10, 2017 - U.N.

    15/Nov/2016 // 560 Viewers

     

    Gambia has notified the United Nations of its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC), which will take effect on Nov. 10, 2017, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said on Monday, making it the third country to quit The Hague-based tribunal.

    In October, Gambia's Information Minister Sheriff Bojang described the ICC as "an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of color, especially Africans."

    The tiny West African nation said in late October it planned to pull out of the ICC. South Africa and Burundi both notified the United Nations in October of their withdrawal from the court, which will take effect in one year.

    The ICC's current chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, is Gambian and was an adviser to Gambian President Yahya Jammeh in the early years of his rule after he seized power in a coup in 1994. She later served as justice minister.

    The court, which opened in July 2002 and has 124 member states, is the first legal body with permanent international jurisdiction to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed regret that South Africa, Burundi and Gambia are leaving the ICC and said it could "send a wrong message on these countries' commitment to justice."


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  • Heavy SANCTIONS on JAMMEH begins as UN 'cancels Gambia army chief visit' - BBC reports

    16/Dec/2016 // 12215 Viewers

             Gen Badjie has been seen sporting a badge with a photo of Mr Jammeh

    A diplomatic source has told the BBC that the UN has cancelled the head of the Gambian army's visit to Gambian peacekeepers serving with the UN mission in the Darfur region of Sudan. 

    Gambian soldiers this week occupied the Gambian election commission's headquarters in an apparent show of loyalty to the outgoing president, Yahya Jammeh, who has reneged on his initial promise to accept the result of this month's election. 

    BBC World Service Africa editor James Copnall says that by cancelling General Ousman Badjie's visit to Sudan, the UN is putting pressure on the military to not side with President Jammeh and to allow the man announced as the winner, Adama Barrow, to be sworn in as president. 

    Mr Jammeh is believed to retain the support of key members of the security forces, apparently including Gen Badjie, who arrived at a meeting with West African leaders on Tuesday wearing a badge bearing Mr Jammeh's face.

    Human Rights Watch has urged the army not to launch a crackdown on the opposition and its supporters, saying the military must put human rights above loyalty to Mr Jammeh.


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  • JUST IN: JAMMEH under intense pressure as UN, US reiterate position on HIM, The Gambia (VIDEO)

    16/Dec/2016 // 4903 Viewers

     

    PARIS, DECEMBER 16, 2016: (DGW) As international pressure continues to mount, fresh reports reaching our Paris newsdesk from the United Nations top official in the West African subregion say outgoing President Jammeh would be frustrated out power if he fails to heed the voices of reason, respect the wishes of the Gambian people and peacefully step aside.

    The report further added that Jammeh-led government would be heavily sanctioned and no detail about the impending sanction on the tiny West African State was given.

    Earlier, the United States together with the UN had also asked the Gambian security forces to leave the capital city for the commission office which they reportedly seized on Tuesday this week.

    However, the Gambia's President-elect, Adama Barrow, has told the BBC he will declare himself president on 18 January despite incumbent Yahya Jammeh's rejection of the election result.

    He said his team was preparing for his inauguration and he urged Mr Jammeh to respect the will of the electorate.

    The election commission declared Mr Barrow winner of the 1 December poll.

    Mr Jammeh has launched court action to annul the result after initially accepting defeat.

    Watch video:




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