• Nigeria’s recession drags West Africa’s GDP down - ECOWAS

    04/Oct/2016 // 443 Viewers

     

     

    The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Marcel de Souza, says the recession being experienced in Nigeria has a negative impact on the sub-region’s overall economic performance.

    De Souza said this while presenting the Community Status Report at the ongoing Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja on Tuesday.

    He was represented by the commission’s Vice President, Mr Edward Singhateh.

    He said the sub-region’s Gross Domestic Product had declined to three per cent in 2016 from 5.6 per cent in 2013.

    De Souza explained that Nigeria’s economy represents two thirds of the sub-region’s GDP.

    He said Nigeria’s GDP had dropped to 2.3 per cent in 2016 from 5.4 per cent in 2013, one of the lowest in the sub-region.

    De Souza explained that the drop in Nigeria’s growth rate was due to the reduction in oil prices.

    He said that The Gambia also had a reduction in its growth rate to 2.3 per cent from 4.8 per cent in 2013.

    Liberia and Cape Verde, he said, had a growth rate of 2.5 and 2.9 per cent respectively from 8.1 and one per cent respectively.

    The member state with the highest growth rate was Cote d’Ivoire from 9.3 per cent in 2013 to 9.8 per cent in 2016.

    Other member states experienced a growth rate of between 4.5 per cent and 6.6 per cent in 2016 against 3.3 per cent to 13 percent in 2013.

    He said, “The decline in Sierra Leone’s growth rate from 13 per cent to 21.5 per cent was mainly due to the negative impact of the Ebola Virus Disease on the country.”

    The ECOWAS president said that the highest inflation rates for 2015 were recorded in countries of the West African Monetary Zone which includes The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

    He noted that Ghana recorded the highest inflation rate of 17.7 per cent in 2015.

    He said that the other member countries of the Union Economique et Monitaire Ouest Africaine and Cape Verde recorded an inflation rate of less than two per cent in 2014 and 2015.

    The countries include Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

    He also noted that Africa’s economic growth declined from 3.8 per cent in 2014 to 23.2 per cent in 2015 and was expected to reach 2.8 per cent in 2016.

    De Souza noted that the decline was due to the fall in oil prices, as well as prices of commodities and the fragile political situation in some countries.

    NAN

     


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  • Edo Guber Poll: More facts emerge as some Edo communities say, they didn't vote but surprised to hear results

    04/Oct/2016 // 2137 Viewers

     

    Four days after the Edo State governorship election, leaders of seven riverine communities in Ward 10, Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area of the state, have declared that they were still waiting for the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to bring voting materials to the area so that they could vote.

    Leaders of the mainly Itsekiri communities: Ajamimogha, Ajoki, Kolokolo, Ajatiton, Ikara, Abiala One and Abiala Two, said they waited to no avail for the arrival of voting materials to their communities on Wednesday. But they were shocked to discover that figures were appropriated to the communities wherein they did not vote.

    At a venue in Ajamimogha, where leaders of the communities gathered, the community head of Ajamimogha, Pa Edwin Otikperi, said nothing could be farther from the truth that election was held in the area, adding that it was the first time in recent times they would be disenfranchised.

    Another community leader and chairman of the Itsekiri Solidarity Movement, Dennis Otikperi, alleged that voting materials meant for the area were hijacked at Ologbo by an individual (names withheld), who they said led a group to thumprint the ballot papers and returned them to Benin.

    He said: “Itsekiris and Ijaws in these communities are here today to say that voting materials did not get here in the riverine communities of Ward 10, Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area. Most surprising, INEC still went ahead to announce the results of an election that was never conducted.

    “I have written a petition and it has been acknowledged by the Electoral Officer. We want the whole world to know this. We heard that voting materials were stopped at a side of the river by the backyard of one persons (names withheld) and thumprinted.

    “We sent our people there to find out and stop them. Our people were, however, chased away from the place by police and army, who accompanied the people. They could not record them because their phones were seized and thrown into the water. We have seven communities in these places. These communities have 15 units and we have over 10,000 votes here. I just want the whole nation to know this.”

    The community leaders were joined by the women, who took journalists to the Ajamimogha Community Hall, where they said voting was supposed to take place, insisting that they did not vote on Wednesday.

    An ex-militant in the community, ‘General’ Roland Abanara, also corroborated the claims, claiming that the people, who prevented them from voting, caged him at his hotel room on the election day.

    He alleged, “That very day, they sent army officers to my hotel at Ologbo. They took my phones and made sure that I was useless until about three. The APC people took the ballot papers and thumprinted everything and said that we voted.”


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  • World leaders in shock, outraged as terrorists from Nigeria launch, kill 5 in cross-border attacks

    04/Sep/2016 // 4537 Viewers

     

    PARIS, SEPTEMBER 4, 2016: (DGW) As Nigeria battles Islamist insurgency within its territorial borders amid claims of victory over Boko Haram insurgents, some members of the Islamist group reportedly rode on camels  into a village in southeastern Niger and killed five people, Anfani radio station monitored here in Paris has disclosed. 

    According to the report, the attackers staged an overnight raid on Saturday last week in the commune of Toumour, about 75 km (47 miles) from the regional capital Diffa burning houses and leaving scores of others mortally wounded. 

    This is one of the very recent attacks in Diffa region  by suspected militants, who usually come on foot or in vehicles. Boko Haram is headquartered across the border in northeastern Nigeria and seeks to carve out an emirate and impose a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

    Meanwhile, the incessant cross-border attacks by Boko Haram insurgents has drawn an outrage from leaders in the West African subregion and the rest of the world  amid claims by the Nigerian government that Boko Haram has been technically defeated while attacks appear to have increased this time with undiminished intensity, a claim which many world leaders have called in question.

     


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  • By-election for Sare Nagai Ward billed for April 28

    05/Apr/2016 // 170 Viewers

                        Alhagie Mustapha L Carayol, Gambia's IEC boss 


    BANJUL, APRIL 5, 2016: (DGW) - A by-election has been scheduled for Thursday, April 28 to fill the vacant seat of a Councillor representing Sare Ngai Ward in Basse Area Council, sources told our reporter on Tuesday in Banjul, the Islamic Republic of The Gambia.

    The country's electoral body, the Independent Electoral will conduct the by-election to fill the vacant seat and nomination of the candidates that will be vying for the vacant seat of the Councillor in the above-mentioned Ward will hold on Thursday, April 14, 2016.

    In a statement issued and signed  by Alhagie Mustapha L Carayol, Chairman, Independent Electoral Commission  in Banjul and made available to journalists, candidates contesting the seat are expected to collect the nomination forms gratis from between Monday, April 4 and Thursday, April 14, 2016.

    Candidates, the statement added , are to report to the Independent Electoral Commission headquarters or IEC Basse Regional Office for the registration and collection of forms.

     


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  • Breaking! Fake US embassy in Ghana discovered after operating for 10 years

    05/Dec/2016 // 539 Viewers

     

    A fake US embassy in Accra, capital of Ghana, has been shut after issuing visas and executing other diplomatic tasks for a decade.

    The US State Department said until it was shut down, the sham embassy was housed in a run-down, pink two-storeyed building with a corrugated iron roof and flew a US flag outside.

    It also had a portrait of President Barack Obama.

    “It was not operated by the United States government, but by figures from both Ghanaian and Turkish organised crime rings and a Ghanaian attorney practicing immigration and criminal law,” the State Department said in a statement.

    Turkish citizens, who spoke English and Dutch, posed as consular officers and staff in the operation. Investigations also uncovered a fake Dutch embassy, the State Department said.

    The crime ring issued fraudulently obtained but legitimate US visas and false identification documents, including birth certificates at a cost of $6,000 each.

    During raids that led to a number of arrests, authorities also seized authentic and counterfeit Indian, South African and Schengen Zone visas and 150 passports from 10 different countries along with a laptop and smart phones.

    The statement did not say how the gang obtained the authentic visas; and the State Department did not say how many people were believed to have illegally entered the United States and other countries using visas issued by the crime ring, which used bribery to operate unhindered.

    “The criminals running the operation were able to pay off corrupt officials to look the other way, as well as obtain legitimate blank documents to be doctored,” the statement said.

    There was no immediate comment from Ghana’s Criminal Investigations Division.


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  • Gambia opposition leader Ousainou Darboe freed on bail

    05/Dec/2016 // 752 Viewers

     

    A Gambian opposition leader, who had been thrown in jail for taking part in a protest, has been released on bail.

    Ousainou Darboe has been freed along with 18 other detainees, just days after president Yahya Jammeh lost Thursday's presidential election to property developer Adama Barrow.

    The men were arrested in April at a demonstration over the alleged death in custody of an activist.

    They were each later sentenced to a three-year prison term.
    Mr Darboe, leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP), had been due to stand in the presidential election.

    However, the Gambian opposition was left without leadership after the April mass-arrest.

    A coalition of political parties, including the UDP, then picked Adama Barrow as their single candidate to run against President Jammeh.

    Following his shock win on Friday, Mr Barrow heralded a new hope for The Gambia, which is the smallest country on mainland Africa, with a population of fewer than two million.

    With the move to free the high-profile prisoners, change in the country seems to be happening at a fast speed.

    Amnesty International had been vocal in its criticism of President Jammeh over his human rights record.

    Sabrina Mahtani, Amnesty's West Africa Researcher, hailed the release of the 19 political prisoners and called for the charges against them to be dropped altogether.

    "The release of the [18 other peaceful protestors] on bail is a big moment for them and their families," Ms Mahtani said.

    "We hope that this positive step indicates that they will be fully acquitted in due course."

    The prisoners have been released pending an appeal of their jail sentence for "unlawful assembly".

    It is unlikely that they would ever be returned to prison as Mr Barrow has vowed to free all political prisoners.


    Credit: Syndicated from BBC


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  • NIGERIA will make sure JAMMEH hands over

    05/Jan/2017 // 5237 Viewers

     

    ABUJA, NIGERIA: Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama says Nigeria will do everything possible to help the Gambia have a peaceful resolution to its political crisis.

    Onyeama stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

    The minister expressed optimism that the Gambian President Yahya Jammeh would listen to the voice of his people to resolve the political impasse in his country.

    NAN reports that the Gambian leader had accused West African regional body, ECOWAS of declaring war against his country, when he was asked to step down for a democratically elected president.

    Jammeh, who accused ECOWAS of putting forces on alert in case he refused to step down, has vowed to stay in power in spite of losing a Dec. 1, 2016 election to rival Adama Barrow.

    He also promised to defend Gambia against any outside aggression in a New Year speech broadcast on state TV.

    The Gambian president initially conceded defeat in the vote, then changed his mind days later – raising fears that regional powers might have to intervene to oust him.

    Onyeama, in spite of the Gambian leader’s stands, expressed the belief that Jammeh would honour the call of the ECOWAS leaders to bow out of office at the end of his mandate on Jan. 19.

    “We will like to believe that he will listen to the voice of his peers in the sub region ECOWAS.

    “And that he will also listen to the voice of his people but above all he will follow the democratic path. So, we will do everything possible to bring that about.

    “Essentially, we want a peaceful resolution to the issue, you know we have experienced conflict in our country and we know how far back in development conflict can take a country to.

    “So we will do everything possible to help Gambia have a peaceful resolution to this political crisis,” the minister said.

    NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari, who is heading a mediation committee on the Gambia’s political impasse, had led other West African leaders to meet with Jammeh and Barrow on the issue.

    Other leaders in the ECOWAS delegation were Presidents Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone, and John Mahama of Ghana.

    The leaders appealed to Jammeh to leave office and also reportedly sought a ‘honourable exit’ for him.

    The exit would ensure that he is not tried for various human rights crimes he is alleged to have committed while in office.

    However, in spite of the visit, Jammeh remained defiant.

    Marcel de Souza ECOWAS Commission President, said last week that the body had put standby forces on alert.

    In his speech on New Year Day, Jammeh decried the resolution of ECOWAS on the current situation to implement the results of Dec. 1, 2016 presidential election by whatever means possible.

    “It is in effect a declaration of war and an insult to our constitution.

    “Let me make it very clear that we are ready to defend this country against any aggression,” he said

     


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  • Enugu APC To Buhari: Disregard Dep. Senate President's ranting, remove JAMMEH now to save Gambia!

    05/Jan/2017 // 4601 Viewers

     

    THE Enugu State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and his colleagues Heads of State, to disregard the ranting of mercenaries like Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and save Gambians from the clutches of unbridled and brutish Yahaya Jammeh’s dictatorship.

    Making the call in Enugu on Wednesday, the State Publicity Secretary of APC, Kate Offor said, Instead of adopting military action to remove the brutal dictator, who stained his hands with the blood of innocent Gambians, Ekweremadu called for sanctions in line with the traditions and relevant protocols of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Jammeh who has been in power for 22 years had lost the December 1, 2016 presidential election, but vowed not to hand over to the winner, Adama Barrow.
     
    Reacting to the statement by Mrs Offor; Enugu’s APC condemned in its entirety the anti-democratic, unconstitutional and ‘unstatemanlike’ mercenary statement of Distinguished Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President and former Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament to the effect that military option should be shelved in an effort to save the good people of Gambia from the bondage-shackles of Yahaya Jammeh’s dictatorship.

    Offor said: “We are making this statement because we are witnesses to how the anti-democratic unconstitutional and self serving advice of Senator Ekweremadu contributed in no small measure to the less than glorious regimes of His Excellencies, Dr Chimaroke Nnamani and Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

    “Otherwise, how can Ekweremadu in one breathe admit that, ‘I am aware that several high level meetings have been held and several missions undertaken to the Gambia as a way of finding solution to the problem’ and on the other hand be fully aware that Jammeh, who is not only defiant but takes himself as the sole owner of Gambia, will never vacate office without force?

    “Is Ekweremadu as a former Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament not aware that up to this moment that Jammeh’s hand is stained with blood of innocent Gambians? Or that at this moment people are in droves fleeing Gambia and if the country is not saved by ECOWAS Authority Heads of States under the genuine Protocols which in no way violates the sovereignty of Gambia, the country will finally slide into a failed state. Which Rule of Law is he talking about when the Supreme Court of Gambia under Jammeh has only one justice?”

    Offor therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari and his colleagues Heads of State to disregard the ranting of mercenaries like Ekweremadu and save Gambians from the clutches of unbridled and brutish Jammeh’s dictatorship.


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  • Court validates referendum on new constitution

    05/Nov/2016 // 1111 Viewers

     

    (Reuters) After a long period of political turmoil,  a top court on Friday validated the agitation and validated the results of a referendum backing a new constitution that will help turn the country turn the page in the world's largest cocoa producer, President Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast has said.

    "The constitutional project is adopted," said Mamadou Kone, president of the constitutional court. He rejected a request to annul the referendum from several political parties who boycotted the vote, including that of former president Laurent Gbagbo.

    An overwhelming majority of voters in Sunday's vote supported the constitution, which institutes a new post of vice president among other changes. Turnout was around 42 percent.

    The issue of the constitution, drafted under military rule after a 1999 coup, was at the heart of Ivory Coast's upheaval.

    Its most controversial clause said that both parents of presidential candidates must be natural-born Ivorians, a swipe at northerners, many of whom, like Ouattara, have family ties that straddle the borders with Burkina Faso and Mali.

    The new constitution scraps that provision, which was used to disqualify Ouattara from an election in 2000, and now only one parent must be Ivorian.

    Ivory Coast, the world's top producer of cocoa, has become one of Africa's rising economic stars since 2011 when a civil war ended.


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