Col. Alassana Diallo, the head of Guinea-Bissau’s migration agency has been arrested for suspected involvement in cocaine trafficking, according to the police.
Diallo became one of the most senior officials in the West African country detained in connection with drug smuggling.
“Diallo was taken into custody last Friday, accused of taking 83 capsules of cocaine for himself after they had been seized at the Bissau airport,’’ Domingos Monteiro, deputy director of the judicial police, said on Tuesday.
Guinea-Bissau is a major crossing point for Latin American cocaine bound for Europe.
Experts and diplomats say some military and political officials are heavily involved in the trade.
Monteiro said that after the drugs were seized by the judicial police in March, National Guard soldiers burst into a police station to free the suspected dealer and take the cocaine.
“The soldiers said they were acting on orders from their boss,’’ Monteiro said.
At the time, Diallo was head of criminal investigations for the National Guard.
Diallo’s lawyer, Carlitos Diedhiou, confirmed his client’s arrest, however, said he could not comment further on the case.
He said Diallo would be questioned by prosecutors later.
Military officers in Guinea-Bissau have often opposed efforts by the judicial police to crack down on smuggling and have intervened to free suspected traffickers.
A former navy chief pleaded guilty in 2014 to conspiring to import narcotics into the United States after he was nabbed in a sting operation by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.
Guinea-Bissau police made two of their largest ever cocaine seizures in 2019, including a 1.8 tonne haul in September.
In April, a court convicted 12 people of smuggling the drugs; however the two alleged kingpins of the operation remain at large.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Emmanuel Yashim
United States elections: Expert accuses media of polarising Americans
Dr. Jeffrey Stonecash, an expert on political parties in the United States says the media is fueling polarisation among citizens and residents of the country.
Stonecash made the assertion while virtually briefing journalists selected across the globe by the United States Department of State -Bureau of Global Public Affairs to cover the November 3 presidential elections in the United States.
The expert identified economic individualism and role of government, race and cultural matters and immigration as major causes of conflict in the United States
“All these history conflicts we have are really magnified by the media. We now have the very vibrant conservatives media which is dedicated to presenting a narrative on history matters on individualism, economic matters about race, culture and immigration matters.
“It has really fueling the conflicts we have in the society; if you run into somebody who is watching Fox News all the time and you have been watching CNN or MSMBC, you think you are living in two different worlds.
“The facts and assumptions they have about what is going on, how bad riots are going on, how bad crimes are is just vastly different.
“You begin a conversation and discover oh my goodness this person has really different facts than I do; I hear people they are afraid of talking about politics because they afraid it could explode.
“What the media does is to re-enforce each other, the liberals watch CNN or SMMBC and they come out outraged and the republicans watch Fox News and they are outraged about what is going on in America.
“I must say they is an enormous profit to be made on both sides by provoking outage so it is hard to find a show where America watches a thoughtful review of both sides of the issue, what we have now is polarising of the media,” he said.
Stonecash explained that conservatives want a government that will let people do what they want saying that they are obsessed with freedom while liberals are concern about the collective state of affairs.
“Conservatives are angry about having to wear masks and the liberals are saying don’t you care about the collective safety of the society?
“The two groups talk past each other; it’s pretty hard to get a coherent conversation, a one that does not blow up when those type of topics come up.
“I think what all of these has done is to produce a society which there is a growing percentage of people on each side who think the other side is a threat to America.
“They think if the other side gets into power, American got a hit; if you follow the campaign, Trump is being saying to the people, ‘I am the only thing standing between you and the demise of America’.
“Liberals groups are out there saying if Donald Trump gets elected, it could risk the demise of America; it is not easy the way the conversation is going when you think the other side is a threat to the continuation of America’s democracy,” he said.
The expert said that a lot of people virtually live and on social media saying it is becoming a disaster as a lot of people.
He said that there is the partisan press which is very complicated and everybody is worried about it.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Make your country shining city on hill, D-8 urges Nigerians
The D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation (Developing-8) on Wednesday urged Nigerians to continue to work hard toward making the country “the shining city on the hill.”
Secretary-General of the organisation, Amb. Ku-Jaafar Ku-Shaari gave the advice in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria .
The secretary-general was speaking against the backdrop of Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary on Oct. 1.
The D-8 was established in accordance with the Istanbul Declaration at the Heads of State/Governments summit as an organisation for development cooperation among Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey.
Ku-Shaari said that Nigeria had over the years emerged as Africa’s biggest economy and that it had grown to become a lucrative investment destination of choice.
“The country has recorded more than two decades of uninterrupted democratic governance, which indicates mature political-culture and national stability essential for national cohesion and socio-economic development.
“Nigeria has also earned itself a pride of place as an active diplomacy practitioner and a responsible member of the international community, which is also a factor in regional stability and mediatory diplomacy.
“Furthermore, the country has played event-shaping roles in regional affairs and has recorded outstanding global diplomatic accomplishments as a frontline state in the fight against colonialism and apartheid in the African continent.
“It expended enormous energy and resources in order to restore peace to regional countries such as Chad, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea Bissau, as well as Sao Tome and Principé.
“Therefore, Nigerians should continue to work hard with unity of purpose in order to make the country the shining city on the hill,” he said.
He added that because there were no challenges of nation-building that could not be surmounted by citizens and their leaders, “there is hope that Nigeria’s future is bright.”
Ku-Jaafar, who acknowledged the mutually beneficial relations with D-8, said it was heartwarming that Nigeria viewed the organisation as a veritable platform for multilateral cooperation.
“We look forward to deepening this bond by working closely with Nigeria in various sectors.
“Such cooperation affects areas such as agriculture and food security, trade, Industry and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), transport, energy, tourism and health, as well as social protection,” he added.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim
A’Ibom at 33: We’ll expand Ibom Air operations to West, East Africa – Gov. Emmanuel
Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom has promised to expand the Ibom Air operations to cover other African countries to enhance the state’s economy.
The governor gave the promise in his state-wide broadcast marking the 33rd anniversary of the state, in Uyo on Wednesday.
He said that Ibom Air, which started operation with two aircrafts a year ago, now had a total of five aircrafts in its fleet.
The governor said that plans were underway to expand the operations of the airline to cover West and East African sub-regions.
“In aviation development, we have achieved huge strides. In June last year, Ibom Air began its commercial flight operations with two aircrafts.
“Today, a little over a year after it commenced operations, we have added three almost brand new aircrafts, bringing the total fleet to five.
“Ibom Air has become a national sensation and a testimony to a vision grounded in strategic planning. Just last week, we expanded our route to cover Enugu.
“Plans are afoot to expand our routes to cover our West and East African sub-regions, such as Doula in Cameroons.
“Ibom Air has proved the cynics wrong and it is an achievement every Akwa Ibom indigene should be proud of.
“We are determined to become the aviation hub in the Gulf of Guinea, and our terminal building, on which work is ongoing, promises to be a model in this part of Africa. Work is also ongoing on our MRO facility,” Emmanuel said.
The governor assured the Akwa Ibom people of improved infrastructural development to enhance their standard of living.
He said that the state government had built over 100 classroom blocks in the education sector to improve the standard of teaching and learning in public schools.
Emmanuel said that the state government was optimistic that the Ibom Deep Seaport project would be completed before the end of his administration, adding that government was working hard to ensure cooperation with all the regulatory agencies in fulfillment of this desire.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the grant of licence for the Liberty Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone, spanning five local government areas in the state.
The governor urged journalists to be objective in their reportage in order to ensure continuous positive projection of the state to the outside world.
“To our dear compatriots in the fourth estate of the realm, our gallant journalists, I thank you for the cooperation you have extended to my administration since we came on board in 2015.
“I urge you to continue to exercise the utmost level of circumspection and objectivity in your reportage. We do not have any other state to call ours except this blessed land,” he said.
On the 2023 election in the state, the governor said that there was no need to heat up the system with ‘unnecessary and unhelpful agitations’ for the succession plans.
According to him, when the time comes, God will guide and direct the footsteps for 2023.
He said: “Let me use this opportunity to caution all those who may be showing devious political ambitions to refrain from some of the antics which we are already aware of.
“Akwa Ibom people will be monitoring you to see if you are executing the task for which you were selected out of the seven million people or you are busy using government’s time to indulge in a project which time has not yet come.”
Edited By: Benson Iziama and
Source: NAN‘Wale Sadeeq
NBA-China engagement is positive for United States – Commissioner
The NBA has built a reputation as the most socially progressive of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and in the last year has come under pressure to cut its ties with China over its alleged human rights abuses.
“Somebody could say given the system of government in China you, the NBA, should make a decision not to operate there,” Silver said in an interview.
“I would only say that at the end of the day, I think those are decisions for our government in terms of where American business should operate.
“I continue to believe that the people-to-people exchanges we’re seeing by playing in China are positive, and it’s helping. It helps cultures learn about each other. It allows us to export sort of American values to China.”
The NBA’s previously harmonious relationship with the Chinese government suffered a major setback last October when Houston Rockets executive Daryl Morey tweeted his support for Hong Kong protesters.
The league lost millions of dollars in sponsorships over the row and its games were taken off state broadcaster CCTV, which dominates television sports coverage in China.
“We could have decided because they took us off Chinese Central Television (CCTV) that we should … take our ball and go home and stop operating there,” Silver added.
“The fact is our games continue to be streamed … and we’ve continued in there. At least that’s my view, that it’s been net positive to not move to disengagement.”
In July, the NBA said it was re-evaluating its training programme in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang.
Silver said the NBA’s relationship with the world’s most populous nation goes back to the late 1970s, when China was all but closed to American businesses.
“As the years have gone on, the NBA has increased its presence in China, but always until very recent history at the encouragement of the State Department, of various administrations, again, from both sides of the aisle,” Silver said.
“It was viewed as a really positive thing that we were exporting American values to China through the NBA.”
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara