Expert calls for climate actions to reduce crimes, conflicts The Executive Director of West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP), Dr Chukwuemeka Eze, has called for more decisive actions that would help reduce greenhouse gas pollution and its effects.
Eze made this call on Monday in Lagos at a 3-day experts brainstorming workshop on issues addressing climate change.
NAN reports that the workshop aimed at developing and validating climate change indicators, other related drivers of conflicts and crimes in coastal areas of West Africa.
He said decisive actions from global commitments would help to limit global warming in the best interest of everyone’s safety, peace and security because climate change leads to conflicts and shocks Eze made reference to the 2022 Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change (IPCC) report which identified West Africa as a notable signpost of the manifestations of climate change-related security risks.
“ More importantly, climate change has been identified as a driver of conflicts and violence, especially in vulnerable regions where human livelihoods largely depend on natural resources and biodiversity.
“The extremes induced by climate change and its attendant effects on human security, natural ecosystems, and other dire environmental, social and economic impacts across the world are of particular concern.
“The effect of climate change is evident in increased temperature, sea level rise, shift in weather patterns,’’ he said.
Eze said that climate change worsens vulnerabilities and inequalities, security risks including inter-communal violence, forced migration, internal displacements, conflicts among farmers, cross-border conflicts, and depletion of natural resources.
“ Terrorist and violent extremist groups continue to leverage on climate change induced insecurity to increase violent attacks in vulnerable communities and affected regions,’’ he said.
He added that no nation, however large or small, wealthy or poor, can escape the impact of climate change.
“ Rising sea levels threaten every coastline, powerful storms and floods threaten every continent.
“ More frequent drought and crop failures breed hunger and conflict in places where hunger and conflict already thrive.
“On shrinking islands, families are already being forced to flee their homes as climate refugees,’’ he said.
The WANEP boss said that the planet’s future depends on global commitments by putting the right indicators and community early warning systems and response architectures in place to mitigate the effects of climate change.
“ Cutting emissions starts with clear policy signals, building low-carbon resilient cities,and increasing energy efficiency will help in reducing the impact of climate change.
”This can also be achieved through the use of renewable energy and Implementing climate-smart agriculture and landscapes will help build a better future for the generation.
’’ NAN reports that about 50 participants, including representatives from the African Union (AU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), climate change experts and NGO’s were in attendance at the meeting, both online and offline.
President Muhammadu Buhari in the course of the week reiterated the determination of his administration to uplift the quality of life of the citizens in spite of the harsh socio-economic realities.
He said that the passion and zeal for improving the livelihood of Nigerians had not dwindled, calling for more steadfastness as Nigerians.
The president gave the assurance when he received former State Chairmen of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) at the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday.
He, however, urged political leaders to stay focused and uphold the ultimate objective of promoting interest of the country.
The president said the self-centeredness that led to the loss of about a million lives between 1967-1970 must not be allowed to repeat itself.
The president, who is also the Minister of Petroleum Resources, had also consented to the acquisition of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited by Seplat Energy Offshore Ltd., a Nigerian outfit.
ExxonMobil, the parent company had earlier entered into a landmark Sale and Purchase Agreement with Seplat Energy to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited from Exxon Mobil Corporation of the U.
S.A.The agreement would also enable Seplat Energy to acquire share capital from Mobil Development Nigeria Inc., and Mobil Exploration Nigeria Inc., both registered in Delaware, USA.
Mr Femi Adesina, the president’s spokesman stated on Monday in Abuja that the president’s consent was in consonance with Nigeria’s drive for increased indigenous participation in the energy sector.
Also on Monday, the president congratulated the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Sports Federations and Associations on the performance of Team Nigeria at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Team Nigeria posted an impressive outing at the competition, finishing seventh on the medals table with 12 gold, 9 silver and 14 bronze.
On the same day, Buhari forwarded the name of Muhammad Sabo Lamido to the Senate for confirmation as Executive Commissioner, Finance and Accounts, for the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission.
Buhari, in a letter addressed to President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, said Lamido was being nominated due to the death of Hassan Gambo, who occupied the position until his demise.
The president also received the new Executive Members of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.
At the meeting with the NMA officials, Buhari disclosed that the Federal Government had disbursed N100 billion to indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare investors as loans to expand their capital base.
He said it was also meant to boost local production of medicines and medical consumables.
Buhari stated that the loan was extended through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s support to the private pharmaceutical sector.
The president also announced the appointment of former Permanent Secretary, Ecological Project Office (EPO), Dr Habiba Muda-Lawal, as Special Adviser to him on Policy and Coordination.
Buhari also hosted the Director-General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Organization, Simon Lalong, in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
Lalong, who is also the Governor of Plateau, said he was in the Presidential Villa to thank the president for approving the University of Jos as a national cancer centre.
He also lauded Buahri for granting presidential pardon to the former Governor of the state, Joshua Dariye.
According to him, the people of the State will remain grateful to the president for delivering a lot of democratic dividends to the State.
Also on Wednesday, President Buhari joined members of staff and political appointees in the State House in congratulating the Permanent Secretary, Tijjani Umar, on his 59th birthday.
The president congratulated Umar, his family, friends and professional colleagues on the auspicious occasion.
Buhari appreciated Umar’s efforts, sacrifices and dedication to effective management of the State House.
Buhari unveiled the 2023 National Population and Housing Census Project Document, aimed at promoting robust and informed national conversation on procedures for the census.
He unveiled the document at the National Stakeholders Summit on the 2023 census, organised by the National Population Commission (NPC), in collaboration with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday.
Buhari also hosted representatives of victims of Kaduna train abduction in Abuja, on Thursday.
According to the president, the Federal Government was doing everything within its powers to ensure the safe return of the remaining abducted passengers of the ill-fated Abuja-Kaduna train.
He said, ”since the terrible and cowardly attack by the criminal elements on March 28, the nation had joined them to endure a period of difficulty and emotional pains.
” Buhari also explained his reason for discarding the use of lethal military force in extracting the remaining abductees.
The president, therefore, condoled with the families of the victims and those who lost their loved ones.
Buhari also on Thursday received the new President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Touray and his Management Team, telling them the kind of sub-regional body West African leaders desire and must have.
Buhari, also on Friday in Abuja, received the Management of BUA Group at the State House led by the Chairman, Abdul Samad Rabiu.
He also inaugurated the National Crisis Management Doctrine (NCMD), to bridge the gap created by extensive deployment of security services through fostering collaboration among Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The NCMD, which was developed by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), in coordination with relevant MDAs, would ensure greater successes in tackling national crisis.
The president concluded the week with a closed-door meeting with Gov. Hope Uzodinma of Imo in the presidential villa, Abuja, on Friday.
Uzodinma, who spoke to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting thanked the president for graciously granting his request that the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Owerri be converted to Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) Teaching Hospital.
He also disclosed that he sought president’s approval for the Alvan Ikoku College of Education to become Federal University of Education, Owerri The governor spoke extensively on the forthcoming 2023 General Elections.
HE urged the media to pay more attention to issues like the depletion of the country’s crude oil output and the unsettling security situation in the country.
Guinea dissolved the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (Front national pour la défense de la Constitution, FNDC), a prominent coalition of Guinean civil society groups and opposition parties, for political reasons on August 8, 2022, noted Human Rights Watch.
The measure of the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization of the country seriously harms the return of the country to a genuine democratic government.
The coalition had no opportunity to effectively challenge the decision, which was based on vague and generalized allegations, before an independent judicial body with the authority to overturn the order.
"The Guinean transitional government already tightly controls the political space," said Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.
“This move against the FNDC will only further undermine democracy by discouraging any meaningful opposition.” The order accuses the coalition of organizing armed public demonstrations, using violence, inciting hatred, and acting as "private militias."
This decision came hours after the coalition announced new demonstrations in Guinea and abroad calling for a credible dialogue between the transitional military authorities and opposition parties and civil society.
On September 5, 2021, Guinean army officers from the self-proclaimed National Committee for Reconciliation and Development (*Comité national du rassemblement et du développement, *CNRD) overthrew the government of Alpha Condé.
In May, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who has headed the military junta since September 2021, pledged to hand over power to civilians within three years.
But national actors, including the FNDC coalition and regional bodies, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), rejected this timeline as too long.
The coalition was founded in April 2019 to protest Condé's plan to revise the constitution and run for a third term.
The group has faced a spate of intimidation and abuse from the Condé and Doumbouya governments.
On July 30 and 31, security forces arrested three prominent coalition leaders in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, and charged them with illegal protest, destruction of public and private property, assault and battery.
In May, the military junta banned any public demonstration that could be seen as a threat to public order, drawing criticism from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The government's decision to dissolve the coalition violates freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, and democratic participation, Human Rights Watch said.
These rights are guaranteed by international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Guinea ratified in 1978, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.
In an August 10 statement, the coalition called the government's decision "illegal, unfounded and arbitrary" and called for nationwide protests on August 14.
Alseny Sall, a prominent human rights activist in Conakry, told Human Rights Watch: “This is a huge step back from Guinea's efforts to restore democratic rule after the military takeover and yet another way to silence dissent”.
Guinea's military authorities must immediately reverse their decision and allow the process toward free and fair elections to proceed with full respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, Human Rights Watch said.
Guinea's international partners should denounce this setback and call for a return to political pluralism and democratic rule.
“This attack on anyone who opposes the military government does not bode well for the transition and the upcoming elections,” Allegrozzi said.
"The Guinean government must undo the dissolution of the FNDC and end interference in opposition parties and civil society."
The West African Power Pool (WAPP) says it has concluded plans to create a Liquidity Enhancement Revolving Fund (LERF) for the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market.
The General Manager, Public Affairs, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mrs Ndidi Mbah, quoted the Chairman, Executive Board of WAPP, Mr Sule Abdulaziz, as saying this at the 54th meeting of the board held in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
According to her, the meeting is the second in 2022. Abdulaziz, who is also the Managing Director of TCN, said that the plan to create the LERF was taken after the review and adoption of the documents proposed by the Task Force on the creation of the fund.
According to him, the fund would provide the ECOWAS regional electricity market with very important tool for electricity trading by reducing the level of outstanding bills.
He said that the fund would also provide stakeholders in the trade with a “high degree of robustness and sustainability.
” Abdulaziz, however, urged the participants to examine the documents carefully and make relevant comments on the documents proposed by the WAPP Finance Committee.
He also lauded the well documented 2021 financial statement of the organisation.
“When I looked at the financial statement, I get the feeling that the WAPP is working hard and is transparent as shown by the independent audit.
“ This attest that the financial statements are regular, sincere, and in accordance with international standards,” he said.
In his remarks, Mr Siengui Ki Apollinaire, the Secretary General of WAPP Executive Board, said that the latest financial statements were declared transparent.
“The 2021 budget was executed transparently and rigorously, and it is with pleasure that I announce that the 2021 consolidated financial statements of our organisation have been declared regular, sincere compliant with international standards by a well-known independent auditor,” he said.
He expressed gratitude to Mr Patrice Talon, President of the Republic of Benin, for the hospitality extended to the organisation and for hosting the meeting.
The participants also observed a minute silence for late Mr Joseph Makoju, an honorary member from Nigeria, who passed on in April, for his contributions to the development of WAPP.
Malian authorities must act to uphold fundamental freedoms and the rule of law during the new two-year timetable for the transition to civilian rule, Human Rights Watch said today.
They must promote respect for freedom of expression and the media, guarantee due process for suspected criminals, and end torture and enforced disappearances.
On July 3, 2022, the Regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) lifted the economic and financial sanctions imposed in January, after Mali's transitional government agreed on a new timetable for elections and other reforms to March 2024.
The ECOWAS mechanism established to monitor compliance with the schedule should include benchmarks on better respect for and protection of human rights, Human Rights Watch said.
“Mali's leaders have taken steps toward civilian rule, but achieving a democratic society means ensuring respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” said Jehanne Henry, senior Africa adviser at Human Rights Watch.
"Authorities must encourage an open dialogue that allows journalists, commentators and human rights activists to speak without fear of reprisals."
Human Rights Watch researchers visited Bamako, the capital of Mali, between June 29 and July 8, meeting with 3 current and former detainees, relatives of detainees, 3 lawyers and 25 media professionals, activists from civil society, members of political parties and analysts.
Authorities responded to Human Rights Watch's request for comment by letter on August 6, reaffirming their commitment to protecting Mali's and international human rights law, but did not address specific findings of violations described.
Mali's transitional government took power following a military coup in August 2020 against then-President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
In May 2021, military leaders consolidated power through a second coup, installing Colonel Assimi Goïta as interim president.
Since then, the media, civil society groups, lawyers and analysts have denounced a growing repression by the transitional government.
Violence has increased in Mali during this period.
Attacks by armed Islamist groups and government-led counter-terrorism operations have killed several hundred civilians since early 2022.
This coincides with the departure of French and Western forces supporting government military efforts, and the arrival informed of the Russian forces.
of the Wagner Group, a military security contractor with apparent ties to the Russian government.
The transitional government has increasingly restricted the United Nations peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali. It has barred peacekeepers from entering areas where government forces were implicated in abusive operations, such as the town of Moura, where Human Rights Watch documented serious abuses in March by the Malian military and foreign soldiers identified as Russian fighters.
In June, Malian authorities rejected a UN Security Council call to allow the mission access to all areas.
During the two-year transition, authorities must address the following human rights violations, as well as persistent violations of the laws of war: Detention, Harassment of Perceived Critics Malian authorities have detained perceived government opponents and critics, holding some for months.
without trial on politically motivated charges.
In January, security forces arrested Dr. Étienne Fakaba Sissoko, an economics professor, for allegedly “subversive” speech.
Sissoko said prosecutors charged him with "ethnic discrimination," apparently based on his comments that government appointments were based on ethnicity and falsifying university diplomas.
Observers said these charges were pretexts to silence him.
Sissoko was paroled in June without having been convicted of a crime, but he remains unable to travel.
Officials from the Solidarité africaine pour la démocratie et l'indépendance (SADI) opposition party said their leader, Dr. Oumar Mariko, was arrested on December 6, 2021 for criticizing interim Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maïga and detained for almost one month.
He has been in hiding since April, when authorities tried to arrest him, allegedly for denouncing army abuses in Moura.
An official from the opposition party Convergence for the Development of Mali (CODEM) confirmed that its leader, Housseini Amion Guindo, narrowly escaped arrest for urging the transitional government to respect an 18-month transition timetable.
In October 2021, authorities arrested Issa Kaou N'djim, a well-known politician and deputy speaker of the interim parliament, after he criticized the expulsion of an ECOWAS representative.
He was released after two weeks, later convicted of insulting the state through social media.
N'djim, although a supporter of interim president Goïta, has publicly criticized the prime minister.
Authorities also detained Fily Bouare Sissoko, a former Minister of Economy and Finance, and Mahamadou Camara, a former Presidential Chief of Staff, from August and September 2021, respectively.
They were charged, along with former Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga, who died in custody in March, in a high-level corruption case.
The trials have not progressed and a judge has denied their requests for parole.
International human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention.
The pact favors the release of accused persons pending trial.
Under Malian law, an accused person can apply for parole, but lawyers said parole is often not granted even when legal requirements are met.
Furthermore, even if a court decides to parole or acquit a defendant, the prosecutor can appeal this decision, automatically suspending the court's orders.
Restrictions on media and freedom of expression In January, the Malian authorities announced that they would reintroduce media accreditation procedures.
In February, they expelled a long-time reporter with Jeune Afrique, Benjamin Roger, for not having accreditation, and stopped providing new accreditations.
In March, they suspended the operations of Radio France International and France 24 in the country after both outlets reported abuses by security forces in Moura.
In April, authorities announced that those suspensions would be final.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights denounced the media restrictions as "the latest in a series of actions that restrict press freedom and freedom of expression in Mali, and come at a time when more is needed."
, not less, scrutiny.” Authorities have also detained people for their expression online.
In May, four women; Sara Yara, Ramata Diabate, Dede Cissé and Amy Cissé; They were detained for their alleged involvement in a Facebook blog post critical of the head of the state security agency, relatives and lawyers for the women said.
The women remained in custody despite a parole judge's decision in June, pending the prosecutor's appeal.
They face various charges under the criminal code and the 2019 law against cybercrimes, which includes prison sentences and fines.
In July, authorities arrested an online commentator, Alhassane Tangara, after a pro-government group reported him on Facebook.
Media professionals and activists said online commentators, known as "video men," have increased their harassment of government critics.
Journalist and blogger Malick Konate said that he had received dozens of threats and harassment online because of his reporting for Radio France International and his political comments on television and social media, accusing him of being pro-French and being in against the transition.
On June 4, unidentified assailants threw bricks that smashed the windows of his car.
"Everyone is afraid to speak out, whether for better or worse," said one activist.
"The majority have chosen silence."
Another said: "I keep quiet because I don't want to go to jail."
Media professionals said it has become more difficult to invite open people to public debates.
Some organizations said they have stopped issuing public statements altogether.
"I live with fear in my stomach," said the director of a democratic association.
"Any day they can come to arrest me."
“The crackdown on the media and the arrests of critics have had a chilling effect on political life and civic space in Mali,” said Henry.
"The Malian authorities must reverse this trend to ensure the credibility of the political transition."
Torture and Enforced Disappearances Human Rights Watch and others have previously reported torture and other ill-treatment by Malian security forces, often in unauthorized detention centers, and enforced disappearances.
Six men arrested in September and October 2021, including a legal scholar and adviser to senior officials, Dr. Kalilou Doumbia, remain in detention, accused of plotting a coup, despite a court decision in June to acquit two from them.
Authorities allegedly subjected the men to electric shocks, "mock drowning" or drowning, repeated beatings, and sleep deprivation to extract confessions and other information.
On May 16, security officials detained seven members of the military, including a member of the transitional parliament, accused of plotting a coup "backed by a Western state," media reported.
Authorities have not provided any information about the men's condition and whereabouts.
Mali's national human rights commission, Commission Nationale des Droit de l'Homme (CNDH), requested access to the detainees and expressed concern about the enforced disappearance, but received no response.
International law defines enforced disappearance as the detention of a person by State officials or their agents and the refusal to acknowledge the detention or to reveal the fate or whereabouts of the person.
The ECOWAS monitoring mechanism for the transition period should include benchmarks for progress on key human rights issues, including arbitrary detention and harassment of opposition figures, freedom of expression and the media, and torture.
and enforced disappearances, Human Rights Watch said.
“Mali's leaders must meet their obligations under international human rights law by investigating allegations of torture and enforced disappearances and properly prosecuting those responsible,” Henry said.
"Defending human rights and the rule of law are integral to a successful transition to civilian rule."
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield praised Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his exemplary contribution to peace and security in the West African region, as well as for the role of Ghana at the UN.
In a meeting with President Akufo-Addo at Jubilee House on Saturday, August 6, 2022, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations expressed the gratitude of the United States of America to President Akufo-Addo for his excellent efforts in peace building.
“I have come to express our gratitude to Ghana for its leadership here in the Region, but also for its leadership in the Security Council and the close collaboration we have been able to forge with its permanent representative on the peace and security challenges we face.
face every day in the Security Council."
He also praised Ghana's strong relationship with the United States over the years, stating that "Ghana has been a staunch and steadfast partner for the United States, and we greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with you.
.” She also expressed US support for President Akufo-Addo in addressing security-related issues in West Africa as ECOWAS president.
“We also want to express our strong support for your efforts to deal with the situation here in the region as President of ECOWAS, the very difficult decisions, at times, that you have had to make to deal with situations in the region, in particular how it relates to Mali” On the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Linda Thomas-Greenfield had this to say.
“Mr. President, about Ukraine, as you know and have heard, the President, as well as the Secretary of State and I are deeply concerned about the growing crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.
We believe that it is a war of choice that (President) Putin made, his disproportionate actions in terms of attacks on civilian infrastructure and this war has had a very significant impact on the African continent, including Ghana,” she said.
food crisis on the continent in general and in Ghana in particular, the US envoy said that “I had the opportunity to speak with farmers in Tamale today and hear from them about some of the challenges they face in the agricultural sector.
They can't access fertilizer and of course the high price of gasoline has had a big impact on them, and they are planting around 40% of what they used to.
We have responded to this crisis across the African continent.
We have had to continue to work with you to address the growing challenge of food insecurity.” She also dismissed the Russian-driven narrative that the food crisis around the world is the result of sanctions the United States has imposed on the European giant.
“I would like to point out, Mr. President, that the narrative that the Russians have used to deal with the situation and suggests that the sanctions that the United States has on Russia are the cause of the food insecurity crisis and that could be far from the truth.
We have no sanctions on Russian agricultural products, no sanctions on fertilizers, and no sanctions on their wheat, and we have indicated that we are prepared to work with them and support the Secretary-General's efforts to find a way to get Ukrainian wheat and Ukrainian fertilizer.
and Russia fertilizer for the market initiative, that is led by the Secretary General”.
She also expressed concern about the security situations in Mali and the refusal of the country's authorities not to adhere to initiatives aimed at bringing lasting peace to the country.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the United States appreciates any advice that President Akufo-Addo can give them to deal decisively with the crisis in Mali.
Dr Sidie Tunis, Speaker of the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has directed the immediate suspension of staff recruitment.
He has subsequently set up a panel to investigate alleged malpractices in the recruitment process.
Tunis gave the directive in a statement issued by the parliament’s Communications Division.
The suspension follows allegations by the Nigerian delegation at the parliament that the country’s candidates were being marginalised in the recruitment exercise.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Nigerian representation to the bloc had threatened to withdraw its membership as its citizens were being margininalised at the parliament in respect of employment and promotions.
The speaker had received written complaints from the 1st Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase and the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the ECOWAS Commission, Amb. Musa Sani Nuhu. According to the statement, the work of the eight-man independent Ad Hoc Investigation Committee is expected to start on Aug. 2022 and its findings are expected to be made available to the speaker within a week.
A bureau meeting will be convened immediately to consider the report for onward submission to the plenary.
“The action of the Honorable Speaker is in conformity with Rule Thirty-three (33) and Thirty-four (34) of the Rules of Procedures of the Parliament which provides that a Special Committee may be set up to address specific matters.
“The Ad hoc Committee would be headed by Sen. Mohammed Ali Ndume, Chairman of the Committee on Administration, Finance, and Budget.
“Other Members of the Committee include:Hon. Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu from Nigeria and Hon. Fatoumatta Njai from the Gambia.
“Hon. Amadou Djibo Ali from Niger, Hon. Kounon Nahou Agbandao from Togo, Hon. Caramo Camara from Guinea Bissau, Hon. Moussokora Chantal Fanny from Cote d’ Ivoire and Mr. Arboncana Oumarou Dicko to serve as Clerk to the Committee.
“The Terms of Reference of the Ad Hoc Committee shall be as follows: Investigate allegations of inappropriate conduct in the ongoing recruitment process at the ECOWAS Parliament; Investigate allegations of marginalization of Nigerian Candidates in the current recruitment process; “Investigate and determine if indeed the plenary adopted any Resolution concerning the subject matter (Recruitment of Staff), using normal parliamentary procedure; “In the execution of its mandate, the committee shall be granted access to all documents relating to the recruitment exercise and work with the Advisory Committee on Recruitment and Promotions at the ECOWAS Parliament, to under-study and review the exercise.
“The Ad hoc Committee would be guided by the provisions of the Supplementary Act and the ECOWAS Staff Regulations.
The leadership of the parliament has said it is devoted to upholding and protecting the rights of all citizens of the community to aspire to positions in any ECOWAS institution, in line with the provisions of the group’s staff regulations and all related protocols.
Some stakeholders in Badagry on Saturday said better monitoring of the country’s borders as well as provision of jobs for citizens would reduce smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries.
The stakeholders told the News Agency of Nigeriain Badagry that smuggling of petroleum products thrive on youth unemployment and unpatriotic activities of some citizens, and some security personnel at the country’s borders.
Mr Abiodun Hundeyin, a retired Deputy Comptroller General of the Immigration,said many young people chose the unpatriotic path of smuggling owing to unemployment .
According to him ,if jobs are provided for unemployed youths and security personnel manning the border posts discharge their duties diligently ,smuggling of petroleum products to Togo ,Benin Republic and others ,will reduce drastically.
Hundeyin also urged Nigeria and other West African countries to muster the political will to enforce trade and bilateral agreements in the sub-region ,to address smuggling.
He ,however ,described smugglers of petroleum products as saboteurs ,saying the Federal Government should take the necessary steps to keep them out of business.
Mr Ovie Edomi, Publisher of South-South International Magazine ,said that the ECOWAS treaty that Nigeria was signatory to,allowed for free movement and trade liberalisation among West African countries.
“However, in ensuring adherence to the treaty,each individual country must protect her territorial boundaries with other nations.
“It is most unfortunate that despite measures put in place to secure our borders, Nigeria and Benin Republic borders, beginning from Seme in Lagos to Owode in Ogun states respectively, have remained haven for the smuggling of petroleum products.
He said the smuggling of petroleum products was thriving because of the hundreds of illegal routes through which smugglers could either enter or leave Nigeria from the Benin Republic and other countries.
“Also most of the illegal routes are not being monitored by men of the Customs and even the major illegal routes monitored by Customs, the smugglers have devised different ways to outsmart the Customs and other security agencies.
“For instance, some commercial vehicle operators will fill their fuel tanks at any filling stations in the country only to arrive at the border and park at a spot and empty almost everything into jerry cans.
“They will in turn sell them to people waiting to buy the same for onward transfer of the product to the hinterlands of Benin Republic where they are sold for three times the amount they bought.
Edomi urged security agencies ,especially Customs, to police the borders properly ,while calling on the government to make the necessary interventions to tackle smuggling of petroleum products.
Chief Mautin Ofade, a community leader in Badagry, also urged security agencies to discharge their responsibilities well to effectively check the smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries.
He said Customs and other agencies working around the borders should consider the interest of the nation at all times in the discharge of their duties.
Ofade said it was economic sabotage for custom officials to aid smuggling of petroleum products ,adding appropriate sanctions should be meted to any officer caught.
The community leader also urged the government to enlist the support of residents in border areas in the fight against smuggling so that they would be partners in securing the country’s borders.
Also, speaking on the issue, Mr Podo Sunday, a journalist residing in Badagry described smuggling as a threat to free trade in the ECOWAS region.
“Africa Trade Liberalisation Treaty and the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) allows legitimate trans-border trades and free movement of goods and persons within the sub-region.
“The greatest challenge facing trade liberalisation in the ECOWAS corridor is smuggling and other economic sharp practices that are inhibiting economic growth and integration across the region.
“Republics of Benin and Togo are European and Asian dumping grounds for items that are on the prohibitive lists in Nigeria and through the nefarious activities of the smuggling rings in those countries and with connivance of their Nigerian counterparts.
“About 85 per cent of those items find their way into Nigeria markets and homes illegally, this is a development that has defied solution in spite of the presence of security agencies at the border posts”,he said.
He noted that the smuggling of petroleum products from Nigeria to Benin, Togo and Ghana, had also continued unabated for decades because of the huge difference in price as a result of subsidised prices in Nigeria.
“Even with the 20km ban on operations of all filling stations before all our border posts, fuel smuggling has continued to thrive in places like Badagry in Lagos State, Idiroko in Ogun State, Shaki in Oyo State, Ikot – Ekpene in Cross Rivers State, Michika in Adamawa State, Daura in Kasina State, Sokoto and Maiduguri among others.
“Our borders are porous and our security agencies like Customs, Army, Immigration and Police are not very effective to man our border posts and highways and therefore incapable of arresting the situation over time.
“The situation requires the rejigging of our security architecture in all our frontiers and highways, arrest and prosecute violators and probably send them to jail to serve as deterrents to others.
“It may also interest you to know here that, our legal framework in Nigeria, especially the prosecution powers of Customs to arrest and send smugglers to jail, is not being put to test.
“All they do is to impound such goods and most times release their vehicles and allow the smugglers to walk free after buying their freedom,” he said.
A smuggler, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said a 25 litre jerry can of 2 petrol in Seme is sold for N7, 200 and sometimes N7, 300. “We normally buy 25litres of petrol in Badagry filling stations between N4, 800 to N5, 000, so the difference is N2, 200 or N2, 300. “Some of us with in-built tanks can buy N100, 000 petrol inside the vehicles and empty the product at Seme. “The business is lucrative depending on the number of trips one can make a day.
“The buyers are on standby immediately one gets to Seme.”,he said.
Mr Abdullahi Hussain, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) Seme Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service, said the command had the responsibilities of revenue collection, suppression of smuggling and facilitation of legitimate trade.
“Seme Area Command,like every other command has the mandate of enforcing the above-mentioned core mandate of the service.
“No country in the world is said to have stopped smuggling completely, but it can be suppressed to the barest minimum and that is what my command is doing about the smuggling of petrol.
“From January to June 2022, the command has intercepted 375, 950 litres of PMS equivalent to 11 tanker loads of 33, 000 litres.
“These were achieved as a result of patriotism, dedication and effective supervision demonstrated by the officers and men of the command, under the able leadership of ourCustoms Area Controller, Comptroller,” he said.
The Nigerian Navy shipped military hardware and contingent to Guinea Bissau on Saturday on peace keeping mission on the auspices of ECOWAS.
Guinea Bissau has experienced four coups since independence from Portugal in 1974 and is currently in turmoil.
“Nigeria’s effort towards peace-keeping and peace enforcement in Guinea Bissau becomes germane while the Armed Forces of Nigeria’s synergy will become a hallmark as it continues to operate.
“The role the Nigerian Navy is playing today by NNS KADA conveying military hardware is one of the roles assigned to the Nigerian Navy Constitutionally.
“By moving this equipment, we are supporting ECOWAS with the stabilisation support force that is established in Guinea Bissau,’’ he said.
The FOC also said that the movement of the equipment through NNS KADA showed that the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Armed Forces had come of age to conduct such operations successfully.
“The Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Army Staff and Chief of Air Staff brought it together to show the manifestation under the leadership of the Minister of Defence.
“At the end, we will continue to showcase the capability, capacity and competence of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to the whole world while keeping peace within our sub-region.
“This positions Nigeria as a regional power and continues to show that we are in the lead,’’ he stressed.
Wambai recalled that in 1990, the Nigerian Navy conducted a similar exercise using NNS AMBE and NNS DAMISA to convey equipment and personnel to help to stabilise Liberia.
The exercise was conducted on the platform of the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG).
ECOMOG is a West African peacekeeping force that began with approximately 3,000 troops and has grown to between 10,000 and 12,000 troops, the vast majority being Nigerians.
ECOMOG included forces from five countries of ECOWAS: Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, later joined by Mali. According to Wambai, “we did the same thing in Sierra Leone; three years ago in Gambia and now we are doing it in Guinea Bissau.
“We will continue to showcase our role and big brotherliness by assisting and coming to the aid of these West African countries whenever there is the need,’’ the FOC declared.
He said that the ECOWAS standby force was still in existence and that the Nigerian Navy would use that umbrella to continue to work and function to support peace and stability within the West African sub-region.
Wambai advised the contingent en route Guinea Bissau to adhere to integrity, professionalism and team work in all their operations.
“I must remind you that the rules of engagement in the mission area demands that you exhibit utmost professionalism in the discharge of your responsibilities.
“Also, I must urge you to respect religious and cultural sensitivity of the host nation in the course of discharging your duties,’’ the FOC told the departing contingent.
President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Sen. Daisy Danjuma, wife of former Chief of Army Staff, retired Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, as she turns 70 on Aug. 6, 2022. Malam Garba Shehu, the president’s media aide in a statement on Friday in Abuja, said the president praised her commitment to a better living standard for the less privileged.
The president, in a congratulatory letter to the celebrant personally signed by him, said: “On behalf of myself and my family, I wish to felicitate with you as you attain the auspicious age of 70. “Distinguished Senator, I join your family members, friends and political associates in celebrating the auspicious moment with you, heralded by many years of service to the nation and humanity.
“As an accomplished entrepreneur and philanthropist, I am particularly pleased by the commitment you have shown to the plight of the disadvantaged in the society especially women and children.
“I also note that your passion for this cause was further reinforced during your period in the National Assembly between 2003 and 2007 where you served as the Chairperson, Senate Committee on Women Affairs and Youth Development.
’’ Danjuma was also Member, Senate Committees on Health, Education, Finance and Land, as well as Member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and Chairperson, Women and Child Right Committee of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS Parliament).
The president saluted Danjuma for her courage and steadfastness.
“As you celebrate this milestone, my prayer is that almighty God will grant you longer life, good health and more wisdom to serve humanity and the country,” the president said.