Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places, Events


Journalists visit detainees

Journalists have visited National Security Agency where several government officials and army personnel are being held for their alleged involve- ment in an attempt to topple the Government of the People's Redemp- tion Council. According to the Liberian News Agency, the visit of the Journalists was intended to dismiss the fears that those accused of the plot were being mistreated and intimidated to confess their guilt. The accused reportedly said they were testifying at Will. They said their investigation is being handled professionally.

Dismissal of journalist

The editor of the renowned 'New Liberian' newspaper, Mr Rufus Dapoh and assistant editor-in chief, J. Blamo Robertson, have been dismissed by Information Minister, Dr Peter Naigow. Their dismissal was due to their failure to take their moral, political and social responsibilities as editors of the paper and to double check information which does not reflect the image and policy of the Government of Liberia. Minister Naigow further said the editors sought an editorial content incompatible with Government's policy with authorities of the Ministry thereby causing great embarrassment to the government.

Envoy expelled

The Liberian Ambassador in Moscow, Christopher Ricks is reported by Monrovia radio to have been expelled from the Soviet Union. The radio explained that the move was in retaliation for Liberia's expulsion on November 22 of the Soviet Ambassador for activities incompatible with his diplomatic status. Also expelled from Liberia was the Ghanaian Charge d'Affaires, Kwesi Sackey.

Quiwonkpa can't be traced

The logistical manager of the Barclay Training Centre in Monrovia Colonel John Noah, has been arrested by the joint security force and is being detained at the port stockade in Monrovia. According to sources, Colonel Noah was reportedly arrested in the Yekepa area in Nimba County while attempting to escape from the country. Over the weekend a Government statement gave 48 hours to all those being implicated in the alleged plot to overthrow the People's Redemption Council Government to give themselves in. The announcement was made by Commander-in-Chief, Dr Samuel Doe, last Monday. Since the weekend announcement, former armed forces commander general, Thomas Quiwonkpa, and former Nimba County superintendent Brig-Gen Joseph Fambalo's whereabouts are still unknown.

Economic measures

The Liberian Government has announced an absolute freeze on the purchase of vehicles and transport equipment as part of stringent econ omic measures announced to "bring relief to the economy". A freeze was also announced on duty exemption except those provided by concession agreements, investment codes, bilateral arrangements and international treaties.

A freeze was also announced on foreign travels of government and public corporation personnel. Only those travels which will bring direct economic and financial benefits to the people will be allowed to go ahead, according to the Finance Ministry release.


Declaration is illegal

The Federal Government of Nigeria has declared support for the recent United Nations Security Council decision condemning the unilateral creation of the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus".

In a statement in Lagos, the government viewed such a unilateral declaration of independence by Turkish Cypriots as illegal and would not augur well for the peaceful co-existence and eventual integration of the various communities in Cyprus.

It said that it recognised only one Cyprus and appealed to the leaders of the two Cypriot communities to resume talks aimed at securing a final solution to preserve the integrity of the Republic.

The government further subscribed to the security council's call to the leaders of the Turkish Cypriots to revoke their unilateral declaration of independence, and urged member states of the United Nations to withhold recognition for the illegal Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Abuja lands

All allottees of plots in the federal capital territory of Abuja have been asked to normalise all their documents. Those affected in particular are those who have plots in accelerated districts and North West districts where most of the needed infrastructures are available.

According to the directive issued by the Minister of federal capital territory, Alhaji Haliru Dantoro, the allottees are advised to do so before December 2, 1983.

They were also advised to commence development of such plots with minimum delay, warning that if they fail to develop their plots within the time limit allowed by law, they will be forfeited and subsequent re-allocation made to other interested persons and organisation.

Business permits

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Dr Ibrahim Tahir, has directed that appli- cations for quota positions or permits to establish business in Nigeria should be treated with utmost despatch. The minister also asked the business

division of his ministry to liaise with other departments of government to cut the period of waiting to the barest minimum in order to accelerate the pace of take off of businesses in the country.

The directive was given at his inaugural meeting with the top officials of his ministry in Lagos. Dr Tahir also promised to brief heads of departments and divisions on the 'blueprint' of the present administration.

Third World co-operation

President Shehu Shagari has called for closer co-operation between developing countries to ensure the success of their fight for economic emancipation. The President made this call at the state house in Lagos when he received the outgoing Ambassador of Argentina to Nigeria, Rear-Admiral Dalton Alurralde, who paid him a farewell visit.

President Shagari said that Nigeria and Argentina shared the same aspirations and experience.

The President wished that the relations between Nigeria and Argentina would continue to grow stronger. The outgoing Ambassador had earlier expressed mixed feelings leaving Nigeria after a tenure of office lasting only 20 months and said that serving in Nigeria had been one of the highlights in his life. He added that he would want to see a good working relationship existing between Nigeria and his country.

Flights cancelled

The Nigerian Airways has announced the cancellation of 19 Christmas flights to parts of Europe and Africa. The affected flights are to London, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, New York, Nairobi, Jeddah and the West Coast

The airline said in a statement that the cancellation was in compliance with international aviation norms and advised passengers to take note of the cancellation when making their reservations.

The return of General Gowon

Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon is expected to tour the country and meet a cross-section of the community during his month-long visit from November 5.

He will be accompanied by his wife Victoria and one of their children. General Gowon who was overthrown on July 29, 1975 in a military coup has since lived in exile in the United Kingdom where he studied to acquire Bachelor and Master's degrees. He has also completed work on a Doctorate Warwick University.

The visit is under the auspices of a Committee of Friends for the return of General Gowon and his family. According to Chief G.K.J. Amachree, Chairman of the committee, the coming together of the General's friends to plan the visit was motivated by love and friendship for the former Head of State.

Chief Amachree took pains to explain that the committee was a non-political and non-religious association whose sole objective was to ensure that General Yakubu Gowon and his family returned home as a worthy soldier and statesman who spent the greater part of his early years in the service of his country.

General Gowon became head of State in July 1966 following a coup that removed Major General Aguiyi ironsi from power. He led the federal government to war against the secessionist Eastern part of the country, Biafra led by Colonel Odumegu Ojukwu. He was later, in 1975, overthrown in a military coup while he was attending an Organisation of African Unity conference in Kampala.

On October 1, 1981, President Shagari's government granted a pardon to General Gowon to return to Nigeria, but while a later pardon to Colonel Ojukwu was instantly seized upon, General Gowon quietly stayed tway from his fatherland to enable him to pursue his academic career.

His return to Nigeria is expected to evoke memories of an illustrious son who led his country for nine tumultuous years.

Increase production

Nigeria has been urged to quit the Organisation of Petroleum exporting Countries (OPEC) if the organisation refuses to increase its quota of 1-3 million barrels a day to two million. Senator David Dafinone made the suggestion as his contribution to a motion on Nigeria's present economic situation in the senate. He said it was time the country raised its production quota to two million barrels a day.

Ticket credit sales

Nigerian Airways earns 200,000 naira Bly from ticket sales in the country following recent stoppage of credit es to its customers, mostly government establishments.

A press statement from the Airline's Press Affairs Manager, Mr Femi Dunleye said the airline made 700,000 a in six days from its Lagos sales office alone.

In recent months the airline found it impossible to meet its financial obligations which compelled the National Oil and Chemical Company to stop credit sales of aviation fuel to it.

Arrest of aliens

Seven hundred aliens were arrested in Yloa on November 24 when a combined team of immigration officials and the police raided hotels and working places in Jimeta Gongola.

Those arrested included about 300 Chadians, 100 Cameroonians and 80 from Niger Republic. The others are from the Central African Republic, Ghana and the Republic of Togo. Immigration officials who were to screen the aliens said that those who could prove to be Nigerians would be set free, while non-Nigerians would be repatriated.


Open Universities

A group of students have urged the PNDC to re-open the country's three universities which were closed after anti-government demonstrations last May.

The students mainly from the Greater Accra region noted that the closure of the universities was disrupting the entire educational system since sixth formers were waiting to enter the university and Ghana was being deprived of trained manpower.

Standard Bank credit

The Standard Chartered Merchant Bank of Britain has granted Ghana a short-term credit facility of £15 million. The loan was signed in London on November 24 by the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mr J.S. Addo, for the Ghana Government, and Mr Michael Madden, Director of the Standard Chartered Merchant Bank on behalf of the Bank. Backed by the US Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECDG), the loan will provide a financing facility through which UK exporters and Ghanaian importers will be able to conclude essential contracts, especially medical supplies and spare parts for the priority supply of goods and equipments and related services. The facility is covered by credit terms of up to two years, and subject to the category of goods involved. In his remarks after the signing ceremony, Mr Madden said the credit facility underlined the significance of continued trade between Ghana and the United Kingdom.

He disclosed that this line of credit had brought the level of financial support for priority imports organised for Ghana by the Bank since 1978 to a total of US$138.5 million. He commended Ghana's efforts to fulfil her international obligations despite her problems.

Replying, Mr J.S. Addo expressed the government's appreciation for the singular help Ghana has been receiving from the Standard Chartered Merchant Bank over the years. He said the granting of this facility with the backing of ECDG had portrayed the British government's faith in Ghana and assured the Bank of Ghana's determination to fulfil her financial obligations.

Present at the function were Mr I.K. Davies, Head of Chancery of the Ghana High Commission, London, Mr A. Bediako, Chief Manager, Ghana Commercial Bank, London and officials of the Standard Bank and the Export Credit Guarantee Department.

PDC chairman before tribunal

A Kete-Krachi PDC chairman, Mark Dogbah, is on trial before the Public Tribunal in Accra on seduction and corruption charges.

Also charged with him, but only on a corruption charge, are Chief Inspector A.K. Darvor and Detective Corporal Kwabena Yayah of the Kete-Krachi Police Station.

According to a Daily Graphic report on the proceedings at the tribunal, the prosecution's story is that last July, a trader, Madam Felicia Efua Serwaa, was arrested for smuggling wax prints, cigarettes and other prohibited items into Ghana from Togo.

Madam Serwaah was handed over to Col Yayah for the investigations and in the process Cpl Yahay is alleged to have demanded £40,000 "to contact all the public officials who knew about the case, so that it could be dropped.

Chief Inspector Davor is also alleged to have demanded £10,000 to delete "some materials" in a docket before the Hohoe Circuit Court while the PDC Chairman is alleged to have demanded an extra C10,000 claiming he had not received his share of the 240,000.

Madam Serwaa was unable to pay the various other monies demanded apart from the original C40,000 and C10,000, she could also not raise an amount of C4,000 which the PDC Chairman subsequently asked for.

The PDC Chairman therefore demanded to have an affair with Madam Serwaa's daughter for a period of two weeks instead of the money, to which the trader consented.

The bribe 'in kind' however did not end the matter as the trader had expected, for Madam Serwaa was then sent to the Ho Public Tribunal instead of being arraigned before the 'Hohoe Circuit Court as she had been promised.

It all proved too much for Madam Serwaa who broke down at the Tribunal and narrated her story which led to the arrest of the accused persons.

At the Public Tribunal in Accra, the presiding officer, Mr Addo Aikins cautioned and discharged Madam Serwaa because, according to him, she had suffered enough.

Flt-Lt Lee charged with murder

Flt-Lt Robert Kojo Lee one of the retired Air Force Officers who was called back into active service after the December 31, 1981 coup d'etat, is appearing before the Public Tribunal on a charge of murder, the Daily Graphic has reported.

Flt-Lt Lee is charged with the murder of Peter Atsu Bleboo, 40, a civilian employee of the Base Ordinance Depot on October 28 this year at Labadi Accra.

The Prosecution alleges that at about 9.30pm on October 28, the deceased and his twin brother, Paul, á sergeant of the Military Police were walking to their home when they saw a yellow Datsun car coming towards them, which they flagged down.

When the car stopped a few metres away, the twins walked to the car, opened the door and attempted to get in thinking the driver had stopped at their request.

Flt-Lt Lee who was driving the car then aimed a pistol at the twins saying "if you attempt to enter, I will shoot you" and Paul replied "please I am a soldier". Flt-Lt Lee then came out of the car with an AK47 rifle and fired two warning shots before driving away.

He drove away and went to collect two armed soldiers and took them back to Labadi to arrest the twins whom he claimed wanted to "hijack" his car. The twins had at this time, reached the junction leading to their house and saw the accused drive past them at top speed, they then parted, with Paul continuing home and Peter going on to buy some tomatoes, pepper and kenkey for their supper. Meanwhile, the accused and the two soldiers were combing the area for the alleged car-hijackers. In the process, they broke into a room where they believed the 'hijackers' were hiding and assaulted a sick man.

Just then the deceased arrived at the scene and enquired what was happening, the soldiers shouted 'halt' but he refused and took a few steps towards them.

Flt-Lt Lee recognised him as the leader of the alleged 'hijackers' and fired two shots with his AK47 rifle at the deceased killing him instantly. Flt Lt Lee then ordered the two soldiers into the car and drove away leaving the dead man behind.

Paul, who was waiting for his brother to bring the food, heard the gunshots and someone shouting "they've killed him, they've killed him," rushed from his room to find the lifeless body of his unarmed twin brother sprawled on the ground.

Repatriates to pay for cost

Commodore S.G. Obimpeh, Chairman of the National Mobilization committee has warned that Ghanaians who will face repatriation for the second time from Nigeria will bear the full cost of their repatriation, the Daily Graphic has reported.

Commodore Obimpeh who was addressing 27 repatriates at Fodomo Woe in the Volta Region, said that during his recent visits to Nigeria and Benin, he realized that about 500 Ghanaians deported from Nigeria were at the Benin border awaiting repatriation.

Another murder charge

A 24-year-old army corporal who allegedly murdered a 65-year-old driver is before the Public Tribunal in Accra charged with murder.

Corporal Godfried Azangodo alias 'Azaa' of the Recce Regiment is said to have shot and killed Barnor Donkor on October 29 this year at a petrol filling station.

Beggars and vagrants to be screened

The Department of Social Welfare is expected to site reception centres in all regional capitals where beggars and other vagrants who roam the streets would be arrested and sent for screening, the Daily Graphic has reported.

Those adjudged to be mentally sick would be sent to psychiatric homes while those who could be trained would be sent to any of the department's rehabilitation centres.

The move is aimed at reducing the number of beggars and "other eccentrics" who roam the streets of the urban areas. The department has already reminded the public than begging is an offence and it is the police which had failed to enforce the law.

Call for restraint

The Secretary for Information, Ms Joyce Ayee, has observed that Third World countries have equal rights to the use of technology to their advantage. Speaking at the biannual delegates' congress of the Ghana USSR Friendship Society in Accra she said Third World countries also have the right to refuse to be threatened by the aggressive activities of the super powers.

Ms Joyce Ayee therefore called on Third World countries to take steps to stop an imminent nuclear war and ensure world peace. She said Third World countries should not sit down unconcerned to the threat of a nuclear war as it knows no boundaries.

The Secretary for Information called on the superpowers to heed the call of the world's 500,000,000 hungry as the number is bound to double by the end of the decade. She called on the Soviet Union to exercise restraint and work towards the reconvening of the arms limitation talks in Geneva. The Soviet Ambassador, Mr Anatoliy Ivantsov, said it is the aim of his country to deliver mankind from the threat of a nuclear war.

EEC mining loan

Ghana is to receive about 156,000,000 cedis from the EEC. The loan from the European Development Fund is for the modernization and rehabilitation of the mining facilities of the Ghana National Mogan tion at Suta, in the Western Region. The an, under the provisions of the Lome Convention relating to risk capital, will be managed by the European Investment Bank. It is envisaged that it will assist in the restoration of the mine's production to former levels through purchase of new machinery and equipment as well as the upgrading of sting facilities. The loan will be paid in 25 years at an interest rate of .

Cuban experts arrive

A group of Cuban technical experts have arrived in Accra on a special Aeroflot flight from Havana to give technical assistance in various projects signed under the Ghana-Cuba joint commission for co-operation. They consist of eight medical doctors, three support specialists, two statistic and planning experts, nine agricultural xperts, one representative from the State Committee for Economic Cooperation, and one adviser on public health. They were accompanied by two representatives from the Committee for the Defence of the Revolution in Cuba at the invitation of the National Defence Council.

Houses will be confiscated

Landlords who knowingly allow their buildings to be used for propaganda activities against the PNDC will have them confiscated in addition to prosecution.

Mr Kwaku Addo Aikins, chairman of the Public Tribunal issued the Warning when passing judgement in a sedition case involving J.N.A. Attoh and H.D.L. Yartey, vice chairman and Honorary secretary respectively of the Association of Recognised Professional bodies (ARPB) and Ebenezer Otukunor Attoh, clerk of the Ministry of Justice. J.N.A. Attoh who was tried in absentia was found guilty together with Lartey of printing and spreading false information about the PNDC. Attoh will spend 10 months in jail anytime he returns to Ghana. Yartey was sentenced to a nine months term but was ordered to be released from Custody because he had been in custody since his arrest last June. Ebenezer Attoh, younger brother of INA, Attoh was acquitted and discharged.

PNDC regrets action

The PNDC has expressed surprise at Liberia's expulsion of Ghana's Charge d'Affaires, Mr Kewsi Sackey, following a reported coup attempt against the regime of Dr Samuel Doe.

In a statement the PNDC said the simultaneous expulsion of the Ambassador of the USSR and the Ghanaian diplomat is a true and ridiculous attempt to associate Ghana with the USSR in a blatantly false conspiracy to destabilize an African country and also to embroil Ghana in superpower rivalries. It also demonstrates the efforts of the PNDC to develop relations with all countries based on the principles of non-alignment.

The statement noted that in line with this policy, the government has vigorously condemned attempts by big powers to interfere in the internal affairs of the Third World as a matter of principle and that the apparent explanation for the expulsion of the charge d'affaires is a continuation of a vicious campaign against the revolutionary process. The PNDC therefore deeply regretted that Dr Doe has allowed himself to be manipulated in such a manner as may affect the very cordial relations that exist between the two countries and considered any implied allegation against Mr Kwesi Sackey as childish and absurd.


Refugees return

Four thousand Sierra Leoneans who sought refuge across the border into Liberia some six months ago have almost completely returned home. The Sierra Leoneans reportedly fled their home villages because of an alleged political uprising in the area.

Unified Cyprus

The government of Sierra Leone has condemned the secession and declaration of independence of the Turkish occupied northern zone of Cyprus.

A government statement noted the position of Sierra Leone over the years in support of the United Nations' efforts to work out a formula for peace acceptable to both the Greek and Turkish communities on the Island.



The government of President Hissene Habre has consented to the holding of a meeting for national reconciliation. According to Paris radio, a summit of all Chad parties was expected to take place in Addis Ababa even though it was not known when such a meeting could take place.

French food aid

Chad, Mauritania and Sudan are to get 20,000 tonnes of emergency French food aid to help offset the ravages of continuing drought.

The supplies are additional to 33,000 tonnes of wheat equivalent already sent this year to those Sahel zone countries most threatened with drought. Last year 19,000 tonnes of wheat from France were delivered.


Message of friendship

An Upper Volta delegation led by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Arba Diallo has called on President Eyadema in Togo to deliver a message of friendship and brotherhood from President Thomas Sankara. The visit was also to strengthen relations of co-operation and friendship to announce that his country would soon open a consulate in the Togolese capital, Lome.

For his part, Akakpo-Ahianyo, Togolese Minister of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation, held the view that the meeting in Lome demonstrated the desire of Togo and its leader and Upper Volta to examine ways and means of strengthening the cooperation between them.


Fishing agreement with Spain

Guinea has signed a fisheries agreement with Spain which will treble fishing benefits for the Spanish fleet. The agreement will last for three years and it is expected that it will come into effect in January next year. Official sources have said that the new agreement will enable 20 boats for squid and octopus fishing, 20 for catching shellfish 20 for tuna fishing and 10 for boulter fishing (using lines with a large number of hooks) to work in Guinea waters, whereas the previous agreement provided for the activities of only 20 Spanish boulter-fishing boats.

talking drums 1983-12-05 Donor nations to Ghana's rescue