Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events


Testimony of a plotter

One of the principal suspects in the alleged coup plot to overthrow the People's Redemption Council (PRC) Government has come out with another development. Maj Kalonko Luo, speaking to members of the Liberian press at the National Security Agency, confessed that if the coup had been successful, three top Government officials would have been executed immediately.

He named the three officials as the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Maj John G. Rancy, Defence Minister Maj Gray D. Allison, and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, Lt-Gen Henry Dubar. Maj Luo said the three were to be executed because they were instrumental in the confusion which continued between the Head of State and former commanding general Thomas G. Quiwonkpa.

The former Assistant Agriculture Minister said that the major motive of the November coup plot was to immediately return the country to civilian rule. Maj Luo said the former commanding general had been against the continuation of military rule in Liberia and that was his very reason for engaging in the alleged coup plot. In his allegation he further said Head of State Samuel Kanyon Doe was to be tried along with other top PRC members on charges of nepotism, tribalism, cuts and delay of government salaries, secret killings and mismanagement of the economy.

Maj Luo continued in his confession that during a meeting held at Mr Quiwonkpa's late father's farm, it was discussed that a raid would be carried out on the Liberian-American-Swedish Minerals Company mines in Nimba County... and that two highways were to be blocked and the electricity cut off in the Monrovia area in order to successfully launch the coup plot.

He also revealed that a speech was prepared to be read by General Quiwonkpa on the national radio and television following the alleged coup plot success.

New appointments

Head of State, Dr Samuel Doe has made two new appointments within the Defence Ministry. Those appointed with the advice and consent of the Peoples Redemption Council include Assistant Defence Minister for Civil Works, Col Jackson Tay who now becomes Deputy Minister for Operations in place of Capt Charles Harris who is leaving on account of ill health. Also appointed was Col Steven Blahie to succeed Col Tay as Assistant Minister for operations.

Suspects released

Five persons who were arrested in connection with the alleged coup plot last month to topple the PRC (People's Redemption Council) Government have been released, according to Liberia's 'Daily Observer'. Those released include the mother of former Armed Forces Commanding General, Thomas Quiwonkpa, Madam Menko Gay, Miss Richard Miller, the alleged girlfriend of Col John Nuah. Others released are the aunt of Thomas Quiwonkpa, Mrs Namomi Davis, Madam Kuman, driver of the one of the taxis used in the Yekekpa raid and Solo Fofana, the driver of the wife of former Nimba County Superintendent, Joseph Fongalo.


No grudge against opponents

President Sekou Toure has invited his opponents to reconvert themselves, reintegrate into the Guinean society and contribute to its development.

In an interview with a Canadian journalist after addressing the people of Dalaba, President Toure told his opponents who are mainly exiled in France that he has no grudges against any of them. He said he only has pity for them for fleeing from their count- ry, adding that he would give them courage to return and present themselves in the participation of the building of the nation.

The President compared the situation with that of Algeria during their struggle for independence when the Algerians living in France demonstrated the harmony between them and those at home instead of distributing insulting tracts against their motherland.


Extension of ban

The Niger State Police Command had extended the ban on public meetings and assemblies throughout the state for a further 14 days.

A police spokesman said the extension was necessary to enable the peaceful atmosphere in the state to continue.

He disclosed that no permit would be issued by the police for any type of meeting or assembly within the 14 days. He pointed out, however, that the ban did not affect meetings in private houses and student meetings if confined to their campus.

The selling or displaying of firearms during the Christmas and New Year was also prohibited and any persons found with firearms would be arrested and prosecuted, a Nigerian News Agency quoted the police spokesman as saying.

Shagari's book launched

A 64 page English translation of a book, 'Songs of Nigeria' originally written in Hausa by President Shehu Shagari has been launched in Lagos. The book, written by the President between 1944 and 1952, was translated by Major-General Mamman Vasta. Launching the book, the President of the Manufacturer's Association of Nigeria, Chief Jerome Udoji, said that the book portrayed the author's deep and abiding concern for the unity of the country.

He observed that the book was produced in Nigeria and called on the country's entrepreneurs to emulate the Northern Nigeria Publishing Company which produced the book entirely within the country.

Among those present at the launching were the speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Benjamin Chaha, the Minister of National Guidance, Alhaji Maitama Sule, Transport and Aviation Minister, Dr Umaru Dikko and the Minister of Works and Housing, Dr Ishmael Igbani.

Party suspends former minister

The national secretariat of the NPN (National Party of Nigeria) has announced the suspension of three members of the Kano branch of the party, Alhaji Uba Ahmed, said that Minister, Alhaji Bello Maitoma Yusufu, for anti-party activities. Addressing a news conference in Lagos, the National Secretary of the party, Alhaji Uba Ahmed, said that the two other members suspended in the branch were Alhaji Mohammed Maude and Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, adding that the decision was based on the reports of the committees which investigated disputes within the party in the state.

Alhaji Uba said that although the suspension was for six months, it could be reviewed subject to good conduct. The national secretariat, he said, had declared the state congress of the party recently held in Hadejia as unconstitutional, null and void.

The NPN Secretary said that the decision of the Kano executive committee to suspend Alhaji A. D. Garba, Alhaji Mahmud Gashash, Alhaji Inuwa Tangaza and Alhaji Adamu Danakbo had however been rescinded by the NPN national caucus and the secretariat. "The party wishes our supporters to know that the only legal state executive committee in Kano is the one constitutionally elected in 1982 which is being led by Alhaji Nuru Alkali as chairman and Alhaji Bashir Alhatu as its secretary", he said.

Alhaji Uba said that the deputy state chairman of the party in Imo, Chief B. B. Apugo, had been suspended for 12 months for anti-party activities. Also suspended are the party's state secretary, Chief S. Iwuchukwu, and financial secretary in Ogun, Francis Aguma. He said that the decisions were taken to infuse discipline into the party and ensure respect for law and order.

Commitment to peace in Chad

President Shehu Sahagari has reaffirmed Nigeria's commitment to find a lasting solution to the conflict in Chad and the Western Sahara.

Receiving a delegation sent by the chairman of the O.A.U., Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam in Lagos, President Shagari emphasised that only talks between the warring factions would lead to a cessation of hostilities in the two areas and again offered to host such a conference on Chad. He expressed happiness that the O.A.U. chairman had kept alive those burning issues. The delegation, which delivered a special message from the Ethiopian leader, had briefed the president on the progress so far made by the O.A.U. at resolving the conflict in Chad and the Western Sahara. The O.A.U. chairman also commended President Shagari for his efforts in bringing peace in the two areas of conflict. The delegation, which was led by the Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Mr Goshu Wolde, also included the Acting Secretary-General of the organisation, Dr Peter Onu of Nigeria.

Commonwealth exhibition

Nigeria will participate in the Commonwealth Africa Year Exhibition in London next year.

Towards this end, the Federal Government has approved of the up- dating of the permanent Nigeria Pavilion at the Commonwealth Institute which was mounted in 1962. Welcoming the Chief Exhibition Officer of the Commonwealth Institute in London on behalf of the Minister of National Guidance, Alhaji Maitama Sule, the Permanent Secretary for Social Development, Youth and Cul- ture in the Ministry of National Guidance, Mr Imafidon Akade, said that Nigeria would spend about £220,000 to update her pavilion.

Mr Akade said that Nigeria's partici- pation would centre on Nigerian contemporary arts and textiles, drama, architectural display of some aspects of Abuja, The Federal Capital Territory, films and traditional puppetry. The Chief Exhibition Officer, Mr Allen Cobbold, who is the coordinator of the exhibition, was in Nigeria to consult with Nigerian experts in the Federal Department of Culture, The National Commission for Museums measures and Monuments, The Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation and The National Council for Arts and Culture.

Review austerity measures

The Governor of Imo State Mr Sam Mbakwe has appealed to the Federal Government to re-appraise the current austerity measures and relax the aspects that adversely affect development.

Speaking at the commissioning of the N2.5 million Hotel Terminus, at Aba, Chief Mbakwe pledged his government's readiness to assist genuine industrialists through the provision of necessary incentives.

He praised the management of the new hotel complex for its policy of using local raw materials and called on other industrialists to emulate "this noble example."

Fedeco renews papers

Four political parties have had their certificates of registration renewed by the Federal Electoral Commission.

The parties included the Nigerian Advance Party (NAP) which owns no seat in the last general elections and the Great Nigeria Peoples' Party (GNPP) which got only one senatorial seat in the election. The two others are the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and the Nigerian Peoples' Party (NPP).

Officials meet the Queen

Two officials of the Nigerian High Commission in London, Mr J. O. Oche, Deputy High Commissioner in Liverpool and Mr Moses Ekpo, Zonal Director of Information in charge of Western Europe, have been introduced to the Queen at a Buckingham Palace Reception in London.

The presentation of the officials and their wives to the Queen was made by Nigeria's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Ireland, Alhaji Shehu Awak.

The two officials also met the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip; Princess Anne as well as Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

More than 400 diplomats and other government officials attended the reception which is an annual event.

Shagari on economic conflict

All Federal Government projects involving high foreign exchange have been shelved. President Shehu Shagari, announced that State Governments will have to pursue pruning in management of finances and insure that the basic requirements, especially staff salaries, cheap food, and affordable shelter were their priorities.

President Shagari stated that despite the dwindling financial resources, the Federal Government will endeavour to provide relief to areas affected by natural disasters such as drought, floods and erosion. He said that as a result of the current worldwide economic recession, his administration had taken courageous and decisive steps to cope with the scarcity of essential commodities. But he noted that such measures had achieved a limited degree of success due largely to the unpatriotic actions and attitudes of some Nigerians in collusion with dubious aliens. President Shagari gave the assurance that such characters, whom he described as enemies of the country, will be tracked down and dealt with appropriately within the limits of the law.

He said that the emphasis of his Government had now shifted to the productive sector of the economy, especially agricultural and industrial development. New emphasis, the President said, will be placed on rural development and in an effort to diversify the sources of the income, greater efforts will be made towards mineral exploitation. President Shagari reaffirmed his commitment for the establishment of a liquified natural gas plant and stated that petrochemical and steel projects will also be implemented according to plan.

Ban on meetings

The police in Plateau has explained that its two week ban on public meetings and processions in the State was aimed at preventing political parties from holding rallies during General Yakubu Gowon's visit and causing a breach of the peace. Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) the deputy police public relations office in the State, Mr Peter Onwubuya said the individuals who wished to welcome the former head of state were free to do so.

Ghanaian mercenaries for Chad

The 'Punch' newspaper in Nigeria has reported that for the past two months Libyan agents have set up a base in Nigeria to train mercenaries and terrorists.

Among their recruits are Ghanaians who have returned to the country illegally after their expulsion a year ago by the Federal Nigerian government.

The paper which strongly condemned the Libyan government for its overt infringement of the country's security and sovereignty also expressed shock at the laxity of the Nigerian security agencies.

It regretted that the Libyan agents were acting in collusion with some unpatriotic Nigerians.


Soviet educational equipment

The Soviet Committee for Solidarity with Asian and African countries has presented a consignment of educational materials worth 1,000,000 CFA francs to the national secretary general of the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution (CDR). The materials include projectors, 20,000 schoolbags, 20,000 exercise books, 20,000 ballpoint The former ruler of the Central pens and refills, and 10,000 pencils. The ceremony took place at the headquarters of the CDR National Secretariat in the presence of the USSR Ambassador to Upper Volta, Yevgeniy Melnikov; the CDR National Secretary General, Lt Pierre Ouedraogo, and his deputy, Lt Yep Tinemite; and the secretary general of the Soviet Committee for Solidarity with Asian and African Countries, Vladimir Tsvetkov. Also present was the chairman of Upper Volta's Afro-Asian Solidarity Committee, Tal Sekou.

No celebrations

The National Council of the Revolution and the revolutionary government of Upper Volta decided not to celebrate the country's Republic Day normally observed on December 1tth. An announcement said the date of December 11th neither marked an event in the history of Upper Volta nor the history of its people.

The statement said the date of December 11th was a fancy choice by the colonial power and its Upper Volta valets. "On December 11th, 1958, French colonialism proclaimed Upper Volta's independence and made the Upper Volta legislative assembly proclaim the country a Republic on December 11th of the same year."

The statement called on Upper Volta nationals to make December 11th a day of reflection on 23 years of formal independence, 22 years of neo-colonial domination.

The statement concluded that it is on the August 4th revolution that is a true independence day for Upper Volta and will be celebrated as such. Mengistu's message to Upper Volta The Ethiopian leader Chairman Mengistu Haile Mariam sent a congratulatory message to President Thomas Sankara of Upper Volta on the occasion of the country's 23rd independence anniversary. There were no celebrations of the day in Upper Volta.


Ex-Emperor Bokassa's Wish

African Republic, Jean-Bedel Bokassa is reported to have asked to be repatriated to his country. The former emperor wants to be tried in Bangui if the French authorities refuse him permission to remain in France.

Meanwhile 'members of ex-Emperor Bokassa's network' have been arrested in Bangui on suspicion of circulating false reports in recent weeks about the possible return of Bokassa.


Speeches of Dr Limann

A compilation of the speeches of President Hilla Limann, entitled Democracy in Ghana will be launched at the Africa Centre on December 19th.

It is being organised by the Friends of Dr Hilla Limann with Mr Francis Badgie, former Ghana High Commissioner in London as the guest speaker.

Jones-Mensah removed

Mr Justice E.K. Jones-Mensah, a High Court Judge, has been removed from the Bench following the PNDC's acceptance of recommendations by a three man body which enquired into allegations of misconduct preferred against him.

The enquiry was conducted by Mr Justice George Francois, Mr Justice P.V. Osei-Hwere and Mr B.A. Wilberforce, Chairman of the Public Services Commission.

Democratic lawyers

A new Democratic Lawyers Association has been launched to erase the erroneous public impression which always associates the lawyer with protection of private property and power and as someone working with the establishment against the interests of the majority of the people.

The Secretary General of the association is Mr Kweku Gyan, a Kumasi barrister.

Revo has ideology

Mr Kwamina Ahwoi, Co-ordinator for Tribunals vetting and Investigations has maintained that the Revolution had a positive ideological content. He therefore dismissed the belief in certain quarters that the revolution was ideologically bankrupt and had therefore lost its bearings.

He explained that this false impression was being circulated by those who did not understand the current process. Mr Ahwoi said the revolutionary leadership was aware that it was holding the destiny of more than 14 million people and would, therefore, not falter in its aim of ensuring that the people's aspirations were achieved.

Flt-Lt Lee faces death

The Public Tribunal in Accra has sentenced Flt-Lt Robert Kojo Lee to death by firing squad.

The Tribunal found him guilty of murdering Peter Atsu Bleboo at Labadi, a suburb of Accra, on October 28th this year, and the Chairman of the Tribunal, Mr George Agyekum said that the evidence before the Tribunal showed beyond any reasonable doubt that Flt-Lt Lee was guilty of the charge.

Earlier, while giving evidence in his own defence, Flt-Lt Lee had told the Tribunal that Bleboo had been killed by a stray bullet released from his gun by accident and that he had no intention of killing him. "My intention was to arrest. I never meant to wound, let alone kill anybody, Flt-Lt Lee told the Tribunal, "if the deceased had obeyed the order to halt, this trouble would not have come."

He told the Tribunal further that the behaviour of late Bleboo and his twin brother led him to believe that they were impersonating soldiers by harassing people and attempting to hi-jack his car.

Flt-Lt Lee's counsel was Mr Johnny Hansen the former PNDC Secretary for Interior and he led his client in his defence to narrate his version of the events of the ninth of October 28th when Bleboo died.

Lee said that he had seen the twin brothers engaged in an argument with about four men in the middle of the road near a place that appeared to be a drinking bar, he suspected them to be intoxicated, he stopped the car and advised them to disperse because it was curfew time.

According to Flt-Lt Lee, the twin brothers, rather than dispersing, insisted that he gave them a lift in his car, he therefore fired some warning shots and drove off.

When the twins tried to stop his car for the second time that same night, he concluded they had been "up to some thing else" and decided to get them arrested.

He therefore went and got two soldiers and came back to the scene to arrest the two men. They were on their way back after a fruitless search when the deceased person saw them and called out to them "I am the one," and as far as Flt-Lt Lee was concerned, the entire matter would have been forgotten if Atsu hadn't called out to them.

Flt-Lt Lee agreed under cross examination that the deceased was not armed, but claimed he ignored his order to halt as a result of which, he mounted his weapon, slapped the trigger, aiming to hit the deceased between the hip and knee, but two rounds of ammunition instead of one. Came out instead of one.

Flt-Lt Lee said he only reported the incident to a senior Air Force Officer at his home some four days later because he was stunned immediately after the incident and "his brain ceased to function".

After the verdict of the Tribunal was announced, Flt-Lt Lee indicated that he intended to appeal the verdict. No appeals are normally allowed in cases tried by the Public Tribunals under the PNDC. PDC man on seduction elections. charge jailed The Chairman of the Peoples Defence Committee in Kete-Krachi who has been trial before the Public on Tribunal charged with seducing the daughter of a woman involved in a smuggling case, has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

Two policemen who had been on trial with the PDC Chairman, charged with collecting a bribe of C50,000 from the same woman were sentenced to three years imprisonment each.

Chief Inspector A.K. Davor and Detective Corporal Peter Yayah were in addition ordered by the Tribunal to pay to the State €20,000 and 80,000 respectively within 48 hours of the passing of the sentence or in default serve a further prison term of five years each.

The two police officers had been charged with collecting the amounts as bribes from Madam Felicia Cobbina while investigating a smuggling case against her. Yayah not only collected an amount of C40,000 from Madam Cobbina but also spent two nights with her in a hotel as man and wife while investigating the affair.

The PDC Chairman, Mark Dogbe, who had caused the seizure of the smuggled goods from Madam Cobbina not only demanded an amount of 40,000 from her, but also demanded and got Madam Cobbina's 18-year-old daughter Serwah Akoto and had an "affair" with her for a period of two weeks.

Refinery resumes

The GHAIP Oil Refinery at Tema has resumed full operations after it was closed for repair works.

Mr T.T. Fabyan, Chief of Petroleum at the Petroleum Department of the Ministry of Fuel and Power, who disclosed this to newsmen said the closure was a normal thing done every year to Flt-Lt Lee said he only reported the repair machinery at the refinery.

Ghana Briefing

A new publication, 'Ghana Briefing' has made its debut as a newsletter for the Campaign for Democracy in Ghana.

In a foreword message the Chairman of the Campaign, Major Boakye-Djan restated his organisation's commitment to multi-party politics in Ghana on the basis of free, open and democratic elections.

He announced the completion of a comprehensive re-organisation of the Campaign for Democracy and added that the past eighteen months had taught a lesson to be applied in the next phase of the campaign.

There was, however, no mention of Justice Hayfron Benjamin, the eminent jurist who had been reported to be the Chairman of the organisation.

Don't renew smuggling

The chairman of the Ghana-Togo border demarcation commission, Mr Kwame Agyir, has emphasized that the commission is determined to work hard to find a permanent solution to the border dispute between the two countries and to ensure peace and good neighbourliness.

Mr Agyir was speaking at a ceremony at which the Volta Regional Secretary, Dr Asamoah Tutu, settled a border dispute between the people of Ashanti Kpoeta and Achim, both on the Ghana side of the border. He blamed the present border disputes on the work of the colonial master and called for restraint and discipline.

The Regional Secretary explained that the move is a step towards making peace with their immediate neighbours on the Togo side. Several people were injured, some of them seriously, in a recent clash over land between the two factions on the opposite side of the border. Dr Asamoah Tutu warned that the reconciliatory move should not be elsewhere. used to renew smuggling activities in the area.

Two soldiers acquitted

The Special Military Tribunal sitting at the Burma Hall in Accra has acquitted and discharged two soldiers after finding them not guilty of charges of assault and molestation.

The tribunal said the soldiers were on duty at the time of the incident and were not the original aggressors.

The case against the two soldiers, Warrant Office II Daniel Boison and Staff Sergeant Oliver Bedu, was that on May 29 this year, they were on duty at a post in the Volta Region when a farmer and a student arrived in a car. The soldiers ordered the two men to move their car because it had been parked in a 'No Parking' area. The two men demanded to know where they should park their car.

The soldiers, according to the prosecution, became offended, molested the two men and kept them in a guard room for a night.


Unauthorised meeting

Three gendarmes were killed and four others along with a policeman were injured when security forces tried to disperse an unauthorized public meeting in Kabil. The meeting was dispersed and the situation has since returned to normal.

Agreement with Cuba

A delegation of the Independence and Labour Party of Senegal has signed a Co-operation agreement with the Communist Party of Cuba.

The Senegalese Party was led by its Secretary General Seydon Gissokho who signed the agreement in the Cuban capital while Jesus Montane Oropesa, alternate member of the Politburo and member of the party secretariat signed on behalf of his country.


Former Minister arrested

Togo Radio has reported the arrest of a gang of five persons said to belong to a network of criminals and the confiscation of a weapon and ammunition, used to carry out hold-ups in Togo

The five are Eby Codjo Divor and Koffi Modive Save De Tove, Togolese nationals, Hasan Timah, a Ghanaian, Dieng Moustapha, a Senegalese, and Komlar Fahad, a Lebanese.

The weapon and ammunition belong to Bibi Yao Save De Tove, the former Minister of Justice and father of Koffi Modive Savi, a member of the gang.

Mr De Tove and members of the gang are being held in detention by the security agencies because a second weapon also belonging to Mr De Tove has not yet been found.


Guy Penne, adviser to the French President has paid a visit to Togo during which he delivered a verbal message from President Francois Mitterand to President Gnassingbe Eyadema.

Matters discussed included bilateral co-operation and the coming visit of the French Minister of Defence to Togo.

Guy Penne said before his departure that French-Togolese relations were excellent.

President Kountche of Niger has returned to Niamey after a visit to Saudi Arabia.

The special adviser to the French President on African Affairs, Guy Penne has delivered a message from President Mitterand to President Omar Bongo of Gabon. On leaving Gabon after a short stay the special adviser continued to Angola on December 8 for a two day visit during which he had talks with the Angolan Foreign Affairs Minister, Paulo Jorge.

Prince Albert of Belgium has paid a visit to Gabon during which he took part in a foundation stone laying ceremony connected with the Trans Gabon railway.

A Chinese delegation to Gabon was received by President Bongo. The delegation was led by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Economic Relations and Trade, Lu Xuejian.

A Soviet trade delegation was also in Zimbabwe last week to discuss possible areas for cooperation.

An Upper Volta delegation led by the Foreign Minister, Arba Diallo has ended a visit to Algeria during which it held meetings with state and party officials.

The Information Minister of Chad, Somaila Mahamat has carried a message to Kenyan President Daniel Moi from President Hissene Habre. Accompanied by Habre's personal adviser, Bravo, the Information Minister also attended the Kenyan independence anniversary celebrations.



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