Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events


Gardiner, Anfom get posts

The PNDC has appointed Dr S.O. Asiama, Under Secretary for Education with special responsibility for Higher Education. Also appointed to reconstituted University Councils are Dr S.G. Nimako, Chairman for University of Ghana, Legon, Dr R.K.A. Gardiner, for the University of Science and Technology and Nana Kobina Nketsia, Chairman for Cape Coast University.

A sixteen-member national education commission has also been appointed with Dr Evans Anfom as Chairman. It is charged with assessing former reports and recommendations which have not been implemented to assist in formulations of educational policy. Invited to serve on the Commission are Chinua Achebe of Nigeria, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o of Kenya and Paulo Freire of Brazil, all distinguished writers.

Revenue commissioner

The Citizens Vetting Committee (CVC) has been renamed Office of the Revenue Commissioner. The new office will monitor the operations of revenue agencies responsible for central government revenue, investigating persons whose life-styles and expenditures substantially exceed their known or declared incomes.

It will also perform the functions of a special tax court. Meanwhile, the power vested in the former CVC to investigate persons whose accounts exceeded fifty thousand cedis has been removed.

Curfew warning

The public has been warned to ignore any rumours about a change in the curfew hours. According to Radio Ghana the curfew hours have not been changed and remain from midnight to 4.30am.

Amnesty for AFRC convicts

Maj-Gen. K. Osei Boateng, the only surviving member of the erstwhile Supreme Military Council is among a number of AFRC convicts released by the PNDC. Others released, according to the PNDC, on good conduct are Capt Gen. J.A. Kyeremeh, former Commis- sioner for Cocoa Affairs, Col. K.A. aid Takyi, former Chairman of the Cocoa Marketing Board and Group Capt. K. Jackson, former Commissioner for Works and Housing.

In addition the PNDC has ordered the release from prison of anybody who has served half or more than half of sentences except those for murder, arson, rape, armed robbery and smuggling.

Right of appeal

An amended public tribunals law embodying the right of appeal has been promulgated. Under it community and district tribunals are to be created by a board of public tribunals and their decisions could be appealed against to regional tribunals and from there to national tribunals. Decisions of national tribunals may also be subject to review.

Three killed in fighting

Intercommunal fighting between Mamprusis and Kusasis has flared up again with three people killed and nine others seriously injured. The immediate cause of the fighting is not known and the Secretary for Upper East John Ndebugre, has visited the scene of the fighting. Police and military personnel have been deployed to the area to help maintain law and order and a dusk to dawn curfew imposed in Bawku.

University students to reapply

University students who disagree with the view of the National Union of Ghana Students that the PNDC must hand over power, may apply for re admission. Such applications should be submitted by January 21. This follows a PNDC directive to the authorities of the country's students who do not share the stand of NUGS leadership as declared in May last year. The PNDC also directed that steps should be taken to strengthen the staffing position of the universities whose continued closure since May last year had driven many lecturers out of the country.


Diversion of drought relief

The National Council of the Revolution (CNR), has taken steps to solve the problems caused by the drought in Upper Volta, particularly in the provinces of Sahel, Soum and Yatenga. They include the creation of revolutionary solidarity funds inspiring the revolutionary feeling of all Upper Volta people. Steps were also being taken to dispatch emergency food supplies to the hardest hit zones.

But according to Seydou Trore, Rural Development Minister dishonest and unscrupulous individuals still in the ranks of Upper Volta's revolutionary people, especially in Sahel province, are taking advantage of the sad situation by diverting the food from its rightful beneficiaries. . In view of this the CNR appeals for vigilance on the part of the Revolutionary Defence Committees, senior provincial officials, prefects, and law enforcement agencies in the affected provinces to bar the way to these sad individuals who are only motivated by their selfish interests, and to protect the achievements of the people who would not be allowed to fall victim to dishonesty.

Agreements with Cuba

Cuban President, Fidel Castro, received the Foreign Minister of Upper Volta, Hama Arba Diallo, who conveyed a fraternal message from the President of the National Council of the Revolution, Thomas Sankara. The Foreign Minister was on an official and friendly visit to Cuba. During his stay in Cuba, Diallo signed five agreements dealing with economic, scientific and technical co-operation, cultural matters, the approval of the setting up of the joint co-operation committee and an agreement on an exchange between the foreign ministries.

Military training for students

A military and political training programme for secondary and university students - militants of the democratic and popular revolution has begun at Po. Taking part in the programme are 290 secondary and university students, 70 of them girls. For four days they will receive training in weapons handling. The programme will also include lessons in combat, demolition and map reading.

Doyen of diplomatic corps

According to a communique issued to the press by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, letters exchanged between Capt. Thomas Sankara, Chairman of the National Council of the Revolution and Head of State, and President Francois Mitterrand, have stated that while waiting for a formal review of the French-Upper Volta co-operation treaty of April 24th, 1961, the clause in that treaty which makes the French Ambassador the doyen of the diplomatic corps in Upper Volta should be trial suspended with immediate effect.

From now on the post of the doyen of the diplomatic corps should be held by the oldest African Ambassador residing in Ouagadougou.


Friendly visit by French minister

The French Defence Minister has paid a friendly visit to Senegal. He was welcomed by his Senegalese counterpart, Medoune Fall. In an interview the French minister said his visit was scheduled long ago and that he arrived from Beirut.

He later visited French troops and held discussions connected with train ing, technical assistance and military operations. Other issues discussed were Namibia, neighbouring countries and the Middle East.

Support for President

Senegalese Socialist Party militants in the Casamance region have demonstrated their unreserved support for President Abdou Diouf with an impressive mass rally at Ziguinchor.

Political officials headed by Assane Seck, the secretary general of the National Union of the Casamance People, representatives of the people of the region, traditional rulers and religious leaders headed by Imam Raidars, the Ziguinchor Grand Imam, representatives of all ethnic groups in Casamance and all social and professional groups attended the six-hour rally. From Pouloumpou to Diede, all administrative divisions were represented. The frank dialogue, which was a dynamic factor in this sincere gathering, made it possible for all to deplore the recent events between the security forces and demonstrators in Ziguinchor.


Postponement of coup trial

The trial of the 19 alleged coup plotters victims. did not begin at the special military tribunal as scheduled. According to the Liberian news agency, the trial could not start because of administrative and legal reasons. No specific date was given by the chairman of the tribunal, but LINA says the chairman hinted that the time for the resumption will be made public.

The trial began on December 29th but was put off because the defence counsel contended that the prosecution did not furnish him with the charges and specifications of the crime as levelled against the accused.

Trials begin

Special trials begin on January 3rd for the dignitaries of the Third Republic and those of the Military Council of Recovery for National Progress (CMRPN), as well as senior civil servants who helped these dignitaries in the embezzlement of public property. All other accused persons will however follow the normal process of trial in ordinary courts.

According to the Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, Raymond Train Poda, the sanctions to be taken against these malpractices in high places will not include death sentences or life sentences with hard labour. Mr Poda said the most important thing is for these people to restore to the people the property embezzled to the last penny. In the same way, those who illegally enriched themselves will give back what they have taken through fines and confiscation of property..


Research on earthquake

A special scientific committee to coordinate studies and research on the recent earthquake has been set up by an extraordinary meeting of the council of ministers, chaired by President Sekou Toure.

Meanwhile, relief aid continues to arrive from the United Nations, Islamic Conference Organisation, French and US Embassies in Conakry. Kuwait radio reported the departure for Guinea of a number of cargo aircraft of the Kuwait Air Force while Monrovia ELWA radio also said Liberia had donated 100,000 dollars to be spent on rice for the earthquake


Stupid conflict

The Mauritanian Head of State has re iterated his country's fervent hope that Morocco would agree to apply OAU resolutions and open direct negotia tions with the Polisario Front in order to find a peaceful solution to what he termed, "this stupid conflict".

At a meeting to exchange New Year wishes with members of the diplomatic corps, in Nouakchott the country's leader did not only refer to African countries economic and drought problems, but also appealed to the con science of the leaders of the super powers to save the world from a collec tive genocide.


Campaigns for polls

Head of State, Paul Biya, has been declared the lone candidate for this year's presidential polls with no challenger at the close of candidates listings. A circular by the Minister of Territorial Administration also prescribed colours for ballot papers and campaign slogans.

The white ballot papers will carry the emblem of the Cameroon National Union Party, the sign of the rising sun. Campaigns for the presidential polls opened on Friday December 30th, co-ordinated by constituted electoral committees.


What happened on day of coup

At 0830 GMT on December 31st Lagos radio announced: "This is Radio Nigeria, Lagos", and played the national anthem. That was followed by a "special federal military government announcement" read by Brig. Sani Abacha "on behalf of the Nigerian Armed Forces". He said that he and his colleagues in the armed forces had decided to effect a change in the leadership of the government and to form a federal military government.

That task had just been completed. He referred to the "inept and corrupt leadership" of the past four years and to the hopeless mismanagement of the economy. Although the coup had been bloodless, he warned people to be law-abiding and to give maximum co-operation to the military government, which would have no hesitation in declaring martial law wherever disturbances occurred.

He then announced the following measures: a curfew from 7pm to 6am until further notice; the closure of all ports, airports and border posts; the suspension of external communications; a ban on all political parties.

In further announcements on December 31st, listeners to Lagos radio were told that the new government had accepted the voluntary retirement of the Chief and Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff and the of the Chiefs of the Army, Naval and Air Staffs and that brigade commanders would be responsible for running the States under their operational control pending the appointment of military governors. The lives and property of all law-abiding citizens and foreigners were assured.

At 2352 gmt on December 31st, in what was described as his "maiden broadcast", Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari said that he had been "formally invested with the authority of the head of the Federal Military Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces"; he had accepted the challenge with humility and a deep sense of responsibility. After reminding Nigerians that the 1979 Constitution had been suspended, he said the change had become necessary in order to put an end to the serious economic predicaments and the nation's crisis of confidence.

The Nigerian armed forces had constituted themselves into a Federal Military Government comprising "a supreme military council, a national council of state, a Federal executive council at the centre and State executive countils". After reviewing "the nature of politics since 1979", the "mismanagement of the economy" and the 1983 elections which had been "anything but free and fair", he said corruption and indiscipline had attained unprecedented heights in the past four years. The government would not tolerate corruption of any kind.

Telling his fellow Nigerians that this was the moment of truth and that it had to be acknowledged that the economic situation, as yet not precisely time. determined, was no doubt bad enough, Buhari gave the assurance that every effort would be made to ameliorate "the difficult and degrading conditions under which we are living". On foreign policy he said Nigeria would maintain and strengthen existing diplomatic relations with other states and with international organizations, including the Commonwealth, and would respect its treaty obligations.

On public servants he said the Chief Justice and officials in the judiciary would continue in their appointments as would civil servants, police and other security officials, subject to possible changes. Chairmen of corporations and parastatals were relieved of their appointments.

In its accounts of the general calm in the country on December 31st the agency said its correspondent in Sokoto state had reported that when he "visited the personal residence of Alhaji Shehu Shagari the usual mobile police unit was seen guarding the house".

On January 1st the agency said that looters in the main market at Minna- capital of Niger State had failed to get away with any goods because of the timely arrival of the police.

A dusk to dawn curfew imposed had been lifted and the airports opened. A nineteen-member Supreme Military Council has been appointed. They are: Brigadier Sintia Isiako, Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, Major General B.Y. Bali, Minister of Defence, Major General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief of Army Staff, Commodore Augustine Aykomo, Chief of Naval Staff, Air Vice-Marshal Ibrahim Alfa, Chief of Air Staff, Major General Maman Vatsa, Brigadier Mohammed Magoro, Brigadier Saleh Abacha, Brigadier Ola Oni, Brigadier M.G. Nasko, Brigadier Y.Y. Kue, Colonel Salihu Ibrahim, Mr S.N. Iyang, the Inspector General of Police, along with the Director General of the Nigeria Security Organisation and the Attorney General.

No more litigation

The new Head of State Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, has asked Federal Permanent Secretaries to assume their rightful role in the continuing system of government. He said in his first official meeting with them at State House, Ribadu Road, in Lagos on January 2nd that his administration regards the permanent secretaries as advisers and will listen and act on the advice they would give from time to General Buhari noted that having been in the system with successive governments, the Permanent Secretaries were in a good position to direct the military in the act of good government. However, the Head of State warned that accountability would be the most important consideration of his administration.

He said his administration would not condone the nonsenses of litigation in dealing with culprits who misused government resources and said that if the government was compensating workers within its means, there was every reason for them to be loyal and honest.

General Buhari called on all those who thought they could not fit in or thought they deserved more than was their present due to take the honourable option of leaving the service. The Head of State said that the Permanent Secretaries would have to work with civilian or military Ministers and pointed out that whatever was the case, the Permanent Secretaries should concede political authority to the Ministers and try to advise them as best as they could...

A radio Nigeria correspondent says that all the Federal Permanent Secretaries, including the newly appointed ones, were present at the meeting. Also present were the service chiefs of the army and the police and the Secretary to the Federal Military Government, G.A. Longeā€¦

The new leader

Nigeria's new Head of State is Major General Mohammed Buhari, who is also Chairman of the Supreme Military Council, head of the Federal government and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

He is 41 and, like President Shagari whom he toppled, is a moslem from the northern part of the country. Specifically he was born on December 17th, 1942 in the village of Daura in the northern Kaduna state. He went to local schools and the Nigerian Military Training College and then to the Mons Officers Cadet school at Aldershot.

Before December 31st he commanded a Unit at Jos, in the north. He was also a petroleum minister in the military government that handed over power to the civilians in 1979.

Reactions from the States

All over Lagos people were seen in small groups discussing the early morning announcement of the change in government. The traffic in Lagos on Eko bridge that morning was heavy as checking of cars continued and soldiers ordered car owners to open their boots. Along the marina, the soldiers blocked the access road leading to State House marina and the official residence of the Senate President was cordoned off.

NAN reporters who visited the radio station at Ikoyi report that the two gates to the radio house were manned by a sizeable number of soldiers with armoured vehicles. Soldiers at the National Television Authority on Victoria Island turned back staff who had come to report for duty.

At the 1,004 residence (housing estate) for members of the National Assembly, several legislators stood outside their flats discussing in groups, while others were seen driving out of the complex.

From Benue, a NAN correspondent reported that the situation in Makurdi had been calm since the announcement of the coup. At the air force base and the brigade headquarters of the army, officers and men of the armed forces were seen going about their normal duties although security at the gates had been tightened.

Reports from Ilorin said that the situation in the town was calm and people went about their normal business.

In Abeokuta the acting military commander of the 31 Field Artillery Brigade, Lt-Col Abdul-Kareem Adisa, told NAN that his command was caught unawares by the military coup. He said that the command heard the news of the take-over on the radio.. When contacted, the former military head of state, General Obasanjo, expressed surprise at the coup..

Port Harcourt, the Rivers' capital has remained calm since the announcement of the military take-over. There were no officials in the Government house while there were only a few armed soldiers and security men at the entrance. A few armed soldiers were also at the Radio Rivers FM Two, where an official of the station told NAN that they had stopped normal programmes while Radio Rivers One continued with its normal programmes. Generally, the people in Port Harcourt have continued with their normal businesses as if nothing had happened.

Reports by NAN correspondents in Kaduna, Enugu, Owerri and Calabar all indicate that the people were going weeks. about their normal businesses. In Enugu, however, major streets were reported to be virtually deserted with only a few police check-points.

In Lagos, at the Murtala Muhammad international airport, coup. hundreds of passengers were stranded most of whom said that their tickets were confiscated by officials of the Nigeria Airways.

Abeokuta: Hundreds of people in Ogun were seen in groups discussing the news. There were mixed feelings about the coup. Whereas some people said it was overdue, others believed it was unnecessary. However, the city was calm as all the markets were functioning and taxi operators were going about their normal duties. At the Lafenwa army barracks of the 30 Armoured Brigade, soldiers were seen going about their normal duties. The State radio and television were trans- mitting their normal weekend programmes.

The whereabouts of former Governor Lawal Kaita of Kaduna was intervention. not known. At the State House, near Kaduna, armed soldiers had cordoned off the building. Most people were taken unawares by the military take over. Unsuspecting residents went about their normal business while those that first heard of the coup stood in groups. Kaduna: The news of the overthrow of the government of President Shehu Shagari was received with joy by virtually all the residents of Kaduna and its environs. Abeokuta: Alhaji Fatayi Yusuf of the Employers' Association of Nigeria said that all his members could celebrate the coup.

Sole victim buried

The Nigerian agency reported that former President Shagari had been taken to Lagos on January 3rd, handcuffed and with a military guard, and that his personal effects were being taken to his home State. The agency reported that the only victim of the coup, Big. Ibrahim Bako, had been buried at Kaduna on January 3rd. He had been killed leading a unit of "crack" troops to arrest Shehu Shagari in Abuja.

Declaration of assets

All members of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) and National Council of States, the Federal Executive. Council and all public officers are to declare their assets. The SMC decided at its meeting in Lagos that the order should be complied with within six

Support for coup

The Times of London has reported that Chief Francis Nzeribe, a senator in the second Republic has welcomed the coup.

In a message from London to the new military ruler, Chief Nzeribe said that he speaks for all Nigerians when he said that the takeover is justified and timely. He said the effects of Nigeria's mismanaged, shattered and crumbled economy had been worse than the effects of the Biafran Civil War or any national disaster hitherto known in Nigeria.

Stand of Labour Congress

The Nigerian Labour Congress said in a statement issued in Lagos on January 3rd, and carried by the Nigerian agency, that it had concluded, having studied Maj-Gen. Buhari's "maiden speech", that there existed "a correspondence of views and concern" over the problems which had led to military

Tanzania decries coup

The coup in Nigeria had led to a demand by the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Association for an end to Swedish arms exports to Nigeria, Stockholm radio said on January 1st; the Association had said arms exports had amounted to 82,000,000 kronor in 1982. Dar es Salaam radio on January 2nd said the Tanzanian party paper, 'Uhuru', had decried the coup; it was a sad event and military regimes were a disgrace to Africa.

talking drums 1984-01-09 coup in Nigeria Africa's day of shame