Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events


Green Book Study group formed in Accra

Ghanaians have been advised not to ignore the deeply rooted attitudes of the people which derive from their traditional heritage.

Captain Kojo Tsikata (Rtd), Special Adviser to the PNDC, gave the advice when inaugurating the Green Book Study Club in Accra

The Green Book Study Club aims to study the contents of the Libyan Leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's political thought in the Green Book which is often referred to as the Third Universal Theory.

The Special Adviser said Ghanaians have much of value to learn from the philosophy of the Libyan experience.

Mr Kojo Yankah, Acting Director of the Ghana Institute of Journalism and Chairman of the Green Book Club presented the first membership card to the leader of the December 31st Revolution which was received on behalf of the leader by Capt. Kojo Tsikata. Seventy drowned Seventy people were reported to have been drowned in a boat accident off the central region coast. A BBC World Service news report stated that the victims were part of a group travelling in canoes to join a Nigeria-bound small vessel. Thirty people were rescued, the report said.

No press censorship in Ghana

Miss Joyce Aryee, Secretary for Information, has hinted that the GBC nology. Television is expected to go colour by the end of this year and that rehabilitation of the television studios will soon begin.

On press censorship, Miss Aryee told the British Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Mr Malcolm Rifkind who was visiting the country, that the PNDC Government does not control the country's mass media and that the various mass media houses decide on their own editorial policies.

Miss Aryee stated that press freedom is only absolute if all the basic needs of man have been provided and that the press in the country was playing a role aimed at creating the kind of awareness that the people need.

PNDC reshuffle

Professor Mawuse Dake, former Secretary for Works and Housing has or the second time been dropped from the government of Flt-Lt. Rawlings. He has been relieved of his post as Secretary to the National Defence Committee. Mr Yaw Akrasi Sarpong, Secretary for Peoples Defence Committees and Workers Defence Committees has taken over from him.

They are to revert to their former appointments prior to their secondment to serve in government.

Also given the boot is Dr Asamoah Tutu former Volta Regional Secretary and Dr George Opoku, former Secretary for Industries, Science and Tech

Other changes made by the PNDC in the portfolios of Secretaries of State are: Dr Charles Boadu switches from Ministry of Health to Industries, Science and Technology, Mr E C Tandoh moves from the Central Region to the Ministry of Health. Mr Ato Ahwoi, one of three brothers in the government, becomes the PNDC Secretary for Trade with Mr D.O. Agyekum, as Secretary for Eastern Region.

Census is on

The country is in the midst of a census which started on March 11th and is expected to end on March 31st. It is the third post independence census in which 17,000 census field officers are counting all persons who spent the night of March 11th within the territorial boundaries of Ghana. Census was first conducted during the colonial period in 1891 followed by subsequent counts every ten years, until 1941 when it was interrupted by the Second World War. It was, however, resumed in 1948. In post independent Ghana censuses were held in 1960 and 1970, there was no census in 1980.

Sale of Nigerian oil

Nigeria is to resume the sale of crude oil to Ghana this month under an agreement signed between the two countries in Lagos. The agreement followed high-level talks between a Ghana Government delegation led by the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) coordinating secretary, Mr P.V. Obeng, and Nigerian officials.

Nigeria stopped oil sales to Ghana during the ousted Shagari Administration as a result of Ghana's 150,000,000 dollar debt to Nigeria for crude oil.

Mr Obeng later told the Ghana News Agency that his delegation regarded the terms of the agreement very favourable in view of Nigeria's present economic difficulties. Under the agreement, Ghana will make a minimal down-payment spread over a three month period and the remaining balance settled over a period of 24 months.

Sources close to the NNPC said the initial payment will be made seven days after the signing of the agreement after which the lifting of oil to Ghana would begin under a 90 day credit facility. Observers believe that this agreement reflected the sympathy and understanding of the new Nigerian Government to the PNDC.


Ex-ministers accused

The trial of Alexandre Zoungrana, Barry Djibrina and Bema Ouattara, which began on March 10th in Bobo- Dioulasso has ended. All three former members of the Military Committee of Recovery for National Progress were acquitted of the charges.

But Alexandre Zoungarana, according to a recommendation by the People's Revolutionary Tribunal should apologize publicly next May 1st to the labour exchange office for victimizing Upper Voltan workers. The tribunal, however, pointed out to the former ministers that their acquittal was not synonymous with absolute innocence because it examined only appropriate experts. facts made known to it during the current session. Therefore, if other charges were made against them later, they must be prepared to appear again before the tribunal.

Arrest of counter revolutionaries Jean-Baptiste Lingani, Commander in-Chief of the High Command of the National Armed Forces has announced that certain members of the national executive of the Upper Voltan National Union of African Teachers (SNEAHV) have been arrested for their subversive political activities. He said much evidence had been accumulated to prove that these persons were in contact with enemies of the revolution for the purpose of destabilizing the present regime.


Biya commutes death sentence

Camerounian President Paul Biya has commuted death sentences passed late last month on his predecessor Mr Ahmadou Ahidjo and two of his aides for plotting to assassinate him. A presidential statement said in Yaounde that the sentences against Ahidjo, tried in abstentia, and his two military aides were cut to unspecified prison terms and all further investigations into the alleged plot stopped in the supreme interest of the state.

Mr Ahidjo, 60, had ruled for 22 years when he resigned in November 1982, naming Mr Biya, then Prime Minister, to succeed him.


Africa's first test-tube baby

Calvary Foundation Hospital in Enugu which claimed to have produced Africa's first test-tube baby last February 15th, has defended itself against contention that the feat was fake.

This follows a statement by Mr. George C. Okafor, Anambra state chief medical officer that the hospital's claim had not been substantiated. He said whatever experiment that might have been carried out by the hospital had not been exposed to critical, scientific scrutiny and analysis by

The Anambra state branch of the Nigerian Medical Association has also dismissed the medical feat as false and unfortunate. It said the hospital neither had a laboratory nor the sophisticated equipment and expertise required for the production of a test tube baby. But Dr Ugoh, head of the hospital said the criticisms were borne out of jealousy.

Abiola meets Idiagbon

Chief M.K.O. Abiola, Chairman of Concord Press is reported by the National Concord to have said the following about the military regime: "I know they are doing their best in very difficult circumstances, and I wish them the best of luck."

Chief Abiola who had visited Brigadier Tunde Idiagbon, Chief of Staff also said: "There is a role in this country for individuals to play, and there is a role for government. Individuals cannot play the role of government and vice versa."

New editor for Sunday Concord

The chairman of the Concord Group of newspapers, Chief M.K.O. Abiola has appointed Mr Sina Adedipe, the former deputy editor, as the acting editor of Sunday Concord. His appointment followed the deployment of former editor Dele Giwa to the Editorial Board.

British assurances on invasion threat

After a meeting with the British Foreign Secretary, Sir Geoffrey Howe, on March 16th, the Minister of External Affairs, Dr Ibrahim Gambari, said he had been given the assurance that the British Government would not assist any attempt by "wanted Nigerian politicians" to mount a mercenary invasion of Nigeria and that any indication that the British Government intended to assist the self exiled politicians was without foundation.

At the meeting Gambari "expressed the hope that the British government would also use its influence to discourage the BBC from the unwarranted publicity being given to wanted Nigerians and to give as equal time under the fairness principle".

Delays in civil courts

Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen. Domkat Bali has said that Nigeria's decision to set up a military tribunal to try public officials for alleged corrupt practices, was to avoid unnecessary delays which could arise in civil courts. Maj-Gen. Bali, who was addressing a news conference in Washington, said that the detained persons will have a fair trial.

He said that the Federal Military Government will request the extradition of wanted Nigerians now residing in the United States and Britain, after specific charges have been established against them. Nigeria has extradition agreements with the United States and Britain.

Vigilante groups

The Plateau Command in Jos has said that it was prepared to support the formation and operation of vigilante groups as a practical step of crime pre- vention in the State. In a statement the command said that existing vigilante groups would not only be recognised by the command, but that they would be given "every support and assistance".

More retired from police

has been retired. The grounds for their retirement range from age, disciplinary learning. measures, to decline in productivity; 34 senior officers were retired in January. A statement by the force headquarters said that the exercise is part of the efforts by the police administration to rid the force of deadwood and undesirable officers.

Rumours about Maitatsine

There was a stampede in Maiduguri on March 16th as people ran helter skelter following rumours that the Maitatsine disciples had attacked some parts of the state capital. Both the social and economic life of the town was paralysed as traders closed their shops and fled in confusion.

The NAN correspondent further reported that some families had already fled their homes for either military or police barracks while the entire Maiduguri metropolis appeared deserted. The Borno Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Adamu Abubakar, later told NAN that the situation was brought about by rumour-mongers and confirmed that the situation was under full control.

Report presence of fanatics

The sole administrator for Fika local government area of Borno, Alhaji Mustafa Mallambe, has said that traditional rulers would be held responsible for any outbreak of religious disturbances in their areas. He called on traditional rulers to report to the police the presence of strangers or people suspected to be religious fanatics. The statement followed a series of religious disturbances, particularly at the government girls' secondary school in which about 32 students were injured.

Training college to close

The Military Governor of Bauchi State, Brig Sani Sami, has ordered the immediate closure of the Toro teachers' college in the State. Addressing members of staff and students of the college he said that the measure was necessary in order to recover the estimated cost of damage incurred by the students who went on a rampage recently.

He said that a levy of 10 naira will have to be paid by each student before they are readmitted into the college and warned that the military administration in the State will not tolerate acts of indiscipline in any of its institutions of Another group of 673 police officers

He said that he has given principals of schools in the State full powers to discipline erring students without referring to the Ministry of Education, "no matter whose child is involved". Three die in clash At least three people have died and several others have been injured in a clash between Obamkpa and Ukwunzu communities in Aniocha local govern- ment area of Bendel over a piece of land. Two of the dead were named as Monye Egbe, an Enugu-based out of stock. businessman, and Chief William Jideonwo-Odiga.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria who visited the area said that Ukwunzu was deserted and that schools in the town were closed. The quarrel over the piece of land was said to have started over 13 years ago. Five people were treated in hospital for gunshot wounds. The police in Benin, who. confirmed the clash, said that eight people had been arested over the incident. General Buhari cautions against attempt to weaken OAU Head of State, Major-General Mohammed Buhari has urged Morocco to exercise restraint in order to make the next summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) a success.

Receiving a personal message from the Morrocan monarch, King Hassan II in Lagos, General Buhari pleaded that the problem of Western Sahara should not be allowed to weaken the organisation.

Earlier, the Moroccan Minister of Social Affairs, Mr Abba Salfassi, who delivered the message had emphasized that his country looked to Nigeria for support in evolving a solution to the Western Sahara problem, adding that Morocco had done all she could to cooperate with the OAU on the issue.

Aftermath of religious disturbances

The Military Governor of Gongola, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Jega has said in Tola that property damaged during the religious disturbances in Jimeta Yola had been estimated at 10,000,000 naira. At the launching of fundraising ceremony in aid of the victims of the disturbances, Maj-Gen. Jega said that about 30,000 persons were rendered homeless while out of the about 2,000 houses destroyed, 1,500 were badly damaged.

Maj-Gen. Jega said that the fanatics burned down the Jimeta new market comprising 50 kiosks and stalls and rendered more than 2,000 persons and their families without any means of livelihood, adding that the total cost of the market and the property had been estimated at 5,000,000 naira. Governor Jega said that following the destruction of the Jimeta market, life had become really unbearable for the inhabitants of the area since essential commodities like toilet soap were now completely unavailable.

He said that during the disturbances about 100,000 people were displaced from their residential and commercial premises. Maj-Gen. Jega appealed to the people of the State to co-operate with law enforcement agents by reporting questionable characters in their midst.

Inquiry into fire at market

Property conservatively estimated at hundreds of thousands of naira was destroyed when fire gutted the Maiduguri new market which was an offshoot of 'Monday market' also in Maiduguri, destroyed by fire in 1978.

The State Commissioner for Home Affairs and Information, Alhaji Mohammed Adam, told NAN that the fire started about 4.00am and that the cause of the fire and extent of damage was yet to be ascertained. Meanwhile, the Borno Government is to set up a judicial commission of enquiry to investigate the cause of the fire which gutted the Maiduguri new market. A statement from the Governor's office said that the Governor had directed the State committee on essential commodities to move some quantity of rice to the market for direct sales to members of the public.

Message from Sankara

A high-level delegation from Upper Volta by a cabinet minister, Captain Blaise Campaori, visited Lagos last week to deliver a special message from the country's leader, Captain Thomas Sankara, to Head of State, Major General Mohammed Buhari.

Receiving the message, General Buhari appreciated the support and solidarity it has been receiving from other African countries and assured Upper Volta's government of Nigeria's readiness to assist sister African countries

talking drums 1984-03-26 the march against Rawlings nigeria's short-lived honeymoon