Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events


Criticism of Special Elections Commission

The Special Elections Commission (Secom) has been accused of contradicting its own guidelines drawn to guide all political parties and presidential candidates in the forthcoming general elections in Liberia.

The 'Mirror' newspaper quotes the secretary general of the proposed National Integration Party, Counsellor James Supuwood, as making specific reference to the guidelines. He accused Secom of abandoning its role as a neutral body especially established to monitor the great transition presently going on.

The Counsellor said the activities of Secom are reflecting some signs of partiality and partisanship, adding this is in contravention of the decree which Secom brought into being. Counsellor Supuwood cautioned that even though Liberians are grateful for the first truly democratic experience permeating in their national life now, they, as a people, stand unbenefitted if Secom continues to mar its neutral role with partisanship.


New telecommunications Centre

The foundation stone of a 53.5m dalasis Gambia telecommunication headquarters has been laid by President Sir Dawda Jawara. The telecommunication system to be installed has been described as one of the most modern and sophisticated systems in the subregion.

The equipment would consist of a digital and local dialling system and an automatic change. The project is being funded by Caisse Centrale de l'Economique of France.

Sixth summit meeting

The sixth summit of heads of state of the Gambia River Development Organisation MVG) has opened in Bissau. Attending were Presidents Dawda Jawara of Gambia, Jaao Bernardo Vieira Nino of Guinea-Bissau, and Abdou Diouf of Senegal. Guinea (Conakry) is represented by its Foreign minister, Facine Toure.

At the opening session, Sir Dawda Jawara proposed President Joao Bernardo Vieira Nino as the next chairman of the organisation, a position which had been led by Colonel Lansana Conte of Guinea whose term of office expires during this sixth summit. Ghana

Fears of investors dispelled

Lt-Col J. Y. Assasie (rtd) Political Counsellor for the Economic Development of the CDR's has dispelled fears of investors, both foreign and local, on any take-over of economic ventures by CDRs at the work places resulting in the loss of capital invested in such ventures.

Speaking to the First and Second Secretaries of the British High Commission in Ghana, Mr Michael A. Kyle and Miss Bedelia Brett Rooks, he said the CDRs at work places are being educated so that in times of difficulties they could sit down with management to solve their problems without any unnecessary confrontations.

Lt Col Assasie stated that the CDRS are vehicles for propagating the policies of the revolution aimed at raising the political consciousness of the people.

EEC praises economy

Auditors of the European Economic Community (EEC) who arrived in the country to appraise EEC-sponsored projects have expressed satisfaction at the gradual improvement in Ghana's economy. Mr Patrick Everaid, leader of the four- member team from the EEC Court of Auditors, told newsmen in a pre-departure interview in Accra that the team was satisfied with the efficient manner Ghana was using her EEC grants.

He said the team's appraisal revealed clear signs of improvement, particularly taking into consideration the difficulties the country had gone through in the last two years.

The leader of the delegation attributed the improvement to the Economic Recovery Programme being pursued by the PNDC and assured Ghanaians of increased EEC grants in the near future.

Annan on welfare society

Mr Justice D. F. Annan member of the PNDC has said that Ghana was trying to build a welfare society in which the key factor would be social justice in a true democracy.

He said Ghana did not want to build a society founded on "ideas which are not useful to our circumstances."

Mr Justice Annan made the declaration when the Egyptian Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Fathi El Ghouely, paid a courtesy call on him at his office at the State House. Noting that the nation's former democracies had been fashioned on historical circumstances, he said Ghana was now in for a true African democracy. He admitted that pursuit was not going to be easy, but was confident that with co- operation from other states in Africa it would not be difficult for the nation to evolve the democracy it required,

Security agreements ratified

Ghana has ratified the three agreements on security matters, concluded and signed in Lagos last month by the heads of state of Ghana, Benin and Togo. They are the extradition treaty, the criminal investigation cooperation agreement and the agreement on mutual administrative matters in matters related to customs, trade and immigration.

An official statement issued in Accra recalled that in response to a deeply felt need to cooperate to combat the activities of common criminals, car burglars. smugglers and others who have been operating with ease in the area, the initiative was taken by the Government of the Republic of Togo to host a ministerial and an experts meeting in the Togolese capital.

At that meeting, the various grounds were worked and later adopted at the ministerial level. These were then sent to the various heads of state for consideration. The signing ceremony took place in Lagos. It was, incidentally, also Chairman Rawlings' first official visit to the sister state of Nigeria ...

The statement said that with the ratification by Ghana, all the four countries have now ratified the agreement.

1985 to be crime-free

The year 1985 has been declared a positive year by the Ghana Police Force to combat crime in the society, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr S. S. Omane has announced. He said the recent increase in criminal activities made it imperative on the police, as enforcers of the law, to increase their effort at fighting crime.

The IGP was speaking at a meeting in Tema with officers and men of the force in the Tema District.

He therefore, asked policemen to be friendly with and helpful to the people in those communities noted for crime so that they would feed them with information on the activities of criminals.

Earthquake tremor

An earth tremor lasting a few seconds was experienced in Accra, Nsawam and some villages near Pokuase at about 1.30 am on January 22.

A spokesman of the Geological Survey Department who confirmed this in Accra described the tremor as 'minor' saying the department did not record any damage or receive reports of any casualties.

He said out of the department's earthquake recording stations Geology Department of Legon, at the Kukuranumi in the Eastern Region and Ho in the Volta region, only the Legon one was functioning. Accra, "is an Earthquake prone area”

Principals offer suggestion

Principals of teacher training colleges in the Central and Western Regions have suggested that the three-year post secondary teachers should be considered for admission into the universities without being subjected to the three 'A' Level pass or preliminary course requirement.

This way, they said, students with higher qualifications would be attracted into the teacher training colleges instead of the majority opting to pursue sixth form courses after their ordinary level passes.

Ordinary Level students preferred the Sixth Form to the teacher training colleges for they regarded Sixth Form as a ticket to the university. The principals arrived at this consensus during a one-day conference at Takoradi.

Increase in basic rate

Basic rate in Accra is to be increased from C4 to C40 per annum, this financial year, Mr E. T. Mensah, Executive Chairman of the Accra City Council has announced. Launching the new 'Pay Your Rates' campaign at the Accra Community Centre, Mr Mensah said the ACC needed money to carry out its programmes and appealed to the residents not to sit on the fence and expect the council to do everything for them.


Daily news service from Tass

The Soviet news agency Tass is to begin transmitting a daily news service to Sierra Leone. The agreement with Tass was signed last July. Tass has also offered a two year scholarship to the Information Ministry to train Sierra Leoneans in operating the radio-receiving equipment and telex machines.

Training begins next June at Soviet technical colleges. A Soviet engineer installing the radio-receiving equipment is also due to teach local specialists how to operate the machines.

Iron ore mining operations

An Austrian firm which mines Sierra Leone's iron ore has reversed a decision to close its operations. Second Vice-President, Francis Minah, said on 21st January on his return from talks in Austria.

The company, Austro-Minerals, had complained in recent months of repeated political interference. Voest-Alpine, the Austrian financers of the firm, had twice threatened to cut off funds for the iron- mining operation at Marampa, which employs 5,000 people.


OAU scribe in Togo

Togolese President Gnassingbe Eyadema has received the Organisation of African Unity's (OAU) Acting Secretary-General, Dr Peter Onu, and discussed plans for special OAU economic summit this year, government sources said.

Dr Onu said after the talks that he would visit Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Cape Verde and Senegal to assess the extent of the drought in these countries and report to OAU Heads of State.

The last OAU summit, held in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa last November, pledged to hold a special summit this year to review progress towards making Africa self-sufficient in food and more integrated economically.

Fund for industrial investment

A special committee of the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity has said that the credibility of economic cooperation among the African, Caribbean and Pacific and European Economic Community countries under the Lome convention might be undermined if a special fund was not created for industrial investment in the least developed African countries.

The report of the committee, which was discussed in Lagos by the fourth congress of the Organisation along with the secretary general's report, condemned what it saw as a failure to implement a new strategy under the Lome convention aimed at assisting African countries. The report stated that a meeting of trade unions had recommended that future industrial and economic cooperation must give priority to the creation of job opportunities, improvement of technological capacity, training, export opportunities and the reinvestment of surplus profits in the ACP states.

The report deplored the numerous instances of transfer of obsolete technology and the use of hazardous products in ACP states. It called for international codes of conduct to regulate the activities of transnational corporations within the ACP community.

On the IMF, the report praised the foresight of African trade unions in rejecting the conditions of the loans which "are an infringement" on national sovereignty set out in the Charter of economic rights and duties of states adopted by the UN. It stated that IMF's financial support to apartheid South Africa went against its principle of neutrality.

Financial irregularities at OATUU

The fourth congress of the OATUU has ended in Lagos without electing a new executive following allegations of financial irregularities at the Organisation's secretariat.

Addressing newsmen, the chairman of the congress, Alhaji Ali Ciroma, said that the auditor's report on the Organisation's account "raised several unanswered questions". He said that heads of delegations at the special meeting agreed to set up a panel to investigate the accounts and that the present executive would be allowed to remain in office and be supervised by a caretaker committee. Alhaji Ali said that an emergency congress would be convened after one year at the organisation's headquarters in Accra to elect a new executive.

The Organisation's secretary general, Mr Dennis Akumu, refused to comment on the outcome of the congress while Nigeria's candidate for the presidency of the Organisation, Alhaji Hassan Sunmonu said that he was satisfied with the setting-up of a panel to probe embezzlement within the Organisation.


West German financial aid

Ato Koffi Amega, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, and the FRG ambassador to Togo has signed a financial cooperation agreement at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This 8.7bn CFA agreement will be used to finance seven projects, including the construction of a hydroelectric power station in Nangbeto on the Mono River, the supply of potable water in the Tchangba prefecture, the general supply of goods and services, and the transfer of a nautical expert to the Lome autonomous port... The German ambassador said his country was ready to help Togo emerge from the international economic crisis. As proof, he cited the recent cancellation of Togo's debt to his country.


Assassination of military school director

Capt Mansare, director of Guinea's military school has been reportedly assassinated by a soldier. No details, however, have been given on the reasons or the circumstances of this assassination which was said to have taken place within the Alpha Yaya camp, situated on the outskirts of Conakry and not far from the airport.

It will be recalled that it was from the Alpha Yaya camp that the 3rd April 1984 coup was launched. Capt Mansare was neither a member of the Military Committee for National Redress (CMRN), the highest body in the country since the coup that overthrew Sekou Toure's regime, nor a member of the armed forces HQ.


Appeal to UN Security Council

The Chad Government has for the fourth time in the past year lodged a complaint to the UN Security Council against Libya. A letter to the president of the Security Council (at present the French UN representative), referred to Libyan Occupation of part of Chad territory and accused Libya of an unsuccessful attack in Ndjamena against President Hissein Habre and his Cabinet about three weeks ago.


Agreement to debt rescheduling

The country's major creditor countries, Including France, have agreed on an important rescheduling of her external debts spreading the repayment over nine years with a four-year grace period.

In a statement issued following a two-day meeting in the French capital, Senegal's 11 principal creditor countries, meeting within the Paris Club, expressed satisfaction with he confirmation given by the IMF on 16th January to its agreement with the Senegalese Government's economic and financial programme.

It was in the presence of Senegalese Economy and Finance Minister, Mamadou Toure, that the representatives of the Paris Club member countries agreed on the principle of an important rearrangement of Senegal's external debts..

Faced with an economic and financial crisis aggravated by the drought, Senegal presented in the middle of December 1984 its seven-year economic recovery programme, to the consultative group of the donor countries... On that occasion, the principle of new aid to Senegal to the tune of 500m US dollars in 1985 was decided on.

Territorial waters limit

There are plans to reduce the limit of the country's territorial waters from 150 to 12 nautical miles (280 to 22km) in compliance with the UN convention on the Law of the Sea. According to legislation currently under examination the country is also to drop its claim to a 200-nautical-mile (370km) economic exclusion zone, but will maintain a claim to an offshore fishing zone of the same depth..

Economic exclusion zones, which have been claimed by many of the signatories of the treaty, include claims to mineral exploitation rights over the sea-bed as well as to fishing rights. The proposed changes, adopted at a Cabinet meeting are now subject to approval by the Senegalese National Assembly.


Journalists appeal UAD

The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has added its voice to the call for the release of three of its members detained at various times since last year.

The NUJ plea went to the Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, Major-General Tunde Idiagbon, who the union said could use his high offices to effect the release of the three journalists to mark the beginning of good press/government relationship this year.

The three journalists, picked up for undisclosed offences are Malam Haroun Adamu of the Punch Newspapers detained since last January, Malam Rufai Ibrahim a former acting editor of the Sunday Guardian, detained last November, and Mr Leke Salau, an assistant News Editor (Lagos) of the Triumph Newspapers, also detained since last year.

Launch of new weekly magazine

A new weekly magazine, the 'News Watch', was expected to go into circulation in the country last Monday with an initial production of 50,000 copies. The editor-in- chief, Mr Dele Giwa, told a news briefing in Lagos that the magazine would have no political, religious or ethnic affiliations.

Mr Giwa explained that the magazine would only publish items with special bias for national interests. He stated that the 'News Watch' would attach great importance to truth and create an atmosphere in which journalists would work together without hindrance.

Extradition request

The government has made a formal request to Britain for the extradition of Alhaji Umaru Dikko.

Mr Wada Maida, Press Secretary to the Head of State has been reported as saying that legal experts from Nigeria had already visited London to ask Britain's Foreign Secretary, Sir Geoffrey Howe to extradite the ex-Transport Minister in the Shagari regime.

The reported move by Nigeria comes about a month after Dikko had requested for a political asylum in Britain from where an attempt to kidnap him to Lagos was made.

High Commissioner to Nigeria re-appointed

Mr Hamilton Whyte, Britain's High Commissioner to Nigeria till the abortive kidnap of Umaru Dikko last July has been appointed head of his country's mission in Singapore. Mr Whyte, 57, succeeds Sir Peter Moon, who is now Britain's Ambassador to Kuwait.

Popular opinion linked the Nigerian Government with the kidnap attempt.

Following the implication of two Nigerian diplomats in London and the suggestion that Nigeria's representative Major-General Anthony Hananniya recalled, Nigeria, retaliated with expulsion of two British diplomats and a demand that Mr Whyte be recalled for "consultations." Gen Hananniya has since been redeployed to Ethiopia as Niger Ambassador.

Metroline project stopped

The Lagos State Government has stop the Metroline project, saying it had "alternative than to terminate the contract." The Metroline was former Governor Lateef Jakande's administration project.

But the Lagos State Government issued a statement saying it was all over. The Government release was signed by Works and Transport Commission Professor M. A. Kenky.

Nigeria to send home its citizens

The Nigerian Government has appointed an officer to screen all Nigerian residents Ghana. The Nigerian High Commission in Accra, Maj-Gen Harrison Eyarna, wh announced this, said those found to illegal residents would be sent home. Ambassador Eyarna said the move was in line with the Federal Military Government determination to strengthen ties with Ghana.

Former official jailed for corruption

A former Higher Stores Officer with t NYSC (National Youth Service Corps Amos Adenuga, has been sentenced to a total of 68 years imprisonment by the Lagos zone of the special military tribunal on the recovery of public property.

Amos Adenuga is, however, to serve Z years as the sentences are to run concurrently. . . The tribunal also ordered that a total of 2,467,450 naira be forfeited to the Federal Military Government as well as two houses and a hotel complex built for the convict.

Transmitters for Bendel State Radio

The Bendel State Government plans to construct an information delivery centre in Benin City during this financial year at the cost of 2m naira. In addition the state's radio station will be equipped with powerful transmitters to widen its reach… naira while a permanent studio complex and and administrative block will be constructed for the state's television at a cost of 700,000 naira.

This was announced by the Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning, Shingle Oke, while briefing newsmen on the 1985 budget. He said the projects were being undertaken to ensure that information on government activities was disseminated to all parts of the state. Mr Oke also announced a development levy of 20 naira per taxable adult in the state during the year.

Educational Broadcasts

The educational service of Radio Nigeria has resumed transmission. The station went off the air about six months ago as a result of a breakdown on its transmitter at Ijede in Lagos state. The education programme can be received in Lagos and a few neighbouring states.

Efforts to reverse decline in trade with USA

US-Nigerian trade had declined from about fon dollars a year in the 1970s to around 4.5bn currently, according to industry sources. Donald Easum, president of the non-profitmaking African-American Institute in New York, who was Ambassador to Lagos from 1975 to 1979, is currently in Lagos to try to foster closer ties between the United States and Nigeria.

He said in an interview that other factors hampering the growth of trade between the two countries included difficulties in obtaining investments clearance, land and raw materials in Nigeria, exchange control regulations, the world oil market situation, and the high cost-estimated at 250,000 dollars a year of maintaining American business executives in Nigeria.

The former diplomat said general African resentment at the present US Administration's close ties with South Africa had also undermined efforts to promote bilateral trade.

Easum is also trying to persuade US Companies to support the programme of his Institute, which is planning to hold a Conference in Lagos in association with the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce. He said that in the last 20 years the Institute had sponsored October in Courses for 3,000 African students, 400 of them from Nigeria.

Bulgarian Prime Minister ends visit

Nigeria and Bulgaria have expressed the need for the strengthening of bilateral relations between them. This is contained in a communique issued in Lagos at the end of talks between leaders of the two countries. It stressed the need for a Nigeria-Bulgaria joint commission to continue to play an active role in the coordination of economic relations.

The leaders also expressed satisfaction with the present level of cooperation between the two countries. They emphasised the need for increased exchange of visits at ministerial levels to enhance the gains already made in areas of mutual cooperation.

Meanwhile, the credit agreement between Nigeria and Bulgaria has been described as an instrument to facilitate the setting up of development projects. The observation was made by the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Mr Grisha Filipov, who was in Lagos for a three-day visit to Nigeria.

The agreement, he said, conformed with international practice and represented one of his country's contributions to the economic development of Nigeria.

Evacuation of illegal aliens from Sokoto State

A combined team of immigration and police officials has started the evacuation of illegal aliens resident in many parts of Sokoto state. An investigation by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) shows that the evacuation would continue until the illegal aliens are completely routed out of the State. A source told NAN that about 3,500 illegal/aliens have been evacuated so far.

A national youth policy

The Federal Government has adopted a national youth policy which covers such vital areas as education, employment and the introduction of schemes to stimulate the enthusiasm and energy of young people.

The Head of State, Maj-Gen Muhammadu Buhari, made this known in Lagos in a broadcast to the nation on the occasion of the launching of the international youth year. He said that the policy would aid the maturity of youths through competition in adventures, cultural and practical activities.

He appealed to Nigerian youths whose acts of indiscipline brought shame and anxiety to their families and the nation to resolve to reform their ways this international youth year.

He stressed that there was no pride in being involved in armed robbery and such other criminal acts as drug addiction, drug trafficking, smuggling and cheating at examinations. General Buhari noted that there were many opportunities for the youth to participate in the development efforts of the nation; these include community development, self-help projects and the rehabilitation of disabled persons.


Abolition of individual land ownership

Burkina has decided to abolish the issuance of land-ownership titles and thereby put an end to individual ownership of land. This decision is contained in the ordinance on financial law for the 1985 financial year.

The abolition of the land-ownership title according to an official statement brings an end to the tendency of a minority to abuse and exploit the people through property transactions. Before this law was passed, the affluent persons in society were able to buy several estates at the same time.


Agreement with Japan

Lt-Col Ahmed Ould Minnih, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation has signed a financial agreement with the Japanese Ambassador accredited to Nouakchott.

According to this agreement, amounting to 57m ouguiyas, Japan is to supply Mauritania with agricultural equipment.

Saudi grant for well construction

A technical contract between Saudi Arabia and Niger has been signed at the Saudi embassy under which Saudi Arabia has granted Niger a sum of 9.618m dollars for the construction of drinking water wells in rural areas.



talking drums 1985-02-04 rawlings under attack from left-wing comrades kojo tsikata shinkafi on shagari and nigeria's 2nd republic