Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events


OAU Declarations on Sharpeville Anniversary

The Organisation of African Unity (OAU), has demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Nelson Mandela, the application of the Geneva Convention about prisoners of war in relation to combatants fighting against apartheid, and the end of racial discrimination in South Africa.

In a declaration distributed to the press at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre, the OAU has demanded the release of leaders of the United Democratic Front (UDF) charged ith "high treason" by the South African authorities.

On 21st March 1960 South African police lot at a peaceful demonstration by Africans at a township in Sharpeville, near Johannesburg, that left 69 people dead and about 365 injured. The OAU emphasised at this genocidal act is still fresh in the emory of all the people of the world who love peace and freedom.

The OAU denounced the escalating rate of repression in South Africa, that led to the death of more than 200 people last year. In the same context the OAU condemned the "constructive engagement" policy of the Reagan Administration with the racist regime which only serves to reinforce the stem of racial discrimination and negates the rights of the African population who compose 74 per cent of the total population of South Africa.

It expressed its total support to the African National Congress (ANC) and the cessation of the illegal South African occupation of Namibia and the application of the UN Security Council Resolution 435. The OAU condemned the attempts to link the independence of Namibia with the withdrawal of Cuban internationalists from the People's Republic of Angola, called for the withdrawal of South African troops from southern Angola and to stop acts of aggression against neighbouring countries.

At least 18 people died and 25 were injured when police opened fire on a crowd of 3-4,000 blacks at Uitenhage, near Port Elizabeth, on the morning of 21st March, the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre.


Bribe donors to be punished

A special task force appointed by Head of State Gen Doe to carry out the "Debt Collection Week" exercise includes six army generals, and is headed by the Minister of National Defense, Major General Gray D. Allison. According to an Executive Mansion release, the Head of State mandated the task force to collect all outstanding debts due to the Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation, The Liberia Petroleum Refining Corporation, the National Housing and Savings Bank and real estate taxes due Government.

According to Gen Doe, amounts due the Three Public Corporations total about $70-million. He said indebtedness to Government, Corporations Banks and Public Could well be in the neighbourhood of $150-million.

He stressed that the task force should be vigilant in collecting every cent, even if it means confiscating properties of those who owe and cannot pay. The Head of State said the task force should refuse bond and should deal on a cash basis.

He further directed that all banks and public corporations which have problems in collecting their debts, should submit the list of delinquent customers to the task force. Meanwhile, Gen Doe has ordered severe punishment of anyone offering or receiving bribes while this exercise is underway.

New appointments

The Head of State and Chairman of the Interim National Assembly, Genera Samuel K. Doe, has made a number of changes in Government, affecting the Ministries of State and Finance, as well as several public corporations.

According to an Executive Mansion release Dr Peter L. Naigow, Director General of ELBS becomes Director General of the Cabinet, replacing M Wilton Sankawulo who has been slated for another position.

Mr Throhoe Kpargai, Chairman of the National Investment Commission, becomes Special Assistant to the Head of State- while Mr E. Harding Smythe has been named by Gen Doe as National Security Advisor to the Head of State, the release said.

Mr Philip Davis, Deputy Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Corporation succeeds Mr Kpargai as Chairman of the National Investment Commission. Mr G. Moses K. Washington takes over the Management of ELBS until a new director is found. . The Head of State has also appointed Mr John Bestman Director of the Budget, replacing Mr Fonnie D. F. Sherman who is Bestman as Deputy Minister of Finance for debt servicing is Mr Lindsay Haynes, currently Deputy Minister for Administration.

Mr Eddie Manly, Former Commissioner for Customs, becomes Deputy Minister of Finance for revenues, while former Deputy Minister for revenues Peter Beham becomes Deputy Minister for Administration, Mr Thomas Garlo becomes the new Commissioner of Customs.

The Managing Director of the Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation, Mr Alexander Jeffy, has been relieved of his position and is replaced by Former Deputy Minister of Commerce Francis Dunbar.

New ambassador in London

The Deputy Minister of State for Public Affairs at the Executive Mansion, Mr Willia A. Givens, has been appointed Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

This was contained in a letter addressed to Information Minister Carlton A. Karpeh by Foreign Minister, T. Ernest Eastman. Mr Givens, 47, was born in Careysburg, Montserrado County and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and Anthropology from the Morgan State University in Baltimore, USA. Before his present appointment, Mr Givens served in various Government positions.

He was appointed Deputy Minister of State for Public Affairs in July 1982. He succeeds Dr Harry Francis Moriba who is now Deputy President of the Interim National Assembly.


New opposition to Habre

The formation of a new Chad organisation in Paris, led by General Negue Djogo has been reported by Radio France International. The organisation is called the Chad Democratic Front and was formed by four separate groups.

The front said that it is not associated with either Hissein Habre or Goukouni Oueddei. The French agency said the four groups concerned were the Permanent Committee, the Group of Independent Democrats, the Group of Chad Patriots and Democrats, and the Democratic Union for Peace.

In a joint communique issued in Paris the front said the national reconciliation process was deadlocked because of the intransigence of "the Ndjamena regime and the Transitional Government of National Unity" and because of foreign interference. The communique added that the front "adopts the people's struggle being carried (Codos) in the south and by the fighters in out by the anti-government commandos the central and eastern parts of the country


Public alarm over military exercise

A ten day military exercise with troops from Burkina Faso has ended in the Akosombo area. Code-named 'Exercise Team', the operation followed a similar one in 1983 also code-named 'Bold Union'.

According to a Ghanaian forces spokesman the exercise was aimed at assessing the operational capacity of the armed forces in the event of a dissident invasion of the country.

The Force Commander, Maj-Gen Arnord Quainoo who launched the exercise ordered his troops to engage a battalion- strong dissident force which had infiltrated the country through the Volta Region from an imaginary country called Zariba.

The dissidents were allegedly well armed with small arms, automatic weapons, hand-held SAM missiles and heavy guns and were being supported by certain countries, exiled politicians, rich businessmen and deserters from the armed forces whose aim is to destabilise the government.

In the course of the operation, Ghanaian listeners were fed with reports on its progress, by Radio Ghana. A typical report on the radio ran thus:

"An advanced party of the Special Task Force for Exercise Teamwork 85 has now moved out of the concentration area. The troops are on their way to the operational area on the Volta Lake. Their departure marks the beginning of phase two of Operation Exercise Teamwork, codenamed Operation Hurricane. In the mock operation, the combination of troops from the armed forces Ghana and Burkina Faso are to capture Dwarf Island on the Volta Lake, which has been seized by dissidents from an imaginary country called Zariba. The troops were seen off by the Force Commander, Maj-Gen Arnold Quainoo. The Commander-in-Chief of the Burkina Faso armed forces, Maj-Gen Jean-Baptist Lingani, is also in Accra to review a detachment of his troops currently engaged in the joint military exercise".

In a later report the radio said "paratroopers from the Ghana_airborne force and para-commandos from Burkina" had made a successful landing on Dwarf Island on a landing zone prepared by Rangers of the Special Task Force, Volta. In one report on 19th March it said:

"Casualty from the Task Force is said to be very low. An army spokesman said later that the dead bodies of some of the enemies were found floating in the water. Meanwhile, as the advance continues, air force planes have been dropping essential supplies to the Task Force. The CDRS (Committees for the Defence of the Revolution) of the villages captured are playing important roles in the operation. Today the CDR of one of the villages of the mobilised volunteers to retrieve supplies. The villagers have also taken advantage of the presence of the field medical unit to have some of their minor ailments attended to".

The alarm caused by such reports prompted Colonel D. N. Gomil of the Ministry of Defence to assure the general public that there was no cause for alarm regarding press reports carried on the military exercise in the Akosombo area.

In a statement, he explained that "on a major military exercise of the type taking place, it is normal to paint a realistic picture of the battle situation for the troops taking part in the exercise. The events being reported as having taken place during the exercise are therefore completely imaginary and should not give rise to any alarm or anxiety in the general public. Colonel Gomil added that the military exercise will end soon and all troops will be returning to their various stations and barracks." Soon after this explanation came another report on the arrival of the Burkina Faso Head of State Capt Sankara, on Dwarf Island on Volta Lake to visit troops engaged in the military exercise. Later on 22nd March Accra radio described how the "dissident forces" occupying Dwarf Island had been "routed" and said as soon as he learned that the campaign had been completed successfully, the Force Commander, Maj- Gen Arnold Quainoo, accompanied by the Chief of Defence Staff of the Burkina Armed Forces, Maj-Gen Lingani, flew in by helicopter and addressed the troops".

Appointment of new editors

Changes have been made in some of the editorial sections of the mass media establishment. Mr Boakye Ofori-Atta, editor of the 'Mirror', is transferred to the New Times Corporation as the new editor of the 'Spectator'. Mr Kwesi Wood, editor of the Spectator', is seconded to the Information Services Department as acting head of the research section.

Mr Kwesi Gyan-Apenteng has been appointed acting editor of the 'Mirror'. All the changes and appointments took effect on 18th March 1985. According to an official statement, the measures were intended to motivate qualitative changes in the productive capacities of the various media organisations.

Tribunals are a permanent feature

The Central Region public tribunal has been inaugurated at Cape Coast. The chairman of the board of public tribunals, Mr F. Y. Anim, told the members that the public tribunal system is going to be a permanent feature of Ghana's legal system. Its success, he said, would, however, depend on honest men and women with serving qualities.

He advised members of the new tribunal not to give futile or outrageous orders. They should also keep away from chieftaincy matters and civil cases. Mr Anim said the public tribunals must try only cases over which it has jurisdiction.

The coordinator for investigations, tribunals and revenue commissions, Mr wamena Ahwoi, advised the members not allow legal technicality to obstruct the course of natural justice. Native Intelligence, he said, must be made to bear their decision... Mr Ahwoi announced at Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) Law 2, which regulates the operations of the National Investigations Committee (NIC) is to be amended to give power to the subcommittees of the NIC to investigate a number of offences relating to local government revenue, especially rates, levies, radio licences, markets and lorry park tolls.

Other offences listed by the coordinator are overcharging fares, offences under the control of bush fires law of 1983, contravention of governing regulations within the districts or community, and the abuse of power by officials of committees For the Defence of the Revolution.

Standard' calls for democratisation

The 'Catholic Standard' has called for the democratisation of the processes of Government now even as the debate continues about the future political system. On the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) itself, the 'Standard' says if it is assumed that the members represent those organisations or institutions to which they belong, such as the Trades Union Congress, the judiciary, teaching profession, the armed forces, women's groups, etc, then the members of these organisations should be given the chance to elect them...

Recalling that the original idea of the revolution was to bring government to the doorsteps, the 'Standard' says the participation of the people in government is more illusory than ever, and it observes that the country is not more decentralised than it was three years ago.

It may be that we expect results too soon, but by now, it should be obvious to all that we are an impatient people. Whatever our goals, would it be any help at all to have an enlarged forum to provide for as many viewpoints as possible in affairs of the state? The 'Standard' asks.

Efforts to deal with influx of refugees

The Government is making serious efforts to deal with the problem of refugees who have been arriving in Ghana from Chad, Burkina Faso and Mali. Speaking to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation in Accra the director of social welfare, Jonas Amoako, said the influx of refugees has become a problem because foreigners have come into the country in such great numbers.

He said unlike the Ghanaians deported from Nigeria, families in Ghana to go on. Mr Amoako said the department has located most of the areas where the refugees are concentrated in Accra, Sekondi, Takoradi and Kumasi, and the Ministry of Health has immunised them against diseases.

He said his department intends to survey camp Yawa, which served as a refugee camp some years ago, to find out whether it would be suitable for use as a temporary resettlement centre.

Meanwhile organisations like the Christian Council and the Catholic Relief Services have been giving food aid to the refugees. An inter-government committee has also been set up to deal with the problem.

Mfantse Mpontu Kuw Disco

Members of the Mfantse mpontu-kuw are invited to an Easter Grand disco on April 6 from 6pm.

The venue is Clapham Junction, Peabody Estate, Peabody Hall, St Johns Hill, London SW11, which could be reached on buses 77, 39, 170, 295, 37, 49 or 19.

Nkoranza Association

The Nkoranza association is holding an Easter dance on Saturday, April 6 at the Parish of St Augustine church hall, Broadwater Road, Tooting Broadway from 6 pm.

Akim Kotoku meeting

Sons and daughters of Akim Kotoku Traditional area are invited to attend a meeting on Sunday 14 April from 1pm at Marx House Lecture Hall, 37A Clerkenwell Green London EC1.

Return of former minister

Mr L. B. Tabasi, Minister for the Upper Region in the Limann administration, has returned home from exile in Burkina. He bodies. was received at Bolgatanga by the Secretary for the Upper East Region, Mr J. E. Sakyi, who advised him to be law-abiding and help in the national recovery programme.


Legal action against National Assembly member

The National Assembly Bureau, at its meeting presided over by the National Assembly president, unanimously decided to authorise the Attorney General of the Abidjan appeals court to take legal action against Emmanuel Dioulo, a parliamentarian, on charges levelled against him in the new BNDA (National Association)

Peasant farmers to benefit

Ivorian Agriculture Minister Denis Bra Kanon has announced government plans to overhaul the country's agricultural credit scheme.

Mr Bra Kanon told newsmen in his office that under new arrangement being a worked out, only peasant farmers would have access to agricultural loans from the country's Agricultural Development Bank (BNDA). He stated that the present system of loan disbursement in the BNDA was detrimental to peasant farmers who produced the wealth of the country and for whom the bank was actually established The Minister added that the pitfalls in the current arrangement was illustrated by the fact that nearly half of the BNDA': cumulative lending of 60 billion CFA (N120 million) went to Cogexim, a cocoa and coffee purchasing firm belonging to a senior member of the ruling party.


Bar Association wants NMA to stay

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has called on the Federal Government to reconsider its stand on the proscription of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

In a communique issued in Lagos at the end of its meeting in Sokoto, the NBA said that the proscription must be reconsidered because it "affects not only doctors in the public service, but also the private practitioners".

The communique stated that since the doctors had decided to go back to work, the Federal Government should be magnanimous to reconsider its stand on the proscription order placed on the two doctors

On the detention of some doctors, the NBA said it would be ideal to release the detained medical practitioners in the national interest.

It believed "the present prevailing situation was ideal for dialogue, to effect a lasting solution to the country's health care delivery problems".

Neither pro-Arab or pro-Israel

The Foreign Minister has "denied rumours that Nigeria was involved in serious border clashes following recent military training exercises'. The recent four-nation conference in Lagos involving Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana constituted a concrete beginning to Nigeria's policy of peaceful coexistence with all neighbouring countries. Nigeria was neither pro-Arab nor pro-Israel

US Air Force officer's visit

The visiting commandant of the US Air War College, Maj-Gen Hodges, has paid a courtesy call on the Officer commanding the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Logistics Command, Air Commodore Mohammad Nuredine Imam.

General Hodges, who was on a five-day visit to the country, expressed satisfaction with the development so far made by the Command. He remarked that the US Air War College had trained seven Nigerians, Staff, Air Vice Marshal Ibrahim Alfa.

Economic saboteurs

The Federal Government has declared that it will not relent in its efforts to get rid of all economic saboteurs in the country. The policy posture was reaffirmed by the Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, Maj-Gen Tunde Idiagbon, in an address at Owerri, Imo State, at a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the War Against Indiscipline, WAI.

He condemned as most unfortunate the impression that one could only make a living by committing acts of corruption and economic sabotage. General Idiagbon warned all those still engaged in unpatriotic activities to desist from this evil practice. The Chief of Staff said that smuggling in particular has continued to constitute a terrible social menace which has been corroding and demolishing the economic fabric.

He added that the law enforcement agencies will redouble their efforts to stamp out smuggling. He declared that all convicted smugglers will be shown no mercy because they deserve none; they will be visited by the full arm of the law.

The Chief of Staff regretted that while many Nigerians had embraced the lessons of WAI and had learned to put the nation first, others were still wallowing in their narrow self-interests. As he put it, no single professional group should allow an exaggerated opinion of its self-importance to becloud its sense of judgment and moderation.

He emphasised the need for all professions to see their roles as equally important in the collective and patriotic search for national advancement, peace and prosperity.

Promulgation of eight new decrees

The Supreme Military Council has promulgated eight new decrees. One of them makes provisions for the enforcement of confirmed judgments of the various tribunals especially in the recovery of funds and forfeited assets.

Another the purpose of clearing prohibited, one establishes a task force for Overtime and abandoned goods from specified transit sheds and Government warehouses located in the country's sea ports, international airports and customs border stations.

There is also a decree stipulating the structures, composition and functions of the management boards of all teaching hospitals in the country as well as the discipline of students and staff of the medical institutions. The decrees are enumerated in a communique issued at the end of the first meeting of the Supreme Military Council this year held in Lagos last week.

Assistance to Equatorial Guinea

Nigeria has pledged to assist Equatorial Guinea in her manpower development. The Head of State, Maj-Gen Muhammadu Buhari, made the pledge at Dodan Barracks when he received a special message from his Equatorial Guinea counterpart, Colonel Objang Nguema Mbasogo.

General Buhari said that the Federal Government would consider the various Hungary has supplied equipment and requests of Equatorial Guinea constructively for the benefit of the two countries. Delivering the message, the Vice Prime Minister of Equatorial Guinea, Lt- Col Fructuoso Mba Onana, said that his country was grateful for the assistance it was receiving from Nigeria.

The Vice Prime Minister said that Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea should continue to exchange visits in order to strengthen the relations between them.

More health cooperation

Nigeria has called for a closer cooperation between the Anglophone and the Francophone countries of the West African subregion in the area of primary health care. The Minister of Health, Dr Emmanuel Nsan, told a UNICEF delegation in Lagos that such cooperation was necessary because health matters knew no bounds.

Dr Nsan suggested that major international organisations like the UNICEF should provide a vital link towards the achievement of the objective. Dr Nsan stated that Nigeria had adopted the primary health care approach through the expanded programme on immunisation.

World Bank loan

Nigeria has signed a loan agreement for 13m dollars with the World Bank. The agreement covers the World Bank's assistance for the technical projects valued at 17m dollars. The accord envisages the strengthening of the decision-making machinery of the Federal Ministries of Finance and National Planning as well as the Federal Office of Statistics.

It is also aimed at improving the management information system and facilitating the implementation of the national development plan and the preparation for Nigeria's fifth national development plan.

Commissioning of gas recycling plant

The Head of State, Maj-Gen Muhammadu Buhari, has commissioned a 90m naira gas recycling plant capable of increasing the country's daily oil production by 15,000 barrels. The plant, sited at Obiafu- Obrikom, near Port Harcourt, is a joint venture between the Nigerian Agip oil company, NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Company) and Phillips oil company.

Maj-Gen Buhari said at the ceremony that oil companies had not effectively utilised Nigeria's abundant natural gas as a foreign exchange earner. He said that the Government was prepared to assist the companies to embark on projects geared towards effective gas utilisation.

Hungarian aid and trade

machinery worth about 150m naira in the past 10 years to Nigeria. The ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Joseph Bende, said in Lagos that Hungary was currently executing an 18m naira contract for the supply of equipment to junior and secondary schools in Nigeria.


Release of two political prisoners

According to official sources in the Gabonese capital, President Omar Bongo has ordered the "conditional" release of two political prisoners who were sentenced in November 1982 20 years' to imprisonment by the State Security Court. This measure reduces to five the number of persons who are still in prison after being judged in 1982 for "infringing upon state security", the same source pointed out.


Editor freed

An editor Paul Kamara, detained without trial since early January after his paper published a report about the country's para-military force has been freed on 21st March after an appeal by the Association of Journalists to President Siaka Stevens for his release.

EEC financial assistance

The EEC has granted 45.7m dollars to Sierra Leone within the framework of the Lome III convention. President Siaka Stevens was informed about this in a letter from the Chairman of the European Development Commission, Lorenzo Natali... About 80% of this sum has been granted as a subsidy while the rest is a loan repayable over 40 years.

talking drums 1985-04-01 fela prophet without honour in Nigeria