Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events


Nigerians summoned to camp

All Nigerians resident in Burkina Faso have been asked to report at a camp in Ouagadougou. A report by the News Agency of Nigeria says that the directive was issued by the Burkinabe Minister of Territorial Administration and Security but did not indicate reasons for the order. However, observers say it may be in reaction to the recent Federal Military Government's order on illegal immigrants to regularise their stay or leave Nigeria.

It is estimated that there are two million Nigerians living in countries on the West coast of Africa. However, Ghana, whose citizens were among those affected by the order, has allayed the fears of Nigerians living in that country when Flt-Lt Jerry Rawlings pledged to protect them.

Pledge to evacuate Nigerians

Nigerians living in West African countries have been assured of the Federal Government's preparedness to evacuate them back to the country if they are asked

to leave. According to Radio Nigeria news bulletin, the Minister of External Affairs Dr Ibrahim Gambari gave the assurance in Lagos, Dr Gambari said the Nigerian charge d'Affaires in Ouagadougou had confirmed that all Nigerians in Burkina Faso had been asked to report at a camp. The Minister added that although the Burkinabe Government has not given any reason for the order, it might not be unconnected with the recent deportation of illegal immigrants from Nigeria.

Dr Gambari hoped that if there was to be any official reaction, this would not be extended to Nigerians with valid immigration papers.

Concord criticises handling of quit order

The "National Concord" has expressed dissatisfaction over the official handling of the recent massive exit of illegal aliens. The paper feels that Government's poor implementation of the quit order has created more problems. It identifies some of the lapses as the delay in opening the borders and Government's refusal to extend its deadline for the illegal aliens to leave the country.

The "Concord" also criticises the inability of the security agents to forestall the aliens' rampage at the Murtala Muhammed airport. The paper believes that the incident raises serious questions over the commitment and efficiency of the nation's intelligence and security agencies.

The "Concord" therefore calls for high- level inquiry into the entire operation..

Guardian says decision was ill-advised

The ordeal of illegal aliens during their departure from the country engaged the attention of the Nigerian 'Guardian'. It said that the instruction that the immigrants must not be allowed to take more than 20 naira out of the country was ill-advised. Another serious problem the aliens faced, continues the paper, was the refusal of the Benin Republic authorities to open its borders. The paper also recalls the rampage at the Murtala Muhammed airport which was sparked off by hunger. However, the paper wonders why Nigeria has to spend so much money regularly on the expulsion of illegal aliens. The paper commends the Nigerian police and soldiers for their mature and disciplined behaviour under pressure.

Forty aliens arrested

Forty illegal immigrants in Kaduna who could not regularise their residence documents and failed to leave the country had been arrested. The State assistant director of immigration told the News Agency of Nigeria that most of them were arrested from their hideout. He also said the department has received applications from some illegal teenage immigrants who claim to be married to Nigerians.

He said the department "had adopted an effective way of determining the genuineness of their claims", and he commended landlords for voluntarily giving information on the movement of tenants suspected to be aliens without valid documents.

Government's view of the expulsion

Nigeria has defended the time limit given to illegal immigrants to regularise their stay or leave the country. The Minister of Internal Affairs, Maj-Gen Mohammed Magoro, said in a Radio Nigeria interview in Lagos that the period was adequate for those affected to beat the deadline from any part of the country. General Magoro emphasised the need for full enlightenment on ECOWAS protocol on free movement of people.

Governor calls for vigilance

Nigeria's immigration department has been advised to be more vigilant on the activities of aliens in Nigeria for the security of the country. The Anambra State Governor, Navy Capt Alex Madueke, gave the advice while exchanging views with the assistance director of immigration services, Mr Godwin Madueko.

The Governor said the recent religious disturbances in the country have shown that the security of the nation was being threatened by illegal immigrants who, he said, constituted the bulk of the fanatics. He urged the Government to ensure that all illegal immigrants still in the country were flushed out.

Call for review of policy

The Nigerian "Daily Times" has called for a review of Nigeria's policy with its neighbours. The paper feels that a new policy that will reflect the present reality should be evolved. The "Times" observes that the neighbouring countries have failed to reciprocate Nigeria's efforts to foster regional cooperation and continental unity.

It recalls such countries' distortion and falsification of the true situation at the borders during the recent expulsion of illegal immigrants. The paper points out that Nigeria has always displayed maturity at great expense and provocation to sustain the spirit of regional and African unity.

It therefore feels that the sacrifices would not be worth making if the goals for which they are being made are not understood and sincerely shared by neighbouring countries.

Sacked journalists set up paper

Some retrenched journalists in Imo State have gone into newspaper proprietorship.

Towards this end, a private weekly newspaper, the "Newstop" will soon be on the streets in Imo and other Eastern States. A statement in Owerri by the Managing Editor of the newspaper, Mr Joe Anyama said the first edition would be out during the first week of June.

Mr Anyama, former chief a correspondent of the Nigerian Statesman in Rivers State said people in the Eastern States deserved an alternative independent newspaper to inform them correctly on the happenings within the country and outside.

Meanwhile, a former assistant editor with the Sunday Statesman Mr Ken Okpara has been appointed the editor of the new publication.

The newspaper company has a share capital of N4m.

N2 million collected from politicians

The Panel on the recovery of public funds and property in Anambra State has recovered over N2 million from former politicians and other public debtors in the state,

A total of N2,103,000.96 was recovered from politicians and N100,916.00 was recovered from debtors to the state-owned Vanguard Industry while a total of N243,325.00 was recovered from debtors to the state government's fund for small scale industries. Over N7 million was said to be still outstanding as debts from former politicians in the state.

Exercise to detect ghost workers

All Nigerian Airways workers will line up to receive their next pay by hand directly from the wages cashier.

This exercise is aimed at detecting ghost workers. Accounts personnel of the airline said that the management took the decision following continuing increase in the salaries paid to workers every month, even after retrenchment of more than 700 workers of the airline.

Embargo on soft drinks

The Federal Military Government has placed an embargo on the establishment of more soft drink firms in the country. A Sunday Concord report says the action makes the soft drink industry the second to be hit by an embargo after the brewery industry. The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Dr Mahmud Tukur announced a few months back that the government would not allow the establishment of new breweries.

The official reason behind the embargo on the establishment of more soft drinks and beer making firms has not been given, but it is believed to be in line with the policy to check foreign exchange outflow through industries "which are not too essential to the basic lives of Nigerians".

Execution may not be in public

Gladys Iyamah, the first woman to be condemned to death for cocaine pushing may not be killed in public, according to reliable sources.

The decision not to execute Mrs Iyamah in public may not be unconnected with the public outrage over shooting a woman in the full glare of throngs of people. The date of the execution of Iyamah and the male hard drug merchants is not yet known.

Warning to those with overseas connections

Cross River State Governor, Colonel Dan Archibong has warned organizations in the country with overseas connections not to undermine Nigeria's sovereignty "as well as ridicule the nation's cultural heritage".

Speaking in Calabar at the inauguration of the State's branch of the International Federation of Women Lawyers Colonel Archibong said that every Nigerian had a sacred duty to preserve the country's culture.

Soviet aid to Anambra State

The Military Governor of Anambra State, Navy Capt Allison Madueke, has called on the Soviet Government to fulfil its promise to build a specialist hospital in the State. The Governor told the Soviet Ambassador to Nigeria, Aladimir Snegyrev, in Enugu that the people of Anambra had benefited immensely in the areas of science and technology from their association with the USSR. He expressed the hope that the relationship will continue.

Navy Capt Madueke expressed appreciation to the Soviet Union for assisting the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in the development of its library and requested that similar assistance be extended to the State's library board.


Two majors executed

Two majors and two non-commissioned officers of the Ghana armed forces have been executed for plotting against the PNDC.

The two majors John Ocran and Hamlet Akwasi Twumasi Antoh, staff officers at the 1st Brigade in Accra and Sgts Joe Issaka and Francis Yao Anku were tried separately before the public tribunal in secret. The death sentence on Sergeant Oduro Frimpong who was tried with the four is yet to be confirmed.

The two majors were former allies of Flt- Lt Rawlings. In 1979 during the short reign of Flt-Lt Rawlings' AFRC Major Ocran was entrusted with the supervision of former army officers who were convicted to work on state farms while Major Twumasi Antoh was the deputy commander of the jungle warfare unit at Achiasi, near Akim Oda in the Eastern region.

In March, the Ghana Democratic Movement issued a statement in London calling on the world press and Amnesty International to get the facts surrounding constructions. the secret trial.

Three executed for fraud

Three people who duped the Ghana commercial Bank of 56.8 million cedis have been executed. They are a Lebanese businessman, George Salami, Ricks Kofi Osei, 35, senior accounts clerk at the Accra New Town Branch of the Bank and Augustuc Owu, an accounting officer and until now. chairman of the committee for the Defence of the Revolution at the bank's head office.

A fourth person Walter Adem Gbadegbe who was also sentenced to death by the public tribunal in Accra is on the run together with his younger brother, Michael Adem Gbadegbe who was also sentenced to 25 years imprisonment with hard labour.

Four more sentenced to death on fraud charge

Four more people have been sentenced to death by firing squad by the public tribunal in Accra for their involvement in the fraudulent withdrawal of over 37m cedis from the bank of Ghana between November last year and May this year.

They are Mark Nyame Bowham and Albert Nyole Swanzy of the Accountant General's department. The other two are Koi Tawiah and Emmanuel Bekor from the Ministry of local Government. The fifth accused person, Peter Bimfu, a junior accounts officer of the Accountant General's department, was acquitted and discharged on the grounds that he had no criminal intent with regard to the role he played in the deal.

Before passing sentence, the tribunal chairman, Mr Bosompim, spoke of the need for a thorough probe into the activities of the Accountant General's department to ensure that all loopholes are plugged. He recommended an immediate radical shake- up of the department.

Describing the deal as one of the greatest frauds in the annals of the country's history, Mr Bosompim said the perpetrators have proved to be undesirable in the society and deserve to be condemned. He ordered that all their property be confiscated to the state.

Links with dissidents - six to die

The public tribunal in Accra has sentenced all the five people involved in the 26.7m cedi fraud at the Social Security Bank (SSB) to death by firing squad. They are Bernard Apete Odonkor, senior accountant of the bank, Joseph Kwame Adu, a businessman, and Abraham Tetteh Paddy of the Meat Marketing Board.

The other two accused persons now at large are Kobina Abbam, assistant accountant of the SSB, and Nathan Aiddoo, managing director of Adna

Reading his judgement, the chairman of the tribunal, Mr Adoo Aikins said from his own investigations, the tribunal has come. to the conclusion that part of the stolen money went to dissidents and subversionists.

Mr Aikins said the tribunal is also of the view that there are still others at their posts in the bank who should be investigated. He said the tribunal wonders why these deals, which started in 1983, could not be detected

More death sentences

The public tribunal has sentenced six persons to death by firing squad for their involvement in the killing of six people over a land dispute at Agbozume in the Volta Region. The Six comprise a sergeant in the Ghana Air Force and five farmers.

The seventh accused person was sentenced to 24 months in prison for concealment. The accused persons were found guilty of murdering six people from the Torku family of Agbozume over a land dispute in March last year. In his ruling, the chairman of the tribunal, Mr Kofi Bosompem, described the case as a very serious one. He said it was of such a cruel nature, executed with much brutality and sadism, that led to the loss of lives of innocent people, including a mother and her three-year-old child.

Death of 25 immigrants

The Ghana High Commission in Lagos has confirmed the recent killing of Ghanaian immigrants by Nigerian security forces. Reports reaching the national mobilisation committee in Accra from the High Commission in Lagos indicated that about 25 Ghanaians died in the shooting incident at the Seme border post. Their bodies were removed by the Nigerian soldiers to an unknown destination.

Two Ghanaian deportees on admission at the Lagos State government hospital at Marina with bullet wounds said they were among a number of Ghanaian deportees who were shot by Nigerian soldiers on the 13th May at the border. The two victims, who were receiving treatment at the hospital, were under a 24-hour guard, apparently to prevent contact with the public.

The two were said to have disclosed that two other unnamed Ghanaians, who also received bullet wounds but have since been discharged from the same hospital and repatriated home. The Nigerian authorities have repeatedly denied that there was a shooting incident in which Ghanaians and other West African immigrants were killed at the Seme border post.

Meanwhile the Ghana national mobilisation committee says it has received a report that a Ghanaian resident in Lagos, Mr Kinsley Eshun, was among a number of Ghanaians who were fired on by the Nigerian security forces at the Seme border. In a statement, the committee said since the incident Mr Eshun has not been seen; he is therefore presumed dead by his colleagues who have since returned home. The committee appeals for any information about Mr Eshun.

End of evacuation of aliens

The evacuation of illegal immigrants by sea has been completed and Ghana will not have to pay Nigeria for the cost of transporting Ghanaian immigrants home in Nigerian vessels. But the Ghana Government is spending money on the repatriation in other respects and the cost is being computed. The mobilisation committee has had to use buses and trucks to pick up returnees from Benin and the Aflao border post. According to the chairman of the committee, Commodore Obimpeh, the committee has yet to assess all the costs involved.

GNAT invites teachers home

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has appealed to all Ghanaian teachers still at various posts in Nigeria to consider it an obligation to return home to help with the national reconstruction effort.

In a statement reacting to the killing of Ghanaian immigrants by Nigerian security forces, the GNAT said it was appalled, shocked and incensed at the brutal and callous killing of about 25 Ghanaian immigrants at the Seme border post.

Returnees will not cause food problems

The Secretary for Agriculture, Dr Adjei- Maafo, has given the assurance that the return home of 300,000 Ghanaians from Nigeria will not cause any serious food problems. Speaking to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, GBC, in Accra, he said his visit to the Brong Ahafo, Central and Northern Regions showed that much has been cultivated, adding input like cutlasses, tractors, fertilisers, and seedlings have already reached the farming areas.

The Ministry of Fuel and Power has also made fuel allocation to the districts for distribution to the farmers. According to Dr Adjei-Maafo, the target of maize production for this year is 660,000 tons, but this figure may not be attained due to the initial low prices paid to farmers last year. He said adequate storage arrangements have been made for maize this year.

The Secretary hinted that a British technical team is expected in the country this month to start work on the construction of silos in selected farming areas. He said up country, most of the farmers have shifted emphasis from maize production to yam and cassava.

Others have gone into the cultivation of cash crops like tobacco and cotton. He visited several tons of food locked up in the rural areas due to lack of transport and he has directed the food distribution corporation to shift emphasis from imported food distribution to the evacuation and sale of local food.

Dr Adjei-Maafo announced that very soon the Government will stop importing maize. He called on financial institutions to support the farmers in their effort to make food abundant in the country.

500 aliens still stranded

The chairman of the national mobilisation committee, Commodore Steve Obimpeh, has returned to Accra after a visit to Lagos where he studied at first hand the plight of Ghanaians still stranded there. He said that those outside the port of Apapa number only between 300 and 500. According to him, the remaining immigrants who converged on that port to be shipped home had been driven out of the port following the expiry of the deadline set by the Nigerian authorities to have them shipped on vessels provided by them.

Commodore Obimpeh disclosed that there are no more stranded Ghanaians at Seme border and the Hajj transit camp. He said Ghanaians affected by the quit order are far less than the 300,000 previously announced.

Don't molest Nigerians

The Ashanti Regional Secretary, Mr W. H. Yeboah, has warned that any person who will harass or molest any Nigerian residents in any part of the Region does so at his own risk. Mr Yeboah issued the warning after reports that some returnees and others have been threatening and molesting Nigerians in Kumasi, especially at Adum. He has alerted the security agencies to check such threats and molestations.

Mr Yeboah said while Ghanaians should be disturbed by Nigeria's quit order and its attendant incidents, the Provisional National Defence Council has no intention to permit anyone to take the law into his own hands.

Concern at "influx into the Ivory Coast"

The Chief of Jaway, Nana Danyi Kwame, has renewed his appeal to the Government to check the current influx of Ghanaians into the Ivory Coast in order to reduce the death rate of Ghanaians there. According to Nana Kwame, during a recent visit to the Ivory Coast he realised that most of the Ghanaians are jobless and the women indulge in immoral practices to make a living.

He said the Ghanaians are being denied medical attention in hospitals because they do not have citizenship identity cards. Nana Kwame said because of this, those who fall sick always rush to the Half Assini hospital to obtain medical attention in Ghana.

Prevent illegal fishing

A suggestion has been made to the Ghana Navy to consider protecting the country's territorial waters against illegal fishing. This was contained in a speech read on behalf of the managing director of Mankoadze Fisheries, Mr Robert Ocran, at a convention of the Western Command of the Ghana Navy in Sekondi.

According to Mr Ocran, the southern limit of the country's economic zone in the Atlantic Ocean has been virtually left unprotected from poaching by foreign fishing vessels. He commented that from me to time foreign vessels fish in the y's waters with impunity,

Mr Ocran pointed out that this situation is quite unlike other Western African entries where foreign fishing vessels which attempted to fish in their territorial waters are promptly arrested and fined heavily. Mr Ocran said there are about 100 of these foreign vessels operating along Ghana's side of the Atlantic.

He observed that at present the Ghana Navy has not been organised to protect the country's territorial waters and consequently it is unable to offer any assistance to the fishing fleet. Mr Ocran sad the inter-governmental oceanography commission, which was set up recently, should try to emphasise the importance which Ghana must attach to her marine resources and to protect the heavy vestment pumped into the country's hing industry.

Soviet delegation meets Kojo Tsikata

A three-man CPSU delegation which was on a week's visit to Ghana, held a two-hour closed door meeting with the Special Advisor to the PNDC (Provisional National Defence Council), Capt Kojo Tour at The Castle, Osu. The delegation was led by the First Secretary of Bryansk pon Party Committee, Mr A. F. Vostrochenko.

New cocoa prices

The government has raised the price paid to co farmers by ninety per cent. The price of 30 kg weight of cocoa has been raised from 900 to 1,698 cedis. For 62.5kg the new prices 3.594 cedis as against the old rate if 186 cedis. A tonne of cocoa will now sell at 66.000 cedis.


Africans won't be expelled

The Burkina authorities have assured the Nigerian community in Burkina Faso that there would never be a question of any African being expelled from the country. Ala meeting with about a 1,000 Nigerians summoned to a military camp in Ouagadougou, the Minister of Territorial Administration and Internal Security, Ernest Nongma Ouedraogo, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Basile Guissou, affirmed to the Nigerians that they had nothing to fear.

They were asked however to abide by the rules in force in the country. Referring to the recent expulsion of illegal aliens from Nigeria, the Ministers felt that the Nigerian Community in Burkina was not responsible for that, the charge d'affaires at the Nigerian embassy in Burkina, Robert Oluwole, had deplored the fact that he had not been officially informed of the summoned meeting which, the agency said had aroused a certain reaction in Nigeria.

Establishment of Pioneer Movement

Anti-imperialist day celebrations have ended with the official launching of the Pioneer Movement. The ceremony was attended by the President, members of the National Council of the Revolution (CNR), the diplomatic corps, but a large portion of the crowd was composed of schoolchildren of the capital who are eager to be members of the movement.


Amendments to election laws

In accordance with the provisions of article 52, line 3 of the Constitution, the Central Committee of the Rally of the Togolese People, has adopted amendments to articles 24 and 29 of the Constitution.

Under the new article 24 of the Constitution, National Assembly deputies will be elected by direct universal sufferage and will no longer be proposed by the party as the procedure during the first legislature. Under the new article 29, the Speaker of the National Assembly will be elected for a period of one year instead of five years, as was previously the case.


Doe fires INA member

A member of the Interim National Assembly (INA), Mr Ayun K. Cassell has been dismissed from his functions by Gen Samuel Doe. He has also been banned from all forms of political activities. He was accused by Gen Doe of indulging in activities incompatible with the functions of a member of the INA thus disturbing the peace and stability of the state.


Two Air Mali staff to die

The Malian special court of state security has sentenced to death two employees of the national carrier, Air Mali, for embezzling 50m francs. The decisions of the special court of state security are final, and the defendants have no right of appeal.

The Air Mali company concluded 1984 with a loss of about 6m dollars, while its total debt to creditors is approximately 16m dollars. Due to the situation, Air Mali has practically suspended operations - passing its international airlines to the African multinational carrier, Air Afrique.


Agreement with Soviet delegation

A Soviet delegation led by Eduard Sarkisov, deputy chairman of the Union of Soviet Societies for Friendship and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries has left Conakry for Freetown after a long visit. Before its departure, the delegation signed and agreement with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The two sides expressed the view that their role is to contribute largely to the strengthening of friendship, mutual cooperation and confidence between them. To that end, they will sponsor friendship days, exhibits, shows, lectures, rallies, and official meetings and will regularly exchange information, books, films and picture exhibits, and promote the establishment of ties between the organisations and institutions in the two countries.

At the end of the deliberations Capt Facine Toure, Minister of State in charge of foreign affairs and international cooperation, stressed the importance of the Guinea-USSR agreements and stated that the two countries, which share historic bonds, must continue to strengthen the bases of their cooperation.

For his part, Eduard Sariskov expressed his satisfaction at the various discussion he held. Pointing out the great sympathy of the Soviet people to help Guinea to achieve its economic, social and cultural development.


Approval of decision on maritime border

The second session of the third legislature of the People's National Assembly (ANP) has ended its deliberations with the approval of the decision made by The Hague tribunal setting the maritime border between Guinea-Bissau and the Republic of Guinea at 200 miles.

During the deliberations which began on 7th May 1985, the 50 ANP members approved the state budget totalling Ibn pesos for the current year, and passed the draft budget law and the standing orders of the Assembly. The members of Parliament under the chairmanship of their Speaker, Mrs Carmen Pereira, also dwelt on the country's policy aimed at fostering the settlement of disputes - especially border disputes - through peaceful means.

Liberia's Ambassador in London

Mr Wilie A. Givens has presented to the British Queen his letters of credence as Ambassador Extraordinary and plenipotentiary from the Republic of Liberia.

Ambassador Givens was in turn presented with the letters of recall of his predecessor, Dr Harry F. Moniba who is now the Vice-President of the Interim National Assembly (INA).

Mr Givens' arrival in London forms part of Gen Doe's latest round of appointments and dismissals which affected several government officials. Mr Givens is meanwhile replaced in Monrovia by Mr Jonathon Taylor.

The new Ambassador accompanied to the Court of St James was by his Minister Counsellor, Mr James H. Stevens; First Secretary, Mr Hannibal L. Grigsby; Second Secretary, Mrs Rose D. Price; Press Counsellor, Mr Jonathan S. Reffell and Attache Ms Hawa Z. Barkon.

Also present to be received by the Queen was Mrs Givens and Mr Ewen Fergusson, British deputy under secretary of state for foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Other appointments made by Gen Doe are: Mr Alfred Curtis, member of the INA for Montserrado County, Mr Scott Toweh, Minister of Agriculture; and Dr George Boley, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications who replaces Minister Toweh. Lt-Col Joseph N. Douglas, former managing director of the Monrovia Township Authority, MTA, becomes superintendent of Sinoe County.

Others appointed were: Oscar J. Quiah, Director General of the Civil Service Agency, CSA, replacing Mrs Nelly Kesselly; Dr Ralph Dothman, Deputy Director General of the CSA, replacing Mr Isaac L. George who goes to the Ministry of Commerce as Deputy Minister; and Mr Jonathon C. Taylor, who up to this appointment served as Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for International Cooperation, replaced Ambassador Willie A. Givens, Liberia's new Ambassador to Great Britain.


Nobody is satisfied with the forms of government that exist in most West African countries presently.

Even in those countries where there is yet no official sanction about discussion of what form of government to aspire to, there is still the acknowledgement that the present situation is unacceptable.

As a result of numerous letters on this subject from readers, we intend to start a column under which the matter can be fully discussed and all the ideas aired and debated.

Whatever your views or ideas send them to The Editor, 68 Mansfield Road, London NW3 2HV

talking drums 1985-06-03 new spate of executions in Ghana - how west african are we west africans