Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

People, Places and Events


Vetting Committee Chairman before Public Tribunal

Te former chairman of the Citizens Vetting Committee (CVC) and currently of the PNDC headquarters at Gondar Barracks, Major Kwabena Adutu, is to be prosecuted before the Public Tribunal with a two others. They are Cecilia Adu-Gyamfi of Hope Mercantile Stores and Ebenezer Narh Tetteh of Dzange Shipping.

The development follows government acceptance of the recommendations of the National Investigations Committee at the end of its investigations into a case in which two containers belonging to Moses Ahiabu of Man Shipping Agency which had been confiscated to the state were mysteriously moved from the Tema harbour and ended in the shop of Ramesh Kumah Jaisingh, Indian businessman.

An official release in Accra said that the investigations identified Major Adutu, Cecilia Adu-Gyamfi, also known as Cecilia Akwetey, and Ebenezer Narh Tetteh as the persons who took away the containers without the discharge of tax liabilities.

According to the NIC report, some time in March, 1985, Major Adutu, who was a member of the special Task Force on containers which was set up to decongest the Tema Harbour, falsely informed the customs officials at the Container Depot at the case involving Moses Ahibu had been disposed of by the Public Tribunal and the Customs duties on the goods paid the Tribunal.

The goods were therefore to be cleared by the Manager of Dzange Shipping Agency. When the Manager, Ebenezer Narh Tetteh, and Cecilia Adu-Gyamfi attempted to take the goods out of the Tema Harbour, the customs officials at the harbour gate intercepted them on the grounds that its owner, Moses Ahiabu was in jail.

However, Major Adutu intervened and had the goods released. Duties on the goods which were not paid amounted to C14,745,663.50.

After information about the smuggled goods leaked out, however, Major Adutu paid the duties assessed on the goods, and a deposit of C1,349,998 was paid in the name Cecilia Adu-Gyamfi.

In the course of investigations, Major Adutu kept Ebenezer Narh in hiding whilst he arranged for the duties to be calculated and the deposit paid. He also arranged to backdate a letter which ostensibly would have legitimized the transaction. Major Adutu knew all along that the conntainers were confiscated, yet he played an active role in having them smuggled out.

Ghanaians told to go home

Ghana has withdrawn its ambassador from Ivory Coast after anti-Ghanaian rioting there sparked by crowd violence at a football match in Kumasi between the two countries. On arrival in Accra the envoy, Col. Prah, called for Ghanaians in Ivory Coast, who are believed to number some 300,000, to be brought home as quickly as possible. Col. Prah said he had visited police stations where about 15,000 Ghanaians are being kept and many of them are reported to have lost all their possessions.

The attacks on the Ghanaians were sparked by accounts that two Ivorians had died in the violence that followed the football match between the Ivory Coast national team and Ghana's Black Stars in Kumasi. Even though the deaths have been officially denied in Abidjan, press reports on the match indicated that the Ghanaian fans who saw their national team being pushed out of the African Cup of Nations series by the Ivorian team did indeed indulge in violence after their plea to the Mauretanian referee to show sympathy with the Black Stars had not been heeded.

Their argument was that since Ghana has in the past not been lucky with referees they expected referee Sylla of Mauretania this time to show sympathy for the Black Stars. But when they realised that the match was getting to an end with the Black Stars still trailing the Ivorians, they started throwing missiles at the match officials on the field.

Some of these however hit the Ivorian supporters who were in Kumasi in their numbers to cheer the team, and resulted in an uncontrolled situation where everybody ran for dear life.

The match ended nil-nil but the Elephants qualified for the next stage of the competition on account of their 2-0 victory in the first match in Abidjan.

200 wounded return home

Reports from the Western Region speak of the arrival of about 200 Ghanaians from the Ivory Coast following looting and harassment by Ivorian nationals and gendarmes. Most of the returnees, with wounds, are being treated by port health officials at Jaway Wharf with assistance from medical personnel and officials of the immigration department and the Half Assini district mobilisation programme.

Sympathetic members of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union have offered to transport them to Takoradi, Accra, Kumasi and other destinations at very moderate fares.

Investment code

A member of the PNDC, Mr. P.V. Obeng, has emphasised that the new investment code is a means of mobilising technology and capital resources to harness and transform them into wealth that would supplement the country's socio-economic development

solution to Ghana's economic problem Mr Obeng, who was speaking at the inauguration of the Tema branch of the Ghana-Britain Students Friendship Association explained that the code is a package on incentive compiled with a view to make the country competitive in the reception of foreign investment resources,

Speaking on the topic, "Is the investment code the only solution to Ghana's problems?", Mr Obeng, who is also the chairman of the Committee of Secretaries, Isaid for the code to become a means of resuscitating the country's economy depends on the understanding as to what it stands for.

Assurance on rural banks

The Bank of Ghana has assured customers of rural banks of the bank's ability to repay all depositors monies in the event they want to withdraw their deposits. This is because all rural banks in the country have been insured by the Bank of Ghana. This assurance was given by Mr Anthony A. Gozo, manager of the Bank of Ghana and representative of the Biriwa Rural Bank when he officially opened the fourth agency of the bank at Nankesido in Saltpond.

Mr Gozo said gone were the days when monies were buried under pillows, mattres- ses and even in the ground by elders where- by in times of need relatives could not lay their hands on money to help the needy in the family.

He advised that by saving with the banks it would fetch them more dividends for development projects in their areas.

More students leave for Cuba

A further 142 Ghanaian children have left for Havana to attend secondary schools under Cuban Government Scholarships. The children, 117 boys and 24 girls between the ages of 12 and 15 will be taking the places of some of the 600 students already in Cuba who are moving into pre- university institutions.

Akim Kotoku meeting

Members of the Akim Kotoku Association in London are invited to a general meeting on Sunday, September 22 at the MARS House Lecture Hall, 37A Clerkenwell Green, EC1. The meeting starts at 2pm.

Road traffic signs

The managing director of King of Kings Automobile services, Mr William Azaumah Djima, has called for the re-erection of road traffic signs on the country's roads to improve safety. Missing signs are often the cause of innumerable accidents and loss of lives.

In a statement issued to the press in Accra, Mr Djima, a mechanic by profession, recalled that in the past road traffic signs were conspicuously displayed along country's roads to serve as check, reminder and guide to motorists and other road users. This, he noted, helped in minimizing bad accidents.

Regretting that there had not been effective checks on road offenders. Mr Djima urged traffic officers to step up their operations against over-speeding and overcrowding to avoid accidents and damages to vehicles.


Momoh will lead 'civilian government'

Teneral Joseph Momoh, the sole candidate the proposed presidential elections scheduled to take place on October 1 has stated that he will preside over a civilian government and not a military regime. In a speech addressed to the soldiers of a military barracks in Lungi, Mr Momoh mentioned for the first time that the government which he will lead will be constituted by civilians elected in accordance with the constitution. General Momoh, who is 48 and the present Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, was recently designated as the sole candidate of the only party, the All People's Congress (ACP).

Mr Momoh said that his election was due to his loyalty and the aid given by his military colleagues. He added that soldiers are charged with a certain responsibility facing the nation, and said that they must play an important role as a guiding force in the development of the country. For political observers in Freetown, the fact that General Momoh emphasised that he will lead a civilian government after the elections is a means of allaying the people's fears

Japanese food aid

An exchange of notes under which the Government of Japan extends to the Government of Sierra Leone a grant of 200m Japanese yen, approximately 0.87m dollars, in order to purchase rice under the Japanese food aid programme has been signed in Freetown.

This is the seventh grant Sierra Leone has benefited from Japan in the area of food aid. Since 1979, Japan has extended six grants amounting to more than 1.8bn yen, equivalent to more than 5.8m dollars.

Chinese grain supplies

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adbul Karim Koroma, has concluded an agreement with the Chinese Ambassador aimed at further strengthening the existing friendly economic and technical co- operation between the two countries.

Under the agreement the Chinese Government will provide Sierra Leone with 3,000t of maize to be delivered in two shipments each of 1,500t in the fiscal years 1985-86 and 1986-87. The proceeds from the sale of the grain covered by the present arrangement will be utilised to defray local expenses for various projects covered by Sino-Sierra Leone bilateral cooperation projects.


Plans for animal disease control

The Nairobi-based OAU Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources has drawn up a programme for tsetse and trypano- somiasis control in 37 African countries. The five-year programme will cost a total of over 3,600,000 US dollars and it is expected that the funds will be forthcoming from interested donors and that the OAU will contribute.

The programme is part of OAU efforts to increase food production in Africa under the Lagos Plan of Action. It is estimated that the programme could result in additional meat production of 1,500,000 t a year, worth 750,000,000 US dollars.

Trypanosomiasis is a parasitic disease that is transmitted by tsetse flies. It affects both man and animals. It is prevalent in 37 African countries and causes serious losses in livestock. It is the most impediment to animal husbandry in many countries of tropical Africa.

Of the estimated 160,000,000 head of cattle in Africa, 73% are in the arid, semi- arid and highland zones, which are largely free from tsetse infestation. The humid and sub-humid zones, in spite of their vast ex- tent, account for only 17% of the livestock population. The area of the tsetse-infested zone which could be used for livestock is estimated to be 7,000,000 sq km, with a potential carrying capacity of 140,000,000 Bottle Gen. Samuel Doe


Unity Party

The Unity Party has expressed concern over the alleged arrest of 10 of their supporters. by local authorities in Voinjama, Lofa county. In a letter addressed to Internal Affairs Minister, Col Edward Sackor, the Unity Party stressed that the attitude of local authorities of Lofa and other counties are serving as a death blow to the serious effort of the Head of State, Gen Samuel Doe and members of the interim national assembly to return the country to civilian rule.

The Unity Party appealed to Minister Sackor to again emphasise to all local government authorities of this country that the Unity Party is a full-fledged political party and as such cannot continue to accept such maltreatment from their hands.

Election deadline

September 12 was the deadline for all political parties to submit the names of their nominees and candidates who will be contesting in the forthcoming general election on 15 October.

Presenting his party's probated political documents to the special elections commission, Secom, the chairman of the Liberia Action Party, LAP, Counselor Tuan Wreh serious appealed to Secom to petition the Government of Liberia to again extend the general election day from 15 October to 1 November instead, adding it would be within the scope of the said approved timetable which acknowledges 5 January next year a the date for the legislature to convene for organisations purposes and 6 January as the inauguration day and transfer of power to the Second Republic. But in a reply to the recommendation Chairman Harmon said it is difficult at this moment to make any change in the schedule as the commission was already behind.

Minister denies existence of political prisoners

The Government-owned newspaper, the New Liberian, has reported that the Minister of Justice, Jenkins Scott, has denied allegations that Liberia held political prisoners in jail. The paper quoted the minister as saying citizens being detained were either convicted or arrested for criminal offences.

Reacting to recent appeals from local and international communities for the release of caged political prisoners in Liberia, Minister Scott said these allegations were cleary intended to create confusion and stifle the present electoral process.

Minister Scott is further quoted by the Liberian as saying that politicians under detention were not jailed for expressing their views but for making unsubstantiated, derogatory statements against the Liberian government.

Loan from Denmark

A visiting Danish delegation and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs have signed a memorandum of understanding for 10m US dollars for agricultural development and water supply in Liberia. Under the terms of the memorandum, Danish delegation will recommend to its government to loan Liberia an additional million dollars for the processing of rice seeds, construction of a rice storage plant for the Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation.

Part of the amount would also be used to nd the Danish-Liberian rural water supply project. The memorandum of understanding was signed following a joint review of two projects financed under the earlier loan by the Danish Government to Liberia.


New state financial fund

An autonomous sinking fund has been created to work out prospects for state financial undertakings. The Caisse Autonome d'Amortissement, the Autonomous Sinking Fund, placed under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance, will do research, study, and negotiate the country's internal and external funding.

It will manage all state credits and debits accruing from state financial lending and borrowing. The fund will provide basic unselling on the elaboration of the tion's indebtedness policy as well as present the government in monetary and financial markets.

The decree announcing the creation of the fund says its management organs will include an administration council, a general inspectorate, and financial inspectors


New 22 member cabinet formed

President Babangida has formed a new 22 member Cabinet, twelve of whom are military officers. The most significant appointment is that of Dr Kalu Kalu as Minister of Finance. He was a former economist with the World Bank and supports accepting conditions, including the devaluation of the naira as laid down by the International Monetary Fund, for a $2.2 billion (£1.8 billion) loan.

Talks with the IMF have stalled for two years because the ousted Buhari administration refused to accept the conditions.

The new Foreign Minister is Dr Bolaji Akinyemi, a former director of the Nigerian Institute for International Affairs.

Babangida holds consultations

President Ibrahim Babangida has held private talks with some members of the Armed Forces Ruling Council at Dodan Barracks. They included the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Maj-General Mammab Vatsa and the General Officer Commanding Third Army Division, Brig Joshua Dogonyaro.

Political fugitives can return

All Nigerian political fugitives, including the former Chief of Staff of the defunct Buhari administration, Maj-Gen. Tunde Idiagbon, are now free to come home. A statement by the public relations department Dodan Barracks, however, warned that those who have skeletons in their cupboards would be made to answer for them. Another report said the Armed Forces Ruling Council, AFRC, the nation's highest ruling body, was expected to meet in Lagos last Thursday. The meeting, which will be presided over by President Ibrahim Babangida was expected to deliberate on a number of vital issues. It would be the first since the change of leadership.

Idiagbon requests permission to return home

The former Chief of Staff Supreme Headquartes, Maj-Gen Tunde Idiagbon has written to the Federal Military Government to pledge his support and ask for permission to return home. The Chief of Staff, Maj-Gen Sanni Abacha told airport correspondents that it was not yet time to respond to this request.

Warning to journalists

Nigerian journalists have been warned to exercise restraint while enjoying their regained freedom. The Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, who gave the warning, advised journalists to alway cross-check their facts before publication He reiterated the intention of the present military Government to run an open administration. Commodore Ukiwe said that the State Governments, the federal ministries and parastatals should also follow the Government's example in running an open system.

AFRC denies suspension of tribunals

The Federal Government says it has not directed the special military tribunals to suspend their sittings and adjourn case before them. A Cabinet Office statement in Lagos therefore described as false a report published by a section of the press to this effect.

According to the statement, the tribunal are to continue to perform the function assigned to them in line with the tradition of the decree establishing them. Commissions of inquiry are also to continue with their assignments in a like manner.

Shun IMF loan

The Federal Government has been urged to shun the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan in view of its negative economic effects on the nation.

A one-time Federal Commissioner for Labour, Major-General Henry Adefowope (rtd.) gave this advice in Lagos in a Radio Lagos current affairs personality programme "The Newsmaker".

Instead of taking the loan, he said temporary, stiff economic measures capable of bearing good results should be introduced and supported by a sound public enlightenment campaign to enhance the understanding and support of Nigeria in the quest of attaining a sound economy.

Dr. Adafowope explained that the removal of petroleum subsidy which the loan demanded would hurt the economy.

Doctors write to Babangida

Doctors who fled the country when the ousted Buhari regime wielded its big stick against the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), have written to President Ibrahim Babangida.

The letter, in the form of a telegram sent from London, congratulated the new president and members of the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC), for sweeping the Buhari regime out of power. They noted that some of the members of the AFRC were aware of what the Nigerian doctors were fighting for and expressed the hope that the demise of the Buhari administration would bring a change in the health sector.

The exiled doctors offered their services to the new administration but hinted that they wanted a pronouncement by the new regime on their fate before returning to the country.

Steer clear of politics

Ex-politicians, including those recently released from detention, must steer clear of politics since it still remains banned.

Rather, the ex-politicians should offer meaningful advice to the government to help the nation achieve peace, stability and progress.

Speaking on Radio Nigeria's programme Behind The Headlines, in Lagos, a legal practitioner Alhaji Adamu Waziri, and a politician, Chief Akintunde Rotimi, warned ex-politicians "not to embark on weeks. any activity which might disrupt the government's set objectivity."

According to Chief Rotimi, the release of detainees by the new administration won the mass support it needed for the execution of its policies, adding: "The ex-politicians must not do anything to abuse the good gesture of the government."

Artistes plead for Fela

An appeal seeking the release of, and state pardon for the jailed musician, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, has been made by a US-based anti-apartheid group of recording artists and producers to the Federal Military Government.

In a statement by the co-producer of Sun City Record Project on behalf of the group, Mr Steven van Zandt said such a magnanimous move would enable the 'esteemed musician' currently serving a five-year jail term to participate in the recording of a new record aimed at waging a song war against the racist Botha Government in South Africa.

In a renewed appeal to Babangida's government, explained that it was emulating 'We Are The World' group which recorded a hit album in aid of famine victims in some President the group parts of Africa.

Mr van Zandt said that Fela had been selected to appear with other top musicians from parts of the world including Soweto, in view of his criticism of apartheid through his music and Nigeria's effort to ensure equality in Namibia and troubled South Africa.

Review of detentions

A special security committee has been constituted in Rivers State to review the cases of detainees in various prisons in the state. The committee is headed by an assistant commissioner of police in charge of the state CID, Mr P.U. Udoh.

Other members include Captain Frederick Achichi of the Nigerian Army, Lt. Commander F.P. Okoli (Nigerian Navy), Flight Lt. S.S. Magani (Nigeria Air Force) and Mr R. Abbey, chief super- intendent Nigerian Security Organisation (NSO).

Announcing this in Port Harcourt, the state governor, Police Commissioner Fidelis Oyakhilome said the committee was set up in strict compliance with the directives of the military administration to review the cases of all detainees in various prisons throughout the country.

This, the governor said, is with a view to releasing persons against whom no proper charges have been established, so as to restore the principle of human rights.

The committee which is to commence work immediately is to submit its recommendation to the governor within two weeks.

Message to Saudi authorities

The Federal Military Government reaffirmed its commitment to enhance friendly relations between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. This was contained in a message sent to the Saudi authorities by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Maj-Gen Ibrahim Babangida.

A member of the Armed Forces Ruling Council, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Nasko, who led the delegation bearing the message, told newsmen at Murtala Mohammed airport that the message had nothing to do with the deposed Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, Maj-Gen Tunde Idiagbon, now residing in Saudi Arabia.

British Foreign Secretary ends visit

The British Foreign Secretary, Sir Geoffrey Howe has paid a two-day visit to Nigeria in fulfilment of an invitation that was originally extended by Dr Ibrahim Gambari, Foreign Minister in the ousted regime.

He was received on behalf of the federal government by a member of the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC), Aif Commodore Lawrence Koinyan.

The visit was made to underscore Britain's desire to improve relations with Lagos after the strain caused by the Dikko kidnap attempt by the Nigerian authorities. Nigeria is Britain's biggest trading partner in Black Africa. British press reports indicated that Geoffrey Howe used the visit to highlight plight of two Britons accused by Nigerian authorities of conspiring to steal an aircraft.

In talks with Air Commodore Koing and at a meeting with President Babangida Sir Geoffrey expressed the hope that the trial would be completed as quickly and equitably as possible.

British journalists escape arrest

Two British TV journalists and their crew who tried to film the trial of two Scottish engineers in Lagos were saved from arrest by the presiding judge who ordered them to hand over their film. Judge Ajam-Oshodi shouted at the diplomatic editors John Simpson of BBC and Michael Brumson of ITN, 'Have you no respect for my court? Who gave permission to enter?"

In those circumstances it appeared the judge would order the arrest of journalists and their crew but he instead ordered them to hand over their film.


President's plane held in Switzerland

President Omar Bongo's personal plan being kept in Zurich by the Swiss local authorities at the request of an American creditor. The DC8 arrived in Zurich a few days ago for an overhaul by the Ba company, an affiliate of Swissair. The creditor, who has not been named, asked Swissair not to release the plane until Bongo had settled his debts. A Swissair spokesman said the airline H Libreville, suspended flights to Gabonese capital, in case Mr Bong government retaliated by seizing a Sw plane.


Meeting of African Nationals

The Confederation of African Nation (CAN) is holding its next meeting at 5pm Saturday, September 14. The venue for the meeting is Camden Town Hall, Judd Street London W1.

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