- Yahya Jammeh Must Go!
It will be recalled that an election took place in The Gambia on December 1, 2016, in which the opposition led by Adama Barrow won, thereby defeating the incumbent President Yahya Jammeh. The incumbent accepted the outcome initially, but later changed his mind after one week, went to the Constitutional Court (as of right) to challenge the result of the election and has vowed not to vacate office on January 19, 2017, the handover date.
The Economic Community of West African States sensing the crisis that may likely follow, advised and persuaded Jammeh to step down on the handover date to which he has refused to yield, insisting that he would continue in office. The ECOWAS leaders then threatened to forcefully make Jammeh hand over. President Jammeh reacted by saying that the ECOWAS summit decision was “totally illegal” as it violated the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states. He declared:
“It is in effect a declaration of war and an insult to our Constitution. It is therefore absolutely unacceptable. Let me make it very clear that we are ready to defend the country against any aggression.”
President Jammeh is insisting that there were errors and irregularities in the polls necessitating his going to court to challenge the result. He has ruled this tiny African State for 22 years, and he is still not done. The problem of African states has been that of sit-tight leaders who do not want to vacate office and who see the “throne” as a “birth right”. The most violent and devastating conflicts on the African continent have notably been intra-state in nature: conflict with considerable humanitarian consequences for regional and international organisations.
The end of the Second World War precipitated the creation of the majority of independent states in Africa. Most of the colonial powers, including Britain and France, were weakened and devastated by the war and relinquished the majority of their colonies in Africa. In addition, colonialism became internationally regarded as inappropriate in the post Second World War era.
Africa is made of diverse ethnic, religious and historical backgrounds and colonial territorial boundaries which are obstacles that divide Africa. In addition, 54 independent states that make up Africa are diverse and vast with important ecological, demographic, racial, socio-cultural, ethno-religious and political differences. There are for instance, wide racial and cultural differences between the Maghreb North and sub-Saharan Africa.
There are also striking demographical differences as reflected in the population and sizes of states such as Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria on the one hand, and other micro-states like The Gambia, Lesotho and Swaziland on the other. There is also a vast disparity in resource endowment as illustrated by the mineral-rich states of Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Libya and South Africa as opposed to the resource-poor countries on the continent. Furthermore, there is a huge gulf between the stable and relative prosperous states like Botswana, Cape Verde, Mauritius and Tunisia and economically weak and war-torn countries such as Sierra Leone, Angola, DRC, Liberia, Somalia and Sudan. These differences are in themselves major obstacles to unity in Africa.
Even a sub-regional organisation, like ECOWAS is made up of diverse colonial heritage, like Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone divides. The West Africa sub-region was portrayed by Robert Kaplan as having the potential to become the “real strategic damage” threatening international peace and security.
The ECOWAS Treaty to a very large extent is not as potent as the African Union Constitutive Act. By this, President Jammeh was correct that the decision to intervene in The Gambia by ECOWAS violates the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of a member state. By this, it will be better and neater for this likely crisis to be handled by the AU.
With the failure of the erstwhile Organisation of African Unity Charter to meet the yearnings of Africans, African leaders have to form a new Union. In 1999, African leaders met in Sirte, Libya, to review the OAU Charter. Thereafter, it was agreed that there was a need to draft a new Constitution. The Constitutive Act of the AU was subsequently signed in Lome, Togo on July 11, 2000.The official inauguration of the AU took place in July, 2002 in Durban, South Africa and represented the next level in the evolution of the ideal of Pan-Africanism.
The Constitutive Act of the AU is based on three fundamental normative principles. First, the intention to develop closer collaboration with the many and diverse sub-regional economic communities and security defence systems in the pursuit of continental development, peace and security objectives. Second, to develop a continental collective security framework based on mutual interdependence and ‘dependable expectations’ of peaceful interstate relations. Third, to develop and strengthen the position of the continent in international economic and commercial diplomacy, in particular, to strategically benefit from the advantages of neo-liberal globalisation.
Article 4(h) read in conjunction with four 4(m) of the AU Constitutive Act is a paradigm shift in the international relations and political diplomacy of African states. By Article 4(h) and 4(m), the AU and the ‘right’ to intervene, without consent in a member state in order to ‘restore peace and stability, to ‘prevent war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity’ and to respond to situations that constitute ‘a serious threat to legitimate order; is a novel enactment.It also went on to state that the Union shall function and respond to threat to democratic principle, human rights, the rule of law and good governance. The genie that has been responsible for the inactivity of the OAU in responding to conflicts in Africa has finally been exorcised. Political sovereignty is no longer sacrosanct, and it is now replaced by the right to intervene in member states in situations of state collapse, war crimes, genocide and for human protection purposes.
Internal armed conflicts all over the world and especially in Africa are mostly accomplished by forceful displacement of civilians. This appears like a military and political objective of such wars. Looting, arson and willful destruction of civilian livelihood had become both a means of and an end in such conflicts. In the same vein, rape, sexual violence, genital mutilation and mass murder had become prime war tactics employed with the aim of annihilating group or groups in conflict. From Liberia to Sierra Leone; from Darfur to Congo, Africa has been treated to an orgy of violence and willful destruction of human life and property without restriction. The African Union is conscious of the problems created by the sometimes ‘primitive’ adherence and loyalty to the respect for political sovereignty; hence the norm of humanitarian intervention is enshrined in the Act of the Union. But the real test for the African Union is the translation of this normative principle into action.
The endorsement raises several critical issues. First, the African states, for a variety of reasons, are not and find it difficult to agree on‘what is’ or ‘what constitutes’ ‘humanitarian’ and ‘humanitarian intervention’. Second, the majority of African states, given their own poor record of human rights protection, are wary about the potential use or misuse of a continental right to intervention by dominant states or sub-regional hegemons in pursuit of their own strategic self-interests. Third, the African Union Constitutive Act and the endorsement of a right to humanitarian intervention makes a major contribution to contemporary international relations in that it is fundamentally different from the UN Charter. The UN Charter does not, according to some scholars and diplomats endorse a right to humanitarian intervention, though the weight of customary international laws illustrates that the UN has condoned unilateral humanitarian interventions.
Africa is a continent bordered by conflicts. In the 1990’s, it accounted for more than forty percent of the conflicts around the world, the most on any continent. From year 2000 to 2014, 22 peacekeeping operations by the international community have taken place throughout the world. Out of these, 13 have taken place on Africa soil.
Some African leaders have stayed in power for more than 15 years, thereby becoming dictators oppressing their own peoples leading to civil wars with the resultant effect of peacekeeping. Some examples are, President Teodor Obiang Nguema Mbasago of Equatorial Guinea since 1979, Jose Santos of Angola, since 1979, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe since 1980, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda since 1986. Others are Omar Bashir of Sudan since 1989, Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi since 2005 and Idrissu Deby of Chad since 1990, whose fifth term in office is just began, just to mention a few. Much of African contemporary conflict is intrastate, exacerbated by ethnic and religious tension with generic economic and political underpinning, all as a result of bad governance. The growing interconnecting of the global arena also means that conflicts can have international as well domestic dimensions.
Civil unrest within sovereign states has had dire consequences to African region since decolonisation. The laudable response of the African States, particularly in recent decades, has been a series of interventions and peacekeeping operations through regional organization that are now formalized by treaty. At least in part, these actions fall under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, which is dedicated to regional organization to engage in peacekeeping and enforcement, but the text of this provision places these operation under the Security Council’s Authority.
Unlike the OAU Charter, the AU Constitutive Act allows for interference in the internal affairs of member States in case of unconstitutional changes of government for regional stability. Furthermore, the Act also provides for the participation of African Civil Society actors in the activities of the organization, establishes a Pan-African Parliament, and provides for the Economic and Cultural Commission. One year after the establishment of the new Union, African Heads of State and Government adopted a Protocol relating to the establishment of the Peace and Security Council.
Therefore, Article (4h) and 4(m) are potent weapons that the AU can use to intervene in Gambia. Furthermore, the Article was amended in 2003 by the Protocol on Amendment to the Act to include other serious condition under which the AU could intervene particularly those that included threats to legitimate order (as is been envisaged in Gambia now). In such cases, according to the amendment, the AU was permitted to restore security to any AU member state based on the recommendation of the Peace and Security Council.
With the provisions outlined in various sections of Article 4, Africa has moved away from unqualified respect for state sovereignty to an approach where the duty to protect populations and the right to intervene shapes Africa’s security management agenda. Ethiopian scholar, Deresso, sheds light on the importance of Article 4 with respect to post-cold War African Security needs which he asserts that the new security architecture with Article 4 (h) as its core, is not just a mere commitment to the promotion of peace and security, but it shows Africa’s determination to avoid a repeat of the “Rwanda experience”. He continued:
The article in question not only creates the legal foundation and justification for armed intervention in member states violent conflict, but it also imposes an obligation on Africa’s foremost institution to intervene in such cases in order to prevent the occurrence or stop the perpetration of atrocious intervention crime in Africa.
Since its inauguration, the PSC has made crucial political decision in response to peace and security challenges in Africa, with the mixed result of both short comings and achievements. It should be understood that most of these responses according to Oluwadare, a renowned author, have been in the areas of condemning violence and the use of political and economic sanction against unconstitutional changes of government, particularly the coup d’état in Central African Republic (2003), Guinea Bissau (2003 and 2012), Sao Tome and Principle (2003), Togo (2005), Mouaritania (2005 and 2008).Othersare Guinea (2008) Madagascar (2009) and Niger (2010), the rest are the post-election crisis in Ivory Coast (2010-2011) in which the then President, Laurent Gbogbo is now standing trial before the International Criminal Court and the post–election violence in Kenya (2013). The Council has also been able to authorise peace operations in Burundi, Somalia, Sudan and the Comoros.
Already, the US government sensing the crisis that may follow if Jammeh refuses to hand over, has warned her citizens not to travel to The Gambia for any reason at all. Very soon, other countries in Europe are likely to follow suit because the crisis that may follow may lead to loss of lives and properties, remembering the past experiences in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Kenya.
At present, Nigeria cannot and should not spear heard any intervention in The Gambia. With the economy in recession and the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, this is not the best of time for Nigeria to lead any intervention in The Gambia. Consequences of any civil war are best imagined than experienced. Women, children and the aged one are always the most affected in any crisis situation. The past experiences in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Darfur (Sudan) to mention a few attest to this. It is quite better and safer for the AU to step in now so as to not create humanitarian crisis of in term of refugees and the Internally Displaced Persons. If President Jammeh refuses to be persuaded, he should be forced out.
Jammeh should be persuaded to emulate the hitch free handover of power to the opposition in Nigeria in 2015, and the one that has just taken place in Ghana. He must not be allowed to follow the footsteps of Joseph Kabila of Democratic Republic of Congo DRC and other dictators in the world.
A lecturer at the College of Law, Kwara State University, Malete, is an expert on Conflict Prevention, Management and Peacekeeping in Africa. email@example.com
Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the reopening of its passport application and payment portal.
The assistant comptroller of immigration, Mr Amos Okpu announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
In the statement, Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the service, said the portal became effective for new applications from 12 midnight on Tuesday.
Babandede further said that the portal would allow eligible applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of passports of their choice.
Mr Muhammad Babandede explained that with the reopening of the portal, a new passport application and payment regime had begun.
The statement in full:
“The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Muhammad Babandede MFR, has announced the reopening of the Passport application and payment portal effective 8th June 2021 by 12 midnight to allow eligible Passport applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of Passports of their choice.
The Passport portal was closed following the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 17th of May, 2021to afford the Service the opportunity to clear all backlogs of applications that have piled up across Issuing Centres in the past few months.
With the reopening of the portal, a new Passport application and payment regime have commenced. Under the new Passport regime;
Applications and payments for Passport services shall be made through the Service website www.immigration.gov.ng;
- applicants are expected to visit the portal to apply and upload their support documents for vetting and processing;
- a chat room facility to guide applicants through the application and payment process has been provided on the portal;
- upon successful applications, applicants shall make their online booking interview/enrollment appointment on any day, time and location they consider convenient;
- that the new timeline for Passport production and issuance after a successful enrollment at the selected Issuing Centre shall be six weeks for Fresh applications and three weeks for Re-issue (Renewal applications);
- that no applicant who is yet to make an online application and payment shall be allowed into any of the Passport Issuing Centres for Passport processing;
- applicants will be contacted through email and phone number they provided during application when their Passports are ready;
- a helpline with the number 08021819988 has been provided for feedback mechanism on any challenges.
The Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede MFR wishes to use this medium to call on Nigerians and indeed Passport applicants to avoid patronizing touts as the entire process has been made seamless for effective and efficient service delivery. He warned Passport racketeers to desist from acts capable of undermining the reform efforts to avoid very strict sanctions.
Signed AMOS OKPU MNIPR
ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER OF IMMIGRATION
SERVICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
For: COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION 8TH JUNE, 2021″
INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.
Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).
He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.
He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities
He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.
“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.
“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.
“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.
“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.
He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.
“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”
Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.
According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.
“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.
“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.
“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission
“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.
Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.
Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.
“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.
“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria
“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.
He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.
In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.
Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.
“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.
“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.
“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said
Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.
Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.
Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum
The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, has given the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it.
The committee also issued same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh.
The summon was issued on Monday, after Mr Emefiele and the others failed to appear before the committee.
The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), said they failed to forward letters to that effect.
He said allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be akin to allowing “impersonators.”
“You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives,” an angry Mr Adeogun said.
Moving a motion to give the agencies 72hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), said the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the committee.
Mr Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.
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