- ECOWAS Troops Suspend Gambia Operation
ECOWAS troops halted their march into Gambia Thursday night to give former president Yahya Jammeh, one more last chance to leave Banjul.
Jammeh has up till noon to leave, in the new deadline given by ECOWAS, the West African regional bloc.
If he fails to do so, the troops under Operation Restore Democracy, will continue their march into the capital. There was no resistance by Gambian troops at the border when the West African soldiers entered Thursday.
”Troops in Farafenni refused to fight. They opened border for ECOWAS troops to enter freely. No loss of lives down that end’, a source monitoring the operation said.
Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow took the oath of office on Thursday at Gambia’s embassy in Dakar Senegal, calling for international support from West Africa’s ECOWAS bloc, the African Union and the United Nations.
“This is a day no Gambian will ever forget,” Barrow said after taking the oath, which was administered by the president of Gambia’s bar association.
“Our national flag will now fly high among the most democratic nations of the world.”
The support he canvassed for quickly came in with the United Nations Security Council supporting a resolution backing West Africa’s effort to restore democracy in the small African country.
Thereafter, the regional military force launched an intervention effort.
“We think that up until the last minute there is still a solution through dialogue,” said Marcel de Souza, head of the ECOWAS commission, explaining the decision to suspend the advance to reporters in Dakar late on Thursday.
ECOWAS will send a team led by Guinea’s president, Alpha Conde, and including the presidents of Liberia and Mauritania to Banjul on Friday, de Souza said.
If the mission succeeds, Jammeh will travel to Guinea before choosing a country of exile.
“It’s out of the question that he stays in place. … We propose that he leaves in an honourable manner and with respect,” said de Souza, who added that regional leaders were open to the possibility of an amnesty as part of a deal.
It was unclear what Jammeh’s next move would be. He has so far ignored pressure to step aside and offers of exile.
On Thursday, he still tried to exercise his emasculated power by announcing the dissolution of his cabinet and promised to reconstitute a new one.
In reality, he is now alone, with his government riddled by defections. In the biggest loss yet, Vice President Isatou Njie Saidy, who has held the role since 1997, quit on Wednesday.
Jammeh, in power since a 1994 coup, initially conceded defeat to Barrow following a Dec. 1 election before back-tracking, saying the vote was flawed.
De Souza said a total of 7,000 troops from Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Togo and Mali are involved in the operation. Troops had already entered Gambia from the southeast, southwest and north before they were ordered to stop.
The advance will resume at noon (1200 GMT) on Friday if Jammeh still refused to leave, he said. Barrow will return to Gambia once the operation is over.
The U.N. Security Council on Thursday backed ECOWAS’s efforts to ensure Barrow assumes power, and the United States said it supported the intervention.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a statement pledged “his full support for his (Barrow’s) determination, and ECOWAS’s historic decision, with the unanimous backing of the Security Council, to restore the rule of law in The Gambia so as to honour and respect the will of the Gambian people.”
ECOWAS and the African Union previously said they would recognise Barrow from Thursday, and nations including the United Kingdom and France were quick to congratulate him.
Following Barrow’s swearing in, hundreds of Gambians celebrated in the streets of Banjul, the capital, cautiously at first, and then gradually in larger numbers as they realised the security forces looking on were not going to open fire.
Army chief General Ousman Badjie, who had publicly stood by Jammeh, was seen smiling on the streets wading through a mass of jubilant Banjul residents shouting and dancing.
Cars raced up and down the highway lined with iron-roofed shops in the pro-Barrow Serrekunda district of Banjul, with horns honking and people hanging out the windows.
“The dictator is out,” shouted pharmacist Lamine Jao, 30, as others cheered and whistled in agreement. “It’s just a question of time. We’ll soon flush him out. Believe me.”
During the brief inauguration speech, Barrow asserted his new role as commander and chief of Gambia’s armed services, ordering soldiers to stay calm and remain in their barracks. Those who did not would be considered rebels, he said.
In a statement released late on Thursday, Jammeh announced he was dissolving his government – a 19-member Cabinet, half of whose members had already resigned – and pledged to name a new one “in due course.”
Fearing unrest, thousands of Gambians have fled in recent weeks, the United Nations estimates.
Tour companies, meanwhile, have rushed to evacuate hundreds of European tourists.
Gambia’s long, sandy beaches have made it a prime destination for tourists, but Jammeh, who once vowed to rule for “a billion years,” has earned a reputation for rights abuses and stifling dissent.
Lagos State Moves to Completely Ban Okada, Keke, Introduces Minibuses
The Lagos State Government on Monday announced plans to completely ban the use of motorcycles (okada) and tricycles (Keke) due to rising crime and lawlessness across the state.
The announcement was made after a stakeholders’ meeting held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja.
In the meeting attended by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa; the Chief Judge, Kazeem Alogba; the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, traditional and religious leaders and members of the civil society, among others, the governor said the string of lawlessness daily witnessed from the confrontation between commercial motorcyclists and law enforcement agencies required urgent action.
“Based on all that we have seen and experienced in the past couple of weeks, as well as the increasing threat posed by the activities of commercial motorcycle operators to the safety and security of lives, we will be announcing further changes to the parameters of motorcycle and tricycle operations in the state in the coming days. No society can make progress amid such a haughty display of lawlessness and criminality,” he added.
Sanwo-Olu said from next week, the state would be inaugurating the First and Last Mile buses next week, which would take the routes the motorcycles were plying.
The state Commissioner of Police, Odumosu, raised the alarm over rising security breaches from the menace of okada operations in the state.
He said between January and early this month, 320 commercial motorcycles were impounded in 218 cases of criminal incidents in which 78 suspects were detained and 480 ammunition recovered.
In the same period, the Lagos police boss said Okada accounted for 83 per cent of 385 cases of avoidable fatal vehicular accidents in Lagos.
At the end of the meeting, a 12-point resolution was reached, among which was a ban on Okada “as a means of transportation in the state.”
2023 Voter’s Registration Will Be Online, Biometric To Be Captured Physically- INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday unfolded plans to allow online filing during the continuous voter registration for the 2023 general election.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Mr. Festus Okoye, however, said only the biometric would be captured physically by INEC officials.
But the commission suffered another setback yesterday as arsonists torched its office in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State.
Okoye, during a stakeholders’ meeting on expanding voter access to polling units in Kano yesterday, said: “On June 28, the voter registration exercise for those above 18 years and those who have not registered before will commence with two new innovations. Those versatile with computer can register online and only visit a registration centre to capture their biometrics.”
Okoye stated that the online registration would be introduced to reduce crowd at registration centres in line with COVID-19 protocols.
The commission called on citizens, especially those willing to contest elections, whose voter cards have been defaced, whose names were wrongly spelt or addresses and locations wrongly captured to present themselves for authentication or correction.
INEC also called for valid data of all those with disabilities or physical challenges to be captured during the continuous registration for proper projections ahead of the 2023 general election.
INEC also warned political parties and politicians who have started campaigning to desist from doing so.
Okoye said: “There is a ban on political campaigns which has not been lifted yet. And I find it necessary to draw your attention for you to understand the legal implication of violating this ban.
“I have listened to comments on radio stations, which are capable of heating the polity. Media organisations should avoid providing platforms for such comments. The media should try to curtail such tensions.
“Political parties, politicians and their supporters should understand there is a legal framework for campaigns and it has not commenced yet.”
No Plans To Relocate AFRICOM HQ To Nigeria Or Any Part Of Africa- U.S. Replies Buhari
The United States has said there is no plan to relocate its Africa Command from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any other part of Africa despite the worsening state of insecurity in the region.
The US gave the response barely two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari appealed to the US government to consider relocating AFRICOM to Africa to assist Nigeria and other adjoining countries to combat worsening terrorism, banditry and other security crises.
The President made the plea in a virtual meeting with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, on April 27.
Germany-based Africa Command (AFRICOM) is the US military headquarters that oversees its operations in Africa.
Buhari’s request followed a series of recent military casualties in Nigeria’s decade-long fight against Boko Haram terrorists, fresh expansion of the insurgents’ bases to Niger and Nasarawa States, and heavy waves of abductions and killings by bandits in the North.
Buhari said, “The security challenges in Nigeria remain of great concern to us and impacted more negatively, by existing complex negative pressures in the Sahel, Central and West Africa, as well as the Lake Chad Region.
“Compounded as the situation remains, Nigeria and her security forces remain resolutely committed to containing them and addressing their root causes.
“The support of important and strategic partners like the United States cannot be overstated as the consequences of insecurity will affect all nations, hence the imperative for concerted cooperation and collaboration of all nations to overcome these challenges.
“In this connection, and considering the growing security challenges in West and Central Africa, Gulf of Guinea, Lake Chad region and the Sahel, weighing heavily on Africa, it underscores the need for the United States to consider relocating AFRICOM headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to Africa and near the Theatre of Operation.”
However, the US government on Thursday ruled out any plan to relocate AFRICOM from its current base in Germany to Nigeria or any part of Africa.
According to the United States Department of Defence’ Pentagon, previous studies have shown that the cost of relocating AFRICOM from Germany to Africa is very huge.
In an emailed response to The PUNCH, the Pentagon said although it would continue to value Nigeria and other countries in Africa as important partners, the American government would not consider relocating AFRICOM to any part of the African continent at the moment.
This newspaper had asked if the US would consider Nigeria’s request to relocate AFRICOM to the continent.
“It would be inappropriate to speculate on any future actions. However, at this time, moving this headquarters (AFRICOM HQ) to Africa is not part of any plans, but USAFRICOM’s commitment to their mission, our African and other partners, remains as strong today as when we launched this command more than a decade ago,” US Pentagon spokesperson, Ms. Cindi King, said.
King also ruled out any plan to consider Buhari’s request in an ongoing global US defence review.
She said, “Although there is an ongoing Global Posture Review, the relocation of Combatant Command headquarters is outside the scope of its assessment. In the case of AFRICOM, previous studies have concluded that the cost associated with the relocation of this headquarters is significant and likely to incur the expense of other engagement opportunities and activities that more directly benefit our valued African partners.
“We greatly value the partnership with Nigeria and appreciate President Buhari’s recognition of the United States’ positive contribution to African peace and security, as well as other regional partners that have made similar past pronouncements. The United States remains committed to continuing our close partnership with African countries and organisations to promote security and stability.”
It’s ‘near impossible’ for America to accept Buhari’s invitation –Campbell, ex-US ambassador
Meanwhile, a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has listed reasons why it is “unlikely or near impossible” for the US government to relocate AFRICOM from Stuttgart in Germany to Nigeria or any part of the continent.
He said aside from the fact that the cost of doing so is very huge, the Nigerian military had proved to be a difficult partner for the US over the years.
News4 weeks ago
COVID-19: Nirsal Microfinance Bank (NMFB) Loan – Covid19.nmfb.com.ng
Billionaire Watch1 week ago
Ethereum Co-Founder Becomes The Youngest Crypto Billionaire As ETH Hits $3K
News4 weeks ago
Covid19.nmfb.com.ng: How to Check Nirsal COVID-19 Loan Status
Crude Oil4 weeks ago
Oil Rises on Drawdown in U.S. Oil Stocks, OPEC Demand Outlook
Cryptocurrency3 weeks ago
Electronics Retailer Newegg now Accepts Dogecoin As Payment
News2 weeks ago
FG Declares Monday, May 3rd Public Holiday To Celebrate Workers Day
Appointments7 days ago
Buhari Suspends Hadiza Bala Usman as MD of NPA, Appoints Koko
Brands2 weeks ago
Netflix Partners Ikorodu Bois on Oscars Film Brand Campaign