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ECOWAS Troops Suspend Gambia Operation

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  • 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.

INSIDE GAMBIA

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.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

Schools in Lagos to Resume on Monday, Worship Centres to Commence Full Services

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Schools to Resume in Lagos on Monday, Worship Centres Restrictions Eased

The Lagos State Government on Saturday said schools in the state will resume on Monday while the restrictions on worship centres were further eased to allow full services, including daily prayers in mosques and midweek services in churches.

The state also said public and private schools are approved to resume from September 21, 2020. However, only Junior Secondary School 3 and Senior Secondary School 2 pupils in public schools would resume for physical classes.

Schools, Worship centres and Businesses were closed about six months ago to curb the spread of COVID-19 and protect Nigerians before the gradual easing of restrictions commenced a few months ago to cushion the negative effect of COVID-19 on the economy even though there is no cure yet.

According to a statement by Chief Press Secretary, Mr Gboyega Akosile, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu noted that the resumption would allow the JSS 3 pupils to prepare for Basic Education Certificate Examination scheduled for October 12, 2020. While the governor urged those in SSS 2 to use the period to prepare for their transitional exams to SSS 3.

The governor said, “As regards our places of worship, we are now also permitting the mosques to resume their five times a day prayers; and in the case of churches, they are now also permitted to resume their midweek services. We must not forget that the coronavirus pandemic is still very much with us, and we must therefore strive to prioritise the safety of all our children, teachers, parents, and the entire society.”

“It has become necessary to issue clarifications regarding the resumption of schools, in order to clear any confusion that may have arisen since the resumption date was announced. Public Schools will adopt a phased protocol for resumption of physical classes. Students in JSS 3 and SSS 2 in public schools in Lagos are to resume physical classes from September 21.

“In the same vein, all private primary and secondary schools are permitted to resume from September 21. We have strongly advised school owners and managers to put safety first and open in phases similar to the announced schedule for public schools.

“School owners and managers are advised to seriously consider implementing a staggered daily resumption schedule, classes on alternate days during the week, and utilisation of distance learning methods as a complement to physical classes. All pre-primary–nursery, daycare and kindergarten–classes and schools in both public and private schools must remain closed.

“For all other public school classes in primary school and JSS 1, JSS 2, and SSS 1, announcements for resumption will be made as soon as the state government is satisfied that all necessary resumption protocols have been put in place.”

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Edo Election: Governor Obaseki Cries Out, Says ‘They Are Rigging Me Out’

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Governor Obaseki ‘They Are Rigging Me Out’

Godwin Obaseki, the executive governor of Edo State, has cried out that “there is an ongoing deliberate election manipulation in areas where he has strongholds.”

In a statement issued through Crusoe Osagie, the Special Adviser to the Governor, Osagie said “Suddenly, card readers are not working in areas where Governor Godwin Obaseki is very popular.

“Voters are being disenfranchised and we are constrained to say that this is sabotage,” Osagie said in a statement to media on Saturday during the polls.

“Specifically, in Oredo Ward 1, Unit 20 and other places where the Governor is clearly popular, the card readers are not working.

“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should prove to Edo voters that it can conduct a credible election in Edo State.”

Earlier in the day, after casting his vote at polling unit 19, ward 4, Oredo local government, Governor Obaseki, who spoke to the media present, said “I expected that INEC would have prepared better for this election. I waited for one and half hours on the queue before exercising my franchise, it’s a beat disappointing,” he said.

“Giving that this is a sole day election, I expected a better planning for this election. Card readers were very slow and that’s the situation everywhere.”

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1.7 million People Registered to vote in Edo, Says INEC

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INEC Says 1.7 million Voters Registered to vote in Edo

No fewer than 1.72 million persons are eligible to vote in the September 19, Edo governorship polls while 483,796 eligible voters will not participate.

This is according to a document obtained from the Independent National Electoral Commission titled, ‘Delimitation of Edo State’.

The document shows that the identified ineligible voters in Edo failed to collect their Permanent Voter Cards.

The document further showed that as of August 2018 there are 2,210,534 registered voters in the state,

However, only 1,726,738 collected their PVCs.

It also indicated that the election will hold in 18 Local Government Areas, 192 Wards, and 2,627 polling units.

A further breakdown of the registered voters shows that male accounts for 1,159,325 (representing 52 per cent), while 1,051,209 (48 percent) are female.

Similarly, from the total registered voters, the youth (18 – 35 years) account for 50 per cent (1,105,338); Middle Aged (36 – 50 years), 29.1 per cent (643,551); and Elderly (51 – 70 years) has 15.99 per cent (353,508).

Eligible voters classified as the Old (70 years and above) account for 4.89 per cent (108,137).

According to the number of collected PVCs, Oredo zone has 240,197; Ikpoba-Okha, 214,882; Egor, 158,817; Etsako West, 128,188 and Akoko Edo, 115,343.

Further distribution of registered voters in the three senatorial districts of the state shows that Edo South has the highest figure of 1,281,414; the North with 564,122; and Central senatorial district has 364,998.

Edo South has seven council areas, the North has six, while Central has five Local Government Areas.

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