Connect with us

News

Ghana’s President Seeks Stronger Regional Approach To Squash Terrorism3 minutes read

Published

on

President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana has called for a stronger regional approach to fight terrorism in the Sahel and Lake Chand Basin regions.

Akufo-Addo, the Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and government, made the call on Monday during a one-day working visit to the bloc’s Headquarters in Abuja

He said the call to fight terrorism collectively is imperative as surrogates of Boko Haram and al-Qaeda are taking advantage of the poverty in the areas to do more harm.

He said that the fight against terrorism and extremism is one of challenges listed on his priority five point agenda which he hopes to achieve as Chairman of the authority.

Akufo-Addo however noted that attaining this feat requires Member States to intensify efforts to ensure that the Plan of Action to eradicating terrorism in the region is well financed with other commitments.

“The challenges in the areas of democracy, health, security, economy, trade and currency must be addressed in the spirit of genuine cooperation and solidarity, if we are to overcome them, which I am confident we can.

Endemic poverty and widespread disillusionment amongst youth in Africa are not only providing fertile breeding grounds for those who want to cross the Sahara Desert on foot, and the Mediterranean Sea in rickety boats in the hope of finding a better future in Europe, but also for a new generation of terrorists and violent extremists.

This is most worrying, because surrogates of al-Qaeda in the Sahel, and Boko Haram militants, operating around the Lake Chad basin, the two most active terrorist groups in West Africa are exploiting the unacceptable levels of poverty in these areas, in the recruitment and indoctrination of youth.

“Furthermore, the growing number of breakaway terror groups, notably the spread of ethno-linguistic groups, and the porous nature of our borders in addition to our natural vulnerabilities, call for a strong regional approach to contain the growing threats of terrorist and extremist activities,” Akufo-Addo said.

He recalled the Sept. 12 2019 Extraordinary Summit in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso which birthed the 2020-2024 plan of action to eradicate terrorism in ECOWAS Member States.

He said the plan of action was adopted subsequently at the 56th Ordinary Session in Abuja with one billion dollars ear-marked for the financing of the Action Plan.

The Chairman of the Authority said that even though the money may not be enough to fight terrorism, it was important for Member states to take charge and not to be dependent on external sources.

Akufo-Addo said that to effectively fight terrorism and de-radicalisation, Member States need to successfully and rapidly grow their economies to give hope to their citizens, especially the youths, to deter them from joining extremist groups.

“It is extremely important not just for our sense of dignity but the ability to make sure the fight is carried to a logical conclusion.

“De-radicalaization is a necessary part of the work that we have to do to engage and show our young people that there are opportunities other than terrorist activities and that is also going to be a function of how successfully and rapidly we can expand and grow our economies.

“So that that sense of hope that there is a better future ahead can be widely and rapidly adopted,” Akufo-Addo said.

President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou pledged the commitment of the Commission to help the Chairman of the Authority achieve his target priorities.

Brou said in order to find lasting solutions to the challenges confronting the sub-region, discussions have been initiated and activities have been planned within the framework of the ECOWAS vision 2050.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission said the COVID-19 pandemic caused a major slowdown of activities in 2020 and greatly hampered the significant progress made by the various member states.

He, however, welcomed the robust and proactive measures taken by all countries in the region to respond to the challenge.

Featured

Anthony Joshua and Odion Ighalo Weigh in on Violence in Nigeria as Soldiers Open Fire on Protesters

Published

on

Sports stars of Nigerian heritage have taken to social media to condemn the brutal crackdown on protesters in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos and other cities following days of protests in the country.

Since October 8, protesters have been carrying out peaceful demonstrations across the nation and social media calling for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police.

However, the protests assumed a violent dimension last week when thugs attacked peaceful protesters in Lagos and Abuja. And on Tuesday 20 October, the violence escalated with 43 protesters and six policemen reportedly killed. There were also reported cases of arson and looting.

Two-time unified heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua posted on social media that he was praying for peace in the country and doing his best to support victims. The WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion, whose full name is Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua, was born in Watford, England to Nigerian parents.

In a video uploaded on his Twitter handle, he said:

“This is a message to the people of Nigeria. Even though i’m no there with you in the physical, we’ve been making some tangible efforts to try and support your protests on the ground.

“I know it’s getting to a stage where things are heating up and tensions are high, but in my prayers at night, i’m praying for peace and positivity, because i know that the people on ground aren’t trying to be heard for their own benefit. It’s for the benefit of the next generation.

“Me myself, i’ve had to take time to understand the issues that people in Nigeria are facing. Why sometimes i’m silent is because i’ve learnt that my silence can’t be misquoted. So me and my family and my close friends have been trying to do something tangible things and we’re organizing many care packages for the people on the ground. So even if i’m in my training camp and we’re in London, we can support you guys from a distance.

“December the 12th, i’m competing and after that i’m going to try and make some plans to come to Nigeria to meet my friends and family and meet some of the people trying to make long lasting change. But for sure, from London and far and wide, your voices are definitely being heard.

“So keep on pushing, keep on striving. You have my support through and through. My ears and my eyes have been opened. I understand the issues that you guys are facing and for some people what i’m going to do will be enough. And for some people it may not be enough. But together as we hold hands and push for a better change, we all move forward in a positive direction. So keep on pushing. Your voices have definitely landed in my ears. And you definitely have my support.”

It was announced last week that Joshua would make a mandatory title defense against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev on December 12 at the O2 Arena in London.

However, Manchester United and former Nigeria international Odion Ighalo was particularly scathing of the authorities, condemning the violence and urging the UK government, the UN and world leaders to act.

Also speakng in a video posted on his Twitter handle, he said:

“I’m sad and heartbroken and i don’t know where to start from. I’m not the type of guy that talks about politics but i can’t keep quiet anymore about what is going on back home in Nigeria.

“I would say to the Nigerian government, you guys are a shame to the world for killing your own citizens. Sending military to the streets to kill unarmed protesters because they are protesting for their rights is uncalled for.

“Today 20th October 2020, you people will be remembered in history as the first (civilian) government that sent the military into cities to start killing its own citizens.

“I am ashamed of this government. We are tired of you guys and we can’t take this anymore. I’m calling on the UK government, calling on leaders all over the world, to please see what is going on in Nigeria and help us. The government is killing its own citizens. We are calling on you guys and the UN to see to this matter. And i want to call on my brothers and sisters back home to remain safe. Stay indoors and don’t come out because this government are killers and they will keep killing if the world does not talk about this.”

Ighalo posted the video after Manchester United won 2-1 at the Parc des Princes in Paris against Paris Saint-Germain in their opening Group H match of the UEFA Champions League. He was an unused substitute.

In the Lekki area of Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, armed soldiers allegedly shot sporadically at protesters, killing no fewer than seven persons in the process. The soldiers had been deployed to enforce a curfew announced by the Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Many protesters were also said to have sustained bullet wounds as a result of the attack that occurred suddenly after the giant video billboard on a tollgate where the protesters have been demonstrating for days and the streetlights within the area were switched off.

The Nigerian government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired military general, had announced the scrapping of the SARS unit as well as a raft of reforms over a week ago. Officials called for the demonstrations to be suspended to give the authorities time to make good on their pledges. However the move failed as protesters responded that they had no trust or faith in the government.

Around half of Nigeria’s 200 million population is estimated to live in extreme poverty. Unemployment is widespread among the youth who have been reportedly targeted for arbitrary arrests, extortion, abduction, torture and extra-judicial killings by the security forces, especially the much loathed and dreaded SARS.

Africa’s biggest oil producer is currently facing a recession as the fall in crude prices sparked by the coronavirus pandemic has battered government finances creating much social unrest.

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) estimates the Nigerian economy could have lost an estimated N700 billion (over $1.7 billion) to the #EndSARS protests in the last 12 days.

Continue Reading

News

#EndSARS Protests: Nigeria Loses N700 Billion During Demonstrations – LCCI

Published

on

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), says the Nigerian economy could have lost an estimated N700 billion to the #EndSARS protests in the last 12 days. The protest originated about two weeks ago on the issue of police brutality and extrajudicial killings. It has grown into a social crusade against bad governance.

A statement from the President of LCCI, Toki Mabogunje, states on the negative impact of the #EndSARS demonstrations on business activities across the country.

The statement is titled, ‘LCCI press release on the economic implications of EndSARS protest’.

It further explained that “The LCCI appreciates the value of citizens’ engagement and the demand for accountability which the EndSARS protest essentially represents.

“These are in consonance with democratic norms. They also form vital ingredients for good governance.

“Over the past twelve days, economic activities have been crippled in most parts of the country and has been particularly profound in the urban areas.

“The Nigerian economy has suffered an estimated Seven Hundred Billion Naira (₦700 billion) loss in the past twelve days,” Mabogunje adds.

She noted that the #EndSARS demonstrations had been impactful and profound, adding that it had the power of the people and the potency of the energy of the youth to bring about change.

According to the LCCI president, the protests have achieved some significant outcomes and has reawakened the need to reform the shortcomings in Nigeria’s political governance.

She recommended that the protesters dialogue with the government.

This, according to Mobogunje, is necessary to reduce the massive disruptions, blockades and barricades around our major cities and interstate highways.

Mobogunje urged the government to commit to rapid improvement in governance quality and accountability in the police and public sector. And urgently grant audience to the leadership of the #EndSARS to deliberate on the way forward and to agree on an action plan for the delivery of agreed outcomes.

Continue Reading

News

#ENDSARS protest and mental health

Published

on

Continue Reading

Trending