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Ivory Coast Gives Passports To Former President, Gbagbo



Former Ivorian President, Laurent Gbagbo has been granted passports by the country, months after his acquittal by the International Criminal Court for committing war crimes.

Gbagbo, who has been on exile in Belgium was given his passports as part of current President, Alassane Ouatara’s conciliatory strategies.

Ouattara’s third term Presidential quest and victory caused an uproar with Gbagbo seeking to come home and contest but wasn’t granted a passport.

Gbagbo also championed the call for the boycotting of the elections which was rejected by several other candidates in the country.

The former President led Ivory Coast for 11 years between 2000 and 2011 and was removed from office following months of riot over his refusal to leave. His successor Ouattara granted him diplomatic and regular passports as part of his plans to bring his oppositions closer.

Read: Gbagbo Freed In Belgium After ICC Approval

Gbagbo’s candidate, Habiba Toure made the confirmation of the gesture of the Ivorian government on Friday.

Toure described the move as a means of appeasement.

Recall that French President, Emmanuel Macron had advised Ouattara to rally his political opposition, so they can work together.

Gbagbo, 75, was tried at the International Criminal Court, The Hague over the killing of thousands of people during the 2011 riots. He was acquitted in 2019 but Prosecution has filed an appeal against the judgement.

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West Africa News

Nigerian Police Arrest 10-year-old Boy, Teenager over Kidnap, Sale of Toddler



The Police in Anambra State, southeast Nigeria have arrested a 10 year-old, Chinedu Adom, over the abduction and sale of a two-year old boy, Testimony Azubuike.

Adom’s accomplice, 19-year-old Chinecherem Odurukwe, was also arrested.

CSP Haruna Mohammed, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, in a statement in Awka on Sunday, said the victim was lured with biscuits in a market at Ihiala, Ihiala Local Government Area of the state on January 22.

“On January 22, at about 5pm, one Charity Azubuike of Afam Ezialla Village, Ihiala reported at the Ihiala Police Station that her two-year old son got missing inside the market and that all efforts to locate him proved abortive.

“Following the report, police detectives commenced investigations and on January 23, the two suspects were arrested in Imo State, in collaboration with Imo state Police Command,” Mohammed said.

The spokesman said Odurukwe from Ogboro Isiala village Ihiala, habitually used the ten year-old suspect to lure children, using biscuits either in the markets, schools or other public places.

According to him, the principal suspect and the 10 year-old boy convey their victims to Imo, where they sell each child for a paltry sum of N100,000 only.

He said that the suspects have voluntarily confessed to the crime, while the rescued child had been reunited with his parents in good health.

“The case is under investigation and effort is ongoing to apprehend other accomplices in order to bring them to justice”, Mohammed said.

He urged parents and guardians to always monitor, and caution their children against collecting items from or going with strangers.

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Pirates Kill One, Abduct 15 Sailors in the Gulf of Guinea



Nigerian Pirates

Fifteen sailors were abducted by pirates from a Turkish container ship – M/V Mozart, reports said on Sunday.

A sailor was killed in the attack, which occurred on Saturday and has been described as brazen and violent.

Accounts from crew, family members and security sources described a sophisticated and well-orchestrated attack in which armed pirates boarded the ship and breached its protective citadel, possibly with explosives.

Three sailors remain on the Mozart, which was approaching Gabon’s Port Gentil on Sunday and expected to dock.

The Liberian-flagged vessel was headed to Cape Town from Lagos when it was attacked 160 kilometres off Sao Tome island on Saturday.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s office said on Sunday he was orchestrating officials in the “rescue of kidnapped ship personnel”.

Erdogan spoke twice by phone with the ship’s fourth captain, Furkan Yaren, who remained aboard after the attack, his office said.

Yaren reportedly claimed he had been “cruising blindly” toward Gabon with damage to the ship’s controls and only the radar working. The pirates beat crew members and left him with an injured leg while another still aboard the ship had shrapnel wounds.

Turkey’s foreign ministry said the pirates had not made any contact with Ankara.

Seyit Kaya, brother of the ship’s kidnapped 42-year-old captain Mustafa Kaya, a father of two, said in an interview he awaited details from the ship’s owner on any possible ransom.

“Since that area is where many attacks take place, they take cautions against pirates,” said Kaya, who is also a sailor.

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Nigerian Universities Non-Academic Staff Declare Nationwide Strike



Workers, under the aegis of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non Academic Staff Union of Universities and Educational Institutions (NASU), have issued an ultimatum to the Federal Government to either meet their demands or they embark on a strike action from February 5, 2021.

The non-academic staff said the strike has become inevitable following the Nigerian government non-implementation of a prior agreement.

Peters Adeyemi, NASU General Secretary, confirmed the strike in a joint news conference by the leadership of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the unions on Friday in Abuja.

Adeyemi said that JAC has given the Federal Government up to Feb. 5, to address its demands or face an indefinite industrial action.

“In line with the resolution of our members nationwide, that the leadership of the Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU hereby resolved that members of NASU and SSANU shall embark on an indefinite.

“This is comprehensive and a total strike with effect from midnight of Friday, February 5, 2021.

“That the two weeks’ notice, effective from today, January 22 is hereby given to government and relevant stakeholders of this development,’’ he said.

Adeyemi said that demands of the unions include; inconsistencies in implementation of the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS), non-payment of earned allowances and non-payment of arrears of national minimum wage.

He said others were delay in renegotiation of FG/NASU and SSANU 2009 agreement, non-payment of retirement benefits of outgone members, neglect and poor funding of state universities.

He also noted that the unions were aggrieved over government’s failure to honour the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on Oct. 20, 2020.

The union scribe added that out of the seven issues, only one has been partially resolved while the other six have not been attended to by government, three months after the MoU was signed.

He however, expressed dismay over the way and manner in which the N40 billion released by government as Earned Allowances was disbursed to the advantage of the academic staff.

“Our stand is that sharing money based on unions in the universities by the Federal Ministry of Education should stop.

“Our stand is that Federal Government must halt the release of funds for Earned Allowances until the outcome of the forensic audit conducted on the previous payments,” he said.

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