Buhari Challenges Europe, America On Recharge Of Lake Chad

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President Muhammadu Buhari says the greatest investment Europe and America can make in Africa now is to help the continent accomplish inter-basin water transfer to recharge the Lake Chad.

The President said this at the State House, when he hosted the chairman of the African Union Commission, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, on Friday.

According to him, because of climate change, the Lake Chad which has been a source of livelihood to millions of people in the region, has shrunk to about 10 per cent of its original size.

He said, “People who depended on the lake for fishing, farming, animal husbandry, and many others, have been thrown into dire straits. That is one of the reasons youths now dare the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, to seek greener pastures in Europe. But helping to recharge lake chad will help a great deal in curbing irregular migration.”

The president also promised that issues of security, including the influx of small arms from the Sahel, which has worsened the conflict between herders and stagnant farmers will be kept on the front burner.

“At all international fora, we emphasize the matter of Lake Chad. We also talk about the influx of small arms from the Sahel, which worsens the security situation between herders and stagnant farmers. We will keep the issues on the front burners,” he said.

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The AU Commission Chairman on his part commended President Buhari, saying his leadership was good for Nigeria, for AU, and for Africa in general.

He described Nigeria as the engine of Africa, politically, economically and in the areas of peace and security.

Mugabe Tackles West In AU Summit Closing Comments

Robert-Mugabe-AU-SummitThe President of Zimbabwe and African Union Chairman, Robert Mugabe, made Africa’s relations with the west subject of his comments at the closing session of the 25th African Union summit, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

At a press conference on Monday, President  Mugabe warned on the continent’s seemingly blind perception of western countries, and non-governmental organisations, such as the International Criminal Court.

He said those who signed the French treaty now regret their decision.

President Mugabe further stated that the west had continued to take advantage of African countries, urging African countries to break loose from the grip.

The Zimbabwean President is known for his speeches against western influence on African countries.

Fruitful Interactions

According to him, African leaders had had fruitful interactions on the theme of the summit, and on issues of peace and security.

The AU chairman reaffirmed the need to fast track gender parity in all socio-economic and political endeavour.

He also said the union needed to revolutionise the way it conducted its business, in line with international best practices.

“The Heads of State and government here present have collectively adopted and fully endorsed the first 10-year implementation plan of agenda 2063. We have committed ourselves to commence the implementation of the flagship projects to spur economic growth and prosperity in Africa.

“These include enabling and game changing projects among which are the continental free trade area, the high speed train, the African Center for Disease Control and the Pan African University,” President Mugabe stated.

Channels Television’s correspondent at the Summit, Amarachi Ubani, said Mr Mugabe spoke briefly about the leaders’ thoughts on peace and security on the continent, saying that the troubling state of peace took priority, urging for warring parties to dialogue.

The Zimbabwean President condemned acts of terrorism. “The AU has decided to deal with it collectively, as that is the only way it can be effectively done,” he said.

The leaders in the AU commission will assess the implementation of decisions reached in January.

Responding to the questions about the union’s position on the warrant of arrest issued by International Criminal Court (ICC) on the President of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, said the AU was an organisation and not a country, as such it is not a signatory to the ICC or any other international body.

“The ICC has state parties and we are not a state party,” she said.

Mr Al-Bashir had cut short his participation in the 25th Assembly of Heads of State and government of the African Union after a South African court issued a statement, asking him not to leave South Africa until it decides whether he should be handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which have charged him with war crimes and genocide or not.

He left the African Union Summit for Khartoum, flying out of a military base in South Africa’s capital, Pretoria hours before the Pretoria High Court’s ruling.

 

Jega Confident Logistic Challenges Will Be Cut Off During Polls

jegaThe Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has expressed confidence that the decentralisation of distribution of election materials for the 2015 elections would cut off logistic challenges at the forthcoming polls.

Professor Jega said this at a meeting with the former President of Liberia and head of the AU delegation, Professor Amos Sawyer.

Professor Jega told the African Union (AU) election observers in Abuja that this method was not used during the 2011 general elections, hence the late commencement of accreditation and voting at polling units across the country.

The issue of logistics had always posed a major challenge at the polls.

Professor Jega admitted that there were challenges in the methodology of distribution which spiraled into widespread agitations from the electorate.

He added that the electoral body was still growing and would plug all loop holes in future elections.

Jega also urged election officials to ensure that counting of ballot papers after the voting process is done transparently in the presence of local and international observers. He has also warned security personnel against any form of intimidation.

Professor Jega received a letter from the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who promised full support to the nation at this time.

INEC has almost concluded the distribution process nationwide less than 48hours to the polls.

AU Commission Chief’s Tenure Extended Due to Stalemate

The mandate of the Commission Chief of the African Union was extended after the body failed to elect a chief for the seat as it accused a group for “Slow Decision Making”.

AU Commission Chief's Tenure Extended Due to Stalemate

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former South African Minister and ex-wife of South African President Jacob Zuma was pitched against the Incumbent Commission Chairman Jean Ping of Gabon but the latter failed to claim an outright majority for him to be ceclared winner in a four round voting.

After hours of deliberations during which South Africa’s foreign minister said the deputy chairman would take over as interim commission chief, the African Union later said it had decided to extend Ping’s mandate for a further six months until the next summit in Malawi in June.

The commission is the AU secretariat’s top organ and the chair is its public face.

Smaller countries said Zuma’s candidacy broke an unwritten rule that the continent’s dominant states do not contest the leadership.

With the election stalemate, AU decided to extend the current chairman of the commission.

The AU were widely seen in a supportive role to Muammar Gaddafi’s regime as it cracked down on an armed uprising and only recognised the National Transitional Council as Libya’s de facto government long after most Western and Arab nations did.

Africa is currently facing conflicts in different areas and that did not pass the African Union’s attention.

South Africa, which has complained the United Nations needs to pay more attention to the pan-African body, especially when it comes to African crises, had pushed Zuma’s candidacy hard, saying the AU needed the strong leadership she could give it.

South African President Jacob Zuma’s failure to secure a majority for Dlamini-Zuma, after Ping’s much criticised tenure, dealt a blow to South Africa which regards itself as an emerging power championing African causes.