Ebola Still A Scare For West African Countries

Ebola patient Held By health workersThe Ebola Virus Disease has continued to claim lives in few West African countries and unfortunately, we are dealing with a disease more deadly than the aids virus.

The crisis has been described as a war and this underscores the expediency with which scientists across the world are trying to discover a solution – a pill, capsule or anything that could be described as a cure for the disease.

But there is one sure way of curbing the virus, and that is; not getting infected at all!

Doctors have emphasised the need for greater caution paid to cleanliness, both personal hygiene, and surroundings, and the non-consumption of certain meats that may be harbouring the virus.

Different countries around the world are taking measures to identify and contain the spread of the disease.

Apart from screening at the airports, countries are now adopting a non-entry policy for countries with recorded cases of the Ebola Virus.

International experts say the shutting of borders against countries such as Nigeria, has grave consequences, which could hinder the resumption of normal relations between them.

Professor Bolaji Akinyemi has just finished his assignment at the national conference in Abuja, but he expressed his thoughts on the issue, in a phone conversation.

“It is an indictment in their so called neighbourliness and friendship with Nigeria.

“Borders are so wide and open that you can only monitor the official entry points.

“Shutting borders is an act of hostility which is so unnecessary. It is an anti-friendly neighbourliness that Nigeria should frown at.

“Any country that closes border should feel the negative repercussion of such an action. The countries should be declared a hostile country which means they will not benefit anything from Nigeria when the Ebola issue is over,” he said.

On Monday, a British physician that the United Nations has appointed to coordinate the global response to the crisis, David Nabarro, was in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown for the fifth day of a tour of the region and he said that the halting of flights to countries where cases of Ebola has been recorded was affecting efforts to tackle the disease.

“The effort to defeat Ebola is not a battle but a war which requires everybody working together, hard and effectively,” he told a news conference.

“I hope it will be done in six months but we have to do it until it is completed.”

Nabarro said airlines halting flights to and from the countries that have been afflicted by the outbreak in West Africa were making the UN’s efforts “a whole lot harder”.

The Ebola Virus Disease has claimed at least 1,400 persons since it broke out in February this year.

Iraq Crisis: IS Is Beyond Just A Terrorist Group – US

IS_IraqThe Islamic state militants in Iraq are believed to have been defeated over the weekend while they tried to take over a major oil refinery in Iraq.

The Baiji refinery, north of the country, has been the site of several battles between Iraqi forces and militants, since the offensive began.

A few days ago, the United States said the militants were more dangerous to America than anything else and poses a threat to every interest, of the united states in Iraq or elsewhere.

US Defence Secretary, Chuck Hagel, told journalists last week, that the IS militants were as sophisticated and well-funded as any group the US had ever seen while chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, said the group could pose a direct threat to the west.

“The sophistication, technology, money and all that are different. They are beyond just a terrorist group. They are tremendously well funded and it is beyond anything that we have seen so we must prepare for every thing by taking a look at it and get ready,” he said

This came after the US journalist, James Foley, was murdered on camera by an IS militant, whom the US, and UK say they are now close to identifying.

The US is now considering taking the fight against the militants into Syria.

Professor Edwin Smith is an expert on international peacekeeping, foreign policy and war powers.

Right now, he is with the University of Southern California.

He gave an insight to what is really going on in Iraq, and why we should all be concerned.

Crisis Zones: Israel In Ground Offensive In Gaza

Tommi VincentThis week’s Diplomatic Channel considered crisis in the Middle East, as Israel’s ground offensive claims more Palestinian lives.

It also looked at what led to the crash of the Malaysian flight MH17. Was it an honest mistake, or was the alleged missile fire deliberate on a passenger airplane, with no stake in the Ukraine-Russia stand-off?

Then it also examined how the French celebrate Bastille Day in Nigeria.

Just like the Americans, it’s a party, but in a more formal environment.

The French love their wines, and variety of cuisine.

Scores of people have been killed since Israel began its offensive on the Gaza Strip last week. However, more people have died since it launched its ground offensive.

There are reports that as at Sunday, 60 people had been killed in one area alone. The number of death toll, since the offensive began, the number has gone up to 18, mostly soldiers.

Nevertheless, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to continue operations in Gaza, despite the growing number of fatalities.

Three days since it announced the ground offensive, Israel has kept true to its word.

The growing number of casualties has been more on the part of the Palestinians, with only a quarter or so of the more than 400 people, who have been killed since the offensive began, on the part of Israel.

A guest on the programme from Pan Atlantic University, Tommi Vincent, gave his opinion on the war, insisting that the Israel and the Palestine should consider going back to the table for negotiation.

Al-Maliki’s Consideration To Step Down Will Save Iraq From War – Ekwueme

Khrushchev EkwuemeAn international lawyer, Dr Khrushchev Ekwueme, believes that Iraq’s Prime Minister’s consideration to step down and pave way for the formation of a broad-based government of national unity will save Iraq from war.

Giving his opinion on the crisis in Iraq and the necessary sacrifice to make in a bid to end the crisis, Dr Ekwueme said the strategy for finding a solution is for the broad-based government to encompass the Sunnis and the Kurds and all other interest groups.

He said that the strategy would ensure that the problem was dealt with in a pacific way.

“Iraq is in a brink of war and the Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, needs to step down so that a fresh face can come in and bring the people together. It must be someone new that can form a broad-based government.

“Al-Maliki is part of the problem. The way he ran Iraq was not the proper way to rule because he was guided more by sectarian considerations and he was not an inclusive leader. He denied the Sunnis of various opportunities and the coalition was not a broad-based one,” he said on Diplomatic Channel, a Channels Television programme.

There was heavy fighting in Iraq over the weekend, as government forces tried to retake the northern city of Tikrit from Sunni insurgents, who have seized it on June 11.

There are reports that there were many casualties on both sides. But the circle gets wider on international involvement into the crisis.

Battle For Tikrit

The Sunni insurgents have made it clear, they will not be giving up the city without a fight.

Earlier on Sunday, they brought down an army helicopter over the city, as the military sent in tanks to try to dislodge them.

Troops supported by helicopter gunships, began the assault on Tikrit, the birthplace of former President, Saddam Hussein, on Saturday, to try to take it back from the insurgents.

Army spokesperson, Qassim Atta, claimed security forces had killed 142 ‘terrorists’ over a 24 hour period, across Iraq, including 70 in Tikrit. He also said the armed forces were in control of Tikrit’s University.

Meanwhile, as the country’s politicians are pressured into reaching agreement for talks on a new government, the National Coalition, a key bloc, led by former Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, said they would not be taking part.

The group said it would not attend the first session of parliament either. The parliament was elected in April, but is supposed to begin the process of government-formation on July 1, except the country’s security situation is dealt with.

Wading into the crisis, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, threw his support behind a call for independence of the Kurdish people.Iraq crisis

The Kurds have seized on recent sectarian chaos in Iraq, to expand their autonomous northern territory to include Kirkuk, which has vast oil deposits that could make the independent state economically viable.

However, Iran’s supreme leader, the grand Ayatolah Ali Khamenei, has warned of attempts to create sectarian war in Iraq.

During a televised speech, which was broadcast on state television, he attributed the current situation in Iraq to a remaining core Saddam Hussein regime, deposed in a US-led invasion in 2003.

A New Inclusive Government

Party leaders in Iraq, are already planning talks that could end Prime Minister al-Maliki’s divisive rule after a the grand Ayatolah al-Sistani called for a new Prime Minister to be chosen without delay to tackle Islamist rebels threatening to tear the country apart.

Major powers are pushing for Iraq to form a new inclusive government, rather than one that promotes Shi’ite sectarian domination.

The influential grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani has urged political blocs to agree on the choice of a new prime minister, parliament speaker and president, before a newly elected legislature meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday. This could lead to the end of Nouri al-Maliki’s tenure as prime minister.

While thousands continue to flee region where the fighting is intense, Britain has once again emphasised it will not be intervening militarily in the crisis in Iraq, save to continue to call for Prime Minister al-Maliki, to form a new, inclusive government.

During a recent visit to Iraq, the British Foreign Minister, William Hague, met with Mr Al-Maliki, as well as with Kurdish leaders. He says Iraqis themselves must call to form a new government to address the threat of Isil.

Iraq’s million-strong army, trained and equipped by the United States, seemed powerless in the north, in the face of the Sunni/Isil onslaught.

But in recent days, government forces have been fighting back, relying on elite commandos flown in by helicopter to defend the country’s biggest oil refinery at Baiji.

WEFA Presents Opportunity For Nigeria To Woo More Investors And Tackle Insecurity

World-Economic-Forum2Nigeria is experiencing a very eventful week, as the 24th edition of the world economic forum opens in Abuja, the capital city. It is the first time the forum is holding in West Africa. 

The World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA) presents an opportunity for Nigeria to show to the rest of the world, that it is fertile ground for global investments, and would deepen the dialogue on economic reforms between the international and Nigerian private sector, as well as international and domestic investors. it will also focus on creating jobs.

Other editions of the world economic forum in Africa, have held in south Africa, except on five occasions, when it held in Zimbabawe in 1997, Namibia in 1998, Mozambique in 2004, Tanzania in 2010,and in Ethiopia in 2012.

Earlier in the week, Channels Television correspondent, Harriet Agbenyi, spoke with the Director, Head of Africa, for the World Economic Forum, Elsie Kanza, on the choice of Nigeria for this year’s meeting, and what Nigerians and investors stand to benefit from it.

She said that the forum will focus on creating jobs and engender progress in different sectors of the economy.

Now, as expected, in light of the recent attacks in the country, the blast in the Nyanya area of Abuja, three weeks ago, the Chibok abductions, and the second blast last week, the issue of security threatens to steal the spotlight off the WEFA meetings, but the Nigerian Police boss, has ordered a massive security presence around the Federal Capital Territory and its environs.

Even President Goodluck Jonathan is confident that nothing will disrupt the World Economic Forum on Africa.

“Bring Back Our Girls”

Meanwhile, attention is growing on the abduction of over 200 girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.

Women-protest-Chibok-girls-abduction

There have been protests in Nigeria, women groups, mainly, urging the government to do more to bring the girls back home, with some promising to continue protests every day until the girls return.

Beyond Nigeria’s  shores, the Canadian government has condemned the kidnap of the girls; as well as other terrorist acts committed against unarmed civilians by the militant sect. it describes their activities as absolutely repugnant and will never be tolerated.

While their concern for the abducted girls continues to grow, they have promised to continue to closely monitor the situation, and work with Nigeria to combat terrorism and secure the welfare of her children and youth.

Boko Haram is listed as a terrorist Organisation in Canada.

Those comments were followed closely by that of the US Secretary of State, John Kerry.

While Nigeria is trying to tackle security challenges in the north east, the country also presided over the meetings of the UN Security Council, under the watchful leadership of Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Professor Joy Ogwu.

During the month, the council adopted seven resolutions and issued ten press statements. It also held two open thematic debates on security sector reform and women and peace and security, and the unending debates on peace in the middle-east, between Israel and Palestine.

The council adopted a resolution on security sector reform, recognising that it should be a nationally-owned process. Meaning, it is the sovereign right and the primary responsibility of the states concerned to determine their respective security sector reform approaches and priorities, a development that leaves Nigeria with the power to carry out drastic reforms that could ensure security of lives and property.

Present at the UN Security Council meeting was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Aminu Wali, whom our correspondent at the meeting, Gbenga Ashiru, had a chat with.

Mr Wali, explained Nigeria’s agenda while at the helm of affairs and how Nigerian can partner with other countries to reform the security system.

South Africa, 20 Years After Freedom

South-Africa-Freedom-DayApril 27, has been a national holiday in South Africa, since 1994, the year thousands of
South Africans took to the polling stations in the nation’s first all-race elections.

The election that brought Nelson Mandela, the man South Africans adore as one who freed them from white domination, into political office, as president.

But he was not just the President of a country; he was President of a modern South Africa, one that was full of hope, reconciliation and Equality despite its past.

The election also ushered in two consecutive decades of rule by the African National Congress.

At a commemoration of the event in the Union Buildings in Pretoria, President Jacob Zuma spoke about the nostalgia of the day, but urged the country to look ahead, in continuing democratic rule.

“On the 7th of May, let us go out in our millions to vote and celebrate our hard won freedom and democracy. Let us vote to consolidate democracy and all our achievements of our young nation,” Zuma told the crowd.

Sunday’s celebrations were special in that they were the first ‘freedom day’ since the passing of former President Nelson Mandela, in December last year, at the age of 95.

But the celebrations were not restricted to South Africa alone, as the South African community in Nigeria invited friends, business partners, and members of the diplomatic corps to commemorate the event at the Emmanuel Chapel Methodist Church in Lagos.

It was a thanksgiving service characterised by prayers for a nation still growing its democracy.

They sang songs of praise for 20 years of uninterrupted democracy.

But the message must not be lost. a sermon delivered by South African civil servant, writer and cleric, Frank Chikane, stressed the need to continue the struggle to achieve what it’s freedom signifies.

South Africa, like most other countries in Africa, has not reached full development status, but the government can point to real successes, such as a fast growing black middle class and the laying of the foundations of a Welfare State with 16 million poor people, which is about a third of the population, now receiving monthly income grants.

Ghana Police Makes Breakthrough In Investigation Of Godwin Ayogu’s Death

Godwin-AyoguThis edition of Diplomatic Channel is an update of a story on the brutal murder of a 19 year old Nigerian student, Godwin Ayogu, in Cape Coast University, Ghana.

His parents have been so heartbroken over the issue, but have not relented in asking questions about what really happened to their son, why he was killed, where he was killed, and why the school authorities wanted to trivialize the issue. 

Fortunately, they have maintained close contact with the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana, who has had their eyes on the case since it was brought to their notice.

Also, Nigerian lawmakers have been involved in trying to unravel the mystery surrounding Godwin Ayogu’s murder, and earlier this month, the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, wrote to the Ghanaian Parliament, requesting its investigation into Godwin’s killing.

The governor says the case must not be allowed to be swept under the carpet.

After receiving several reports on the killing of Nigerians students abroad, the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, headed by Abike Dabiri- Erewa, said it would probe the killings.

The committee and another on Justice and Foreign Affairs were mandated to conduct a public hearing on the issue and submit their reports to the house.

So, Channels Television is following developments in the issue, which is pretty unusual, because most times, there is no substantial follow up in cases like these, either the parents decided they have had enough, or investigations reach a dead end.

But with recent developments on the case, it does seem like things are indeed changing, as it is becoming clear that Nigerians can have a better deal outside the country.

A couple of weeks back, the Nigerian High Commission called the Ayogus with news of a breakthrough on the case.

In an interview with Channels Television’s correspondent, Amarachi Ubani, Mrs Lilian Ayogu said five persons arrested in connection with the murder were Nigerians.

“They were his friends,” she said, wondering why they could have killed him.

 

India Violating Rights Of Four Nigerians In Detention

For two and a half years, four young Nigerians, Dickson Dickson, Oladapo Olatunbosun, Oyekunle Oluwagbemiga and Paul Osagie, have been detained in a camp in Chengalpattu in Tamil Nadu State for alleged involvement in online credit card fraud.

They say they are innocent but a court is yet to decide that.

After they have been granted bail and have submitted their travel documents to government authorities, they have not been allowed to go home; instead they are spending their days in a camp that activists say should have been shut down long ago.

Taking a closer look at their ordeal, an expert in International Law, Professor Nsongura Ndomnana, says that as much as the issue surrounding the arrest of the Nigerians was not quite clear, the Indian government was binding by a number of Human Rights instruments one of which is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to respect their rights.

He said that there were still some issues that might need to be sorted out in order to have a clearer understanding of the reason behind their detention.

“If the story as presented by the suspects is the truth, then there is a lot more that the Nigerian government would need to do,” he said.

Alien In International Law

Professor Ndomnana explained that an alien – a foreigner – in international law is binding by the laws of the land where he is whether lawfully or unlawfully.

“No country is under any obligation to admit an alien. Every country is sovereign and can decide who will come into the country. Most countries provide some conditions that must be met. Often times, some countries go into bi-lateral agreements that weave some immigration and visa requirements that will allow certain category of citizens to enter those other countries. In most cases you will require a visa to enter into another country.

“If you enter lawfully, after satisfying those requirements, then you are regarded as a lawful alien,” he explained.

He stated that there was need to know whether the Nigerians are living in India illegally or not.

The International Law expert pointed out that one of the incidents of sovereignty is that anyone who enters a country, whether a citizen or a non-citizen, is subject to the laws of the country and could be tried in the country.

“He could also be deported and tried in his own country if the crime is also a crime in his own country. India could try them on the basis of the principle of territoriality and they can also be tried in Nigeria on the basis of the principle of nationality. A number of factors determine which country might want to exercise jurisdiction. Some countries may not have resources needed in handling such cases. So they might prefer to deport the individual,”  Professor Ndomnana further explained.

Unlawful detention

He insisted that India could be violating the rights of the Nigerians, as the chapter 3 of India constitution, article 22 provided for liberty of persons especially in situations where they have been arrested or detained.

According to him, the article provides that no one shall be detained without giving a reasonable explanation for the cause of their detention within a reasonable period.

It also provides that no one shall be detained beyond 24 hours without being charged to court. “If there is any reason for extension that could be given by the magistrate,” The professor said.

He was of the opinion that the detained four Nigerians could engage a legal representative that can seek a reasonable explanation of the reason behind the detention. The legal representative, in this case, can request that the government should provide reasons they should not be released.

“The Nigerian government can come in through the embassy and demand for the detail of this case to find out what the true case is,” he pointed out.

Every Nigerian residence outside the country is actually a Nigerian and should be protected by the Nigerian government.

“That is why those embassies are functioning and they are being paid by tax payers. An injury to an alien is an injury to the country where he is from,” he added.

Problems Plaguing Nigeria Are Known To Nigerians–Deborah Maclean

On this edition of  Diplomatic Channel, Amarachi Ubani has the  former U.S. Information Officer; Deborah Maclean, who spoke on the Nigeria, the just concluded Kenya elections and the Mali upcoming elections.

The former U.S Information Officer who spent two years in the country and experienced the United Nations headquarters bombing in Abuja,  said she will only recollect good memories of the country.

Recalling the bomb blast experience which happened a few kilometers away from the U.S Embassy, Maclean noted that the issue of security in Nigeria is a domestic problem and it can only be solved domestically.

Diplomatic Channel:North Korea’s Threat

Looking at North Korea’s threat as regards the launching of their nuclear programme which has been opposed by world powers,our foreign correspondent Amarachi Ubani had Dr. Adetokunbo Pearse; a lecturer from the University of Lagos on the programme Diplomatic Channel to give his analysis.

Nigerians in Brazilian prison visited by Diaspora Cmmte’

Looking into the case of 457 Nigerians in the federal prison of Brazil for various drug offences,the Chairman of the House of Represntatives committee on diaspora; Hon. Anike Dabiri Erewa was on our programme Diplomatic Channel with anchor Amarach ubani.

She revealed why they are there and that the Nigerian government has intervened.

India willing to work with Nigeria- Ambassador Mahesh Sachdev

Looking into the Nigeria-India relations on the basis of the 2nd India-Africa Academic Conference,Diplomatic Channel had Indian High Commissioner; Ambassador Mahesh Sachdev comment on the bilateral relation between India and Nigeria so also Africa.