President Buhari Congratulates Gambian President-Elect, Adama Barrow

President Buhari Congratulates Gambian President-Elect, Adama BarrowPresident Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the President-elect of The Gambia, Mr Adama Barrow, on his victory in the country’s December 1 presidential election.

The Nigerian President also salutes the spirit of statesmanship displayed by the outgoing President of The Gambia, Alhaji Yahya Jammeh, by conceding defeat, noting that such uncommon gesture is crucial in calming fears of unrest in the West African nation.

While expressing delight at the gallantry shown by President Jammeh, President Buhari enjoined President-elect Barrow to be magnanimous in victory.

The Nigerian leader also commended Gambians for peacefully exercising their democratic right to freely choose their leader and called on all stakeholders to maintain the peace.

President Buhari said that he was looking forward to a smooth transition of power and working with the incoming President of The Gambia to deepen existing cordial relations between both countries.

The electoral commission head declared Mr Barrow president-elect on state television, with 45.5 per cent of the vote against Jammeh’s 36.7 per cent.

“Having received 263, 515 votes out of the total votes cast in the election, I hereby declare Adama Barrow newly elected to serve as president of the republic of the Gambia,” Alieu Momarr Njai said.

With Barrow’s victory, Gambian leader, Yahyah Jammeh, lost a bid for another term after having ruled the nation for 22 years and vowed to remain in the helm of affairs for “a billion years”.

Gambian Authorities Ban Internet, International Calls During Election

Gambian Authorities Ban Internet, International Calls During ElectionAuthorities of The Gambia, have banned internet and international phone calls, as President, Yahya Jammeh, contests for his fifth term in the West African state.

Officials have also banned demonstrations to prevent unrest after the elections.

Most of the main parties have united behind estate agent, Adama Barrow, to Challenge Mr Jammeh who has ruled the country since 1996 when he was first elected.

The Gambia has not experienced a Democratic transition of power since independence from the UK in 1965, as it has known only two presidents.

Meanwhile, President Jammeh has said he will rule for a billion years if Allah wills.

An unprecedented number of people turned up at opposition rallies ahead of the election, with its mostly young population now yearning for change.

Observers from the European Union (EU), and the West African Regional Bloc, ECOWAS, are not attending the vote, stating concerns about the fairness of the process.



Benue State In Trade Agreement With The Gambia

BenueGovernor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State has taken advantage of being a member of Nigeria’s delegation, led by Vice President Namadi Sambo to the Gambia 50th independence anniversary, to attract investment and trade opportunities to the agrarian state of Benue.

The Governor, in company of Benue State officials met with President Yahaya Jameh of the Gambia where both parties held discussion on wide range of investment opportunities.

While Governor Suswam hoped to attract the attention of the Gambian government to the abundant agricultural opportunities in Benue State, with well documented facts of its natural resources, the Gambia is interested in developing more trade in Nigeria.

Suswam listed key areas of business interest to Benue State in the Gambia as he presented the country’s President with a brochure of Benue resources and investment opportunities.

The visibly impressed Gambian President took interest in Mr Suswam’s presentation, when he invited the Governor and Nigerian businessmen to  also invest in the Gambian agriculture sector.

Governor Gabriel Suswam was in company of senior government officials at the office of the Gambian President in Banjul, the country’s capital.

Court Jails Iranian For Smuggling Arms Into Nigeria

Azim Aghajani, a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has been found guilty of smuggling weapons into Lagos and sentenced to five years in prison by a Federal High Court in the city.

A Nigerian, Ali Jega was also convicted alongside Azim Aghajani.

The Nigerian Customs Service in 2010 made a seizure of 13 containers loaded with rockets and grenades, shipped in from the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The shipment including rockets and other explosives were hidden in containers of building materials.

Court documents revealed that the arms were to be re-exported to The Gambia.

The Judge who presided over the two-year trial,  Justice Okechukwu Okeke, found the Iranian guilty and sentenced him to prison for five years.

The men were said to have, without licence, been “in control of bombs and grenade categorised as prohibited firearms under Item 4 of Part 1 of the Schedule to the Firearms Act, Cap F28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and contrary to Section 3 of the Constitution.”

They were also said to have been in control of rockets categorised as prohibited firearms without licence.



Poor Macro-Economic Convergence May Stall ECOWAS Currency

Major economic reforms may be necessary if member countries of the West African Monetary Union are to attain a single currency by the year 2015.

According to the Acting Director General of the West African Monetary Institute; Mr John Kitcher, the performance of the six-member states on its macro-economic convergence list was not impressive especially in the first half of 2012.

Addressing a technical committee meeting of the union in Abuja, Mr Kitcher said inflation and its fiscal deficit criteria were the most challenging for its member countries made up of Nigeria, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Liberia.

Nigeria to collaborate with Gambia on human trafficking

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) is set to join forces with its Gambian counterpart to further clamp down on the menace of human trafficking in the sub region.

Receiving the management of the National Agency against Trafficking in Persons, NAATIP from The Gambia at NAPTIP’s headquarters in Abuja, the executive secretary, Beatrice Jedy-Agba said the joint forces will make it easier to burst syndicates through enhanced operation mechanism.

The executive officer of NAATIP, Tulai Ceesay said the Gambian anti-trafficking agency, still in its infancy requires a lot of support from established countries as Nigeria as The Gambia remains a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking.