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Archive for May, 2015

Sa. Leone Acting Foreign Minister Ebun Strasser King Speaks Tough in Kuwait

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

 

By Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States

Sierra Leone has successfully participated in the 42nd session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC),  which was hosted  in the State of Kuwait  from 27th – 28th May, 2015.

Dr. Ebun Strasser King relaxed after delivering her speech

Dr. Ebun Strasser King relaxed after delivering her speech

In his opening speech of the two-day ministerial meeting which was held under the theme , “Joint Vision in Promoting Tolerance and Rejecting Terrorism,” His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jabber Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, said sectarian strife was the most serious threat facing Muslims and called for immediate action to tackle it.

“We need to take a serious stand against sectarian tensions plaguing and dividing our nations. We are required to intensify efforts with the world to combat terrorism being waged by terrorist organisations,” the Emir of the oil-rich Gulf State told the Ministers.

Dr. Ebun Strasser King with the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister after bilateral discussions

Dr. Ebun Strasser King with the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister after bilateral discussions

 

Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Head of Sierra Leone’s delegation to the conference, Dr. Ebun Adebola Strasser King in her speech on Thursday, 28th May, said: “Sierra Leone welcomes dialogue and peaceful settlement of international disputes and will continue to work and support the efforts of the OIC in achieving a peaceful and stable society in all the member countries for its entire people to enjoy prosperity.”

She also commended the efforts of the OIC Member States and the wider International Community for rendering assistance to Ebola affected countries.

“On the sub-regional front, we are particularly grateful for the timely and coordinated response of the global community in complementing the efforts of our three countries; Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the fight against the Ebola scourge,” she said to the Ministers of the 57-member states organization.

Sierra Leone Permanent Rep. to the OIC poses for the press

Sierra Leone Permanent Rep. to the OIC poses for the press

 

As struggle to put the Ebola Disease behind us, the Acting Foreign Affairs Chief added, we look forward to further support through the OIC Trust Fund for the most affected countries in addressing the humanitarian and post-Ebola recovery projects.

The second top Sierra Leonean diplomat said despite the isolation, stigmatization, travel restrictions and economic difficulties endured by the three Mano River Union countries, the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) “has now been considerably subdued” as exemplified by the recent declaration of Liberia as Ebola free, single digits or zero infection rates in Sierra Leone and reduced infection rate in Guinea.

Dr. Ebun Strasser King in the company of Amb. Kamara (R) and Amb. Kargbo (L)

Dr. Ebun Strasser King in the company of Amb. Kamara (R) and Amb. Kargbo (L)

 

She therefore, appealed, to sister countries in this region to lift the visa restrictions imposed on the three countries, pending the declaration of the end of Ebola. The Minister also met with some Foreign Ministers on the side-lines of the conference. One of them is the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister, Abul Hassam Mahmood Ali.  During their meeting, issues of common interest were discussed and ways of enhancing cooperation and developing bilateral relations in order to achieve common interests with their respective countries.

During the conference, member states discussed political, economic, social, cultural and technological issues as well as conflicts in the Islamic world.

Wrapping up the 42nd Session on Thursday, the Ministers and Heads of delegations of member states, affirmed their full commitment to support the objectives and principles of the OIC in order to benefit the Muslim Ummah and secure its common interests within the OIC framework; so as to promote Islamic solidarity and Joint Islamic Action.

The delegates also reiterated their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms. They also expressed, in the same vein, the need to combat terrorist groups and those who support and finance them and their heinous practices which they say, “have nothing to do with the noble religion of Islam”, stressing that these groups can in no means be linked to the noble Islamic religion because, as they put it, “terrorism has no region or nationality.”

The session also expressed solidarity with African countries in their fight against poverty and the development challenges facing the continent.

 

Members of the Sierra Leone delegation included; Acting Director General of the Ministry, Paul Ansumana Minah, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Permanent Representative to the OIC, Alhaji Mohamed Sillah Kargbo, Sierra Leone’s Envoy to the State Kuwait, Ibrahim Bakarr Kamara, OIC Desk Officer at the Foreign Ministry, Christopher Bockarie and Acting Head of Chancery in Kuwait, Sulaiman Turay.

Below is the full speech of the Acting Minister:

GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE

MINISTERY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS & INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE

 STATEMENT BY

  1. EBUN A. STRASSER-KING,
  2. MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS & INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE AT THE 42ND SESSION OF THE COUNCIL OF FOREIGN MINISTERS OF THE ORGANISATION OF ISLAMIC COOPERATION

27 – 28 MAY, 2015 – THE STATE OF KUWAIT

 

Mr. Chairman, His Excellency Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah,

Secretary-General,

Excellencies,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

Asalamu Alaikum

 

It is a great honour and pleasure for me to address the 42nd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC.

In doing so, let me at the outset, convey fraternal greetings from His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, to His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Amir, Government and people of the State of Kuwait and to the entire Muslim Umaah.

My sincere gratitude to His Excellency Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait, for the warm reception and generous hospitality accorded me and my delegation since our arrival in this beautiful and historic city of Kuwait.

 

Mr. Chairman, I congratulate you on your assumption of the Chairmanship of our Organisation and wish you success in all your

future endeavours.

 

Special thanks to the out gone Chairman His Excellency Adel Al-Jubeir, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and His Excellency Iyad Ameen Madani, Secretary-General of the OIC for the excellent arrangements put in place to ensure a successful conduct of this Council of Foreign Ministers Meeting.

 

The theme of this 42nd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers “Joint Vision in Promoting tolerance and Rejecting Terrorism” is apt and appropriate.   Indeed, we are convening at a time when the global community has had to grapple with the consequences of a range of natural disasters, deadly epidemics and, in particular, an increasing wave of terrorist insurgencies and unrests across the globe.

 

In light of this, we have no alternative but to act and work together in the eradication of these threats which are militating against peaceful co-existence and development of the world.

 


Mr. Chairman,

I would like to also commend the efforts of the OIC Member States and the wider International Community for rendering assistance to countries that have been facing crises of diverse nature.  On the sub-regional front, we are particularly grateful for the timely and coordinated response of the global community in complementing the efforts of our three countries; Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the fight against the Ebola scourge.  As struggle to put the Ebola Disease behind us, we look forward to further support through the OIC Trust Fund for the most affected countries in addressing the humanitarian and post-Ebola recovery projects.

 

Despite the isolation, stigmatization, travel restrictions and economic difficulties endured by these countries; the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has now been considerably subdued as exemplified by the recent declaration of Liberia as Ebola free, single digits or zero infection rates in Sierra Leone and reduced infection rate in Guinea.  This success can be attributed to very tough decisions and sacrifices made by our respective Governments and Peoples as well as the support of the International Community.  We want to use this opportunity to appeal to our sister countries in the Asia continent to lift the visa restrictions imposed on our countries pending the declaration of the end of Ebola.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

Peace and development are mutually reinforcing and therefore the more nations continue to dive into conditions of instability, the more elusive are the prospects for socio-economic growth and prosperity.  Thus the urgency of the need to work together as a united front and with one voice in finding urgent solutions to the causes of conflicts and acts of terrorism cannot be over-emphasised.

 

Inaction, or doing little, is an unintended complicity in the commission of atrocities on the vulnerable sectors of society – women, children and the elderly, who are always the most affected in situations of conflicts, acts of insecurity and terror.  Partial to the theme of this session, we must endeavour to undertake initiatives ranging from humanitarian activities to mediation with a view to nurturing and promoting the culture of peace and tolerance among peoples.  Sierra Leone therefore welcomes dialogue and peaceful settlement of international disputes and will continue to work and support the efforts of the OIC in achieving a peaceful and stable society in all the member countries for its entire people to enjoy prosperity.

 

We wish to underscore that this noble organisation must strive to portray peace initiatives and ideas coupled with the humanitarian values of the region which must be used as a strong weapon in the fight against Islamophobia.  Sierra Leone calls on the OIC to intensify its efforts to uproot terrorism, by sharing relevant information, respect and tolerate each other and to collectively condemn acts of terrorism anywhere in the world.

 

Mr. Chairman,

Let me conclude by informing this assembly that the new focus of the political leadership of Sierra Leone under His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma is the post Ebola recovery programme and a continuation of the implementation of the country’s development framework, which is the ‘Agenda for Prosperity’.   this Agenda hopes to take us to a middle level income status by 2035.

 

Thus, the Government of Sierra Leone is looking forward to cooperating and collaborating with all partners at this stage in the country’s development efforts,

 

I thank you.

 

 

UN observes International Day of Peacekeepers : Fallen peacekeepers honoured

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

More than 3,300 peacekeepers who have lost their lives while serving under the United Nations flag have been honoured at a wreath laying ceremony in New York.

The ceremony took place on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers which is marked on 29 May each year.

The theme for this year is “UN70 and UN Peacekeeping: Past, Present, and Future”.

Derrick Mbatha reports.

The UN Secretary-General said the annual day is a sad occasion on the UN calendar but one which will always be honoured with the greatest possible dignity.

Ban Ki-moon called for the observance of a solemn moment of silence to honour the 126 heroes from 38 countries who died last year while serving under the United Nations flag.

“The deployments are higher – and so are the death tolls. In the first 45 years of the United Nations, there were four years when more than 100 peacekeepers lose their lives. In just the last 14 years, we have suffered that terrible loss already ten times. Last year was the seventh year in a row that more than 100 peacekeepers lost their lives.” (26″)

The Secretary-General said the conditions were especially hazardous in Mali where the UN mission lost over 40 of its personnel.

He also mentioned the Darfur region of Sudan where two dozen peacekeepers were lost and pointed out that in Liberia, for the first time, the UN lost peacekeeping personnel to Ebola.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations

_______________________________

INTERNATIONAL PRACEKEEPERS DAY

 

29 May 2015 – On the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the “invaluable contribution” of peacekeeping to the history of the Organization and reaffirmed his commitment to improving the effectiveness of ‘blue helmets’ in the coming years.

“Since its beginning in 1948, United Nations peacekeeping has evolved into one of the main tools used by the international community to manage complex crises that threaten international peace and security,” said Mr. Ban in message to mark the Day.

“Throughout its history, the United Nations has established a total of 71 peacekeeping operations. More than one million military, police and civilian personnel have served as UN peacekeepers, including 125,000 in the sixteen missions in operation today.”

Through years of struggle and sacrifice, the iconic Blue Helmet has earned its place as a symbol of hope to millions of people living in war-ravaged lands.

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is an occasion to salute the peacekeepers of today who serve in some of the world’s most volatile and dangerous environments. It is commemorated each year on 29 May because that that was the date in1948 when the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) – the world’s first peacekeeping mission – began operations in Palestine.

“United Nations peacekeeping has given life to the UN Charter’s aim ‘to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security,’” said Mr. Ban. “Through years of struggle and sacrifice, the iconic Blue Helmet has earned its place as a symbol of hope to millions of people living in war-ravaged lands.”

The message added that the Day exists as a chance to mourn fallen peacekeepers, noting that during its history, more than 3,300 “Blue Helmets” have died devoting their lives to peace, including 126 men and women in 2014.

To mark the Day at UN Headquarters, the Secretary-General participated in a wreath-laying ceremony in the morning, then presided over a ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal was awarded posthumously to the military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations last year.

At the wreath laying, Mr. Ban and gathered dignitaries observed a solemn moment of silence to honour those who had died in the past year.

“Threats continue. Already this year, 49 peacekeepers have lost their lives,” he said. “The operational environments are getting worse. Our peacekeepers are increasingly exposed to asymmetric threats. They are attacked, targeted and killed by extremists.”

He described particularly hazardous conditions faced by operations in Mali and Darfur, which were responsible for the largest losses of life, and in Liberia, where a peacekeeper was lost to Ebola.

At the presentation of the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal, Mr. Ban said that the 126 peacekeepers killed last year marked a saddening trend, as the danger grew and 2014 entered the books as the seventh in a row in which more than 100 peacekeepers had been killed.

“Of all the ceremonies that the UN organizes, this is perhaps the most solemn and most difficult. But in many ways it is the most inspiring,” he said. “Their sacrifice, and the way that they lived their lives, makes us all proud and spurs us on to work harder to ensure that their lives were not lost in vain.”

Currently, demand for UN peacekeeping operations is at an all-time high. Operations receive contributions of military and police personnel from 122 Member States. This impressive number reflects strong global confidence in the value of United Nations peacekeeping as a tool for collective security.

In a press conference at headquarters, the Under-Secretary-Generals for Peacekeeping and for Field Support also reflected on the service of Blue Helmets who served the UN in the cause of peace in what he described as a “difficult world” but one in which there were extensive efforts to adjust to and rise to the expectations of the international community.

“It’s an opportunity to reflect on the nature of the threats that we face on the ground,” said Mr. Ladsous on the evolution of peacekeeping in the modern world. “More than ever our obligation is to improve performance. We improve on performance by the use of up to date technology.”

He said that did not mean merely the use of high-tech equipment like Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) but was about putting a lot more technical means, many of which were available on commercial markets, to improve safety and security.

This idea was echoed by Atul Khare, the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support. He also underlined the need for availability of a wide variety of technology to counter the many “grave and asymmetrical” threats faced by peacekeepers as they discharged their complex mandates and he outlined his priorities for his tenure. They were to improve rapidity and proactivity of support, as well as its effectiveness and the efficiency with which it was delivered.

He said he was “truly humbled” to receive the Dag Hammarskjöld medal on behalf of civilian peacekeepers, and noted that of the 126 peacekeepers who died last year, 19 were civilians, which he noted was a large proportion of the total.

“Today is a day for reflection and gratitude for the service of peacekeepers,” he said. “But today is also a day of introspection, of reflection, on the sacrifices that serve as a stark reminder of the massive challenges that we face on the ground every day.”

 

 

Peacekeepers remain dedicated to serve despite growing threats

 

Peacekeepers serving the UN continue to be dedicated to protecting vulnerable civilians despite growing security threats and often difficult living conditions, according to the Assistant Secretary-General for UN peacekeeping.

Edmond Mulet was speaking ahead of theInternational Day of UN Peacekeepers, marked annually on 29 May.

More than 3300 women and men serving the organization as peacekeepers have lost their lives since the UN’s first operation in 1948.

Stephanie Coutrix began by asking Mr Mulet about the importance of having an international day dedicated to them.

Duration: 4’13”

 

Remarks at Dag Hammarskjöld Medal Ceremony marking the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Headquarters, 29 May 2015

I am honoured to be here today on this solemn occasion.

Today, we posthumously award the Dag Hammarskjöld medal to 126 peacekeepers from 38 countries who died last year while serving under the United Nations flag.

I regret to say this is the seventh year in a row that more than 100 peacekeepers lost their lives. The risks that our peacekeepers face are growing steadily – from attacks by extremists and rebel groups to the threat of diseases, including Ebola.

Of all the ceremonies that the UN organizes, this is perhaps the most solemn and most difficult. But in many ways it is the most inspiring. The peacekeeping community gathers together to honour courageous men and women who lost their lives while defending the most vulnerable people in some of the most dangerous places on earth. Their sacrifice, and the way that they lived their lives, makes us all proud and spurs us on to work harder to ensure that their lives were not lost in vain.

UN Peacekeeping will continue to carry risks and sadly this will not be the last time we gather together to mourn. Our peacekeepers carry a heavy burden for all of us.

But their hard work and successes have made UN peacekeeping an irreplaceable tool for the international community to address countries in conflict and to help the millions of people affected by war. The fact that 125,000 peacekeepers serve today, an all-time high, is a true testament to the faith and confidence entrusted in them.

Among those honoured today are peacekeepers who lost their lives in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Mali, the Middle East, Liberia, Sudan and South Sudan.

41 of the peacekeepers honoured here today lost their lives in Mali, 28 due to acts of violence. We may be gathered in New York, but our thoughts are with our colleagues still deployed around the world.

When many people think of peacekeepers they often think of our heroic “blue-helmeted” military personnel. But those we honour today were also police officers, medical personnel, public affairs officers and national staff. They all played their own special role in our multi-dimensional peacekeeping operations which not only try to keep peace, but to also build it so that the countries don’t relapse into conflict.

Today, I offer my highest tribute to those we honour, and my sincerest condolences to their loved ones.

The medal bestowed today is named after Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, who was a true champion of peace and, like those we honour here today, gave his life for it. Let us honour his memory and theirs by working to ensure that the United Nations becomes an even more effective institution in bringing peace, security and prosperity to the peoples of the world.

Thank you.

Remarks at Wreath-Laying Ceremony for International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Headquarters, 29 May 2015

Thank you for attending this commemoration. This is a sad occasion on our UN calendar – but one we will always honour with the greatest possible dignity.

It is appropriate that we meet at this UN Peacekeeping memorial site, which pays eternal tribute to our fallen colleagues.

Let us now observe a solemn moment of silence to honour the 126 heroes from 38 countries who died while serving under the United Nations flag in 2014 – and to remember the 3,366 who have lost their lives in the history of UN peacekeeping.

[OBSERVED MOMENT OF SILENCE]

Thank you.

This is a time of danger and growth for our United Nations blue helmets.

We now have more peacekeeping personnel serving than ever before, with more than 125,000 in the field.

The deployments are higher – and so are the death tolls.

In the first 45 years of the United Nations, there were four years when more than 100 peacekeepers lose their lives. In just the last 14 years, we have suffered that terrible loss already ten times.

Last year was the seventh year in a row that more than 100 peacekeepers lost their lives.

The conditions were especially hazardous in Mali. Our Mission there lost 28 of their colleagues due to malicious acts and 41 overall. This is one of the highest one-year fatality rates for any peacekeeping operation in UN history.

Also last year, in Darfur, two dozen peacekeepers lost their lives. Three of them, from Ethiopia, were senselessly killed while protecting a water pump that was used by internally displaced persons and students from a nearby school.

In Liberia, for the first time we lost peacekeeping personnel to Ebola.

Elsewhere in Africa, the Middle East, Haiti and beyond, men and women from UN peacekeeping succumbed to deadly diseases, accidents and acts of violence. These dangers are all too prevalent in the course of their life-saving work.

The threats continue. Already this year, 49 peacekeepers have lost their lives.

The operational environments are getting worse. Our peacekeepers are increasingly exposed to asymmetric threats. They are attacked, targeted and killed by extremists.

I take these dangers very seriously. That is why I have been doing everything possible to adapt our operations to these more dangerous environments. We need new capabilities. We cannot do 21st century peacekeeping with 20th century tools.

Our experts are taking steps to provide better safety and security. We have started deploying more armoured vehicles. We are enhancing security at our facilities. We are utilizing new technology to carry out work which would be more dangerous if it had to be done by peacekeepers.

UN MEDIA

‘I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody ’, Buhari declares ; promises to tackle Boko Haram, Power outage, unemployment, corruption

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI BEING SWORN IN BY THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE FEDERATION, JUSTICE MAHMUD MOHAMMED IN ABUJA ON FRIDAY (29/5/15).

ABUJA – Thirty-two years after he was booted out as military head of state through a palace coup, democratic born again (retired General) Muhammadu Buhari was yesterday was sworn in as the fourth President and Commander-In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces since inception of the Fourth Republic of Nigeria on May 29, 1999.

The 72 years old President Buhari has described himself as a “converted democrat” and vowed to lead an administration committed to the needs of Nigeria’s 173 million people by cracking down on the scourge of corruption.

The oath taking ceremony that was sandwiched with applause from the audience and admixture of military pomp and cultural tradition marks the beginning of a four-year term in which he has promised tackling insecurity, unemployment, and corruption among others.

Before taking the oath, he shook hands with the elected president he ousted in 1983, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, and the general who deposed him 20 months later, Ibrahim Babangida.

buhari sworn in 2

 

The President swore before the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmoud Mohammed: “I, Muhammadu Buhari, do solemnly swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria”; “that as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability and in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law.”
Meanwhile, if inaugural speech by President Buhari is anything to go by, ethnic politicians would have to rethink their tribal ideology and adopt a wholesome strategy that would make Nigeria their priority and interest.

This follows President Muhammadu Buhari’s emphatic declaration that his government is for every Nigerian, stressing: “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.”

buhari sworn in 3

 

President Buhari also acknowledged that his administration was inheriting a country facing crises on several fronts: from severe economic turmoil to Boko Haram’s raging Islamist insurgency, but asserted “we can fix our problems”.
“At home, we face enormous challenges. Insecurity, pervasive corruption, the hitherto unending and seemingly impossible fuel and power shortages are the immediate concerns.
We are going to tackle them head on. Nigerians will not regret that they have entrusted national responsibility to us. We must not succumb to hopelessness and defeatism. We can fix our problems”, he continued.

He described Boko Haram as “a mindless, godless group, who are as far away from Islam as one can think,” adding that the government under his watch intend to commission sociological studies to determine the remote and immediate causes of the Boko Haram crisis,
President Buhari further promised to recover the Chibok girls taken hostage by the insurgents over a year ago and directed immediate relocation of the Command Centre of the Military in fight against insurgency from Abuja to Maiduguri, Borno State, the Islamists stronghold, noting, “victory cannot be achieved from a command and control centre in Abuja”.

The president however assured that rules of engagement in the fight against insurgency would be overhauled to void human right violation.
“He also acknowledged that “he amnesty programme in the Niger Delta is due to end in December” but that “the Government intends to invest heavily in the projects, and programmes currently in place”.

To this end, President Buhari enjoined “the leadership and people in these areas to cooperate with the State and Federal Government in the rehabilitation programmes which will be streamlined and made more effective”
“As ever, I am ready to listen to grievances of my fellow Nigerians. I extend my hand of fellowship to them so that we can bring peace and build prosperity for our people”, he added.

Moreso, President Buhari described the power situation in Nigeria as a national shame, especially as over $20billion spent on the power sector since 1999 had only brought misery to Nigerians, adding, “we shall think of way to revive our industry to cut down on the rate of unemployment.”

Assuring that “we shall rebuild the public service to become more serviceable”, he promised not to encroach on Legislative and Judiciary arms of Government, but noted that “judicial system needs reform to cleanse itself from its immediate past”; while “the legislative arm must keep to their brief of making laws, carrying out over-sight functions and doing so expeditiously”.
“Constitutionally there are limits to powers of each of the three tiers of government but that should not mean the Federal Government should fold its arms and close its eyes to what is going on in the states and local governments.

As far as the constitution allows me I will try to ensure that there is responsible and accountable governance at all levels of government in the country. For I will not have kept my own trust with the Nigerian people if I allow others abuse theirs under my watch.
However, no matter how well organized the governments of the federation are they can not succeed without the support, understanding and cooperation of labour unions, organized private sector, the press and civil society organizations”, President Buhari continued.
President Buhari goes down in history as the leader of the first opposition to win victory over a sitting president in Nigeria. –

NIGERIAN OBSERVER

See more at: http://www.nigerianobservernews.com/2015/05/29/i-belong-to-nobody-buhari-declares-promises-to-tackle-boko-haram-power-outage-unemployment-corruption/#sthash.5UwLtUKE.dpuf

BUHARI-TAKING-OATH-370x290

Inaugural speech by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari following his swearing-in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 29th May, 2015

I am immensely grateful to God Who Has preserved us to witness this day and this occasion.

Today marks a triumph for Nigeria and an occasion to celebrate her freedom and cherish her democracy. Nigerians have shown their commitment to democracy and are determined to entrench its culture. Our journey has not been easy but thanks to the determination of our people and strong support from friends abroad we have today a truly democratically elected government in place.

I would like to thank President Goodluck Jonathan for his display of statesmanship in setting a precedent for us that has now made our people proud to be Nigerians wherever they are. With the support and cooperation he has given to the transition process, he has made it possible for us to show the world that despite the perceived tension in the land we can be a united people capable of doing what is right for our nation. Together we co-operated to surprise the world that had come to expect only the worst from Nigeria. I hope this act of graciously accepting defeat by the outgoing President will become the standard of political conduct in the country.

I would like to thank the millions of our supporters who believed in us even when the cause seemed hopeless. I salute their resolve in waiting long hours in rain and hot sunshine to register and cast their votes and stay all night if necessary to protect and ensure their votes count and were counted.

I thank those who tirelessly carried the campaign on the social media. At the same time, I thank our other countrymen and women who did not vote for us but contributed to make our democratic culture truly competitive, strong and definitive. I thank all of you. Having just a few minutes ago sworn on the Holy Book, I intend to keep my oath and serve as President to all Nigerians. I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody. A few people have privately voiced fears that on coming back to office I shall go after them. These fears are groundless. There will be no paying off old scores. The past is prorogue.

Our neighbours in the Sub-region and our African brethenen should rest assured that Nigeria under our administration will be ready to play any leadership role that Africa expects of it. Here I would like to thank the governments and people of Cameroon, Chad and Niger for committing their armed forces to fight Boko Haram in Nigeria.

I also wish to assure the wider international community of our readiness to cooperate and help to combat threats of cross-border terrorism, sea piracy, refugees and boat people, financial crime, cyber crime, climate change, the spread of communicable diseases and other challenges of the 21st century. At home we face enormous challenges. Insecurity, pervasive corruption, the hitherto unending and seemingly impossible fuel and power shortages are the immediate concerns. We are going to tackle them head on. Nigerians will not regret that they have entrusted national responsibility to us. We must not succumb to hopelessness and defeatism. We can fix our problems.

In recent times Nigerian leaders appear to have misread our mission. Our founding fathers, Mr Herbert Macauley, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Malam Aminu Kano, Chief J.S. Tarka, Mr Eyo Ita, Chief Denis Osadeby, Chief Ladoke Akintola and their colleagues worked to establish certain standards of governance. They might have differed in their methods or tactics or details, but they were united in establishing a viable and progressive country. Some of their successors behaved like spoilt children breaking everything and bringing disorder to the house. Furthermore, we as Nigerians must remind ourselves that we are heirs to great civilizations: Shehu Othman Dan fodio’s caliphate, the Kanem Borno Empire, the Oyo Empire, the Benin Empire and King Jaja’s formidable domain. The blood of those great ancestors flow in our veins. What is now required is to build on these legacies, to modernize and uplift Nigeria. Daunting as the task may be it is by no means insurmountable.

There is now a national consensus that our chosen route to national development is democracy. To achieve our objectives we must consciously work the democratic system. The Federal Executive under my watch will not seek to encroach on the duties and functions of the Legislative and Judicial arms of government. The law enforcing authorities will be charged to operate within the Constitution. We shall rebuild and reform the public service to become more effective and more serviceable. We shall charge them to apply themselves with integrity to stabilize the system. For their part the legislative arm must keep to their brief of making laws, carrying out over-sight functions and doing so expeditiously.

The judicial system needs reform to cleanse itself from its immediate past. The country now expects the judiciary to act with dispatch on all cases especially on corruption, serious financial crimes or abuse of office. It is only when the three arms act constitutionally that government will be enabled to serve the country optimally and avoid the confusion all too often bedeviling governance today. Elsewhere relations between Abuja and the States have to be clarified if we are to serve the country better. Constitutionally there are limits to powers of each of the three tiers of government but that should not mean the Federal Government should fold its arms and close its eyes to what is going on in the states and local governments. Not least the operations of the Local Government Joint Account. While the Federal Government can not interfere in the details of its operations it will ensure that the gross corruption at the local level is checked. As far as the constitution allows me I will try to ensure that there is responsible and accountable governance at all levels of government in the country. For I will not have kept my own trust with the Nigerian people if I allow others abuse theirs under my watch. However, no matter how well organized the governments of the federation are they can not succeed without the support, understanding and cooperation of labour unions, organized private sector, the press and civil society organizations. I appeal to employers and workers alike to unite in raising productivity so that everybody will have the opportunity to share in increased prosperity.

The Nigerian press is the most vibrant in Africa. My appeal to the media today – and this includes the social media – is to exercise its considerable powers with responsibility and patriotism.

My appeal for unity is predicated on the seriousness of the legacy we are getting into. With depleted foreign reserves, falling oil prices, leakages and debts the Nigerian economy is in deep trouble and will require careful management to bring it round and to tackle the immediate challenges confronting us, namely; Boko Haram, the Niger Delta situation, the power shortages and unemployment especially among young people. For the longer term we have to improve the standards of our education. We have to look at the whole field of medicare. We have to upgrade our dilapidated physical infrastructure.

The most immediate is Boko Haram’s insurgency. Progress has been made in recent weeks by our security forces but victory can not be achieved by basing the Command and Control Centre in Abuja. The command centre will be relocated to Maiduguri and remain until Boko Haram is completely subdued. But we can not claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents. This government will do all it can to rescue them alive. Boko Haram is a typical example of small fires causing large fires. An eccentric and unorthodox preacher with a tiny following was given posthumous fame and following by his extra judicial murder at the hands of the police. Since then through official bungling, negligence, complacency or collusion Boko Haram became a terrifying force taking tens of thousands of lives and capturing several towns and villages covering swathes of Nigerian sovereign territory.

Boko Haram is a mindless, godless group who are as far away from Islam as one can think of. At the end of the hostilities when the group is subdued the Government intends to commission a sociological study to determine its origins, remote and immediate causes of the movement, its sponsors, the international connexions to ensure that measures are taken to prevent a reccurrence of this evil. For now the Armed Forces will be fully charged with prosecuting the fight against Boko haram. We shall overhaul the rules of engagement to avoid human rights violations in operations. We shall improve operational and legal mechanisms so that disciplinary steps are taken against proven human right violations by the Armed Forces.

Boko Haram is not only the security issue bedeviling our country. The spate of kidnappings, armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers clashes, cattle rustlings all help to add to the general air of insecurity in our land. We are going to erect and maintain an efficient, disciplined people – friendly and well – compensated security forces within an over – all security architecture. The amnesty programme in the Niger Delta is due to end in December, but the Government intends to invest heavily in the projects, and programmes currently in place. I call on the leadership and people in these areas to cooperate with the State and Federal Government in the rehabilitation programmes which will be streamlined and made more effective.

As ever, I am ready to listen to grievances of my fellow Nigerians. I extend my hand of fellowship to them so that we can bring peace and build prosperity for our people. No single cause can be identified to explain Nigerian’s poor economic performance over the years than the power situation. It is a national shame that an economy of 180 million generates only 4,000MW, and distributes even less. Continuous tinkering with the structures of power supply and distribution and close on $20b expanded since 1999 have only brought darkness, frustration, misery, and resignation among Nigerians. We will not allow this to go on. Careful studies are under way during this transition to identify the quickest, safest and most cost-effective way to bring light and relief to Nigerians.

Unemployment, notably youth un-employment features strongly in our Party’s Manifesto. We intend to attack the problem frontally through revival of agriculture, solid minerals mining as well as credits to small and medium size businesses to kick – start these enterprises. We shall quickly examine the best way to revive major industries and accelerate the revival and development of our railways, roads and general infrastructure.

Your Excellencies, My fellow Nigerians I can not recall when Nigeria enjoyed so much goodwill abroad as now. The messages I received from East and West, from powerful and small countries are indicative of international expectations on us. At home the newly elected government is basking in a reservoir of goodwill and high expectations. Nigeria therefore has a window of opportunity to fulfill our long – standing potential of pulling ourselves together and realizing our mission as a great nation. Our situation somehow reminds one of a passage in Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life, Is bound in shallows and miseries. We have an opportunity. Let us take it.

Thank you

Muhammadu Buhari President Federal Republic of NIGERIA

Bayraytay actualizing President Koroma’s Meet-The-People tour in the diaspora

Friday, May 29th, 2015
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As part of His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma’s 2007 manifesto promise to promote participatory governance in the West African state of sierra Leone, the National Publicity and Outreach Coordinator in the Office of Government spokesman, Abdulai Bayraytay is all set to address Sierra Leoneans and friends of Sierra Leone tomorrow, Wednesday, May 27, 2017 at the famous Suya spot on Western Road in Toronto, Canada.

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As one of President Koroma’s Government spokespersons, Bayraytay has over the past three weeks been engaging Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora particularly those in the United States of America and Canada on a wide range of issues that include, but not limited to, the country’s post Ebola recovery program, transparency and accountability, economic recovery and the building of a robust and resilient service delivery system.

 

Addressing Sierra Leoneans in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and in the tri states of Washington, DC, Maryland and Virgina on the post Ebola recovery plan being put in place by the Government, the Outreach Coordinator indicated that the vision of President Koroma is to build a stronger health system that will stand the test of time in the event of an emergency. This, Bayraytay went on, has started with the training of 30 specialist doctors and for the first time we have just completed the training of 20 biomedical technicians.

 

Responding to what incentives Government has put in place to continue to encourage front line health workers to stay in the health profession, Bayraytay responded that Government is going to introduce a national health insurance scheme in order to retain and continue to improve on standards. “As I am speaking to you now, we now have a bio level 3 laboratory at Jui that can test in rapid time viral hemorrhagic fevers like malaria, cholera, typhoid and Ebola, among others. For this we are particularly indebted to our excellent bilateral relationship with the People’s Republic of China”, the outspoken spokesman said amidst thunderous approval.

 

Commenting on Government’s efforts in the fight against corruption, Bayraytay indicated that President Koroma’s zero tolerance to corruption is still in force and that the Government remains committed to support the prosecution of anyone found wanting for graft. Bayraytay cited the real time transactional auditing conducted by the Audit Service Sierra Leone after President Koroma had, during his Ebola sensitization tours, been reminding all and sundry that “Ebola is blood money”.

The Outreach coordinator indicated that it was rather preposterous for some political pundits to skew the argument by accusing the Government of pilfering Ebola funds instead of joining the international community in commending the President for this singular, bold initiative”, Bayraytay said. Commenting on the constitutionality of the removal of the erstwhile Vice-President Chief Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana from office, Bayraytay said it is the policy of Government not to discuss any details about the legal ramifications since Section 124 of the 1991 Constitution is very clear that it is the Supreme Court that has the constitutional and legal mandate to do so. “We don’t want in any way to prejudice the matter since it is presently before the Court”, Bayraytay said.

 

He however admonished his compatriots that holding contrary views against that of the Government is okay but that it is so uncivil to unleash unprintable invectives of the President and Government officials whose only crime is because of providing leadership in the country by being politicians” Bayraytay softly said amidst outright concurrence from the audience.

 

In his contribution on the fight against corruption relative to the Ebola funds, Sierra Leone’s Deputy Ambassador at the United Nation Mission in New York, Amadu Koroma said at the wake of the Ebola in West Africa, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon established a Multi Partner Trust Fund to solicit financial support from donors and appointed Dr. David Nabarro as Special Envoy. “I can categorically say here no monies were given directly to the three countries hardest hit. Rather, Koroma went on, 13 specialized UN agencies like the WHO, UNDP, FAO, WFP, UNFPA, UNICEF, among others, submitted proposals for interventions and once approved they are given the monies to implement’, Ambassador Koroma explained, disappointingly adding that “it is therefore unfortunate for anyone to bring in politics into a national tragedy like Ebola by accusing the Government of eating Ebola funds when in fact it is the Government of President Koroma that remains focused in ending the virus whilst at the same time fighting corruption. I challenge anyone to pinpoint where a Minister is named in the audit Report let alone the President”, Koroma emphasized.

In his contribution, the Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations and Coordinator of the African Union Committee of 10 on UN Security Council Reform ( C-10), who also speaks for the Government in the diaspora , Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, highlighted President Ernest Koroma’s impressive action  to bring the government to the people in the diaspora, attesting to his commitment to the principles of transparency and accountability in Government. He said that this was the firest time in the history of the nation that  government had been so transparent and accountable to the people for whom it is working. He also said that Sierra Leoneans should be proud to also have a President who is one of the most democratic in Africa. “The degree of political tolerance, freedom of speech and freedom of association in Sierra Leone is unprecedented. We have over 50 newspapers with most of them belonging to the opposition and no journalist has ever been jailed for his views” , the Minister noted. “There is no prisoner of conscience in Sierra Leone.”

The Press Attache of the Sierra Leone Embassy in Washington DC , Mr. Pasco Temple , did a tremendous job to facilitate and coordinate the town meeting in Washington . He helped to mobilize Sierra Leoneans to come to the Embassy to listen to the truth about current events in Sierra Leone.

The Head of Chancery at the Sierra Leone Mission to the UN, Minister Counselor  Mr. Alhusine Sesay, also gave a big hand in facilitating the publicity and outreach program embarked upon by the Government of Sierra Leone , through Mr. Bayraytay. He gave the opening statement at the meeting in New York where he outlined the reasons for the outreach program by the Government.

So far, the outreach program has been immensely appreciated by Sierra Leoneans. They are delighted that many concerns they had been harbouring through misinformation and distortion of facts in the press and the social media have been resolved. The entire government PR  team is being highly commended for helping to clarify matters of dire national concern and projecting the image of the President and the Government.

The meeting in Toronto has generated lot of interest among Sierra Leoneans .

 

 

Pictorial : Town meeting in Toronto

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Toronto town hall meeting held at the suya spot on Weston road in Toronto Wednesday, May 27, 2015.

It was chaired by long time APC veteran Pa Joseph Lakoh and co moderated by ace journalist and community activist usheak koroma aka kokofele.

Bayraytay addressed issues of corruption , the consitutional issue back home citing section 124 of the 1991 constitution, the audit report and the government stance and commitment to the fight against graft, the post Ebola recovery plan with particular emphasis on health, education, private sector economy recovery and robust servicedelivery mechanism.

Concerns raised by the audience incuded more efforts in the fight against corruption, respect for the rule of law, with outright condemnation of use of invectives on president and politicians across the board.

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Now it is a crime to do Bondo in Nigeria

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Nigeria Bans Female Genital Mutilation: African Powerhouse Sends ‘Powerful Signal’ About FGM With New Bill

Outgoing Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill this week that criminalizes female genital mutilation or cutting, a practice that a staggering 19.9 million Nigerian women are thought to have undergone. The landmark legislation is being hailed as an important step for Africa’s most populous country but also one that experts hope will have a potential ripple effect on the 26 other African nations that have significant populations of women who undergo the practice.

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Nigeria’s decision to outlaw female genital mutilation (FGM) sends “a powerful signal not only within Nigeria but across Africa,” according to J. Peter Pham, the director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council. “Nigeria, just because of the sheer size of its population, has one of the highest absolute number of cases of FGM in the world,” he said, adding that the bill now effectively criminalizes a significant percentage of FGM on the African continent. “One cannot overestimate the impact of any decision by Nigeria [on the continent].”

More than 125 million girls and women around the world are estimated to have undergone some form of FGM, with the majority concentrated in 29 countries, all but two in Africa, according to a 2013 study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef). FGM, also known as female genital cutting or female circumcision, is a procedure in which all or most of the external female genitalia is either removed or otherwise surgically altered for nonmedical reasons. The procedure has no documented health benefits and is considered a violation of the human rights of girls and women by international bodies like the World Health Organization.

Despite international efforts to rout the practice, FGM has prevalence rates of as high as over 95 percent in countries like Somalia, Guinea, Djibouti and Egypt. In Nigeria, which has a population of 175 million, the national prevalence is estimated at around 27 percent, with considerable variation across regions, the highest of which is represented in the southern portion of the country. The continued prevalence of the procedure is a result of deeply ingrained cultural and social factors. This has posed a challenge both for international health and rights advocates as well as national and local players who have sought to end FGM.

In this regard, the timing of Nigeria’s decision to outlaw the procedure is no coincidence. While advocates have campaigned for this legislation for over a decade, it was only passed this week, in the final days of the Jonathan presidency. “There’s a price to be paid by bucking norms that are widely observed,” said Pham. “It took a lame duck president and lame duck legislators who don’t have to face voters to undertake something that goes that much against the cultural norms or practices.”

Indeed, Pham argued that Jonathan has even done a favor for his successor, President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, who will now not have to face future voter backlash by legislating the controversial issue. “It’s already signed and Buhari can say he’s simply enforcing the laws,” he said.

As momentous as this step is, activists have warned that it will not change the high prevalence rates of the procedure in Nigeria — or the rest of the continent — overnight. As much as the legislation sends a clear message about impunity and provides activists with the legal framework to hold the government to account, criminalization of the entrenched practice still has its limitations, according to Stella Mukasa, the director of gender, violence and rights at the International Center for Research on Women.

“While legal safeguards are an important step towards ending FGM, they are not enough to eliminate it,” she wrote in a commentary for the Guardian. “Ending violence against women and girls requires investment, not just laws written in statute books. This is why we must emphasize community engagement, with a view towards shifting social norms, as a critical component of the eradication of FGM.”

The challenge of shifting social norms has been underscored in the case of other African countries like Egypt, where the prevalence of FGM was recently revealed to be at roughly 92 percent among married women despite the practice being outlawed in 2008. More than half of women surveyed by the government said they continued to be in favor of FGM because they viewed it as being in accordance with their cultural and religious traditions.

By  

International Business Times

Joint Statement on renewed attacks against the civilian population, especially women and children, in the widening armed conflict in South Sudan

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Joint statement by UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng and the UN Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, Jennifer Welsh.

 

(New York, 28 May 2015) We are deeply concerned at reports of escalating violence against the civilian population in the context of the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, particularly against women and children. Since the middle of April 2015, reports have indicated that serious violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law have taken place and are ongoing, as fighting intensifies between forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and Sudan People’s Liberation Army–In Opposition (SPLA-IO) in Unity and Upper Nile States.

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We are appalled at the large scale, widespread nature of the violations and abuses reported, including extra judicial killings, the abduction of women and children, rape and other forms of sexual violence, recruitment and use of children, looting and destruction of property. In addition, the fighting has exacerbated an already dire economic and humanitarian situation by reducing the humanitarian space, thus depriving thousands of South Sudanese of essential humanitarian assistance.

 

We continue to remind the political and military leadership of the SPLA and SPLA-IO of their responsibilities, in line with international law, including their responsibility to ensure the full protection of the civilian population, especially women and children, from violence and to spare them the effects of hostilities. The Government of South Sudan bears the primary responsibility for protecting its population from serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. We therefore call upon the Government to exercise that responsibility. The SPLA and SPLA-IO leaders must immediately put a stop to ongoing violations and abuses, issue clear orders for the immediate release of children associated with their forces and prohibiting sexual violence crimes. They must ensure the enforcement of these orders by field commanders, take concrete steps to identify and hold perpetrators accountable as well as facilitate access for humanitarian actors to continue providing life-saving assistance to the population.

 

We believe that a sustainable solution to the crisis can only be found through inclusive dialogue and that accountability is critical to obtaining lasting peace and in fostering reconciliation among communities in South Sudan. Women, as leaders and agents of change must be represented in peace talks and women’s groups must be fully consulted in the process.

 

We urge the UN Security Council, African Union, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), neighbouring countries and other relevant stakeholders, especially those involved in the mediation process, to reinforce engagements with the SPLA and SPLA-IO in order to de-escalate the current situation, prevent further violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and move the mediation process forward.

 

It is the collective responsibility of the international community to take decisive steps to end the protracted suffering of the South Sudanese people, especially the women and children who are disproportionately affected by the recent clashes.

 

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For media inquiries, please contact: Letitia Anderson, UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, tel: 212-963-0910, email: andersonl@un.org

President Koroma Extols Political Parties Collaboration

Friday, May 29th, 2015

 

By Samuel Koroma

His Excellency President Comrade Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has past Friday extolled leaders of all ten registered political parties in the country, for what he described as the responsible manner in which they have been collaborating, especially on issues of national interest.
President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma made this commendation while responding to a position paper presented to him by the latter, requesting he(President Koroma) to relax some restrictions in the State of Emergency, which was invoked as a measure to stem the tide of the receding Ebola outbreak in the country.

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Let me commend all of you for sustaining the engagement and for taking it another step further. This is not the first time you have been coming with suggestions as to the way forward in pushing this country forward, said President Koroma, adding: This goes to show that as Sierra Leoneans we are capable of shifting engagement from one issue to another and that you are responsible political party representatives.
The intervention of political leaders, he noted, helped greatly in the Ebola fight and also noted will help even in post-Ebola era.
Please dont stop at this and let us continue the engagement, President Koroma encouraged political leaders.
About the issue of the lifting of the State of Emergency, President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma said it was not the making of government to have introduced the State of Emergency.

The State Emergency, he emphasized, was not invoked to intimidate or victimize any body or group of people.
Government, he said, is very much cautious this time so as to avert what happened sometimes this year in the Ebola fight, wherein government had to revert to, for example earlier restrictions after they had been lifted.

He also cited the case of Kambia District as one of such places where reports of unchecked entries into the country caused a big problem.
He said he is not oblivious of the suffering of the citizenry, but that he was going to engage with stakeholders in the Ebola fight and see what could be done in the area of extending business hours from 6am-10pm.

President Koroma adds: I am aware of the suffering and untold hardship that Ebola has brought. But I cant single handedly seat here and say to you that the restrictions will be lifted today or tomorrow. We will consult with the experts in the fight and tell you the way forward in not too distant future. As a matter of fact, your requests are not unreasonable.
Ebola, he said, has taught Sierra Leoneans to appreciate one and another, noting the disease cannot be completely eradicated by a single person or entity.

He pleaded with party representatives present to embrace government recovery programmes and help in making sure that the programmes are effectively implemented.

The position paper presented by APPAs Chairman, Mohamed Bangura highlighted issues including but not limited to: asking for an extension of business hour from 6am-10:00 pm everyday; and also for the President to fill vacant positions in various ministries, departments, and agencies, among the list of presented issues of national concern.

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“We will give back to the West ‘TIT FOR TAT’ as we are no more fools”- Says:- President Jammeh

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

 

Speaking in Basse, in the Upper River Region while on his Nationwide Agricultural tour over the weekend, His Excellency Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh, had this to say “The WEST has now decided they will sink any boat found in their territorial waters that maybe carrying migrants bound for European countries. That will be an extra judiciary assassination”

According to President Yahya Jammeh, he and his government are more than ever now prepared to fight injustice in the country up to the last minute. He said the WEST must take note that his position on injustice has now gotten to the point of ‘tit for tat’

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Addressing his people further, President Yahya Jammeh said that his Government has now put up an uncompromising position on the life and welfare of The Gambian people. “If any Gambian is killed by them, we will physically retaliate. We are not fools anymore and we cannot be colonized twice”

However, President Yahya Jammeh warned Gambian parents and their children against the ills and economic loss that is associated with such ventures. He says he is not opposed to Gambians travelling to Europe and beyond. He cautioned them against illegal travelling and that they must first have skills.

“We can never be exploited twice. I will defend the Independence of The Gambia at all levels. Almighty Allah is the only supreme authority and I will bow down to no human being but Allah”

Commenting on what he described as ‘hypocritical and selfish’ actions of the WEST, President Jammeh Condemned mass killings across the world, saying actions can only be taken if such killings affected American citizens and the WEST.

In a closely related development, the European Union (EU) aims to bring 20,000 refugees to Europe in the next two years, as part of its plan, at a cost of £36m.  The Commission is urging EU states to share the burden of processing asylum claims. Italy and Greece, facing a migrant surge are struggling to cope. Under the EU law the UK, Ireland and Denmark are exempt from the quota plan.

There is pressure for tougher EU action to send economic migrants back home. On Military action, the EU is considering naval action in the Mediterranean to intercept boats used to traffic migrants from North Africa with Libya being a particular hot spot.

A decision on this is said to be reached by Monday (May 18th). However, any such Military strike action against human traffickers would require UN Security Council authorization. So far more than 1,800 migrants have died at sea this year, trying to reach Europe.

The UK says the EU should focus more on fighting the traffickers who exploit migrants, put their lives at risk and fuel the influx into southern Europe. According to the Commission, if the UK decides to opt into the refugee resettlement plan, it would accept 2,309 that is11.5% of the 20,000 total.

Further the Commission calculates that Germany would take the largest number 18.4%, followed by France 14%, Italy 11.8% and Spain 9%.

This new mechanism according to the Commission is called a ‘distribution key’ and it is to be launched on a temporary basis by the end of this month, with a permanent plan to follow by the end of the year.

France, Germany, Italy and some other countries back the Commission’s quota proposal.

BY:- Ralph Ese’Donnu Sawyerr,

Information Attaché,

Embassy of Sierra Leone,

In The Gambia and Senegal.

First Lady turns down Presidency of the African First Ladies Peace Mission

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

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Office of the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone

 

Press Release On Presidency of the African First Ladies Peace Mission

 

The First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma, was on 15th May 2015 elected in absentia, the new President of The African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM). The election was held at an emergency meeting of the mission in Abuja, Nigeria. The First Lady was represented by Prof. Khadija Hamdi, the First Lady of the Saharawi Democratic Republic.

 

The First Lady believes this honor by her colleague First Ladies in Africa is not only in recognition of the numerous works she has done locally and internationally since establishing the Office of the First Lady in Sierra Leone. More importantly, this is recognition of the resilience and positivity by the people of Sierra Leone in post civil war peace building achievement as well as the believe in Sierra Leoneans to overcome our present challenges.

 

The First Lady recognizes the huge post Ebola recovery effort required to provide socio-economic and cultural relief and resilience in this nation. With the alarmingly high number of children, adolescent young girls and women who are faced with diverse challenges, it requires every effort that the mother of the nation can provide.

 

Against this background, as well as other national considerations, the First Lady, in due consultation with diverse stakeholders, has respectfully declined the position of the President of AFLPM and has duly notified the secretariat of her decision.

 

The First Lady assures every Sierra Leonean, especially her fellow women and our children, that her first priority remains supporting national Ebola response and subsequent post Ebola recovery. Mrs. Koroma remains committed to the course of AFLPM and pledges to actively support her fellow First Ladies in AFLPM.