Sierra Leone: women need help

05.June.2009 · Posted in news

We republish here an article that first appeared on Mobilizing media (http://www.jhr.ca/en/donate_hp.php).

Imagine returning home from your husband’s funeral, only to find your key no longer fits in the door.

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Shell and the Blood of Decades Past

03.June.2009 · Posted in news

Ken Saro-WiwaKen Saro-Wiwa and his eight fellow Ogoni-brothers were executed in 1995 by the Nigerian military government and the real cause of their death is still inflaming fire in the Niger Delta.


What makes Nigeria one of the leading oil producers in the world is Niger Delta, yet the indigenous people who should have counted the resources as blessing are wallowing in abject poverty.

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It's time of Africa Fashion Week

03.June.2009 · Posted in culture

The ARISE Africa Fashion Week will be held in Johannesburg (South Africa) from the 12 to 20 June 2009.

The event is sponsored by the monthly magazine Arise, a publication launched in February 2009 to promote African achievement in fashion, music, culture, business and politics.

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Immigrants prepare their own voice

31.May.2009 · Posted in politics

Advert of Asteriscoradio.com

Describing the immigrants with any form of negativity and demeaning comments is no longer new in Italy.

Like the two sides of a coin however, the story is been dragged to a balance view, because some immigrants are now refusing to lay low in their created ghettos and they are calling others to do the same.

Faustin Akafack is a Cameroonian migrant in Bologna. Speaking in Florence yesterday at the Terrafutura, an ongoing multiethnic and social/cultural exhibition, invaded with thousands of visitors from different places, he explained his journey so far with his web radio, www.Asteriscoradio.com and his strive to inform his fellow migrants.   

 

Being an immigrant in Italy, why creating a radio in the first place?

To start with, I have always treasured the radio business ever since I was a boy. And with the negative report I often seen about migrants, I decided to act faster than I had planned. I actually started in 2003 by preparing some radio programs and sending them to the radio studios that were willing to broadcast them. The trouble though was the limited time which was not enough for me to transmit the information I wanted. In 2005, the Astericoradio was finally launched and the success was more than an encouragement for the years ahead.

Faustin Akafack, founder of Asteriscoradio

You don’t seem to be new in the radio!

I was a radio presenter back home in Cameroon and I also did a similar thing in France. As far as the radio business and other informative activities are concerned, I know how to find my way around.

You also run a small newspaper (Il Taburi), what really makes your media outfit to be different from others?

Unlike other news agencies, we clip the basic information about migrants and reduce the grammatical complexities in them to the understanding of ordinary migrants. After all, information makes more sense when it can be understood.

A project like yours obviously requires a lot of funds, how are you going about it?

Actually, the most important thing is that I believe in it and so are those who continuously give me the encouragement and moral support to strive further. The money for the activities is internally raised. It’s obviously the money that should have been used for other domestic projects in Africa. Anyway, while we build up the strength to stand firm here, every other thing can wait.

How was your initial step of involving the Africans migrants, especially those in Bologna, where you live?

It was difficult in the beginning, but with the passage of time, they gradually understood that it was a serious and sustainable project. Our target was in fact the immigrant community and later did we realize that even the Italians were interested in what we are doing. It’s now a point of contact for both parties to tell their own sides of the story and therefore our joy to sustain the tempo.

 

Ewanfoh Obehi Peter

Nigeria: STOP THE FIRE!

26.May.2009 · Posted in politics

Map of NigeriaPerhaps nothing less is best expected in the Niger Delta where the largest army in Africa is taking up a tiny group of dissidents with their military hardware.

The falling victims from the ongoing assault have been attracting plenty of attention across the globe.

The armed group who called themselves MEND, Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta people, only came on board some few years ago and as they vowed to the federal government, they have truly cut the oil production in African leading oil producing country to more than half.

From their incessant kidnappings of several foreign oil workers to nearly turning the Nigerian oil region into the Afghanistan of Africa, they have certainly become very popular in the world media.

Of course the Nigerian army is no doubt famous with their intolerance. Many still wonder how a rebel could have ever grown under their nose, even though they reluctantly relinquished power to civilian government on May 29, 1999.

Now they are on the loose again and are pulling down anything that stands on their way.

Speaking at an art exhibition at the Italian Embassy in Abuja last week, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka decided to voice out his anger, as reported by This Day, one of Nigerian leading newspapers:

“These atrocities should be stopped immediately. Look at Odi; that is a shame and a slap to Nigeria. This kind of massive onslaught is being used in an indiscriminate way. You have more casualties among civilians than among the militants. It is unconscionable and unacceptable. Some of these sooner or later will feature in the international court for crimes against humanity and therefore it had better be stopped right now before the criminalities move to the level of that of Sudans Bashir.”

In another development, Daily Sun in his yesterday’s publication reported the comment of one Mr. FEMI ESEKU on the ongoing situation in the Niger delta:

“The month of May 2009 would, perhaps, go down in the memories of many Nigerian’s as one of the most catastrophic periods in the history of our country. The month represents the period when the Nigerian Government under President Umar Musa Yar’Adua, through the actions of the Joint Military Task Force(s) (JTF), comprising the Army, Navy and Air force, decided to bombard and extirpate a part of the Niger-Delta people, due to the exigencies of the few armed militants, whose agitation are mostly genuine, but allowed to degenerate into a quagmire of lawlessness and hijacked vision by both real and imagined freedom fighters. Also, it marked the month when the government, in spite of the agitation’s of Nigerians through the aegis of the Labor movement, ignored the call not to deregulate the downstream sector of the economy.”

MendThe ongoing crises would surely have led to a big swell of oil price in the international market, as it has been in the past few years, since the armed group took the multinational oil companies by surprise in the Niger Delta. But with the crumbling global economy it’s certainly not a good time for the business as usual, for which many Nigerian villages are been bombarded in their God given lands.

Not many right thinking people are in support of the federal government for the perpetual abuse or allowing the multinational oil companies to abuse the ecological system and the rights of the indigenous people in the Niger Delta. As some Nigerians continuously say however, fire for fire should not be the only option. It gives opportunities to some miscreants who want to hijack the genuine process for their personal aims and drag the country into an unimaginable depth of the same cheating and corruption that led to the problem in the first place.

“Employing all avenues including involving the international community for a peaceful solution should be encouraged in the Niger Delta,” a Nigerian said to me. Stressing his point further, he said:

“If MEND are not over trading confidence, they should have realized that they can never beat the Nigerian military force by any miracle. And should the trouble eventually escalate beyond control, Nigeria will be too small for them to hide. I’m not sure if there is any neighboring country that will be willing to take them in, without first considering the full weight of Nigeria military upon them, as a cross border conflict. Let put an end to all violence and seek for other means of resolving our problems. Besides, we will surely go to the round table after sacrificing our people who have already suffered so much in the hands of some unpatriotic leaders.”

Justice might not actually be denied after all. As published in the local news website, Niger Delta News Headlines, 16 foreign-based civil society organizations are dragging President Umaru Yar’Adua and the joint task force (JTF) to the International Criminal Court of justice, for their alleged abuse of human right in the Niger Delta.

The groups are the Trans Africa Forum, Centre for Civil Society, Environmental Justice Project of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the Sweet Crude, Communities for a Better Environment, the Borneo Project, the Justice in Nigeria Now and the Center for Third World Organizing.

Others are Global Exchange, Rainforest Action Network, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Crude Accountability, Oil Change International, Counter Corp, Foreign Policy in Focus and Sustainable Energy and Economy Network.

According to the groups, the military carried out land, water and aerial bombardments of Oporoza, Kurutie, Kunukunuma, Kokodiagbene, Okerenkoko, Azama, Benikurukuru and Ubefan communities in Gbaramatu Local Government Area, under the guise of attacking militants.

Col. Rabe AbubakaAnd defending the operation of JTF, the spokesman, Col. Rabe Abubaka said:

“It is pertinent to note that in all the communities searched by the JTF so far, large quantities of arms and ammunition, as well as hostages kidnapped by the militants, were discovered. With the successes recorded so far in the course of this operation, the Task Force wants to debunk the allegation that its troops are targeting some individuals, or certain ethnic groups. We conducted the operation in the most professional manner and the security outfit is only focusing on the areas where there are militants and their hide
outs where hostages were being kept. It is not a random operation. We are soliciting for the cooperation of the public, especially those affected by this purge, to furnish us with information that will lead to the arrest of the miscreants who unleash terror on innocent members of the communities.”

 

Ewanfoh Obehi Peter

Africa day: celebrations in Addis Ababa

25.May.2009 · Posted in politics

Towards A United, Peaceful and Prosperous Africa” is the title given for this year celebration of Africa day which also marks the first anniversary of Africanews.it

The Day is observed with respect to the creation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), by its founding fathers on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the current headquarters of the African Union.

The term of ‘peace‘ is in line with one of the four pillars of the strategic plan 2009-2012 of the Commission of the African Union, that of ‘peace and security”.

As the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Mr. Jean Ping, once recalled, the continent is heading towards a more advanced democracy which is sometimes difficult to achieve; hence, there exist many examples of success stories like in the case of Ghana where the elections were conducted peacefully. This, the Chairperson said, is proof that Africa is not only about war and conflicts.  The architecture of peace therefore clearly depicts that peace can be consolidated when there is unity and prosperity.

Angola: country presentation in Rome tomorrow

25.May.2009 · Posted in business

A ‘country presentation‘ for Angola will take place tomorrow in Rome, at the Foreign office headquarter called ‘Farnesina’. The meeting will start at 10 am.

The event is organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is the first in a series of “Country Presentations” to promote greater economic interaction between Africans and Italians to put bilateral cooperation for mutual benefit.

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DR Congo: UN Security Council's visit. What now?

23.May.2009 · Posted in news

As part of strengthening the partnership for peace with the African Union (AU), a delegation from the Security Council of the United Nations (UN), led by the French ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert, has visited Africa for some time.

Addis Ababa, Kigali, Kinshasa, Goma in North Kivu and Liberia’s capital, Monrovia.

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Ghana Awaits Obama In High Hope

23.May.2009 · Posted in politics

Obama in black and white suit

He is like a rare angel the world hasn’t seen for a long time. His electoral victory ignited the poorest continent in the world. Many even claimed they have seen their messiah although he is far away in the White house.

But with the global economic meltdown, his inherited two wars and the long line between terrorism and global reduction in nuclear weapons to other domestic matters, the historic president seemed to have forgotten the always forgettable part of the world.

Ghana flagHe has however decided finally, to visit the continent, and Ghana, the formal gold coast of West Africa was chosen to be the first host on the 10th of next month.

As for the feelings of some individuals, why Ghana is to be visited first instead of Kenya, as many have predicted, being his father’s home country, Washington knows it better.

Saying that Ghana is ready to receive Obama is an understatement. The big feast is an event to be remembered for a long time and it has already started to spark out fire as people prepare for him across the country. Many have already promised to forsake their works, so they can wave hands for the world most guarded president. Even those outside the country are not going to miss anything in the event. Thanks to satellite televisions and internet connections.

Kwame Fraha, Ghananian in Verona (north Italy)Kwame Fraha is a Ghanaian resident in Verona, Northern Italy. In a short interview this morning, he shared his joy and expectation about the visit of American president to his home country, Ghana.

Why do you think Ghana was chosen by Obama to be visited first in Africa?

“Well, I think first of all, it is because of the stable politics in Ghana. Of all the neighboring countries, Ghana is the only country without serious political disorder. It’s therefore an encouragement for our sustained democratic process. Secondly, since the president is not coming alone, another reason for coming to Ghana might be for business purpose.”

What are really the expectations of Ghanaians from the visit?

“The expectations are quite high, especially in the area of our economy. Often time, promises are made when Western heads of States visit Ghana and some of these promises are never met. We hope that president Obama will make good promises and fulfill them in the long run.”

Despite the good democratic system in Ghana, many Ghanaians still suffer from poverty to human rights problems. What effect do you think Obama’s visit will have on these areas?

“It depends mainly on the Ghanaian government and the people. The government must shun any form of corruption in the system and truly empower the people to live better lives. The new president, John Atta should emulate Obama like he said he would during the election, so that the country can improve. With the discovering of oil in Ghana, we surely have good prospects and hope that the proceeds would be properly used to the benefit of all Ghanaians.”

Utilizing a country’s natural resources to better the lives of its citizens is one thing that has hardly been a reality in the African continent. From Sudan to Sierra Leone, Congo to the giant oil producer in Africa, Nigeria; the people can only hope for a day their natural resources will be used to improve their lives.

 

Ewanfoh Obehi Peter

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x30uIRPAv6I

Obama in Ghana