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Coups: International IDEA, regional envoys lead the way for inclusive governance, constitutional transition in Africa



Coups: International IDEA, regional envoys lead the way for inclusive governance, constitutional transition in Africa

By: Michael Mike

•Jonathan, Chambas, ECOWAS, AU, IGAD harps on strengthening democracy 
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), special envoys, and other key stakeholders are leading the way for inclusive governance and constitutional transition in Africa.

This was the main focus of the just concluded two-day “2nd Annual Retreat for Special Envoys and High Officials representing the RECs on Constitutional Transitions and Unconstitutional Changes of Governments” in Abuja, organized by International IDEA in collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission and Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands.
Speaking at the event in response to the resurgent Coup in parts of Africa, former President and ECOWAS Special Envoy, Goodluck Jonathan, stressed the need for inclusivity and constitutional transition of government to maintain stability in the society. 

Jonathan stressed that the dialogue on inclusivity should delve into how RECs and Special Envoys respond to constitutional transitions and unconstitutional government changes in alignment with democratic principles.
He said: “I have always said that there is a strong connection between democracy and development, hence the need to deepen democracy, make it more inclusive, and strengthen the institutions of governance, towards building a stable and prosperous society.”
He urged the stakeholders to place more emphasis on strengthening structures for credible elections, peace meditations, and good governance. He said discussions should explore the monitoring of responses to crises, and their adaptability in a rapidly evolving context due to factors such as security, climate change, and humanitarian challenges.
In his remarks, Secretary-General International IDEA, Dr Kevin Casas-Zamora,  stated its commitment to promoting Constitutional Transitions in Africa noting that it’s a pivotal opportunity for inclusive reform and democratic consolidation. 
He said, “History teaches a crucial lesson: a significant portion of the population must feel they have a stake in the political system to prevent challenges, often violent, from those feeling excluded. Constitutional transitions, particularly following unconstitutional changes of government, are critical junctures in which all stakeholders must have a vested interest. 
“Ensuring broad-based trust and ownership during these times fortifies public and stakeholder confidence in the new political order, creating safeguards against future attempts to undermine the transition,” he explained.
Zamora noted that key findings emanating from the International IDEA’s “Global State of Democracy Report” revealed that “this is a challenging time for democracy globally”. 

According to him, their data showed that this is the sixth consecutive year of democratic deterioration globally, the longest such sequence since our records started in 1975. 

The International IDEA scribe lamented that over two-thirds of the world’s population now lives in non-democratic regimes or in countries where democracy is visibly retreating. 

“Our report documents the considerable pressures faced by democratic governments everywhere: rising populism; declining trust in institutions; runaway polarization; unmet social expectations; pressing environmental challenges; and an increasingly toxic information environment,” Zamora disclosed.

In the same vein, Ambassador Muhammad Yonis, representing the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), emphasized the perils associated with a lack of inclusivity, underlining the potential for unrest or tribal discord. He acknowledged that, in some instances, disillusionment with corrupt governments may lead some to favor a military takeover. 

However, Yonis stressed the importance of engaging with such forces through open dialogue and public involvement.
The IGAD Senior Advisor to Chief Negotiator,  also cautioned against the adoption of colonial-era constitutions, asserting that this approach may not be suitable for contemporary contexts.

Drawing from his experience in Somalia, he pointed to the structural deficiencies that had led to political instability, where presidents hung prisoners multiple times within a single term, and some leaders remained in power for extended periods, ranging from eight to twenty years.
While acknowledging that the IGAD region is not entirely immune to the potential for unconstitutional government changes, Yonis highlighted that such instances are relatively rare within the region.

Ambassador Addel-Fatau Musah, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, pointed out that while the African Union, ECOWAS, and other regional organizations possess documents designed to fortify democracy, they continue to grapple with challenges.
Musah highlighted the necessity of examining factors such as poverty and exclusive politics, questioning the root causes behind the surge in coups. He urged for a deeper exploration of whether poverty plays a significant role in these events, emphasizing the relevance of the digital advancements that characterize the era.

The Ambassador said, “We need to talk about poverty, exclusive politics. There must be a reason why there is an epidemic of coups. Is it poverty? We are in an era where we have to look at digital advancement.

“There is organized labor but the military is now abandoning its primary role and taking over power. In West Africa, we had 9 coups. Unsuccessful coups have been there. On the day of the inauguration, Bazoum faced a coup,” he lamented.

Musah urged for a nuanced understanding of these situations, emphasizing that the blame should not be solely placed on governance issues. While concerns about insecurity are raised, he highlighted the crucial role of the environment in these circumstances. The military, he noted, is traditionally tasked with providing security, making it pertinent for them to fulfill this duty.

In a stark portrayal of the situation, the ECOWAS  Commissioner shared alarming statistics, stating that over two million people are displaced in Burkina Faso, and more than one million children are deprived of education. He underscored that the security situation is deteriorating in Mali and Niger.

To ensure a smooth and inclusive transition, Musah implored the international community to exercise patience, recognizing the complexity of these challenges.

Also speaking, the African Union (AU) High Representative for Silencing the Guns, Amb. Mohammed ibn Chambas said the Union is in solidarity with International IDEA.

“Violation of human rights, violation of African rights, and our resources are often exploited to our disadvantage,” Chambas said.

“We must abide by the principle of non-differentness. We must push forward the agenda for conflict resolution through the African peace architecture,” he stressed, adding that “we must ensure that African standby forces work”.

On his part, Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb Williams Wouter Plomp, said African countries are facing a rise in unconstitutional government transition without constitutional reforms.
“We want inclusion. ECOWAS and others must devise mechanisms to help entrench constitutional government.”

Also speaking, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, who was represented by the Director of African Affairs, Amb. Salisu Umar decried what he described as an “avoidable crisis of unconstitutional change of governments in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger, Gabon, and others”.

“This has to be reversed. These unconstitutional changes are taking place despite things that are supposed to deter the actors. Africa is signatory to treaties and conventions but the reasons why the continent is still where it needs to be interrogated,”the minister said.

The gathering which epitomizes the spirit of collaboration and commitment to democratic values, was championed by IDEA. The annual retreat offers a platform for experts and political leaders to explore the critical themes surrounding democracy’s sustainability, making it an apt demonstration of International IDEA’s multifaceted contributions.

International IDEA, established in 1995 as an intergovernmental organization, is dedicated to promoting sustainable democracy worldwide.

The organization specializes in policy-friendly research and analysis related to elections, parliaments, constitutions, digitalization, climate change, inclusion, and political representation, all aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Coups: International IDEA, regional envoys lead the way for inclusive governance, constitutional transition in Africa

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The People’s Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Nigeria issued a joint statement of their first plenary session of the intergovernmental committee



The People’s Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Nigeria issued a joint statement of their first plenary session of the intergovernmental committee

By: Michael Mike

The following is the full text of the statement.

Joint Statement of the First Plenary Session of the Intergovernmental Committee between the People’s Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Nigeria

On June 21, 2024, H.E. Wang Yi, Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, held talks with H.E. Yusuf Tuggar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The two ministers co-chaired the first Plenary Session of the China-Nigeria Intergovernmental Committee.

The two sides reviewed the positive outcomes achieved since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Nigeria over the past more than 50 years, jointly planned the future development of the bilateral relations, exchanged views on China-Africa relations and major international and regional issues of mutual interest, and reached wide range consensus.

The two sides agreed that over the past more than 50 years, China-Nigeria relations have withstood the test of changes in the international landscape and have become increasingly resilient and more robust. The two countries have developed a good tradition of mutual trust on political and diplomatic issues, mutual benefit in practical cooperation, mutual support in international affairs, and mutual learning in people-to-people exchanges.

Both countries pledged to support each other in their aspirations in various international fora, particularly the UN, G20 and BRICS.

The Government of Nigerian side acknowledges that there is but one China in the world, the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. Nigeria opposes any separatist activities of “Taiwan independence” in any form, and any external attempts to interfere in China’s internal affairs, and Nigeria will also support the efforts made by the Chinese government to realize national reunification.

The two sides agreed to work towards good governance and democratic values, peace, security and stability in the Sahel region and recognize Nigeria’s leading role in the fight against terrorism and other related transborder crimes. It was also agreed that necessary efforts towards ensuring economic viability of the region would be pursued through infrastructure development and sectoral cooperation.

China commends His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s leadership role in ECOWAS and his efforts towards bringing about stability in the region.

Both governments committed to intensifying efforts to protect the rights and dignity of each others’ citizens living in its country and create a business-friendly environment for their business.

The two sides agreed to support each others’ efforts to promote reunification, ethnic unity and social harmony, endeavor to enhance political mutual trust, and further support each other on matters related to its core interests and major concerns.

The two sides stressed the importance of the Forum on Chin-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to China-Africa relations and international peace and development and Nigeria supports China in hosting the 2024 FOCAC Summit.

The two sides agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation in multilateral affairs and jointly uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order underpinned by international law. The two sides advocate an equal and orderly multipolar world and inclusive economic globalization that benefits all and jointly promotes building a community with a shared future for humanity. Nigeria applauds and supports the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping.

Both countries are dedicated to advancing the high-quality Belt and Road Initiative, facilitating synergies between the Belt and Road Initiative and FOCAC conference outcomes, with the Renewed Hope Agenda and the Eight Priority Areas proposed by President Tinubu, and jointly promoting high-quality, practical cooperation in an all-around manner.

The two countries will continue to strengthen cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, electricity, telecommunications, finance, agriculture, industry, mining and free trade zones. Both countries will jointly explore cooperation opportunities in fields such as digital economy, green economy and blue economy, and they will foster new growth drivers in cooperation.

The Chinese side is willing to expand imports of Nigerian agricultural products. The Nigerian side called for increased partnership in Mining and Solid Mineral development and expressed willingness to partner with Chinese companies to establish manufacturing companies in Nigeria for local consumption and exports.

The two sides stand ready to create an open, transparent, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for the corporate cooperation between the two countries, strengthen the WTO-centered multilateral trading system, oppose trade protectionism, and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. The two sides support more Chinese and Nigerian provinces and municipalities/States and Local Governments in establishing more friendly relations and encouraging sister cities.

China expressed its commitment to support Nigeria in upgrading its science and technology in the military sector, equipment, and capacity building of intelligence to respond more effectively to traditional and non-traditional security challenges at home and aboard, as well as at the regional and international levels, and to safeguard peace and stability of the country.

The two sides are willing to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the departments in charge of military security, military industry and trade, and police enforcement, to enhance their capacity to safeguard national sovereignty and security interests, and make joint efforts to maintain regional and world peace.

The two countries restated their commitment to enhancing the mutual bond and friendship between the two peoples, mutual trust, interest sharing and common progress through mutual exchanges, mutual leaning and mutual understanding.

The two countries are willing to continue to build culture brands such as the Happy Chinese New Year, Chinese-Nigeria Culture Week, Chinese-Nigeria Film Festival, and Abuja International Art Fair. The two sides will strengthen mutual visits and exchanges between art groups and personnel, promote human resources training in the fields of culture and tourism, and support cooperation in the fields of creative culture between the two sides. The two sides will also strengthen cooperation in cultural and tourism fields such as publishing, film and television production, cultural heritage, libraries, museums, and tourism promotion.

The two sides confirmed their readiness to maintain regular contacts and close communication at all levels on convening the second Plenary Session of the China-Nigeria Intergovernmental Committee and Sessions of its Sub-committees.

The People’s Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Nigeria issued a joint statement of their first plenary session of the intergovernmental committee

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Security: NIS CG Appeals to Market Women, Youths, Traditional Rulers to Help in Border Surveillance



Security: NIS CG Appeals to Market Women, Youths, Traditional Rulers to Help in Border Surveillance

By: Michael Mike

The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mrs Kemi Nandap has appealed for the support of market women, youths and traditional rulers for proper monitoring and surveillance of Nigerian borders.

Nandap, in her appeal, insisted that their support has become imperative as critical stakeholders in managing the nation’s borders, especially the vast unmanned areas.

Nandap made the remarks during assessment tours to Nigeria borders towns and villages in Katsina and Jigawa States

A statement from the Public Relations Officer of the NIS, Kenneth Udo, revealed that the Immigration boss during her tour of duty took time out to visit former President, Muhammadu Buhari and the Emir of Daura Alhaji Umar Farouk.

He said during the tour, the CG visited the Fago Patrol Base, Daura Forward Operational Base and Kongolam Border control post as well as Magatari Control Post where she inspected the ongoing e-border projects and other facilities.

Nandap called on critical stakeholders at the border communities especially traditional leaders, youth leaders, transport unions and market women, to support the Service in safeguarding the country’s borders particularly in the vast unmanned areas.

She however warned the stakeholders on the dangers of transborder organised crimes such as smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons with particular emphasis on the need to always provide useful information on the activities of irregular migrants.

The CG while interacting with other security agencies, called for continued collaboration in the task of effective border governance, noting that, “a safe border is a safe nation”.
She urged border officers to display utmost professionalism in the discharge of their duties and to be extra vigilant in manning the borders.

She said the federal government is committed to improving the working condition of officers at the borders through provision of logistics, accommodation and continuous capacity building.

Security: NIS CG Appeals to Market Women, Youths, Traditional Rulers to Help in Border Surveillance

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FG Issues Flood Alert in 15 States



FG Issues Flood Alert in 15 States

By: Michael Mike

The Federal Government has issued a flood alert in 15 states across the country.

The National Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS) Center of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Abuja in the alert stated that the following locations and their environs are likely to witness heavy rainfall that may lead to flood within the period of prediction: 21st -25th June, 2024

The area include: Adamawa State : Abba Kumbo, Demsa, Farkumo ,Ganye, Gbajili, Jimeta, Mubi, Natubi, Shelleng, Song, Wuro- Bokki, Mayo- Belwa; Benue State : Agyo, Ugbokpo; Borno State: Maiduguri; Jigawa State: Hadejia; Kaduna State : Kauru; Kano State : Gezawa, Gwarzo, Kano, Karaye, Kunchi, Wudil; Katsina State: Daura, Jibia

Others are Kebbi State : Argungun, Bagudo, Bunza,Gwandu, Ribah, Sakaba, Shanga, Yelwa; Kogi State : Abejukolo, Omale,
Zugbe; Nasarawa State : Gidan Dogo, Keana, Lafia, Loko, Rukubi, Tunga, Udeni; Niger State : Magama; Plateau State : Langtang ,Wase; Sokoto State : Gagawa ,Goronyo, Isa, Shagari, Silame, Sokoto, Wamakko; Taraba State : Bandawa, Donga, Kwata Kanawa, Lau, Ngaruwa, Yorro; and Zamfara State: Anka, Bukkuyum, Gummi.

In another development, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr Mahmud Kambari has called for the provision of safe, functional sanitary facilities and waste management materials in communities across the country, insisting that this is key to tackling infectious diseases in the country

Kambari stated this at the commemoration of National Environmental Sanitation Day in Piwoyi community Abuja, with the theme ”go green,stay clean, climate change is real” over the weekend.

The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by the Director, Pollution Control and Environmental Health, Ministry of Environment, Mr Olubunmi Olusanya said provision of these facilities would go a long way in promoting public health and improving the sanitary condition of people leaving in rural communities.

Kambari called on the people in the community to clean their surroundings regularly so as to curb the spread of diseases like cholera, typhoid fever and Lassa fever

A representative of Breakthrough Action Nigeria, a non governmental organisation, Mr Jonathan Daku encouraged the rural communities to imbibe hygienic lifestyle, as dirty environment breeds infectious diseases.

Also,the technical Officer, Public Health and Environment, World Health Organisation, WHO, Dr Edwin Edeh pledged WHO’s support to the government in scaling up the exercise in all the 36 states of the federation including FCT.

The Esu of Piwoyi, Chief Tanko Bayago appreciated the ministry of environment and its partners for choosing the community and promised to continue with sanitation awareness in the community

Highlights of the exercise were a visit to the Chief Palace , clean up exercise of the community and the donation of cleaning materials to the community.

FG Issues Flood Alert in 15 States

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