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Nigerien Government Fails Attempt to Stop Sanction Imposed By ECOWAS Head of Governments

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Nigerien Government Fails Attempt to Stop Sanction Imposed By ECOWAS Head of Governments

…As ECOWAS Court Throw Out Case

By: Michael Mike

The ECOWAS Court of Justice has thrown out the request of the Republic of Niger for the Court to suspend sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States Authority of Heads of State and Government following the overthrowing of a democratically elected government.

The request for interim measures is part of a broader case brought by the Republic of Niger and seven other applicants challenging the legality of sanctions imposed by ECOWAS following a military coup in the West African country in July 2023 that overthrew the government of President Mohammed Bazoum.

In the ruling delivered on Thursday by Justice Edward Amoako Asante, the Court acknowledged that it has prima facie jurisdiction over the substantive application.

However, the Court ruled that it could not grant the request for interim measures since the additional requirement for the case to be prima facie admissible had not been met.

The Court explained that the Republic of Niger, as currently controlled by the military junta, lacked prima facie capacity before the Court, making the substantive application prima facie inadmissible. The substantive application was also held to be prima facie inadmissible in respect of the rest of the applicants within the meaning of Articles 9(2) and 10(c) of the Protocol of the Court.

At the hearing held on 21 November, 2023 the Applicants represented by their lawyers Mr Moukaila Yaye and five others argued that the sanctions imposed by the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS have had adverse effect on the Nigerien people including shortage of food, medicine and electricity, due to the closure of borders and suspension of electricity supply by Nigeria.

They asked the Court for interim orders that will compel the Authority of Heads of State and Government to immediately suspend the sanctions.

They said that ECOWAS overreacted by imposing the sanctions and that Niger was unequally and unfairly treated compared to three other ECOWAS member states (Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea) that have experienced coup d’états in recent years.

Mr François Kanga-Penond, who represented the ECOWAS Authority and other respondents in the case told the Court that the Republic of Niger is currently controlled by a military junta which seized power unconstitutionally in violation of ECOWAS legal instruments.

He argued that since such an unconstitutional government which had been denounced by ECOWAS and the international community could not be legally deemed to represent the country, both the substantive application and request for provisional measures were inadmissible. He therefore urged the Court to decline the request for interim measures.

In the substantive application, the applicants -the Republic of Niger, six Nigerien organisations and a Nigerien national –asked the Court to declare the measures taken by the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS during its extraordinary sessions of 30 July and 10 August 2023, to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger illegal. They requested the Court to nullify all decisions of these ECOWAS organs imposing sanctions, including the decision to resort to military intervention in the Republic of Niger.

In its ruling, the Court held the view that an entity resulting from an unconstitutional change of government, and not acknowledged by ECOWAS as a government of a member state, inherently lacks the capacity to initiate a case before the court with the aim of obtaining benefits or reprieve.

Consequently, the substantive suit and the request for interim measures presented in the name of Niger, by an unconstitutional and unrecognized governmental authority, were prima facie inadmissible.

Concerning the seven non-state applicants suing alongside the Republic of Niger, the Court held that they failed to provide specific details regarding the nature and extent of the harm suffered by each of them from the measures imposed on Niger. This lack of specificity made it challenging to differentiate their legal interests in this case from those of the Republic of Niger.

The Court stated that given these circumstances, the application was prima facie inadmissible relative to the non-state applicants as per the provisions of Articles 9(2) and 10(c) of the Protocol of the Court.
Having concluded that the substantive application before the Court was prima facie inadmissible, the Court held that the request for interim measures could not be granted. It accordingly dismissed it.

The panel of judges who delivered the ruling were Justice Edward Amoako Asante, President of the Court and judge rapporteur for the case, and Honourable Justices Gbéri-bè Ouattara and Dupe Atoki.

Nigerien Government Fails Attempt to Stop Sanction Imposed By ECOWAS Head of Governments

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National News

Fraud and Mismanagement Rock INGO’s IDP Cash Assistance Effort in Bama

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Fraud and Mismanagement Rock INGO’s IDP Cash Assistance Effort in Bama

By: Zagazola Makama

Corruption has recently undermined humanitarian efforts in Bama, located in the northeast of Borno State, where aid workers responding to the 13-year insurgency have been accused of fraud.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Mercy Corps oversee a multi-purpose cash assistance (MPCA) program, providing financial aid to newly arrived internally displaced persons (IDPs) at Bama IDP Camp. This program aims to meet the basic needs of the refugees, alleviate their households’ financial burdens, and guide them towards sustainable recovery.

Despite being designed to assist 1,000 selected IDPs, the program has been tainted by fraudulent activities carried out by humanitarian workers. This has led the United Nations to establish an investigative team to look into the accusations.

Here’s how the issue unfolded:

From November 2023 to January 2024, the IOM compiled a list of 1,000 newly arrived IDPs to receive cash assistance and issued them tokens. However, during the distribution process, it was discovered that 83 IDPs had already departed the camp for Pulka, Banki, and Konduga to reunite with family, resulting in excess tokens.

An IOM volunteer, tasked with training women in tailoring, was given 50 of these surplus tokens to distribute under a covert arrangement with an IOM officer. This deal stipulated that each recipient would return 95% or 80% of the cash received. After compiling the list, it was sent to Mercy Corps for verification before the commencement of the cash distribution. Each beneficiary was to receive N91,030.

When the funds were disbursed, however, the IDPs who received tokens through the IOM volunteer were asked to return amounts between N86,000 and N70,000. This caused discontent among some IDPs, who felt cheated out of the full N91,030 they were entitled to.

Mr. Abdulrahman Busube, the Councillor of Bama, initiated an investigation after 33 IDPs complained of receiving only N20,000 or N5,000. Busube promptly reported the matter to the police, leading to the questioning of the IOM volunteer. The police found her with 42 tokens and N600,000, but she claimed to have received these from “Judith,” an IOM staff member overseeing the program, for collecting the kickbacks.

Judith was summoned by the police but denied any involvement, despite the volunteer’s insistence that she was acting under Judith’s instructions. Alhaji Modu Ali Gujja, the Chairman of Bama, called for a thorough investigation.

On February 26, a five-member IOM team visited Bama to investigate the fraud allegations. They met with the camp coordination team and interrogated the accused volunteer, who stood by her story. Camp officials informed the investigators that numerous complaints had been received about IDPs being shortchanged and that some recipients of new arrival tokens were actually Bama community members, not IDPs.

During a subsequent emergency meeting at the UN Humanitarian Hub in Bama, which included various officials and two participants joining virtually from Maiduguri, Judith again denied distributing the 50 tokens.

However, the situation took a turn when some of the N600,000 recovered by Busube was misappropriated. While the investigation was ongoing, the Chairman directed the Councillor to distribute N5,000 to each of 92 new arrival IDPs and N10,000 to each of ten head of households. However, of the N600,000, Busube only presented N450,000, with N150,000 unaccounted for. When questioned about the discrepancy, Busube claimed he had used the funds to settle the police and shared N45,000 among his fellow councillors.

Busube maintained that some of the money was distributed to the police and the remaining was shared among the new arrivals and heads of households, with 92 new arrivals each receiving N5,000 and ten households each receiving N10,000.

This misappropriation came to light amidst the ongoing investigation into the broader corruption scandal within the humanitarian operations in Bama. The situation highlights not only the initial fraud committed by the IOM volunteer and potentially other staff members but also the subsequent mismanagement of recovered funds by a local official.

The case continues to be under scrutiny, with calls for accountability and transparency to restore integrity to the aid efforts in the region.

Fraud and Mismanagement Rock INGO’s IDP Cash Assistance Effort in Bama

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Military

Marwa Commends British Govt Over Marine Headquarters Project for NDLEA

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Marwa Commends British Govt Over Marine Headquarters Project for NDLEA

By: Michael Mike

Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) has commended the British Government for offering to undertake the provision of headquarters house and personnel accommodation for the Marine Unit of the anti-narcotics body at the Eko Atlantic city beach.

Marwa, who gave the commendation while performing the groundbreaking ceremony to signify the commencement of the project facilitated by the UK Home Office International Operations (HOIO), assured that the agency will continue to live up to the expectations of Nigerians and its international partners.

He said the confidence reposed in the agency by President Bola Tinubu and the UK government as well as their all-round support will always be a morale booster for the officers and men who daily take huge risks to dismantle drug cartels with the sole aim of curbing the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria, while significantly contributing to the global effort to address the drug problem.

He noted that the office and accommodation facilities being provided by the UK government for personnel of the marine unit of the agency will in no small measure enhance their safety, efficiency and confidence. “You have provided us a place here, you’ve given us the trainings, you’ve supported with the boats and the repairs and now the accommodation. We can only say thank you. We wish to give the assurances on what you already know that the NDLEA is a serious Agency, we do what we have to do without fear or favour, we will get the job done, that I can give you the assurance as we continue to partner. Thank you very much”, the NDLEA boss said while addressing the British government officials and their contractors at the site of the project.

He also commended personnel of the Navy, Customs, Immigration and other services in the area for their collaboration with NDLEA. “We all must stand up together, though the NDLEA is the lead agency in this enterprise, the work is collaborative. We must partner to get the job done. I’ve been briefed that there’s lot of collaboration going on the same way I was at MMIA this morning and spoke to your senior colleagues there and they are all working together as you are here. I urge you to keep it up in this spirit and I wish you more success.”

Addressing officers of the Unit, Marwa said the leadership of the agency is restructuring the Marine Unit so that it “can become a lean and mean force under an able commander”, adding “you should brace up, stand up on your two feet and work very hard to make sure that drugs do not pass by water.”

In his brief remarks at the ceremony, Kris Hawksfield of the UK Home Office International Operations assured that the project will be completed latest by July 2024.

Speaking earlier at a War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy meeting with the leadership of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Marwa said there is need for the organization to partner with the Agency in the fight against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking. He urged the PMAN President, Prettywise Okafor and other executives to mobilise their members to use their God-given talents for the good of the society rather than using their music to promote drug abuse especially among the youths.

Okafor in his response expressed the preparedness of PMAN to partner with the Agency. He also gave details of their effort to organise advocacy campaign against drug abuse across the country and their plan to build rehabilitation centres as part of their ongoing projects in Abuja and Lagos.

Marwa Commends British Govt Over Marine Headquarters Project for NDLEA

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National News

Oronsaye Report: Don’t Merge Nigerian Army University With NDA, Olowu Urges President Tinubu

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Oronsaye Report: Don’t Merge Nigerian Army University With NDA, Olowu Urges President Tinubu

By: Michael Mike

President Bola Tinubu has been advised not to merge the Nigerian Army University with the Nigerian Defence Academy as part of the implementation of Steve Oronsaye report.

The advice was given by the Olowu of Kuta, HRM Oba Hameed Adekunle Makama, Tegbosun III, in a statement on Tuesday.

The monarch in a statement issued by his media office, said Nigerian Army University, Biu, unlike the Nigerian Defence Academy, Is a full fledged federal university like other federal universities in the country, and offers various courses, and not specialised university which the NDA is.

He added that the Nigerian Army University was established by the Act of Parliament and cannot be reversed without going back to the National Assembly to repeal the act that set it up, noting that merging NAUB with NDA means the federal government is ready to merge every federal university created by the act of parliament.

Oba Makama also reminded President Tinubu that Nigerian Army University Biu was set up to cater for the multitude of students in search of university education in the north east axis, adding that merging it with the NDA will reduce it to an institution where military personnel are trained.

Oba Makama, however, commended President Tinubu for the political will to implement a far-reaching civil service reform that was initiated twelve years ago so as to cut the over bloated costs of governance

He said: “I believe the mixed up should not have arisen if proper wide consultation is made before advising Mr. President on inclusion of NUAB because Army University is not even in existence during the Orosanye panel.”

Oronsaye Report: Don’t Merge Nigerian Army University With NDA, Olowu Urges President Tinubu

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