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©AfreePress- (Lomé, March 4, 2019)- The third edition of the Human Rights Night took place on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at Agora Senghor, Lomé. Organized by the CACIT (a forum of Associations against impunity) in Togo, the Human Rights Night is an evening of awards and distinctions to the various actors involved in the fields of Human Rights. The President of CACIT Mawuli SPERO did not fail to recall the framework of this celebration which, as far as he is concerned, is important. "The Human Rights Night is a celebration of human dignity through the rewarding of those who uphold this dignity," he said in his opening speech of the evening.

For the year 2018, several associations, NGOs and personalities were awarded for their commitment to the cause of humanity. Among them, was Compassion International Togo, a Christian NGO engaged in the protection and defense of Child’s rights. Being awarded best actor in the field of Child Protection during the previous edition, this NGO has been awarded the price of the Best International Organization in 2018. Compassion International's efforts are well known. Established in Togo since 2008, Compassion is specialized in the holistic development of children and young people through sponsorship. It mainly partners with Evangelical churches established in Togo. Currently, Compassion International covers all the regions of our country either through its QAVAH program or through the Child and Youth Development Centers. In total more than 60,000 beneficiaries are registered in the program and many of them are already enrolled in universities.

Mr. Koffi AHONON, representing the National Director at this ceremony, did not skimp and save words to thank the CACIT and its partners. According to him, this recognition is dedicated to the children and other beneficiaries of the program and the various actors who work on the field. “Indeed”, he continued saying that, "thanks to Compassion's efforts in our country, thousands of children have hope for a brighter future."

It should be remembered again that Compassion International provides its beneficiaries with school supplies, support in their studies, technical and vocational training, health care, trainings in entrepreneurship and other topics. In order to enable them to live in a non-hostile environment, Compassion International supports its Church partners in income-generating initiatives for parents and in the building of facilities such as boreholes and classrooms.

Yet in 2016, Compassion International Togo was ranked the best donor according to the governmental report of the Public Aid to Development in front of the European Union and the World Bank with a total of 46,58 million FCFA, the equivalent of 14,41% of the Public Aid to Development in Togo.

jeudi, 28 février 2019 13:08

The prefecture Dankpen, opens new market

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©AfreePress- (Lomé, February 27, 2019)- In the context of the Emergency Program for Community Development (PUDC), President Gnassingbé was present at the opening of the departmental market and rural roads in Dankpen, located 450km North-West of Lomé.

The construction of the Dankpen market started in March 2017, the community expressed their need to the leaders of the National Agency for Development Support at the Base (ANADEB), who since then have tried to facilitated their needs.

The community asked for a modern market and infrastructure adapted to the size of their commercial activities. The project has cost more than 470 million CFA francs and consists of an administrative block, shops, toilets, sheds and shelters for poultry and cattle, a butchers shop and a waste dump.

The prefectures of Dankpen and Doufelgou benefit not only from the market but, also from the rural roads that connect Alloum to Namon, Namon to Guerin-Kouka, Guerin-Kouka to Kidjaboum and Kidjaboum to Katchamba, these rural roads have been renovated for 2.5 bilion CFA.

During the ceremony, Commander Gnakou Aloegnim of Dankpen, expressed his gratitude to the Togolese government on behalf of the community. The new roads has given the local community an international connection to Benin, Ghana and Burkina Faso.

This architectural work of the new market will make the commercial activities in this community easier, he said.

Besides the rural roads and the market, in the region of Kara, the PUDC contributed to the construction of eight schools, two high schools and two colleges of general education, the construction of the Awandjelo health center, the renovation of administrative, educational and health facilities in a dozen schools, colleges and high schools in the region.

All of these projects received technical support from the United Nations Development Program.

Gomashie D.

©AfreePress -(Lomé, February 27, 2019)- On Saturday the 23th of February, the polls of the Nigerian presidential elections were finally opened. After the elections were postponed for a week, Nigerians where finally able to vote for their next president. 

Counting started right after the polls closed, but results did not come in until Monday morning. The official results were supposed to be published on Monday night but counting took longer and were finalized on Tuesday the 26. 

The final results show that Muhammadu Buhari, who was running for a second term wins again. With a difference of almost four million votes he can continue his presidency for another four years. 

During his last term, Buhari has been absent for some time due to illness. The Vice president stepped in to take over while he recovered. The president still continues to suffer from health issues but is nevertheless determined to take on the problems Nigeria is facing.

The challenges Buhari will be facing during his second term are, The Nigerian economy that still depends largely on oil exports. The country has been in recession since 2016 and half of the Nigerian population lives in extreme poverty. 

Buhari is expected to fight the everlasting issues with corruption. Even though he was also suspected of corruption during his presidential campaign. Lastly does Nigeria have a national security issue because extremist Muslim groups such as Boko Haram are active in the norther part of the country. It wouldn’t be an easy task for the president to face all these challenges. 

Buhari is from a northern state and was born into a Muslim family. This largely contributed to Buhari’s win.

The overall turnout of the elections was the lowest in 20 years, only 35% of the registered voters actually voted on Saturday. In the southern states this percentage was even lower, in some states even under 20%. 

In the northern states the turnout was around 50 %. This large difference in turnout helped Buhari considerably with his win. 

The low turnout shows that the population has very little trust in the politics of it country and doesn’t seem to believe real change will occur with this presidency.

Nigerian has an extremely young population, 60% is under 25 and either not allowed to vote or does not have faith in the current politics. The validity of these elections could be questioned, as not only the majority of the population is not allowed to vote but the Nigerians who were eligible to vote mostly stayed home as well. 

The opposition therefore rejects these elections and refuses to sign. They believe that the results were manipulated, not valid and plan on going to court to fight the results. 

Meanwhile Buhari supporter celebrate the win of their president.

Gomashie D.

©AfreePress- (Lomé, February 27, 2019) -The current mandate of President Faure Gnassingbé will end in 2020, so it is time for the organization of presidential elections again.

A few months away from the deadline, applications are emerging. Following the announcement of the candidacy of President Gnassingbe by the Executive Secretary of his party, l’Union pour la République (UNIR). It is now the turn for the l'Alliance nationale pour le changement (ANC), the opposition party, to announce their candidate for the presidential elections.

During a meeting organized by ANC youth in Bè Kodjindji district on Sunday, February 24, 2019, DRAH Seveamenou, the party's former deputy, indicated that his political party already has a name for the candidate of the 2020 presidential election. This candidate is Jean Pierre Fabre, head and founder of the party, he was the obvious choice.

But according to socio-political analysts of Togo, it is too early to conclude that Fabre will be the only candidate of the ANC.

For the 2020 presidential elections, big maneuvers are expected to be set up.

Gomashie D.

mercredi, 27 février 2019 10:09

Togo and Belgium Work Towards an Air Agreement

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©AfreePress- (Lomé, February 26, 2019) - In the upcoming days Togo and Belgium will sign an air agreement this was announced on Monday the 25th of February.

The new Belgian ambassador in Togo, Xavier LeBanc announced this during his presentation to the president. The Belgian diplomat said that his mission is to strengthen the friendship between the two states and develop a win-win situation for Belgium and Togo.

The new Belgian ambassador LeBanc stated: ‘’My priority is to Bring Belgium and Togo closer together. Our ministry of foreign affairs has decided to take an integrated approach to the West-African sub region, this approach already happening and gives me the opportunity to do something concrete here in Togo. Already in the near future the Togolese republic and the Kingdom of Belgium will have the opportunity to sign an air agreement. This agreement was prepared before my arrival and the only thing left to do is find a date to sign this agreement here in Lomé. Belgium expects thar through its cooperation with Togo, it is able to increase the level of Belgian representation in West-Afric

Gomashie D.

mercredi, 27 février 2019 10:03

Arrests for Selling and Building on Public Property

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©AfreePress -(Lomé, February 26, 2019)-Early this morning the local police arrived in GTA. The property they invaded has been illegally used for car sales. The men who sold cars on the property had also build houses on the location. After repeatedly being asked to move their business elsewhere the sales men refused to leave.

A new location was prepared for them but they still refused to leave the property. They firmly believed that they would lose customers if they would move to a different location.

This location is close to a road and customers know where to find them. However they did built and worked on ground that was not legally theirs but, a public space.

After several attempts the police decided to take action this tuesday morning and showed up armed with batons, firearms and an excavator. The excavator was used right away to dig a large hole around the property to make sure it would be impossible for cars to enter again.

This led to a heated encounter between the police and the sales men, eventually only one man was arrested and taken to the police station. After the arrest the aggression against the police was far less and the sales men just watched while the excavator destroyed their work environment. Every car that was in the way was pushed away or crushed by the monstrous machine as well as the small houses that were built on the property.

The government plans to build a children hospital or something similar that serves the public on the property.

D. Gomashie

lundi, 18 février 2019 21:52

Nigeria’s Elections 

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©AfreePress -(Lomé,Febuary 18, 2019)-Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with over 180 million inhabitants, has been focused on the presidential and parliament elections. Nigeria plays an important (economic) role in the region, they are a large contributor to the African Union and ECOWAS. The outcome of the elections will have an impact on the region not only economic but also in terms of security of the region. There  are several candidates for Nigeria’s presidency but only two who actually have a shot. The current president Muhammadu Buhari, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who is running for a second term and his former Vice President, now opponent, Atiku Abubakar on behalf of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The hot topic of this election is national security, more specifically, the fight against Boko Haram in the northern part of the country. In his previous campaign Buhari promised that during his presidency he would eliminated Boko Haram in Nigeria. Even though territory was gained and, Boko Haram and other extremist groups have been pushed back during Buhari his presidency, these groups are far from being eliminated. 

Another national security issue is the growing conflict between herders and farmer in the central part of the country. According to Amnesty International, this conflict has already taken close to 4000 lives. Some Nigerians are therefore now questioning president Buhari’s ability to protect the nation. 

Another hot topic during these elections has been Nigeria’s economy. For a long time Nigeria has had one of the fastest growing economies in the world with a growth rate high than 6% each year. In 2016 Nigeria, just like many other African countries, started to see a decline in growth and entering a recession. 44% of Nigerians live below the poverty line of $1.90, surpassing India with the most people living in extreme poverty in a country. There is extreme inequality in Nigeria because, at the same time the richest man of Africa is a Nigerian as well. Both Buhari and Abubakar have solutions for the still largely oil-dependent country, Buhari wants to invest in state driven solutions and public investments, Abubakar seems to think that privatization and private business investments are the solution.

Nigerian popular music artists have tried to play a role in this election. Superstar Wizkid has used his influence to convince young Nigerians to vote for the president they seem suitable for Nigeria’s future. He has denied performing at several campaign rallies missing out on millions of Niara because, he doesn’t want to influence the decision of especially young Nigerians. Another Nigerian music star, producer 2Face, is part of a campaign that fights against election violence. The campaign, VOTE not FIGHT, aims to encourage Nigerian youth to stop accepting money to fight against political opponents but to vote instead. 2face even produced a song for the campaign. These Nigerian music stars use their influence to convince Nigerians not only to stop the political violence but also vote for their preferred candidate. 

Nevertheless has this presidential campaign period been marked by election violence. Election violence in Nigeria is nothing new, it has happened in previous presidential elections as well. The election violence this time seems to be worse than previous elections. Several election offices have been set on fire as a result thousands of voting ballots have been lost. 

Last Saturday, February the 16th, was supposed to be the day Nigerians would vote. Unfortunately, a few hours before the polls were supposed to open the election commission decided to postpone the election for a week. The reason for the postponing is suggested to be because of a shortage of election material throughout the country. This could be related to the election violence in which several election offices filled with election material caught fire. The new elections will now be held on February the 23rd. 

D.Gomashie

© AfreePress- (Lomé, February 13, 2019)-On the 13th and 14th of June, Lomé will be hosting the Togo-European Union Forum. This was announced on Friday the 8 th of February, during a Forum on African business in Paris where a Togolese delegation was present.

The Togolese delegation consisted of the Minster of Commerce, the Private Sector and Local Consumption, Kodzo Adedze, the secretary of state in charge of Business Climate, Sandra Johnson, the president of the chamber of Commerce and Industry in Togo (CCIT), Germain Meba, and the Togolese ambassador in Paris, Calixte madjoulba. They took advantage of their time in Paris to present the National Development Plan (NDP) of 2018-2022 to French entrepreneurs as an introduction to the Togo-EU Forum, which will take place in June.

At this Togo-EU Forum held in Lomé, the Togolese government will try to obtain funding for the National Development Plan and convince international investors to contribute to the realization.

More than 300 European investors are expected in Lomé, a hundred investment projects as well as the three broad lines of the NDP will be presented during this forum. The NDP has the ambitious goal to create massive employment and wealth, and increase government actions which benefit the most vulnerable.

The implementation of the NDP 2018-2022 will cost, according to the government, 4.7 trillion CFA Francs (7.3 billion Euros). 65% of the total cost are expected to be financed by the private sector, almost 3 trillion CFA francs.

In September 2018, the government already presented the NDP to Chinese investors during a Forum a Togo-China Business Forum in Hangzhou.

Translated by D. Gomashie

©AfreePress- (Lomé, February 18, 2019) - On February 12, 2019, the 16 members of the new technical board, appointed in August by presidential decree, officially took office. This after an official ceremony led by Payadouwa Boukpéssi, the minister of Territorial Administration, Decentralization and Local authorities. This technical board will have the mission to reorganize the Togolese civil status registry system. The aim is to make it more efficient and at the service of the population.

The Minister of Administration said: ‘The civil status registration system is one of the government’s major concerns because, it is an important tool for development planning. Unfortunately, our civil registration system faces organizational and operational issues. Due to this situation the government, led by the head of state, has therefore found it necessary to face these challenges by creating a technical committee focused on civil status registry. Their main mission is to reorganize the civil status system in the country.’

According to the Minister, it will be the technical boards responsibility to make an extensive inventory of the civil status registry as well as to define the various actors involved in the production and exploitation process, lastly, they are expected to inform the authorities of any necessities needed to perform their task.

‘’The board works for the improvement of the civil status registry system in Togo. After the local elections, which will be organized in a few months, throughout the country, 117 mayors (civil status registers) will be installed.’’ Added the minister of Administration.

The board reassured the government that they will execute their mission in the interest of the population. The president of the board Lardja Douti stated: ‘’We will make a realistic inventory in terms of our staff, our capacity and recruitment but, also look at the equipment, since we are talking about digitalization this can only be achieved if the civil status registry centers have electricity. With  the creation of 117 townships, it is necessary that they are distributed everywhere, so we can be closer to the population.’’

Translated by D. Gomashie

mercredi, 13 février 2019 13:42

Nigeria: Ogoni Widows Sue Oil Giant Shell

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©AfreePress-(Lomé, 12 of febuary 2019)- The Dutch based-oil company Shell who has been extracting oil from the Ogoni region in Nigeria since the 50’s is being sued by four widows of activists in the region. These four women are dragging Shell to court as they state that Shell is complicit for the execution of their husbands. Their husbands openly protested against the oil pollution shell caused in the Ogoni region in South-East Nigeria. There has been protests in the region since 1992 because of leaking pipelines and polluted environment, Ogoni people have been forced to leave the region.

In 1995, the husbands of Esther Koibel and Victoria Bera were arrested together with seven other activists, they were accused of the murder of four traditional Ogoni leaders. All nine of the activists pleaded not guilty and said that they were being set up. Nevertheless were all nine of them executed, it is believed that the executions were held to silence the Ogoni people.  

Today more than 20 years later the widows Koibel and Bera, are testifying in court to demand a compensation from Shell. Kiobel tears up in court as states her husband was ‘’ a kind hearted man, Shell came in to my life and forced her to live in poverty and become a refugee.’’ This traumatic experience she has lived with for the last two decades made her fight for justice for her husband. The widows’ lawyer states that Shell asked the ruling military government at that time to interfere and that they worked together with the Nigerian intelligence service. 

Thus far shell denies all accountability regarding the executions of the nine activists, including Kiobels and Bera’s husbands.

Gomashie D.

 

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