Tunisia’s premier on Friday banned the niqab Muslim face covering for women in government offices, citing security concerns after attacks in the North African country.
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed signed a government circular “banning access to public administrations and institutions to anyone with their face covered… for security reasons,” his office said.
The ban on the niqab, which covers the entire face apart from the eyes, comes at a time of heightened security following a June 27 double suicide bombing in Tunis that left two dead and seven wounded.
The interior minister instructed police in February 2014 to step up supervision of the wearing of the niqab as part of anti-terrorism measures, to prevent its use as a disguise or to escape justice.
Reactions to the ban were mixed in the Tunisian capital.
“They have the right to prohibit (the niqab) given the events we are currently witnessing,” said Ilhem, a young Tunisian woman.
“But in the end, it remains an individual freedom,” she added.
Lina questioned “why the woman must make sacrifices every time there are security measures to be taken”.
The Tunisian League for the Defence of Human Rights urged that the measure be only temporary.
“We are for the freedom to dress (as one pleases), but today with the current situation and the terrorist threats in Tunisia and across the region we find justifications for this decision,” the league’s president Jamel Msallem told AFP.
He said that the ban should be repealed as soon as “a normal security situation returns in Tunisia”.
The niqab and other outward shows of Islamic devotion were not tolerated under the regime of longtime autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali but have made a comeback since he was toppled in Tunisia’s 2011 revolution.
After bloody attacks in 2015 that targeted security forces and tourists, there were calls in Tunisia to re-impose the ban.
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•The crisis may engulf coastal West Africa —Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister warns
•10 million people in Lake Chad area need urgent help —UN
There are fears that the current security problems wracking the country, Nigeria could become worsened soon with reports that jihadists across the West African region are recruiting heavily from aggrieved Fulani pastoralists.
While the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), fears a hike in the population of the displaced in West Africa, other reports warned that militant groups in the Sahel are on their way down to West African coastal countries.
Sahel countries are Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Southern Algeria, Niger, North of Nigeria, Central Chad, Central and Southern Sudan, the extreme north of South Sudan, Eritrea, Cameroon, Central African Republic and the extreme north of Ethiopia.
The coastal countries of the West African region under these threats are Nigeria, Cape Verde, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Benin, Guinea Bissau, Ghana, The Gambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Sao Tome and Principe and Mauritania.
The New Humanitarian news agency (formerly IRIN) a few days ago released a detailed report on the security crisis which may threaten the coastal West Africa with invasion by the militias.
According to the news agency, jihadist groups have recruited heavily from Fulani pastoralists, which it described as “an ethnic group that suffers from social exclusion as well as government and development programmes that favour agriculturalists.” The report added that this has raised tensions with members of other ethnic groups who say they are targeted by the jihadists.
“In the absence of the state, some have turned to self-defence militias, who have indiscriminately attacked Fulani communities,” it said.
“Failure to contain the insurgencies,” it said, “could also result in further regional destabilisation, with militant groups now moving southwards from Burkina Faso towards Ghana, Togo, Ivory Coast, and Benin, where two French tourists were recently kidnapped,” the report said.
“It’s no longer just the Sahel, it’s coastal West Africa and the risk of spreading regionally,” Burkina Faso Foreign Minister, Alpha Barry, told a security conference in Munich in February.
10 million people in Lake Chad area need urgent help —UN
The OCHA has also disclosed that nearly 10 million people, or half the population of the conflict-hit Lake Chad Basin region need humanitarian assistance as the decade-long conflict drags on.
In a report released during the week, OCHA said some 2.5 million people are now displaced. “Hunger and malnutrition remain high. Abduction, killings and rights violations are also widespread. Humanitarian response has been accelerated over the past three years, with many more affected people receiving assistance.”
It added that “this year, the humanitarian community is seeking US$1.3 billion to provide food, water, shelter, healthcare and safeguard the rights and dignity of the conflict-affected.
“The region is facing a severe protection crisis. The armed violence that has affected large parts of the Lake Chad Basin is stretching to its tenth year. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have lived in displacement sites and refugee camps for years, grappling with extreme hardship and deprivation. Many civilians have suffered abuse and rights violations and are deeply traumatised by the violence.
“It is critical to strengthen the protection of civilians, especially women and girls, and work towards preventing sexual and gender-based violence as well as enhance support to survivors. Women and girls face high risks of sexual and gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse primarily by armed groups, but also by men in uniform.
“Thousands of civilians have also been killed or abducted and many families separated.
“The recurrent attacks and insecurity as well as security measures have restricted free movement. “Farming, trade, transhumance and other activities have been significantly affected, depriving millions of people of their means of survival and limiting access to basic services. Displaced people are also unable to move freely in and out of camps.
“In January 2019, the Governments of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria reaffirmed their commitment to the Abuja Action Statement on civilian protection in the Lake Chad Basin region. The agreement comprises a range of actions to enhance protection and respond to the most urgent needs of refugees, internally displaced persons and other affected populations.”
Humanitarian needs still high
The OCHA added that: “Humanitarian needs remain high. The persistent violence and its impact on the lives of millions of people across the Lake Chad Basin mean that many families and communities still require help to survive.
“Humanitarian assistance has been significantly stepped up over the past three years, with millions more people receiving aid. Relief assistance needs to be sustained and international support increased to provide adequately to those in need. The prevalent insecurity and inadequate funding are some of the main hurdles to effective relief assistance.
“To sustain relief operations, the protection of aid workers and humanitarian assets is paramount. While providing life-saving assistance, aid workers have unfortunately come under attack. In 2018, six aid workers were killed in Nigeria and one is still held captive.
“The prevailing insecurity has forced the suspension of operations and withdrawal of humanitarian workers in some locations, leaving affected communities without access to basic services and assistance.
“As insecurity and recurrent armed attacks prevent the return of millions of displaced people to their homes, efforts towards lasting solutions are necessary to increase access to basic services and livelihoods. The protracted crisis calls for an early shift towards self-sufficiency. The displaced need not wait for the conflict to be fully resolved to start rebuilding their lives.
“In addition, steps towards increased collaboration between humanitarian and development strategies need to be sustained and strengthened.
“Greater economic and infrastructure investment are required to complement humanitarian action and decrease dependence on relief aid,” it said.
The report by The Humanitarian (formerly IRIN) reads in part
What is causing ethnic conflict?
Jihadist groups have recruited heavily from Fulani pastoralists, “an ethnic group that suffers from social exclusion as well as government and development programmes that favour agriculturalists.” This has raised tensions with members of other ethnic groups who say they are targeted by the jihadists.
In the absence of the state, some have turned to self-defence militias, who have indiscriminately attacked Fulani communities,
In January, attacks against Fulani villagers in northern Burkina Faso left more than 200 dead, according to local civil society groups. In March, some 160 Fulani men, women, and children were killed in a single attack by an ethnic Dogon militia in central Mali. The violence is now being widely described as “ethnic cleansing”.
Why is violence rising?
The violence has its roots in the activities of a number of local but globally oriented jihadist groups that have spent the past few years laying the groundwork for armed insurgencies and are now wreaking havoc across the Sahel – a semi-arid belt of land on the southern edge of the Sahara.
In 2012, the militants were largely contained to northern Mali, where they had joined forces with separatist Tuareg rebels to take over a number of strategic towns, including the fabled city of Timbuktu.
A French intervention in January 2013 dislodged them, but they regrouped and insurgencies have since spread into central Mali, northern, eastern and southwestern Burkina Faso and the Tahoua and Tillaberi regions of southwestern Niger.
“It is unprecedented,” the top UN official in Burkina Faso, Metsi Makhetha, told TNH recently. “The country has never had to deal with such massive displacement.”
The militancy’s rapid progress has been aided by the region’s vast desert areas and porous borders, a flow of firearms from nearby Libya, and weak – and often predatory – states that struggle to provide even basic social services: Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger all rank among the 10 least developed countries in the world, according to the UN’s Human Development Index.
“People think the jihadists can offer them a better life than the state,” Mahamadou Savadogo, a Burkinabe researcher, told TNH.
In recent times their tactics have shifted from targeted assassinations of government officials, soldiers, and local leaders that oppose their vision of Islam, to indiscriminate attacks against civilians and entire villages.
The response from security forces has, by and large, made matters worse. Last year Malian troops were implicated in mass killings in the central Mopti region, while in northern Burkina Faso TNH has documented recent atrocities by military personnel, who are now killing three times as many civilians than jihadists. Affected communities describe being trapped between the state and jihadists. Both sides accuse them of collaborating with the other.
France’s counter-insurgency force in the Sahel – Operation Barkhane – has been accused of stoking communal tensions by backing two Mali-based militias, the MSA and GATIA, which have targeted Fulani herders during anti-jihadist operations in both Niger and Mali.
A string of recent attacks on churches by militants in Burkina Faso could also now test relations between the country’s majority Muslim and minority Christian religious groups.
What are the humanitarian needs?
Internal displacement has increased five-fold in the past year according to the UN, with 330,000 people uprooted and a further 100,000 people fleeing across borders.
In Mali, the number of people forced to flee tripled in 2018 and continues to rise, with 133,000 newly displaced since the beginning of the year, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council.
In Burkina Faso, 170,000 people have been uprooted, with more than 100,000 fleeing so far this year. In Niger’s Tillaberi and Tahoua regions, violence has forced more than 70,000 people from their homes.
Levels of food insecurity and malnutrition were already chronically high following a severe drought in the Sahel last year. The current violence is now “compounding” these issues, “threatening civilians’ lives and livelihoods”, said Gasarabwe, the UN official. Some 5.1 million people require humanitarian assistance across the region but aid groups say the needs are far exceeding available resources.
The crisis in numbers
Civilian fatalities rose 7,000 percent in Burkina Faso, 500 percent in Niger, and 300 percent in Mali compared to the previous year
440,000 people displaced by conflict, a five-fold increase over the previous year, a five-fold increase over the previous year
1.8 million people face food insecurity
5.1 million people require humanitarian assistance
157 men, women, and children killed in March in one attack in Mali
How much worse could it get?
Conflicts are likely to escalate further through the year as militants expand their reach, ethnic militias proliferate, and communal divisions harden.
So far this month, 20 people have died after militants attacked four churches and a religious procession in northern Burkina Faso; at least 18 civilians have been killed by ethnic militias in central Mali; and jihadists killed 28 soldiers in western Niger – one of the deadliest attacks recorded in that area to date.
Projections on future population displacement are hard to come by, but Daouda Djouma, an official at the UN’s emergency aid coordination body, OCHA, has said more than 380,000 people could be uprooted in Burkina Faso alone by December.
How is the international community responding?
Efforts to stem the violence aren’t working. The UN has around 13,000 peacekeepers deployed in Mali, but attacks by jihadists mean the mission is now “more a target than an anchor of stability”, according to a recent assessment from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.
The French have 4,000 troops in the region as part of Operation Barkhane; the US is building a $110 million drone base in Agadez, Niger; and five Sahelian states – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger – have united under the G5 Sahel joint force.
But analysts and aid groups say focusing on military solutions risks overlooking the social and political grievances enabling militants to take root within local communities. A recent study by the peacebuilding charity International Alert attributes the rise in violent extremism in the Sahel to weak states rather than religious ideology.
Which jihadist groups are involved?
The largest coalition of jihadist groups is known as Jama’at Nusrat ul-Islam wal-Muslimeen, or JNIM. It brings together al-Qaeda’s Sahara franchise, AQIM, with a number of other militant groups. The coalition was formed in March 2017 and operates in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.
A franchise of so-called Islamic State, known as Islamic State in the Greater Sahara or ISGS, has been active since 2015 and is also gaining ground despite recent pressure from French forces.
In his first video message in five years, the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, paid special tribute to ISGS fighters in Burkina Faso and Mali: “We congratulate them for their joining the convoy of the caliphate,” he said.
An assortment of homegrown militant groups – including Ansaroul Islam in northern Burkina Faso and Katiba Macina in central Mali – completes the picture. Their success is largely predicated on understanding the local grievances of different communities, in particular the Fulani.
A surge in violence across West Africa’s Sahel has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and left thousands dead since January, as Islamist militants with links to al-Qaeda and so-called Islamic State extend their reach across the region at a time when they are losing ground in their Middle Eastern strongholds.
For the past 10 months, The New Humanitarian has been one of the few news organisations reporting consistently from the front lines on the civilian impact of the rapid rise in violence by the militants, who are based primarily in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger – three countries with shared borders and problems.
Five takeaways on the growing violence and its civilian toll
Jihadist groups are manipulating inter-communal conflicts. They are exploiting the region’s ethnic fault lines to stir violence that can be far deadlier than anything the militants are doing directly themselves. In central Mali, the level of violence may now qualify as ethnic cleansing.
Governments have helped local militias thrive. Central governments have allowed and in some cases encouraged the proliferation of communal militia groups – decisions that are now coming home to roost as intercommunal conflicts rise.
Civilians look to jihadists for support the state doesn’t provide. Jihadist groups often understand the social grievances of local communities. A recent study by the peacebuilding charity International Alert attributes the rise in violent extremism in the Sahel to weak states rather than religious ideology.
Civilians are becoming casualties of security forces. These forces add to the insecurity by killing civilians during counter-terrorism operations. In Burkina Faso, military forces are killing three times more civilians than jihadists.
Displacement, food insecurity, and other humanitarian crises are escalating, but resources to respond are lacking. Some 5.1 million people require humanitarian assistance, and the new violence is “compounding” already existing needs and “threatening civilians’ lives and livelihoods”, a UN official said.
According to data from ACLED – a group that monitors and maps conflicts – civilian fatalities between November 2018 and March this year rose by an “alarming” 7,000 percent in Burkina Faso, 500 percent in Niger, and 300 percent in Mali, when compared to the same period the year before.
In early May, senior UN officials from all three countries warned that insecurity had “reached unprecedented levels”.
The situation has surprised many analysts and UN and government officials and is pushing an area already prone to droughts and floods to its limit, with 440,000 people forced from their homes by conflict in the past year alone.
Hundreds of thousands of people are now without access to education and healthcare as staff flee their posts; 1.8 million people are facing critical food insecurity.
“Many people affected by the violence were already facing serious difficulties,” said Mbaranga Gasarabwe, the UN resident coordinator in Mali. “For them it is a double disaster.”
The militants’ increased presence has sparked a violent backlash by the region’s overstretched security forces and fuelled a growing number of explosive inter-communal conflicts among ethnic groups accused of either supporting or opposing the jihadists. (Nigerian Tribune)
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The University of Education Winneba, UEW, on Wednesday, sacked visiting Nigerian Professor to Ghana, Professor Austin Nwagbara.
Nwagbara was earlier arrested and interrogated by Ghana Police Service. It is not clear whether he is still in detention.
Nwagbara, in a trending video, is seen lambasting Ghana for how authorities treat Nigerians and urged his colleagues to employ the Nigerian media to take up the fight.
Ghana, however, has described the video as inciting and a threat to peace.
A statement signed by UEW read: “The University of Education Winneba wishes to inform the general public that it has taken a very serious view of the video circulating on social media, involving Prof. Augustine Uzoma Nwagbara.
“Augustine Uzoma Nwagbara, a Professor of English Language, has been on sabbatical at the Department of Applied Linguistics since October, 2018.
“In the said video, Prof. Nwagbara makes several unsavoury, unethical and damning comments about our country, its history as well as its educational system. The University totally dissociates itself from the grossly irresponsible comments and condemns it in no uncertain terms.
“The University is highly disturbed by the huge embarrassment his unguarded statement has brought to the institution, the Ministry of Education, and, indeed, Ghana as a whole.
“The University, upon receipt of the video, immediately invoked its internal disciplinary process to fully examine his conduct relative to the content of the video.
“The University wishes to indicate that it has in the past hosted several scholars on sabbatical leave from various countries, including Nigeria, and same have conducted themselves with high degree of decorum and professionalism during their stay. Prof. Augustine Uzoma Nwagbara’s behaviour is totally deviant and an aberration that runs contrary to those of his predecessors or the others currently at post.
“The University after subjecting Prof. Augustine Uzoma Nwagbara to internal disciplinary process finds him culpable of gross misconduct and has, accordingly, dismissed him.
“The University apologises to Ghanaians for Prof. Nwagbara’s disparaging remarks about this country’s educational system and further indicates that the comments were full of factual inaccuracies.”
In the controversial video seen by DAILY POST, the don obviously, unaware he was being filmed, said: “They (Ghana) are using our manpower. We have an advantage that we supply to them. What are we getting back? Insults! The Nigerian community here is a bad image for Nigeria. We can take it back through the press, we can reverse.
“We have powerful media stations; Channels (TV) broadcast all over the world. AIT has a problem now, NTA does (broadcasts), many others; and there is active social media in Nigeria. Let them come look at what we have said here today. Let them come here and run documentaries of the experiences on Nigerians and blast it all over the world. In three days Ghana will respond. I have been a media person.
“You cannot be here and suffering. Let the leaders get our media guys to come here and cover what has been happening. Go to the student community, go to the business community go to everywhere, come to the embassy. Go and confront the officials with the information and within one week, I can tell you part of what is happening. I’m sorry to say it but this is within us.
“The present government in Ghana came on the grounds of Nigerian bashing. I have listened to things some of their top leaders have said all over the world, in big major places. We did not take it back sir. If we take back, they will sit up. So media strategy. One; use their own media…I have been a pressman there is no absolute truth in the media. The truth is, even history is truth as presented. Let us use our own media and get back to them.”
On Tuesday, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ghana, Akiboye Olufemi, accused Ghanaian media of ganging up to paint in bad light Nigerians residing in their country.
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Ex-Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, Paul Kaba Thieba
Paris –Secret documents leaked on the fiasco in Burkina Faso expose troubling information on the undercover activities of the American Multi-Billionaire Bill Gates in the small African nation and across the region. Intelicor veterans in Paris express unease as the Burkinabe government led by Prime Minister Paul Kaba Thieba resigned
A leading Intelicor veteran thinks that the reason why President Roch Marc Christian Kabore demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister is related to the matter of the proposed release of genetically modified (GMO) mosquitoes in Burkina Faso under the sponsorship of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The story began in January 2018, when Bill Gates pledged USD $45 million to the health initiative in Burkina Faso. Some felt that the funds were a decoy to cover bribery to top government officials for allowing the program to release the GMO mosquitoes in Burkina Faso. The GMO mosquitoes were programmed at Imperial College London under a grant from Bill Gates to sterilize natural mosquitoes and humans across the African continent over time
The terrifying news of the secret project for Human Sterilization of Africans with GMO mosquitoes alarmed African leaders, who quickly came down hard on President Kabore forcing him to act. Similar teams are working in Mali and Uganda. The homing endonuclease gene (HEG) that sterilizes the female mosquitoes also could be passed through saliva to humans during bites and the human in turn could pass it on through sexual intercourse to another human, in a cascade that could have the entire Black Continent exterminated before anything could be done about it. This is why 170 Global Groups called for Moratorium on the release of these new genetic extinction technology at the UN Convention
And so she has authority over the funds. However, some say that “it is to keep it within the family”, that raised the smoking gun prompting in-depth investigation by President Kabore and could have exposed the comprising evidence against Prime Minister Thieba. The Intelicor veteran said “in all cases, we see a pattern, that Bill Gates uses monetary bribes disguised as philanthropic donations to compromise African leaders, to take actions with devastating consequences for their nations”.
Paul Kaba Thieba resigned due to the link to Bill Gates hidden agenda in Africa
The HIDDEN AGENDA is usually not fully understood by the African leaders the source continues. According to a business consultant who has been involved in tracking Bill Gates’ investments in biotechnology, the main focus for Bill Gates is to have the controlling shares in the biotechnology companies for food production sold in Africa as GMO crops. With partners such as Monsanto (now under the German company Bayer with a troubled Nazi past
Bill Gates will control the food security and polity of Africa and could at any moment exterminate the Black Africans in the Continent as his partners did in Vietnam and Auschwitz with agent Orange and Chlorine Gas. Bill Gates used pseudo-names Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al-Shabab (formaerly unknown local Islamic groups with tens of followers) in Kenya to bring Black Africa’s fastest growing populations to a standstill. Boko Haram, Al-Shabab and ISIS are all funded by Bill Gates and were trained by Blackwater.
For example, Bill Gates’ acquisition of Ginkgo a $1 billion USD biotech company in Boston MA that prints DNA for GMO crops https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/21/bill-gates-backed-start-up-ginkgo-bioworks-prints-synthetic-dna.html will give him control over the food security in Africa, should the continent go GMO. Africans would not out of free-will give up their natural crops for GMOs except if they are forced to do so. An agronomist Anaïs Étienne says Africans would be left without choice because all the fields are being cleared by Boko Harma fighters and their farmers driven out to displaced people camps and would be given GMO crops to plant during rehabilitation through NGOs and UN organisations supported by the Gates Foundations.
Ismail Kadir, a real estate agent in Maiduguri, Nigeria says “all my foreign clients operating NGOs are taking rents for 5 to 10 years and I ask them what would they be doing here in ten years, if they do not think that the insurgency would last that long”. Bill Gates is operating a special type of business philanthropy, whereby the aim is to create the problem of insurgency and offer the solution with GMO crops which will guarantee him as the main supplier of seeds and hence food, then grow it into a business worth $1 trillion USD by 2030
On the other hand, Claudia McAnthony a reproductive health expert on sabbatical in an elite laboratory in Paris says “making Africans sterile would mean their women would go for invitro-fertilization (IVF) to seek for help to conceive, but their ovarian eggs would be poached for embryonic stem cell research as young Africans are killed for experiments in European and American laboratories of companies seeking to clone human organs for sale, a business worth over $30 trillion USD by 2030”.
Nigeria and Kenya supply most of the ovarian eggs used in embryonic stem cell research in Europe and America, only to leave the donors die slowing in Africa from kidney failure, liver failure, cancers and infections. It is convenient for Bill Gates to hire for the crimes against humanity, people posing as Islamists paid in US dollars through proxies and blame it on Islamic fundamentalists. Bill Gates shows up frequently for photo-ops on Polio with African leaders and leaves donations to feed the corrupt practices in the continent. The Polio program has been a very big cover for Bill Gates as the good man from America, while he uses it to facilitate clandestine operations including administering sterilizing agents
The Boko Haram attacks will intensify as the elections in Nigeria draws near as it is now clear Bill Gates is supporting the opposition leader Atiku Abubakar who he could convince to allow GMO crops in Nigeria. In a recent visit to the U.S facilitated by Bill Gates, at a time there is a government shutdown it is clear Atiku Abubakar was not welcome anywhere within the US government and US Congress, but for a publicity stunt, and an opportunity to seal up the deal with Bill Gates in person. Atiku Abubakar has been barred from the U.S. pending US Congressional investigation on corrupt practices by him and his family in the United States from Nigeria
Some think that Bill Gates using his Boko Haram mercenaries have planned attacks with aim of assassinations of top officials to demonstrate to Nigerians that their government is weak on security. The government of Burkina Faso has been in partnership with the US government under the Obama administration and Bill Gates, and provided its territory for U.S. military bases for training of the top mercenaries for Boko Haram to fight in Nigeria.
Some have suggested that, Bill Gates and George Soros financed the coup in Burkina Faso in 2015 to maintain these military bases for sponsorship of the insurgency in Nigeria and for destabilization of the entire West African region
There is growing dissatisfaction among African leaders with actions of Bill Gates on the African Continent. Even more distressful is the connivance with leaders of Western Countries like France, Germany and Britain, who have collaborated in the destabilization of Africa.
The growing popularity of China is a direct reflection of the feeling of unease in African capitals that the entire Western countries have gone rouge. According to Laurent Kosic, a political analyst in Paris, who has lived for over a decade in Africa, said “ this is typical of Africa, they would rather avoid you than pick a fight, but what they need now is a total ban of genetically modified organisms across the continent”. “The effort by Bill Gates to sterilize the entire black people of Africa with GMO foods and GMO mosquitoes all fits well with UNFPA targets to depopulate the continent and provide a means for perpetual colonialism” – he added.
The watch is on as President Kabore names Christophe Dabire as the new prime minister, but the last is yet to be heard from the events unravelling in Burkina Faso.
I shared as I received. (Intelicor)
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This year, the African Union (AU) will unveil the design for a single passport for all Africans. The unified passport will ease the free movement of people while spurring economic growth. It will also promote intra-African trade, and eventually creating a continent with seamless borders.
In a statement, AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat revealed that at the 32nd African Union summit in February, the commission will present details on the design, production, and issuance of the long-awaited African passport.
First introduced in 2016, the African passport remains exclusive to heads of States and other diplomats. Chadian leader Idriss Déby and Rwandan president Paul Kagame are the first recipients. The document will permit AU passport holders to enter any of the 54 AU member states, without requiring a visa.
The move is likely to be a windfall for citizens of African states, who hold some of the least powerful passports in the world. Movement within their own continent is hard for Africans. At best, only Seychelles and Benin offer visa-free travel to Africans. At worse, travelers from South Sudan and Burundi need visas to go to 48 and 47 African countries, respectively.
But now, the AU faces the challenge of making sure the passport lives up to its potential. That it doesn’t fulfill detractors’ fears of heightened terrorism, smuggling and illegal immigration.
For some, this move will no doubt be challenging, with many African states already resistant to migrants and refugees. Plus, some have been quietly tightening visa policies. Faki, however, stated the AU will push for more integration saying, “the persisting obstacles to our citizens’ movement within their own continent are simply unacceptable.”
Why the single African passport is important
The passport is a step towards eliminating borders on the continent, aiming to enable deeper integration, increased trade and further development. Just as important, the passport is also a powerful symbol of unity across Africa. It’s also a step towards connecting African countries economically and politically.
An AU passport, therefore, represents the latest effort to create a common market spanning the continent, much like that in the E.U.
An African passport is an exciting development that can spur growth and improve living standards. To capitalize on this potential, the AU needs to plan two steps ahead. Crafting thoughtful regulations will be essential to ensuring the African passport’s economic promise is genuinely available to everyone and not subject to abuse. (Afro Hustler)