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Don urges ECOWAS, AU, UN to ensure stability in African states



Prof. Jonah Onuoha, a don, has called on ECOWAS, African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) to take strategic measures to stop African states from being made vulnerable to the use of foreign mercenaries.

The don said the use of foreign mercenaries had the capacity to destabilise legitimate governments in Africa.

Onuoha, a professor of International Relations and Head of Political Science Department, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, expressed this thought in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

He decried the use of foreign mercenaries and private armies by some African governments, saying by so doing democracy would in Africa would be threatened.

He expressed concern about a situation whereby a number of West African have engaged Wagner mercenary group, which staged a short-lived mutiny in Russia last month, to run their state security affairs, pondering their future.

Wagner is a well-known private army that provides security muscle for governments in the Central African Republic and Mali respectively.

Recently the United States imposed sanctions on three Malian officials, including the defence minister, accusing them of making their people vulnerable to Wagner’s “destabilising activities and human rights abuses” while helping it fund its operations in Ukraine.

In May, the military leader of Burkina Faso rejected an accusation by the president of neighbouring Ghana that it too had hired Russian mercenaries.

According to him, the use of mercenaries is not only peculiar to French-speaking countries, but has become a global trend such that states now do not trust their military anymore.

Onuoha said, “The struggle is not going to be easy for any sovereign state. It is an issue that ECOWAS, AU, UN should start thinking about seriously.

“Sovereign states will not be able to contain private armies in Africa. It is difficult for sovereign states to contain activities of private armies, many of them are sponsored from outside.

“It is the duty of international organisations to sit down and begin to find out how to contain the issue at the regional and continental level.

“ECOWAS must have a meeting, call member states to order and find a way to contain the use of private armies across Africa.

”UN must do so globally; AU must do so for Africa because these armies are getting stronger than the sovereign states and then, if something happens, anytime they want to take over government, they will take over.”

He added: “Why look outside when your country is in trouble?

“There is the need for regional bodies to sit round the table and find ways to contain their excesses, otherwise private armies will be the bane of security in the next five to ten years.”

Onuoha, who is also the Director of the Centre for American Studies, and the pioneer President of Abia Forum Nsukka (AFN) said that private armies were capable of toppling any government where discord ensues between them and their employers.

“What is happening in Africa is condemnable.

“In most cases you find that governments that are supposed to be fighting militancy or private armies end up cooperating with them because they cannot defeat them.

“They cooperate with them and use them to cause confusion and to punish their real or imagined enemies, or even win elections and these private armies get stronger and stronger, which is wrong.”


IMF/World Bank meetings to hold in Marrakech despite devastating Moroccan earthquake



IMF/World Bank

The managements of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), together with Moroccan authorities have agreed to hold their 2023 Annual Meetings in Marrakech despite recent devastating earthquake in the country.

This is contained in a joint statement signed by World Bank President, Ajay Banga; IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva; and Kingdom of Morocco Minister of Economy and Finance, Nadia Fettah Alaoui.

They however said that the meetings, scheduled between Oct. 9 and Oct. 15, would hold by “adapting the content to the circumstances”.

“Since the devastating earthquake in Morocco on Sept. 8, the World Bank and the IMF staff have worked in close coordination with the Moroccan authorities and a team of experts to thoroughly assess Marrakech’s capacity to host the 2023 Annual Meetings.

“In undertaking this assessment, key considerations were that the meetings would not disrupt vital relief and reconstruction efforts, and that the safety of the participants can be assured.

“Based on a careful review of the findings, the Managements of the World Bank and IMF, together with the Moroccan authorities, have agreed to proceed with holding the 2023 Annual Meetings in Marrakech from October 9 to 15,” they said.

According to them, the meetings would be conducted in a way that does not hamper the relief efforts, and respects the victims and Moroccan people.

“At this very difficult time, we believe that the annual meetings also provide an opportunity for the international community to stand by Morocco and its people, who have once again shown resilience in the face of tragedy.

“We also remain committed to ensuring the safety of all participants,” they said.

The World Bank plays a key role in the global efforts to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

Working in more than 100 countries, the bank provides financing, advice, and other solutions that enable countries to address the most urgent challenges of development.

The IMF is a global organisation that works to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity for all of its 190 member countries.

It does so by supporting economic policies that promote financial stability and monetary cooperation, which are essential to increasing productivity, job creation, and economic well-being.

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Zelensky among leaders arriving in New York for high-level UN summit



Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is among the world leaders descending on New York on Monday as the United Nations prepares to kick off a high-level summit.

The summit is aimed at rescuing its largely ignored Sustainable Development Goals for economic growth.

The UN General Assembly in New York, would formally start on Tuesday and will last a week.

It is set to focus on dusting off its 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at avoiding poverty, hunger, poor education and poor health care, among other things.

In 2015, the countries of the world set themselves these central goals for global development with the key aim of ending hunger and extreme poverty by 2030.

However, the pandemic, the Ukraine war and a debt crisis in poor countries are among the setbacks that have left the UN well off its target.

According to the UN, if things continue as they are, 575 million people will still be living in great poverty and more than 600 million in hunger in 2030.

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