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Chad hands over anti-balaka militia leader, Maxime Mokom to ICC

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday confirmed that the leader of an anti-balaka armed group, Maxime Mokom, has been handed over to it by The Republic of Chad.

The Hague Court made the confirmation in a statement retrieved from its official Twitter handle. “Today, 14 March 2022, Mr Maxime Jeoffroy Eli Mokom Gawaka (“Mr Mokom”), was surrendered to the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”) by the authorities of the Republic of Chad on account of an ICC warrant of arrest issued under seal on 10 December 2018. Mr Mokom is suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Bangui and other locations in the Central African Republic (“CAR”) in 2013 and 2014”

Maxime Jeoffroy Eli Mokom Gawaka is suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The alleged crimes were committed in 2013 and 2014 “in Bangui and other locations in the Central African Republic.”

The Anti-balaka is an alliance of militia groups based in the Central African Republic in the early 21st century said to be composed primarily of Christians. This militia formed in the Central African Republic after the rise to power of Michel Djotodia in 2013. Amnesty International reported in 2015 that some members of anti-balaka groups have forcibly converted Muslims to Christianity.

Anti-balaka groups have also kidnapped, burnt and buried alive in public ceremonies women accused of being ‘witches’.

Despite a 2019 peace deal, militia groups that emerged during the conflict were recently in control of around two-thirds of the country, and Touadera depends heavily on UN forces, as well as military personnel sent by Russia and Rwanda.

A counter-offensive has seen pro-government forces retake a series of towns from the rebels in recent days.

Touadera won a presidential election in December from which Bozize was banned but barely a third of the potential ballots were cast.

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Tinubu’s policies in the best interest of Nigerians— VP Shettima

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Nigeria’s Vice President, Kashim Shettima, on Tuesday once again justified the policies and programmes of the President Bola Tinubu administration, insisting that they were in the best interest of Nigerians.

Shettima, who was speaking during the APC Professionals Forum’s Policy Roundtable Conference on the “Asiwaju Score Card Series” at the Shehu Yar’adua Centre, Abuja, reiterated that the thrust of Tinubu’s “Renewed Hope Agenda” was repositioning Nigeria, given the circumstances and peculiarities of the nation.

“Every country’s journey is distinct. Every country is shaped by its economic history and challenges. We respect the efforts of other nations, but we are focused on what works best for Nigeria,” Shettima, who was represented at the event by Special Adviser to the President on General Duties (Office of the Vice President), Dr. Aliyu Modibbo, noted.

He opined that the 8-point agenda of the Tinubu administration “provides a clear framework for its policies and programmes,” outlining areas of concentration to include “driving job creation, economic growth, food security, poverty eradication, access to capital, the rule of law, anti-corruption efforts, and inclusive development.”

“These initiatives are not just plans on paper; they are actions being implemented to create tangible improvements in the lives of everyday Nigerians,” he explained.

Shettima cited examples of the administration’s investments in agriculture and other sectors, which, according to him, are intended to reduce the nation’s reliance on imports and boost local production, adding that the ongoing Renewed Hope Housing Scheme promises to address the housing deficit and stimulate economic growth.

“Similarly, we are also focused on reducing unemployment and underemployment through various initiatives, including the Outsource to Nigeria Initiative, Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises, and the Expanded National MSME Clinics.

“These programmes are designed to create more job opportunities and foster economic inclusivity,” he emphasized.

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Choma resident, Chabota, knocks journalists for abusing freedom of speech

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A Choma resident, Sleddy Chabota, has spoken out against what he perceives as the abuse of freedom of speech by some journalists.

While acknowledging that journalists operate in a challenging environment, Chabota argued that those who face difficulties often do so because they violate the guiding laws.

In his analysis of media operations in Zambia, Chabota observed that some journalists and individuals misused their freedoms and then complain when they face legal consequences.

He stated that, like homes, countries have laws and guidelines that everyone must follow to maintain peace.

Media freedom and freedom of expression exist in Zambia. The only challenge is that some people abuse freedom of speech and every nation has rules. When you follow the rules set by the government, you are on the safe side. But if you abuse freedom of speech, you end up saying the government is at fault,” Chabota told the Zambia Monitor in Choma.

Chabota highlighted that insulting people, including the President and elderly individuals, constituted an abuse of freedom of speech.

He stressed that journalists, tasked with carrying information to the public, must adhere to Zambian laws and promote peace.

When asked about media regulation, Chabota dismissed claims of over-regulation, labeling those who make such claims as selfish.

He argued that only individuals who cross the boundaries of freedom of speech assert that the media was overly regulated.

“The media is not over-regulated. Only selfish individuals say it is. Journalists must follow the laws and gather factual information, not hearsay. For example, some media reported that a footballer had died when it was not true. They did not verify the facts from the ground,” Chabota said.

Chabota’s views underscored the necessity of adhering to established laws and standards, which guide all individuals and professionals in their conduct.

This story is sponsored content from Zambia Monitor’s Project Aliyense.

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