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Court gives new directive in Nigeria, all terrorism cases to be behind closed door

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In Nigeria, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has declared that all trials of terrorism cases in Nigeria will henceforth be held in camera.

The order, given in a statement titled “new practice directions on hearing of terrorism cases”, was given by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Terhemba Tsoho, who stated that “the perimeters of the court sitting over a terrorism trial shall henceforth be secured for the period of the trial for the safety of the litigants and the court officials”.

The court directive came on the eve of the expected ruling on the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu by the Nigerian government which hears today, Friday, April 8.

Thus, Kanu’s case, which is usually attended by a large number of supporters, activists, and observers will be the first casualty of this new directive.

The directory also declared that “No person shall be allowed within the secured perimeters save the approved Court officials; parties and a number of pre-registered legal practitioners on either side, witnesses; and any other person as may be directed by the Judge or the most Senior Judge in the given circumstances”

According to the Chief Information Officer of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Catherine Christopher, the “Practice Directions seek to provide measures that will ensure the security and safety of parties; personnel of law enforcement agencies and the Judiciary; as well as members of the general public; while ensuring expeditious and fair trial of persons suspected of having committed acts of terrorism.”

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Equatorial Guinea drags France to ICC over violation to fight corruption

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The diplomatic back and forth between European powerhouse, France and Africa, has gone a step further. The latest issue is between Equatorial Guinea.

The African country has started proceedings against France at the International Court of Justice in relation to charges that France had not followed up on its obligations in fighting corruption.

The Dutch-based court on Friday revealed that “Equatorial Guinea institutes proceedings against France with regard to a dispute concerning the alleged violation, by France, of its obligations under the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and asks the court to indicate provisional measures.”

Equatorial Guinea made requests of the Hague court, based on a United Nations anti-corruption convention, “to recover certain assets corresponding to property confiscated by France” that the French government has not responded to. Among the assets requested is the Avenue Foch mansion.  

Equatorial Guinea is a member of the Central African Economic and Monetary Union (CEMAC), which includes Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, and Gabon. It also is a member of the Franc zone.

France’s relationship with Africa has suffered lately with a series of anti-demonstrations across the continent.  In Gabon, the government was forced to stop a planned protest in July. The protest stretched beyond Gabon and took to France.

In March, protesters disrupted an auction right before a 19th-century carved mask was sold for €4.2 million, despite accusations that it was “stolen goods” in Montpellier in the South of France.

Mali, another African country that until recently has been a strong ally with France has had a toxic relationship with the European so much that Bamako broke defence relations with Paris.

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ECOWAS mission in Mali over 46 detained Ivorian soldiers. Will Bamako budge?

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The diplomatic tension between Mali and Ivory Coast has drawn reactions from leadership across the West Africa sub-region.

A mission deployed by the Economic Community of the West African States led by Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo and Gambian leader Adama Barrow and Togolese head of state who was represented by his minister of foreign affairs, Robert Dussey arrived Mali on Thursday over the diplomatic issue. The officials discussed the fate of Ivorian soldiers arrested upon arrival at the Bamako airport.

The West African neighbours have been locked in a diplomatic tug-of-war since July 10, when authorities in Bamako arrested 49 soldiers from the Ivory Coast.

Mali labelled the soldiers as “mercenaries”, claiming that the soldiers came to Mali to work for a contracting company of the United Nations mission. It later proposed a prisoner swap which

Ivory Coast denied the claim and insisted that the troops were simply on a routine rotation for personnel who provide backup services for the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.

Beyond Ivory Coast, Mali lately has had diplomatic loggerheads with other entities, including its former colony and defence ally France, the United Nations, Germany, and Egypt amongst others.

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