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JUNE 2017

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Akufo-Addo urged to forge West African unity

Nigeria billionaires' wealth could end extreme poverty in the country

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Ghanaian Caregiver sentenced for 18 Months

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Editorial Tribute to Fathers Father’s Day:


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onsidering the hype and headlines, which precede Mother's Days, Father's Days are always a quite passing, but we all know that fathers deserve better than that. In a typical home, the man is the head of the household and shapes the direction of the family. “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God” (1Corinthians 11:3). As the head, a father instructs, counsels, directs and is in the thick of everything the family does. The often cold interest of Father's Days stems from the prevalence of divorce and the paternal role the woman assumes when the man walks out of the home. But the Scripture urges us to 'honor both our father and mother so that our days on earth may be long' (Exodus 20:12). The Word doesn't tell us to honor our mothers alone. In Ephesians 6:2, the Word also says: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right, that it may go well with you and that you may be long-lived on the earth.” There is no discrimination of any kind in the interpretation and as the Scripture says, the father in the home is also valuable. This should make Father's Days also a celebration of substance and value. Our

dads may not have met our expectations, but we still owe them our respect for the challenging roles they play in the society. A father ensures the emotional and spiritual well-being of the family; he is the protector. Job demonstrated those traits. Anytime his children came to him after feasting in their homes, he offered burnt offerings and prayed to God to forgive them of any sins they might have committed. “And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would arise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all.” For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually (Job 1:5). A father sets the bar and lives by it. It is gratifying to hear a child say, I want to live my life like dad.” It makes dad a hero and exemplary leader. Let's make this pending Father's Day very exceptional and appreciate the roles they play by wishing them well. As the Word says, 'our lives may be longer.' We take this opportunity to wish all fathers a Happy Father's Day.


send all correspondence to: for adversiments call: 718 684 2510 or email for suggestions: publisher/editor CONTRIBUTING EDITOR web/graphic design CONTRIBUTER CONTRIBUTER atlanta Ohio MARYLAND

Francis boanoh DR STEVE DANSO fabweb solutions portia asare anny osabutey rev. EMMANUEL owusu kyereko Dr. Ofori Atta REV. EMMANUEL AGORMEDA

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church and ministry


ive centuries ago, Martin Luther reformed the Christian church to prevent the marketing of religion. But in Africa, the debate over blending God and money is a very timely one. Every miracle grows from a seed - at least that's the main tenet of the "prosperity gospel" as preached in an online video by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Nigeria. According to the pastor, a believer seeking God's help should first consider which seed is the most likely to produce his hoped-for crop. Someone who is in financial dire straits or is praying for a miraculous recovery from a disease must sow this "precious" seed. But Pastor Chris, as he calls himself, is actually talking about money. “All giving is a demonstration of our faith in God and his word," he says. To the believers who give generously, the preachers of the prosperity gospel promise wealth, health and good luck. Those who sow a lot will reap even more later, they say. Pastor Chris is the founder of one of many African churches that celebrate wealth. His "Christ Embassy" is one of the most successful, with two million followers on the social media platform Facebook. Three satellite TV channels broadcast his sermons, miracle cures and exorcisms to Nigeria, South Africa and Great Britain. And the pastor's acolytes are pretty generous. In 2011, Forbes Magazine estimated his wealth to be between 30 and 50 million USD (26 - 44 million euro). Wealthy preachers often live in luxury, as proof of the power of their prayers. But

Preachers of prosperity: Faith as business

heavenly intervention is not responsible for is getting a lot of bad publicity from these this kind of success - all of the money bitter individuals.” comes out of the pockets of the faithful. A global movement Blessed are the rich The prosperity theology propagated mostly Using faith as a money-maker is an age-old by Pentecostal churches is not a purely tradition. Five hundred years ago, the African phenomenon. In Latin and North Catholic Church allowed sinners to redeem America, as well as in Asia and Europe, t h e m s e l v e s b y b u y i n g s o - c a l l e d there are self-appointed prophets and "indulgences." The money was then apostles who trade salvation for cash. Often channeled to the Pope in Rome. Martin this brand of Christianity has elements of Luther criticized the practice and started spiritualism and shamanism, which the Reformation of 1517, splitting attribute supernatural powers to the priests Christianity into two and leading to the and pastors. According to Mbewe, the founding of Protestantism. The division promises made by the churches' persists to this day, although indulgences propaganda are similar to the ones made by were abolished in 1562. traditional witch doctors. The prosperity gospel took over the Both market themselves as all-purpose practice of selling the blessing of the weapons against disease, poverty, church. Critics say that this is tantamount to unemployment and childlessness. Often modern indulgences. Zambian pastor they are sought out by the poor who are Conrad Mbewe, a 55-year-old Baptist who looking for an explanation for their place in has a blog on Christian faith, sees an the world through the prosperity gospel and increase of people who go to the church hope for a miracle to escape poverty. hoping only for wealth, instead of building Criticism of the prosperity gospel is also their relationship with God. "Rather it's that growing outside the churches. In 2015, attraction that if they do so, they will get the Ghanaian artist Wanlov the Kubolor money. It's superstition that is moving published a satirical song in which he them,” Mbewe told DW. prophesized the deaths of two famous TVIn Luther's time it was difficult to check preachers. For Pastor Chris Wanlov he whether an indulgence was really saving predicted death by an overdose of skin souls from purgatory, Mbewe pointed out. bleach. The artist was imitating the But today anyone can see that the faithful preachers who terrorized people with their who trust prosperity preachers are not prophecies only to sell them their personal getting rich. "A lot of people are embittered prayers as a form of salvation. His song because they have parted with the little tried to turn the tables on the preachers. money that they had and it has not "It's a game of numbers. They just try to multiplied. Consequently, the name of God keep increasing their congregation and

'Stop Praying and Start Working' Nigeria vice president tells civil servants


s Nigeria faces an economic malaise and President Muhammadu Buhari is out of the country on sick leave, the country's vicepresident has a clear message for civil servants: Stop praying and start working. Yemi Osinbajo, is a Christian pastor himself, and currently the acting president of Africa's most populous country while Buhari recovers from illness in the U.K. In an address to civil servants in the capital Abuja, Osinbajo urged Nigeria's public workforce to rely on their own efforts, and not their spiritual supplications, to improve the state of the country. “Great economies and great nations, prosperity and abundance of nations and communities are created by men and not spirits,” said Osinbajo, 60, who was a pastor of a church in Lagos before taking public office.

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“No matter how much you pray or fast our country cannot grow without some of us deciding to do the hard work that makes nations work.” One of Africa's biggest oil producers, Nigeria is currently in an economic slump, hit hard by the global downturn in commodity prices. That was compounded by resurgent militancy in 2016 in the Niger Delta, the country's main oil basin, which slashed production by half and forced several international oil companies to temporarily cease operations. The country has also experienced a crippling shortage of foreign exchange: The current official exchange rate is $1 to 304 naira, but black market rates can be much higher. Nigeria has an embedded culture of corruption: The country is ranked 136 out of 176 countries in Transparency International's annual index of corruption

perceptions. The civil service has been tarnished by accusations of widespread graft. In February 2016, the Nigerian government said it had saved $11.5 million by removing 24,000 ghost workers from the civil service payroll, after an audit found that many civil servants receiving a salary did not respond to names on the accounts and some were receiving salaries from multiple sources. But workers in the public sector have also suffered due to the country's economic malaise, with government bodies regularly failing to pay civil servants on time. Civil servants threatened to go ahead with an indefinite strike earlier in May over unpaid promotions, salaries and death remunerations totaling 200 billion naira ($635 million). Osinbajo, a former government adviser and attorney general, said he sympathized

membership size," Wanlov told DW, because this increases the chance that someone has a stroke of luck. Then the preacher can tell it happened as a result of their prayers "and people will show them their gratitude financially," Wanlov said.

Indulgence selling as a modern business "It was the same in Luther's day," Conrad Mbewe told DW. "There were no indulgences in the Bible for anybody to refer to. It is the same today. There is nowhere in the Bible where they can go and point at a verse that says if you give your money to a preacher, God will multiply it." And as was the case in those far-off times, the people selling salvation are very powerful, Mbewe added. According to the Baptist pastor, the preachers of the prosperity gospel increasingly occupy leading positions in church circles and are enhancing their political influence. Most clerics dare to complain only behind closed doors. Mbewe says he can afford to criticize the prosperity preachers publicly because he leads his own "Kabwate Baptost Church". Others would risk their jobs. But Mbewe hopes that more spiritual leaders will grow the courage to preach against the "modern business of indulgences", as happened once upon a time in the Protestant Reformation. "Individuals like Martin Luther spent their time teaching the word of God publicly in such a way that it clearly showed the error of those who were abusing the people,” Mbewe said.

By Conor Gaffey, News Week with civil servants not receiving their salaries on time. But he urged the workers to cut down on inefficiencies and work together to build up Nigeria. “I understand the law of sowing and reaping. It is a spiritual law that has tremendous physical implications,” said Osinbajo. “Every time that we delay, or frustrate what we can do today leaving it till tomorrow, we hold back the future, we too must reap what we have sown by experiencing delays.” President Buhari left Nigeria on May 7 to return to the U.K., where he had stayed for almost two months earlier in 2017 to receive medical treatment for a mystery illness. His absence has coincided with rumors of a potential military coup in the country and has caused many Nigerians to speculate about Buhari's long-term health.

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New Jersey based Investigroup to construct community NEWS toilet facilities for orphanage schools


s part of its corporate philanthropy activities, Investigroup Company has made a donation of GHS25,000 to Lilian Foundation for the construction of an ultra-modern toilet facility for the use of orphans. The donation, spearheaded by the CEO of the company, Dr Kizito Owusu took place in Accra in the presence of representatives of the school and executives of Investigroup, who are in the country for business scouting. Dr Owusu during the

ceremony noted that the donation was the company's ritual in supporting communities where they invest. He said “Investigroup is looking to invest massively in various industries in the country such as agriculture, education, sanitation and others”, disclosing “Education is as good a place as any to begin”. Speaking on the next step for the company here in Ghana, Dr Owusu indicated that there are plans to intensify its operations in

Ghana. He noted, “since 2009, we have been operating in Ghana, and it is crucial to focus more on helping government deliver on its core promises, especially the 'OneDistrict-One-Factory." The Director of Lilian Foundation, recipient of the donation, Lilian Macqueen Djaba expressed gratitude to Investigroup for their generosity. She added that the funds would be used for the development and expansion of the

school to make it world standard and provide quality education for young ones. “My vision for the school is to make it world class, and the ¢25,000 will be useful in developing the school's facilities and infrastructure to enable our little ones to have a conducive environment to study”. The delegation from Investigroup also included Mr Scott Shilling, Financial Consultant with over 20 years of experience and Jude Atuahene, the Country Director.

African Ambassador’s Group, Washington, Host 2017 Africa Day Celebration


he African Diplomatic Corps in Washington, under the leadership of its current Dean, Ambassador Serge Mombouli, of the Republic of Congo, today hosted a gala dinner to commemorate the 54th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of the African Union (OAU). Over 250 dignitaries from the diplomatic, government, civil society, and business communities attended the colorful and hearty ceremony. The theme for the celebration was Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth, and the event was organized under the co-chairmanship of the Ambassador's of South Africa and Mozambique; H.E. Mninwa Mahlangu and H.E. Carlos dos Santos, respectively. The African Union (AU), the successor organization, was established in 2002 by the nations of the former OAU, to promote economic, social, and political integration, and a stronger commitment to democratic principles. Chad's Moussa Faki is the current Chairperson of the African

Union Commission. The event was marked with music and dancing, speeches, inspirational videos about Africa's past and promising future, and congratulatory remarks and messages from corporate sponsors. Ambassador Arikana Chihombori Quao, African Union Permanent Representative to the United States, delivered remarks on behalf of the AU Chief, H.E. Moussa Fakki. The speech highlighted the AU's Agenda 2063 which has a 7-point focus: 1.A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development. 2.An integrated continent, politically united, based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of Africa's Renaissance. 3.An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law. 4.A peaceful and secure Africa. 5.An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common

heritage, values and ethics. 6.An Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children. 7.Africa as a strong, united, resilient and influential global player and political partner. The Management of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Platinum Sponsors: Caterpillar, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Sasol, South African Airways, and South African Tourism, and Silver Sponsors: AETNA, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Ethiopian Airways, Sahouri Insurance, all expressed their gratitude for participating in the historic celebration. Sahel Band and Angolan star performer / percussionist, Vivalda Dula, entertained the guests to African music and dance. Happy AU Day !!!

Nigeria's Senate Passes Bill to Police in Australia Probe Case of Crackdown on Money Laundering African Girl Held as 'Sex Slave’


igerian lawmakers passed a bill aimed at cracking down on money laundering by urging foreign countries where currency crooks are hiding to cooperate in prosecuting them, a senior official said on Tuesday. According to the bill, Nigeria may ask any country where a money launderer is hiding to help it prosecute the offender, or prosecute that person itself. In the second case, Abuja would supply the country with evidence to support a conviction. Development in the OPEC member, which has Africa's largest economy, has been stunted by endemic corruption. Most people live on less than $2 a day despite the country's

vast energy wealth, much of which has been plundered by a rich elite. "This act will facilitate the needed cooperation with other states to prevent individuals from escaping prosecution by fleeing to another country," said Senate President Bukola Saraki. The bill was originally presented by President Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected in May 2015 after vowing to fight corruption. The 74-year-old president is on medical leave in Britain for an unspecified ailment. He has handed over power to his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, in his absence.


ustralian police were investigating the case of a West African girl who said she had been held as a sex slave and repeatedly assaulted before she made an escape. The 17-year-old from Guinea told investigators she was flown to Sydney via Paris in early April after a man in her home country offered her a job as a cleaner in Australia. The pair traveled together from Guinea and upon arrival, the man drove her to a house police believed was in the Sydney area where she was "kept in a room and sexually assaulted by a number of men," the police said in a statement. The teenager, who was not named, escaped from the house in the early hours of April 27. She ran until she was picked up by a woman, who drove her to an asylum seeker center. Police officers from the human trafficking and sex crime units were

looking into how and when the girl arrived in Australia, as well as the alleged sexual assaults, the statement said. A spokeswoman for the New South Wales police contacted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation could not give further information on the case. Police are searching for the man who the girl traveled with and urged the woman who picked up the teenager to come forward. Australia is home to an estimated 4,300 victims of forced labor, sexual exploitation and domestic servitude, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index by Australia-based rights group Walk Free Foundation. Globally, nearly 46 million live as slaves, forced to work, sold for sex, trapped in debt bondage or born into servitude, according to the group.

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Nigeria billionaires' wealth could wiped out extreme poverty in the country


he combined wealth of Nigeria's five richest men - $29.9bn (£22.9bn) - could end extreme poverty in the country, the charity Oxfam has said. Nigeria's Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, hit back at the charity, saying she was concerned about the "language, tone and style" of Oxfam's report, Inequality in Nigeria. Oxfam's Good Governance Programme Coordinator for Nigeria, Celestine Okwudili Odo, said: It is obscene that the richest Nigerian has amassed more money than he can ever hope to spend in a country where five million people will struggle to feed

themselves this year. Extreme inequality is exacerbating poverty, undermining the economy, and fermenting social unrest. Nigerian leaders must be more determined in tackling this terrible problem.” Oxfam said its research found that: Nigeria's richest man earns 8,000 times more in one day than a poor Nigerian will spend on basic needs in a year. More than 112 million people are living in poverty in Nigeria, yet the country's richest man would have to spend $1m a day for 42 years to exhaust his fortune. Despite a rapidly growing economy, Nigeria is one of the few countries where the number of people living in poverty increased, from 69 million in 2004 to 112 million in 2010 - a rise of 69%.

The number of millionaires increased by 44% during the same period. In her response, Ms Ahmed said: The methodology used in the report also raises some questions: is it for empirical or theoretical purposes? Oxfam needs to tell us in the report what it intends to achieve, what data was gathered, where it was gathered, the sample size and the uses of the data. When I looked at the report, I was worried about certain concepts, such as 'Who are the elites?'" Oxfam cited Forbes magazine, which listed the five richest Nigerians as: Aliko Dangote (net worth $14.4bn) Mike Adenuga (net worth $9.9 billion) Femi Otedola (net worth US$1.85 billion)

COMMUNITY NEWS Ghana News Agency Folorunsho Alakija (net worth $1.55 billion) and Abdul Samad Rabiu (net worth $1.1 billion). The five have not yet commented, but the MD of Nigeria's FSL Asset Management Limited was quoted by the Vanguard newspaper as saying: The report is not too far from the truth. There is no doubt that there is so much poverty in the country, but I don't think it is fair to the people mentioned in the report because they are private businessmen, who have built their wealth through hard work. The level of poverty is something that should be addressed to the government.”

Let's entice investors - Rev. Agormeda urges


he Head Pastor of the RoyalHouse Chapel International, Maryland, in the United States, Rev. Emmanuel Agormeda, who made the call in an interview on May 21, said Americans were eager to invest in Ghana and even commended the government for its openness and new direction towards using the private sector to enhance economic growth and to create jobs. “I am using every platform I have to encourage investors from this part of the world to invest in Ghana and it is my hope that they will find it easy to do business in

the country,” he said. Rev. Agormeda, who was recently called to serve on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals, a gathering of churches in America, said: “I am not only here as a preacher but as an ambassador of Ghana because I have a connection between my motherland and America and I am bringing investors back home to invest in the economy.” “We hope when they come they will be received well to encourage them to invest their money and ideas to help grow the economy, and create jobs for the masses,”

Ghanaian-born Mario Balotelli allegedly gives half of his salary to Children in Africa


ery often criticized for his behavior and excesses, the latest being his insult to Kim Kardashian’s physique, it is often forgotten that Mario Balotelli gives 50% of his salary to disadvantaged children in Africa .

Originally from Ghana, he was abandoned by his biological parents and works a lot in the shadow so that African children and young people have a decent life, an action to be saluted. ''I am a naturalized Italian, but I am of Ghanaian origin. I was abandoned by my parents and adopted by two angels. I suffer from racism every day … I am the first black to wear the jersey of Italy. I am not angry, but my life experiences make me act differently towards some people. Therefore, try to find out more about my life before criticizing me! “ He said.

he added. Rev. Agormeda, who is the first African American to serve on that board of the association, said he had already spoken to some investors in the information communications technology (ICT) sector who had left Ghana to explore, and indicated that more investors would explore other sectors. He described the new platform as unique and pledged his commitment to leverage on that opportunity to contribute his quota towards the development of Ghana. Rev. Agormeda said many Americans and

Ghanaians living in the States had idle funds and were prepared to invest in countries “that have stable political and economic environments so they could be guaranteed positive returns on their investments.” “This is why we are talking to them and we will continue doing that for as long as possible,” he said. He stated: “All we ask is that the processes to enable them to invest should be smoother so they will feel encouraged.”

Papa Owusu Ankoma is Ghana new Ambassador to United States


resident Akufo Addo has named Gina Blay, Anna Bossman, Papa Owusu Ankoma and Baffour Adjei Awuah as Ghana's missions to some four countries as part of his appointments. These men and women would represent the government in those nations. The four were given their letters of credence on Friday June 2, 2017 by

President Akufo Addo at the Flagstaff House. Madam Ginna Blay is heading to Germany, Anna Bossman, former head of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) heads to France, Papa Owusu Ankoma, former Member of Parliament for Sekondi heads to the United Kingdom (UK) and Baffour Awuah, former ambassador to Japan under the Kufour administration is going to the United States of America (USA) . sources have also hinted that former Attorney General, Ayikoi Otoo would be heading to Canada as ambassador, former Sports Minister Rashid Bawa may be going to Nigeria and one Edward Boateng would be on his way to China. The president will soon release the names and destinations of his representatives to other countries.

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Ghana government buys made in Ghana cars.


hana's Ministry of Trade and Industry bought a locally manufactured car as part of the government efforts to encourage Ghanaians to buy made in Ghana products in support local manufacturing companies as reported by Ghana News Agency. The Minister of Trade and Industry MrAlan Kyeremanten received the Kantaka SUV car worth 150,000 Ghanaian Cedi at a ceremony in Accra. The Minister said the aquisition was to encourage Ghanaians to buy made in NIGERIA

Lynching, Galamsey, Lawlessness All 'Cultural'- Otabil

Ghana products to boost local production. The Minister praised the Kantaka brand for being distinguished, developing local skills and using new technologies and called for support from institutions to ensure the technologies produced get international recognition. Mr Kwadwo Safo Junior, the Chief Executive Officer of Kantaka Automobile, commended government for taking the initiative to purchase the vehicle, saying it would boost public confidence to patronize their products. Currently the company had the capacity to produce more vehicles and that it manufactured 70 per cent of its products while importing 30 per cent. Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II also recently took delivery of three customized eneral Overseer of the SUV's manufactured by Kantanka International Central Gospel Automobile in Kumasi. In his remarks, He Church (ICGC), Dr Mensa said there is no need to import vehicles into Otabil, has said the recent lynching of Ghana when locally-assembled Kantanka army officer, Captain Maxwell Mahama automobile models are available. at Denkyira Obuasi, the festering illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) menace and its attendant lawlessness are a reflection of Ghanaian culture.


Nigerian leaders warn against coup


enior politicians in Nigeria have vowed to resist any attempt to stage a coup, following rumours of a move by some army officers to seize power while President Muhammadu Buhari is on medical leave in the UK. "Those who think they can break the democracy for which so many laboured and which too many sacrificed limb and life, are sorely mistaken. Nigeria has come too far for such a thing.... don't think about it," Reuters news agency quoted the leader of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) party, Bola Tinubu, as saying in a speech to the state assembly in the main city Lagos. House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Yussuff Lasun was quoted by Nigeria's

This Day newspaper as saying that the military would find it difficult to take power after 17 years of uninterrupted democracy in Africa's most populous state. Rumours of a coup plot were fuelled last week after chief of army staff Tukur Buratai issued a statement, warning solders to steer clear of politics and saying he had received information that "some individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons", the Premium Times reported. The rumours may be linked to the fact that Mr Buratai had reshuffled the upper echelons of the military, and President Buhari, 74, was on medical leave in the UK, it reported.


Freed Chibok Girls Meet Families After Three Years


amilies of the 82 Nigerian schoolgirls released from captivity recently after being held for years by Boko Haram were reunited for the first time Saturday in the Nigerian capital Abuja. The girls are among the 276 Chibok schoolgirls abducted from their boarding school by the terrorists in 2014. They were granted freedom as part of a prisoner exchange deal between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government. Twenty-one others were freed in October, while several more girls have either been let go individually or escaped.

More than 100 of the girls are still being held, though the government has said it hopes to negotiate their release. Boko Haram has killed thousands in its eight-year terrorist campaign to turn northern Nigeria into a staunch Islamic state. Nigerian officials say they believe the militants kidnapped the girls to intimidate civilians against resistance. Many of the girls were forced to marry their terrorist captors and have had children with them. Some have been radicalized and refuse to return, while it is feared others have been used in suicide bombings.


Making reference to Captain Mahama's lynching, which has been linked to galamsey, Dr Otabil, who was speaking at the 4th edition of the Ishmael Yamson and Associates business roundtable organised in partnership with Class91.3FM at the Golden Tulip Hotel on, May 31, said: “The big news in Ghana

is what happened recently to the dear soldier who was lynched. But really what happened to him is cultural. It is in our culture; we do it every day and we will continue to do it.” Dr Otabil said: “The only thing is that it happened to somebody with visibility so we are worried but we will go back to the same culture which is the culture of disrespect for life and to rules procedure”. “You cannot say they [the mob] have not gone to school, we cannot say they do not know human rights but in that circumstance, they chose to exhibit that behaviour,” he added. Captain Maxwell A. Mahama was killed on suspicion that he was an armed robber, after a group of residents from whom he allegedly asked for directions during a Monday dawn jogging session spotted a pistol on him at Diaso in the Central Region. His body has since been airlifted to the 37 Militay Hospital in Accra for autopsy and further investigation. “We have become a lawless people”, he emphasised, adding that “the law must work”. He wondered why Africans have not challenged certain cultures that do not promote development.


Gambian ex-President 'stole $50m' from state


ahya Jammeh Gambia's former president stole "at least" $50m from the state before he leaving the country in January according to the justice minister Abubacarr Tambadou. The former President is accused of withdrawing the money via a state telecoms company. Gambia's government used a court order to seize assets belonging to exiled former President. They include nearly 90 bank accounts and 14 companies linked to Jammeh "known assets" remaining in The Gambia, as the country's new administration sought to prevent him "liquidating or dissipating" anything further. It has also been reported livestock, cars and properties have been seized. Three of his cousins have been arrested after selling his cattle. He accused Mr Jammeh of directing the "unlawful withdrawals" from accounts held at The Gambia's central bank, linked to state-owned Gamtel either "personally or under his instructions

Mr Jammeh flew into Equatorial Guinea after 22 years in power. He lost an election in December and only agreed to step down after regional powers sent in troops threatening to force him out. Luxury cars and other items were reportedly loaded on to a Chadian cargo plane as Mr Jammeh left the country. The amount was initially suggested to be more than $11m by Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty then an aide to new President Adam Barrow. Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said that Mr Jammeh had withdrawn $50m between 2006 and 2016. Mr Jammeh flew into Equatorial Guinea after 22 years in power. He lost an election in December and only agreed to step down after regional powers sent in troops threatening to force him out. Mr Tambadou said the discoveries were "just a tip of the iceberg". Mr Jammeh has been out of contact since he left The Gambia and has not responded to the allegations.

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COMMUNITY NEWS Ghanaian woman walking toward

Canada found dead near Minnesota border


uthorities suspect that the woman from Ghana had traveled from Delaware to northwestern Minnesota in the hope of crossing to Canada and reuniting with her daughter there. Otuteye, 57, was found Friday near the town of Noyes by local and U.S. Border Patrol investigators, according to the Kittson County Sheriff's Office. It's

believed she died of exposure. A day earlier, someone called the Sheriff's Office and reported that Otuteye had been missing since May 22. Chief Deputy Sheriff Matt Vig said he believes Otuteye was trying to walk across the border to meet her daughter. “I think temperatures were in the 40s that night,” Vig said in a television interview with WDAZ in Grand Forks, N.D. “Just tough weather for her to make that journey.” Vig suspects the ditch “played a role [in her death]. It's hard to say exactly what happened. We'll find out more in the final autopsy report.” He did not disclose the location in Canada of the woman's daughter. The town across the border, Emerson, has roughly 650 inhabitants. Fewer than 50 call Noyes home. Regina Otuteye, who lives in North Carolina, said Wednesday that she last

spoke with her sister-in-law in March, and she “never talked to me about anything” concerning an intention to travel to Canada to see her only child. Regina Otuteye said her brother and Mavis have been separated for years, and he lives in Ghana. While it's not clear whether Otuteye's effort to enter Canada involved asylum, Minnesota has become a key stop for a growing number of migrants who harbor that hope. From April 2016 though January, more than 430 arrived in Winnipeg — significantly higher than normal. Most come by way of Minneapolis, sometimes after grueling treks across Latin America and stints in U.S. immigration detention. The exodus is coinciding with new steps by the Trump administration to restrict immigration. Frank Indome, an executive with a support group for Ghanaians in Manitoba, said he had not known about Mavis Otuteye during

Star Tribune

the time she was reported missing. Indome said his Ghanaian Union of Manitoba is “still trying to find” people in the province who have an association with Otuteye, but “there doesn't seem to be anyone who knows her or is acquainted with her.” Indome cautioned against assuming that Otuteye was an asylum-seeker, pointing out that “hers is not the normal profile of people we have crossing. They are usually men in their 20s. She really doesn't really fit the profile of those leaving the U.S. for more kind [immigrant] policies.” In the past four months, nearly 600 people have crossed from the United States into Manitoba in pursuit of asylum, according to Welcome Place, a Winnipeg-based organization that helps with refugee settlement. Indome predicted that “with the good weather that we are having, more people will be thinking of doing this.”

Ghanaian Caregiver sentenced after leaving special needs patient in hot van while she went shopping


a i t h e r s b u rg M d . A f e m a l e caregiver's actions were so egregious, during her sentencing hearing, a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge questioned whether or not the woman is equipped with a "moral compass." Last August, on one of the summer's hottest days, Afia Obour, 26, of Gaithersburg, left her severely disabled male patient, now identified as Brett Campbell, in a red Dodge Caravan. For two-and-a-half hours, Obour shopped in the air-conditioned Lakeforest Mall while Campbell baked in the scorching hot van. Around 7:30 p.m., a mall customer saw that Campbell, who suffers from cerebral palsy, partial blindness and seizures, was trapped inside the vehicle. The 26-yearold was red-faced, unresponsive and sweating profusely. And so, the passerby dialed 911. A Montgomery County fire engine, ambulance, police cars and mall security responded to the parking lot. Upon spotting the bright red minivan, first responders immediately opened all of its doors and back hatch before wheeling Campbell down a rear ramp. Paramedics then transferred the 26-year-old to a stretcher, placed him in an ambulance and took him to the hospital with an internal body temperature of 102°. Doctors had to provide Campbell with an IV due to his state of dehydration. Around 8:09 p.m., nearly three hours after first ditching Campbell, Obour emerged from the Lakeforest Mall. Police took the

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caregiver into custody. During a recorded sit down interview, Obour told investigators she had only been inside the shopping center for around 30 minutes, which was untrue. Investigators say at the time of Obour's arrest, she was working for the Jewish Foundation For Group Homes. The nonprofit agency, which provides support to disabled individuals in Maryland and Virginia, says it parted ways with Obour shortly after her arrest. At her sentencing hearing, Obour's defense attorney explained how his client was born in the western African nation of Ghana, later moved to Maryland and has since worked to better herself. He added that his client was a student at Montgomery College at the time of her arrest. “She acted stupidly and thoughtlessly, she just didn't think it through," defense attorney Howard Walsh III stated. "My client is aware that it was completely unacceptable.” Once Walsh III yielded the floor to prosecutors, it didn't take long before they began to tear into his client's questionable decision making. Prosecutors were also quick to point out that Campbell is nonverbal, immobile, cannot regulate his own body temperature, and needs regular food, water and changing. "Her one job was to keep Brett Campbell safe," assistant state's attorney Hannah Gleason stated. "Instead, he was left to back in a car that served like an oven that

evening." In open court, prosecutors played video clips obtained from mall surveillance cameras. One clip showed Obour walking through the food court with friends. She had just purchased a warm pretzel and beverage. Obour was later seen on camera entering a beauty salon. When she left the mall, and was ultimately confronted by police, prosecutors say Obour lacked remorse and approached the situation "casually." "She never once asked, 'Is Brett okay,'" Gleason added. "She never apologized that day. She'll apologize today, but just to save her own skin." Obour did in fact stand up in court to apologize for her actions. The 26-year-old claimed she did not realize the severity of deserting someone in a hot vehicle, but has since done extensive research and now understands the error of her ways. "It's not okay to leave someone in a hot car," Obour stated. "I keep telling myself, 'What have I done? What have I done?'" The life-threatening incident occurred while Campbell's parents were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary on a cruise ship traversing the Mediterranean Sea. The couple awoke at 3 a.m. to a phone call, informing them of what had happened. “He could have easily died being locked in the van for that long," Campbell's father stated. "Brett can't do anything. He can't loosen his clothing. He can't roll down the windows. He can't do anything for

himself. He's just strapped to a wheelchair.” Campbell made what his parents describe to be a, "miraculous recovery." In court Friday, Campbell was all smiles. His mother, Lynne Campbell, utilized the moment to highlight her son's many loves, which include: drawing, pottery, dance, music, swimming, attending musical performances, volunteering at a local animal shelter and helping deliver food to local homeless. "We have always believed that Brett's life has a purpose and have always advocated for him to be a part of his community," Lynne Campbell stated. "It never occurred to me that he [would be] used to highlight the horrific neglect that can happen to a vulnerable person." Prior to issuing her sentence, Judge Mary Beth McCormick acknowledged the panic Campbell must have felt during the entire ordeal, all the while being unable to scream, cry or shout for help. "You were walking around in a tank top and flip flops because you knew it was hot,” Judge McCormick said to Obour with a stern look upon her face. “I can't imagine where your moral compass was –or– if you even have one.” Judge McCormick sentenced Obour to 18 months in jail. Upon her release, she'll be on probation for five years. During that time, Obour will not be allowed to work or have unsupervised contact with any children, senior citizens or vulnerable adults, such as Campbell.

The Christian Journal

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The Grace of Generosity

By Dr. Steve Danso Mother's Days are such a blast that when its celebration passes, people struggle to revamp themselves for the celebration of Father's Day, which follows thereafter. The emotional attachment to mothers is strong, and it shouldn't be surprising that Father's Days appear low key events. But no matter how colorless and unsung the day may be perceived, fathers have the right to keep their heads high for their contributions to the welfare of their families and the society in general. After all, the Scripture says in Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and your mother, so that your days be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” My father walked out of my life when I was 2 years, but when I hear people who know him tell me that I am the exact replica of my father, it humbles me. This is because he is the reason I

am in this world. So I quite remember when at the age of 35 years, he surprisingly walked into my office to check on me, I couldn't help, but to hug him. As we hung onto each other's embrace, tears flowed freely from our eyes. I couldn't conjecture why he was shedding tears, but mine was an appreciation of a man, who had the courage to look for a son he had deserted. When we settled, we struck a conversation that never centered on his 'dereliction of duty,' but on other generalities, leaving that to his conscience. He stayed with me for a week and that period was one of the best days of my life. His humor, wit and candor vindicated my embrace and spurred me to move on as a man. He became my best friend ever since. My mom wasn't that happy, but I knew I did the right thing. I bore his name and was all willing to patch up, protect his legacy and let nature do the rest. Did my father intentionally walk out of my life? I perhaps found the answer in the Book of John. Jesus was passing by and saw a man who was blind from birth. “And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” ……….When He had said these

things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam. So he went and washed and came back seeing” (John 9:1-6). My father went back 'seeing' because he paid constant visits and made efforts to connect with another son he also abandoned. Father's Day is just a few days away and I said earlier, it is a day set aside to honor fathers and fatherhood, paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in society. According to statistics, 50% of children in the United States are fatherless, so the intensity and hoopla often associated with Mother's Days are absent. In fact, its acceptance as a national celebration was rocky from the start. According to historical sources, one Sonora Smart mooted the idea in 1910 in response to Mother's Day as an appreciation of her father, William Jackson Smart, who raised his children as a single parent. As the idea gathered steam, two attempts were made in 1913 and 1916 to make it official, but Congress threw cold water on those attempts. In 1957, Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine revisited the idea and wrote to Congress berating them for ignoring fathers while honoring mothers, but her letter was rebuffed until 1966 when President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation

FILLING UP honoring fathers. Six years later, President Richard Nixon signed it into law, declaring the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. The day is celebrated on a variety of dates worldwide, but many countries observe the day on the third Sunday in June. Although, the huge number of the fatherless in society cast a grim light on Father's Day celebrations, the day is a fitting tribute and the acknowledgement of the incredible roles fathers play in society. We often forget the sacrifices and contributions our fathers and male figures have made in our lives and the day is the perfect time of year to celebrate the men who inspires and motivates us and to show how much we appreciate them. It is an undeniable fact that the motivation and guidance a father provides, shapes the direction of the family. As someone shared in a quote, “A father is neither an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.” Regardless of what your father did or didn't do, nothing should deter you in getting in touch on Father's Day to show your appreciation if he is alive. He deserves that honor for helping to make you who you are today. Dr Steve Danso is a Pastor at Immaculate Pentecostal Church of Christ , Bronx NY

Akufo-Addo urged to follow German example to forge West African unity

Ghana’s President Akufo Addo

President Akufo-Addo charged to lead efforts to unite the economic unity of West African states following years of disappointing attempts by predecessors. The Director of Academic Affairs at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College Prof. Vladimir Antwi Danso says all economic integrations like the EU require a leader pushing through to make it happen. He referred to the EU pointing out, leaders of Germany and France were the lynch pin that made the creation of the a political and economic union of 28 member states. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002, with the Euro as the currency used by 19 members of the 28. With an estimated population of over 510 million, the market is ranked the second largest if treated as a country. But the opposite story of success is true for

the ECOWAS, a reality President AkufoAddo recognised in a speech to mark the 42nd Anniversary of the regional body in Accra. "We are committed to introducing a common currency, the ECO, but so far there is still no sign of that this will become a reality," he said. ECO was first planned to be introduced in 2003, but this was postponed several times to 2005, 2010 and 2014. Lamenting the failure to achieve integration, the president said "ECOWAS is somewhat peripheral to the lives of West Africans". In his observation, the slow integration in ECOWAS is "simply" that "the political will to make it real is less evident." Agreeing with the president, the international relations expert Vladimir Antwi Danso the best days of ECOWAS was seen during the era of leaders like

Nigeria's Obasanjo, Niger's Mamadou Tandja and Ghana's President Kufuor. "...beyond them, the next leaders didn't take ECOWAS as seriously" he said. ECOWAS once Africa's shining example of integration efforts has now been outstripped by East African Community (EAC), he said. The EAC is composed of six countries in the African Great Lakes region in eastern Africa: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. The community plans to launch a common currency by 2023 while ECOWAS appears to have no concrete date for the realisation of the ECO. Vladimir Antwi-Danso testified that ECOWAS integration is "so dear" to Akufo-Addo and hopes he will revive the sagging dream of economic integration.

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The Christian Journal

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Opinion: Migrant money transfers or development aid?


or many countries in Africa, money transfers from citizens living abroad are an extremely important source of income - sometimes even more so than development aid. But there are drawbacks, says DW's Ludger Schadomsky. School fees, weddings, funerals, a house for elderly parents, or the Sugar Feast at the end of Ramadan - there are countless reasons for people in the diaspora to send money back home to their families. Often they have to send it quickly, and that's where Western Union and MoneyGram come in. For countries like India and Nigeria, which are among the largest recipients, overseas transfers are the most important source of capital. In 2016, $440 billion (395 billion euros) was transferred worldwide, according to official records. Additionally, about half of that sum was also moved via unofficial paths, for example, by traveling family members, or the hawala system, which is a popular and informal method of transferring money in Muslim countries. Africans living in Germany alone wire an estimated 1.2 billion euros per year to relatives and friends in their homeland. That's about 20 percent of total economic output in countries such as The Gambia, Lesotho and Comoros. Charity versus migrant cash The flow of money from migrants to their native countries is therefore three times as high as global development aid. That's one reason why economists have been arguing for years that remittances from family and friends abroad are far better than charitable aid from the Global North. When money is sent between two private parties, they say, it's usually received by those who need it and then used for a specific purpose. It's a valid argument, not least because the so-called "overheads" of development projects alone -

administrative costs, for example - can guzzle as much as 70 percent and often flow back to the donor countries. Experts also point out that the amount of private-toprivate money transfers doesn't fluctuate as much as payments from government agencies or large investors, and that can be an important point of stability in target countries. Overseas transfers are expected to keep increasing in 2017 - by 3.3 percent in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Sounds good, right? Not always. Often a large chunk of hard earned wages is eaten up by transfer fees slapped on by financial institutions. So a citizen from Namibia working in neighboring Angola has to pay a 27euro fee to send 100 euros to loved ones back home. In other African countries, the standard charge is 21 euros. Even market giants like Western Union or MoneyGram charge 10 percent or more, depending on the region. G20 countries and the World Bank want to cap these exorbitant fees at three percent by the year 2030. The impact would be enormous: with transfers amounting to $440 billion, migrant workers would theoretically save around $20 billion a year. With that in mind, wouldn't it then make sense to get rid of development aid altogether? Well, it's not that simple. While these private transfers often pay for school fees, building homes or heathcare, they don't go towards the construction and maintenance of roads, schools and hospitals. And there's a political dimension to all of this: development aid can also be tied to conditions such as good governance or upholding human rights. Filling the coffers of authoritarian regimes? Increasingly, the issue of remittances is being viewed against the backdrop of growing migration from Africa. Several repressive governments on the continent appear to be exporting employable young men into exile with the


highest mortality rate for children younger than 5, but the number of deaths among lone infants in that category had halved over two decades. Yet life chances for under-age-5 twins lagged behind, dropping only a third in comparison, they said. Their study found a mortality rate of 213 per 1,000 pregnancies, compared to 11 per 1,000 in Finland, for example. Study is first to look at twins The study, published Wednesday, is the first to examine trends in mortality of twins in the region, The Lancet said. The researchers analysed data on some 1.7 million children born in 30 sub-Saharan countries between 1995 and 2014. That sample captured the birth of nearly 60,000 twins. Giving birth to twins in any part of the world carries a higher risk of death than for single-born children, because of a range of factors from

Deutsche Welle

expectation they'll then send cash back home. One such country scores of people have been leaving is Eritrea in East Africa. It's a plan that is just as cynical as it is economically polished - because at the same time governments like Germany's are sending more funds to those same countries in an attempt curb migration. And the villains reap double the profit. There's another problem: money launderers, and especially global terrorist networks, are increasingly using money transfer companies to carry out their dirty business. Safety measures to counter this trend push up training and admin costs for financial institutions - and those are then passed on to the customer. Lower transfer fees So is there a solution? For starters, countries hosting sizeable migrant communities need to do more to ensure that transfer fees are capped, and that the money goes to places where it will boost the local economy. Whether development aid is a curse or blessing has long been subject to debate. But if donor countries want to make sure that their payments to the Global South remain socially acceptable, they're going to have to prove - and much more credibly than they've had to in the past - how taxpayers' money is being spent on the ground. They'll also have to explain why, for example, Africa is still struggling, despite receiving billions of dollars in aid. One pragmatic way to pay lower transfer fees is to do some research at, a portal launched by the German government that compares rates offered by dozens of banks. To transfer 500 euros from Germany to Ethiopia, for instance, the fee ranges from 1,50 to 57 euros. That could mean 55,50 euros more for relatives back home. It's development aid made easy.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 5 Twins Dies Before Age 5 ne in five twins born in sub-Saharan Africa dies before turning 5, even as infant mortality has dropped sharply for lone babies in the region, scientists said in a new study. That means about 315,000 sub-Saharan twins die each year before reaching their fifth birthday, the scientists estimated. The study, published in The Lancet, a British medical journal, drew on first-of-its-kind research into a little-known phenomenon. Twin deaths largely unnoticed “So far, the poor fate of twins has gone largely unnoticed,� Christiaan Monden, co-author of the study and a professor at the University of Oxford, said in a statement. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to the highest rate of natural twin births and the trend of early deaths is alarming, said the team of British and Dutch researchers. They said sub-Saharan Africa still has the world's



congenital problems to early delivery. But the authors said the gravity of their findings called for policy action, particularly with the number of children younger than 5 in the region expected to grow 20 percent in the coming decade. They said upping the chances of twin survival need not involve investment in costly equipment. Detecting twin pregnancies early might facilitate mothers' access to specialized health care, they said. To increase their chances of survival, twins also could be monitored by medical staff on a continuous basis in early life. In 2015, the World Health Organization said in a landmark report that children worldwide were half as likely to die before age 5 than they were in 1990. Those under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa were 12 times more likely to die than those in rich countries.

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NOV. 24-DEC. 14 2014


Issue 50 June 2017 The Christian Journal  

The Christian Journal and is the North America’s most comprehensive African Christian newspaper

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