Thursday, 13 September 2012

News Release: ECOWAS Legal Experts Discuss Alignment Of Regional Business Law Instruments

Legal experts in business law from West Africa have ended a week-long workshop in Cotonou, Benin Republic on the process of examining the compatibility of 15 ECOWAS draft legal instruments with existing laws of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).

The 2-8 September 2012 meeting enabled seven Anglophone legal experts in business law from non-OHADA States to discuss with their counterparts from OHADA signatory countries, focusing on areas of commercial contract, sale and carriage of goods and the security of tenure of business premises of foreign and local nationals,

The workshop was held within the regional business law harmonization project, a process that was started in 1996 by the ECOWAS Commission in order to ensure the harmonization of commercial and business laws in the region. The project was discontinued but revived in 2006 before which uniform Acts in this area had been harmonized by OHADA with applicability in French speaking Member States.

Ultimately, the project will ensure that the legal instruments are aligned with existing OHADA instruments and contribute to the creation of a business law environment in the region that is based on best practices and procedures.

The Acting Director of Legal Affairs of the Commission, Mrs. Henrietta Didigu explained at the opening of this second workshop that the objective of the alignment exercise is to “establish a harmonized business law environment and thus facilitate and promote intra- and inter-regional trade among Member State,” with the purpose of deploying them as tools for attracting additional Foreign Direct Investment into the region.

Since OHADA instruments are already applicable in some Member States, she said, the Commission is obliged to take them into account within the process of its harmonization project as they have become “a vital reference point for the evolution of the ECOWAS Community Draft
Business Acts, particularly in those areas of law already existing in the OHADA regime.”

Mrs. Didigu said the project is at a stage “where the Commission’s consultative team of experts from both OHADA and non-OHADA zones are helping the Commission to examine the extent of harmony achieved in the texts that have been produced.”

The inaugural workshop under the exercise was held in April 2012 during which participants examined the Directives on the Principles of Company Law and related Commercial Entities.

A final text was developed which when adopted would become the reference for applicable Company Law Principles in the region. 

The outcomes of the workshops will be presented to a meeting of the Community’s legal experts later in the year, whose recommendations will be considered by the decision-making authorities of the organization.

Released By: ECOWAS Publicity Arm

Poem: Jingles Of Jihad

By Chidi Anthony Opara

Jingles of jihad.
On furrowed faces.
The festivals of blood,
Blood stains on sacredness.
The scenes of savagery,
Festering fears.

Like a big bulge
On the groin
Of a horny hunk
Their bile bulge.
Their implements of butchery
Burrow into bowels.
They cuddle cruelty
And hug hate.
Like sharks
They search for blood.

From the cantonments
Of crusaders of yore.
More jingles of jihad.

Serenades here.
In the shrine of Amadioha,
In the shrine
Of Chukwu’s archangel.

News Report: US Embassy In Nigeria Issues Warning After Libya Killings

Credit: AFP

The US embassy in Nigeria on Thursday warned Americans about the threat of attacks by extremist groups following the violence in Libya and Egypt, urging extra caution.

The “emergency message” issued to Americans living in Africa’s most populous country came after militants attacked the US consulate in Benghazi, killing the US ambassador and three other Americans, hours after a mob attacked the US embassy in Cairo.

“Extremists may attempt to target US citizens and other Westerners in Nigeria,” the embassy said in a statement.

It noted that radical groups in Nigeria have killed hundreds in recent months in attacks on a range of targets.

“The situation in Nigeria remains fluid and unpredictable,” the statement said, urging Americans “to consider their personal security.”

On Wednesday, Nigeria’s police chief ordered “24-hour water-tight security” at all foreign embassies.

The attacks in Cairo and Benghazi were initially believed to have been perpetrated by mobs outraged over an amateur Internet film made in America that insulted Islam but US officials later said the Benghazi attack might have been planned.

Religiously-linked violence has killed thousands of Nigerians in recent years. Radical Islamist group Boko Haram is blamed for more than 1,400 deaths since 2010, while sectarian clashes between Muslim and Christian communities have killed thousands more.

News Report: South Africa Throws UN Nuclear Meeting On Iran Into Disarray

President Jacob Zuma Of South Africa

Credit: Reuters

South Africa proposed a last-minute change to a U.N. nuclear agency resolution rebuking Iran on Thursday, throwing the meeting into confusion, diplomats said.

Six world powers put forward the draft text on Wednesday, aiming to add diplomatic pressure on Tehran, a day after Israel ramped up threats to attack the Islamic Republic which it believes is seeking nuclear weapons capability.

Intended to signal big power unity and criticise Iran for defying U.N. calls to curb its nuclear work, the full 35-nation governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had been expected to vote on and approve the text on Thursday.

But South Africa, like Iran a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) of mainly developing nations, proposed a change to the board resolution agreed by the United States, Russia, France, China, Britain and Germany.

As a result the board meeting that started at 10 a.m. (0800 GMT) was adjourned until 3 p.m. (1300 GMT) for talks on how to proceed. "There is procedural chaos," one Western envoy said.

Western diplomats said the South African amendment, though adding only five words to a two-page document, risked weakening somewhat the message to Iran that it must open up to IAEA investigations into suspected atom bomb research.

South African diplomats were not immediately available for comment but their proposed change was circulated among member states.

The proposed text says "it is essential for Iran to immediately implement" a framework deal with the IAEA to clarify concern over possible military dimensions to its nuclear programme.

South Africa's amendment would add: "once it (the framework deal) has been concluded," a formulation which Western diplomats said could dilute some of the pressure on Tehran.

"The Americans object," a second Western diplomat said.

The IAEA has tried in a series of high-profile meetings with Iran that began in January to agree a "Structured Approach" on how to conduct its investigation. IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said this week that no concrete results had been achieved, calling the lack of progress "frustrating".

The resolution can be approved by the board even without South Africa's support, but the powers are keen to ensure near unanimous backing. If South Africa objects or abstains, other NAM states may do the same, they say.

Iran says it wants to produce electricity and not bombs. Refined uranium can be used to fuel nuclear power plants. If enriched to a high degree, it can provide the explosive core for a nuclear warhead.

Israel, believed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed state, sees the risk of Iran developing an atom bomb as a threat to its existence and has stepped up hints of military action.

Washington says there is still time for diplomacy and sanctions to make Tehran change course.