Friday, January 28, 2011

50th Anniversary of the Military in Benin

Benin republic is today celebrating the 50th anniversary of the formation of its military services which include the Army, the Navy, the Airforce, as well as other paramilitary agencies such as the Gendamerie, Marine Police, Commando force et cetera.
The purpose of this colourful ceremony, according to the Head of Armed Forces Dr. Boni Yayi, is to display the military capability of the country as well as reinforce the potentials of the military with a view to injectingthe spirit of non-partisanship in politics.

Historical Background:The Benin military came into being on the promulgation of Law Number 60-32 of 28th July 1960, but it was not until 1961 that the first embryo of the army was conceived in Ouidah which then served as the official headquarters of the then DAHOMEY now Benin Republic.
November 30 1975 saw the birth of the Peoples Republic of Benin which was promptly followed by the transformation of the Army to the Peoples Army on 14th January 1976.
Recruitment into the military is on quota basis across the 12 provinces of the country reflecting the national character of the military.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Adieu Missebo Market

The Missebo International market in Cotonou which constitutes the most populated and most economically viable single centre of trading activities in Benin republic has been reduced to rubbles. This is to enable the Benin authorities build a more dignifying shopping mall with parking facilities on the site. If the dream is realized, it will be the first ever one-stop shop in Benin republic.
This market which was established in 1972 and accommodates more than twenty-five thousand traders from across the West African sub-region is located in the heart of Cotonou municipality, and is the point from which most goods especially textiles and used clothing imported from abroad are distributed across Africa. Revenue generated from this market on a monthly basis runs into millions of dollars both to the Market Authority known as SOGEMA and to the individual traders. But it does appear that government’s decision to embark on this demolition is informed by the fact that little returns is trickling into its purse out of the huge taxation raked in by the market administrators.
According to the President of the Nigerian Community in the diaspora, there have been ongoing discussions between the Benin government market authorities and members of the Nigerian Retailers and Importers Associations respectively concerning relocating the market to a more conducive and accessible environment. However, the Benin government authorities have not been patient in allowing the traders to return from Christmas holidays before the demolition exercise and this has resulted in most people losing their goods while others will return to find that they have no place to put up to continue their business activities.
Some of the displaced traders could be seen from the footage standing aloof and helpless as they are being intimidated by the menacing presence of the arm-carrying policemen.
This incident is happening at a time when schools are just resuming for the second term and parents are at a loss as to where and how to find the money to feed their children let alone paying school fees.
“A hungry man, they say, is an angry man.”