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Malawi opposition leader takes MP seat despite challenging presidential vote1 minute read

The 64-year-old leader of the Malawi Congress Party, MCP, was sworn in at the Parliament Building on Monday, together with 60 others

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Lazarus Chakwera takes MP seat despite challenging presidential vote

Malawi opposition chief, Lazarus Chakwera, has been sworn in as a member of the country’s parliament. The swearing in took place in the capital Lilongwe following the May 21 elections, local media in Malawi reported on Monday.

The 64-year-old leader of the Malawi Congress Party, MCP, was sworn in at the Parliament Building on Monday, together with 60 others, while other lawmakers were scheduled to be sworn in today.

According to The Nation newspaper, Chakwera “took his oath of allegiance and office … amid cheers from scores of party supporters who accompanied him.”

Chakwera’s party, the MCP is currently challenging the official result of the presidential vote which saw incumbent Peter Mutharika win a second and final term in office whiles Chakwera came second.

The Malawian electoral system make provision for persons contesting for presidency and vice presidency to simultaneously contest for parliamentary seats.

 On the other hand, the incumbent vice president Saulos Chilima, who also contested in the presidential election, lost his parliamentary bid.

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Nigerian airforce ordered to bomb local bandits terrorising three states, Buhari says

“With the harmattan dust gradually easing its hold on the skies, fighter aircraft would this week join the efforts to provide effective air attacks against bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers,” Buhari said.

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A Nigerian airforce pilot in one of the country’s fighter jets fighting insurgents in the northeast of the country./NAF


Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday ordered the country’s airforce to begin the bombardment of bandits and other criminal groups terrorising communities in forested areas in the three states of Niger, Kaduna and Zamfara, a presidency statement announced.

Buhari described the repeated attacks leading to the losses of several lives in the communities “as a disaster for the nation,” his spokesman, Garba Shehu said in the statement that commiserated with those killed in Niger state a day earlier on Saturday.

He authorized the deployment of air power to support troops and policemen deployed to the “difficult terrain,” to counter the menace of the attackers operating “in the forest area bordering Kaduna, Niger and Zamfara states,” Shehu said.

While Niger state is in the North Central part of the country and the largest in terms of landmass in Nigeria, the remaining two are states located in the Northwest region that have for over five years been attacked by bandits and cattle rustlers including President Buhari’s homestate of Katsina, in the same region.

“President Buhari has received assurances that with the harmattan dust gradually easing its hold on the skies, fighter aircraft would this week join the efforts to provide effective air attacks against bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers that have been attacking remote communities around Dogon Gona forest in Niger State,” the presidency statement said.

The presidency said in line with the directive, the Nigerian Air Force was setting up refueling facilities at Minna, Niger State to support the aircraft operations, giving assurances that given the improved weather conditions, a major exercise to “visually acquire targets” and launch attacks will soon follow.

The government said the Police in Niger state had equally given assurances that “the planned dedicated air raids to complement the police helicopter gunship operations remain the best approach given the lack of motorized roads in the areas constantly under attack.”

President Buhari commiserated with the “government and people of Niger State following the attacks and the loss of lives that followed, and assures that victim communities in the state will not be abandoned by the rest of the country.”

Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Mohammed Sani-Musa had on Saturday disclosed that armed bandits invaded five villages of Kudodo, Galapai, Dnakpala, Makera and Dnalagwa, killing raping and abducting dozens in the Shiroro local government area of the state.

The senator in a statement said the bandits who were in their numbers attacked the villages in the early hours of Saturday.

“In what seemed like coordinated attacks, adjoining villages like Amale, Tunga and Adunu in Paikoro local government area of the state were not spared, as the bandits left on their heels more deaths, destruction and abduction,” the Senator added.

While recalling that he had earlier cried out to President Muhammadu Buhari over the spate of the killings in his constituency, the Senator said the situation in his constituency is becoming helpless, “as the bandits wreak unimaginable havoc on the people with no security succour in sight”.

Sani-Musa said “my people are under siege, innocent families have been displaced, killed, raped, kidnapped and community members straddled in a state of despair.

The National Assembly is set to resume from its six weeks recess for the yuletide and federal lawmakers within the affected states are set to table the issue of the constant killings of their people before the parliament for debate.

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Chinese, Nigerians celebrate Lunar New Year in Abuja

“With a fresh start here, we are very confident and optimistic about the cooperation and friendship between our two great countries and our relations,” Chinese Ambassador Zhou said

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A cheerful audience fell over themselves to catch a glimpse of a huge dragon mascot that walked into a venue of the 2020 Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Nigeria’s capital Abuja on Saturday.

The audience, including diplomats, as well as top government officials and captains of industries, applauded the mascot with its acrobatic dance and displays to mark the opening of the colorful celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Abuja.

The Chinese community in Nigeria held a carnival-like celebration that brought people of both countries, and citizens of other countries, who came from far and near to experience the opportunity of a colorful cultural exhibition that the event provided.

It was the first of several events outlined for the celebration of what is also known as the Spring Festival observed by the Chinese people.

The event, organized by the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria and the China Cultural Center in Abuja, witnessed a large turnout of merrymakers, including high school students.

The revelers, who gathered at the China Cultural Center, tucked in the central business area of the Abuja city, were enthralled by a colorful exhibition of the Chinese culture and various Chinese and Nigerian art performances.

The dragon dance, performed by nine experienced Nigerian male dancers and one lady dancer who manipulated the long flexible figure of the dragon using a pole, was the opening act of the event.

It is often performed during Chinese new year celebrations.

In an interview, Zhou Pingjian, Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, told Xinhua the celebration was to mark the beginning of good things to come.

“With a fresh start here, we are very confident and optimistic about the cooperation and friendship between our two great countries and our relations,” Zhou said, referring to the mutually-beneficial cooperation between China and Nigeria.

In an earlier message to congratulate China, the Chinese community in Nigeria and the world over on the Chinese Lunar New year, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari noted that there is a new impetus in Nigeria-China relations and new opportunities for mutual benefits.

Many Nigerians present at the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Abuja acknowledged the Spring Festival as the most important traditional festival for the Chinese.

“This celebration clearly emphasizes the concept of family and the opportunity of reunion. And if you look around, you will observe that these two values are shared by both Nigerians and the Chinese,” said Goke Oloruntoba, a student at the University of Abuja.

The Spring Festival has gained popularity in cities in Nigeria due to the sense of anticipation and excitement shared by the Chinese community in the West African country for the festival and the way it is colorfully celebrated every year.

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Nigerian Army deploys 185 troops for peacekeeping in Guinea Bissau

Army authorities asked the troops to respect the culture and people of Guinea Bissau and warned against getting involved in “trafficking of illicit substance of any kind.”

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Nigeria has completed pre-deployment training for 185 troops for peacekeeping mission in Guinea Bissau, army authorities said on Friday.

The 185 troops began their pre deployment training on January 6, at the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peace Keeping Centre, MLAILPKC, Jaji Kaduna State.

Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the troops will be Nigeria’s Company 8, in the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau, official News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.

Buratai was represented by Maj.-Gen Kelvin Aligbe Commandant Nigerian Army School of Infantry, NASI.

He said the graduation further confirmed the commitment of Nigeria to deploy quality peacekeepers as part of its contributions to the quest for global peace and security.

He explained that the pre-deployment training was aimed at refreshing and polishing their knowledge and expertise in peace support operation.

“The training was to equip you with the requisite skills required to protect yourselves, ECOWAS Mission in Guinea, equipment and the citizens of Guinea Bissau your host nation, while carrying out the mission’s mandate,” Buratai said.

The army chief cautioned the troops to avoid any ugly incident that could tarnish the image of the Army and Nigeria during their stay in Guinea Bissau.

“Let me categorically state that you are to discharge your duties in consonance with the mission’s mandate at all times. I must also remind you that the rules of engagement in the mission give you the latitude to exhibit utmost professionalism in the discharge of your responsibilities.

Buratai asked the soldiers to respect the culture and religious sensitivity of the people in Guinea Bissau and warned that they must not involve themselves in “trafficking of illicit substance of any kind.”

He added that the ECOWAS Mission has zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse.

“The Nigerian Army and indeed the government will also not tolerate the contravention of these policies,” Buratai said.

Earlier, Maj.-Gen James Ataguba, Commandant of MLAILPKC said that the training included classroom lectures on prescribed United Nation pre-deployment training materials.

Ataguba said that the physical and field training covered areas such as intensive physical exercises, occupation of basic camp, crowd dispersal, tactical convoy movement, escort of VIP and weapons handling.

“I therefore make bold to say that the Nigerian Company 8 Economic Community of West State mission in Guinea Bissau has received adequate training required to be into any UN or regional coordinated mission,” the official said.

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