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Former Niger President Tandja Dies Aged 82



Former Nigerien President, Mamadou Tandja has died at the age of 8.

His death was announced on radio and national television by the West African country’s government, with a three-day national mourning declared.

Tandja twice won the Presidential election when Niger returned to civilian rule in 1999. He was however toppled in 2009, after he changed the nation’s constitution to fulfil his term elongation.

A retired Colonel in the Niger Army, he was first elected in 1999 after the government of Baba Mainasara was toppled. Despite an uneventful first term, he won his re-election in 2004, amid criticism from the opposition.

Tandja walked a lonely path when he attempted to extend his term through a referendum. He claimed Nigeriens loved his government and wanted him to finish what he started.

In 2010, he was kicked out of the Presidential Palace in a dramatic toppling that gained global attention. He was arrested afterwards but later released peacefully, and since remained in relative obscurity before his demise.

Mamadou Issoufou, Niger’s current President has mourned his predecessor, even as he promises to leave office at the expiration of his term.

This commitment has been hailed by citizens, who hitherto compared him with Ivory Coast’s Allassane Ouattara and Guinea’s Alpha Conde, whose third term ambitions have triggered conflicts in their countries.

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Nigerian Telecos Submit 43 Million National Identity Numbers for Verification

It was also gathered that so far that the NIMC has been able to provide about 45 million NINs, as it was able to register about two million people in the last one month after the Federal Government ordered citizens to register their SIMs with valid NINs.



About 43 million National Identity Numbers (NIN) in Nigeria have been submitted by telecommunication companies to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for verification in order to have them registered with their respective Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM).

Also, as the deadline for telephone subscribers with NINs to register their SIMs with the identity numbers elapsed today, operators have said that SIMs with unlinked submitted NINs will not be blocked.

It was also gathered that so far that the NIMC has been able to provide about 45 million NINs, as it was able to register about two million people in the last one month after the Federal Government ordered citizens to register their SIMs with valid NINs.

On December 15, 2020, the Federal Government declared that after December 30, 2020, all SIMs that were not registered with valid NINs on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked.

It extended the December 30, 2020 deadline following widespread opposition against the earlier announcement and gave three weeks’ extension for subscribers with NIN from December 30, 2020 to January 19, 2021.

It also gave six weeks’ extension for subscribers without NIN from December 30, 2020 to February 9, 2021, however, many organisations have called for further deadline extension or outright suspension of the NIN registration process due to the large crowds who had yet to have their NINs.

Although the NIMC refused to speak on the matter after several calls and messages were sent to senior officials of the commission on the subject, operators in the telecommunications sector told confirmed that about 43 million NINs had been submitted to the agency for verification.

Speaking on behalf of the firms, the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, said the NINs were sent to NIMC for verification in order to ensure that the numbers were harmonised with their respective SIMs.

He said, “I don’t have the number of SIM cards that have been linked but at the last count, NIMC told us that they have about 43 million Nigerians who have NINs.

When asked if the government would block the SIMs of subscribers who could not have their SIMs registered despite submitting their NINs to their service providers, Adebayo said such SIMs would not be blocked.

He said “this is because as far as you are concerned as a subscriber, you have uploaded that number to your operator and forwarded to NIMC.

However, the Director-General, NIMC, Aliya Aziz, as well as the spokesperson for the commission, Kayode Adegoke, did not pick several calls to their lines nor did they reply messages sent to them on the matter.

Also, when contacted on whether there would be an extension of the January 19 deadline, the media aide to the communications minister, Uwa Suleiman, affirmed negatively.

However, She stated that if there was such information, the communications ministry or any of its relevant agencies will publicise it.

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Kenyans in Diaspora Make Sh329.41 billion Remittances Despite Pandemic

Kenyans living abroad made an average Sh6.33 billion weekly remittances in spite of 2020 economic lows induced by the pandemic.



Latest data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) show that diaspora remittances 2020 rose 10.7% hitting Sh329.41 billion from Sh285.23 billion that was sent home the year before.

In a statement, CBK governor Patrick Njoroge said “Remittance inflows were strongly buoyant in 2020 despite the devastation by Covid-19 in the source countries,”  

“This remarkable growth of remittances has been supported by financial innovations that provided Kenyans in the diaspora more convenient channels for their transactions.”

This, in spite of coronavirus-induced disruption, the share of remittances in the country’s foreign exchange receipts show that about Sh6.33 billion was sent home every week.   The total remittances were 9.56 percent higher than the maximum of Sh300.67 billion ($2.824 billion) that Dr. Njoroge had projected in mid-2020.

The CBK projected a 12 percent fall in remittances to Sh232.2 billion due to job cuts and global economic disruptions.  

Owing to a strong recovery in June, the apex bank revised this to a growth of just one percent. The strong performance came after remittances in December hit Sh32.91 billion. This is the highest to have ever been sent home in a single month.

December is historically a strong month for remittances when Kenyans abroad send home Christmas presents, rent to support families and school fees payments.

The United states with an estimated 90,000 Kenyans is the largest country in terms of remittances. However, the country has emerged as a global hotspot for Covid-19 infections and also experienced turmoil in its recently concluded national polls.

Inflows from Germany, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar also make up a significant component.

These remittances improved with gradual recoveries of major economies abroad. Also the various methods of sending cash and mobile money transfers helped in this regard.  

Remittances to Kenya also defied the World Bank projection of about 20 percent expected to hit combined remittances across the world due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kenya currently comes tops in diaspora remittances among East African countries. The amount the country receives is the single largest source of foreign currency ahead of major cash crops and tourism.

Since 2015 when it surpassed earnings from tea exports, foreign remittances have been Kenya’s largest source of foreign exchange. Other significant sources of foreign exchange include receipts from the hospitality as well as horticulture and coffee exports.

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ANC to suspend Carl Niehaus for ‘attacking’ senior party leaders



Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus has declined to comment on the ANC’s intention to place him on suspension after he attacked ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte in a recent statement.

“I do not comment on leaked letters,” Niehaus said on Tuesday morning when asked to comment on the letter sent to him informing him of the intention to place him on suspension.

When pressed further on the knowledge of the letter, he said: “Stop it. I am not commenting.”

In the letter addressed to Niehaus and dated January 19, ANC general manager Febe Potgieter-Gqubule reminds him he has been employed in the secretary-general’s office since March 2019 to give direct support to the work of the secretary-general.

She wrote: “You have been advised, on more than one occasion, that your public statements and social media posts are unbecoming of someone working in this high office, which has the primary responsibility of driving and co-ordinating the work of all structures of the ANC. You also received a written warning to this effect on October 12 2019.

The notice to suspend Niehaus from the ANC comes less than a week after he had accused Duarte of publicly bashing him in the media.

“I am saddened that even the Deputy Secretary General of the ANC, comrade Jessie Duarte, saw it fit to attack me, and undermine my long history as a 42-year veteran of the ANC in good standing, as well as my elected position as an NEC member of MKMVA, and MKMVA National Spokesperson. This she did, knowing that when she was doing so, I was gravely ill. It was unnecessary and callous – I am deeply saddened by it,” Niehaus said.

It is not yet clear what exactly Niehaus is referring to, however some of his part remarks, many made in defence of Magashule, of which he is a fierce supporter, have prompted Duarte to condemn him on several occasions.

Potgieter-Gqubule said Niehaus’ comments on Duarte were in violation of the ANC Personnel Policy Manual. Niehaus has now been given 48 hours to explain why he should not be suspended on full pay, pending the institution of disciplinary action against him for misconduct

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