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West Africa Politics

Nigeria’s President Buhari Names Replacements for Retired Service Chiefs

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Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, announced a list of new service chiefs after years of calls for the sacking of the now retired service chiefs. There had been waves of criticism as a result of increasing violence by terrorist insurgents and armed gangs.

The new service chiefs are Major-General Leo Irabor as Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General I. Attahiru as Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo as Chief of Naval Staff; and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao as Chief of Air Staff.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘President Buhari appoints new service chiefs’.

It read, “President Muhammadu Buhari has accepted the immediate resignation of the Service Chiefs, and their retirement from service.

“Those involved are the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.

“President Buhari thanks the outgoing Service Chiefs for what he calls their ‘overwhelming achievements in our efforts at bringing enduring peace to our dear country,’ wishing them well in their future endeavours.

“The President congratulates the new Service Chiefs, and urges them to be loyal and dedicated in the discharge of their responsibilities.”

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West Africa Politics

Protests as Bazoum is Declared Winner of Niger’s Presidential Election

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Protesters have hit the streets of Niamey, capital of Niger Republic, after Mohamed Bazoum of the ruling Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS-Tarayya) was declared winner of the presidential election.

Niger held its general elections on 27 December 2020 to elect the President and National Assembly. However, no presidential candidate received a majority of the vote, prompting a run-off poll that was held on 21 February 2021. 

Issaka Souna, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), declared Bazoum, 61, winner of the election with just under 55% of the vote, while Mahamane Ousmane, a former president who was toppled by a coup in 1996, won a little more than 44% of the poll.

Though the provisional results must still be confirmed by the constitutional court, analysts believe the confirmation is a mere formality, as the country seeks its first-ever transition from one democratically elected leader to another.

Following the release of the results, Ousmane’s supporters protested by burning tyres at his campaign headquarters and in other parts of Niamey. They alleged voter fraud, claiming votes were stolen, although no proof has been made public.

Also, Ousmane’s campaign, without providing proof, allged there were widespread fraud, including the theft and stuffing of ballot boxes, and threats against voters. The campaign demanded the “immediate suspension of the publication of these results”, saying that it did not express the “will of the Nigerien people for change.”

Voting had been marred by separate attacks that killed eight people in two regions, where Islamist militants operate. In the first incident, a landmine struck a vehicle in the western Tillabery region, near the border with Mali, killing seven election workers heading to the polls.

On his part, Bazoum, a former interior minister, has thanked Nigeriens for voting him as president and vowed to confront all challenges facing the country headlong.

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Review: Many Govt Officials Just Blow Siren And Disturb Public Peace, They Are Not Working! – Dr. Ona Ekhomu

“Someone is sleeping at the switch, it could be security officials, school officials, or even government officials”

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Insecurity has eaten deep into Nigeria and the best way to tackle it is to fix it from the scratch. Where did we go wrong? What are the causes and solutions to insecurity? Security consultant, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, who is the first chartered security professional in West Africa and President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), joined Tolu and Olisa on News Central’s Breakfast Show.

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Dr. Ona first established that bandits or terrorists are always interested in maximizing their value, that’s why they go for soft targets like schools. “They got handsomely paid for the Kankara attack in December 2020.” For example, over one hundred persons were kidnapped last week in Niger state, and nobody said anything, it was just reported and forgotten. But when they went for schoolboys, it made headlines. “It is this factor that gives terrorists more mileage in terms of notoriety.

“Schools are rarely so vulnerable, that’s why much attention isn’t paid to them. But the new factor that is enabling school attacks is proof that someone is sleeping at the switch, which could be security officials, school officials, or even government officials”, he added.

On the issue of addressing insecurity in Nigeria, the Africa Representative of the International Foundation for Protection Officers said that insecurity in Nigeria is a complex and messy problem that doesn’t lend itself to an easy solution.

First of all, it requires better understanding. Most Nigerian elites and politicians still don’t understand the level of our problem in this country. The state government, assembly members, and local government officials have the authority to work on these issues. They just blow the siren and disturb the peace of the public. Instead of working, all they do is sleep and wait to pay ransoms for kidnap victims.

Dr. Ona proffered workable solutions to the issue of insecurity in Nigeria. He stated that information should be put out on soft target handling, what people should do in a case of emergency or who to report to when they receive a threat letter like the one Kagara community received before the abduction of the school students.

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West Africa Politics

Niger Holds Presidential Run-off Poll

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Niger’s 7.4 million registered voters return to the polls on Sunday in a presidential run-off to elect a president between the two front runners from the 27 December first-round vote.

Sixty one-year-old Mohamed Bazoum, the candidate for the ruling Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism who is seen as outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou’s chosen successor, had secured 39.3 per cent of votes in the first round of voting on December 27, well ahead of his closest rival, Mahamane Ousmane, 71, at 16.9 per cent.

Bazoum held key ministries in Issoufou’s cabinet and is widely seen as the favourite against Ousmane. The 71-year-old in 1993 won Niger’s first multiparty elections but was overthrown three years later in a coup and has since failed to regain the presidency.

The second round became inevitable because none of the 30 candidates in the first round got more than 50% of the votes required by the constitution to win the presidency.

The vote will complete Niger’s three-month-long electoral cycle that kicked off in early December with local elections and is also expected to usher in the country’s first peaceful transition of power between freely elected leaders.

The West African country is notorious for political instability, including military coups. It currently endures crises related to climate change and insecurity from militant groups, including Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa.

Nigeria’s former Vice-president Namadi Sambo is heading the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to the election.

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