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Niger Junta Threatens to kill Bazoum As ECOWAS Puts Troops on Standby



The safety of ousted Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum may not be guaranteed as the junta which overthrew his government has reportedly threatened to kill him should the Economic Community of West African States attempt any military intervention to restore democracy in the francophone country.

The junta revealed their dark plot to murder the deposed president to a top United States diplomat, two Western officials confirmed to the Associated Press on Thursday.

The threat is coming on the heels of the resolution of the ECOWAS to deploy troops in Niger following the refusal of the military leaders to restore democracy despite the sanctions imposed on them and their collaborators by the regional body.

Speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, a Western military official said representatives of the junta told the US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland of the threat to Bazoum during her visit to the country on Monday.

According to AP, a US official confirmed the account, also speaking on condition of anonymity, because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Bazoum, who was deposed on July 26, is being held hostage at his residence.

However, rising from a meeting of the ECOWAS Heads of States and Government in Abuja on Thursday, the President of ECOWAS, Omar Touray, said the bloc had directed the deployment of a “standby force” to restore democracy in Niger after the coup.

But Touray gave no details about the make-up, location and proposed date of deployment for the military intervention force.

Financing had been discussed and “appropriate measures have been taken,” he disclosed.

Reading the resolutions of the ECOWAS on the military junta in Niger at the end of the commission’s extra-ordinary summit, he also called on the African Union, partner countries and institutions to support the decision taken by the sub-regional body.

ECOWAS said all efforts made to hold dialogues with the military junta had been defiantly rejected by the coup leaders as they condemned the continuous detention of Bazoum and his family members.

Before taking the decision, the authority explained that it considered the memorandum presented by the President of the ECOWAS Commission on the current situation in the Republic of Niger, ECOWAS engagement since the last extraordinary summit; the reports of the envoys sent to Niger and various other places and recommendations of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff.

It also extensively discussed the latest development in Niger since the last extra-ordinary summit was held on July 30, noting that all diplomatic efforts made by ECOWAS in resolving the crisis had been defiantly repelled by the military leadership, including the one-week ultimatum given for the restoration of constitutional order in Niger.

ECOWAS condemns coup

The ECOWAS President said the regional body decided as follows: ‘’Reiterates its strong condemnation of the attempted coup d’etat and the continued illegal detention of President Mohammed Bazoam, his family and members of his government

“Further condemns the condition in which President Bazoum is being detained and hold the CNSP fully and solely responsible for the safety, security and physical integrity of President Bazoum, members of his family and government.

“Uphold all measures and principles agreed upon by the extra-ordinary summit held on Niger on 30th July 2023; Underscore the determination of the ECOWAS authority to keep all options on the table for the peaceful resolution of the crisis.

“Enforce all measures in particular border closures and strict travel bans and assets freeze on all persons or groups of individuals whose actions hinder all peaceful efforts aimed at ensuring the smooth and complete restoration of constitutional order.’’

It further warned member states who by their action directly or indirectly hindered the peaceful resolution of the crisis in Niger about the consequences for their action before the community.

The body ‘’further call on all partner countries and institutions including the United Nations to support ECOWAS, in its effort to ensure a quick restoration of constitutional order, in conformity with its normative instruments.

“Direct the President of the Commission to monitor the implementation of the sanctions; direct the Committee of the Chief of Defence Staff to activate the ECOWAS Standby Force with all its elements immediately.

“Order the deployment of the ECOWAS Standby Force to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger; underscore its continued commitment for the restoration of constitutional order through peaceful means.”

In his remarks at the summit, the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Government, President Bola Tinubu said no option was off the table, including the use of force as the last resort in resolving the Niger crisis.

“You will see from the communiqué of this extraordinary summit that no option is taken off the table including the use of force as the last resort. If we don’t do it, no one else will do it for us. We remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting Niger towards peaceful and democratic stability in the country,” Tinubu said.

The Nigerian leader while admitting that there will be challenges ahead, said that the collective resolve of the ECOWAS would navigate all obstacles for lasting peace and prosperity in Niger and other member countries.

He commended the leaders for their “unwavering commitment” to the sub-region and welfare of the African continent. The road ahead will undoubtedly have challenges but I firmly believe that with our collective resolve we can navigate these obstacles and chart a part towards lasting peace and prosperity for Nigeriens and ECOWAS.

“I send my sincere gratitude to all of you for your dedication and valuable contributions during this extraordinary summit. Your unwavering commitment to ECOWAS and the welfare of our continent is highly commendable.

“I want to thank you for your positive remarks and recognition given to me and the government and the people of Nigeria. May our collective efforts pave the way for a brighter future for Nigeriens and all Africans,” he added.

When asked when the defence chiefs in the region would meet,  the Director,  Defence Information,  Defence Headquarters,  Brig.  Gen.  Tukur Gusau, said ECOWAS would decide that and not the Defence Headquarters.

He said, “It is the responsibility of ECOWAS to convene such meetings, not DHQ.”

Notwithstanding the decision of the regional bloc to deploy troops against the junta, some Islamic clerics said they would, in the next few days, head for Niamey to interact with the military leaders through intermediaries.

The Ulamas led by Sheikh Bala Lau of Izalla group and Sheikh Abdurahman Ahmad of Ansar ud Deen had on Wednesday secured Tinubu’s approval to seek a truce with the junta in a bid to avoid bloodshed that could result from a military intervention in the Sahel country.

The Secretary-General of Jama’atu Nasril Islam, Prof Abubakar Aliyu, said the date for their departure had not been confirmed because the Islamic body had yet to hold its inaugural meeting.

He, however, explained that the plan of the Islamic clerics was to reach out to their counterparts in Niger, who could influence the junta on the need for the amicable settlement of the debacle.

The JNI scribe insisted on non-military solution, arguing that the use of force would further lead to the destruction of human and material resources.

The Punch

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Identity Saga: Tinubu Pleads with Court to Release Only His Certificate, Not Academic Details




President Bola Tinubu has reluctantly allowed a federal judge in the United States to give his university certificate to his political opponent Atiku Abubakar.

But the Nigerian leader pleaded with Judge Nancy Maldonado to block all other details, especially the gender, and admission records, among others, of the person who owns the certificate from being disclosed.

Mr Tinubu’s prayers on Monday morning came as part of the ongoing legal battle unfolding at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago.

The case was brought by Mr Abubakar, who has been on a judicial quest to establish that Mr Tinubu was not eligible to be Nigerian president despite his election in February 2023.

He won the election by 36 per cent of the vote after Mr Abubakar and Peter Obi, who was his running mate in the 2019 election, fell out, subsequently dividing their potential votes into at least two parts, paving the way for Mr Tinubu’s victory with the slimmest margin in Nigerian presidential election history.

Mr Tinubu’s acceptance that his certificate could be released came after he narrowly escaped full disclosure on September 21 by pleading severe harm to his life in order to obtain a stay of a magistrate judge’s order on September 19.

“There is harm in allowing discovery on issues and documents outside the diploma,” Mr Tinubu’s lawyers said in their full briefing to the court seeking a review of Judge Jeffrey Gilbert’s order by Ms Maldonado, a district judge.

The identity of who was admitted into Chicago State University in the 1970s has been a hot issue after college transcripts emerged that indicated the school admitted a female Bola Tinubu from Southwest College Chicago in 1977.

Source: People’s Gazette

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Sanwo-Olu Floors Jandor, Rhodes-Vivour As Court Dismisses Petitioners’ Application




The Lagos Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, on Monday, dismissed the petitions brought by Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour and the Labour Party, and Olajide Adediran, also known as Jandor of the Peoples Democratic Party, challenging the victory of Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the March 18 governorship election.

The tribunal therefore, affirms the election of Sanwo-Olu as the winner of the March 18 Lagos State governorship poll.

Jandor and Rhodes-Vivour had contested the results, challenging the victory of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Obafemi Hamzat.

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Supreme Court Building Catches Fire




A portion of the Supreme Court is on fire.

The fire, according to source, engulfed a side of the judges’ chamber of the apex court.

Details about the incident are still sketchy as of the time of filling this report.

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