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.Insists military intervention last resort
.’Niger military junta not sincere’
.As Rwanda, Cameroon reshuffle military positions
By Adekunle Adesuji, Abuja
President Bola Tinubu on Thursday said the fear he had about putschists in Niger setting a bad precedent across the continent has been confirmed by the removal of President Ali Bongo of Gabon.
Speaking while receiving the Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, led by the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, at the State House, Abuja, Tinubu said all diplomatic options will be exhausted with the military junta in Niger Republic before any last resort of military intervention comes into the picture.
He insisted that any forceful removal of a democratic government remains “wholly unacceptable.”
President noted that Nigeria, under General Abdulsalami Abubakar, instituted a nine-month transition programme in 1998, and it proved very successful, leading the country into a new era of democratic governance. The President sees no reason why such can not be replicated in Niger, if Niger’s military authorities are sincere.
“Your Eminence, please don’t get tired, you will still go back there. The soldiers’ action is unacceptable. The earlier they make positive adjustments, the quicker we will dial back the sanctions to alleviate the sufferings we are seeing in Niger,” he said.
Speaking on the hardship faced by many Nigerians post-fuel subsidy removal, Tinubu assured that all ongoing reforms will liberate and reposition the economy, which will benefit the majority of the population in terms of opportunities, infrastructure, healthcare and education.
“Nigeria is headed for a promise. Our diversity will turn into prosperity, not adversity. We will build a country that our children will be proud of,” the President assured.
The President told the delegation that the Federal Government had opened talks with State Governments to provide land for the proper sustenance of animals with a view to developing pan-national animal husbandry and agro-allied production and processing facilities for mass export, job creation and revenue generation.
“If Nigeria is still looking for vaccines for basic health issues; if infant and maternal mortality is rampant, then we should examine ourselves. I will commit to consulting with other leaders, like the NSCIA, and we will meet the needs of our people,” he said.
In his contribution at the meeting, Vice President Kashim Shettima said the President had budgeted N50 billion to support the ongoing rebuilding of lives and property in the North West and North East, and with a new focus on dialogue to address security challenges.
The Sultan of Sokoto reportedly pledged loyalty to the President, affirming that a leader can only reach a position by the will of God, and not man.
He assured the President that the NSCIA will be available to advise and support President Tinubu to realize his dream for the country, adding that “God will hold all leaders to account, in justice and fairness.”
He suggested that the distribution of palliatives across the country should be monitored and augmented, where it fails to reach some of the people who remain in dire need.
“I honestly believe we will come out of the challenges stronger,” the Sultan of Sokoto concluded.
.As Rwanda, Cameroon reshuffle military positions
As coups continue to spread on the African continent, some leaders are taking proactive steps by reshuffling defence portfolios.
On Wednesday, Cameroon President Paul Biya made major changes to the country’s ministry of defence.
Among the posts reshuffled were the delegate to the presidency in charge of defence, air force staff, navy, and the police.
Biya came to power in a coup d’etat in 1982. His early years on the saddle were marred by reports of oppression and human rights violations.
Although he subsequently allowed multiparty elections in the country, the 90-year-old has remained president since he rode to power.
Shortly after the Gabon coup, Rwanda’s defence force (RDF) announced on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that President Paul Kagame approved the retirement of 83 senior officers.
According to the RDF, Kagame also approved the promotion and appointment of some officers to replace the previous office holders.
Meetings between Rwanda’s chief of defence staff, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ambassador to Rwanda, and the defence attaché of Cameroon were also held to discuss ways “to enhance defence cooperation between their respective countries”.
Today, the CDS RDF Lt Gen M Muganga held meetings with HE Hazza AlQahtani, Ambassador of UAE to Rwanda and Colonel JE ACHU, Defence Attaché of Cameroon. They discussed ways to enhance defence cooperation between their respective countries. pic.twitter.com/K0FU1EyA2L
In 2015, Rwanda’s constitution was changed to allow Kagame to remain president until 2034.
The 65-year-old has been in power since 2000 and is one of Africa’s longest-serving presidents.
The decisions of Kagame and Biya to reshuffle their militaries came a few hours after soldiers seized power in Gabon, punctuating the 53-year hold on the throne by President Ali Bongo’s family.
Bongo had just been re-elected to a third term in office in the Central African nation. The opposition had described the electoral process as “fraudulent”.
President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria had expressed deep concern over the “contagious autocracy” spreading across the continent and said he was working with leaders of the African Union (AU) and other parts of the world to address the worrying situation.
Tinubu, who is also the chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has been relentless in his resolve to ensure that constitutional order returns to Niger Republic, a country experiencing its fifth coup.
Analysts say the dissatisfaction over sit-tight leaderships in some African nations is a trigger for the now-frequent coups on the continent.
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