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Here are the headlines
Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of Cubans – Canadian PM
Still Preying: Nigeria’s Falconets do 4-0 damage to Kenya’s Starlets; to hunt South Africa next
Recession beats Buhari out of goodwill
Prayer without policies keeps economy stagnant – Sanusi
Again, PDP loses to opposition. APC’s Akeredolu defeats ruling PDP in Ondo State
Islamic nation not required for Muslims to practise their religion, says PSM chairman
Los Angeles Times, Biafra, scene of a bloody civil war decades ago, is once again a place of conflict
At first, the mood at the demonstration staged on a high school playing field in the city of Aba, Nigeria, was almost festive. Dozens of demonstrators, calling for Biafran independence, waved red, black and green flags, and danced, clapped and chanted. Within hours, the military moved in and opened fire with live bullets.
The flags toppled and were picked up by soldiers who used the wooden flagpoles to beat protesters who had fallen, as others fled. The scene plays out on a video taken by a witness and offered to the rights group Amnesty International.
The protest on Feb. 9 received little international attention at the time, but a report last week by Amnesty International has cast a spotlight on the incident and an ongoing conflict that has gone largely unnoticed outside Africa.
The region in southeast Nigeria saw a deadly civil war and starvation in 1967 after it declared itself an independent country, Biafra. The government imposed a food blockade, and around 2 million people died, mostly from starvation.
Renewed calls for secession have sprung up in recent years, led by a separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, which emerged in 2012. The pro-Biafra movement involves mainly the Igbo people, a group that long has felt marginalized and neglected by Nigerian governments.
The Amnesty International report, released Thursday, accused Nigerian security forced of a “chilling campaign” of torture and killings to clamp down on a pro-Biafran independence movement. Between August 2015 and August 2016, Nigeria’s military killed at least 150 pro-Biafran protesters, according to the report, warning the actual numbers killed could be much higher.
Nigeria’s military says it acted with restraint and accused the protesters of violence. Military spokesman Sani Usman told Reuters that protesters killed five police officers at a May protest and attacked both military and police vehicles.
The Amnesty International report addresses several incidents but focuses in particular on the Feb. 9 protest at Aba National High School.
“They started shooting us, killing our brothers. Over 10 of them were lying dead there,” wept one young male protester in the video of the protest.
The video also quotes a woman who was at the protest: “People dying. People falling on the ground. Blood gushing out. The whole part of that field was filled with human beings’ blood. Then after awhile, they started carrying dead bodies into their van.”
Four days later, 13 bodies of protesters were found in a shallow pit by the Aba-Port Harcourt highway in Abia state, Amnesty International said.
The organization interviewed 146 eyewitnesses and reviewed 87 videos and 122 photographs in its investigation of the violence and found that police repeatedly fired live ammunition at protesters without warning.
“Eyewitness testimony and video footage of the rallies, marches and meetings demonstrate that the Nigerian military deliberately used deadly force,” according to the report.
In the worst incident at a protest on May 30, in Onitsha, Anambra State, at least 60 pro-Biafran demonstrators were killed when soldiers opened fire on a protest, the report found. Some protesters who took cover in gutters were pursued by soldiers and executed, according to the report.
One protester, a 28-year-old teacher who hid in a gutter, told Amnesty International that he saw the soldiers piling up bodies of those who were shot. He said a soldier found him in a gutter and poured acid on him.
“I covered my face. I would have been blind by now. He poured acid on my hands. My hands and body started burning. The flesh was burning. They dragged me out of the gutter. They said I’ll die slowly.” In a video of an interview with Amnesty International, the man still bears burn scars on his arms.
A 28-year-old woman recounted getting a morning phone call from her husband on May 30, from the scene of the Onitsha demonstration. He told her he had been shot in his stomach and had been thrown on the back of a moving military vehicle with six other people, four of whom were dead.
Then her husband started whispering. He told her the vehicle had just stopped.
“He was scared they would kill the remaining three of them that were alive,” the wife, who has one child, told Amnesty International. “He paused and told me they were coming closer. I heard gunshots, and I did not hear a word from him after that.”
She found his body in the mortuary the next day. He had a gunshot wound to the stomach and two shots in his chest.
The Nigerian military has defended its actions. In June, an army spokesman, H.A. Gambo, said the protesters unleashed anarchy and security forces had “acted responsively in order to de-escalate the deteriorating security scenario.”
Nigerian police and military often have been criticized for killings and rights violations in various parts of the country by international human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
“It is chilling to see how these soldiers gunned down peaceful IPOB members. The video evidence shows that this was a military operation with intent to kill and injure,” said Amnesty International interim director for Nigeria Makmid Kamara.
The IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who was arrested in December, faces trial for treason, along with other activists.
BBC, Fidel Castro death: Cubans mourn ex-leader
Cuba is mourning its revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, whose death was announced late on Friday.
Flags are flying at half mast as nine days of mourning are observed.
From Monday, people will be able to pay respects before the ashes of the 90-year-old are taken to Santiago de Cuba where he launched his bid for power.
There were further celebrations in the US city of Miami, however, where many anti-Castro Cuban exiles and their families have settled.
Some world leaders have been paying tribute to the 20th-Century icon. But US President-elect Donald Trump said Castro had been a “brutal dictator”.
Castro came to power in 1959 and ushered in a Communist revolution, defying the US for decades.
It is hard to overstate exactly how important Fidel Castro was to Cubans. Whether he was their beloved revolutionary hero and liberator or if they saw him as a despot and tyrant, the name Castro has been an intrinsic part of their lives for decades. So adapting to the news that the 90-year-old Fidel Castro, latterly more likely to be seen in tracksuits than olive-green fatigues, was gone has been difficult to digest for some.
A group of students appeared outside the law faculty he studied in in the 1950s, carrying Cubans flags, pictures of Fidel and holding up revolutionary slogans. Many were in tears, genuinely moved by the loss of a man they consider to have freed their country from Washington’s grasp. Elsewhere in Havana, people were more muted, perhaps a little quieter and more reflective as they sought out the state-run newspaper or paid for a little internet access.
The contrast with the picture across the Florida Straits couldn’t have been starker. For a second consecutive night, the atmosphere in Miami was one of partying and celebrating the news of his death. The anti-Castro Cuban American community has wanted Fidel out of their lives for decades. They just didn’t think they’d have to wait until he was 90 to get their wish.
The US cut ties with Cuba in 1961 amid rising Cold War tensions and imposed a strict economic embargo which largely remains in place more than half a century on.
Under President Barack Obama, the relationship warmed and diplomatic ties were restored in 2015.
Mr Obama said history would “record and judge the enormous impact” of Castro. America was extending “a hand of friendship to the Cuban people” at this time, he added.
A mourning period began on Saturday and will be observed in Cuba until the urn with Castro’s ashes is taken to the south-eastern city of Santiago de Cuba to be laid to rest there on 4 December.
Castro was the longest serving non-royal leader of the 20th Century. He had been retired from political life for several years, after handing power to his brother Raul in 2006 because of illness.
How Castro defied the US
Throughout the Cold War, Fidel Castro was a thorn in Washington’s side.
An accomplished tactician on the battlefield, he and his small army of guerrillas overthrew the military leader Fulgencio Batista in 1959 to widespread popular support.
Within two years of taking power, he declared the revolution to be Marxist-Leninist in nature and allied Cuba firmly to the Soviet Union – a move that led to the missile crisis in 1962, bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war before the Soviet Union abandoned its plan to put missiles on Cuban soil.
Despite the constant threat of a US invasion as well as the long-standing economic embargo on the island, Castro managed to maintain a communist revolution in a nation just 90 miles (145km) off the coast of Florida.
Despised by his critics as much as he was revered by his followers, he maintained his rule through 10 US presidents and survived scores of attempts on his life by the CIA.
He established a one-party state, with hundreds of supporters of the Batista government executed. Political opponents have been imprisoned, the independent media suppressed. Thousands of Cubans have fled into exile.
How has the world reacted?
Many world leaders have paid tribute to Castro. Russian President Vladimir Putin described him as a “reliable and sincere friend” of Russia, while Chinese President Xi Jinping said his people had “lost a good and true comrade”.
The Soviet Union’s last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, said: “Fidel stood up and strengthened his country during the harshest American blockade, when there was colossal pressure on him.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came under fire on social media and from political opponents for describing Castro as a “remarkable leader”, who despite being a “controversial figure” made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of Cubans.
Yahoo Sports, Kenya 0 – 4 Nigeria: Harambee Starlets bow out in shame
Harambee Stars ended their campaign in Awcon without registering a win after they lost to Nigeria 4-0 on Saturday.
Kenya were knocked out of the tournament after falling 3-1 to Mali on Wednesday but coach David Ouma seemed to be having a plan of bowing out in style by either keeping a clean sheet or beating the defending champions in their last encounter.
Ouma made four changes to the starting eleven promoting Vivian Akinyi in goal, defensive duo of Doris Anyango and Dorcas Shikobe plus Janet Moraa upfront. Nigeria were also looking to bounce back after being held by Ghana in their second group match.
Nigeria had thrashed Mali 6-0 in the opener and a win was enough to take them to the semis of the women competition. Ghana also beat Mali 3-1 to join Cameroon and South Africa in the last four.
Premium Times, ‘Nigeria has 350 orthopaedic surgeons for 170 million citizens’
Nigeria has 350 Orthopaedic surgeons to meet the needs of 170 million Nigerians, Mike Ogirima, National President, Nigerian Orthopaedic Association (NOA), has said.
The international standard is one orthopedic surgeon to 200,000 people. But Nigeria’s ratio is one surgeon to nearly 500,000 people.
Mr. Ogirima made the remark on Saturday in Abuja at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the association with the theme, “Sub specialisation in orthopaedic surgery: The way forward.’’
The production of these professionals, Mr. Ogirima noted, would check the “burden of care of the surging orthopaedic patients that are most often abused by obsolete traditional practitioners.’’
The president described the number of orthopaedics surgeons being trained in Nigeria as “grossly inadequate”.
He urged the Federal Government to sponsor more orthopaedic surgeons for post fellowship programmes to ensure competitive and quality healthcare services for the populace.
According to him, the training of more Orthopaedics specialists in various branches of the profession would boost their skill and manpower requirement and stem the trend of medical tourism.
Bangkok Post, As Nigeria’s recession takes hold, Buhari’s shine wanes
It’s not Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s fault that Nigeria’s economy is inextricably tied to the global price of oil, now half of its 2014 peak of over $100 per barrel.
But the president’s response to the economic crisis has a growing number of people concerned that he doesn’t have what it takes to rescue Nigeria from recession.
Warning signs appeared early. Buhari took six months after being elected to name a finance minister, then vowed not to “kill the naira” by devaluing it, against expert advice and with nefarious consequences.
His seemingly lackadaisical attitude to the crashing economy spooked investors who worried that he was ignoring the crisis.
Now critics are coming from all sides. In October, Buhari’s wife Aisha told the BBC that she may not back him in the next election, suggesting that his government had been hijacked and he had lost control.
Buhari’s response, that his wife “belongs to my kitchen”, made Nigerians cringe. But what he said next was, politically, more revealing.
“It is not easy to satisfy the whole Nigerian opposition parties to participate in the government,” Buhari said.
He can say that again. Over the past month, the president has repeatedly been stonewalled by lawmakers who want the executive to be more transparent about his economic policies and plans.
Early this month, Nigeria’s Senate rejected Buhari’s attempt to take on almost $30 billion in external borrowing to fund his record budget “due to lack of documents” supporting his request.
The Senate also “expressed surprise” at the Nigerian Law Reform Commission, who said it was considering jailing or fining people for holding dollars in an unconventional strategy designed to address a foreign currency shortage in the country.
“The measure is disruptive and counter productive, threatening to undermine many of the reform efforts… intended to boost investor confidence,” the Senate said in a press statement Monday.
– ‘Policy paralysis’ –
“The president is having difficulty making any kind of legislative headway,” John Ashbourne, economist at Capital Economics, told AFP.
“It adds to the sense that there’s policy paralysis and when the economy is facing a difficult time we need some action. We can’t get that if Buhari isn’t able to negotiate.”
Nigeria’s economy contracted in the third quarter by 2.2 percent, with rebels in the oil-producing southern swamplands continuing to attack pipelines and businesses struggling to access foreign exchange.
“I think the recession is really starting to hurt,” Razia Khan, Africa economist at Standard Chartered Bank, said.
“With the current shortage of foreign exchange clearly having a detrimental effect on growth, there is little evidence of any meaningful policy initiative that might be able to resolve this,” Khan said.
“There is a concern that there isn’t enough momentum, not enough is being done.”
Ideally, Buhari’s expansionary budget would have boosted growth. But the fiscal stimulus isn’t materialising.
In October, the budget ministry said it was facing unanticipated revenue shortfalls and that it had spent only a little more than half of what was allocated for 2016.
Revenue shortfalls will persist as long as militants continue sabotaging the oil and gas infrastructure.
Today Nigeria’s oil production is 1.6 million barrels per day, down 22 percent from the same period in 2015, with no signs the sabotage will stop.
– ‘Military ruler’ –
Talks with the militants in the south have been unsuccessful so far.
“President Buhari and his government have so far failed to hold constructive talks with militants,” Rhidoy Rashid, oil analyst at Energy Aspects, said in a recent note.
“The Nigerian military has also continued its operations in the Delta, inflaming tensions while failing to disrupt the militants.”
Investors are rattled and want to see a more concrete plan from Buhari’s government, said Manji Cheto, risk analyst at Teneo Intelligence.
“I believe he continues to act as if he’s a military ruler, there is a perception that has undermined the ability of policy makers within his government to take decisions,” Cheto said.
“I genuinely think that he’s pretty much run out of his goodwill.”
Some polls are already reflecting that sentiment. Last year around this time, Buhari enjoyed an 80 percent approval rating, reported analysis firm BMI Research.
Compare that to this September, when his approval rating hit just 41 percent, with voters bearing the brunt of 18 percent inflation, slow business and sputtering electricity, the result of lower oil and gas output.
Vanguard, Sanusi to Fashola: Nigerians want solutions to power problem now
EMIR of Kano and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi, yesterday at the 42nd convocation lecture of the University of Benin, told the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola that Nigerians are waiting for him for solutions in the power sectors.
According to him, “Fashola is one good example of the brains we have as a nation and Nigerians want to hear how many houses were built, how many kilowatts of electricity were added and how many kilometers of road that were constructed. Sanusi declared that prayers without good policies cannot take Nigeria out the current economic recession, saying “God is being used as a responsibility for our failure. If you want to deal with recession, there are policies to be put in place and your economy will grow. Your economy will be stagnant if you keep praying and no policy to tackle recession”. Fashola in his lecture entitled: “Freedom from fear: Challenges before the New Generation”, said the present administration will come up with a plan that will lead Nigeria to prosperity. He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari base his campaign promises on security, corruption and the economy, asserting that the Federal Government will ensure that those campaign promises were achieved. Apparently responding to the Emir of Kano’s comment that only prayers will not save the nation from the current economic crisis but policies, Fashola said, “We will not pray our way out of recession. We will plan and produce our way back to prosperity and out of recession. “If we spend out time praying and socializing, how can this lead us to prosperity?. This government will deliver to all Nigerians and we shall smile again” he stated.
Daily Trust, Buhari Wants More Varsities, Private Sector Collaboration On Nigeria Products
President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerian universities and the private sector to collaborate more to make “Made-in-Nigeria products and services” contribute to national development.
The president made the call at the 39th convocation ceremony of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State, on Saturday.
Buhari, who is the Visitor to the university, was represented by the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Haruna-Rasheed.
He said the call was necessary considering foreign universities’ roles in solving their societal challenges.
Premium Times, ‘Nigerian Senators, Reps have pocketed 500 billion Naira since 2006’
Nigerian Senators and House of Representatives members have pocketed half a trillion Nigeria between 2006 and 2016, a member who was suspended for exposing alleged fraud in the House said Friday.
Abdulmumin Jibrin said he was exploring ways for foreign investigators to probe the alleged fraud, which he said amounted to “a crime against humanity”.
Mr. Jibrin said member received the huge figure as “running cost”, provided for each year in National Assembly budgets.
Nigerian Guardian, APC’s Akeredolu wins Ondo governorship election
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, the candidate of the All Progressives Party (APC) as winner of Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State.
Addressing newsman on Sunday in Akure, the Returning Officer, Prof. Abdul-Ganiyu Ambali, said Akeredolu polled 244,842 votes to beat his closest rival, Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who garnered 150,380 votes
According to Ambali, Chief Olusola Oke, the candidate of Alliance for Democracy (AD), scored 126,889 to come third.
The Returning Officer put the total registered voters at 1,647,973, out of which only 584,997 voters were accredited while valid votes were put at 551,272 votes and 29,615 votes were rejected.
“Having polled the highest number of votes and having satisfied all requirements, I hereby declare Oluwarotmi Akeredolu the governor-elect of Ondo State,” he said.
Although 1,659,186 voters were registered for the election, 378,606 did not turn up to collect their PVCs.
Among the major contestants were Mr Eyitayo Jegede of the PDP, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu of the APC, Dr Olu Agunloye of the Social Democratic Party and Olusola Oke of the Alliance for Democracy.
Others included the candidate of the Accord Party, Mr Oladare Amuda, Mr Yinka Orokoto of the Action Alliance, the candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria and Chief Adetuwo Ogunjumelo.
TheStar, malaysia: Islamic nation not required for Muslims to practise their religion, says PSM chairman
Muslims do not need an Islamic nation to practise their religion, says Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s Dr Nasir Hashim.
He said this was because religious duties revolve around the concept of ad-Deen (the pious way of life), which includes “tawhid” (invocation of unity), prayer, fasting, donating to the poor and performing the “haj”.
“Islam emphasises values, ethics and morality more than any political doctrine,” the PSM chairman said during the 6th International Socialism Conference here on Sunday.
Speaking during the same session, National University of Singapore associate professor Dr Syed Farid Al-Atas said that Muslim extremism can either be ideological or utopian.
He added that in the case of Malaysia, extremism to a large extent is ideological which functions to preserve the status quo.
Dr Syed Farid also spoke about extremist modernism in Islam.
He said that contrary to popular belief, Muslim fundamentalists are not trying to “go back to the stone age”.
“They are actually more at home in the modern world than many of us are, who are not extremists or terrorists,” said Dr Syed Farid, adding that this was because they seek to erase the intellectual and physical traditions in Islam.
Selayang MP William Leong said later that Muslim clerics should condemn the dictatorships and autocratic regimes that support terrorist groups such as the Islamic State and Boko Haram.
Daily Post: College of Education Gidan Waya shut down as herdsmen launch fresh attack on Southern Kaduna
Students of College of Education, Gidan Waya in Jema’a local government area of Kaduna State have vacated the school following renewed attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Southern Kaduna.
A reliable source told DAILY POST that the students had to run for their lives, with many of them spending the night in the bush. Others have not been seen by their parents.
The source explained that the suspected herdsmen renewed their usual attack at Basagori village near Kanikon area on Thursday in the evening shooting sporadically, killing and setting houses on fire.
The source said that on Friday, the attackers moved to another village called Mile one, where they continued killing and setting houses ablaze.
He noted that an unspecified number of people have been killed, while others sustained various degree of injuries.
“The entire area Southern Kaduna is leaving under fear as no one knows where the herdsmen would carry out their deadly attack next. Though the youths are trying to defend but they cannot withstand the sophisticated weapons of the herdsmen.
“The security personnel drafted to the scene usually spend few hours on the road, giving the attackers opportunity to operate without hindrance,” he lamented.
He observed that the government had not shown serious commitment in trying to bring an end to the incessant attacks on innocent souls in Southern Kaduna.
Governor El-Rufai had on Saturday, 12th November, 2016 unveiled a peace billboard at Samaru Kataf, Zangon Kataf local government area signifying a peace agreement reached between the Fulanis and 29 ethnic groups in Southern Kaduna.
Nigerian Guardian: Two vigilante members, several Boko Haram terrorists killed in fresh Chibok clash
Chairman of Damboa Local Council of Borno State, Yaga Yarakawa, has said that two members of a vigilante group from the council, and several Boko Haram insurgents were killed in a fierce encounter between the two groups, during a patrol in Shawa village on Thursday.
Yarakawa, in a telephone interview on Friday said Kilat Shawa village, where Thursday night’s attack happened, is located within the fringes of Sambisa Forest, where the terrorists are still hiding.
“The attacked village, which is North East of Sambisa Forest, is one of the strongholds of Boko Haram insurgents, and where foodstuffs and livestock were looted before the village was set ablaze,” said Yarakawa.
During the encounter, one of the vigilante group’s vehicles stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), planted by the insurgents. The device exploded and killed two men, while two others sustained injuries.
He regretted that , “due to the superior fire power of the terrorists, the vigilante members could not pick up the bodies of their late colleagues. We have talked to the Brigade Commander in Mubi, who is in-charge of Askira/Uba local councils of Adamawa and Borno states, and he has assured us that he would deploy troops to accompany to Shawa to convey the remains of deceased for burial.”
Leader of vigilante group, Aboku Shettima, who said Boko Haram members were always terrorising people in eight villages of Kuburmbula, Tsilari, Kamdzilari, Kuburnvwu , Kautikari, Kwada, Buftari and Kakulmari, added that these settlements border Damboa and Chibok council areas, as well as the Sambisa Forest.
He said this location makes it difficult and frustrating to effectively monitor and apprehend the fleeing insurgents.
Meanwhile, four persons were killed while several houses including the house of the village head were burnt, when unknown gunmen attacked Mile One Village in Tafan District, Kaduna State on Friday.
A resident, who preferred anonymity, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Kafanchan, that the hoodlums launched an attack against the residents between 2 p.m. and 10p.m on Friday.
The Interim Chairman of Jema’a Local Council, Dr Bege Katuka, confirmed the incident via telephone saying, “I just left the affected village barely 30 minutes ago, I was there to assess the extent of damage.’’
However, reports say the residents of the neighbouring villages of Gidan Waya, Ungwuan Ninzo and Ungwuan Kagoro have fled for fear of possible attacks.
These are just some of the news reports over the past 24 hours.
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