What’s Going On: NLC Protests Across Nigeria, Coup Aftermath in Niger & More
news headlines from Nigeria, Niger and Sierra Leone.
news headlines from Nigeria, Niger and Sierra Leone.
“What’s Going On” Tallies Notable News Headlines From Across The Continent — The Good, The Bad, And The Horrible — As A Way Of Ensuring That We All Become A More Sagacious African Generation. With This Column, We’re Hoping To Disseminate The Latest Happenings In Our Socio-Political Climate From Across The Continent, Whilst Starting A Conversation About What’s Important For Us To All Discuss. From Political Affairs To Socio-Economic Issues, ‘What’s Going On’ Will Discuss Just That.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) began its nationwide mass protests today. The protests are scheduled to happen in the FCT, Lagos State, Imo State, Rivers State, Plateau State, Akwa Ibom State, Kano State, Kaduna State and Delta State. NLC decided to proceed with the strike after negotiations with the federal government hit an impasse.
The NLC, led by Comrade Joe Ajaero, have a five-point agenda that they want the government to address. These demands are the implementation of resolutions jointly signed by the NLC, the federal government and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), reversal of all anti-poor policies of the government, including the recent price hike of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), school fees, and Value Added Tax (VAT), rehabilitation of local refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna, payment of withheld eight-month salaries owed to university lecturers and workers and recognition and support for the Presidential Steering Committee and its sub-committees.
— Nigeria Labour Congress HQ (@NLCHeadquarters) August 2, 2023
CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), has called on the NLC to make the protests a peaceful affair. “We need to plan and coordinate our exercises for peace to reign in Nigeria. We preach peace. It’s well with our country,” he said.
On Tuesday, August 1, 2023, a helicopter crashed in the Oba Akran area of Ikeja, Lagos State. Agencies such as the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service (LSFRS), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) confirmed the aircraft was used for training and that its occupants sustained varying degrees of injuries.
“The helicopter crashed into a building but nobody died. The helicopter was used for training and it has four occupants on board,” said Amodu Shakiru, spokesperson for LSFRS. “They had an escort motorised team that was following them on the ground during the training routine exercise which is the standard protocol. The motorised team was the first to arrive at the scene. The occupants sustained varying degrees of injuries and are currently receiving medical attention. We will provide more details later.”
In August 2020, a similar incident occurred when a helicopter crashed in the Opebi area of Lagos. The helicopter crashed into a residential building on Salvation Road in the Opebi area and the three persons onboard the aircraft died.
Niger reopened land and air borders with five neighbouring countries after they were closed in a coup that overthrew elected president Mohamed Bazoum. The reopening of borders comes a few days before the end of the ultimatum given by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to the coup plotters to restore constitutional order.
On July 26, 2023, officers from Niger’s defence and security forces created the coalition known as the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland and declared the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum. Following the group’s announcement and Abdourahmane Tchiani, head of Niger’s presidential guard, naming himself head of a transitional government, ECOWAS issued financial sanctions on the coup leaders and the country and demanded the reinstatement of Bazoum as president or risk facing consequences.
The European Union (EU), France and Germany have also denounced the coup and cut off economic aid to the country. Several foreign nationals in Niger have been evacuated from the country and there are plans for more evacuations.
Police in Sierra Leone police has confirmed the arrest of certain individuals, including senior military officers, who were planning violent attacks a year after the August 2022 riots that left more than 30 people dead.
“The security sector has been following intelligence regarding the activities of certain individuals, including senior military officers, working to undermine the peace and tranquillity of the state,” the police said in a statement. “In that regard, several arrests have been made and the suspects are assisting the police with the investigations.” It added that the suspects planned to use the peaceful protests planned for next week “as a pretext to unleash violent attacks on state institutions and peaceful citizens.”
The riots and violent protests of August 2022 were the result of the inflated cost of living and citizen’s disappointment with the government. Six police officers died in the protests and up to 4oo arrests were made in the aftermath of the incident. According to Amnesty International, there are testimonies of excessive use of force by security officials during the protest and they also condemned internet restrictions.
Featured image credits/NATIVE