TUKUR Buratai, chief of army staff, on Monday, stated that the Defence Headquarters, DHQ, did not declare the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB a terrorist organization in the country. The Army Chief made the denial in Abakaliki during the official launch of Operation Python Dance II, he argued that what the Defence Headquarters did was a pronouncement on IPOB added that the statement of the military gave room for the right steps to be taken on the matter. According to Buratai, the action of the Federal government concerning IPOB was right and that the military did not over step its bound towards the protection of lives and properties in the country. “You have to get it very clear. First of all, what the Defence Headquarters did was to make pronouncement. It wasn’t a declaration per se. But this has given room for the right step to be taken. I think the government is doing the right thing. “It is not that we are overstepping our bounds. We are still within the limits. And I ensure you that what the military said was to set the ball rolling and to bring the awareness to the public that this is what this organization is all about. I’m happy that the government has done the right thing right now. The Chief of Army staff, General Tukur Buratai further assured the people of the Southeast that the Army will abide by the rule of law and rules of engagement in carrying out the Exercise Egwu Eke II which kicked off on Saturday in the region. Also in a courtesy to Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, the Chief of Army Staff noted that the exercise was targeted at improving the security situation of the zone which according to him, was very strategic to the security of the country. According to him the exercise will help to bring about the much needed peace and security and also be used to train the Military in basic internal security. “They army have taken into cognizance the security of the people in deployment of it’s personnel for the operation”. He said the army in carrying out the operation will liaise and work with other security agencies in the region. “The army is very sensitive to the cultural norms of the people and will abide by all the rules of engagement and code of conduct that have been laid down which is quite in tandem with the Constitution”. According to him, some of the activities of the exercise will include Patrols, indoor battle exercises, Civil-Military cooperation activities like medical outreach, sanitation, donation of books to schools etc. He therefore appealed for understanding.View items...
The Obong of Calabar and Chancellor of Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu has charged Nigerians to support the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to reposition the country. The monarch who spoke in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital at the 23rd, 24th and 25th combined convocation ceremonies of FUNAAB said it was imperative for all and sundry to stand up, encourage and support the government in its change project. “The importance of education in the life of any progressive nation cannot be over-emphasised. That is why we must all join hands with the government to ensure that Nigeria catches up with others in shaping the future of the world. We must all support the government in its effort to reposition the country,” he stated. The Chancellor insisted that the only way to sustain the economy and truly diversify it, was through agriculture, saying “The way out is to embrace agriculture”. He noted that the Nigerian society would be better off, if government could make research findings from University and research centres available to end users in order to address specific needs of the country. The monarch urged the government to do more by investing resources and make funds available for researchers to carry out research in the country. He commended the Federal Government for its timely intervention through Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and other special Intervention funds, saying it has helped significantly to drive the Universities. His words: “The importance of Universities of Agriculture will ever remain relevant in the scheme of things in Nigeria. This is because we have learnt a big lesson that overdependence on a single commodity like oil, as the main source of earning, is counterproductive”. “Nigeria should retrace its step by going back to agriculture, the over dependence on oil remained a shame and would continue to fail us as Africa’s most populous country. We must go back to the basics and the way out is to embrace agriculture.” “The efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari led administration to diversify the hitherto monolithic economy is appropriate and welcome”. The Chancellor called on the government to allow the university to run managerial science courses. ” I wish to join other Nigerians to call on the government to allow specialised Agriculture University such as ours to continue to respond to some societal demands by running related courses that will promote academic and professional development. Accounting and Management, for example, are relevant for Agribusiness and those teaching these courses need to have base departments for their carrier progress,” he affirmed. The Pro- Chancellor and the Chairman of the Governor Council, Dr. Aboki Zhawa said the management of the school would ensure that the peace of the school would not be disrupted. He said the council was determined to take the University to another level. In his own speech, the Vice- Chancellor of the FUNAAB, Prof Olalade Onikuomoehin disclosed that for 2013/2014, a total of 1,881 students would graduate, and for 2014/2015, 2,731 would graduate as well as 3, 065 would graduate from their various courses of study for 2015/2016 academic session. According to him, in all the three sessions, 203 students bagged first class, while 2, 878 got second class upper while 3,602 and 828 others got second class lower and Third class respectively. Only 32 made ordinary pass. He said it was only his peaceful home that was his surviving grace amidst the just laid to rest crisis of the university. It could be recalled that the institution recently witnessed some scrutinisation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over some alleged misappropriation of funds. His said, “At this point, I must confess to you my Honourable Chancellor and the audience that it is not easy to preside over a convocation ceremony as an acting Vice Chancellor. “I also want to confess that the only saving grace that have kept me and that has made me to keep coming to work is my peaceful home which has being made by my wife. “Although she is a very shy woman but you all must just help me appreciate her,” Onikuomoehin added. The state governor, Ibikunle Amosun in his own speech assured that the state government would continue to support and cooperate with the institution. He noted that his government would on regular basis approach the institution for research that would further enhance agribusiness of the State. Amosun who was represented by the Secretary to the Government (SSG), Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa said his administration has modernised the agric sector in order to stimulate the interest of the youths in the sector. He disclosed that the state government in it’s efforts to improve the agricultural sector of the state has given every civil servant of the state land to farm
ome of the governors who will attend the meeting on Monday …Fiscal Federalism, Devolution Of Powers Top Agenda Twelve years after their last gathering, Governors from the Southern part of Nigeria will on Monday converge in Lagos to deliberate on how to forge stronger ties for the three geo-political zones. In a statement signed by the Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG), Mr Tunji Bello, the meeting which will be co-hosted by the Governors of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode and Akwa Ibom, Emmanuel Udom would address issues that were germane to the development of the three contiguous zones. Bello said the meeting was in line with the realisation that the different states in the South had since 2005 developed several areas of comparative advantage which could be harnessed and become mutually beneficial. According to him, the governors would also be expected to adopt a common position on the issues of armed robbery, kidnapping, devolution of powers and issue of fiscal federalism which have all gained prominence of late. “The 2017 Lagos summit of the 17 Southern Governors representing the South South, South West and South East zones is expected to come up with a communique after the deliberation. “It is noteworthy to recall that the inaugural meeting of the Southern Governors took place in Lagos in 2001 under the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu,” Bello said. The statement added that the predominance of views was that if the Southern States speak with one voice, they are bound to attract weighty and credible listenership. The 17 Southern States expected at the summit include Governors Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom; Ben Ayade- Cross Rivers State; Godwin Obaseki – Edo State; Nyesom Wike – Rivers State; Ifeanyi Okowa – Delta State; Seriake Dickson- Bayelsa and Rochas Okorocha- Imo State. Others are Willie Obiano – Anambra State; Okezie Ikpeazu – Abia State; David Umahi – Ebonyi State; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi -Enugu State; Rauf Aregbesola – State of Osun; Abiola Ajimobi – Oyo; Ibikunle Amosun –Ogun; Oluwarotimi Akeredolu – Ondo; Ayodele Fayose – Ekiti and Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State.
Former president Goodluck Jonathan continued his attack on the Muhammadu Buhari administration on Friday saying that Nigerians only fear Buhari but do not trust him. Jonathan had earlier described the Buhari administration of being characterised by lies and propaganda while welcoming a chairmanship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Professor Tunde Adeniran and his campaign team, in his office in Abuja on Thursday. The former president continued his blitzering attack on the administration when his media office accused the federal government and the Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media, Mr Femi Adesina of peddling falsehood over claims that Nigerians did not protest the hike in fuel price by the Buhari government because they trusted the government. In his response to Adesina and the federal government, over the claims, Jonathan’s Media Office said fear, not trust was why Nigerians did not protest en masse against fuel price hike under Buhari, ThisDay reports. “When Femi Adesina says that it is because of trust that Nigerians did not rise up against the Buhari administration when it increased the pump price of petrol from N87 to N145, he betrays a deep ignorance and arrogance. “First of all, it was not Nigerians that rose up again the Jonathan administration when that government increased the price of petrol on January 1, 2012. It was actually members of All Progressive Congress who sponsored the protests,” said the statement signed by Mr Reno Omokri on behalf of Jonathan Media Office. The statement said Nigerians had not so soon forgotten how Mr Nasir El-Rufai led other chieftains of the opposition to Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, Ojota, Lagos, where they attracted crowds by inviting top musicians to perform and by giving out free food and drinks. It continued: “On December 15, 2015, the Nigerian Army, under President Muhammadu Buhari’s command, killed 347 unarmed Shiite men, women, children and infants and buried them in a mass grave as revealed by the panel of inquiry instituted by Kaduna State government. “The excuse given by the military for this massacre was that the Shiites had blocked a road during one of their procession and this allegedly affected a trip by the chief of army staff. After killing his followers and destroying their place of worship, Mr Ibrahim Zak Zaky, spiritual leader of the Nigerian Shiite community, was illegally and unconstitutionally detained and has not been seen or heard of in public since December 15, 2015. “So when the Buhari administration increased the pump price of petrol, Nigerians wisely reasoned that if the Buhari administration can kill 347 unarmed Shiite men, women, children and infants for blocking a road, it would be suicidal to give them an opportunity to do the same thing to them on a wider scale,” said the statement from Jonathan Media Office. Under Buhari administration, it said human life had become so cheap that the military and security services routinely kill innocent Nigerians be it Shiites, peaceful demonstrators or IDPs at the Rann IDP Camp. “To say Nigerians trust an administration that publicly boasted that it would not tell Nigerians how much of their own money the President spent in treating himself in London when the State House Clinic cannot boast of ordinary Panadol (by his own wife’s testimony) is to speak a lie. Nigerians can judge the nature of the man whose number one campaign promise was that “no Nigerian Public official should receive medical treatment overseas at public expense”. For him lies are cheap even if they are expensive for the Nigerian public who has to pay the price. “Nor have Nigerians forgotten the promise to end corruption when the $25 billion Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation scam is ringing in their ears along with the denials by the Vice President that he never approved any contracts. How can they trust a government that has still not released or acted on the SGF’s grass cutter contract probe after six months? “In the five years that he governed Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan spent N16 trillion. The economy grew. The Naira was stable. We had the greatest expansion of infrastructure since the Gowon years and inflation was in single figures. In the two years that President Muhammadu Buhari has ruled Nigeria, he has spent N15 trillion. We have had recession. Naira collapsed. “Inflation has gone back to double digits and the only infrastructure that he has started and completed is the Daura helipad. So Femi should spare us his propaganda and accept the truth that he is the mouthpiece of a murderous regime sustained by propaganda and surviving on corruption,” the statement from Jonathan Media Office said.
The Renascent Anambra Transparency Democratic League (RATDL), a socio-political transparency advocacy group based in Awka, Anambra State has commended Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State for finally speaking out to confirm the demands of his estranged godfather’s monetary demands of over N7bn. The governor spoke at the Onitsha North All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Rally Wednesday against the backdrop of the ranging controversy and calls on him to speak and help douse speculations about the real reasons for disagreement between him and former governor Peter Obi. Obi had been on record castigating Obiano for alleged “non –performance” but Obiano for the first time told party fateful that he refused to pay for unsubstantiated claims of money allegedly spent on his 2013 election campaigns. According to Obiano: "Obi asked me to give him N7b but I refused because do not owe him and that's the problem between me and Peter Obi.” Reacting to the development, the Transparency Group in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Chuma Nweke, stated that by finally addressing the issue, the governor has confirmed what they had heard from third parties and hushed discussions. Said the Group: We commend the Governor for displaying manifest courage and statesmanship in the course of the disagreement and also ensuring the promotion of transparency in governance. Everyone knows that we have fought against imposition by godfathers since the days of Ngige with Obi as beneficiary. We cannot understand why he is bent on taking our state backwards after all the goodwill he enjoyed. We call on all men and women of goodwill to stand against such reoccurrence in Anambra.”
South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it had given President Jacob Zuma till Nov. 30 to make submissions before it. According to the authority, Zuma’s submission would make it decide whether to reinstate 783 corruption charges filed against him before becoming the president. The NPA said on Friday that any further representations by the South African president should relate to issues not previously considered by authorities. The Supreme Court of Appeal had on Oct. 13 upheld a High Court ruling to reinstate the charges filed against Zuma. They were set aside in April 2009 by the then head of the prosecuting authority, paving the way for him to run for president later that year. In another development, Zuma’s spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga said there was no basis for the speculation that Zuma would axe his vice, Cyril Ramaphosa.The speculation has weighed on the currency and bonds. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) party which Zuma leads and Ramaphosa deputises has been driven by bitter fights ahead of a party conference in December where a new leader will be chosen. “It’s rumours and gossip, and we don’t comment on them at all,” Ngqulunga told Reuters. Ramaphosa, a trade unionist turned business tycoon, is viewed as the most likely rival candidate to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former Chairperson of the African Union and president’s ex-wife. He has recently stepped up criticism of Zuma’s scandal-plagued government. Asked in parliament on Thursday whether he might be sacked, Ramaphosa said that he would only accept the president’s decision, if he loses his job. South Africa will elect a new president in 2019 and whoever the ANC picks in December is likely to take over from 75-year-old Zuma as the country’s leader. Zuma is under pressure to step down before then with the recent court ruling bordering on the 783 corruption charges against him. Zuma reshuffled his cabinet again within seven months on Tuesday, sacking a minister from the SACP and appointed his close ally to oversee an opaque nuclear deal. The development has irked some within the ruling alliance. Analysts said that Zuma might likely make further changes before December to strengthen his hand into the ANC’s elective conference. Speculation that he might remove Ramaphosa, who was the ANC’s chief negotiator during the 1990s transition from apartheid, weighed on the rand and bonds. “Other emerging markets are weaker but not as much as the rand. “This is because of lingering political uncertainty, especially the rumours about Zuma axing Ramaphosa,” currency dealer at TreasuryOne, Wichard Cilliers said.
As former president Goodluck Jonathan continues to receive flaks from all angles following his criticism of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, the Director General of the Voice of Nigeria and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osita Okechukwu has vowed to expose him if he continues to attack the president. Okechukwu asked Jonathan Jonathan to quietly retire to any part of the country of his choice and stop challenging the APC and the Buhari government to a public debate. He also threatened to open the Pandora box on the former president. Okechukwu told The Nation in a telephone interview that the former President cannot challenge the current government to any public debate because his government failed the nation, leaving major infrastructure to decay, while public funds were freely diverted. He challenged the former President to show the nation any project that he was able to complete during his six-year in office as President, adding that even the development he did at the nation’s airport was not commensurate with the money voted for such projects. Okechukwu who was reacting to a statement by the former President that the APC won the 2015 election using lies and propaganda and challenging the party to a public debate in its achievement in office said: “Mr President was very clear that the man left almost an empty treasury, consequent unpinned which we have a huge infrastructure deficit. The world knows that almost all infrastructure that Jonathan inherited went bad. We are challenging him to show us one project he completed. ”Is it the Green Field refineries. He told us on May 13, 2010, that he is going g to build three greenfield refineries at $23 billion. The contract was awarded to the Chinese under Public Private Partnership. One was to be located in Bayelsa, one in Lagos and the other in Kogi state. “We challenge him to show us the three greenfield refineries or tell us where the money he voted for the project is. I am talking at a time when our Excess Crude Account was in the excess of short $17 billion. The Chinese came back and told him they were going to contribute about 80 percent of the three greenfield refineries. We have not seen any of them. “If we had seen the three greenfield refineries which he publicly announced, the billions we lost in the importation of refined petroleum products and the gross unemployment engendered by the looting of that fund would have been avoided and that is what we are talking about. “Before and during his regime, there was money voted for the cleaning of Ogoni environment that was degraded by oil spill. It is The Buhari regime that started that project now. Did Jonathan do anything there, did he complete the East/West road? That is a road that covers the nerve Centre of the Niger Delta where he comes from. “If there is any project that he promised to implement that he has done, he should tell us. Don’t forget that the average price then was about $100 per barrel. I don’t see how he can be calling for a public debate because I am talking of just one region. “Even the development he did in the Nigerian Airports, is it commensurate with the amount of money voted or the amount of money borrowed? He said he did this or that. Is it commensurate with the amount of money voted? “If I am in his shoes, I should retire back to the village or any city of my choice and keep my cool because if he talks of a debate, we will bring out what happened during his time. “The fact that his wife was coming to claim $15 million saying it was out of her handwork borne out of being the First Lady and a Permanent Secretary in Bayelsa state. Is it that other Nigerians are not working hard to be worth $15 million. So, let us not go into Jonathan ‘s matter. “We are not talking of Dizeani who was Minister of Petroleum under his government who failed to do anything to develop the Niger Delta, rather resorted to an illegal accumulation of wealth. I have great respect for him as a former President and being gracious enough to accept his defeat. But if he wants to open the vault, then we can go back and open the pandora box for him. So, let us leave it at that.” APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi could not be reached for the party’s official reaction as at the time of this report, but he was quoted as saying that the former President may have been misquoted. Bolaji was quoted as saying “I doubt that President Jonathan actually said these words you have reported because he would be exposing himself to reactions that would not be edifying of his status as a statesman by so doing. Secondly, I know the former President to be of even temperament. “Only a few days ago, I read that he was counselling his party on the choice of Chairman and Publicity Secretary. Statements like these wouldn’t represent an example of the kind of attitude he was canvassing. But if he truly said that I will say with due respect that he may need to commission a more dispassionate study of how and why APC won the 2015 Presidential elections. “To say that APC won the election simply by deceiving the people would be too simplistic and may even be interpreted as an insult to the millions of Nigerians that voted the APC into power.”
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has begun training of its staff on voter education to end voters’ apathy in the state in preparation for 2019 elections. The Ebonyi Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Godswill Obioma, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abakaliki. He explained that only 30 per cent of eligible voters participated in the electoral process in the state, saying that the commission was determined to change the situation for the better. He said that the training was designed to build capacity of the trainees so as to be able take voter education to the grassroots and to effectively mobilise the people to participate in the electoral process. The REC said that the training of the commission’s staff on voter education was part of strategies and preparation to ensure mass participation in the 2019 general elections in the state According to him, voter education is a critical component in the electoral process because it is used in mobilising the voter to carry out their civic duties at a stipulated time. The INEC chief noted that the beauty of participatory democracy rest in the ability of greater number of the people to participate in the process of choosing their leaders. “Lack of proper voter education has made most eligible voters to shun participation in the electoral process and such a decision often results in the emergence of non-credible leaders. “It is an important civic responsibility of every adult to participate in all the electoral processes including voter registration, voting in an election and ensuring that your votes are protected. “A situation where only insignificant 30 per cent of eligible voting population participate in the electoral process is unacceptable and we are working hard to change the people’s mindset,” Obioma said. Obioma also called for support from the media, traditional rulers, politicians, their supporters and other stakeholders in the political process in ensuring the success of the voter education in the state. (NAN)
The National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), on Thursday said that Nigerian women would vote only for gender-friendly political parties in the 2019 elections. Mrs Gloria Shoda, President of NCWS told newsmen at a pre-summit news conference held in Abuja. She said that the news conference was part of activities ahead of the Nigeria Political Stakeholders Summit to be organised by NCWS next week. According to her, the summit which theme is: “Increasing Women Participation in Politics and Democratic Governance in Nigeria,’’ will seek to address the continued marginalisation and poor representation of women. Shoda said that the council demands for a better representation of women in the Nigeria democratic space are as follows: “Politicians and political parties that seek the votes of women in the upcoming elections should begin their commitment through women empowerment. “Women will be mobilised to vote only for parties that have made concrete effort to allow women occupy strategic positions in their party structure, elective offices and political appointment. “We are asking that all elective office holders and political office holders should as a matter of urgency restructure their cabinets to allow for increased women representation. “All political parties, relevant government agencies and international donors should partner with the Council to raise a Trust Fund to support women interested in contesting for elective office in forthcoming elections,’’ she said. Shoda said the NCWS also called on all past and present female political office holders and elected representatives to encourage female aspirants irrespective of their political parties by providing professional mentorship, endorsement and mobilisation. She said that NCWS in conjunction with Reclaim Godly Values Foundation and other relevant agencies would create an advocacy, information and advice center across the country to provide civic education to enlighten women on their rights as it relates to voter education. Shoda said that the outcome of 2015 general elections in Nigeria and the appointments that followed into top government positions showed a sharp decline in the performance of women in the electoral process. “This is very troubling given the general swell and campaign for popular participation by women that preceded the election. “Indeed the decline in the number of elected female politicians represented a significant manifestation of female political disempowerment,’’ she said. Shoda said that since the return of democracy, the national average of women’s political participation in Nigeria has remained at 6.7 per cent in elective and appointed positions. She said this was below the Global average of 22.5 per cent, Africa regional average of 23.4 per cent and West Africa Regional average of 15 per cent. The president said that of the 36 ministerial appointments by the present administration, only six are women, representing 16.7 per cent. She said that in the National Assembly, women constitute 5.6 per cent of members of the House of Representatives and 6.5 per cent of the Senate. This, Shoda said was clearly unacceptable and called for the need for an urgent improvement in women participation in electoral processes.
It has been revealed why the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Nwabueze Ngige called the former governor of Anambra state Mr. Peter Obi a " Roadside Politician Without Vision" Dr. Ngige said it is very wrong and unacceptable for the former governor to impose Oseloka Obaze as candidate in the state polls this November. He described the former governor and his candidate as ‘roadside politicians’ who came into politics with no vision for the development of the state, and left without uplifting the lives of the people. Ngige spoke in Awka recently during the party stakeholders’ meeting in preparation for her flag off campaign of the 21 local government areas of the state. The APC chieftain and chairman of Tony Nwoye campaign Organisation in the Anambra governorship election, also described the 16 years rule of the People Democratic Party (PDP) under former president, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as a waste. Ngige who was reacting to Peter Obi’s claim that he had fulfilled all his campaign pledges to the people during his 8years in power, said the PDP failed to redeem its electoral promises to the people of the Southeast and South- South region, assuring that the APC was ready to deliver the country from the woods.
Four persons were killed in Togo on Wednesday in clashes between security forces and demonstrators calling for an end to a half century of Gnassingbe family rule. Opposition activists have been demonstrating since August against Gnassingbe’s administration and say a constitutional reform he has proposed would allow him to rule the tiny West African country until 2030. Colonel Damehame Yark, the security and civil protection minister, told a news conference that one person was shot dead and around sixty others arrested in the capital, Lome. Another three died of gunshot wounds in the second-biggest city, Sokode. “These are too many deaths. We’d be wise to preserve the peace,” he said. The latest bout of protests followed the arrest in Sokode on Monday of a Muslim imam accused of urging his followers to murder soldiers. Clashes erupted after the arrest. A crowd killed two soldiers and one other person died in unspecified circumstances, the government said in a statement. About 20 other people were injured, it added. The deaths reignited a mass protest movement against President Faure Gnassingbe, who succeeded his late father Gnassingbe Eyadema in 2005. The protesters are calling for his resignation. “We deplore this toll and we say that backing down is out of the question. Despite what we have suffered, we will maintain our call for protests tomorrow,” said Brigitte Adjamagbo, one of the leaders of the opposition movement. She said the coalition was aware of two persons killed, including an 11-year-old child, as well as twenty others who were seriously injured and dozens of arrests. In a bid to curb demonstrations, the government has banned marches and mass protests on weekdays. But young protesters in Be, a working-class neighborhood in eastern Lome, defied the ban on Wednesday. They erected barricades with bricks and burning tyres and threw stones at security forces, who responded with volleys of tear gas. “This is our last bastion,” shouted one demonstrator, Ayi Koffi. “We have no arms, no gas. We do not have cars to pick up people. We have come out barehanded to say, enough!” In a statement, the International Organisation of La Francophonie, a group comprised mainly of French-speaking countries including Paris’s former colonies, said that nothing justified the violence. “Dialogue must be prioritised in all circumstances,” it said. The controversial constitutional reform will be decided by popular referendum after the bill failed to win approval from parliament following a boycott by opposition lawmakers last month.