By Ifeanyi Nwoko The President of the Senate Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has urged all Nigerians to maintain peace and avoid statements or actions that can threaten the peace of the nation. This is even as the leadership of the Senate is set to meet with security chiefs over the tension in the South East as well as the skirmishes in Plateau State. In a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki advised Nigerians to remain calm and not do anything that would aggravate the tension in some parts of the country. The Senate’s President who was reacting to the skirmishes in the South East and in Plateau state, said that the crises was not unconnected to the economic challenges of the nation. “The tension in some parts of the country has its roots substantially in the economic situation. “The nation should be assured that some of the legislative and executive actions taken to address the economic problems are beginning to yield fruits. “That is why we recently witnessed the rebound of the economy and the exit of the country from recession.” “I want to appeal to our people to avoid stoking ethnic or religious fires. We should not deepen the fault lines of our nation and place citizens in danger of violence and sustained crises. “The government requires the support of all Nigerians and we should please give peace a chance. No real development or genuine economic activity can take place in the midst of crisis or tension. Investments and development thrive only where there is peace,” he said. Saraki advised Political, Social and Religious leaders to take actions that will douse the tension and reassure the people that the best way is for us to live together in peace, harmony and co-operation. “All leaders at this point must canvass support for government and preach peace, love and harmony. “The Senate leadership will soon meet with security chiefs and we will work for the promotion of dialogue as well as peaceful resolution of all contentious issues. “Once again, I plead with our people to avoid taking laws into their hands or antagonizing our neighbours “, he said.
The tension in the Korean Peninsula is gradually taking a different dimension as the U.S. Air Force is preparing to place its fleet of nuclear-armed B-52 bombers on 24-hour alert for the first time since 1991. Report quoted a U.S. Military Chief Gen. David Goldfein, as saying that the escalating tensions with North Korea had made the deployment of the bombers inevitable. However, Defense officials denied to Fox News that bombers were ordered to go on 24-hour alert. “This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared. “I look at it more as not planning for any specific event, but more for the reality of the global situation we find ourselves in and how we ensure we’re prepared going forward,” Goldfein said. Goldfein noted that in a world where “we’ve got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons,” it’s important to remain alert and think of new ways to be prepared. “It’s no longer a bipolar world where it’s just us and the Soviet Union. We’ve got other players out there who have nuclear capability. “It’s never been more important to make sure that we get this mission right,” Goldfein added. Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, home of the 2d Bomb Wing and Air Force Global Strike Command, which manages the service’s nuclear services, is being renovated, Defense One reported, so that B-52s would be ready to “take off at a moment’s notice.” The B-52, which can fly up to about 50,000 feet and at supersonic speeds, has the ability to release a variety of weapons, including cluster bombs, gravity bombs and precision guided missiles. The long-range bomber can also unleash both nuclear and precision-guided conventional ordnance. The 24-hour alert status for B-52s ended in 1991, in the waning days of the Cold War.
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.
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.