- Nigerian, Senegalese Troops Set to Storm Gambia
The Nigerian Air Force is moving a contingent of 200 men and air assets to Dakar, Senegal, which is the base of the Economic Community of West African States Military Intervention (ECOMIG) to force President Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia out of power.
This is just as the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, warned the troops on Wednesday to maintain discipline in the operations in The Gambia and to be worthy ambassadors of Nigeria.
The Nigerian troops, which left from the 117 Air Combat Training Group camp in Kainji, Niger State, on Wednesday, will join troops from Senegal, Ghana and other countries in the West African sub-region.
The ECOMIG troops are to ensure that Jammeh hands over power to his successor, Adama Barrow, on Thursday (today).
It was gathered that the Nigerian air assets, deployed in Dakar for Jammeh’s removal, included fighter jets, transport aircraft, and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft.
The head of the Nigerian contingent is Air Commodore Tajudeen Yusuf.
Speaking with the troops before they left their base, Air Marshal Abubakar, said, “No act of indiscipline by the contingent will be tolerated. I therefore urge you to maintain discipline and be professional in your conduct. You must be reminded to be good ambassadors of Nigeria.”
Other air assets deployed included transport aircraft and the Light Utility Helicopter.
Also, Senegalese troops have moved to the Gambian border in readiness to force Jammeh to leave office.
Senegal reportedly gave Jammeh till midnight to quit or risk being ousted through military prowess.
Wednesday was meant to be Jammeh’s last day in office but parliament had granted him three more months in the post, thereby stopping Barrow from being sworn in on Thursday (today).
Jammeh had declared a 90-day state of emergency, saying “any acts of disobedience to the laws of The Gambia, incitement of violence and acts intended to disturb public order and peace” were banned.
BBC reported that thousands of United Kingdom and Dutch tourists were being evacuated from The Gambia for fear of an imminent crisis.
Jammeh, who lost in the December 1, 2016 election, had initially accepted defeat. He, however, later made a U-turn, rejecting the outcome of the poll.
Despite international pressures to hand over power, Jammeh had on Tuesday, declared a 90-day state of emergency 24 hours to the end of his tenure.
He warned security forces against violating the order or engaging in acts likely to cause a breach of the peace, and denounced “foreign interference in The Gambia’s election.”
The handing over of power is supposed to hold today, Thursday.
West African countries are seeking United Nations backing to intervene militarily to eject Jammeh, who has ruled the country for 22 years.
ECOWAS has mandated Senegal to spearhead military intervention, but only as a last resort and with the backing of the UN Security Council.
Mali Sworn In Bah Ndaw as Transition President
Mali’s interim president, Bah Ndaw, chosen to head a transitional government following a coup last month, was sworn in during ceremonies in the capital Bamako on Friday, AFP journalists witnessed.
A committee appointed by the junta which seized power on August 18, toppling President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, selected Ndaw, a 70-year-old retired colonel, as interim president.
Ndaw is due to lead a transition government for a maximum of 18 months before organising national elections.
Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the military junta, was also sworn in as interim vice president.
The ceremony on Friday took place in a theatre filled with officials dressed in military fatigues, senior judges, and foreign diplomats.
During the ceremony, Supreme Court Chief Prosecutor Boya Dembele said the challenges facing both men were “enormous”.
“It will truly require a reformulation of the state,” said the judge, dressed in red fur-lined robes.
The swearing-in comes as the fragile Sahel state’s neighbours have leaned on the military junta to appoint civilians as interim president and prime minister.
The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) slapped sanctions on the poor country on August 20 to push for a swift return to civilian rule.
A decision by the bloc on whether to ease the measure is possible on Friday, according to former Nigerian president and ECOWAS mediator Goodluck Jonathan.
“We are optimistic that this event will signal the beginning of the return to normalcy in Mali,” he said on Twitter on Thursday night, referring to the swearing in of interim-government leaders.
Last month’s coup followed weeks of mass protests against Keita, spurred by frustrations over a brutal jihadist conflict, perceived corruption and the country’s slumping economy.
Mali has struggled to quell an eight-year-old Islamist insurgency which has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives.
Imo State Bans Traffic Agents, Task Forces Over Bribery
Uzodinma Bans Traffic Agents, Task Forces Over Bribery
The Executive Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, has restricted all traffic agents and task forces from operating in the state over bribery and extortions.
Declan Emelumba, the state commissioner for Information and Strategy, disclosed this at the Government House in Owerri on Thursday.
Checks revealed that the task force team that operates from Heroes’ Square still demands as much as N27,000 fines from people arrested. A shocking situation that has plunged the limited resources of hardworking Imo people.
However, the information commissioner, who described the task force as “illegal”, said the state government has sanctioned its personnel.
Emelumba said, “The governor has since banned all traffic agents and task forces in line with the desire of the people.”
FG Puts Nine-year Presidential Jet Up For Sale
The Federal Government has put up for sale a jet in the presidential fleet, Hawker 4000 aircraft with registration number, 5N-FGX/: RC 066.
The business-size jet which entered into service in December 2011, has capacity for nine passengers and three crew members.
Findings indicate that only 73 Hawker 4000 aircraft were manufactured by Hawker Beechcraft between 2001 and 2013 and they were sold for $22.91m each as of 2012.
The FG in a published advert on Wednesday disclosed that the aircraft with a range of 3,190-nautical mile had flown for 1,768 hours.
It said the aircraft could be inspected at the Presidential Air Fleet’s hangar located at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Interested buyers were requested to submit their closed bid to the Chairman, Committee for Sale of Aircraft, Office of the National Security Adviser, care of Special Services Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
In an advertisement published in some national dailies on Wednesday, prospective buyers were directed to submit a refundable bank draft for $50,000 to the committee with the bid.
It also said that all the bids should be quoted in dollars.
The notice read, “Please note that all bids must be submitted within one week of this publication.
“Background check is required as a pre-qualification for the bid. Prospective bidders who want to inspect the aircraft will be granted access within one week from this advertisement.”
The Presidency had similarly in 2016 put up for sale two presidential aircraft, a Falcon 7X executive jet and Hawker 4000, in line with the directive of the president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), that aircraft in the Presidential Air Fleet should be reduced to cut down on waste.
The government also said some aircraft in the fleet would be handed over to the Nigeria Air Force for its operations. It could not be confirmed if this had been done.
According to the Presidency, the PAF has 10 aircraft and they include Boeing Business Jet (Boeing 737-800 or Air Force One), one Gulfstream 550, one Gulfstream V (Gulfstream 500), two Falcons 7X, one Hawker Sidley 4000, two AgustaWestland AW 139 helicopters and two AgustaWestland AW 101 helicopters.
Reports said each of the two Falcon 7X jets were purchased in 2010 for $51.1m, while the Gulfstream 550 costs $53.3m.
The Senior Special Assistant, (Media and Publicity) to the President, Garba Shehu, had yet to respond to inquiries on the number of presidential aircraft sold so far, as of the time of filing this report.
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