Muhammadu Buhari

Feminist backlash over Nigerian train stations

Chris Ewokor

BBC News, Abuja

Dora Akunyili
Getty Images
Critics say women like the late Dora Akunyili, pictured, should have been honoured

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has faced criticism after listing only one woman in the renaming of railway stations.

On Monday, Mr Buhari named 23 train stations after “deserving Nigerians” seen to have contributed to the progress and development of their communities and the country.

Among those named were former Nigerian leaders, serving ministers and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka.

But Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, a feminist and activist who was also mother of late Afrobeat music legend Fela Kuti, was the only woman honoured.

Some on social media have likened this announcement to the president's previous appointments - like in 2019 when only seven women, out of the 43, were appointed as ministers.

They have suggested that women who deserved to be honoured include Stella Adadevoh, the medical doctor who died preventing Ebola from spreading in Nigeria, and Dora Akunyili, who spearheaded the crusade against fake drugs before her death in 2014.

Former lawmaker Shehu Sani has asked the president to name a station in Kaduna after the female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile, who died two weeks ago in an accident.

Buhari: Nigeria's corruption war 'real and active'

Celestina Olulode

BBC News

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari addresses the nation over the coronavirus disease, in Abuja, Nigeria April 27, 2020
Reuters
President Buhari says Nigerians must be held accountable

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has publicly reacted, for the first time, to the suspension of the head of the country’s anti-corruption agency.

President Buhari said the suspension of Ibrahim Magu was an indication that Nigeria's fight against corruption was "real and active", according to a statement released through a spokesperson.

Speaking of the importance of accountability and transparency, President Buhari said Nigerians must realise that they would be held accountable.

He said the suspension of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) boss would enable the anti-corruption agency to continue its work, "without the cloud of an investigation... over its head".

Mr Magu was arrested on Monday following allegations of abuse of office. He is accused of stealing money that his anti-corruption agency had confiscated during its operations.

The authorities had previously denied his arrest.

The investigation is ongoing.

Local media reports that Mr Magu has denied all the allegations.

President Buhari said Mr Magu was being given the opportunity to defend himself and respond to all the allegations against him.

Fighting corruption was one of President Buhari’s main campaign promises during both the 2015 and 2019 elections.

But critics say more high-profile convictions are needed.

Nigeria to 'avenge attack on UN helicopter'

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari
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President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the attack

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has said the government will avenge the attack on a UN helicopter in which two people died.

The president described the attack in the north-eastern state of Borno as "dastardly" that will not go away without "severe consequences", local media reported.

A five-year-old child is among the two who were killed in the attack on Saturday attributed to insurgents in the restive north-eastern region.

The helicopter was being used to facilitate humanitarian support to civilians in the area that has been affected by violence for more than a decade.

The UN has in the meantime halted humanitarian aid in the region.

Buhari orders investigation into shooting at his home

Ishaq Khalid

BBC News, Abuja

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari with first lady Aisha Buhari
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Aisha Buhari, pictured with her husband in 2015, called for the release of her aides

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation into a shooting incident inside he grounds of his official residence involving security guards.

The incident reportedly happened following an altercation between one of his aides and some aides to his wife Aisha Buhari, and included her security guards.

The guards insisted that the presidential aide must self-isolate for 14 days on returning from a trip outside the capital, Abuja - in accordance with government issued guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The security guards reportedly fired in the air. No casualties were reported.

Some staff attached to the first lady have been taken into custody by the police.

The incident happened last week but the news emerged at the weekend with both President Buhari and his wife making statements.

Mr Buhari says armed guards and other security personnel assigned to the presidency were given the necessary training especially in weapons handling and "where they come short, their relevant agencies have their rules and regulations to immediately address them".

A government statement says that the president ‘’is not, and was not at anytime in any form of danger arising, either from deadly infections or the reported incident by security personnel which is currently under investigation".

A statement issued by Mr Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said the "minor" incident happened outside the main residence of the president.

Earlier, in a tweet, First Lady Aisha Buhari called on the chief of police to release her staff ‘’in order to avoid putting their lives in danger or exposure to Covid-19 while in their custody".

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The latest incident is seen as yet another sign of internal wrangling in Nigeria’s government where officials often publicly disagree.

More about Nigeria's first family:

Ex-UN man becomes Nigerian leader's chief of staff

Chris Ewokor

BBC News, Abuja

Ibrahim Gambari in 2012
AFP
Ibrahim Gambari held several positions at the UN

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed the retired diplomat Ibrahim Gambari as his new chief of staff.

The former senior UN official also served in Mr Buhari's military government in the 1980s.

He replaces Abba Kyari, who died last month from coronavirus.

While Mr Gambari is hugely experienced, the fact that he is 75 years old has led to some criticism of the appointment.

Critics of the 77-year-old president say his own frail heath has had a direct impact on the quality of leadership in Nigeria.

Buhari appoints dead man to official position

President Muhammadu Buhari
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Appointees are usually screened by the government's secretary before they are named by President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed a dead man into office, naming the late Tobias Chukwuemeka Okwuru as a board member for a government agency, two months after he died.

Mr Buhari sent a letter to the country's senate on Tuesday to confirm the list of 37 appointees but was unaware that Mr Okwuru had passed away in February.

The president's media aide, Lauretta Onochie, said Mr Okwuru was alive when the president appointed him to serve on the board and that "he even came to update his CV, in readiness for the appointment after the Senate screening".

"When he sadly passed away while waiting for the screening by the Senate, that information was not communicated to the Federal Government," she said.

This is not the first time Mr Buhari's presidency has made the grave error of appointing a dead person. In 2017, the president appointed at least five people who were long dead on to several boards of government agencies.

'Hard-at-work' photo backfires on Nigerian president

Nduka Orjinmo

BBC News, Lagos

An attempt by aides to Nigeria’s president to reassure Nigerians that Muhammadu Buhari is well and still at work has backfired.

Earlier this week the presidency said Mr Buhari had tested negative for coronavirus. The 77-year-old, who has suffered health problems in the past, was tested after it was revealed that his chief of staff had contracted Covid-19.

To scotch further rumours, his spokesperson Bashir Ahmed then tweeted a photo, saying: "President Buhari still at work!”

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But this just added fuel to the flames spawning the hashtags #whereisbuhari and #buharichallenge - now trending in Nigeria.

The gag sees Twitter users pairing photos of past events with newly dreamt up captions, joking that it's actually happening right now in the present.

One from 1981 taken in London shows Queen Elizabeth II meeting Nigeria’s then-President Shehu Shagari with the caption: "Shehu Shagari welcoming the Queen at the Lagos airport earlier today despite the state-wide lockdown".

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Another shows US rapper Tupac Shakur, who died in 1996, pictured as a teenager with a caption suggesting he is listening to a song by current Afrobeats star Naira Marley.

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President Buhari has been heavily criticised for not speaking directly to Nigerians about the coronavirus pandemic, although he has been active on social media.

Overnight in a series of tweets, he said he had recalled disease-control experts from overseas and urged people not to succumb to panic because of the virus.

He said the government was working to ensure that supplies of food and other essentials would be maintained.

He also announced new restrictions, including on shipping, and extra funding for Lagos state, which has registered most of Nigeria's cases of Covid-19.

Land borders and international airports were closed last week. According to official figures, Nigeria has a total of 65 infections.

Nigeria state declares holiday ahead of Buhari visit

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari
Reuters
President Muhammadu Buhari will open two projects during the visit

Nigeria's Ondo state government has declared Tuesday a holiday as it hosts President Muhammadu Buhari.

The state's communications office announced that all state workers would not have to report to work so they would have the time to welcome the president.

Ondo Governor Arakunrin Akeredolu invited Mr Buhari to open various projects as part of festivities to mark his third year in office.

He tweeted that the industrial hub the president would be opening already had six factories - one of which was a cassava-to-ethanol facility.

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The president is also expected to open a flyover.

The festivities to celebrate Governor Akeredolu's anniversary started on 21 February and are scheduled to end on 1 March, according to a programme of events shared on social media.

A map of Nigeria
BBC