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Buhari Agents Stone Jonathan’s Convoy in Yola, Jalingo

 

Nigeria (AP) — Youths angry at the Nigerian government’s failure to fight Islamic extremists threw stones Thursday at President Goodluck Jonathan’s electioneering convoy in the eastern city of Yola, breaking windshields and windows on several vehicles. An Associated Press reporter was unable to see if anyone was hurt.

Police used tear gas and whips to disperse the mob.

There were similar reports of the Nigerian leader being met by stone-throwing crowds in Jalingo, capital of neighboring Taraba state.

In Yola, soldiers guarded billboards and posters of Jonathan, who is running for re-election Feb. 14. Protesters shouted that the troops should instead be fighting the Boko Haram insurgents blamed for the deaths of some 10,000 people in the past year.

“Why are they using soldiers and other security operatives? They should be deployed to Sambisa and fight with Boko Haram, not with innocent civilians,” one youth yelled as he tore down a poster of a smiling Jonathan.

Sambisa Forest is where the insurgents have camps and where they are believed to be holding some of the 276 schoolgirls abducted from a boarding school in the remote town of Chibok in April — a mass kidnapping that brought international outrage.

Dozens of the girls escaped on their own but 219 remain missing, a reminder of the failures of Nigeria’s government and military.

Yola, capital of Adamawa state, is housing tens of thousands of people driven from their homes in the five-year-old insurgency.

It is unclear if the more than 1 million people displaced by the insurgency will be able to vote. Hundreds of thousands have taken refuge in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. And it is not known how many tens of thousands remain in more than 100 village and towns in the northeast held by the insurgents.

Nigeria’s home-grown Boko Haram group has been attacking Cameroonian villages and troops, broadening the conflict and raising fears among
Nigeria’s neighbors.

A summit of the African Union in Ethiopia this week will address the need for a multinational force to fight the Nigerian extremists.

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The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi on Wednesday jokingly thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for not converting him to Islam, saying he was misunderstood and criticised for associating with the president. He spoke when members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday expressed appreciation to the President for the opportunity he gave them to serve in his cabinet. At the valedictory session of the council, ministers in the cabinet took turns to narrate the lessons they learnt from the president as members of his cabinet. Amaechi narrated how he was almost chased out of Christ the King Catholic Church in 2014 for supporting the president, whom they alleged was trying to Islamise the country. “Mr President, let me thank you for not converting me to Islam. I say that specifically because in 2014 when I walked into Christ the King Catholic Church, I was literally chased out of the church as a governor because I was accused of supporting a man whose agenda was to Islamise Nigeria. “And in Rivers state they began to call me `Alhaji Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi’. I thank you because they have dropped the `Alhaji’ and back to Mr Chibuike Amaechi,’’ he said. Amaechi said some persons initially thought that the president would be an autocratic leader only for him to turn out to be an “extreme democrat’’. “I was told in the course of the campaign that you were autocratic and therefore you would not be democratic. “Most of us are not happy that you have moved from your autocratic nature to an extreme democrat that everything puts to test of the people, to the extent that the people now feel that the only way things can go on in this country is by the rule of law. “We all know that the rule of law is the beginning and the end of this government. Talking about the financial impunity that we saw before, people were making money without having any productive capacity for that,’’ he said.

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