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African press review 29 October 2015

Telecommunications company MTN Nigeria is ordered to pay 4.5 billion euros for circulating unregistered SIM cards; Nigerian police arrests electronic wizard who hacked 2.4 million Naira from his victims' accounts; And Kenyan police grab conmen using a coffin to smuggle banned alcohol brands into the country. 

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We begin in South Africa where the papers are reporting more drama in the escalating students’ protest for free education. Mail and Guardian says their demands now are no longer about a mandatory freeze of university school fees in 2016 but about free education.

Since Tuesday, some 500 hundred students representing an informal bloc of student unions have met with officials of strategic financial institutions in Pretoria such as the Treasury, the South African Revenue Services, Reserve Bank and City Property to deliver a memorandum.

Their demands include the repeal of text book taxes, and the introduction of a higher education tax targeting the wealthy, the reduction of rents for all students and poor residents, the scrapping of debts of all students and the nationalization of key sectors of the economy to fund free education.

The Star has an update of crisis at Wits University where the protests started. Chaos erupted at the Johannesburg-based institution on Wednesday morning with students and security guards pelting each other with stones.

The violence broke out despite a deal between the university senior management and the Students’ Representative Council SRC to resume all academic programmes on Wednesday, October 28.

Vice-chancellor Adam Habib said they agreed on the postponement of examinations, a general pardon for students involved in legitimate forms of protest and a condemnation by the Wits students Union of the politicization of the students’ protest.

City wonders what happened to money that should be going to the funding of schools after Parliament has launched a forensic investigation to the use of 9.5 billion rand budgeted for tertiary student programs.

The probe comes in the wake of corruption allegations raised by a Higher education Department spokesman relating to the disbursement of funds from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, including involvement and collusion by syndicates at various levels.

The deputy director-general of higher education and training, Diane Parker, said on Sunday, there were frequent accounts of individuals getting funds based on fraudulent documents.

In Daily Times, the eldest son of Nigeria’s former military Head of State, late Sani Abacha, is facing prosecution before a Lagos High Court for an alleged debt of 32 million Naira. Alhaji Mohammed Abacha was taken to court by a security company the Abacha’s had hired to protect 20 properties in a posh district of Lagos.

Daily Times says the security company last received money from the Abatchas in 2005 when the defendant was taken into detention for the alleged murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, wife of late Nigerian tycoon Moshood Abiola. The paper reports that the duplexes, which are now dilapidated were taken over by miscreants and hoodlums after investigations revealed that they belonged to the Abacha family.

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