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African press review 9 June 2015

Text by: William Niba
6 min

Nigeria's President in warm embrace at his first G-7 Summit, gets strong support from France for his fight against Boko Haram. His ruling APC party faces a first serious crisis as lawmakers have daggers drawn over posts; and a project in Kenya which is about to turn hundreds of landlords into millionnaires.


We begin in Nigeria and the robust coverage of President Muhammadu Buhari’s first G7 summit in Elmau, Germany.

Punch reports that the newly-elected Nigerian leader wasted no time to put a "shopping list" to the G7 leaders, seeking help to fight an insurgency by Boko Haram Islamists blamed for 15,000 deaths since 2009. According to the paper, Buhari met with President François Hollande on Monday to discuss ways of fostering cooperation ties with France notably in intelligence cooperation, training and sources of arms and ammunitions.

He said the intelligence was necessary to facilitate the perfection of fresh tactics and strategies being evolved to overcome terrorism and insurgency in the country and the West African sub-region.

Punch says Buhari also reiterated to his French counterpart that there was absolutely no link between religion and the atrocities of Boko Haram. Their atrocities he pointed out show that members of the group either do not know God at all or they don’t believe in him.

President Hollande is quoted as commending Buhari’s efforts to galvanise Nigeria’s armed forces, security agencies and neighbouring countries for more decisive actions against Boko Haram.

Dossier: Sharia wars - Boko Haram v the military in northern Nigeria

The French leader assured Buhari that France would give Nigeria and its coalition partners greater support against terrorism and insecurity. He also reportedly called for greater bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and France in other areas including trade, economic and cultural relations.

The Nigerian Tribune looks ahead to today’s inauguration of the eighth National Assembly by President Buhari. The paper reports that the big event in Abuja is being marred by a massive crisis of confidence rocking the majority party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), over the selection of candidates for the federal legislature top-most offices.

According to the Tribune, trouble-shooting expeditions of the party leadership, on Monday, to nip an imminent internal rebellion in the bud have yielded little success. It reports that opposition to the party’s anointed candidates for the Senate president, Senator Ahmad Lawan and speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, remained resolute as back benchers dig to confront the party’s stance on the floor of the two chambers today.

Vanguard says the opposition People’s Democratic Party now holds the ace as the NASS showdown draws near. The paper claims that the PDP, which is apparently aiming to cause maximum damage for the new ruling party, was itself positioning to enter the fray as a united body in the leadership contests against the fractured APC.

In Kenya, the press is running a chilling revelation about alleged links between Qatar and Somalia’s al Shebab terrorist group. A man originating from the South Western province of Nyanza confided to the Nation newspaper that he was tricked into joining the Islamist organization five years ago after being promised a job in Qatar.

Al-Shebab - who are they?

According to the paper, the terrorist nicknamed Yusuf says he was a primary school teacher experiencing financial difficulties due to the low salary when a friend told him that there were lucrative job openings in the Middle East.

He explains that the friend then put him in touch with a Nairobi-based businessman who made arrangements for his travel. He says they were promised 75,000 dollars after training as Shebab fighters but ended up receiving just 30 dollars during his time as a combatant.

Kenyans are certainly shocked to learn that the 47-year-old Yusuf is a father of four and a former Christian from the proud Luo ethnic group who converted to Islam after his church refused to bury his father in 1996.

The Nation underlines troubling details in the man’s time with the Islamist insurgency. According to the paper, he admitted carrying out serious crimes including terrorism inside Somalia and in Burundi but not in Kenya which remains to be verified. The Nation says there is a strong likelihood that there are thousands of people like Yusuf in the country returning from Somalia who at the very least will need to be taken through a process of de-radicalisation and re-integration.

Standard Digital is full of envy for a new bunch of millionaires Mombasa County is set to welcome in coming days. This is after the Standard Gauge Railway ( SGR) announced plans to compensate owners of a 15-kilometre stretch of land to be expropriated for the construction of a strategic line from the Mombasa Port towards Nairobi.

About 1,500 genuine title holders and fishermen are set to benefit from a Sh4.4 billion (around 39.900 euros) kitty splashed out by the railway company. Standard Digital says deep disappointment is awaiting some of the resident already hit by millionaire syndrome as some of the land titles are fake.

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