African press review 24 March 2018
President Buhari faces national backlash over Boko Haram Amnesty. Spanish police rescue dozens of Nigerian girls forced into prostitution by traffickers practising voodoo. And two Kenyan conmen are jailed for selling a public cemetery.
Boko Haram Amnesty
We begin in Nigeria where civil society groups are up in arms against President Muhammadu Buhari's offer of amnesty for Boko Haram insurgents, who are ready to drop their weapons and embrace peace.
Vanguard reports that powerful organizations such as the Christian Association of Nigeria, the #BringBackOurGirls coalition and the Sultan of Sokoto, have all voiced strong opposition to the policy that was unveiled by Buhari on Friday.
It was announced during a state House reception for the 105 Dapchi girls freed on Wednesday in what appeared to be a trade off with the Federal government.
The paper quotes one of the officials as saying that the offer is bound to be seen by the terrorist organization which has sworn allegiance to Al-Qaeda as a sign of weakness.
The Nigerian Tribune which has a large photograph of Buhari and the Dapchi girls splashed across its front page claims that a conspiracy theory cannot be ruled out because of the manner in which the hostages were set free.
The paper relays sarcastic claims by former Oyo State government Secretary that Buhari is fighting a political Boko Haram and seeking to score a cheap political points ahead of next year's elections.
And Nigeria's Punch newspaper says that Spanish police have rescued 39 girls from a notorious Nigerian organized crime ring who kept them in a cave-like house and forced them into prostitution in Spain.
According to the newspaper, girls many of whom are under 18 were freed in a joint operation involving the UK’s National Crime Agency and Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.
Punch says it learnt from British officials that the victims, transported to Spain via Libya and Italy, had undergone voodoo/juju rituals in Nigeria to establish the traffickers hold on them and to ensure they never run away or divulge the traffickers’ secret.
The publication also reports that 89 traffickers had been arrested in the course of the investigation, including a “Nigerian Madame living in Greater Manchester, who is believed to be controlling some of the victims in Spain and paying money to the Organized Criminal Gang back in Nigeria.
In Kenya, Daily Nation says two council officials who connived to sell a Nairobi public cemetery for Sh283 million (2.2 million euros) were handed 2-year jail terms on Friday.
The paper reports that Boniface Okerosi Misera, a former procurement officer at the Ministry of Local Government, was slapped with a fine of 320,000 euros, while Cephas Kamande Mwaura, a land surveyor, will have to pay out 296,000 euros, when they finish serving their terms.
The scandal over the sale of the 120-acre cemetery with forged documents left Kenyans in a state of shock.
Daily Nation reports, the Nairobi Magistrate's court fined them three times the amount they illegally acquired in accordance with the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act.
In South Africa, the Times Live leads with shocking news about a trail of destruction left at a Johannesburg cemetery by heavy rains which washed away graves including those of recently-buried people causing headstones and memorial plates of others to collapse.
The paper says that officials from Johannesburg City Parks were at the 400 hectare Olifantsvlei Cemetery‚ on Friday to assess the damage and have offered to provide soil for the repair of eroded tombs.
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