President Muhammadu Buhari spoke to the country about the unrest that has gripped the country in recent days, but without making any mention of the shootings of peaceful protesters at Lekki toll plaza on Tuesday night that prompted international outrage. The military opened fire without warning on thousands of peaceful protesters singing the national anthem Tuesday night, killing at least 12 people, according to Amnesty International. The shootings have been widely condemned but Buhari did not speak of them at all during his Thursday address, instead urging protesters to stop their demonstrations. Earlier in the day, Anambra and Akwa Ibom imposed curfews in response to violent incidents. Anambra Governor Willie Obiano declared a 24-hour curfew state-wide as violence spread in different parts of the state. The Nnewi Central Police Station was burnt by suspected thugs, who also killed two persons on Wednesday. Banks and schools in the state had since shut down as thugs attacked residents and looted shops. Akwa Ibom Governor Udom Emmanuel imposed a statewide curfew from 9pm, Thursday to midday on Friday 23 October, following violence which erupted Thursday evening in downtown Uyo in which buildings, including a bank branch, were looted and burnt. Lagos, under a curfew watch since Tuesday, saw the Ikoyi Correctional Center set on fire, malls looted and burned in one case and storage centres for COVID-19 palliative aid ransacked. In Ondo, the Okitipupa Divisional Police Station and Okitipupa Local Government Secretariat were set ablaze. In his speech, Buhari directed the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission to finalise a new salary structure for members of the Nigeria Police Force. Better welfare package for police officers is one of the five-point demands of #EndSARS protesters in the country.
The Independent National Electoral Commission has postponed 15 senatorial and state bye-elections earlier planned to hold in 11 states. INEC said the elections, slated for October 30, were postponed over the current security situation. This was contained in a statement by INEC’s spokesperson, Festus Okoye. Part of the statement read, Accordingly, the commission has decided to postpone the bye-elections in the six senatorial districts and nine state constituencies. “This decision is in compliance with Section 26 (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), which gives the commission the power to postpone an election if there is reason to believe that a serious breach of the peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on that date, or that it is impossible to conduct the election as a result of natural disaster or other emergencies. “The commission will continue to monitor the situation in all the states and constituencies, consult with relevant stakeholders, and meet again in two weeks to review the situation and decide on a feasible date for the election.” The by-elections were slated to take place in Bayelsa Central Senatorial District; Bayelsa West Senatorial District; Nganzai and Bayo Constituencies in Borno State; Cross River North Senatorial District and Obudu State Constituency in Cross River; Imo North Senatorial District; Lagos East Senatorial District; Kosofe II Constituency in Lagos State; Plateau South Senatorial District; Bakura Constituency in Zamfara and Ibaji Constituency in Kogi.
Guinea’s President Alpha Conde has won a landslide re-election victory, giving him a third term in office after official results from 37 of 38 voting districts showed him with double the votes of his nearest rival on Thursday evening. Conde, 82, has received 2.4 million votes so far, versus 1.26 million for opposition candidate, Cellou Dalein Diallo, following a bitterly fought election that has sparked deadly street violence. At least 13 people are reported to have been killed in skirmishes since Sunday’s polls, in which Diallo has claimed victory based on his campaign’s tallies. Conde’s decision to run for a third five-year term has sparked repeated protests over the past year, resulting in dozens of deaths. He says a constitutional referendum in March reset his two-term limit; his opponents say he is breaking the law by holding onto power.
Mali’s ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has returned home after spending six weeks in the United Arab Emirates getting medical treatment, the head of his party said. Keita – who was overthrown in a military coup in August – did not make a statement and his Rally for Mali (RPM) party did not give any details on what his next move would be. The 75-year-old was toppled after weeks of protests against his government’s failure to rein in violence by Islamist militants and ethnic militias, amid widespread anger over alleged corruption and the sluggish economy. He was hospitalized six days after the coup for reasons that were never publicly disclosed and flown to Abu Dhabi the following week on the condition that he return after his treatment. Some of Keita’s opponents have called for him to be prosecuted for corruption over the procurement of a presidential plane and military equipment. Keita has denied any wrongdoing.