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Published 29th May 2009

Vol 50 No 11


Nigeria

The fight gets more serious

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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President Umaru Yar'Adua's government is letting the military take the initiative in the Delta at the expense of a political solution

The latest government offensive in the Niger Delta is the heaviest for several years, with 3,000 troops, two warships, 14 boats and at least four helicopter gunships moving into Gbaramatu Kingdom, an Ijaw region in the Western Delta near Chevron's Escravos oil facility. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta responded by destroying five of Chevron's nearby pipelines. MEND has a diffuse but well-armed network of fighters, with up to five training bases hidden in the creeks and a well-run system of weapon caches. Gang leaders who sign up to MEND keep their own camps and bases.


National, not regional

The military crackdown in the Niger Delta upsets the awkward balance between federal and state politics

In the two years since it was elected, the National Assembly has approved just five bills, including two budget appropriations covering members' salaries.Yet representatives of con...


You've stood, now deliver

The people who got out the vote for Zuma insist that he keep his side of the bargain

The trades union chief, Zwelinzima Vavi, a key supporter of President Jacob Zuma when he was a mere candidate, is warning the government of a season of strikes if wages are not qui...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

The planning for United States President Barack Obama’s 10-11 July visit to Ghana underlines a more considered approach to Africa policy in Washington. Obama was determined to make an early visit to Africa to launch his new approach, despite the economic priorities. More investment and trade will be targeted at states Washington sees as successful, such as Ghana, with more robust diplomatic engagement for those states mired in conflict. We hear that an invitation to Obama from Nigeria’s Forei...
The planning for United States President Barack Obama’s 10-11 July visit to Ghana underlines a more considered approach to Africa policy in Washington. Obama was determined to make an early visit to Africa to launch his new approach, despite the economic priorities. More investment and trade will be targeted at states Washington sees as successful, such as Ghana, with more robust diplomatic engagement for those states mired in conflict. We hear that an invitation to Obama from Nigeria’s Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe was politely filed in Washington, but there was no debate about an early trip there. Last week, Obama listed several oil and gas suppliers, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Nigeria, on which the US wants to reduce its dependency. The appointment as Assistant Secretary of State for Africa of Johnnie Carson, who has served as Ambassador in Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe, has quickly given a focus to US diplomatic efforts. Within days of his confirmation, Carson flew to Nairobi to air concerns about the constitutional reform process and to offer mediation. Carson and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have spoken out on the need for faster progress from the power-sharing regime in Zimbabwe, but suggested a more flexible attitude to financial assistance. The new National Security Council Advisor on Africa, Michelle Gavin, argues for more attention to the causes rather than just the symptoms of environmental, demographic and food security problems.
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Pointers

Who's counting?

When Southern Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit said this month that he was 'unhappy and unsatisfied' with the census results, he was pointing to the next major clash between h...


Akwaaba Obama

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Tajudeen Abdul Raheem

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