NIGERIA: IRIN News Briefs [19991011]

NIGERIA: IRIN News Briefs [19991011]

NIGERIA: IRIN News Briefs, 11 October

Ex-military officials to appear in court on Wednesday

The chief security officer of the late General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza al-Mustapha, is to appear before a Lagos high court on Wednesday along with the former president's son, Mohamed, and other close collaborators, according to Radio Nigeria. The state radio station said the announcement was made on Sunday by Doyin Okupe, special assistant on media and publicity to President Olusegun Obasanjo. He said the charges against them would be made known when they appeared in court.

First LNG shipment

Nigeria made its first shipment abroad of liquefied natural gas [LNG] on Saturday, Radio Nigeria reported. It quoted the deputy managing director of Nigerian LNG Limited, Alhaji Abagana, as saying that the shipment left Bonny Island in the southeast for France, from where it is to be delivered to the Italian firm Enel.

Soldiers ordered to wear mufti off duty

Nigeria's army has ordered soldiers to wear civilian clothing when off duty around town in future, AFP reported Army Chief of Staff Major General Victor Malu as announcing. The ruling was part of a code of conduct for soldiers which has long existed but has long been ignored, Malu said. AFP reported that off-duty soldiers often use their military uniform to frighten civilians into allowing them easier passage on overcrowded roads or handing over bribes.

Government adopts plan to beef up police force

Nigeria's government has adopted a five-year plan to restructure the police force to ensure its effective presence throughout the country, Radio Nigeria reported on Monday. It quoted Doyin Okupe, special assistant on media and publicity to the president, as saying that the plan involves recruiting 25,000 persons to the police annually over the next five years. The target is a ratio of 1 police officer to 600 citizens, the radio said.

World Bank support for project to revamp airline

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is to help redesign and restructure Nigeria Airways, 'The Guardian' daily in Lagos reported on Friday.

An agreement to this effect was signed on Thursday by Vice President Atiku Abubakar, chair of Nigeria's National Council on Privatisation, and James Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank, of which the IFC is a member. Wolfensohn left Nigeria on Saturday.

Activities the IFC will conduct under the programme include reviewing Nigeria's airline industry and assessing Nigeria Airways' competitive position and its capital investment needs.

CLO criticises plan to transfer local soldiers from Niger Delta

THE Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has criticised a reported plan by the Nigerian Army to transfer indigenes from formations in the Niger Delta, 'The Guardian' reported on Friday.

The Lagos daily reported the CLO as saying in a statement that the move indicated an imminent crackdown on rights groups operating in the region.

Army Chief of Staff Major General Victor Malu said recently that soldiers originally from troubled areas in the Delta needed to be sent to other parts of Nigeria so that they do not become part of the problem in the region, media organisations have reported.

The CLO charged in a statement that the army planned the transfers because it wanted to crack down on people in the area "who are genuinely demanding their fundamental human rights", according to the daily.

Ondo sets up panel on Ilaje-Ijaw row

The government of the southern state of Ondo has set up a panel to probe recent clashes between Ijaws and Ilajes and work out modalities for resettling and rehabilitating people who were forced by the conflict to flee their homes.

'The Guardian' daily said it had learnt that the government decided to constitute the committee following the alleged failure by leaders of the two communities to attend a peace meeting it had organised.

According to reports, 16 people died and many others were injured when armed men said to be soldiers allegedly attacked an Ilaje settlement in September.

The two communities have been engaged in hostilities for some time now over the ownership of Apata, an oil-rich town, but a truce had been achieved in May, following the intervention of the government.

Curfew relaxed in Warri

The government of the south-eastern state of Delta has relaxed a curfew imposed in June in the town of Warri following communal clashes. The curfew now begins at 22:00 hours instead of 18:00 hours and ends at 6:00 hours.


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Item: irin-english-1754

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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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