African News

Nigerian FM dispels rumor of power vacuum

By Yusupha Cham
Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, has described his country as ‘‘stable’’ as the constitution remains functional. Chief Maduekwe said this in Gambia when he called on President Yahya Jammeh at his office in Banjul, over the weekend. Despite it’s long history of oppression, Nigeria’s Chief diplomat indicated, the country has so far had the longest period of uninterrupted democratic rule since 1999. ‘‘Democracy has come to stay in Nigeria,’’ he said, adding that there was no such thing as a power vacuum in the country as the number 2 of the federation, Vice President Jonathan Goodluck, has since been acting in accordance with Nigerian constitution until the country’s bedridden leader, President Umaru Musa Yaradua, fully regains his health and comes back home. But Chief Maduekwe statement that the Nigerian vice president was in charge of the country runs counter to information coming out of Nigeria, where law courts are innundated with petition either urging the country’s terminally ill president to hand over authority to his vice, or that the NIgerian government tell Nigerians where their president is. Chief Maduekwe though insisted that ‘‘Mr President is recovering well from his illness.’’
The Niger Delta crisis, the Foreign Minister said, has been settled thanks to President Yaradua’s amnesty deal which encouraged thousands of the militants to abandon the jungle and do away with their weapons. ‘‘Since then peace has prevailed in the Niger Delta, he stated.’’
Christmas bombing:
Niger_delta_mapChief Maduekwe described as a source of challenge to Nigeria the infamous incident that occurred on Christmas Day. ‘‘The fact has not been disputed that the whole world woke up to a terrible Christmas Day when the young Nigerian man attempted to blow up an airplane, he said, and added, ‘‘but even though we accept responsibility that he is our son, we say what he did was not Nigerian.’’ According to Maduekwe, Muslims in Nigeria are the most liberal, ‘‘very tolerant and most peaceful’’ anywhere in the world. ‘‘What he [young Abdul Mutallab] did was most unNigerian and we condemn it very strongly,’’ he said, stressing that Nigeria does not deserve to be included in the world terror list. Maduekwe pointed out that Nigerian citizens are contributing positively in the socio-economic development of countries such as United States of America, the United Kingdom, amongst others. And therefore the recent image they saw does not represent the totality of Nigerians. He described as unacceptable the inclusion of Nigeria on the list of countries facing stricter measures from the US as an ‘‘unacceptable’’ New Year’s gift. He stressed that global terror is a challenge and that no country is immune to it. But Maduekwe stressed concerted efforts by all is needed to address the menace.

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