Nigerian Leader Ousts Reformist Central Bank Chief

(LAGOS, Nigeria) — Nigeria’s president on Thursday ousted the Central Bank governor who exposed billions of missing petrodollars, a move critics say is a warning to whistleblowers in the run-up to a hotly contested presidential election in Africa’s biggest oil producer. President Goodluck Jonathan accused internationally respected career banker Lamido Sanusi of “financial recklessness and misconduct,” and officially suspended him just days before the governor reportedly planned on stepping aside. The West African nation’s naira currency immediately weakened in response. Last year Sanusi reported that $50 billion worth of oil sold by the state’s Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. had not been paid to the government. The Senate Committee on Finance last week ordered an independent forensic audit into the missing money, now said to amount to about $20 billion. The Finance Ministry said missing receipts recovered in an audit accounted for the rest of the missing money. Jonathan had dismissed Sanusi’s charges as “spurious” and has said that corruption is not among the biggest problems suffered in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation of more than 160 million people. On Thursday, Jonathan named a deputy governor to act in Sanusi’s place but also immediately sent to Parliament the name of another banker he proposed as the new custodian of the nation’s federal reserves, making clear that he has effectively fired Sanusi. The reform-minded banker apparently planned a three-month leave of absence starting next month before stepping down when his five-year term expired in June, according to London-based senior analyst Murtala Touray of IHS Country Risk. “We assess that President Jonathan’s suspension of Sanusi is intended on the one hand to send a message to Sanusi’s successor not to ‘wash government’s dirty linen in public,’ and on the other to discredit Sanusi’s report on the (missing) $20 billion,” Touray told The Associated Press. The opposition All Progressives Congress coalition said Jonathan’s move against Sanusi sends “a strong signal to all Nigerians that it (Jonathan’s administration) will not tolerate any exposure of corruption under any circumstance.” Sanusi, 52, who has spearheaded bank reforms……..

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Islamic Militants Attack Nigerian Air Force Base

(MAIDUGURI, Nigeria) — Hundreds of Islamic militants in trucks and a stolen armored personnel carrier attacked an air force base on the outskirts of a Nigerian city before dawn Monday, officials and witnesses said, possibly leaving scores of people dead in one of the insurgent group’s most daring attacks ever. A military official who was at the base said he saw three aircraft and several vehicles hit in the attack. The state government quickly ordered everyone to stay home and extended a night-time curfew to 24 hours in Maiduguri, the city near the air base which is also the birthplace of the extremist Boko Haram movement. Explosions and automatic gunfire could be heard across the northeastern city from around 2:30 a.m. when the insurgents launched the attack with screams of “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great.” Government and military officials said scores of people may be dead. Reporters saw military ambulances ferrying bodies to the hospital morgue. Civilians living around the military base, which is off a main road, said they saw bodies with slit throats and corpses of insurgents burning in vehicles. The witnesses and officials spoke only on condition of anonymity for security reasons. The attack comes a week after the military bombarded forest hideouts of the Boko Haram terrorist network near the border with Cameroon with air strikes and ground assaults. President Goodluck Jonathan imposed a state of emergency in May in three states, acknowledging the insurgents had seized control of many towns and villages, and flooded the area with security forces. The military quickly forced the militants out of urban centers but have appeared unable to halt attacks on soft targets like schools, remote villages and major highways where they set up impromptu roadblocks. The Islamic extremist uprising, which began in 2009 and has killed thousands, poses the biggest threat in decades to the security and cohesion of Africa’s biggest oil producer and its most populous nation, with more than 160 million people. The nation is divided almost equally between the mainly Christian south and the…..

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Nigeria’s Military Killing Thousands of Detainees

(LAGOS, Nigeria) — Shedding stark light on Nigeria’s escalating war with Islamic militants, mortuary records from a single Nigerian hospital show the number of detainees who died in military custody more than tripled in June, the first month of a state of emergency in the troubled northeast region. Overall, the records obtained by The Associated Press for the nine months from Oct. 5 to July 5 indicate that the military is killing thousands in its crackdown on the uprising in northeast Nigeria. The records cover just one hospital, Sani Abacha Specialist Teaching Hospital in Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram, the movement fighting to uproot Western cultural influences from a country shared almost equally by Muslims and Christians. In the 30 days before the state of emergency was declared on May 14, 380 bodies were delivered to the hospital by the military. In the 30 days after, the number was 1,321. For the whole of June, the number was 1,795, making it the worst month in the records seen by the AP, which has also witnessed many of the bodies being delivered to the hospital in military ambulances, escorted by armored cars. The figure is much larger than the estimated number of Boko Haram fighters. Nigerian government and military officials have refused to comment, and it’s impossible to know how many of the dead had Boko Haram connections. But Nigerian law stipulates that even under a state of emergency, detainees are supposed to be brought before a magistrate within 48 hours and to have access to lawyers and family members. A pastor said he was held at Maiduguri’s Giwa Military Barracks after he and four other people were arrested because weapons were found hidden in the shoe factory where he works. He described hundreds of naked people crammed into a cell meant for a couple of dozen. Once a day, he said, a soldier would throw a loaf of moistened bread into the cell to be brawled over. Some died of torture, he said. He told the AP he was………..

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Police: Nigeria Youths Retaliate, Kill Police

(MAIDUGURI, Nigeria_ — Angry youths in a vigilante group mobbed and killed a policeman and threatened others Saturday in retaliation for the killing of one of their members in northeast Nigeria, police and military officials said, causing further friction in an area tense with violence from Islamic militants. The Civilian Joint Task Force was formed by residents to help capture Boko Haram suspects in and around Maiduguri, where the Islamic insurgents formed years ago. The spokesman of the 7th division of the Nigeria army, Lt Col. Sagir Musa, said he took the attacked policeman, who was drenched in blood, to the police headquarters. It was not immediately clear if the attacked policeman was the same officer who had shot dead the vigilante. State police commissioner Lawal Tanko confirmed the incidents and the death of the policeman. The angry vigilantes also blocked the major Kano-Maiduguri road with burning tires and threatened all police, calling them accomplices of Boko Haram. Civilian-JTF member Muhammed Adamu said that members of his group were stopped by policemen for driving in the wrong lane. He said they had caught a Boko Haram member. “We told him we could not (take the other lane) because we had a Boko Haram suspect. He threatened to shoot if we didn’t,” Adamu said. “One of our members said he dare not. And the policeman opened fire, killing one of our members.” The Civilian-JTF says it has helped lead to the arrests of thousands of Boko Haram members since it formed in June. It also claims responsibility for many killings and has the backing of the military. Borno state Gov. Kashim Shettima pleaded for calm on Saturday. He said the government would try to pacify and compensate the family of the dead Civilian-JTF member. “This is a sad development as it really threatens the emerging peace we are enjoying,” Shettima said. “I want to appeal to the angry youths to calm down. This is our state and the youths have assisted us tremendously in restoring peace. Let them not destabilize the………..

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