Daily Watch – INEC moves outstanding contests to 15 April, US to offer West Africa $100m to fight terror
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has shifted the outstanding elections for Adamawa, Kebbi, and other supplementary elections to 15 April. INEC said via its official Twitter account that the decision to shift the date was taken after its extraordinary meeting on Monday. Staying with the elections, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) said a total of 781 electoral offenders were arrested during the 2023 general elections. Inspector-General of Police Usman Alkali Baba, who made this known on Monday, said the suspects were arrested over a total of 489 electoral infractions across the country. Speaking at a meeting with NPF top brass in Abuja, on Monday, the IGP vowed to ensure proper prosecution of the suspects.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in its latest transport report for February 2023 that domestic air transport fares rose by 66.36 percent last year. According to the agency, the average fare for specified routes for a single journey decreased by 0.18 percent month-on-month from ₦74,702.70 in January to ₦74,571.62 in February. But “on a year-on-year basis, the fare rose by 66.36 percent from ₦44,825.04 in February 2022.” The report said intracity bus commuters saw average fares per trip decrease by 0.47 percent in February 2023 to ₦647.66 from ₦650.70 in January. On a year-on-year basis, average fares rose 26.07 percent from ₦513.72 in February 2022. For intercity bus journeys, average fares dropped to ₦3,990.70 in February, a growth rate of -0.19 percent on a month-on-month basis compared to ₦3,998.42 in January.
The United States will provide $100 million to Ghana and four other West African countries to help them deal with violent extremism and instability, Vice President Kamala Harris said. Harris was in Accra at the start of a week-long, three-country African tour, the latest in a series of visits by senior US. officials as Washington seeks to counter growing Chinese and Russian influence on the continent. “President Biden and I have made clear the United States is strengthening our partnerships across the continent of Africa,” she said during a joint news conference with Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo. Akufo-Addo reiterated that he was concerned about Wagner’s presence in West Africa. “To help address the threats of violent extremism and instability, today I am pleased to announce $100 million in support of Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo,” Harris said. The sum is in addition to $139 million in bilateral assistance that Washington intends to provide to Ghana in 2024, according to Harris’s office. After Ghana, Harris will head to Tanzania and Zambia.
Chad’s interim president, Mahamat Idriss Déby has pardoned 380 rebels from the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) group. They were part of a group of 400 who were handed life sentences last Tuesday in connection with the 2021 death of his father, the country’s long-time ruler, Idriss Déby Itno. He was killed when he went to visit troops fighting FACT on the frontline in northern Chad. The group had launched an offensive earlier that year from bases in Libya. The rebels were found guilty of terrorism, undermining national security, endangering the life of the head of state, and the recruitment of children, among other charges. The rebel group’s exiled leader, Mahamat Mahdi Ali, who was tried and convicted in absentia, was not included in the presidential pardon.