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From inmate status to number one citizen: Senegal swears in Bassirou Diomaye Faye

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Senegal witnessed the inauguration of Bassirou Diomaye Faye as its new president on Tuesday, marking a historic shift in the nation’s political landscape.

Faye, once a little-known opposition figure, has experienced a meteoric rise from the confines of prison to the esteemed halls of the presidential palace in recent weeks.

Senegal inaugurated Bassirou Diomaye Faye as its new president on Tuesday, completing the previously little-known opposition figure’s dramatic ascent from prison to the palace in recent weeks.

Faye was released from prison less than two weeks before the March 24 election, along with popular opposition figure and mentor Ousmane Sonko, following a political amnesty announced by outgoing President Macky Sall. It is the former tax inspector’s first time in elected office.

“It’s the culmination of a long struggle for democracy and the rule of law,” said Aissata Sagna, a 39-year-old factory worker who worked on Faye’s campaign. “This is a day of celebration for us, even if we have lost young people killed during the demonstrations.”

The election tested Senegal’s reputation as a stable democracy in West Africa, a region that has experienced coups and attempted coups. It followed months of unrest ignited by the arrests last year of Sonko and Faye and concerns that the president would seek a third term in office despite constitutional term limits. Rights groups said dozens were killed in the protests and about 1,000 were jailed.

Faye, 44, campaigned on promises to clean up corruption and better manage the country’s natural resources. His victory was seen as reflecting the will of young people frustrated with widespread unemployment and former colonial ruler France, seen by critics to be using its relationship with Senegal to enrich itself.

Such frustrations are common across many countries in Africa, home to the world’s youngest population, where a number of leaders have clung to power for decades.

In his first speech as president-elect, Faye promised to fight corruption and reform the economy.

A practicing Muslim from a small town, Faye has two wives, both of whom were present on Tuesday. Ahead of the election, he released a declaration of his assets to show transparency and called on other candidates to do the same. It listed a home in Dakar and land outside the capital and in his hometown. His bank accounts totaled roughly $6,600.

“I think the first challenge is the formation of his (Faye’s) government,” said Alioune Tine, founder of the Senegalese think tank Afrikajom Center. “This will be the first concrete message he sends to the Senegalese people. The size, diversity and profiles will be analyzed with a fine-tooth comb, to see if they meet the demand for a break with the past.”

The new president was little known until Sonko, a popular opposition figure who came third in the previous election in 2019, named him to run in his place after being barred from the election for a prior conviction. While Sonko’s future role in the new administration is unclear, he is expected to have a prominent role.

A year Ahead Of Presidential Election
Faye was arrested for alleged defamation last year, while Sonko faced a number of charges, including a prolonged legal battle that started when he was accused of rape in 2021. He was acquitted of the rape charges but was convicted of corrupting youth and sentenced to two years in prison last summer. Sonko’s supporters say his legal troubles were part of a government effort to derail his candidacy.

While Sall eventually ruled out running for a third term, he then abruptly postponed the election in February with only weeks to go, triggering another wave of protests. That move was blocked by the country’s constitutional court and the election was eventually held weeks later in March.

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Soldiers Accuse Army Commander In Borno, Lt Col Ajiya Of Sending Them On ‘Death Errands,’ Refusing To Repair Unit Vehicles

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Some soldiers of the Nigerian Army have decried the activities of the Commanding Officer of 81 Division Task Force Battalion at Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State, Lt Col SJ Ajiya, which have caused several deaths of their colleagues.

Some of the soldiers who spoke to SaharaReporters on the condition of anonymity, stated that since Ajiya became their Commander, they have recorded several unwarranted deaths of soldiers because of his negligence.

According to the sources, few weeks ago, seven soldiers were killed in one day because of Ajiya’s negligence and refusal to carry the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle for patrol. “Two are still in critical condition as we speak,” one of the soldiers revealed.

Recounting some alleged unprofessional conducts of the commander, the soldiers alleged that “he sends soldiers on useless errands to Koibe” a development that led to one soldier “Pte Salako entering the mines and he died”. “In fact, for him to burry that soldier becomes a problem,” the aggrieved soldier narrated, adding that “the commander did not want to burry him,” despite the fact that he was the one who sent him to his death.

Narrating further, the soldiers lamented the death of Warrant Officer Charles Nwogu 93NA, the unit Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) that has few years to go on retirement and Pte Ugwu Daniel with so many others seriously injured because, Lt Col SJ Ajiya refused to fix the unit vehicles, which led to a fatal accident when they went to buy fuel.

“The CO has refused to fix the unit vehicles to the extent that our two trucks are down. As a result, he started to use Hilux to carry fuel from town and some soldiers had an accident. Unfortunately, we lost WO Charles Nwogu 93NA the unit RSM that has few years to go on retirement and Pte Ugwu Daniel. Some others with injuries were rushed to the teaching hospital in Maiduguri.

“Since he became our Commander, bad things have been happening in our unit.

“This CO (Commanding officer) has no value for soldiers’ lives. He is always risking our lives and he talks to everybody anyhow. Even the officers he insults them in front of soldiers,” the soldiers lamented, while calling for help.

SaharaReporters’ efforts to get the reaction of the Nigerian Army authorities were unsuccessful as the spokesman, Major General Onyema Nwachukwu could not be reached on telephone as of the time of filing this report.

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Just In: PDP Secretary shot dead in his residence ahead of Thursday NEC meeting

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The secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Tsafe local government area of Zamfara state, Alhaji Musa Ille has been shot dead.

According to Zagazola, the attackers stormed his resident at about 8pm on April 15, 2024.

A witness said the late PDP Scribe was killed him in front of his house.

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UNILORIN lecturer produces biodiesel from eggshells

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A Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Elizabeth Odetoye, has produced biodiesel through the exploration of chicken eggshell-derived heterogeneous catalyst.

Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, Odetoye said that the feat is in line with the efforts of UNILORIN to develop homegrown technology that would enhance the country’s socio-economic progress.

She explained that the feat was accomplished through a “transesterification experiment.”

The don Said the yield showed that eggshells were affordable potential catalyst sources for biodiesel production.

The scholar said, “The utilisation of eggshells can add value to the poultry production process and minimise waste in the poultry industry.”

Odetoye pointed out that biodiesel had been considered one of the sustainable fuel alternatives.

She noted that the high production cost of biodiesel when juxtaposed with fossil fuel, remains one of the major drawbacks of biodiesel production.

The don defined biofuel as fuel made from biomass, saying, “Biofuel is synonymous with biocrude, biodiesel, bio-oil, biogas, bioethanol, Bio syngas and Bio slurry fuels.”

The Professor of Chemical Engineering added that Nigeria has abundant lignocellulosic biomass residues that are waiting to be explored in more environmentally friendly ways.

Odetoye noted that the open burning of biomass residues led to environmental pollution, especially during the dry season.

According to her, biomass waste pyrolysis is a potential means of converting waste to wealth and will create opportunities for skilled engineers and technicians.

She added that when the ensuing fuel is deployed for massive usage, it will make the nation’s physical environment cleaner and more conducive to healthy living.

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