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Rwanda marks 30 years since genocide

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By Francesca Hangeior

Rwanda has commenced sombre commemorations for the 30th anniversary of the 1994 genocide, a mass slaughter orchestrated by Hutu extremists against the Tutsi minority over 100 bloody days.

More than 800,000 men, women and children, mainly ethnic Tutsis but also moderate Hutus, were killed in the murderous onslaught that saw families and friends turn against each other in one of the darkest episodes of the late 20th century.

Three decades on, the tiny landlocked nation has rebuilt under the iron-fisted rule of President Paul Kagame, but the traumatic legacy of the genocide lingers, reverberating across the region.

In keeping with tradition, April 7 — the day Hutu extremists and militias unleashed their horrific killing spree in 1994 — will be marked by Kagame lighting a remembrance flame at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where more than 250,000 victims are believed to be buried.

Kagame, whose Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) rebel army helped to stop the massacres, will deliver a speech and place wreaths on the mass graves, with some foreign dignitaries in attendance for what has been dubbed “Kwibuka (Remembrance) 30”.

Sunday’s events mark the start of a week of national mourning, with Rwanda effectively coming to a standstill and national flags flown at half-mast.

During those days, music will not be allowed in public places or on the radio, while sports events and movies are banned from TV broadcasts, unless connected to the commemorations.

The United Nations and the African Union among others will also hold remembrance ceremonies.

“This year, we remind ourselves of genocide’s rancid root: hate,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a message marking the anniversary.

“To those who would seek to divide us, we must deliver a clear, unequivocal and urgent message: never again.”

The international community was heavily criticised for failing to protect civilians, with the UN sharply reducing its peacekeeping force shortly after the outbreak of the violence.

The assassination of Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana on the night of April 6 when his plane was shot down over Kigali triggered the rampage by Hutu extremists and the “Interahamwe” militia.

Their victims were shot, beaten or hacked to death in killings fuelled by vicious anti-Tutsi propaganda broadcast on TV and radio. An estimated 100,000 to 250,000 women were raped, according to UN figures.

Hundreds of thousands of people, mainly ethnic Hutu fearing reprisal attacks, fled in the aftermath of the genocide to neighbouring countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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House of Representatives shifts resumption date to April 30

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The House of Representatives has announced the further rescheduling of the resumption date from the ongoing recess. According to a release signed by Hon Akin Rotimi Jr. the House Spokesperson, the new resumption date is now set for Tuesday, April 30, 2024, at 11:00 a.m.

“This adjustment, as communicated by the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Dr. Yahaya Danzaria, Esq., in an internal correspondence to Honourable Members on Wednesday, is aimed at giving Honourable Members more time for constituency outreach to secure adequate input in the constitution review process.

“The extension follows the earlier decision by the House Committee on Constitution Review to extend the deadline for submission of memoranda to April 30, 2024.

“Additionally, the extended timeline will allow for more concerted preparation for the legislative summits on State Police, as well as the one on Tax Reforms, Revenue Enhancement, and Digital Transformation coming up in the next 2 weeks.

“All inconveniences arising from this rescheduling are regretted. In line with the Legislative Agenda of the 10th Assembly, the House remains committed to being accountable and providing timely communications to all stakeholders”.

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Naira Abuse: President Tinubu spraying cash at an event?

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President Bola Tinubu has been accused of abusing the naira at an event, following the arrest of personalities by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission.

In a viral video, Tinubu was seen dancing while being serenaded by Nigerian musician, Wasiu Ayinde, popularly known as k1 the ultimate, at the 80th birthday celebration of Rasak Okoya, a billionaire industrialist and the Aare of Lagos.

Accompanied by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and other notable personalities on the dancefloor, Tinubu reached out to his entourage and collected huge bundles of cash and handed it over to the singer.

The video originally captured by Ovation TV four years ago, was shared on X (formerly Twitter) by human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore on April 12, 2024, shortly after crossdresser, Idris Okuneye popularly known as Bobrisky was arrested and sentenced to 6 months in prison.

Sowore alleged that Tinubu abused the naira and called on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to investigate the President.

Captioning the video, he wrote, “This @officialABAT abusing the naira at a party, spraying Wasiu Ayinde @k1theultimate, I hope @officialEFCC will prosecute him for this crime someday the same way @BobriskyIdris was prosecuted.”

Recall that the EFCC arrested Bobrisky and charged him to court where he was sentenced to six months in prison without an option of a fine for spraying and tampering with the naira.

On Wednesday, April 17, the anti-graft agency also arraigned businessman and social media influencer, Pascal Chubuike popularly known as Cubana Chiefpriest on charges of abusing the naira at some events.

This comes following an announcement by the EFCC that the commission would go after celebrities who are caught flouting the law that prohibits spraying of Naira or manhandling the naira in any way.

Meanwhile, several Nigerians have dismissed Sowore’s call, saying Tinubu did not abuse the naira but handed the money over to the singer as captured in the video.

Below are some comments;

@Kakanfo_: So giving naira to someone is abuse?

@dayo0629: Sir, if you believe that naira is been abusive in this video, it implies that you are dishonest and deceptive, resembling the corrupt politicians we all criticize.

@diaspora_prince: I didn’t see any abuse of the Naira in this video or is this one a mistake? Post the real one if it exist.

@iamkissking: This isn’t abuse of Naira

Guess you as a former president candidate doesn’t know the meaning of Naira abuse or what Naira abuse means fr

I don’t like BAT but did you see him spare it in the air? Did you see him step on it in that video you posted.

@lekanhaastrup: We respect you for the struggle and personally I don’t like what they did to Bob, whereas we have seen a lot of this celebrities spraying and abusing the note, but what are you trying to gain with this
@officialABAT video, his excellency committed no abuse here.

@_sonofalkebulan: My leader I’m forced to say what he did in this video doesn’t exactly qualify as mutilation of naira , he passed a bunch of money to another respectfully, you have taught me to stand for the truth and this is my truth on the matter sir

@akballack13: You just lost my respect. Everyone knows he didn’t spray money at Okoya’s birthday he only handed over bundle of money to him. You know what you are doing and you can do better @YeleSowore.

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Peter Obi explains why Nigeria should shift from presidential system of governance to parliamentary system

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The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has explained why Nigeria needs to return to the parliamentary system of government.

According to Obi, Nigeria needs a parliamentary system of government, where the president can communicate with citizens at least once a month.

He said; “What happens is, because of the presidential system that has no president in Nigeria today, we have a bad leader and he stays there for four years. When we have a parliamentary system, we can move a motion of no confidence within two or three years” Obi said at a lecture at Harvard Law School in Boston, Massachusetts, USA on Tuesday, April 16.

“If we are in a parliamentary system, a president will be a member of parliament.

“Today, if you elect me as president of Nigeria or governor, I can remove myself entirely from being answerable to the people, just hire a gang of lunatics, talking rubbish every day.

“While, if it is a parliamentary system, during the president’s question time, he has to answer. He doesn’t have to hire anybody to speak for him.

“A president in Nigeria can decide not to talk to anybody for one year and nobody cares because he has hired all these people who do the talking. If you say anything, they call you names, they do this.

“So, we need a parliamentary system where the president will be a member of parliament and will at least, even if it is once a month, answer the people who elected him; because we didn’t elect all these gangsters. We elected somebody and we want the person to talk to us.”

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