Army officers have appeared on national television in Gabon to say they have taken power.
They said they were annulling the results of Saturday’s election, in which President Ali Bongo was declared the winner.
Military officials later said that Mr Bongo had been placed under house arrest and one of his sons arrested for treason.
His overthrow would end his family’s 53-year hold on power in Gabon.
Gabon is one of Africa’s major oil producers, while nearly 90% of the country is covered by forests.
It joined the Commonwealth in June 2022, becoming one of its few members not to have been a British colony.
Twelve soldiers appeared on television early on Wednesday morning, announcing they were cancelling the results of the election and dissolving “all the institutions of the republic”.
The electoral commission had said Mr Bongo had won just under two-thirds of the votes in an election the opposition argued was fraudulent.
The coup leaders added that the country’s borders had been closed “until further notice”.
They said Mr Bongo would be replaced by the head of the presidential guard, Gen Brice Oligui Nguema, and that certain officials would “answer for their actions” following an investigation by the “competent authorities”.
This is the eighth coup in former French colonies in Africa in the past three years.
However, most of the others have been further north, in the Sahel region, where an Islamist insurgency has led to rising complaints that the democratically elected governments were failing to protect the civilian populations.
The French government has condemned the takeover, with a spokesman calling for the election results to be respected.
“France is closely monitoring the development of the situation on the ground,” said Olivier Veran.
Russia and China are among the other countries that have expressed their concern. The European Union’s foreign policy chief said a military takeover would increase instability in Africa.
“This is a big issue for Europe,” said Josep Borrell.
Meanwhile, French mining group Eramet, which employs thousands of people in Gabon, said it had stopped all work in the country for security reasons.
The soldiers who announced the coup said they were from the Committee of Transition and the Restoration of Institutions and represent security and defence forces in the country.
One of the soldiers said on TV channel Gabon 24: “We have decided to defend peace by putting an end to the current regime.”
This, he added, was down to “irresponsible, unpredictable governance resulting in a continuing deterioration in social cohesion that risks leading the country into chaos”.
The sounds of loud gunfire could be heard in the country’s capital, Libreville, following the broadcast.
BBC World Service Africa editor Will Ross said this suggested the coup was perhaps not “done and dusted” and there will be some resistance.
A local journalist told BBC Afrique large crowds of people took to the city’s main street to celebrate the takeover, but they were told by the military to go home and move away from strategic areas.
There have also been reports of celebrations in other cities too.
Internet access was suspended following Saturday’s election for security reasons, but was restored shortly after the apparent takeover. A curfew is also in place.
Ali Bongo was declared the winner of Saturday’s election, which the opposition argued was fraudulent
As in previous general elections in Gabon, there were serious concerns about the process in Saturday’s vote.
Main opposition candidate Albert Ondo Ossa complained that many polling stations lacked ballot papers bearing his name, while the coalition he represents said the names of some of those who had withdrawn from the presidential race had still been on the ballot sheet.
Campaign group Reporters Without Borders said foreign media had been banned from setting foot in the country to cover the vote.
Both of Mr Bongo’s previous wins were disputed as fraudulent by opponents. This time, controversial changes were made to voting papers just weeks before election day.
Mr Bongo came to power when his father Omar died in 2009.
In 2018, he suffered a stroke which sidelined him for almost a year and led to calls for him to step aside.
The following year, a failed coup attempt saw mutinying soldiers sent to prison
Kwara Gov receives VP Kashim Shettima in Ilorin hails peace harmony in Kwara
Kwara State Governor and Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Saturday received Vice President Kashim Shettima (GCON) in Ilorin, the state capital, amid a rousing welcome by several APC leaders and people of the state.
Vice President Shettima was received by the Governor at the Tunde Idiagbon Airport, joined by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi; Speaker Kwara House of Assembly Rt Hon Yakubu Salihu Danladi; Sen Salihu Mustapha (Kwara Central); Sen. Sadiq Umar (North); some members of the state executive council; and CEO KAM Holdings Nigeria Alhaji Kamaru Yusuf.
The Vice President touched down at the airport at exactly 3p.m., accompanied by his Special Assistant on Political Matters Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed; and top APC chieftain Dr. Isia’q Modibbo Kawu; among others.
Shettima headed to the Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, where he commissioned the institution’s Nursing Science Complex, which has been named after him.
The Vice President then delivered the university’s 13th convocation lecture that was themed ‘Addressing Nigeria’s Food Security Challenges Through Hi-Tech Approach: The Role of Nigerian Universities’.
Other dignitaries at the occasion included the Inspector General of Police IGP Kayode Egbetokun, who has just received his doctoral degree from the institution; founder of the University Chief AbdulRaheem Oladimeji (OFR); and Vice Chancellor of the University Prof. Noah Yusuf.
Shettima, in his lecture, said Nigeria’s reliance on oil since the early 70s and the neglect of the agricultural sector are responsible for what has today become a national security challenge in the form of food insecurity.
He said the challenge assumed a disturbing proportion as a result of policy inconsistencies, mismanagement of resources, corruption, climate change, insurgencies, and natural disasters, among others.
He said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu understands the nexus between food production and national security, and has declared a state of emergency on food security alongside a policy commitment to improve productivity by injecting more funds in the sector.
Tertiary institutions are playing critical roles in assisting the Federal Government to promote food security in Nigeria through research and the integration of agricultural study in their curriculum, the vice president said.
He said no appreciable progress can be made in agricultural production without mechanization, calling for increased and efficient use of modern technology to maximise yield.
The Vice President described Governor AbdulRazaq as a prudent leader and commended him for various agricultural initiatives the administration has introduced to boost food production in the state.
Speaking about the cultural composition of Ilorin, which he said exemplifies a spirit of brotherhood, Shettima said Nigeria has a lot to learn from the ancient city, calling on all indigenes of Ilorin to continue to be tolerant and supportive of one another.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
December 9, 2023
Japa: Feel free to leave, Bishop Kukah tells Nigerian youths
The Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah, has advised young Nigerians wishing to leave the country (the popular Japa syndrome) not to hesitate.
However, he prayed that the right and conducive environment be created so that those left behind can compete favourably with their foreign counterparts.
Bishop Kukah, the Pro-chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of Veritas University, Abuja, said this while addressing graduands of Veritas University, on Saturday. It was the school’s convocation ceremony.
The Bishop said: “I encourage young people who want to leave Nigeria to please, feel free to leave. The country is big enough. We can assure you that by the time you settle down in the United States of America or wherever you have gone, you will discover that Nigeria needs you.
“And for those you left behind, our hope and prayer is that they will be competing at the same level with you. We have everything that it takes to turn the corner.
“We are Veritas University will continue to inspire and shape the new generation so that the change we expect in our country is not the change we expect from politicians.
“It is the change that will come with a big intellectual understanding of the complex nature of this country. So every graduate who walks out of the portals of Veritas will be truly equipped mentally and intellectually to conquer Nigeria.”
Kukah tasked the graduates to remain focused and remember the school they were leaving behind. He also appealed to teachers to strive to be role models for the students.
According to him, “The quality of help and support you will get from the alumni will be determined by how they left this university.
“As you prepare to spend a new chapter in your life, I encourage you to remain focused on your dream. Do not forget your alma mater because you are standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before you. Do not forget the sacrifices you have made.
“This is why we also appeal to teachers to become sources of inspiration because the quality of help and support you will get from the alumni will be determined by how they left this university. If they leave this university feeling sorrowful, they are not likely to look back.
“So we want to encourage you parents to please endeavour to serve as models and mentors to these young people. Remember it could have been done anywhere. It’s not by accident that they are in Nigeria,” he added.
He noted that some teachers were sacrificing to give their best to the country. Kukah said contrary to the claim that teachers’ rewards were in heaven, they are here on earth, appealing to them not to rest on their oars.
‘How pilot delayed plane for me’
He narrated an experience: “I have a personal experience of coming late to catch a flight to Sokoto. I was the last person to get on the plane.
“Miraculously, the plane continued to wait and when I got to the aircraft, the pilot was waiting at the foot of the plane.
“I tried to take my seat and knelt to greet me. I was quite embarrassed because I had never seen this gentleman in my life. But he said, ‘Well, Bishop, I have to kneel and greet you because you are the one who recommended me over 10 years ago for the job as a pilot’.
“We never know as teachers. Do not fall victims to the claim that your rewards are in heaven. Your rewards are actually here and they will also be in heaven.”
He congratulated the management and staff of the university, headed by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ichoku Hyacinth.
Kukah said the VC’s outstanding leadership and qualities “have been very clearly enunciated on how far the university had travelled.
“We hope that this university will achieve the elasticity that all those who started with Veritas will be able to secure the place.”
He appealed to the bodies that regulate university admissions to expand the opportunity for some universities, including Veritas University so that they can contribute their quota to the education of the citizens.
… to parents
Turning to the parents and guardians, Kukah said: “As a chairman of the Council, I’m fully aware of the sacrifices that people have made. (I am) also taking notes of the rising amount of internally generated revenue without necessarily punishing anybody.
“These things, we don’t take for granted. I, therefore, salute the management and staff of Veritas University for their courage and determination in fulfilling their obligation.
“As Pro-chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Veritas University, we assure you of the unequivocal support of the council for the ongoing development of Veritas University.
“Once again, we appeal to you to please let your name be printed somewhere in this university. It doesn’t matter how big and how little. Step forward and make your commitment because it is through this that we can expand the frontier of knowledge through Veritas University.”
PHOTOS: El-Rufai, Former Emir Of Kano, Visit Kaduna Community Bombed By Army
The Former Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai and the 14th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, have visited Tudun Biri in Kaduna State where villagers attending Maulud celebration were bombed on Sunday evening.
The village was struck by an accidental airstrike on Sunday during a Maulud celebration, resulting in the loss of scores of lives.
The two leaders joined other leaders from the Tijjaniyya Islamic sect for a visit to the village on Friday.
Sanusi is a spiritual leader in the Tijanniyah Sufi order of Nigeria.
Credit: X | MuyiwaAdekeye
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