Weekly News Round Up (29/05/15): Nigeria’s newly appointed President – Muhammadu Buhari and other news

29 May 2015

Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as the new President of Nigeria on Friday 29th May 2015. As he takes over a nation still combating the threat of terrorism in the North, Nigerians are starting to look up to their new leader with high expectations which only time will tell if he lives up to.

The peaceful transition of power to the All Progressive Congress party became a talking point earlier this year as fears of post-election violence were well-founded after 800 people were killed after the 2011 elections. The transition has been hailed as an exemplary development for regional peace and stability.

The Transition

  • Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as the leader of Africa’s most populous country on Friday 29th May 2015.
  • The BBC has published a series of letters from African journalists, looking at the challenges ahead of Mr. Buhari’s presidency. Here you can read through the general summaries.
  • In his inauguration speech, Mr. Buhari has promised to crush the ‘godless’ Boko Haram.

Selected views

    • Human Rights Watch has called on the new President-elect to address the abuses in Nigeria, specifically to act boldly on violence, corruption, and lack of accountability.
    • Nigerians feel generally hopeful about their new President. The question remains though whether the excitement is largely from the fact that Mr. Jonathan is finally departing or the fact that people really do feel Mr. Buhari will bring about the much needed changes.
    • Kofi Annan has called Nigeria’s free and fair elections an inspiration for nascent democracies.
    • Nigeria is currently struggling with low levels of fuel despite being Africa’s biggest crude oil producer. Alongside rampant corruption, Mr. Buhari is pitting hope against harsh realities.

Boko Haram’s Persistence

  • Video footage found in captured Boko Haram camps by Nigeria’s army appears to show foreign fighters in the terrorist organisation’s ranks.
  • Witnesses reported on Wednesday that 43 were killed in Nigeria’s Borno State in the town of Gubio.
  • Several Nigerian soldiers have been dismissed from the army for cowardice and failure to fight against Boko Haram. The soldiers have called the dismissal absurd as they believe they were following orders to retreat.


Other News

News from HART

  • Read through Baroness Cox’s contribution to the House of Lords debate on the Queen’s Speech here.
  • HART has published Samuel Totten’s report on the Nuba Mountains. Read the full report here.



  • Shan Human Rights Foundation has reported that the Burma Army attacked two civilian vehicles near Lashio, Northern Shan State, killing one man, paralysing a young girl on one side of her body and injuring two others.
  • Burma Partnership has released its first paper in a series from ‘progressive voice’. It covers freedom of press and protest restrictions in Burma.
  • An Australian company, SMEC has bribed local people and disguised the truth to get them to approve a dam project. This is just one example of the abuse of power committed by many investing in large-scale developments in Burma.
  • Burma Campaign UK has published a briefing on the Rohingya crisis and the root causes that must be tackled in order to prevent more fleeing from Burma.



  • Authorities in the state of Tripura have withdrawn a controversial anti-insurgent law after 18 years. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in February 1997 following a rise in separatist insurgency and violence. It gave security forces search and seizure powers and protected them from reprisals over killing civilians ‘by mistake or in unavoidable circumstances’.
  • The Delhi high court has ordered the Indian government to unfreeze two Greenpeace bank accounts in what is being seen as a major boost for the environmental group. The Government blocked the accounts last month, accusing the group of violating tax laws and working against its economic interests, but activists say it was an attempt to silence criticism.
  • A transgender woman has, for the first time, been appointed as the principal of a college in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. Manabi Banerjee will head the Krishnagar Women’s College, Dipak K Kar. India’s transgender activists hailed the appointment as a proud day for a community that usually faces discrimination.




South Sudan

  • Senior rebel leaders in Northern Bahr el Ghazla have rejected proposals from government officials to engage in separate dialogue with the Kiir administration, stating ‘we have told them clearly that we are part of national matters’. Peace talks between the government and rebels are set to resume early next month, after a ceasefire agreement set in February was broken, resulting in the continuation of fierce fighting.
  • Meanwhile 8 million people are suffering as a result of chronic food shortages, with fighting continuing to prevent vital aid provisions being delivered to those in desperate need. UN officials are urging stake holders to reach a sustainable solution, after expressing concern over increasing reports of widespread violations and abuses, including; extra judicial killings, the abduction of women and children, rape and other forms of sexual violence, and the recruiting of child soldiers.



  • Uganda’s government is aiming to launch an ambitious campaign of HIV testing for its citizens. With a goal of having over 90% of Ugandans know their status, the Government’s Health Ministry has promised that it will go to “every home, every village, and test”.
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