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African Press Review 5 January 2018


Free tuition fees and murky business make headlines in South Africa while Nigerian papers scrutinise president Muhammadu Buhari's reaction to recent bloodshed in the country.

To Nigeria first where President Muhammadu Buhari is getting a roastin from the press this morning on a number of issues.

Firstly there's last week's appointment of dead people into the boards of Federal Government’s agencies. The Punch reports that he has now ordered a review of the entire list noting "It was further learnt that apart from those who were identified as having died before the announcement of their appointments, at least one person has also died between when the list was made public and now."

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu told the paper that apart from the dead persons, those on the list who have since left the ruling All Progressives Congress would also be removed."

Some of the people on the list had died as far back as 2016. But Shehu had on Saturday said there was nothing “scandalous or extraordinary” in the inclusion of the names of the dead persons in the list which he said had been prepared over two years ago."

Well, you can't always stop people from dying.

Over in Nigeria's The Guardian, President Buhari's attitude to the recent bloodshed across the country is under scrutiny.

There is of course the murder of 50 people by heardsmen of the Benue community. The Paper reports that the president sent his condolences through a spokesperson refering to those who carried out the attacks as criminals. He also "cautioned Nigerians against politicising the incident, noting that many people were cashing on the killings for their selfish political interest".

However The Guardian seems less than impressed with how silent the Nigerian president remained during his visit to Kaduna."Many believed President Muhammadu Buhari would seize the opportunity offered by the visit to voice government’s concern and allay people’s fears. They were disappointed." writes the paper. "While 21 people were killed in Rivers State, about 50 others died in attacks by herdsmen in Benue. In Kaduna, a traditional ruler, Dr. Gambo Makama, and his wife were murdered in Sanga Local Government Area."

The newspaper describes how the President left the state without saying a word on any of the incidents. The paper reports a loss of confidence from the people with one interviewee telling them that the failure of the authorities to arrest the perpetrators “has emboldened these terrorists to keep attacking and killing at will, while the government is left to issue flowery press statements after each attack and deploy security to already destroyed communities."

Over in South Africa, Free higher education is making it into many of the dailies. "Opposition calls for leadership on free higher education" headlines the Mail & Guardian . Indeed opposition parties the DA and the IFP "have called on the government to provide leadership amid fears that chaos would break out once universities open for registration".

"Where the money will be found for the free higher education, which President Jacob Zuma announced last month, remains a mystery." Ponders the paper. The Sowetan meanwhile focuses on how it will be phased in over the space of 5 years. "Only prospective students who have been offered a place to study at a tertiary institution will be considered for the fully subsidised education" says higher education minister Hlengiwe Mkhize.

Staying in South Africa and back to the Mail & Guardian with an article entitled "Bail bids reveal underworld tentacles dig deep and stretch across SA border". At the centre of this three men: controversial businessperson Nafiz Modack, security company director Grant Veroni, and Hussain Ait Taleb, a martial arts expert better known in bouncer circles as Hussain Moroccan.

They are just some of the people involved in a number of murky affairs including assault, intimidation, extortion and even murder surrounding South African nightclubs with leads all the way to Serbia, Ukraine and Pakistan.

There are also claims that top police officials are involved in underworld activities and murder plots being exposed and it's been alleged that there are some ties with government officials. An article worth checking out if you are in need of a good crime or gangster story fix.