Quick Telecast
Expect News First

TRAVELS: Niger coup through two journalists’ lenses

0 86


Aminatou Harouna and Mohamane Bachir were excited when their applications for the Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) journalism fellowship sailed through.

The DPI fellowship, organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), an Accra, Ghana-based independent not-for-profit civil society organisation, provides incredible opportunities for journalists in West Africa to interrogate issues around the digitalisation of government businesses for efficient service delivery.

The DPI journalism fellowship, which began in October 2023 and to run through March 2024, seeks to equip journalists with the capacity to report on digital payment systems, citizens identity and data management in 10 West African countries of – Benin, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Togo.

But the duo’s excitement soon turned into lamentation when the military truncated democratic governance in Niger with the attendant consequences.

Niger, a member of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), with the junta which took over power, was declared a pariah by the sub-regional body, which slapped it with multiple sanctions, including cutting electricity supply to Niger, triggering a power crisis in the country. Niger depends heavily on its neighbour -Nigeria – for 80 per cent of its power supply.

The ECOWAS led by the Nigerian president, Bola Tinubu, threatened a military invasion to restore Mohammed Bazoum who had been deposed and held hostage in Niamey, the Nigerien capital, by the coup plotters led by Abdourahmane Tchiani, an army general.

The two Nigerien journalists’ headache began when the junta shut its airspace to European airlines that were providing flight services from Niger to other African destinations.

The airspace closure disrupted Ms Harouna and Mr Bachir’s direct flights from Niamey to Accra, where they were to join their counterparts from the nine other West African countries for a two-week in-person gathering of the 20 DPI fellowship cohorts.

“Normally the flight time from Niamey to Accra is less than six hours. But because of this situation to come to Accra, we had to first spend five hours of flight to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), then six hours of layover at Addis airport and thereafter, six hours of flight from Addis to Accra, quite a detour, which was really painful for me,” Aminatu told this reporter who is also a cohort of the DPI fellowship in Accra.

Before the military takeover, air travels from Niger were without hassle, Mr Bachir told PREMIUM TIMES in Accra.

“This new difficulty encountered by travellers coming from and going to Niger is one of the consequences of ECOWAS sanctions on Niger, since the coup d’état of 26 July 2023, which deposed the President of the Republic Mohamed Bazoum,” Mr Bachir said.

The pair’s flight from Accra back to Niamey was more gruelling. They spent more than 24 hours from Ghana to Niger with a 13-hour layover in Addis Ababa.

“I tell myself that we don’t have to go through all of these (hassles); many journalists have missed opportunities to travel for capacity-building events because of this situation. I think that the Niger authorities must continue negotiations with ECOWAS to end the crisis soon,” Ms Harouna suggested.

TEXEM Advert

Mr Bachir believes ECOWAS and the African Union should “lift their sanctions against Niger because this annoys the citizens more than the targeted military authorities.

“The people of Niger, already battered by insecurity, climate change and other natural calamities, do not deserve additional suffering,” he said.

ALSO READ: Niger Coup: France to withdraw from Niger

The Nigerien journalists’ thoughts were re-echoed by Nigeria’s foremost human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, who described the Nigerian government’s cutting off electricity supply to Niger as “illegal.”

He said while the junta is ensconced in the cosy Presidential Palace in Niamey, the over 27 million Nigeriens bear the brunt of sanctions.

Kogi AD

Speaking at the 2023 West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards (WAMECA) in Accra, Mr Falana and other media and democracy professionals decried the rise of military regimes across West Africa where constitutional order has been suspended in four countries.

Dangote adbanner 728x90_2 (1)

Addressing the gathering in early November in Accra, a renowned professor of communication and founder of MFWA, Kwame Karikari, said “Democracy is under siege in Africa.”

He cited the rise of military regimes across West Africa, especially in the francophone countries of Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Niger, where there has been democratic reversal.

Mr Karikari spoke on the theme of the conference, ‘Media and Democracy in Africa’.

He noted that “the state of democratisation across the continent today confronts threats of major recessions.”

The academic lamented that key pillars of democracy – press freedom, human rights, and freedom of expression – were vanishing from Africa.

Referencing the conduct of elections on the continent, Mr Karikari said “All kinds of imaginable acts of fraud have undermined the sanctity of elections and reduced the institution to a farce in many cases.”

In Nigeria, for instance, electoral outcomes including that of the recent presidential poll, were challenged by opposition parties up to the Supreme Court where the ruling party’s victory was affirmed.

Elections continue to be marred by fraud and violence in many African countries.

“These explain why nearly every election in Africa ends in some level of controversy, legal dispute, or in the extreme violence or even a coup d’etat as has happened in some West African states,” Mr Karikari quipped, urging the citizens to resist anti-democratic practices.

There are many in the sub-region grappling with various degrees of difficulties occasioned by coups in their country.

The recent Nigerien coup almost cost Ms Harouna and Mr Bachir a professional opportunity. But for many others, the price is peace, stability, business, freedom, good health and even life.


Support PREMIUM TIMES’ journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.

Donate






TEXT AD: Call Willie – +2348098788999






PT Mag Campaign AD




Aminatou Harouna and Mohamane Bachir were excited when their applications for the Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) journalism fellowship sailed through.

The DPI fellowship, organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), an Accra, Ghana-based independent not-for-profit civil society organisation, provides incredible opportunities for journalists in West Africa to interrogate issues around the digitalisation of government businesses for efficient service delivery.

The DPI journalism fellowship, which began in October 2023 and to run through March 2024, seeks to equip journalists with the capacity to report on digital payment systems, citizens identity and data management in 10 West African countries of – Benin, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Togo.

But the duo’s excitement soon turned into lamentation when the military truncated democratic governance in Niger with the attendant consequences.

Niger, a member of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), with the junta which took over power, was declared a pariah by the sub-regional body, which slapped it with multiple sanctions, including cutting electricity supply to Niger, triggering a power crisis in the country. Niger depends heavily on its neighbour -Nigeria – for 80 per cent of its power supply.

The ECOWAS led by the Nigerian president, Bola Tinubu, threatened a military invasion to restore Mohammed Bazoum who had been deposed and held hostage in Niamey, the Nigerien capital, by the coup plotters led by Abdourahmane Tchiani, an army general.

The two Nigerien journalists’ headache began when the junta shut its airspace to European airlines that were providing flight services from Niger to other African destinations.

The airspace closure disrupted Ms Harouna and Mr Bachir’s direct flights from Niamey to Accra, where they were to join their counterparts from the nine other West African countries for a two-week in-person gathering of the 20 DPI fellowship cohorts.

“Normally the flight time from Niamey to Accra is less than six hours. But because of this situation to come to Accra, we had to first spend five hours of flight to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), then six hours of layover at Addis airport and thereafter, six hours of flight from Addis to Accra, quite a detour, which was really painful for me,” Aminatu told this reporter who is also a cohort of the DPI fellowship in Accra.

Before the military takeover, air travels from Niger were without hassle, Mr Bachir told PREMIUM TIMES in Accra.

“This new difficulty encountered by travellers coming from and going to Niger is one of the consequences of ECOWAS sanctions on Niger, since the coup d’état of 26 July 2023, which deposed the President of the Republic Mohamed Bazoum,” Mr Bachir said.

The pair’s flight from Accra back to Niamey was more gruelling. They spent more than 24 hours from Ghana to Niger with a 13-hour layover in Addis Ababa.

“I tell myself that we don’t have to go through all of these (hassles); many journalists have missed opportunities to travel for capacity-building events because of this situation. I think that the Niger authorities must continue negotiations with ECOWAS to end the crisis soon,” Ms Harouna suggested.

TEXEM Advert

Mr Bachir believes ECOWAS and the African Union should “lift their sanctions against Niger because this annoys the citizens more than the targeted military authorities.

“The people of Niger, already battered by insecurity, climate change and other natural calamities, do not deserve additional suffering,” he said.

ALSO READ: Niger Coup: France to withdraw from Niger

The Nigerien journalists’ thoughts were re-echoed by Nigeria’s foremost human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, who described the Nigerian government’s cutting off electricity supply to Niger as “illegal.”

He said while the junta is ensconced in the cosy Presidential Palace in Niamey, the over 27 million Nigeriens bear the brunt of sanctions.

Kogi AD

Speaking at the 2023 West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards (WAMECA) in Accra, Mr Falana and other media and democracy professionals decried the rise of military regimes across West Africa where constitutional order has been suspended in four countries.

Dangote adbanner 728x90_2 (1)

Addressing the gathering in early November in Accra, a renowned professor of communication and founder of MFWA, Kwame Karikari, said “Democracy is under siege in Africa.”

He cited the rise of military regimes across West Africa, especially in the francophone countries of Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Niger, where there has been democratic reversal.

Mr Karikari spoke on the theme of the conference, ‘Media and Democracy in Africa’.

He noted that “the state of democratisation across the continent today confronts threats of major recessions.”

The academic lamented that key pillars of democracy – press freedom, human rights, and freedom of expression – were vanishing from Africa.

Referencing the conduct of elections on the continent, Mr Karikari said “All kinds of imaginable acts of fraud have undermined the sanctity of elections and reduced the institution to a farce in many cases.”

In Nigeria, for instance, electoral outcomes including that of the recent presidential poll, were challenged by opposition parties up to the Supreme Court where the ruling party’s victory was affirmed.

Elections continue to be marred by fraud and violence in many African countries.

“These explain why nearly every election in Africa ends in some level of controversy, legal dispute, or in the extreme violence or even a coup d’etat as has happened in some West African states,” Mr Karikari quipped, urging the citizens to resist anti-democratic practices.

There are many in the sub-region grappling with various degrees of difficulties occasioned by coups in their country.

The recent Nigerien coup almost cost Ms Harouna and Mr Bachir a professional opportunity. But for many others, the price is peace, stability, business, freedom, good health and even life.


Support PREMIUM TIMES’ journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.

Donate






TEXT AD: Call Willie – +2348098788999






PT Mag Campaign AD

FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Quick Telecast is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment
Ads Blocker Image Powered by Code Help Pro

Ads Blocker Detected!!!

We have detected that you are using extensions to block ads. Please support us by disabling these ads blocker.

buy kamagra buy kamagra online