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Cape Verde: President Neves insists on discussions over colonial reparations

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The President of Cape Verde, Jose Maria Neves, acknowledged that the emergence of right-wing populism has complicated the serious discussion surrounding colonial reparations, but maintained that this should not prevent countries from holding these discussions behind closed doors.

In a Wednesday online interview with the news site Brasil Já, Neves stated that discussing reparations in the “public arena” might exacerbate political polarization in nations like Portugal, the previous colonizer of Cape Verde, where the far-right is becoming more and more popular.

“We see extremist, xenophobic, anti-immigration groups growing in former colonising powers,” Neves said. “There are no political conditions to publicly discuss these questions at the moment.

“But among governments, it is necessary to discuss these matters.”

He added that there were “diplomatic corridors” that could be utilized in place of encouraging the formation of these kinds of organizations, saying it was feasible to “build solutions” for talks to occur.

When questioned by Reuters in April, Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa stated that his nation was accountable for crimes during the colonial era and transatlantic slavery and implied that reparations were necessary. His remarks provoked heated criticism from right-wing parties and a national conversation.

For more than 400 years, Portuguese ships abducted around six million Africans, forced them across the Atlantic, and sold them into chattel slavery, mostly in Brazil. Before sending police officers to Haiti, President William Ruto of Kenya conferred with foreign leaders, security experts, and political advisors.

During the Portuguese colonial era, Portugal ruled over nations including Angola, Mozambique, Brazil, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, East Timor, and certain Asian provinces. Among other reasons, reparations opponents contend that modern states and institutions shouldn’t be held accountable for their history.

Opponents of reparations argue, among other things, that contemporary governments and institutions shouldn’t be held responsible for historical slavery. Proponents contend that action is required to address the legacy of slavery on disadvantaged groups because states are still profiting today from the wealth accumulated by hundreds of years of labour without pay.

The concept of paying reparations or further atonement for transatlantic slavery has gained support worldwide, despite ongoing heated discussion.

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Economic reform won’t stop despite hardship— Nigeria’s Bola Tinubu

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Despite mounting difficulties that have stoked popular unrest, Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu declared on Wednesday that economic reforms would go forward and pledged to quickly submit an executive bill to parliament establishing a new minimum wage.

After devaluing the currency and eliminating a long-standing gasoline subsidy, Tinubu, who took office a year ago, sent inflation skyrocketing to 33.69% in April—the highest level in over three decades—while also reducing earnings.

Tinubu acknowledged the difficulties brought about by the reforms—which also include higher lending rates and the partial elimination of electricity subsidies—during a televised broadcast on Democracy Day, but he insisted that these measures would strengthen the groundwork for future prosperity.

“Our economy has been in desperate need of reform for decades. It has been unbalanced because it was built on the flawed foundation of over-reliance on revenues from the exploitation of oil,” Tinubu said.

“As we continue to reform the economy, I shall always listen to the people and will never turn my back on you.”

Nigeria is experiencing its worst cost of living crisis in decades, and labour unions called off a walkout last week to put pressure on the government to set a new minimum wage of Naira a month.

In response to labour demands of 250,000 naira per month, the government has proposed to double the minimum salary to 62,000 nairas ($41.89) per month. Tinubu claimed his government had negotiated in good faith. In 2019, a new minimum wage was established.

“We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less,” Tinubu said.
He did not say whether the bill would contain the government minimum wage proposal or a new figure.

Before making any decisions, labour union officials have stated that they would like to hear back from Tinubu.

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Amnesty Int’l accuses Nigerian Army of unlawful detention of female terror escapees

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Rights organization, Amnesty International, has accused the Nigerian army of unlawfully holding young women and children who had escaped from Boko Haram’s captivity because the military thought they were affiliated with the Islamist militant group.

The human rights group claimed that the charges, which the military refuted in a statement, were based on 126 interviews conducted with female former hostages between 2019 and 2024.

According to research by Amnesty International, 31 people claimed that between 2015 and mid-2023, they were forcibly detained in military barracks for a few days to nearly four years, mostly due to their actual or suspected ties to Boko Haram.

The United Nations claims that Boko Haram’s armed insurgency in northeastern Nigeria has claimed the lives of over 35,000 people. The group has a nasty reputation and has been charged with rape, forced marriage, torture, and kidnapping. The most well-known incidence occurred in 2014 when 300 girls were abducted from Chibok.

More girls have been kidnapped since then, and many of them have lived with Boko Haram fighters for years. A few have managed to get away.

“The Nigerian government has failed to uphold their human rights obligations to protect and adequately support these girls and young women,” said Samira Daoud, Amnesty International’s regional director for West and Central Africa, in the report.

According to Major General Edward Buba, the defence spokesperson, the military adheres to humanitarian law and protects human rights. According to a statement from the spokesperson, Nigeria’s military “operates within the ambit of international law of armed conflict.”

The Nigerian military has counterattacked the Islamist organization, drawing condemnation for its harsh tactics. The military conducted a covert mass abortion program as part of its fight against Boko Haram, according to a Reuters report from the previous year.

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