Thursday, January 14, 2016

Former prime minister, accused of baby-trafficking, approved to stand in next month's presidential election in Niger

Hama Amadou, a former speaker of the National Assembly arrested in November in connection with a probe into a ring of elites accused of obtaining new-borns from “baby factories” in neighbouring Nigeria.
Niger has a presidential election on February 21. Last Saturday, Niger’s constitutional court approved 15 candidates for the election, "including key opponent Hama Amadou, who was imprisoned two months ago upon return from a year-long exile."

Amadou was arrested on charges of procuring babies from "baby factories" in Nigeria. Amadou has been both an ally and an opponent of president Mahamadou Issoufou. In 2011, he ran for president against Issoufou and placed third (with 20% of the vote); he supported Issoufou against Seyni Oumarou in the run-off, helping Issoufou win his first term as president. He was elected President of the National Assembly as an ally of Issoufou in 2011 and held the post until 2014, but in 2013 he went into the opposition. In August 2014 he fled Niger to escape the baby-trafficking charges, which he says were politically motivated.

The three top candidates from 2011 - Issoufou, Amadou, and Oumarou (all of them former prime ministers) - are considered to be the leading contenders in the upcoming election, with incumbent Issoufou considered the favorite to win. 

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