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Egypt Crises: Nigeria Calls for Immediate Restoration of Democracy

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The federal government has described the removal of Egypt's President, Mohammed Morsi and the suspension of the country’s constitution by the Egyptian armed forces as a serious setback for the remarkable progress made by the continent in fostering democracy.
The federal government’s statement came just as the North African country’s military launched a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood movement which launched Morsi to power as the country’s first democratically-elected president.
The Nigerian government, however, expressed grave concern at the situation in Egypt where after days of protests across the country, the armed forces issued an ultimatum to Morsi to adhere to the “wishes” of the people and subsequently announced his removal.
The federal government called for the immediate restoration of democratic order with a request to the Egyptian army to allow democratic culture to thrive in the country.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja Thursday, said Morsi's removal was a truncation of the aspirations of the Egyptian people to freely express themselves through the ballot box.
“This unfortunate development is a gross violation of the Constitutive Act of the African Union which prohibits unconstitutional change of government.
“It constitutes a serious setback for the remarkable progress which Africa has made in fostering culture of democratic governance on the continent,” it read.
“Nigeria also calls on the Egyptian people to exercise utmost restraint in the peaceful pursuit of their legitimate grievances,” the statement added.
Following the overthrow of Morsi on Wednesday and his replacement with the top judge of Egypt's Constitutional Court, Adly Mahmud Mansour, a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood movement got underway in Egypt Thursday.
The BBC reported that a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood warned that the ouster of Morsi, a member of the movement, could prompt some groups to resort to violence, though he said the Brotherhood would not do so.
The deposed president was under house arrest at the Republican Guard Club and most members of presidential team had also been placed under house arrest, a Brotherhood spokesman said.
Judge Tharwat Hammad said Thursday that judicial authorities had opened an investigation into accusations that Morsi and eight other senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood had defamed the judiciary. A travel ban was imposed on all of them. The prosecutor expects to question Morsi sometime next week.
A prosecutor also ordered the arrest of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie, and a top deputy, Khairat el-Shater, for allegedly ordering the killing of protesters outside of the Brotherhood’s headquar
ters on Sunday, judicial sources said. The whereabouts of the two men are still unknown.
The action was taken as a judge appointed to Egypt’s constitutional court by Hosni Mubarak - the strongman leader ousted by the Arab Spring uprising - was sworn in as interim president Friday.
Mansour, Chairman of the Supreme Constitutional Court, pledged to look after the interests of “the great people of Egypt,” promised fresh elections, and urged the revolutionaries who helped topple Islamist President Morsi to stay in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Mansour, 68, said he would respect the rule of law and “look after the interests of the people,” according to a live translation by BBC News.
The US, meanwhile, was keeping a close eye on developments with President Barack Obama meeting with his national security team about the situation.
In a statement, Obama said the United States supported “a set of core principles, including opposition to violence, protection of universal human rights, and reform that meets the legitimate aspirations of the people”.
He added: “We are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian armed forces to remove President Morsi and suspend the Egyptian constitution.
“I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsi and his supporters.”
Early Thursday, it remained unclear whether the US government would define the military’s decision to oust Morsi as a coup. This could affect the $1.5 billion in aid given to Egypt annually.
The US law bans military or financial assistance “to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree”.

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