- Title: NIGER: Former President Ali Saibou laid to rest after death at age 71
- Date: 3rd November 2011
- Summary: NIAMEY, NIGER (NOVEMBER 02, 2011) (REUTERS) ( ** BEWARE FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY **) VARIOUS OF FORMER PRESIDENT ALI SAIBOU'S BODY LYING IN STATE/ MEMBERS OF SAIBOU'S FAMILY LOOKING ON MORE OF SAIBOU'S FAMILY MEMBERS SEATED IN THE ROOM VARIOUS OF NIGER'S PRESIDENT MAHAMADOU ISSOUFOU PAYING HIS RESPECTS VARIOUS OF SOLDIERS CARRYING SAIBOU'S BODY OUTSIDE SAIBOU'S WIVES AT FORMER PRESIDENT'S STATE FUNERAL CEREMONY SAIBOU'S BODY BEING PUT ON A TABLE DURING STATE FUNERAL CEREMONY (SOUNDBITE) (French) KARIDIO MAHAMADOU, NIGER'S NATIONAL DEFENCE MINISTER SAYING: "You authorised and welcomed a national conference and facilitated the dawn of multi-party politics, allowing a smooth passage into the democratic era." MORE OF SAIBOU'S BODY AT STATE FUNERAL CEREMONY WITH GUARD OF HONOUR IN FOREGROUND VARIOUS OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS INCLUDING FORMER PRESIDENT, MAMADOU TANJA (IN WHITE ON FAR RIGHT AND MAHAMANE OUSMANE IN TURQUOISE (SECOND FROM RIGHT AT THE FUNERAL VARIOUS OF SAIBOU'S BODY BEING PUT IN AN AMBULANCE DESTINED FOR HIS FINAL BURIAL PLACE (SOUNDBITE) (French) MAHAMANE OUSMANE, FORMER NIGER PRESIDENT SAYING: "We have hope that the example that the late president Ali Saibou set for us will be used as an example for all future generations." VARIOUS OF AMBULANCE CARRYING SAIBOU'S BODY DRIVING AWAY/ GUARD OF HONOUR STANDING BY
- Embargoed: 18th November 2011 12:00
- Location: Niger, Niger
- Country: Niger
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA60NQ38S81R2CI8GYVUE4EORSA
- Story Text: Niger paid its final respects to General Ali Saibou on Wednesday (November 03), as the country's former president who died at the age of 71 years on Monday (October 31) in the capital Niamey was laid to rest.
Three days of national mourning were announced to honour the former president.
Saibou's body laid in state, where current president Mahamadou Issoufou, as well as former presidents, Mamadou Tanja and Mahamane Ousmane paid their respects, to the late president.
Saibou, who is remembered for ushering democracy and development, led Niger from 1987 to 1993.
He succeeded general Seyni Kountche, the latter who had led a coup in 1974 on then president Diori Hamani.
From the moment he took power, Saibou was lauded for releasing political prisoners, including Hamani, and for bringing a multi party political system to the West African country.
"You authorised and welcomed a national conference and facilitated the dawn of multi-party politics, allowing a smooth passage into the democratic era," said Karido Mahamadou's Niger National Defence minister at Saibou's state funeral ceremony.
The West African state, a top uranium supplier to France's nuclear industry and also one of the world's poorest countries, has suffered three military overthrows in a decade, including one last year that toppled former president Mamadou Tandja.
Insecurity, including a threat from al Qaeda-linked operatives in Niger's north, has hampered investment in the state's rich energy and mining resources.
Saibou withdrew from public life after stepping down as president, retiring from state affairs although he was committed to his duties as the great Chancellor of the National order, but his legacy is still strongly felt in the coup prone country.
"We carry the hope that the example that the late president Ali Saibou set will serve and be emulated for this generation and other generations to come," said former president Mahamane Ousmane.
Saibou who leaves 17 children and two widows, was buried in his native village of Dingajibanda in western Niger.
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