Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Aliko Dangote still interested in buying Arsenal F.C.

Five years after he was turned down by Arsenal, Nigerian billionaire industrialist Aliko Dangote said he still wants to buy the storied English Premier League soccer team—for the right price.

Dangote—who lost some $10 billion in net worth in 2014 due to a crash in the Nigerian stock market and value of the Nigerian naira but is still Africa’s richest person—told Bloomberg that he is interested in taking control of the club, of which he is a big fan.

“I still hope, one day at the right price, that I’ll buy the team,” he said. “I might buy it, not at a ridiculous price but a price that the owners won’t want to resist. I know my strategy.”

The north London club is currently controlled by US billionaire Stan Kroenke, who also owns other sports teams including the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NFL’s St Louis Rams. Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov also owns just under a third of Arsenal.

It is not clear that Kroenke or any of the minority shareholders have put any stakes up for sale at this stage. If Dangote did make a bid it is likely he would be going up against Usmanov, who is worth some $15 billion and has long coveted full control of the club.

Arsenal has the longest serving manager in the league in Arsene Wenger, who brought many trophies early in his reign but has faced questions about the team’s inability to win the Premier League since 2004. Of Wenger, Dangote told Bloomberg: “He needs to change his style a bit. They need new direction.”

English soccer clubs in its top flight league have rocketed in value in recent years, buoyed by rising domestic and international TV rights that have pumped huge wads of cash into the 20 teams in the league—especially top teams like Arsenal. According to Bloomberg, Arsenal Holdings Plc, which trades on the UK’s ICAP Securities & Derivatives Exchange, is valued at 988 million pounds ($1.49 billion).

English soccer has risen rapidly in popularity globally, nowhere more so than in African countries, partly driven by an increasing number of African-born stars playing for the top teams, players such as Manchester City’s Yaya Toure and Chelsea’s Didier Drogba. If Dangote were to buy Arsenal, he would be the first African to own a Premier League team.


Related story: Video - Aljazeera speaks with Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote 

Video - Electricity shortage threathening Nigeria's economy

A shortage of electricity is threatening Africa's biggest economy. Cities across the Nigeria, including Abuja and Lagos, have been experiencing some of worst black-outs in years these past few weeks with power available for only five hours a day in some area.

Related story: Electricity bills in Nigeria cut by half

Video - Aljazeera covers Nigeria's steps to improve its poor electricity supply

Monday, May 4, 2015

Video - Will an African country ever win The World Cup

Soccerholics Billy, Ben, and René discuss the chances of an Africa country lifting the FIFA World Cup.

Rescued women and children report Boko Haram killed men and boys

Boko Haram fighters killed older boys and men in front of their families before taking women and children into the forest where many died of hunger and disease, freed captives have revealed.

Hundreds of women and children were rescued by the Nigerian army last week from Islamist fighters in northern Nigeria’s Sambisa Forest in a major operation.

After days on the road in pickup trucks, hundreds were released on Sunday into the care of authorities at a refugee camp in the eastern town of Yola, to be fed and treated for injuries.

Some told reporters about their ordeal. “They didn’t allow us to move an inch,” said Asabe Umaru. “If you needed the toilet, they followed you. We were kept in one place. We were under bondage.

“We thank God to be alive today. We thank the Nigerian army for saving our lives.”

The camp took in 275 women and children, some with heads or limbs in bandages, late on Saturday.

Nearly 700 kidnap victims have been freed from the Islamist group’s forest stronghold since Tuesday, with the latest group of 234 women and children liberated on Friday.

“When we saw the soldiers, we raised our hands and shouted for help,” Umaru, a 24-year-old mother of two, told Reuters.

“Boko Haram, who were guarding us, started stoning us so we would follow them to another hideout, but we refused because we were sure the soldiers would rescue us.”

The prisoners suffered malnutrition and disease, she said. “Every day, we witnessed the death of one of us and waited for our turn.”

Another freed captive, Cecilia Abel, said her husband and first son had been killed in her presence before the militia forced her and her remaining eight children into the forest.

She barely ate for two weeks before the military arrived. “We were fed only ground dry maize in the afternoons. It was not good for human consumption,” she said.

“Many of us that were captured died in Sambisa Forest. Even after our rescue, about 10 died on our way to this place.”

The freed prisoners were fed bread and mugs of tea as soon as they arrived at the government camp. Dr Mohammed Aminu Suleiman of the Adamawa state emergency management agency said 19 were taken to hospital for special attention.

The army said troops patrolling on Saturday discovered 260 women and children wandering in Adamawa state. Some had fled their homes during fighting while others had been abducted but managed to escape from the Islamists.

The military said a supplier of food and fuel to Boko Haram was arrested on Sunday morning.

Amnesty International estimates the insurgents, who are intent on bringing western Africa under Islamist rule, have taken more than 2,000 women and girls captive since the start of 2014. Many have been used as cooks, sex slaves or human shields.

The prisoners freed so far do not appear to include any of more than 200 schoolgirls snatched from school dormitories in Chibok town a year ago, an incident that drew global attention to the six-year-old insurgency.

Umaru said her group of prisoners never came in contact with the missing Chibok girls.


Friday, May 1, 2015

President Goodluck Jonathan pledges he'll hand over a terrorist free Nigeria

President Goodluck Jonathan pledged Thursday in Abuja that he will do all within his powers to ensure that all Nigerian territory still held by terrorists and insurgents are totally liberated before May 29, 2015.

Receiving a delegation of Heads of Customs from the West and Central African Region of the World Customs Organisation, led by the Secretary-General of the organisation, Kunio Mikuriya, Mr. Jonathan said he was determined to hand over a country completely free of terrorist strongholds to the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari.

The president said ongoing military operations in the North-East had already recorded huge successes, with two states completely free from the control of terrorists, while operations in the third state had reached a concluding stage.

“We can now say two states are completely free from terrorist control, while in the third state, it is only in one Local Government Area that they are still present; that is in the Sambisa Forest,” he said.

President Jonathan noted that the military had already moved into the forest to seize the remaining camps of the terrorists.

He said the recent rescue of about 300 abducted girls and women was further evidence of the success being achieved in the ongoing operation.

On his decision to concede victory to the President-elect, Mr. Buhari, before all the results of the presidential elections were announced, Mr. Jonathan said elections must be approached from a nationalistic point of view.

“Our elections should be about where Nigeria is going,” he said. “If Nigeria is moving forward, it is for the good of all Nigerians. My children and grandchildren will live and grow in this country and contribute to it.

“I always tell my colleagues to leave office when their time is up. We are trying to encourage African leaders not to remain in power as kings until death.”

Mr. Mikuriya commended the President for supporting the reform of the Nigeria Customs Service.

He noted that other African countries had already started emulating the vision, strategy, adoption to new technology and result- oriented training of officers that were captured in Nigeria’s reforms.

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