Monday, February 19, 2018

Video - Armed men have killed 18 people over cattle dispute in Nigeria

In Nigeria, authorities are still tracking the situation in the North-west of the country. Recent clashes between local hunters and cattle rustlers saw at least 18 people killed in Zamfara State.

Nigerian military ordered to capture Boka Haram leader "dead or alive"

Nigeria's army chief Tukur Buratai has ordered troops to capture the leader of terror group Boko Haram, alive or dead.

Buratai said on Sunday it has come to the end of the military operation aimed at clearing remnants of Boko Haram from their stronghold in the northeast region, except the capturing of Abubakar Shekau, who is both the spiritual head and supreme commander of the terror group.

"We must move across to wherever this criminal, Shekau, is and catch him red-handed. I want you to get him," the army chief charged the troops in Camp Zairo, previously the largest camp of Boko Haram in the northern state of Borno.

Last year, Buratai gave troops a 40-day ultimatum to capture Shekau but they failed in the bid.

Last Thursday, the army offered a bounty of 8,310 U.S. dollars on Shekau's head.

The military said it had chased the terrorist leader out of Camp Zairo since December 2016.

The Nigerian army said it has "reliable information" that Shekau now disguises as a woman in his attempt to escape from the theater of operation by troops.

Boko Haram has been trying since 2009 to establish an Islamic state in northeastern Nigeria, killing some 20,000 people and forcing displacement of millions of others.

Amokachi wants his twin sons to play for Nigeria

Former Super Eagles striker, Daniel Amokachi who declared himself Super Eagles number one fan still has that patriotic zeal running in his veins like in the days he played for Nigeria.

The USA ’94, France ’98 and Korea-Japan 2002 World Cup star has said he would want to see his twin sons follow the path he has threaded, by playing for Nigeria, instead of Tunisia, the country of their mother. Amokachi, fondly called Da Bull in his active days said, “Definitely, that would be my dream, their mother’s dream, even their dream because their heart is with Nigeria.”

He informed that the boys had turned down the opportunity to be capped by Tunisia, but remains hopeful that call will come up for them to play for Nigeria. “They are doing pretty well in Besiktas, they are with the U23 team, we are trying to see if they can play the professional angle of it because, in Turkey, they leave the foreign slot for professionals. 

Right now, however, they are working very hard and we hope that soon, they will get the opportunity to play in a place where they can give a good account of themselves,” Amokachi said. He prayed that Super Eagles players who are World Cup bound should remain injury free in order to find themselves in good form before the tournament. 

“Qualifying for the World Cup is one thing but the World Cup proper is a different ball game. The most important thing is that our players should be healthy and have enough playing time in their respective clubs because that will definitely tell when it comes to the World Cup. “I have confidence that this team can take us to the next level, like the quarter-final or even win the World Cup”.

BBC launches services in Igbo and Yoruba

Two new language services have been launched by the BBC World Service for Igbo and Yoruba speakers in Nigeria and West and Central Africa.

Their digital content is mainly aimed at audiences who use mobile phones.

Igbo is primarily spoken in south-east Nigeria and Yoruba in the south-west, as well as in Benin and Togo.

The new services are part of the World Service's biggest expansion since the 1940s, following a government-funding boost announced in 2016.

In total, 12 services are being launched by the BBC in Africa and Asia.

Igbo - seven things

. Best-known Igbo speaker was Chinua Achebe, regarded as the founding father of African literature
. Estimated to have more than 30 million speakers, mainly in south-eastern Nigeria
. A word with the same spelling can have different meanings, for example "akwa" is bed, egg, cloth or burial rights - depending on its tone
. An Igbo secessionist movement sparked a brutal civil war in 1967
. The caffeine-rich kola nut is all important in Igbo culture - always offered to welcome guests
. A famous proverb: "Onye wetara ọjị, wetara ndụ" meaning: "He who brings kola, brings life" is also on Facebook and Instagram

The BBC's expansion in Nigeria - Africa's most populous country where more than 200 languages are spoken - began last year with BBC Pidgin, which targets those who use the regional English-based lingua franca.

It is primarily an oral language, without a standard agreed written form.

The BBC Igbo and Yoruba teams have also faced challenges to standardise their written languages for modern audiences - and have sought advice from academics.

"Yoruba can be very confusing for younger readers because it has so many inflections, so we using a less complex system to appeal to them," says Yoruba service editor Temidayo Olofinsawo.

Yoruba - seven things

. Best-known Yoruba speaker is Wole Soyinka, Nobel Prize-winning playwright and poet
. More than 40 million speakers, mainly in south-western Nigeria
. A word with the same spelling can have different meanings, for example "owo" is money, honour, hand or broom - depending on the tone
. More people practise the traditional Yoruba religion in South America and the Caribbean than in 

. Nigeria - as a result of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
. A thriving Yoruba film and music industry powers Nollywood
. A famous proverb: "Ile laawo k'a to s'ọmọ lorukọ" meaning: "You should name your child to reflect your family background". is also on Facebook and Instagram

There are very few news publications in Igbo and Yoruba in Nigeria, so it is hoped the new BBC services will be popular with Nigerians at home - and in the diaspora.

"This is the first time the Igbo language will be written and broadcast for international consumption," says Adline Okere, editor of the Igbo service.

"Igbos are known for their entrepreneurial spirit - and they are spread all over the world," she says.
What is on offer?

The teams will produce a twice daily bulletin of BBC Minute - an audio round-up of stories as well as news, analysis, explainers and features on the web and social media.

The BBC's head of West Africa, Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye, says the focus will be on original journalism.

"Delivering content and engaging with the Igbo and Yoruba audiences in their mother tongues is authentic, exciting and refreshing," she says.

"We have had BBC Hausa [mainly spoken in northern Nigeria] for decades and we've seen the impact it had with its audience.

"When we look at Nigeria we have a multicultural society and the BBC felt that it was very important to give all the cultures a platform to communicate, a platform to interact."

Nigerian court frees 475 Boko Haram suspects

When mechanics Taye and Kehinde Hamza agreed to service a vehicle at their workshop in Nigeria's Bauchi State in 2010, they could never have imagined the years of hell which would follow.

The car, it turned out, belonged to a Boko Haram fighter, and the job was enough to get the twins arrested.

It would be another eight years until they were free again, cleared along with 473 others of terrorism charges.

Theirs is one tale among many emerging from a mass trial currently under way.

Four judges have been hearing cases since last Monday in the town of Kainji, in the central Niger State. So far, those released for lack of evidence far outweigh those convicted of being members of Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

Married to a militant at 11

Among those cleared of all charges last week were children and the elderly. Some, like the Hamza twins, had been detained since 2010.

Mariam Mohammed, a Shua Arab from Borno State, was caught by soldiers as she tried to flee the Sambisa Forest - Boko Haram's base - back in 2014.

She had been lured into the forest and married off to a fighter at the age of 11, an official statement from the Nigerian Justice Ministry said.

Last week, she turned up in court cradling a three-month-old baby.

The long term impact of their imprisonment is not yet known. According to the Justice Ministry, some are suffering from mental illnesses - although whether the conditions existed before their arrests was unclear.

At a previous mass trial, held in October, more than 400 suspects were released, with just 45 jailed for their roles in the Boko Haram insurgency which has killed more than 20,000 people and displaced millions of others.

Chibok 'mastermind'

Justice Minister Abubakar Malami told the BBC that the released suspects would be rehabilitated before being allowed to return to their families.

But while these judges are making headway into the backlog of people awaiting trial, there are still another 5,000 people are still waiting for their own dates to be set.

The judges have found 205 people guilty of terror-related offences - including the "mastermind" behind the abduction of the Chibok girls.

Judges had originally found Haruna Yahaya, 35, guilty of taking part in the 2014 kidnapping - despite his arguments he was an unwilling participant. On Friday, they handed him an additional sentence for planning the mass kidnapping.

In total, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

But while convictions like this offer the hope of justice for Boko Haram's many victims, campaign group Amnesty International has questioned the method of the trial.

"Mass trials of this nature provide insufficient guarantees for fair trial and risk failing to realize justice," Amnesty's Nigeria's director, Osai Ojigho, said.

"This is particularly so in this case, given that Amnesty International has previously documented how the security forces routinely rounded up and detained hundreds of young men as 'Boko Haram suspects' with no evidence."

The Nigerian authorities always insist that the suspects are being given fair hearing at the trials with lawyers provided to defend them through the Nigeria Legal Aid Council, according to the Justice Ministry.