Thursday, April 18, 2019

Video - Online house cleaning service in Nigeria

An online house cleaning service is promising to create millions of jobs for Nigerians. Kureen is an online service that pairs house cleaners with home owners in need of cleaning services in three major Nigerian cities.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Video - Nigeria to diversify economy away from oil

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer but more than half of its population lives in extreme poverty. In his recent election campaign, President Muhammadu Buhari promised to diversify the economy away from oil. But Nigeria is even struggling to grow its own food.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Video - Nigeria's Chibok schoolgirls: Five years on, 112 still missing

It has been five years since hundreds of schoolgirls were abducted in north-eastern Nigeria by Boko Haram fighters. While a total of 164 girls have been found or released as part of a deal between the Nigerian government and the armed group, 112 are still missing. In Nigeria's capital, there are renewed calls for the search to continue. The international outcry sparked the Bring Back Our Girls movement, which continues to this day. Despite the pain, one mother still hopes she will once again see her daughter alive.

President Buhari still promises to bring back Chibok students five years after kidnapping

Some of the young women are thriving at a new school. Some have returned home to their family farms. But the fates of more than 100 other students who were kidnapped from a school in northeastern Nigeria are unknown, five years after militants from Boko Haram abducted them.

On Sunday, the fifth anniversary of the kidnappings from the village of Chibok, President Muhammadu Buhari reiterated a pledge he had made years ago to bring back all of the students.

“We will not rest until all the remaining girls are back and reunited with their families,” he said on his official Twitter account. “I made this promise when I became President, and I will keep it.”

In 2014, Boko Haram militants stormed a girls’ school in Chibok and made off with over 200 girls who were boarding there to take exams the next day — an act that gained widespread attention across the world with the social media hashtag #BringBackOurGirls advocating their release.

Mr. Buhari’s message came after months of silence on the topic, which barely registered in campaign discourse during a heated presidential election this year. The kidnappings, which riveted a global audience at the time, seem all but forgotten by the outside world.

Protesters who once marched daily at Unity Fountain in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, have been quiet. Activists both locally and globally who had held signs and tweeted have mostly gone silent.

Yet the missing students remain constantly on the minds of their parents, who gathered Sunday at the site of the school in Chibok to offer prayers for their return.

“They are losing hope,” said Allen Manasa, a spokesman for the village, adding that in five years the government had yet to brief the parents about their missing daughters.

He said the community urged “mounting pressure on the Nigerian government to explore all available means to rescue these girls.”

Mr. Buhari’s message on Sunday sought to reassure Nigerians that he hadn’t forgotten.

“We will never give up on our missing daughters,” Mr. Buhari wrote on Twitter, also citing other hostages taken by Boko Haram. “In the last four years our security agencies have successfully rescued thousands of captives, and they will not relent until every captive is free.”

Yet critics say it defies belief that the students remain missing.

“It is a global failure of monumental proportion that the whereabouts of hundreds of girls who went to school remain unknown in an age of intrusive technology,” said Oby Ezekwesili, a former education minister who has been a leading advocate for the students’ release.

For the past decade, Nigeria’s northeast has been ravaged by a war with Islamist militants from Boko Haram who have made kidnapping innocent villagers one hallmark of their brutality.

A video that the militants released in 2014 of the sad-looking girls from Chibok, dressed in dark hijabs and sitting on the ground at a militants’ hide-out, caught the attention of celebrities and Michelle Obama, who was photographed holding a #BringBackOurGirls placard.

When Mr. Buhari assumed the presidency in 2015, he made progress in the fight against militants, chasing them from forest hide-outs and killing scores of fighters. But in past months the militants have regrouped, and simultaneously fractured while boasting about ties to the Islamic State, which they pledged loyalty to several years ago.

Boko Haram fighters have carried out suicide bombings and stepped up attacks across the border in Niger and Chad. One faction circulated a video of a violent attack on a military installation in Nigeria.

Last week, amid threats of an attack in the countryside, Nigerian soldiers rounded up community members in the middle of the night and herded them into a camp for displaced people, prompting outrage from residents who unexpectedly had to leave their homes.

Last year, the fighters carried out kidnappings eerily similar to the one in Chibok, taking dozens of girls in the community of Dapchi before returning most of them several days later. At least one student, Leah Sharibu, is still being held, reportedly because she is a Christian and refused to convert to Islam.

Mr. Buhari has negotiated for the release of about half of the students from Chibok, who are now in their late teens or early 20s. Many of them are studying at the American University of Nigeria in Yola, where a special program was designed to catch them up with their studies and advance them to university work if they choose. The government is picking up the tab.

On Sunday, the local news outlet This Day published an editorial calling for the remaining students to be rescued and saying that their continued absence “represent a blur on our collective humanity.”

“Until all the abducted girls can be accounted for,” the editorial said, “the promise of the constitution, that the welfare of Nigerians shall be the primary purpose of government, will continue to ring hollow.”

The New York Times

Friday, April 12, 2019

Entire town in Nigeria evacuated to screen out Boko Haram militants

Up to 10,000 civilians have been forcibly relocated because of a military operation against Boko Haramin northeast Nigeria, the United Nations said on Thursday, calling for better protection.

At least 2,000 people were initially said to have been moved the 40km from Jakana to the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, on Tuesday. But the UN said five times as many were forced to flee.

"The military ordered the immediate departure and forced the relocation of up to 10,000 civilians in the middle of the night, without prior warning," it said in a statement.

"The entire town of Jakana was emptied, and people were forced to move to Maiduguri with very little time to collect personal belongings," added UN Humanitarian Coordinator Edward Kallon. "Some people said they arrived in Maiduguri with nothing, not even with shoes on their feet."

The northeast is the battleground in Nigeria's decade-long fight against the armed group of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram.

A surge in attacks in December in which towns and military bases were overrun saw tens of thousands of civilians fleeing into Maiduguri and swelling the population of existing camps.

Humanitarian concerns

The armed groups have in the last few weeks been hit by intensive air and ground offensives from coalition forces involving Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon in the Lake Chad region, according to military sources and armed fighters.

But there are fresh concerns about the effects of the conflict on civilians after nearly 10 years of fighting, more than 27,000 deaths and 1.8 million made homeless.

Previous mass displacements of civilians have forced them into already overcrowded camps for the internally displaced in Maiduguri, putting pressure on the authorities.

"The United Nations is urging the government to urgently provide safety, shelter, food, water and medical care to the displaced civilians, in addition to information about when they will be allowed to return home," said Kallon.

Jakana lies on a known crossing route for ISWAP fighters moving between their camps in the Benisheikh forest area of Borno and their hideouts in the Buni Yadi area of Yobe.

In January, ISWAP sent letters to Jakana and Mainok residents telling them to vacate their homes for an impending raid on the military.

Al Jazeera