Monday, October 5, 2015

Video - Scores dead in bomb blast in Nigeria

A series of explosions on the outskirts of the Nigerian capital Abuja have killed at least 18 people, officials say.

The first two struck Kuje township: one by a suicide bomber near a police station, the other a bomb at a market.

Another bomb exploded at a bus stop in Nyanya.

No group has said it carried out the attacks yet but suspicion has fallen on Boko Haram Islamists, who targeted Nyanya last year.

The militants, who are fighting to carve out an Islamist state, has mostly focused their campaign on the north-east.

More than 40 people were injured in the blasts on Friday night, which security officials described as co-ordinated.

Explosives experts have been combing the scene for bomb fragments.

Police have also stepped up stop-and-search activities in Abuja following the blasts, AFP reported.

Nigeria's President, Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power vowing to eradicated Boko Haram, condemned the attack.

"My heart goes out to the families of the dead and injured in Abuja, and other parts of the country. Our will cannot be broken; evil will never triumph over good. We will be rid of this evil stalking our land," he tweeted.

Some 17,000 people are said to have been killed since Boko Haram began its insurgency in 2009.

This year, security forces have managed to reclaim most of the territory captured by Boko Haram fighters and freed a number of people kidnapped but militant attacks have intensified.

Video - Nigeria housing gap widens

A large portion of 170 M Nigerians cannot find decent, affordable housing. That chronic housing problem has left more than half of the country's population living in sprawling slums, and that's a problem the state has confronted with little success. Kelechi Emekalam, explains why.

Video - Nigeria's housing scarcity issue

Video - Housing shortage in Nigeria

Nigeria former oil minister Alison-Madueke arrested

Former Nigerian Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke was been arrested in the U.K. on suspicion of bribery and money laundering offenses, an official in the Nigerian presidency said.

“The government is aware of the arrest and is cooperating with the investigators in the U.K.,” Garba Shehu, a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, said Monday by phone from the capital, Abuja.

Alison-Madueke, a former president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, served as Nigerian oil minister for five years until her party lost elections in March.

Five people were released on bail on Friday, the U.K.’s National Crime Agency said on its website, without identifying them. A spokeswoman at the agency declined on Monday to comment further. Calls to Alison-Madueke didn’t go through because her mobile phone was switched off.

Reuters reported the arrest earlier citing unidentified people.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Video - Unemployment leads to rise in entrepreneurship in Nigeria

Rising unemployment has left many a young person in Nigeria, with limited options for a career. Many wait for often promised but rarely delivered jobs to be created in the public and private sectors, but others have taken matters into their own hands. Sophia Adengo tells the story of Emmanuel Ngene who has taken up his entrepreneurial skills to make a living.

Related stories: Video - Nigeria entrepreneur Itoro Effiong-Bright starts food delivery service in Lagos

Video - Entrepreneur redefines garri productions and distribution in Nigeria

Suicide bombers attack Nigerian cities on Independence Day

A series of explosions rocked the city of Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria on Thursday, with casualties feared, witnesses and police said.

It was not immediately clear how many blasts hit the Borno state capital but one police officer said as many as seven went off and locals reported at least two bombs were strapped to teenage girls.

Boko Haram Islamists have increasingly used suicide bombers to target civilians, including in Maiduguri, where on 20 September dozens of people were killed in a wave of attacks.

“The first bomb was strapped to the body of a teenage girl, who wanted to kill worshippers at Ajilari Cross,” said Bashir Ali, a driver in the area.

Ajilari Cross, near Maiduguri airport, where there is also a military base, was one of several places in the city hit 10 days ago.

Ali said the girl’s target appeared to have been a mosque, just as worshippers were preparing for evening prayers at about 7:30pm (1830 GMT).

“Tragedy was averted because there was a little delay as the prayers did not commence in earnest and the bomb strapped to the body of the girl went off and killed her,” he added.

“It did not affect any other person.”

Maiduguri has been on edge since the last round of bombings, with locals fearing further bloodshed. The sound of the first explosion saw many flee their homes.

Bakura Ajiya, a butcher, said there were three blasts as people left the area, killing a number of people. He did not specify how many.

He added that there was another teenage girl carrying explosives who targeted a separate gathering in Ajilari but her bomb failed to go off.

“When she attempted to flee, the police shot her in the leg,” he said.

A senior police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed: “In all, there were about seven explosions but we are trying to get the details. I cannot tell you the casualty figures for now.”

Exact details of the blasts and casualties are unlikely to emerge until Friday, as Maiduguri is subject to a nighttime curfew.

Nigeria’s military on Thursday said one man was arrested after troops discovered and raided what it said was a Boko Haram fuel dump in the Abbaganaram area of Maiduguri on Wednesday.

“The fuel depot was used to stockpile petroleum, oil and lubricants by Boko Haram terrorists and their equally heartless collaborators for onward movement to the terrorists’ camps in Sambisa forest,” army spokesman Sani Usman said in a statement.

Separately, Usman said 80 Boko Haram fighters had surrendered to troops in the town of Bama, some 70km (45 miles) southeast of Maiduguri.

Military commanders, who in early August were given a three-month deadline to end the insurgency, this week said they were holding 315 Boko Haram fighters who had given up their weapons.

Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, has said he was hopeful of an end to “conventional” fighting by early November but guerrilla-style attacks on civilians may continue.

Amnesty International on Wednesday said more needed to be done to protect civilians, with at least 1,600 killed in Boko Haram violence in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger since the start of June, taking the toll to some 3,500 this year.

At least 17,000 people have been killed in the conflict since 2009 and 2.5 million made homeless, mainly in Nigeria.

The UN’s regional humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel region, Toby Lanzer, said in New York on Wednesday the effects of the insurgency had created “the fastest-growing crisis in Africa”.