Thursday, March 22, 2018

Video - 101 released schoolgirls to meet Nigerian President Buhari

After being reunited with their families, the schoolgirls from Dapchi village, have now arrived in the capital, Abuja. The girls are due to meet President Muhammadu Buhari. 110 girls were kidnapped over a month ago, during a raid by militants in northeast Nigeria. The girls, though, say five of them died in captivity. In an extraordinary turn of events, fighters of Boko Haram surrendered the girls to the community on Wednesday. Nigeria's Minister of Information has denied suggestions that a ransom was paid to secure the girls' freedom.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Video - Lack of funds to repair old refineries in Nigeria pushes deadline

In Nigeria the petroleum ministry is walking back on a 2019 deadline it set to end costly importation of refined fuel. The ministry has long complained of a lack of funds to repair domestic refineries. Nigeria is Africa's biggest exporter of crude oil but lacks the capacity to refine its own fuel and its economy often suffers from crippling fuel shortages.

More than half of 110 kidnapped schoolgirls freed from Boko Haram in Nigeria

More than half of a group of schoolgirls kidnapped last month in Nigeria by the terror group Boko Haram have been released and returned to their hometown of Dapchi, a Nigerian minister said Wednesday.
Seventy-six of the 110 schoolgirls whom militants abducted from their boarding school on February 19 were "dropped off" early Wednesday in Dapchi in northeast Nigeria, the country's minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement.

The release of the students was ongoing, and the number of freed girls will be updated after the remaining ones are documented, the statement said.

Boko Haram fighters abducted the 110 girls from the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi on February 19.

In the statement, the information and culture minister said the 76 students had been released following "back channel efforts" by the government.

The minister said the release was unconditional. "The government had a clear understanding that violence and confrontation would not be the way out as it could endanger the lives of the girls," he said in the statement.

Kachalla Bukar, the secretary of the missing girls parents' association, told CNN the girls were seen walking into Dapchi at about 7:30 a.m. local time.

Bukar said he saw around 50 of the girls but had not seen his 14-year-old daughter, Aisha, who also was captured in last month's raid.
"The girls said Boko Haram dropped them about 20 kilometers into Dapchi town and told them to find their way," he said. "... Parents are rejoicing here, but we can see they have suffered."
Parents were heading into town for a head count and confirmation of numbers, Bukar said.

The mass kidnapping brought back painful memories of the 2014 Boko Haram abduction of nearly 300 girls from a separate school in Chibok, 170 miles southeast of Dapchi. More than 100 of them remain in captivity.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has described the kidnappings in Dapchi as a "national disaster" and deployed troops and surveillance aircraft in search of the missing students.
"Let me assure that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return all the missing girls,"Buhari said in a statement on Twitter in February.

But an Amnesty International report on the kidnappings released this week accused the Nigerian army of failing to act on advance warnings of the raid.

According to the report, at least five phone calls were allegedly made to the army and police on the afternoon of the attack, warning the Boko Haram militants were on their way to the school.
"The Nigerian authorities must investigate the inexcusable security lapses that allowed this abduction to take place without any tangible attempt to prevent it," said Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International's Nigeria Director.

Nigerian army spokesman John Agim told CNN the allegations weren't true and the army had not been informed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Nigerian military were warned before recent Boko Haram kidnappings of schoolgirls

Nigeria's military was on Tuesday accused of ignoring repeated warnings about the movements of Boko Haram fighters before they kidnapped 110 schoolgirls in the country's restive northeast.

The students -- the youngest of whom is aged just 10 -- were seized from the town of Dapchi, Yobe state, on February 19 in virtually identical circumstances to those in Chibok in 2014.

Then, more than 200 schoolgirls were taken in an attack that brought sustained world attention on the Islamist insurgency and sparked a global campaign for their release.

President Muhammadu Buhari has called the Dapchi abduction a "national disaster" and vowed to use negotiation rather than force to secure their release.

But as in Chibok nearly four years ago, human rights group Amnesty International claimed the military was warned about the arrival of the heavily-armed jihadists -- yet failed to act.

In the hours that followed both attacks, the authorities also tried to claim the girls had not been abducted.

Amnesty's Nigeria director Osa Ojigho said "no lessons appear to have been learned" from Chibok and called for an immediate probe into what she called "inexcusable security lapses".

"The government's failure in this incident must be investigated and the findings made public -- and it is absolutely crucial that any investigation focuses on the root causes," she added.

"Why were insufficient troops available? Why was it decided to withdraw troops? What measures have the government taken to protect schools in northeast Nigeria?

"And what procedures are supposed to be followed in response to an attempted abduction?"

There was no immediate response from the Nigerian military when contacted by AFP.

Multiple calls 

Amnesty said that between 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm on February 19, at least five calls were made to tell the security services that Islamist fighters were in the Dapchi area.

Locals spotted about 50 members of the Islamic State group affiliate in a convoy of nine vehicles in Futchimiram, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from Dapchi, then at Gumsa.

In Gumsa, where Boko Haram stayed until about 5:00 pm, residents phoned ahead to Dapchi to warn them. The convoy arrived at about 6:30 pm and left about 90 minutes later.

Amnesty, whose researchers spoke to about 23 people and three security officials, said the army command in Geidam had told callers they were aware of the situation and were monitoring.

Police in Dapchi promised to tell divisional commanders, while army commanders in Geidam and Damaturu were also alerted during the attack, it added.

People in Dapchi have previously said troops were withdrawn from the town earlier this year, leaving only a few police officers. The nearest military detachment was an hour away.

The Dapchi abduction has thrown into doubt repeated government and military claims that Boko Haram is on the brink of defeat, after nearly nine years of fighting and at least 20,000 deaths.

Boko Haram, which has used kidnapping as a weapon of war during the conflict, has not claimed responsibility but it is believed a faction headed by Abu Mus'ab al-Barnawi is behind it.

IS in August 2015 publicly backed Barnawi as the leader of Boko Haram, or Islamic State West Africa Province, over Abubakar Shekau, whose supporters carried out the Chibok abduction.

Analysts have attributed a financial motive to the Dapchi kidnapping given government ransom payments made to Boko Haram to secure the release of some of the captives from Chibok.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Video - Nigeria's Central Bank could hold its first Monetary Policy Committee in April

Nigeria Central Bank now says it may hold its first 2018 Monetary Policy Committee in April weeks after a scheduled meeting. The committee failed to hold its first meeting for 2018, after legislatures blocked the approval of new presidential nominees in what appears to be an unfolding political wrangle between the senate and the executive.