Thursday, March 26, 2015

Nigeria presidential candidates sign peace deal

Nigeria's two main presidential candidates have signed an agreement to prevent violence in tightly contested elections due on Saturday.

Ex-military ruler Abdulsalami Abubakar brokered the deal in talks between President Goodluck Jonathan and his main challenger Muhammadu Buhari.

The two promised to respect the outcome of a credible poll and urged their supporters to refrain from violence.

Some 800 people were killed after the 2011 contest between the two rivals.

Mr Jonathan is facing a strong challenge from Gen Buhari, with some analysts predicting a photo-finish.

Thursday is the final day of campaigning and the government has closed its land and sea borders to ensure a peaceful election.

'Embrace peace'

The meeting between the two candidates came after Nigeria's National Peace Committee, chaired by Gen Abubakar, warned on Monday that campaigning had been marred by hate speech that could trigger a crisis in the oil-rich state.

The BBC's Tomi Oladipo reports from the capital, Abuja, that both candidates shook hands and hugged.

They called on their supporters to embrace peace, regardless of who won.

But concern remains in Nigeria over whether the electoral commission is ready for the huge logistical exercise in sub-Saharan Africa's most populous state, our correspondent says.

The polls were due on 14 February, but were postponed to 28 March to give the commission more time to prepare for the polls and for regional forces to regain territory from militant Islamist group Boko Haram in the north-east.

Campaign group Human Rights Watch says Boko Haram had killed some 1,000 people this year alone.

On Wednesday, army chief Kenneth Minimah said adequate security arrangements had been made for the polls.

Anyone who caused conflict would meet "organised violence" from the security forces, he added.

Meanwhile, Doha-based al-Jazeera reports that two of its journalists, Ahmed Idris and Ali Mustafa, have been detained by government forces in the city of Maiduguri, the former headquarters of Boko Haram.

It quoted the military as saying the journalists, both Nigerian nationals, were operating without "protection, accreditation or due clearance".

Al-Jazeera said both men had been accredited by the electoral commission to report from anywhere in Nigeria and it demanded their unconditional release.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Video - 40 percent of children in Nigeria's capital Abuja don't go to school

For many Nigerians, education should be the key issue of this election. A massive revamp of state schooling has been underway in recent years.
But parents, teachers and pupils are desperate for more.Even in cities like the capital Abuja, at least 40% of children don't go to primary school.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Nigeria 2015 Presidential election set to be closest contest

Nigeria is bracing for a turbulent few days ahead. The country is due to vote for a new president next weekend. It'll be Nigeria's fifth election since its return to democracy in 1999 - and it's tipped to be the closest contest so far.

Friday, March 20, 2015

President Goodluck Jonathan hopes all Boko Haram captured territories will be retaken in a month

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has said he hopes that all territory seized by Islamist militant group Boko Haram will be retaken within a month.

"They are getting weaker and weaker by the day," he told the BBC.

But the president - who faces elections in a week - admitted the response to the insurgents' initial advance in north-east Nigeria had been too slow.

The army has claimed recent victories over Boko Haram in a conflict that has killed thousands since 2012.

Backed by neighbouring countries Chad, Niger and Cameroon, Nigeria's military says it has recaptured 11 of the 14 districts which had been under militant control.

On Thursday, however, Boko Haram attacked the town of Ngala, killing 11 people, after the army said it had retaken it.

President Jonathan's government has been heavily criticised for its failure to end the insurgency.

The government has made similar claims in the past about defeating or driving back Boko Haram within a specific period - but these have not been borne out by events.

The Nigerian insurgents this month pledged their allegiance to Islamic State militants, who control large parts of Syria and Iraq.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Presidential candidate Buhari says missing kidnapped schoolgirls greatest embarrasment for Nigeria

Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, General Mohammadu Buhari Wednesday tasked the federal government on the over 200 missing girls, saying the ill development was the greatest embarrassment Nigerian has received since independence in 1960.

Buhari also said that his regime in 1983 built refineries that could produce 50,000 to 450,000 barrel of oil per day with money realized from the Nigerian economy without borrowing a dime from external sources.

The candidate who spoke at a town hall meeting on security in Abuja on Wednesday as part of the electioneering campaign said that his party had identified three key areas which had become the core problems starring the country in the face.

His position was a response to questions raised by some participants to the meeting.

According to buhari, the problems were insecurity, destruction of the economy and corruption which he said has become vicious.

He faulted the federal government's approach in fighting the insurgency in the north east in the absence of comprehensive welfare policy or plan for the soldiers in the battle field.

He said that no one should expect any soldier to perform miracles in the battle field when there were no good welfare packages for them and their families.

He said: "I have said that the APC as a party has identified three fundamental problems in this country. You cannot repeat them so often because everybody talk about them. They are insecurity, the destruction of the economy and corruption which has become a vicious.

"The state of insecurity as we said when the election was extended by six weeks is that if the Nigerian government and the military could me not tame Boko Haram for five years, what will they do in six weeks. But I think that some positive moves have been made, but we are still at it.

"The first thing they should have done is to make sure that you have a good plan on the ground to take care of the welfare of the law enforcement agents.

"You can't send someone on an operation for months when his family is living in wants without medical care, no school and no good neighborhood and you want him to serve the country. So, if you get disappointed now that soldiers on road block have started saying "wetin you chop remain" as many of their colleagues were doing many years ago.