Friday, June 24, 2022

Nigerian senator accused of organ harvesting attempt in UK

Two Nigerians, including a serving senator, have been charged with plotting to have a child brought into the United Kingdom to harvest their organs, the London police have said.

“The investigation was launched after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation, in May 2022,” the police said in a statement on Thursday.

Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55, and Ike Ekweremadu, 60, were charged with conspiracy to arrange the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.

They will appear at Uxbridge Magistrate’s Court in London later on Thursday.

The child has been safeguarded, and work was under way to provide additional support, the police said. No other details were given.

Ekweremadu, a former Nigerian deputy senate president, is from the southeastern state of Enugu.

Al Jazeera

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Nigeria has 11 million of out-of-school children, highest in world

The World Bank has said that Nigeria has the highest number of out of school children in the world with 11 million pupils recorded in 2020.

The Nigerian out of school children was 15 million in 2003.

According to the global financial institution, the number of school children under review who are between 6-15years increased by 100% between 2003 and 2020.

This was disclosed in the World Bank document titled “Nigeria Development Update (June 2020): The Continuing Urgency of Business Unusual.”

It revealed that the number of in-school children in 2003 was 20 million and has increased to 40 million in 2020, stating that the population of Nigerian children aged 6-15years in 2003 was 35 million and 51 million in 2020.

It, however, stated that more efforts need to be made to ensure Nigeria’s children are back to school.

The Bank said, “Although Nigeria has experienced a significant expansion in access to education during the last few decades, it still has the highest number of out-of-school (OOS) children in the world.”

The bank continued, “Nigeria’s more than 11 million OOS children between the ages of 6 and 15 represent 1 in 12 OOS children globally. The OOS children phenomenon in Nigeria is multi-causal and will require a combination of interventions. On the demand side, reducing the cost of education by eliminating school fees, providing cash transfers, and shifting socio-cultural norms that prevent school enrollment are critical steps.”

Reacting to the report, Statisense disclosed that the number, “represents 1 in 12 of all out-of-school children globally and 22% of all children in this age group in Nigeria.”

By Biodun Busari


Two kidnapped Chibok girls freed in Nigeria after eight years

 Nigerian troops have found two former schoolgirls who were abducted by Boko Haram jihadists eight years ago, the military said Tuesday, freeing some of the last victims of the 2014 Chibok abduction.

The two women each carried babies on their laps as they were presented by the military, after captivity with militants who stormed their school in April, 2014 in northeast Nigeria in a mass kidnapping that sparked international outrage.

Major-General Christopher Musa, the military commander of troops in the region, told reporters the girls were found on June 12 and 14 in two different locations by troops.

"We are very lucky to have been able to recover two of the Chibok girls," Musa said.

Dozens of Boko Haram militants stormed the Chibok girls' boarding school in 2014 and packed 276 pupils, aged 12-17, at the time into trucks in the jihadist group's first mass school abduction.

Fifty-seven of the girls managed to escape by jumping from the trucks shortly after their abduction while 80 were released in exchange for some detained Boko Haram commanders following negotiations with the Nigerian government.

In the recent releases, one of the women, Hauwa Joseph, was found along with other civilians on June 12 around Bama after troops dislodged a Boko Haram camp, while the other, Mary Dauda, was found later outside Ngoshe village in Gwoza district, near the border with Cameroon.

On June 15 the military said on Twitter that they had found one of the Chibok girls named Mary Ngoshe. She turned out to be Mary Dauda.

"I was nine when we were kidnapped from our school in Chibok and I was married off not long ago and had this child," Joseph told reporters at the military headquarters.

Joseph's husband and father-in-law were killed in a military raid and she was left to fend for herself and her 14-month-old son.

"We were abandoned, no one cared to look after us. We were not being fed," she said.

Thousands of Boko Haram fighters and families have been surrendering over the last year, fleeing government bombardments and infighting with the rival group Islamic State West Africa Province.

The conflict has killed more than 40,000 people and displaced 2.2 million more since 2009.

Dauda, who was 18 when she was kidnapped was married at different times to Boko Haram fighters in the group's enclave in the Sambisa forest.

"They would starve and beat you if you refused to pray," Dauda said about life under Boko Haram.

She decided to flee and told her husband she was visiting another Chibok girl in Dutse village near Ngoshe, close to the border with Cameroon.

With the help of an old man who lived outside the village with his family, Dauda trekked all night to Ngoshe where she surrendered to troops in the morning.

"All the remaining Chibok girls have been married with children. I left more than 20 of them in Sambisa, she said. "I'm so happy I'm back."

After the Chibok school mass abduction jihadists carried out several mass abductions and deadly attacks on schools in the northeast.

In 2018, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters kidnapped 110 schoolgirls aged 11–19 years from Government Girls Science and Technical College (GGSTC) Dapchi in neighbouring Yobe state.

All the schoolgirls were released a month later except Leah Sharibu, the only Christian among the girls, who was held by the group for refusing to renounce her faith.


Related stories: Boko Haram attacks the same town it kidnapped the schoolgirls from

Video - Aljazeera speaks with Nigerian military about kidnapped schoolgirls

Video - The state of Nigerian governance and Boko Haram

Millions in Nigeria Face Food and Nutrition Crisis

A senior U.N. official warns of catastrophic consequences for millions of people in northeast Nigeria facing a food and nutrition crisis if the U.N. does not receive the funds needed to assist them.

U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator for Nigeria, Matthias Schmale, says he is ringing the alarm bell now because the United Nations has received less than 20 percent of its $350 million appeal for Nigeria.

He says people in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states are struggling to survive after 12 years of conflict. Of the 8.4 million people who need humanitarian assistance, he says the U.N. plans to support at least 5.5 million of the most vulnerable. He says nearly 600,000 people are starving and go for days without food.

Malnourished children, he says, are of particular concern.

“Approximately, overall, 1.74 million children under five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition across the northeast this year. Of these, over 300,000 … are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition and are, indeed, at high risk of death," said Schmale.

He says about 80 percent of U.N. aid will be used to assist women and children who often suffer the most in conflict zones. He says they are subject to violence, to abductions, to rape, and other forms of abuse.

Trond Jensen is Head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Nigeria. He says much of the northeast lacks adequate protection for civilians. He says people who venture outside the fortified military garrison towns are in danger of being killed.

“It is a serious crisis in the sense that there is no freedom of movement, in the sense that much of the countryside is under the control then or the influence of the various different factions of Boko Haram," said Jensen. "So, that there are indiscriminate killings of civilians.”

U.N. officials recognize Nigeria’s crisis is overshadowed by the disastrous war in Ukraine and is in danger of being forgotten. However, they warn ignoring the humanitarian needs of Nigeria would have far reaching consequences in further destabilizing the region.

By Lisa Schlein


Monday, June 20, 2022

Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan sets new record at Paris Diamond League

Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan is hitting the right note at the right time ahead of next month’s World Championship in Oregon, USA.

The sprint hurdler on Saturday set a new African record as she finished in pole position in the 100m hurdles, in 12.41 seconds, at the Diamond League meet in Paris, France.

Amusan before Saturday’s race was already the African record holder having erased the previous long-standing record held by her compatriot, Gloria Alozie.

However, while the initial record achieved at the Diamond League in Zurich nine months ago was12.42s, the 25-year-old has lowered it to a new lifetime best time of 12.41 seconds.

This is the 3rd fastest time in the world in 2022 behind Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, the reigning Olympic champion who ran 12.37 seconds early this month in Rome, Italy, and Alaysha Johnson of the USA who ran 12.40 seconds seven days ago in New York.

Going into the Paris leg of the money-spinning Diamond League, Amusan had widely been tipped to emerge tops and the Nigerian star did not disappoint; not just winning but in record-breaking fashion.

The eight maximum points she secured have moved her top of the event’s standing with 15 points. Amusan is also expected to pocket $10,000 in prize money.

Amusan’s latest win is coming a few days after she also won the 100 Hurdles event at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland.

Before her exploit in Finland, Amusan had also successfully defended her African title at the Senior Athletics Championship in Mauritius where she also helped Team Nigeria to gold in the 4x100m Women’s relay event.

Amusan will now shift focus to the Nigerian Athletics Championships which will take place between June 24 and 26 in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

The reigning Commonwealth Games champion is the favourite to retain the Nigerian 100m hurdles title she won last year at the Yaba College of Technology Sports complex.

By Tunde Eludini 

Premium Times