Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Nigeria Super Eagles coach Sunday Oliseh goes on youtube rant

Nigeria's head coach Sunday Oliseh hits back at the "insanity" of critics in the Nigerian media with an eight-minute rant.

The Super Eagles were eliminated in the group stages of African football tournament CHAN, but Oliseh defends his record, and points out he has lost just two of his 14 games in charge of Nigeria.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Former Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi criticises President Buhari

Respected former head of Nigeria's Central Bank Lamido Sanusi has said the government should end its policy of trying to maintain the value of the currency, the naira.

Mr Sanusi said the drawbacks of the policy "far outweigh its dubious benefits", the Financial Times reports.

President Muhammadu Buhari told the BBC last week that he was not convinced of the need to "murder" the naira.

The falling oil price has put pressure on his currency policy.

The authorities are keeping the official naira rate at around 200 to the US dollar, but the black market rate is closer to 300.

The government relies on oil exports for vital foreign exchange and the declining price means there are fewer dollars in the country.

"The government does not have the reserves to keep the exchange rate at its official level in the market, " Mr Sanusi told the Financial Times.

The policy has "never worked" wherever it has been tried, he added.

But Mr Buhari told the BBC that he is yet to be convinced that he should allow the currency to be devalued.

In an effort to sustain the policy, the government has imposed currency restrictions, and halted the importation of certain goods in order to stop dollars leaving the country.

Mr Sanusi was the central bank governor from 2009 to 2014, when he was suspended by then-President Goodluck Jonathan following a row over corruption in the oil sector.

He is now the emir of Kano, an influential religious post among Muslims in Nigeria.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Video - Hijacked oil tanker recovered from separatists in Nigeria

An oil tanker hijacked by Nigerian separatists has been recovered. Nigeria's navy say the Greek-owned MT Leon Dias is now anchored off the coast of Benin. There's no confirmation yet on the fate of the crew or the hijackers. They seized the ship last week. And threatened to blow it up - unless authorities freed a Biafran separatist leader. The incident has fuelled tensions around the ongoing calls for an independent Biafran state.

Related story: Militants in Nigeria hijack merchant ship and demand release of activist

Nigeria rises in FIFA rankings

Nigeria rose up three spots to 63rd place in the FIFA ranking released yesterday, despite getting knocked out in the group stage of the ongoing 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN) holding in Rwanda.

Sunday Oliseh’s men were ranked 66 in the January edition of the monthly rankings.
Yesterday’s result means the win against Niger and draw with Tunisia at the soccer championship for home-based national team players have improved the country’s rating in the latest FIFA rankings.
Not only that, the win over Cote d’Ivoire and draw with Angola in warm-up matches for the tournament in Rwanda have also added more points to the Super Eagles.
However, they are now 12th in Africa with Cote d’Ivoire still the best ranked African team as they are 28th in the world.

Nigeria’s AFCON 2017 rivals Egypt are now 55th in the world and eighth in Africa.
The FIFA rankings are expected to be one of the things to consider when the draw for the final round of the qualifying tournament for the 2018 World Cup is done in June.

Teams will be drawn in five groups to play on home and away basis with the overall group winners qualifying for the World Cup in Russia.

The other top ranked teams in Africa are Cape Verde, Algeria, Ghana, Senegal, Tunisia, Congo, Egypt, DR Congo, Guinea and Cameroon.
Belgium remain atop the pile beating Argentina to the second position with reigning world champions Germany dropping to fourth place.

Former world champions Spain are unmoved at number three while Euro 2016 hosts France climbed up one place to the 24th spot.

The three most impressive teams for February’s ranking all come from Asia: Palestine (110, plus 21), Saudi Arabia (55, plus 20) and Korea DPR (95, plus 18) enjoyed the biggest advances since the last world ranking.
The next FIFA world ranking will be published on March 3, 2016.

Daily Trust

Girl rescued from Boko Haram wants to rejoin militant husband who kidnapped her

Almost a year after she was rescued from Boko Haram captivity by the Nigerian army, Zara John is still in love with one of the militants who abducted her.

She was delighted to discover that she was pregnant with his child following a urine and blood test carried out by a doctor in the refugee camp to which she was taken after her rescue.

“I wanted to give birth to my child so that I can have someone to replace his father since I cannot reconnect with him again,” said 16-year-old Zara, one of hundreds of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants during a seven-year insurgency in north-east Nigeria.

But any decision over the baby was taken out of her hands.

Her father drowned during flooding in 2010 so her uncles intervened. Some were adamant they did not want a Boko Haram offspring in their family and insisted on an abortion. Others felt the child should not be blamed for its father’s crimes.

In the end, the majority carried the vote and Zara was allowed to keep her child, a son she named Usman who is now about seven months old.

“Everybody in the family has embraced the child,” Zara told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, asking that her location remain undisclosed. “My uncle just bought him tins of Cerelac [instant cereal] and milk.”

Zara was 14 when Boko Haram militants fighting to establish a caliphate raided her village of Izge, in north-east Nigeria, in February 2014.

They razed homes in the village, slaughtered men, and loaded women, girls and children into lorries.

Two of Zara’s brothers were out of town when the militants struck in one of a wave of hit-and-run attacks on villages as well as suicide bombings on places of worship or markets.

Zara’s mother fell off one of the overloaded lorries but tried to chase after the vehicle that was ferrying away her only daughter and her four-year-old son but was unable to keep up as the lorry headed on the 22-kilometre journey to Bita.

At the time, Bita and other surrounding towns close to the Sambisa forest, were in Boko Haram control.

“As soon as we arrived, they told us that we were now their slaves,” Zara recalled.

Her days were spent doing chores and learning the tenets of her new religion, Islam. Two months later she was given away in marriage to Ali, a Boko Haram commander, and moved into his accommodation.

“After I became a commander’s wife, I had freedom. I slept any time I wanted, I woke up any time I wanted,” she said.

“He bought me food and clothes and gave me everything that a woman needs from a man,” adding that he also gave her a mobile phone with his number plugged in and tattooed his name on her stomach to mark her as a Boko Haram wife.

Ali assured her that the fight would soon be over and they would return to his hometown of Baga where he intended his new wife to join his fishing business.

He told her that he had abandoned his fisherman trade and joined the militant group after his father and elder brother, both fishermen like himself, were killed by Nigerian soldiers.

In a June 2015 report based on years on research and analysis of evidence, Amnesty International said the Nigerian army was guilty of gross human rights abuse and extra judicial killing of civilians in parts of north-east Nigeria, calling for an investigation into war crimes.

Ali was not at home when the Nigerian army stormed Bita in March 2015 and rescued Zara and scores of other women, taking them to a refugee camp in Yola in north-east Nigeria.

The raid came as international scrutiny on Nigeria increased after the high profile abduction of 200 schoolgirls from Chibok in northern Nigeria in April 2014 which caused outrage internationally and sparked the global campaign #bringbackourgirls. Those girls are yet to be found.

But Zara and Ali stayed in touch by phone until Nigerian soldiers realised some of the girls in the camp were still in touch with their abductors, seized their phones and moved them to another camp until they were reunited with their families.

Zara now lives with her extended family and son in a town far away from Izge.

Back with her family, Zara’s male relatives took over control of her life again, with requests for interviews fielded by them and all of her movements monitored by her family.

But asked her opinion, she said she would rather be with her Boko Haram husband.

“If I had my way, I would retrieve the phone number he gave me,” she said, regretting not committing his number to memory.

But Zara is realistic and knows the possibility of being reunited with Ali is very slim.

Instead she wants to return to school when Usman stops breastfeeding and maybe then run her own business.

“I want to do a business that is suitable for a woman, something that will not take me out of the house,” she said.