Monday, May 31, 2010

Nigeria's agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it

We reached the edge of the oil spill near the Nigerian village of Otuegwe after a long hike through cassava plantations. Ahead of us lay swamp. We waded into the warm tropical water and began swimming, cameras and notebooks held above our heads. We could smell the oil long before we saw it – the stench of garage forecourts and rotting vegetation hanging thickly in the air.

The farther we travelled, the more nauseous it became. Soon we were swimming in pools of light Nigerian crude, the best-quality oil in the world. One of the many hundreds of 40-year-old pipelines that crisscross the Niger delta had corroded and spewed oil for several months.

Forest and farmland were now covered in a sheen of greasy oil. Drinking wells were polluted and people were distraught. No one knew how much oil had leaked. "We lost our nets, huts and fishing pots," said Chief Promise, village leader of Otuegwe and our guide. "This is where we fished and farmed. We have lost our forest. We told Shell of the spill within days, but they did nothing for six months."

That was the Niger delta a few years ago, where, according to Nigerian academics, writers and environment groups, oil companies have acted with such impunity and recklessness that much of the region has been devastated by leaks.

In fact, more oil is spilled from the delta's network of terminals, pipes, pumping stations and oil platforms every year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico, the site of a major ecological catastrophe caused by oil that has poured from a leak triggered by the explosion that wrecked BP's Deepwater Horizon rig last month.

That disaster, which claimed the lives of 11 rig workers, has made headlines round the world. By contrast, little information has emerged about the damage inflicted on the Niger delta. Yet the destruction there provides us with a far more accurate picture of the price we have to pay for drilling oil today.

On 1 May this year a ruptured ExxonMobil pipeline in the state of Akwa Ibom spilled more than a million gallons into the delta over seven days before the leak was stopped. Local people demonstrated against the company but say they were attacked by security guards. Community leaders are now demanding $1bn in compensation for the illness and loss of livelihood they suffered. Few expect they will succeed. In the meantime, thick balls of tar are being washed up along the coast.

Within days of the Ibeno spill, thousands of barrels of oil were spilled when the nearby Shell Trans Niger pipeline was attacked by rebels. A few days after that, a large oil slick was found floating on Lake Adibawa in Bayelsa state and another in Ogoniland. "We are faced with incessantoil spills from rusty pipes, some of which are 40 years old," said Bonny Otavie, a Bayelsa MP.

This point was backed by Williams Mkpa, a community leader in Ibeno: "Oil companies do not value our life; they want us to all die. In the past two years, we have experienced 10 oil spills and fishermen can no longer sustain their families. It is not tolerable."

With 606 oilfields, the Niger delta supplies 40% of all the crude the United States imports and is the world capital of oil pollution. Life expectancy in its rural communities, half of which have no access to clean water, has fallen to little more than 40 years over the past two generations. Locals blame the oil that pollutes their land and can scarcely believe the contrast with the steps taken by BP and the US government to try to stop the Gulf oil leak and to protect the Louisiana shoreline from pollution.

"If this Gulf accident had happened in Nigeria, neither the government nor the company would have paid much attention," said the writer Ben Ikari, a member of the Ogoni people. "This kind of spill happens all the time in the delta."

"The oil companies just ignore it. The lawmakers do not care and people must live with pollution daily. The situation is now worse than it was 30 years ago. Nothing is changing. When I see the efforts that are being made in the US I feel a great sense of sadness at the double standards. What they do in the US or in Europe is very different."

"We see frantic efforts being made to stop the spill in the US," said Nnimo Bassey, Nigerian head of Friends of the Earth International. "But in Nigeria, oil companies largely ignore their spills, cover them up and destroy people's livelihood and environments. The Gulf spill can be seen as a metaphor for what is happening daily in the oilfields of Nigeria and other parts of Africa.

"This has gone on for 50 years in Nigeria. People depend completely on the environment for their drinking water and farming and fishing. They are amazed that the president of the US can be making speeches daily, because in Nigeria people there would not hear a whimper," he said.

It is impossible to know how much oil is spilled in the Niger delta each year because the companies and the government keep that secret. However, two major independent investigations over the past four years suggest that as much is spilled at sea, in the swamps and on land every year as has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico so far.

One report, compiled by WWF UK, the World Conservation Union and representatives from the Nigerian federal government and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, calculated in 2006 that up to 1.5m tons of oil – 50 times the pollution unleashed in the Exxon Valdez tanker disaster in Alaska – has been spilled in the delta over the past half century. Last year Amnesty calculated that the equivalent of at least 9m barrels of oil was spilled and accused the oil companies of a human rights outrage.

According to Nigerian federal government figures, there were more than 7,000 spills between 1970 and 2000, and there are 2,000 official major spillages sites, many going back decades, with thousands of smaller ones still waiting to be cleared up. More than 1,000 spill cases have been filed against Shell alone.

Last month Shell admitted to spilling 14,000 tonnes of oil in 2009. The majority, said the company, was lost through two incidents – one in which the company claims that thieves damaged a wellhead at its Odidi field and another where militants bombed the Trans Escravos pipeline.

Shell, which works in partnership with the Nigerian government in the delta, says that 98% of all its oil spills are caused by vandalism, theft or sabotage by militants and only a minimal amount by deteriorating infrastructure. "We had 132 spills last year, as against 175 on average. Safety valves were vandalised; one pipe had 300 illegal taps. We found five explosive devices on one. Sometimes communities do not give us access to clean up the pollution because they can make more money from compensation," said a spokesman.

"We have a full-time oil spill response team. Last year we replaced 197 miles of pipeline and are using every known way to clean up pollution, including microbes. We are committed to cleaning up any spill as fast as possible as soon as and for whatever reason they occur."

These claims are hotly disputed by communities and environmental watchdog groups. They mostly blame the companies' vast network of rusting pipes and storage tanks, corroding pipelines, semi-derelict pumping stations and old wellheads, as well as tankers and vessels cleaning out tanks.

The scale of the pollution is mind-boggling. The government's national oil spill detection and response agency (Nosdra) says that between 1976 and 1996 alone, more than 2.4m barrels contaminated the environment. "Oil spills and the dumping of oil into waterways has been extensive, often poisoning drinking water and destroying vegetation. These incidents have become common due to the lack of laws and enforcement measures within the existing political regime," said a spokesman for Nosdra.

The sense of outrage is widespread. "There are more than 300 spills, major and minor, a year," said Bassey. "It happens all the year round. The whole environment is devastated. The latest revelations highlight the massive difference in the response to oil spills. In Nigeria, both companies and government have come to treat an extraordinary level of oil spills as the norm."

A spokesman for the Stakeholder Democracy Network in Lagos, which works to empower those in communities affected by the oil companies' activities, said: "The response to the spill in the United States should serve as a stiff reminder as to how far spill management in Nigeria has drifted from standards across the world."

Other voices of protest point out that the world has overlooked the scale of the environmental impact. Activist Ben Amunwa, of the London-based oil watch group Platform, said: "Deepwater Horizon may have exceed Exxon Valdez, but within a few years in Nigeria offshore spills from four locations dwarfed the scale of the Exxon Valdez disaster many times over. Estimates put spill volumes in the Niger delta among the worst on the planet, but they do not include the crude oil from waste water and gas flares. Companies such as Shell continue to avoid independent monitoring and keep key data secret."

Worse may be to come. One industry insider, who asked not to be named, said: "Major spills are likely to increase in the coming years as the industry strives to extract oil from increasingly remote and difficult terrains. Future supplies will be offshore, deeper and harder to work. When things go wrong, it will be harder to respond."

Judith Kimerling, a professor of law and policy at the City University of New York and author of Amazon Crude, a book about oil development in Ecuador, said: "Spills, leaks and deliberate discharges are happening in oilfields all over the world and very few people seem to care."

There is an overwhelming sense that the big oil companies act as if they are beyond the law. Bassey said: "What we conclude from the Gulf of Mexico pollution incident is that the oil companies are out of control.

"It is clear that BP has been blocking progressive legislation, both in the US and here. In Nigeria, they have been living above the law. They are now clearly a danger to the planet. The dangers of this happening again and again are high. They must be taken to the international court of justice."

The Observer

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Shell suspends operations in Niger

U.S. raises alarm over 2011 poll

United States of America yesterday raised fears over 2011general elections, arguing that the inability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to produce an accurate time table for the elections could pose a major challenge.

Ms Robin Sanders, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, said this while answering questions at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja.

Sanders said: "The big challenge is that you do not know when the elections are going to be held yet, though the decision is in the hands of the National Assembly."

She said her observation emanated from concerns expressed by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) at the maiden meeting of the US-Nigeria Bi-National Commission (BNC) which ended last Thursday in Abuja.

"Those are the things that we were briefed on your side, and I hope resolutions will be made very quickly. Election date is one of the things to figure out first before everything else.

"I will tell you quite honestly that, the focus of the BNC's first working group was on elections, credibility, clean, unrigged; transparent elections are kind of the order of the day now and the theme of the day.

"You certainly need an election date, a sooner-rather-than-later kind of determination; you need a clear and transparent voter register."

Sanders said for INEC to conduct a credible election, it must ensure that the voter registration exercise was transparent, while the elections should be held according to the time-table when it was eventually put in place.

She expressed the willingness of the US to offer technical assistance to INEC, stressing that the Federal Government must be willing to deliver good governance to Nigerians.

"Certainly, internal political democracy is a big challenge and I think that, that really is not something that any outsider friend can do for Nigeria.

"That is going to come from political will; only Nigerian elements have the role there," she said.

On strategies to ensure implementation of the outcomes of the BNC, Sanders said both sides had engaged senior officials to outline challenges and commitments.

"I think to have a senior member of the US Government lead a delegation shows our seriousness and commitment, and I think Nigeria had an array of ministers during the BNC telling us some of the challenges, where the challenges are; telling us what their commitments are.

"I think that is one of the positive signals," she remarked.

The ambassador said the US Government was willing to work with Nigeria on the BNC's strategic action deliverables.

She said the next thematic group meeting of the BNC, which includes energy and investment, is scheduled to hold from June 10 to June 11 in Washington DC.

It will be recalled that the BNC's major thematic areas are good governance and transparency, promotion of regional co-operation and development toward creating opportunities and benefits for the people of the Niger Delta.

Others are guaranteeing security, countering terrorism and pursuing reform and boosting investment in the energy industry as well as ensuring that Nigeria achieves food security.

Meanwhile, Sanders has challenged the Federal Government to conduct credible and transparent elections in 2011 that its friends and Nigerians will be proud of.

She said the US was concerned as a friend, and urged the Federal Government to endeavour to put in place machinery that would ensure a credible and transparent election. 

The ambassador said she was happy that Nigeria had survived the "very fragile environment of insecurity" which stretched from November 2009 until recently.

"It's been a very fragile environment; there has been a lot of insecurity. I think since you found a way out of this tragic period; I think you can accommodate and talk about elections," she said.

She said Nigeria had the resources, the talent, creativity, innovativeness, intelligence, commitment and dedication to have free and fair elections.

The envoy said Nigeria's democracy was facing challenges, like any other growing democracy, adding that Nigerians had to work hard to overcome the challenges.

Related stories: I'll run for 2011 Presidential Polls, says Babangida

One year to change Nigeria

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Super Eagles draw 0-0 with Saudi Arabia in friendly

Nigeria drew 0-0 with Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in a World Cup warmup and the team's first match under coach Lars Lagerback.

The former Sweden coach replaced Amodu Shaibu in March after Nigeria finished third at the African Cup.

Jon Obi Mikel and Onyekachi Apam were both missing for Nigeria on Tuesday due to injury.

Nigeria plays Colombia in Luton, England, on Sunday, a day before Lagerback announces his 23-man squad for the World Cup.

Nigeria is drawn in Group B with Argentina, Greece and South Korea. Saudi Arabia failed to qualify for the tournament in South Africa.

Associated Press


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nigeria decries police shooting death in Poland

Nigerian diplomats on Monday decried the "wanton killing" of a Nigerian citizen in a Polish police shooting, while officials in the European nation described the death as an accident.

Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Ministry said the unnamed citizen died after being shot Sunday during a police raid on an open-air market in Warsaw. The ministry said police also arrested other Nigerians at the market.

The ministry asked for an immediate investigation into the shooting and called for authorities to also examine other claims of harassment by Nigerians living in Poland.

"The ministry strongly believes that there can be no justification for this wanton killing of a Nigerian citizen," the ministry said in a statement. "The killing without established culpability demonstrates the highhandedness on the part of the Polish police."

Polish national police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski said officers at the market chased after a Nigerian who ran away from them on patrol. One of the officers threw the man to the ground and tried to handcuff him, but a group of foreigners attacked him, Sokolowski said.

The officer's handgun fired during the struggle, the round striking the Nigerian, the spokesman said.

"This man could have been saved and police officers started to resuscitate him, but they were repeatedly attacked with stones by a group of foreigners and were forced to defend themselves, and had to stop the resuscitation," Sokolowski said.

The spokesman said six police officers were injured in the fighting and 32 foreigners were arrested.

The complaint by Nigerian authorities comes as the nation's own police force faces increasing criticism. Human rights groups say police in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, routinely execute prisoners, rape prostitutes and extort drivers at roadblocks.


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Okocha tips Eagles for World Cup semis

Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha, a former captain of the Super Eagles, has tipped the team to reach the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup because of the quality of the players.

Okocha told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja that all the team needed was to be confident and focused in South Africa.

"The send-off for the Super Eagles by President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday will go a long way to tell them that more than 150 million Nigerians are behind them.

"They should go out there; do what they know and believe in the strength of Nigeria.

"I hope that with the quality of Coach Lars Lagerback and the experience of the players, they will make Nigeria proud," he said.

"The good thing is that when a team has a new coach, he brings in a lot of challenges for the players."

Okocha said the players on their own would want to show their new boss what they were made of, adding that Africa looked up to the Super Eagles' performance in the World Cup.

"The Eagles are unpredictable; we have always sailed through impossible positions and I am sure the team will defeat Argentina.

"They should see the pressure being put on them as a plus because in football it is better you have the crowd to motivate you," the former sensational midfielder.

He urged the players to believe in themselves and play purposeful football rather than entertaining the crowd.

The World Cup, the first on African soil, is expected to kick off on June 11.

Daily Trust

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Billionaire Aliko Dangote denies interest in Arsenal investment

Nigeria's richest man, billionaire Aliko Dangote, has denied media reports that he is  considering buying a 16 per cent stake in Arsenal.  

Dangote had been reported to have registered his interest in buying the stake being sold by Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, the club's fourth biggest investor. 

Bracewell-Smith has appointed U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group to find a buyer. And while between eight and 12 parties are said to be taking a detailed look at the potential for investment, Dangote issued a statement denying he was one.

Nelson's Ship in a Bottle by Yinka Shonibare

Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE, today became the first African artist to display artwork in any public space in Great Britain, when he today unveiled his work "Nelson's Ship in a Bottle" in London's Trafalgar Square. The artwork is sponsored by Guaranty Trust Bank of Nigeria who earlier in 2010 registered another first when it sponsored Chris Ofilis collection at Tate Britain, making it the first African corporation to sponsor a major artwork in Great Britain.

Related story: Historical Ife art on display in British museum

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Super Eagles set off for the 2010 FIFA World Cup tomorrow

The Super Eagles will be sent off to the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in grand style tomorrow night in Abuja with President Goodluck Jonathan expected to deliver an address to the football Ambassadors.

Nigeria's political and corporate leaders as well as football administrators and fans will gather at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja to bid farewell to the team and to reassure the players and officials of the nation's unwavering support, as it departs for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

The Eagles, back in the FIFA World Cup after missing the finals in Germany four years ago, head to London the following morning for a 10 -day pre-World Cup camp and are expected to play two games in Europe against Saudi Arabia and Colombia.

The high profile dinner event tagged 'Super Eagles Celebration Night', which is expected to be graced by His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan, is aimed at inspiring and motivating the two-time African champions, one of the world's most favourite national football teams, and will be attended by the full contingent of the teams' 2010 FIFA World Cup squad.

NFF President Sani Lulu Abdullahi said the big night is an occasion for the nation's leaders to appreciate the team and also gear the players and officials up for the 19th FIFA World Cup finals, which is for the first time ever being staged on African soil.

"As official sponsors of the Super Eagles, Coca-Cola is proud to host this event as a platform for the entire nation to appreciate these heroes and to pledge the confidence and support of over 140 million compatriots, as the team gears up for the great battle ahead", said Austin Ufomba, Coca-Cola Nigeria's Marketing Director.

"We at Coca-Cola are optimistic that the Super Eagles, imbued with the 'Naija' spirit, will be the team to beat in South Africa", he added.

Highpoints of the night will include address by President Goodluck Jonathan, live performance of the Super Eagles' 2010 World Cup song, video/audio documentary on the Eagles' march to the World Cup finals and live performance of the Nigerian remix of the Waving' Flag, Coca-Cola's 2010 FIFA World Cup theme song originally done by Somali-born K'NAAN. The remix rendered by the duo of Nigeria's leading hip-hop stars, Banky W and MI, is dedicated to the Super Eagles and is a celebration of the 'Naija Spirit' - that unfazed sense of optimism, confidence and perseverance that drives the average Nigerian to thrive in spite of adversity.

The Super Eagles' send forth dinner marks another milestone in the growing scope and strength of Coca-Cola's partnership with the NFF for the promotion and development of football in Nigeria. Other areas of recent collaboration between the two organizations include the launch in 2009 of the Copa Coca-Cola U-17 grassroots football programme and Coca-Cola's N550million five-year contract with the NFF for sponsorship of Nigeria's men's national football teams.

It would be recalled that Coca-Cola kicked off its 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign in October 2009, with the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour which gave thousands of Nigerians in Lagos and Abuja the rare opportunity to see the world's most coveted football icon live. It also became a platform for the Late President Umar Musa Yar'Adua to make history as the first Nigerian ever to touch and lift the World Cup trophy.

Daily Trust

Related stories: Super Eagles squad list for the 2010 World Cup

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Video report on Nigerian oil tycoon Kase Lawal

Nigerian oil businessman Kase Lawal on starting his own business and its rise to becoming a multi-billion dollar empire.

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Nigerian politician arrested with cocaine

A Nigerian politician has been arrested for trying to smuggle almost five pounds of cocaine in his stomach in a scheme to finance his election campaign, authorities said Monday.

Eme Zuru Ayortor, a 52-year-old pharmacist and a hopeful for Nigeria's Edo State House of Assembly, was arrested at the international airport in Lagos, drug officials said.

Officials became suspicious of the politician when a scanning machine in the airport revealed that he was carrying 2.120 kilograms (4.7 pounds) of cocaine in his stomach, according to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.

Ayortor was trying to fly to Frankfurt, Germany, the agency said.

"After undergoing observation, the pharmacist turned politician excreted 100 pieces of powdery substance that tested positive to cocaine," the agency said in a statement.

"Preliminary check on him revealed that he was preparing himself financially for the forthcoming election into the Edo State House of Assembly."

The suspect told authorities that he was hoping his status as a politician would help him avoid being arrested.

"We do not look at faces in conducting drug screening and we are not moved by credentials. Whoever is dealing in narcotics shall be exposed and prosecuted," said Ahmadu Giade, chairman of the Nigerian drug agency.


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Monday, May 17, 2010

President Goodluck Jonathan opens facebook account

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan gave kudos, yesterday, to Nigerian youths for their role in and contribution to national growth,and described the current democracy as a gift from them.

"There is an unchallengeable power of good in the Nigerian youth",he said in a keynote address, entitled Nigerian Youths: A Call to Possibilities" at the 26th Convocation of the University of Port Harcourt.

He was a pioneer student of the institution where he went on to add a masters and doctorate degrees. President Jonathan stated that in his determination to set a new developmental agenda and the conduct of free and fair election for the country he would commit himself to work with all Nigerians, especially the youths to bring the sad days of electoral malfeasance to an end.

To this end, Jonathanpromised to relate more often with the youths with a view to sharing ideas with them on socio-economic and political values best for Nigeria, saying that "as part of my contribution to this debate I will set up a facebook account that will focus primarily on the exchange of ideas".

Expressing joy at "the brilliance, innovation, patriotism, sacrifice and the passion for excellence that the youths of Nigeria have demonstrated time and again", the president said: "with over 70 per cent of our population below the age 35 we are a strong and sturdy community determined to defend our collective interest"

He said as he settled down to the duties of office, "I will be depending on the ideas, energy and cooperation of all Nigerians to bring our dreams to reality"; insisting that "there can never be a better time for national transformation than now".


Related stories:

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Mikel Obi back in training

Mikel Obi has returned to training, but will miss this week's first squad meeting with Technical Adviser Lars Lagerback as well as the Presidential Dinner in Abuja.

The midfielder has started light running but is continuing his rehabilitation from knee meniscus surgery. Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan is expected to send off the team at a dinner in Abuja on May 20.

The day before the dinner, Lagerback will meet up with his squad for the first time since being appointed in March but Mikel's representative John Shittu told that the Chelsea midfielder would be unable to make the gathering

"He has started running and is training again but he is still undergoing rehab after his surgery and he will be unable to come to Abuja this week," Shittu told

Mikel, who told that he would be out for two only weeks, is making good progress after having his torn meniscus repaired.

Shittu says he will be fit to take part in Nigeria's World Cup build-up.

"Everything is going well, there are no complications and he will be available to take part in the preparations for the World Cup."

On Saturday, Mikel picked up an FA Cup winners medal with Chelsea despite missing the Final.

"I just got my medal in the dressing-room," he told after picking up the prize piece of silverware.

Nigeria play Saudi Arabia, Colombia and North Korea before their opening game on June 12 against Argentina.

Daily Trust

Related stories: Super Eagles squad list for the 2010 World Cup

The World Cup comes to Nigeria 

Video overview of Group B in the 2010 World Cup

Thursday, May 13, 2010

2010 World Cup matches will be available on mobile devices in Nigeria

With a few developments in recent times, Nigeria is still setting the pace in technological developments in Africa and indeed the Middle East and African emerging markets. This is as Nigeria can now join a few other countries of the world to provide its citizens the opportunity of watching the 2010 World Cup LIVE broadcasts on their cell phones.

This opportunity was facilitated by a recent partnership between DStv Mobile, Nokia and MTN Nigeria to push the boundaries of entertainment by making compelling live TV available to Nigerians on their mobile devices.

Announcing the partnership last week in Lagos Nigeria, the partners said that with the launch of the Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition, Nigerians would be able to watch 3 LIVE Super Sport channels and all the sporting action in the palm of their hands.

The deal means that Super Sport, the exclusive pay tv broadcasters of the World Cup will now be seen on an additional platform apart from the traditional television space.

The interesting aspect of this offering is that it would provide solution to the awkward broadcast times of the world cup games, as most games would be played when Nigerians are either in their offices, work or in traffic. However, the DStv Mobile runs only on MTN network.

The Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition is an entertainment hub that combines mobile broadcast TV (DVB-H), social networking, music and gaming in a compact 3G device.

The partners said the desire to team up in providing the mobile tv was fuelled by the rise of mobile broadcast TV consumption and the forecast that by 2012 there would be over 300 million people worldwide watching TV on their mobile phones. For instance, General Manager, DStv Mobile, Mr Mayo Okunola, noted that "Africa is making waves in the new and exciting area of Mobile tv and Nigeria is leading the way. We at DStv Mobile strongly believe in the importance of mobile television in the Nigerian market and the effect our success will have on the global stage."

Also, the General Manager, Consumer marketing, MTN Nigeria Kola Oyeyemi, added that "MTN as the first and only African Global sponsor of the world's biggest football event; FIFA 2010 is not leaving any stone unturned in its quest to enrich the lives of its customers via the promotion of their passion for football. In this regard, MTN is bringing the pleasures, intrigues, surprises and fun associated with the best of world class football from the South of Africa to her teeming customers while on the go".

MTN has consistently blazed the trail in innovations that add value and enrich the lives of her customers. This new service is a further reinforcement of our innovation leadership status in the telecom industry and it joins the leagues of many "firsts" from MTN like Google SMS, MTN Back Up, MTN Video cam e.t.c

Corroborating his fellow partners, Nokia West Africa General Manager, Mr Phillip de la Vega, said that enhancing the daily lives of Nigerians was at the heart of the partnership.

According to him, "the introduction of the Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition responds to the arrival of DVB_H broadcast mobile TV networks in new markets, including Nigeria , and offers an affordable device for new and existing customers alike. Customers are increasingly watching a variety of programmes on their mobiles for a longer period of time.

The Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition has the sound and image quality to hold audiences captive, and we are excited to be here today, together with MTN Nigeria and DStv Mobile, to bring this exciting package to Nigerian consumers".

DStv Mobile is broadcast on a dedicated network. This service differs from mobile tv streaming and so, as many people as possible can watch DStv mobile at the same time without dropping the picture and audio quality. This also means that viewers will not be using their credit when they watch live TV on their phone. DStv Mobile announced that apart from the cost of acquiring the mobile phone, the service runs free of charge till April 2011.

The DStv Mobile service is currently available in Lagos , Abuja , Ibadan , Port Harcourt , Aba , Asaba, Enugu , Onitsha , Benin City and Kaduna .


Related stories: All Nigerians to own phones by 2020

Super Eagles squad list for the 2010 World Cup

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Video overview of Group B in the 2010 World Cup

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Video - Hometown of Nigerian president looks to future

Nigeria's newly sworn-in president, Goodluck Jonathan, is expected to nominate his vice-president this week.
Back in Jonathan's home state of Bayelsa, people are still coming to terms with the fact that the area has produced a president for the first time.
He comes from one of the smallest ethnic groups in the countrys oil-rich and violent Niger Delta.

Related stories: Video report - Goodluck Jonathan takes over from Yar'Adua

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Super Eagles squad list for the 2010 World Cup

The following is the complete final 30-player team list for Nigeria's World Cup team.

Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Hapoel Tel Aviv, Israel), Dele Aiyenugba (Bnei Yehuda, Israel), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Petah Tikva, Israel), Bassey Akpan (Bayelsa United, Nigeria).

Defenders: Taye Taiwo (Olympique Marseille, France), Elderson Echiejile (Rennes, France), Chidi Odiah (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Onyekachi Apam (OG Nice, France), Joseph Yobo (Everton, England), Daniel Shittu (Bolton Wanderers, England), Ayodele Adeleye (Sparta Rotterdam, Netherlands), Rabiu Afolabi (SV Salzburg, Austria), Terna Suswan (Lobi Stars, Nigeria)

Midfielders: Chinedu Obasi (TSG Hoffenheim, Germany), John Utaka (Portsmouth, England), Brown Ideye (FC Sochaux, France), Peter Utaka (Odense Boldklub, Denmark), , Kalu Uche (Almeria, Spain), Dickson Etuhu (Fulham, England), Mikel Obi (Chelsea, England), Sani Kaita (Alaniya, Russia), Haruna Lukman (AS Monaco, France), Yusuf Ayila (Dynamo Kiev, Ukraine), Osaze Odemwingie (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia)

Strikers: Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Victor Anichebe (Everton, England), Nwankwo Kanu, Obafemi Martins (Wolfsburg, Germany), Ikechukwu Uche (Real Zaragoza, Spain), Obinna Nsofor (Malaga, Spain).


Related stories: Video - Obafemi Martins talks about Eagles chances 

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Video overview of Group B in the 2010 World Cup

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Search has begun for next elite supermodel

Elite model Management has began a nationwide search in Nigeria, for this year's Elite Supermodel.

This year's screening would be held on Saturday July 10th 2010 @ REHAB pool lounge, Victoria Island Lagos and finalists will be chosen from the open auditions by Elite representatives from Paris.

From the 60 finalists, 16 are chosen by the jury to participate at the elite model look Nigeria finale. Selected contestants will be accommodated in September for a week of intensive grooming. This training will cover all the professional aspects of modeling.

The 16 finalists will experience and undergo fitness training, makeovers, nutrition lectures, professional photo sessions as well as a run through of the event.

Elite model look Nigeria Finale would be held in Lagos in September 2010. The elite model look international would be broadcast in over 80 countries and over 80 contestants are selected for the world finale.

Make-up seminar set to hold in Lagos

A make-up Seminar will hold in Lagos to equip young ladies, youth corpers, housewives and women on how to make up and engage in make-up as a business venture. The seminar is organized by TinuShaiye Makeup Artistry, an entity which aims at eliciting true beauty in females worldwide through passionate, professional, skillful, exquisite and chic makeup services, to capture the essence of an event and ultimately end up evergreen.

TinuShaiye MA offers a range of world class makeup services and in doing this is venturing now into training. Ms Tinuola Saiye, the CEO said the seminar aims to equip. the participants with the requisite skills and competencies to establish a make -up artistry. The seminar holds at The Knot centre on Aggrey Road,Yaba in Lagos it will stretch for a period of 3days between the hours of 8am-6pm daily.

Jumai Shaba aka Leo Leo would be holding a 2 days (2nd and 9th of May) Dress exhibition come the first and second week of May in the bubbling city of Lagos. There would be dresses for both men and women. All sorts, sizes, colours and designs would be on display at the most fantastic bargains ever. Shopping for all your dress details and solutions under one roof.The event which is also tied to charity and will also be featuring Pretty Mai,a designer from U.K will hold at the Rehab.


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Nollywood producer at war with pirates

The head honcho of O.J Productions Limited, one of the leading film making and marketing outfits in Nollywood, Mr. Ojiofor Ezeanyaeche, has warned pirates to desist from feeding fat on his numerous works.

Amiable Ezeanyache made this known at a recent interactive session where he announced the arrest of a Benin, Edo State based pirate, who was recently caught and handed over to the police authority, while mass dubbing and selling pirated copies of one of his new movies, 'Pretty Queen'.

Embittered Ezeanyaeche, who decried the level of piracy going on in the movie industry, said the culprit (names withheld) was nabbed following a tip off by an informer.

"Prior to his arrest, we had been receiving information that a syndicate operating from Benin, Edo State, has been pirating my films and that of other marketers. We eventually arrested one of their kingpins with the help of the Edo State Police Command and later transferred the case to Alagbon, here in Lagos. He was caught with copies of 'Pretty Queen', one of my hit movies.

What this heartless pirate does is to compile our movies into multiple titles without our knowledge or consent and mass sell to the unsuspecting public. I want to use this medium to tell the public that our movies, especially those from my stable, do not come in compilations or multiple packs. We sell just single pack and title of any of our movies.

Anybody that sells you multiple titles of Nollywood movies rolled into one is a pirate. Do not patronise them because they are the ones killing Nollywood."

Ezeanyache, who is also the proprietor of Dmatel Hotels and Resorts in Lagos and Enugu, disclosed that the culprits would soon be charged to court for reaping where they did not sow.

"This case will serve as a deterrent to others still in the business of pirating our films. The world over, theft of one's intellectual property is a very big crime and we are out to assist the relevant government agencies to curtail the evil activities of these pirates.

We have uncovered their other illegal operational bases in Alaba, Onitsha, Port Harcourt and other hideouts, I would not want to mention. Very soon, we will be storming these dark spots to fish them out and bring them to full justice too. We will raid them with full force very soon; that I can assure you."

Ezeanyaeche, a pioneer filmmaker/distributor in Nollywood, also called on the relevant government agencies to create an enabling environment that will help the industry thrive. "Nollywood has come to stay. We only need the right support from the relevant agencies to make it stable and compete favourably."


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Government approves U.S. $8 Million for 2010 World Cup

The federal Government has approved a budget of N1.25 billion (over $8 million) for the country's participation in next month's World Cup in South Africa. exclusively gathered that while the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will receive N900 million, its supervising agency, the National Sports Commission (NSC), will get N350 million.

This expenditure will cover players' match bonuses and allowances, as well as hotel accommodation during the tournament, as the world football governing body, FIFA, will only subsidise a player's boarding by $400-a-night.

Nigeria will in turn pay $700-a-night for rooms at the team's new World Cup training base at four-star Waterfront Hotel, Richards Bay.

The Super Eagles will earn $9 million from FIFA for featuring in the first round of the championship, but will receive more, if it progresses to the knockout stage.

A breakdown of this is one million dollars as training grant, which the team have since received, and $8 million for featuring in the group stage, which it will get after the tournament.

For the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, the government also approved a budget of N500 million (over $3 million) for the competition.

However, gathered that the NFF has spent over N700 million (about $4.6 million).

The NFF have since demanded a refund of N200 million from the Presidential Task Force (PTF), a committee set up to complement the efforts of the football association leading to the World Cup.

Daily Independent

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Video - 2face & Mary J Blige Colabo


Two worlds collide as the queen of R&B Mary J Blige and  2face work in the studio on a new track that's sure to set a new precedence for future collaborations between the two music industries.

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Video report - Goodluck Jonathan takes over from Yar'Adua

Goodluck Jonathan has been sworn in as the new president after Yar'Adua's death.

Jonathan has remained silent about whether he will seek another presidential term but many Nigerians say without Jonathan, the programme begun by Yar'Adua will remain unfinished.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

President Umaru Yar'Adua is dead

A spokesman, who did not want to be named, said Mr Yar'Adua died on Wednesday, although there has been no official announcement yet.

Mr Yar'Adua, who became president in 2007, had been ill for some time, and had not been seen in public for months.

After much wrangling, Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan was accepted as acting president in February.

Reports from Nigeria said Mr Yar'Adua died between 2100 (2000 GMT) and 2200 (2100 GMT) on Wednesday at his presidential residence in the capital, Abuja.

In November, Mr Yar'Adua went to a hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for several months, during which time he was not heard from.

He returned to Nigeria, but Mr Jonathan remained as acting president.


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Chiwetel Ejiofor cast as Fela

Chiwetel Ejiofor has officially been announced as the actor to play Fela in the biopic about the legendary musician and activist.

The movie is currently in development by Focus Features who secured the rights of Fela's music and a book by Michael Veal titled "Fela: The life and Times of an African Musical Icon'. The movie will be directed by Steve McQueen, director of the critically acclaimed Hunger.

Ejiofor has already been learning to play piano and saxophone in preparation for the role.

First Showing

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Monday, May 3, 2010

World Cup hotel too noisy for Super Eagles

Nigerian Sports Minister Ibrahim Bio reportedly visited the three-star Hampshire Hotel, north of Durban, and raised the issue of noise from the nearby N2 highway, as well as the team's safety. "I am concerned about the noise, and I am very unsure of the security of this place," Bio said, according to the Mercury newspaper. "It's important that our boys are secure."

FIFA said it has held discussions with the Nigerian Football Association and reported a "positive meeting." Nigeria had agreed to stay at the Hampshire Hotel before Lars Lagerback took over as coach from Shaibu Amodu, and the team has identified a five-star venue, the Zimbali lodge, as its preferred alternative.

Brazil coach Dunga visited South Africa recently to check on renovations at the five-star Hotel Fairway in Randburg, just outside Johannesburg. The hotel is located inside a golf club and was being renovated to accommodate the Brazilians. It is expected to be ready by May 12.

Last month, Germany's team hotel near Pretoria was found to be missing the legal documents that allow people to occupy the buildings. The German Football Federation said it had no intention of moving hotels. 


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