Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Body scanners used as porn by airport security

The Nigerian newspaper This Day has reported that security officials at Lagos airport are getting their jollies by watching female passengers go through a full-body scanner.

Nigerian investigative reporters visited the airport during a slow period when security officials had time to spare. The journalists found some of them hanging around the scanner display. Since the scanner blurs the face in an attempt to give anonymity, the officers were hurrying over to the line to peek at the passengers before going back to the scanner to check out their favorites.

The scanner was installed after the failed attack by underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was from Lagos, yet technicians have revealed a full-body scan wouldn't have caught him. An Israeli security expert who helped plan security at Israel's super-strict Ben Gurion Airport says body scanners don't work. Israeli airports don't use the device.

Many Nigerians feel it is against their religion to expose themselves to a stranger, while others fear the effects of radiation. The investigative journalists witnessed passengers objecting to go through the scanner until security turned off one of the metal detectors, giving them the choice of using the full-body scanner or waiting in a longer line.


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The return of Boko Haram

It might be wrong to describe the recent attack of the Boko Haram sect in Bauchi as a surprise. The indications of an attack were all over the place, including the North East, where they had started some skirmishes.

So if anything should be surprising about it, it should be the audacity of the attack. Once again, the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram struck and at the heart of Bauchi, of all places. They attacked the Bauchiâ-‚Central Prison, where they set free some 721 inmates, many of whom are members of the Islamic sect who have been detained in the prison since last year over a similar crisis.

Armed with weapons including guns and explosives, the group had attacked the prison one evening during the Ramadan fast, and over-powered the warders on duty, and set its members free as well as other inmates who took advantage of their liberty to also escape from the prison. While many were re-arrested days after, others returned on their own volition.

The Islamic sect, which is opposed to western education, had struck July last year and killed several people in Bauchi, Maiduguri and other northern states. In the clamp down that followed, the police had killed several members of the sect, arrested many others including their leader, Mr. Muhammed Yusuf, whom the police later killed whilst in their custody.

Between then and the latest attack, the sect had struck three other times, each time recording heavy casualties, most times of innocent persons.

As in previous editorials on the issue, we condemn the recent attack by the sect. The cause they claim to be fighting is perverse, retrogressive and dictatorial.

In an age where there is increased inclination to learning and technological breakthrough, to raise an army that will fight the process of acquiring such knowledge-be it Western or Eastern--, we believe, is a setback to development. But even if it were right, where is the freedom to learn as enshrined in the constitution of the country? Need the Boko Haram vanguard be reminded that Nigeria remains a secular society?

The resurgence of the Islamic militia is a failure of intelligence in many respects. First, the fact that it has been meeting, re-grouping, and stock- piling arms with which the attack was launched was common knowledge.

Second, the brazenness with which the prison was attacked and subdued portrays the poor combat readiness of the security operatives. It was an operation that lasted for several hours. The counter-response by the police was not only weak, but slow and even tepid. It tells a lot about the capacity of the security organs of the country. And it is worrisome.

The incident also raises the issue of the nation's judicial lethargy. The arrested suspects who have been in detention since July last year, have neither been tried nor freed, more than one year after. The slow grind of judicial process causes loss of confidence in the ability of the courts to deliver justice with dispatch; after all, justice delayed is justice denied.

We believe that the nation's security operatives should see the Boko Haram threat as a call to duty. To think that because its leader had been killed the group is now extinct has proven to be a grave mistake.

The attack on Bauchi prison, more than any incident, indicates that until the sect is completely routed, the North, and indeed the entire nation, will know no respite. That is why we call on the Police and other security agencies to join hands in removing this threat. Those arrested should be made to face speedy trial and face justice, if only to serve as a deterrent to other such groups. The nation must begin to enforce its laws effectively. That is the only way society can preserve and pursue collective order and safety.

This Day

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Three French nationals kidnapped off Nigerian coast

Three French nationals were seized after pirates boarded an oil industry supply vessel off the coast of Nigeria.

The abduction comes just six days after seven people, including five French nationals, working in neighbouring Niger's uranium fields for French nuclear giant Areva were kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

The men's employer in Nigeria, French maritime services firm Bourbon, and the French foreign ministry said they had contacted the kidnapped workers' families and were working with Nigerian authorities to secure their release.

Bourbon has also set up a crisis cell in the French town of Marseille.

French Defence Minister Hervé Morin played down speculation that the hostage-takers may have had a political motive. In a FRANCE 24 interview on Wednesday Morin said that "everything points to it being a classic act of piracy."

Bourbon said in an online statement that its boat had been working on an off-shore field owned by Addax Petroleum, a Swiss-based subsidiary of the Chinese energy and chemical giant Sinopec.

"The 13 other crew members have remained on board and nobody has been injured. No claim has been made at this stage," Bourbon said.
Addax has several offshore and onshore fields in Nigeria, but its main offshore wells lie in OML123, an oil production bloc 60 kilometres (37 miles) south of the city of Calabar at the far eastern edge of the Niger Delta.

The Gulf of Guinea, south of Nigeria, is one of the world's most notorious pirate hunting grounds, and ships working in the region's huge oil industry are often targeted by kidnap and ransom gangs.

Bourbon has been the target of several attacks in the past two years in the Niger Delta oil-producing area.

Nine Bourbon workers were taken hostage along with their ship in January last year and freed a few days later. In October 2008 another of its ships was seized by pirates off the Nigerian coast.


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Ex-military leader Ibrahim Babangida on why he annulled '93 elections and why he's running for Nigeria's presidency.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Nigeria Looks Beyond Petrodollars

Nigeria's economy grew by 7% in the first half of the year. The country is diversifying away from oil production and has a strong agricultural base, Lamido Sanusi, governor of the Nigerian Central Bank.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Restoring Nigeria's banking image

A year after a crisis, Nigeria's banking system has improved, says Tony Elumelu, a former African Business leader of the year.

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Osaze wants to be Eagles' Point Man

Super Eagles and West Bromwich Albion striker Osaze Odemwingie has vowed to bang in more goals for club and country if he is played as top striker.

"I prefer to play as a point man because I will be closer to the goal and hopefully my manager at my club at West Bromwich Albion would keep me as the point man, which would help me score more goals for my team as well as my country," Osaze said.

"I started out for West Brom as the top striker and I scored on my debut, but for my next game against Liverpool, I was played on the wing because one of our wingers was injured."

He fired blanks in the game at Liverpool and he was also not on the score sheet in Nigeria's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Madagascar after Obafemi Martins and Michael Eneramo were picked to lead the Eagles attack.

Osaze also predicted a tough match for the Eagles away to Guinea in a Nations Cup qualifier next month.

"The match against Guinea will be very tough because I heard that they won their game (4-1 away to Ethiopia) and they are currently topping our group while we are second with same points. Definitely playing the match at home soil will give them an advantage, said Odemwingie.

"I remember the last time we played, we lost 1-0 and it was a very hard game for us."

The former Locomotiv Moscow star said he has put behind him a racist's attack by fans of his former Russian club.

"It is not affecting me that much now. I have put it behind but definitely no one is happy about it. It is very sad but I would advise that such things should be totally eradicated in world football," Osaze enjoined.

"It is not good for the game. We should do everything humanly possible to remove racism from the game."


Related story: Osaze to miss Nations Cup opener

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Obi Mikel has improved, says Ancelotti

Chelsea coach, Carlo Ancelotti said that midfielder, John Obi Mikel has improved tremendously. He added that Mikel was a contributory factor to the 13 goals, the Blues have scored so far this season.

Ancelotti said that last season, the former Nigerian youth international and a regular with the Eagles, struggled to impose himself on the team, but he has been exceptionally different so far.

"Last season, Mikel had an average of 18 per cent forward passes and in the three games this season he had 38 per cent. He's trying to put more balls directly to strikers," Ancelotti said.

The Italian said that Chelsea's aim this season was to play good and attractive football. And he was banking on the likes of Mikel to be in good form.

But during the Nations Cup qualifier against Madagascar last Sunday in Abuja, Mikel hopped off the field after he picked a minor injury.

However, he said that he will be fit for Chelsea's weekend game against West Ham.

"My injury was not a serious one. I had cramps in my thigh and I did not want to risk it any further. That was why I was pulled off," Mikel said.


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Women entrepreneurs to converge in Abuja

Women entrepreneurs from various sectors of the economy will converge next month in Abuja, courtesy of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Business Women Group (NAWORG).

The National Vice President of NACCIMA/Chairperson, NAWORG, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, who disclosed this, Tuesday, in Lagos, said that the decision by NAWORG to bring these women together was for them to use the Nigerian Women Entrepreneurs Exhibition (NIWEX), to showcase their products and services, with a view to bringing to the fore, their business successes and achievements.

According to her, NAWORG is doing this in collaboration with Medallion Marketing Limited.

"The theme of the exhibition, which is "The Role of Women in Economic Development", is appropriate and timely, given the increasing role being played by the women folks in business world over. It is also in line with the on-going reform agenda of the federal government directed at boosting business/trading related activities towards achieving economic growth and development," she stated.

She also urged the political office holders at the federal, state and local government level, and other stakeholders in the economy not to allow politics to crowd or monopolize the economy, especially as Nigerians approach the 2011 election year, adding that it is necessary in order not to derail the positive in road already being made with nascent democracy to make Nigeria a vibrant strong economy as it pursue its vision 20:2020 agenda.


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Friday, September 3, 2010

Video - Olusegun Aganga talks state asset sales

Nigerian Finance Minister Olusegun Aganga talks about preparations for elections next January and the government's plans to boost economic growth through state asset sales and the upcoming presidential elections.

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