Thursday, February 28, 2013

Video - Bill Clinton says Nigeria among 10 most important countries in the world

Former U.S President, Bill Clinton has said that Nigeria is among the 10 most important countries in the world.

Clinton, who was speaking on Tuesday in Abeokuta as part of an awards ceremony put on by ThisDay newspaper and its flamboyant publisher Nduka Obaigbena, who has invited the former president several times to Nigeria, said it would be difficult to imagine how the world be if Nigeria fails.

"I made a list of the 10 important countries in the world for the 21st century and Nigeria is on the list," the former president said.

He listed three big challenges that Nigeria must overcome for it to actualize its potentials.

Related story: Bill Clinton lists challenges for Nigeria

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bill Clinton lists challenges for Nigeria

Former President of United States of America, Bill Clinton, said yesterday in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, that the inability to manage the nation's natural resources well was one of the three major challenges Nigeria was facing as a nation.

The former US president, who was speaking at the 18th Annual Awards of Thisday newspaper, organised to celebrate Nigeria's best teachers, further tasked Nigerian leaders to tackle unemployment, brain-drain and to maximise the potential of the citizens.

The 42nd American President, who spoke in the presence of former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, his counterpart in Delta, Emmanuel Uduaghan and other notable Nigerians, said Nigerian leaders mismanaged the proceeds from oil, under-utilised technology and failed to retain its best brains.

Clinton said: "When I became President, my Secretary of Commerce did a lot of work in Africa before he was tragically killed in a plane crash in 1995.

"I said he should make a list of 10 most important countries in the world for the 21st century. Nigeria was in the list.

"Imagine the future of the entire continent if Nigeria fails or South Africa fails. So, you are a country of potential. I will say you have about three big challenges.

Oil money, economic distribution, brain-drain

"First of all, like 90 percent of the countries, which have one big resource, you haven't done well with your oil money. You should have reinvested it in different ways. Now you are at least not wasting the natural gas. You are developing it in pipelines but you don't do a better job of managing natural resources.

"Secondly, you have to somehow bring economic opportunity to the people who don't have. This is not a problem specific to Nigeria. Almost in every place in the world, prosperity is heavily concentrated in and around urban areas.

"So you have all these political problems: violence, religious differences, and all the rhetoric of Boko Haram.

"But the truth is the poverty rate in the north is three times greater than what it is in the Lagos area. To deal with that, you have to have both powerful stake in the local governments and a national policy that work together.

"As you keep trying to divide the power, you have to figure out a way to have a strategy that will help in sharing prosperity.

"The third thing is there has to be a way to take the staggering intellectual and organisational ability that Nigerians exhibit in every country in the world in which they are immigrant and bring it to bear here, so that the country as a whole can rise.

"One of the people on my trip with me today, who unfortunately could not come up here because he had to go and visit his family, is a young Nigerian-American named Nnamdi. He is an all pro-quarter back footballer for the Philadelphia Eagles.

"He's a wonderful man; he does great work in America for poor kids in Arkansas City and he became a friend of mine.

"Both his parents have PhDs. His sister has a PhD. He often says 'I'm the failure in my family and I only have a university degree and I play football.'

"My point is: there are Nigerians who are like this all over the world. What you have to figure out is how to keep those people in Nigeria and how to ensure their success encourages others in the country.


"So, I think solving the economic divide that is in your country will help the political divide; making better use of your resources.

"Nigeria is trying to set up an investment fund where the Federal Government will set it up and the governors are being consulted so that they can concentrate the capital. That is the problem in India.

"They have unbelievable entrepreneurs but they are not very good at collecting capital and investing it in infrastructure so that they can unite the poor part of the country with the rich part. That's what you have to do. And then, you have to empower people with education so they can succeed at home as well as around the world."

Speaking on the essence of education, Clinton said: "I have to explain that education is more important in dealing with the challenges facing Nigeria. On the continent and the entire world, we are living a revolutionary time, full of positive and negative forces.

"The information technology is good for people who can take advantage of it. I see this all over the world. Cell phones give farmers the access to information about crop prices and fish prices in Africa and Asia.

"It increases their income by reducing their ignorance. It is empowerment. People are using cell phones to have banking services for the first time.

"I see it even in the United States where people who thought they have no money to help others donate a billion dollars to Haiti during the earthquake because ordinary citizens use their cell phones to make transfer to an account and they had a billion dollars.

Education, globalisation

"It is an age where if we are sufficiently educated we can be empowered but with enormous challenges. First of all, with all of these new opportunities which technology had given us, we have not yet succeeded in automatically reducing poverty and inequality of opportunity in accessing education and health care.

"It is a global phenomenon. If we really want to take advantage of education, empowerment and information technology, we have to tackle this problem. The second problem we have in the world is instability as we all know.

"We have to stop this problem. One major problem of unemployment is this instability all over the world. We have not yet solved the problem of how to embrace our potential and common humanity.

"And until we do this, the globalisation of the economy, the globalisation of the society for information technology will continue to face serious trouble. We have to deal with how to maximise the capacity of all the people through education.

"We have to find a way through education, through the information technology revolution to change the way we produce and consume energy and to change the way we use local resources in a way that sustains them.

"We have to know how to do this and do it right. And in every case, education will play a major role whether in developed or developing countries. We need intelligent people to take a new way to challenge themselves.

"There is a lot of work to be done but we cannot ever neglect the role of education. So I want to end my remarks by saying two things. Every year at the opening of the United Nations, I sponsor a meeting where we invite the global leaders to come.

"We actually ask people to make a commitment to do something and we are all making progress."

Obaigbena speaks

Speaking earlier, Editor-in-Chief and Chairman, Thisday, Nduka Obaigbena explained that the choice of Abeokuta as the venue for the 18th edition of the award was made by Clinton due to the presence of Presidential Library.

According to him, Delta, Port Harcourt and Abeokuta were the options presented to Clinton as the venue before Abeokuta was chosen by the ex-American President.

He eulogised eminent media personalities present, including former governor of the state, Chief Olusegun Osoba, the Chairman and Publisher of Vanguard newspapers, Mr. Sam Amuka, among others.

Obaighena disclosed that 15 best teachers were selected by a panel headed by Vice President World Bank (Africa) and former Minister of Education, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, from 700 nominees.


Those who bagged the Builder of Modern Nigeria awards were Oba Otudeko; professor of musicology, Laz Ekwueme; deposed Sultan, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki; Osile of Oke-Ona, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso, and Chief Rasak Okoya.

The 15 best teachers, who received N2 million each, were Mrs Victoria Jolayemi, Mrs Dorothy Ugwu and Mrs Christie Ade-Ajayi, for primary school category.

For secondary category, Rev. Father Angus Frazer, Chief D.B.E. Ossai, Mrs Yakubu Dimka, Chief Reuben Majekodunmi, Chief Dotun Oyewole, Mrs. John O. B. Adeaga, Mr. Bawa Mohammed Faskari and Hadiza Thani Muhammed were honoured as best teachers.

In the universities category, Prof. Iya Abubakar, Prof. Frank Ugiomoh, Prof. Michael Obadan and Prof. Eunice Nkiruka Uzodike, were given award.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Video - Manhunt in Nigeria for kidnappers of French family

Security forces in Nigeria say they've launched a 'massive manhunt' for the kidnappers of a French family of seven. It's believed they were taken to Nigeria, after being kidnapped in Cameroon this week.

Nigerian fraudster on FBI most wanted list caught

A notorious US born Nigerian fraudster who was placed on the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 'Most Wanted list' has been captured after eluding authorities for over four years.

Mr. Tobechukwu Enyinna Onwuhara, 33, described as 'a criminal mind' by the FBI for stealing $44 million dollars from US banks using sophisticated methods, including stealing bank customers' personal information, Home Equity Lines of Credit details and account numbers, was nabbed in far away Australia.

FBI had previously explained how the conman escaped arrest in the state of Florida and went underground afterwards.

Although, FBI did not say how and when Onwuhara was captured, a mug shot of the scammer on its website listed him as 'captured.'

FBI agents say Onwuhara was born in Houston and sent to live with his wealthy Nigerian father, Prince Doris Onwuhara who the Bureau say is a 'well-known con man who made a fortune from the notorious Nigerian 419 scheme' before returning to the United States when he reached his teenage years in 1999.

Having settled in the southern state of Texas, he got a job with US lender, Capital One Financial Corporation where authorities believe he gained insider knowledge on how to work the US financial system.

His first brush with the law happened in April 2002 when he was arrested by Lewisville city police in Lewisville, Texas after police got a tipoff that he may be using stolen identification to steal money from credit card accounts. When police raided his apartment, they found stolen credit card account numbers, fake driver's licenses and materials used to forge identification.

Same year in December in the western state of Seattle, FBI said 'Onwuhara walked into a local bank and tried to max out the cash withdrawal limit on a stolen credit card' but fled the bank when he sensed trouble. He was said to have jumped into a waiting car driven by a friend of his, Abel Nnabue and they led Seattle police on a high-speed chase but were eventually caught when they tried to flee on foot.

Both men were charged, convicted and sentenced to two years in a Seattle prison but spent only eight months of their sentence for good behaviour.

After their release, they relocated to Texas and went low for a while until sometime in 2005 when the real estate market was at an all time high and Home Equity Lines Of Credit loans became available. Though it was harder to steal from Home Equity Lines of Credit, Onwuhara and his co-conspirators found a way around it.

FBI say Onwuhara painstakingly researched home owners credit reports to see if they opened home lines of credit accounts and how much they had available. At this time in the real estate market, it was very common to find homeowners with $300, 000 - $ 400, 000 in home equity.

Onwuhara impersonated such homeowners after learning their passwords and home phone numbers through extensive research.

The Nigerian acquired multiple prepaid phone lines and wireless internet cards to prevent anyone from successfully tracing their numbers. He then also signed up to a spoofing service which allowed a home owner's number appear on the bank representative's caller ID when he called a bank to request a wire transfer from the account to a home owner's regular checking account before the funds are eventually wired to accounts in Asia and then the monies would go to a Hawala in Africa.

'Hawalas' are funds transfer systems that are not regulated instead, they operate on trust. 'Brokers or Hawalanders would take a cut and then transfer the money to an African Bank, eventually returning to a US bank,' according to America's Most Wanted.

Most of the funds returning to the United States came through accounts belonging to Precious Matthews or one of the other conspirators.

Investigators say Onwuhara made most of the calls himself but when an account belonged to a female, he would get his girlfriend, Precious Matthews to make the call while other co-conspirators would be delegated other duties including finding new home owners with equity in their homes.

According to FBI records, Onwuhara and his crew had stolen more than $20 million dollars before the bureau were notified of the scam and by the time the FBI penetrated their well-organized syndicate and learned their identity, they had stolen an additional $20 million dollars.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Nigeria donates to Mali

Nigeria yesterday in Bamako handed over a total of 1010 tons of assorted relief materials to Malian government in aid for internally displaced persons and those in need in northern Mali as a result of ongoing armed conflict in the region.

This is besides the deployment of Nigerian troops to participate in the ongoing military support mission in the country.

The relief items, which were presented in the presence of officials of the National Emergency Relief Agency (NEMA) from Nigeria led by its director of search and rescue Air Commodore Charles Otegbade, comprised foods, clothing, hygienic materials and household utilities.

The items included 1500 bags of millet, 2241 bags of guinea corn and 1278 bags of maize, 1000 cartons of macaroni, 500 cartons of spaghetti, 1000 cartons of tomato puree, 1000 bags of rice, 2000 cartons of couscous and 2000 bags of semovita.

Others are sugar, beverages, vegetable oil, women and children clothing, mosquito nets, cooking pots, plastic buckets, mattresses, mats and many other household items.

Nigeria's Ambassador to Mali Mr Iliya Ali Nuhu, who presented the items to Malian minister of humanitarian affairs Mamadou Sidibe in a brief but colourful ceremony at Nigerian Embassy in Bamako, said the donation was in fulfilment of President Goodluck Jonathan's earlier pledge to assist Mali in this trying period.

Ambassador Nuhu said the humanitarian gesture was in line with mutual cooperation and the friendly relations between the two countries, saying the gesture also demonstrates collective solidarity towards sustaining peace and stability in the West African sub-region.

The envoy expressed hope that the gesture will also help in assisting the victims and assured that Nigerian government and its people are always willing to assist people of Mali in the spirit of African brotherhood.

Receiving the items, Malian minister of humanitarian affairs Mamadou Sidibe described the gesture as timely, and therefore thanked people and government of Nigeria for the humanitarian effort which he said will further strengthen the existing ties between the two countries.

"Our country and people indeed appreciate Nigeria's participation in the ongoing military support mission in northern Mali and we shall remain grateful for this gesture", he said.

The minister, who assured that the relief items will be delivered to the victims in a few days time, said Mali urgently needs humanitarian assistance following the closure of Mauritanian and Algerian borders because of the ongoing armed conflict in northern Mali.

NEMA's director for search and rescue Air Commodore Charles Otegbade, who spoke on behalf of the agency's director general Alhaji Muhammadu Sani Sidi, commiserated with government and people of Mali in this "challenging period of their national history".

"As Africans our common geography, cultural affiliation and historic experience imply that the challenges of one nation will always have a quick repercussion on the other just as the growth and development of one country will create positive impacts on its neighbours", he said.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Adidas congratulates Nigeria on Nations Cup win

Technical sponsor of Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), adidas has hailed the Super Eagles of Nigeria after winning the 19th edition of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and crowned African champions.

Adidas is thrilled to be associated with the team as its proud sponsor. “adidas would like to congratulate the Super Eagles on a wonderful display in the AFCON final against Burkina Faso. As the technical sponsor to the Nigerian Football Federation, we are extremely proud to be associated with the African Champions and this performance can only strengthen our brand in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, where we have recently opened two stores,” says the Marketing Director at adidas South Africa, Gavin Cowley.

Nigeria sells 15 state owned power plants to foreign companies

Nigeria signed deals for the sale of 15 state power companies to buyers including Siemens AG (SIE), Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEP) and Transnational Corp. of Nigeria Plc, the West African nation’s privatization agency said.

The buyers now have 15 days to pay 25 percent of the amounts they bid, the Abuja-based Bureau of Public Enterprises said today in an e-mailed statement. The Nigerian government sold 10 power distributors and five generation companies in September and October. Full payment is due within 90 days.

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, is selling majority stakes in power plants and letting private investors acquire as much as 60 percent stakes in 11 distribution companies spun out of the former state-owned utility.

Blackouts are a daily occurrence in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with more than 160 million people. Electricity demand is almost double the supply of about 4,000 megawatts. The government is offering incentives to investors, including five- year tax breaks and permission to charge higher electricity tariffs, according to the BPE.

The country expects to earn $1.3 billion from the sale of the 10 power distributors and about $700 million for five power plants that the privatization council also approved for sale.

Video - Aftermath of river contaminated with dead bodies

Community struggle to find clean source of water after discovery of dead bodies in river.

Related story: Video - 30 human bodies found in river

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Senate recommends death penalty for kidnappers

The Senate, Wednesday, descended heavily on terrorism perpetrators as it recommended a capital punishment for those found guilty of the act.

Considering a report on "a Bill for an Act to amend the Terrorism (prevention) Act, 2012," brought forward by its Conference Committee during plenary, the Senate in a unanimous resolution, held that there was no alternative to punishing terrorism offenders than death.

All the senators who contributed to the issue, did not spare persons or corporate bodies linked to any terrorism acts in the country as they said people knowingly in or outside Nigeria directly or indirectly and who "willingly assist, facilitate, organise or direct the activities of persons or organisations engaged in acts of terrorism are liable on conviction to maximum of life imprisonment."

The Terrorism (prevention) Act 2011 (amendment) Bill, 2012 was passed by the Senate on October 17, 2012 and in the House of Representatives on October 11, 2012 but after the development, some differences were noticed in the two versions of the Bill, prompting it to be re-submitted where the Conference Committee was constituted comprising both chambers on October, 2012 to reconcile the areas of differences, which appeared in six clauses of the Bill.

New amendments to Section 17 of the Terrorism Act, gave a clear distinction between "an act of terrorism" and "an act of conspiracy."

For the latter, an imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty years is prescribed.

A new provision (section 1A) dealing with national co-ordinating bodies in counter terrorism designates specific institutions and vest specific powers and functions.

In line with the new amendments, the Office of the National Security Adviser , ONSA, shall be the co-coordinating body for all security and enforcement agencies including the Attorney General of the Federation ,AGF, under the Terrorism Act.

The new version of the bill stipulates that the AGF is to ensure conformity of Nigeria's counter-terrorism laws and policies with international standards and United Nations conventions on Terrorism as well as maintain international co-operation required for preventing and combating international acts of terrorism.

The Conference Committee added a new section (30) under clause 14 dealing with detention of conveyance. Accordingly, any person who without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with the requirement of a detention order or intentionally obstructs or hinders any person acting in accordance to detention order shall on conviction be liable to a fine of N5,000,000 or imprisonment for not less than five years.

Amendments of Section 26-29 of the prior Terrorist Act produced a new Section 28 which allows relevant law enforcement or security officials to detain suspected terrorist for a period not exceeding forty-eight hours arrest without having access to any person, a medical officer.

Anti-terrorism act, gives law enforcers greater powers to detain and prosecute suspects and gave judges more guidance on handing down punishments.

Also, the bill gives the police and security forces powers to seal off a property or vehicle without a search warrant.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

15 russians in prison over alleged gun smuggling

A Lagos Federal High Court yesterday ordered that 15 fifteen Russians who are standing trial over unlawful importation of firearms and ammunition into the country be remanded in prison pending the determination of their bail.

Justice Okechukwu Okeke directed that the accused be kept at the Ikoyi prison,Lagos until February 25th when their bail bids would be determined.

The accused are: Zhelyazkov Andrey, Savchenko Sergel, Chichkanov Vasily, Varlygin Igor, Komilov Alexander, Lopatin Alexey and Baranovskly Nikolay.

Others are: Mishin Pavel, Llia Shubov, Dimitry Bannyrh, Alexander Tsarikov, Kononov Sergel, Korotchenko Andrey, Vorobev Mikhail, and Stepan Oleksiuk.

The accused were taken to court on a four-count charge bordering on alleged unlawful importation, and possession of firearms, as well non declaration of the content of their vessel "Mv Myre Seadiver". They pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The prosecutor, Mr Ernest Ezebilo, told the court that the accused and their vessel were arrested by Naval officers on Oct. 18, 2012, within the Nigerian territorial waters, in Lagos State.

According to him, the accused and their vessel entered the Nigerian territorial waters without due licence and clearance from the Nigerian Custom Service.

It was gathered that the accused also refused to declare the content of the vessel contrary to the provisions of the Customs and Excise Management Act, 2002.

Daily Trust further learnt that when the vessel was arrested and opened by Naval officers, a cache of firearms and ammunition was discovered concealed in it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New Nigerian terrorist group claims responsibility for kidnap of foreigners

The fast-growing new terrorist group,Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis- Sudan (a.k.a JAMBS), on Monday claimed responsibility for Sunday’s seizure of six foreign workers in Bauchi.

A guard was also killed during the raid on the company’s premises where the expatriates were kidnapped.

The victims are believed to include an Italian, a Filipino, a Briton, one Greek and a Lebanese.

They were working on a construction project when the militants attacked on Sunday, reports say.

JAMBS, believed to have been a breakaway faction of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, had similarly claimed responsibility for the attack on Nigerian soldiers on their way to Mali last month.

In the attack on the soldiers on Okene-Lokoja Road, in Kogi State, two soldiers and many others were said to be injured during a gunfight that ensued.

The group, according to a BBC report, announced that it was behind Sunday’s kidnapping in an email, saying it had “the custody of seven persons, which include Lebanese and their European counterparts” working with a construction firm, Setraco.

On Monday, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office would still not confirm or deny reports that a Briton was among those held.

The kidnappers of the six foreigners said to be about 24, armed with rifles and dynamites, were said to have blown up two separate spots at the facility and escaped with the hostages, including those seized from the club house.

The incident has precipitated a fresh travel alert by the British and American embassies, warning their citizens to avoid troubled states in Nigeria.

The embassies updated their travel warnings on Monday, asking their citizens against all but essential travel to some states of the federation.

In a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, in Abuja, on Monday, the Political Officer in the British High Commission, in Abuja, Mr. Robert Fitzpatrick, said, “We are aware of reports that a number of foreign nationals, including a British national, working for a construction company were abducted on the 16 of February in Bauchi State, we are in contact with the Nigerian authorities.”

He could however, not confirm whether one of the kidnapped foreigners is a British national.

A travel advisory on the British High Commission website said, “We are currently investigating reports that foreign nationals were abducted by armed men from their accommodation in Bauchi State on 16 February.

“We advise against all travel to some areas of Nigeria and against all but essential travel to other areas, including Kaduna, and Zaria cities. There is a high threat from terrorism in Nigeria. This threat is sustained, including due to a terrorist threat of retaliatory attacks following the French intervention in Mali.

“You are advised to exercise caution and observe vigilance at all times, particularly in areas where there are political or other large public gatherings.”

In the case of the US, the Embassy alerted its citizens that seven expatriates were kidnapped from a construction company compound in Jama’are, Bauchi State, on the evening of February 16.

“There were no US citizens taken. Over the past year, extremists attacked many locations in Nigeria, killing and injuring hundreds of people. They have threatened churches, mosques, media houses, police stations, immigration and customs offices, transportation centres, financial institutions, large hotels, shopping malls and markets, state government offices, communications centres, beer gardens, and nightclubs.

“Attackers have also damaged and destroyed public and private schools, educational institutions, cell towers, electrical stations, and churches in many northern and central states. Additionally, extremists continue to target westerners for abduction. The security situation in some parts of Nigeria remains fluid and unpredictable.”

It advised US citizens to review their “personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.

“Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instruction of local authorities.

“We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Nigeria enrol in the Department of State’s Smart Traveller Enrolment Programme (STEP). STEP enrolment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you do not have internet access, enrol directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.”

Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has ordered a massive manhunt for the kidnappers.

Abubakar was said to have directed the Bauchi State Commissioner of Police to do everything possible to arrest the abductors and rescue their victims.

“There was an attack on the Setraco construction company site in Jama’are town (in Bauchi State) by unknown gunmen. Six company staff, including two expatriates, were kidnapped. They killed the security guard at the site, ” Bauchi State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Ladan said.

The same gunmen had earlier attacked the prison and a police station in Jama’are, which lies about 200 kilometres (125 miles) from Bauchi city, but were repelled, Ladan added.

Speaking to one of our correspondents in Abuja on Monday, Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, explained that the police had deployed crack detectives after the kidnappers.

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday ordered all security agencies in the country to ensure that they locate the kidnapped foreign construction workers and rescue them from the kidnappers’ den.

The President’s directive was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati.

He assured the relatives of the captives and the governments of their countries that the Federal Government and security agencies would not leave any stone unturned to ensure that the abductors were apprehended and the captives released.

The statement read in part, “President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the nation’s security agencies to take all necessary actions to locate and rescue the foreign construction workers who were abducted from their camp by terrorists in Bauchi State.

“He assures the relatives of the kidnapped foreign workers as well as the governments of their countries that the Federal Government and its security agencies are doing everything possible to find their abductors and ensure the safe release of all those they abducted.”

While condemning the kidnapping of the workers, Jonathan reaffirmed the Federal Government’s total commitment to stamping out all forms of terrorism and abduction in the country.

Jonathan’s assurance came even as Setraco has evacuated all its foreign workers from Bauchi.

The Public Relations Officer of the company, Abu Malik, told journalists on Monday that the foreign workers had all been evacuated to Abuja temporarily.

He said the operation of the Setraco Construction Company in Jamare had also been shut down until further notice.

Nollywood movie Dr. Bello to be released in American theatres

A Nollywood movie titled 'Dr Bello' will be making history as the first Nigerian movie to debut in the U.S. theatres on Feb. 22, its producer, Mr Tony Abulu, has said.

Abulu on Monday in Abuja said that the movie would be released in the U.S. theatres from Feb. 22 to Feb. 27.

He said the movie, worth N150 million, would explore the foreign exchange potentials that abound in the U.S. film industry.

The development, according to Abulu, will also create a platform for other Nigerian movies to sell in the U.S. market.

"This is the second largest theatre chain in America with over 5000 screens and this portends great opportunity for Nigeria, because apart from "Dr Bello" other movies can come through this same agreement.

"The only catch is that they have to be very well produced and they have to be targeted to an American audience, not all the Nigerian movies can do it; there will be a select group of Nigerian movies that can come through that channel.

"But I think, as time goes on, we can begin to see the millions of dollars of foreign exchange revenue that we have been hoping for from a place like the U.S."

Abulu praised the performance of the Nigerian film industry in projecting the image of the country overseas, adding that the quality of movies currently produced in the country were encouraging.

"The kind of movies we are making now are the quality of movies that I believe can have the capabilities to disclaim in the US theatres, but one of the prerequisite is that Americans would normally like to see one or two of their own actors in the movies.

"So we have very good film makers in Nigeria and I can account for at least about 25 of them that I think have the capacity and capability to make such films. "

The producer said that the production of the film was supported by Federal Government's $200 million intervention fund, adding that an endowment fund was still needed to boost activities of the entertainment industry.

According to him, the AMC agreed to expand the film to a wider release if there was a strong performance during the critical make-or-break first week of its release.

Abulu, who is also the writer and director of "Dr Bello", said that the release of the move in U.S. would strengthen the Nigerian film industry.

He said that it would provide better opportunities for professionals in the industry as well as enable films get more elaborate in terms of their scope.

"Once the revenue begins to increase of the films, everybody benefits.

"The industry gets stronger because there is more funding in the industry, producers now can spend more money in making movies.

"Instead of making movies at an average of N5 million, now you are making movies at an average of N40 million.

"That means locations are paid for, actors and the entire crew are paid more for their work and they can bring in a lot more actors in the movies and the movies can get more elaborate in terms of their scope.

"So by extension, a lot of people will benefit just by distributing the Nollywood movies in the U.S. market."

"The cure for cancer has been found in the sky mountains of Africa and an American oncologist will risk everything to find it."

The movie, 'Dr Bello', will be starring Isaiah Washington, Vivica Fox, Jimmy Jean-Luis and Nigerian superstars Genevieve Nnaji and Stephanie Okereke.

The film will open at AMC theatres in New York, New Jersey Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston, Dallas, Miami and Jacksonville.

Others are Columbus, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Video - Seven foreign workers kidnapped in Nigeria

A search begins in Nigeria after seven foreign workers were kidnapped in a deadly raid. Vladimir Duthiers reports.

Heineken to take Nigerian fans to Champions League Final

As part of its promise to provide an enduring consumer experience to UEFA Champions' league followers in Nigeria, the Heineken brand plans to take five Nigerian Heineken consuming football fans to this year's final in London.

The five lucky Nigerians will enjoy an all-expense paid trip to witness the final match of the UEFA Champions League at the Wembley Stadium, London on May 25, 2013.

This was the highpoint of an address by the Marketing Director of Nigerian Breweries, Mr. Walter Drenth, at a recent press conference organised to herald the brand's plan for the premium viewing experience at the premium Heineken Champions Planet in Lagos.

Drenth however added that unlike previous seasons when five winners emerged from a transparent draw ceremony, consumers who will benefit this season were encouraged to show their skills, wit and inventiveness to win tickets and be among the thousands of 'privileged' football fans that will watch the match live in Wembley stadium.

He said: "Consumers who will win must show that they are a true Man of the World: open-minded with a passion to go beyond their comfort zone. They have to be active and resourceful in their pursuit to progress in life and must be inspired by the inventiveness displayed by great players in the UEFA Champions League. Will this year be the year our consumers will go from spectators to Champions? It is history in the making, and it is under this pressure that they need to find their way to the ultimate goal; The UEFA Champions League Final."

According to the Marketing Director, visitors to the Heineken Champions Planet in Lagos are also in for an exciting time as the brand has outlined several exciting programmes to give them a premium experience.

These programmes include, among others, the StarPlayer game, an innovative interactive digital game to further engage all visitors while matches are in progress.

"Heineken Champions Planet has incorporated the brand's innovative interactive digital game, StarPlayer, in a demo room on the first floor. The game will offer the users the chance to further enhance their UEFA Champions League viewing experience by trying to anticipate what will happen next in a particular game in order to score points," he stated.

Speaking on how the relationship with the league has rubbed on Heineken brand, he stated that the partnership is a long-standing and successful one, which prompted the handlers of the brand to announce the extension of its sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League till at least the end of the 2014/15 season.

"The partnership continues to be an important component of Heineken's global sports sponsorship strategy. Heineken and UEFA Champions League is a perfect match - the world's most prestigious club tournament and the world's most international premium beer.

"You can watch the UEFA Champions League in every country where you can enjoy a cold Heineken...which is in more than 190 countries in the world. We have been strengthening our brand role in the UEFA Champions League and have moved from creating passion for the fans," he added.

Speaking further, he stated that the challenge is part of a new campaign of the brand tagged 'Road to the Final,' which has been slated for launch in April.

Former Super Eagles captain and coach, Christian Chukwu, who was a guest at the event, described the evening as an exciting one, calling on Nigerian consumers, especially football enthusiasts, to leverage on the opportunity to develop their skills of football understanding. He called on other brand owners and government at all levels not to play down the need to invest in sports.

To continue to enhance the viewing experience of the UEFA Champions League matches, the Media and Public Affairs Manager, Edem Vindah, added that the Star Player game app available at the planet has been adapted for Android phones.

He said: "We encourage everyone to download and play this interactive game if you haven't done so before. The Star Player game is all about anticipating what will happen next in a particular game in order to score points."

In addition to the Heineken Champions Planet, the Media and Public Affairs Manager also stated that the company would activate Heineken UCL Viewing Centres in premium bars across Nigeria, in order to bring the UCL viewing experience to more consumers.

British born Nigerians moving back to Nigeria

Although many young Nigerians dream of Britain as an Eldorado and would even give a limb for a British visa, many well-educated Britons of Nigerian descent are choosing to relocate to their parents' country of birth. KIMBERLY WARD speaks with some of the returnees to find out why they decided to make the transition from Britain, their adoptive country, to Nigeria, their fatherland

In a reversal of the brain-drain phenomenon that hit Nigerian in the 80s and 90s, many highly-qualified young Nigerians who grew up in the UK are relocating to Nigeria, bucking the decades-long trend of Africans migrating to Europe in huge numbers in search of greener pastures.

After benefiting from Britain's world-class education, amassing post-graduate degrees and acquiring a wealth of experience working in top companies, the worldwide recession and the search for something different has prompted these second-generation British-Nigerians to leave Britain behind.

Although there are no figures to measure how many are moving back, anecdotal evidence shows that a large number of them - many of whom had never visited Nigeria prior to their big move - are choosing to 'come home' for several reasons including personal ambition, entrepreneurial success, marital considerations or just the sheer adventure of experiencing where their parents came from.

While thousands of young people regularly leave Nigeria to school abroad, and after a few years return home to continue their careers, for those that call England home, making the transition from their first-world comfort zone to their third-world origins can be both daunting and rewarding.

Linda Adebayo was born in England in 1986, and apart from four years spent in Nigeria between the ages of four and eight, lived her whole life in London. She has an accounting degree from the University of Kent, an MBA from Manchester University and was working as a Chartered Accountant for Virgin Airways in London when she decided to relocate to Lagos in November 2011.

"I was enjoying my life in London and was doing quite well both financially and socially, until I met a guy in my MBA class who was based in Nigeria. We got married and because he was a successful accountant in Lagos, we decided to build a home in Nigeria."

Since settling in Lekki, Lagos, Linda initially spent some time furnishing her house and reconnecting with her Nigerian extended family, but is currently job-hunting. "I would like to be the CEO of a prominent corporation by the time I'm 35. I would also like to start my own business in another field.

The good thing about Nigeria is that the possibilities available to you here are endless, and you can make such valuable contacts in a short while. I've made friends here with the types of people it would have taken a lifetime to get close to in the UK. I also enjoy spending time with my family at length, without the thought of the flight back to London cutting short the visit."

Having her husband and extended family around has made the transition easier for Linda, and she enjoys the many events and celebrations that she attends. "The social scene here is fantastic and I'm having lots of fun. I miss my parents and sister who are back in London, but I love my life here."

Linda believes that young British-Nigerians are choosing Nigeria over Britain because of the superior job opportunities available to them in the former as a result of their British education and experience. "Everyone I know that relocated have found well-paid jobs because they were highly qualified. Nigeria is the best place to come to where your wealth of knowledge from abroad opens doors for you."

Amina Mayo, 29, agrees. She'd spent her whole life in the UK without ever visiting Nigeria, before one day shocking her family by telling them she wanted to relocate to the country. "I wanted a challenge." She said, when asked why she left England. "I have a journalism degree and a Masters in Political Communication, and I was working with the British Heart Foundation as a Press Officer in Surrey, England before I left.

The idea of coming to Nigeria had been brewing inside me for a while. I'd heard my friends talking about the country, both the good and the bad, and wanted to experience it for myself. And although my family were against it, I made up my mind and came. I was curious to know how it would be to live in a country that was so notorious around the world."

Amina now writes for a newspaper in Abuja and does not regret her move. "Living here has opened my eyes to the world, and I've done more in the two years I've been here than I could have done in five years in London. Although I miss certain comforts of home, like been able to order any book online on (an online retailer) that will be delivered to my house the next day, or getting on the London Underground to see a friend without the stress of traffic or buying petrol, I'm glad I came.

Understanding certain cultural quirks of Nigerians has also been challenging at times, but on the whole I've been welcomed here with open arms."

However, she disagrees with the notion that many young Britons are coming to Nigeria. "None of the Nigerian friends that I grew up with in the UK would ever return to live full-time in Nigeria," she said. "They are too used to their lives there and are afraid of the perceived dangers here, like terrorism, kidnapping, witchcraft, armed robbery and petty crime.

"The ones that have the confidence to return are those that have family here that they visit often, and so they are familiar with the country. But it is rare for someone like me, who knew nobody here and had no firsthand experience of living in this country to relocate. It was the decision of a lifetime, and now I have a wonderful fiancé who I met here to show for my bravery."

Many returnees came to Nigeria because of a job offer, as was the case with Oyinda Fakeye. Born in London in 1983, she has a degree in Nutritional Biochemistry from Nottingham University, studied Health and Society at Kings' College and was working at the Saison Poetry Library in London before she was offered the chance of a lifetime.

"Having lived in the UK my whole life, I was already toying with the idea of working abroad, originally looking at Europe. But shortly after meeting Bisi Silva, the Artistic Director at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Lagos in 2008, I was invited to Lagos to undergo a curatorial traineeship under her. I'd always been interested in curating so this was an exciting opportunity for me, and it paid off because I am currently the Administrative Director for the Video Art Network (, which is an organisation that promotes Nigerian new media arts locally and worldwide."

As well as her formal job, Oyinda has also been able to turn her hobby for exotic dancing into a lucrative business by opening 'Burlesque Princess,' a dance and fitness company that offers classes and workshops to women ( It was the first of its kind in Lagos and she believes that it was easier to open it here because of the country's openness to business and enterprise.

"Lagos is such a dynamic city with a hustler's heart. If you have an idea then this is the town to explore and experiment with it. London on the other hand can appear to be a saturated market, especially for those with an entrepreneurial spirit."

She may have found success in Nigeria, but does she miss London? "I have good and bad days, but all in all I could never have had the experiences I have had these past five years had I remained in England. I also try to return every three or four months and I hope to one day have a work structure that affords me the opportunity to spend a few months in the summer there annually, while being based here the rest of the year. But England will always be home for me no matter how long I am away."

Another returnee who misses England is 28-year-old Ahmed Musa. After studying pharmacy at degree and Masters Level at King's College, London, and carving out a successful career as a top pharmacist for an NHS hospital in Surrey, he relocated to Nigeria in 2012 to open his own pharmacy in the FCT.

"I love what I'm doing and enjoy working for myself, but I also miss the UK a lot, especially my old job and former work colleagues. But this opportunity I have here of running a company, of importing goods and handling patients in my own capacity as a Pharmacist, it would have taken a long time to accomplish in England. The means and resources for doing it, and even the channels to do it through were not as accessible to me in the UK as they are here in Nigeria."

Ahmed credits his success in Nigeria with the sense of professionalism and good business practices he learnt in Britain. "I took a few 'Starting Your Own Business' evening and online classes before I returned, which gave me the tools and insight in running a successful enterprise, things like how to balance your books and how to attract and keep customers. I feel that I'm a better boss because of all I learnt."

He hopes to expand his business and in five years open four more pharmacies in Abuja. "I'll settle down in Nigeria because my family is here and because no matter what I achieve abroad, I would want to be a success in my own country."

All four returnees say they will continue to oscillate between the UK and Nigeria, reaping the benefits of both worlds and getting the most out of their dual identities as British-Nigerians.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Nigeria climb up in FIFA rankings after Nations Cup victory

The Super Eagles have profited from their Afcon triumph as they have risen by 22 spots on the global football list.

Nigeria rose 22 spots to place 30th on the Fifa rankings released on February 14 thanks to their impressive victory at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Super Eagles defeated the Stallions of Burkina Faso 1-0 on Sunday to win their third African title in Johannesburg.

This made them climb up sharply on the global rankings to 30th place and fourth in Africa. They were 52nd globally and number nine in Africa when the Afcon commenced in January.

Cote D'Ivoire remain the top country in Africa as they climbed two places up to 12th worldwide despite failing to get past the quarter final stage. Ghana and Mali remain in second and third place.

Algeria, Tunisia, Zambia, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso and South Africa make up the top ten countries in Africa.

Spain, Germany, Argentina, England and Italy hold the top five spots globally.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Foreign oil workers in Nigeria highest paid in Africa

Expatriate workers in the Nigerian oil and gas sector are the highest paid in Africa and 11 most paid in the world, with an average annual salary of N22.246 million ($140,800), according to a global oil and gas salary survey.
The survey, titled, 'Oil and Gas Global Salary Guide 2013,' published by Hays, a global recruitment firm, also revealed that local workers in the Nigeria's oil and gas sector are the second highest paid in Africa, after South Africa and 26th in the world, with an average salary of N8.706 million ($55,100).
The survey, released weekend, which was based on the responses of 25,000 people working in the oil and gas industry across 53 countries, reported that South Africa's local workers in the country's oil and gas sector are the highest paid in Africa, with an annual average salary of $75,300 (N11.897 million).
The survey showed that local workers in Australia's oil and gas sector are the highest paid in the world with an annual average salary of $163,600 (N25.849 million).
The report also stated that expatriates in Australia's oil sector are the highest paid globally, with an annual average salary of $171,000 (N27.018 million) per annum.
Salaries in other African countries
In the eight African countries sampled, Angola's local oil workers were the third highest paid workers in Africa with an annual average salary of $53,700 (N8.485 million), followed by Algerian workers with an annual average salary of $45,200 (N7.142 million) and Libya, with average annual salary of $42,200 (N6.668 million).
Others are Egypt, with average annual salary of $41,900 (N6.62 million); Ghana, with average salary of $40,500 (N6.399 million) per annum, while Sudan trailed with $31,100 (N4.914 million) average annual salary.
In an analysis of the survey, Hays said, 2012 was a good year for many in the oil and gas world with an increase in salaries, benefits and conditions. The same cannot be said for too many other industries and it would not be stretching the truth to state that more wealth has been created in the oil and gas industry than any other over the last 12 months. With nearly every country around the world striving to secure its own energy future, either through exploration, increased production or developing infrastructure, demand for the oil and gas professional, in all its guises, was most definitely high.
"Our headline figure for the average base salary has once again grown to now sit at $87,300*, showing an 8.5 per cent increase on the previous year. Such an increase now accounts for a 14 per cent rise in base salary in two years alone.
"That is significant for an industry employing some five million people worldwide. There were numerous developments contributing to this rise through 2012, not least of which was a proliferation of non-conventional field developments. This was seen by many nations as the route to energy independence and saw a wave of hiring. Indeed many countries eagerly embarked on this path only to discover that the skills didn't exist, at least not in their own country."
"At the top of this year's table we once again see Australia and Norway. Both countries have limited skilled labour pools and significant workloads; the result is very high pay rates, although both would appear to have met some sort of ceiling. Completing the top five on local salaries, we also see New Zealand, Netherlands and Canada.
Where imported salaries are concerned, it is once again the frontiers of the industry that are pushing the upper limits of pay. Representing a mix of danger money and hardship allowance in these base salaries, we find Russia's arctic exploration driving imported skills, and China's drive on non-conventional skills also pulling in experts on premium rates. Along with Australia, the Caribbean hub for oil and gas, Trinidad & Tobago, rounds off the top five importers by salary level.
"The major headwind in the world economy in late 2012 was the slowdown in growth within the Chinese manufacturing sector. It is therefore somewhat surprising that their local and imported salary figures exhibit such growth.
"However, taking a closer look at the market this is clearly a reflection of their quest to become self reliant on energy in the future driving exploration and infrastructure development, than any immediate increase in domestic energy demand. Other countries showing big increases include Iraq, Nigeria, Thailand and Argentina. The first two reflect significant project demand; Argentina is playing catch up on the previous year's sluggish growth; and Thailand is increasingly home to many oil and gas professionals on rotation on offshore facilities in South East Asia or North Western Australia," the report concluded.

Another person dies while watching Nations Cup

Once again, the tension that comes with watching international football competitions claimed another casualty last Sunday, when the Super Eagles of Nigeria, played the Stallions of Burkina Faso. The victim this time is Mr Felix Bassey, 65, a retired banker. He died while watching the finals of the game in which Nigeria defeated Burkina Faso 1-0.

A 40-year-old soccer fan, Moshood Ismail Owolabi, had collapsed and died while watching the Super Eagles quarter finals match against the Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital , about a week ago.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Bassey was believed to have died of a heart-related ailment while watching the match at his residence in Akute area of Lagos. Owolabi was also believed to have died from cardiac arrest, when a Nigerian player failed to score a well-aimed shot at the Ivoriens.

Sources at The Eko Hospital, Ikeja, where Bassey died affirmed the cause of death.

Bassey was said to have suddenly slumped during the match and his family members rushed him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead by doctors.

The source, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that a member of the family confirmed that late Bassey had been hypertensive, prior to his death.

"The wife, one of the matrons in the hospital, happened to be on night duty when Bassey was rushed to the hospital," the source said.

It was gathered that the remains of late Bassey have since been deposited at the hospital morgue.

Nigeria's Super Eagles get heroes welcome

The Super Eagles Tuesday brought traffic to standstill when they returned to the country with the Africa Cup of Nations trophy. The players were feted to a grand reception only reserved for heroes.

The players and officials arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja about 3.20pm from Johannesburg, where they last Sunday emerged the winners of the Africa Cup of Nations after beating Burkina Faso 1-0.

The players who came without Victor Moses and Ambrose Efe, did not however, alight from the terminal building until late because of their excess luggage.

Aviation travellers to within and outside Nigeria had a hectic time in gaining access to the airport terminal as the entire place had been taken up by the crowd from all works of life.

The crowd largely made up of secondary school students, football fans and officials from government parastatals, which had gathered outside the arrival hall since about five hours before the arrival of the players, was energized when captain Joseph Yobo emerged from the arrival hall with the glistering gold plated trophy.

FCT Minister Bala Mohammed received the team at the airport tarmac on behalf of the Federal Government.

Pupils of the nearby Government Secondary School and Junior Secondary School mounted a guard of honour and rendered soul lifting songs just before the arrival of the team.

While water tight security was provided by the men of the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps, State Security Service (SSS) and Customs and Immigration, who battled to put the crowd in check, pickpockets had a free day as they pilfered mobile handsets and money from unsuspecting victims.

One of the hoodlums, however, ran out of luck when he was nabbed by an official of the SSS when he attempting to rob John Mikel Obi of his hand set.

Overzealous security men also turned the heat on journalists who were on duty at the airport to cover the team's arrival. Daily Independent reporter, Tony Ezimakor, was assaulted by Police Superintendent SA Sanni and OG Kanu of the Nigeria Air Force at the entrance of the Airport terminal.

Soon after the brief airport reception, the convoy led by senator drove out of the Airport to the National Stadium where another reception was scheduled. But the Eagles bus made a detour at the stadium and headed for the State House where a dinner was planned by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The common feature on the team's way out of the airport was the sight of soldiers who left their posts and gave the Eagles hearty salutes as the long convoy snaked through the Bill Clinton Drive on its way to the city.

The victorious team was also routinely cheered by school children waving miniature national flags along the international airport road where motorists coming from the Gwagwalada end of the road had a herculean task.

Super Eagles captain Stephen Keshi has also vehemently denied resigning from his post. He told reporters that he remained the national coach, insisting that report of fall out with officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) was blown out of proportion.

Keshi said that he retraced his step after a rapprochement with Sports Minister Bolaji Abdulahi yesterday morning in South Africa.

"I actually resigned following a dispute with NFF, but we have sorted out everything. I have rescinded my resignation after a stormy meeting with the minister of sports. Nigerians should take note that I'm back to work for them" Keshi said.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Stephen Keshi withdraws resignation

Unconfirmed reports available to THISDAY Tuesday morning indicate that Stephen Keshi has decided to stay on as Super Eagles coach after withdrawn his resignation letter.

A terse statement sent to THISDAY Tuesday morning by the Nigeria Football Federation’s (NFF) media officer, Ademola Olajire and reportedly signed by Stephen Keshi reads thus: “My attention has been drawn to reports in the media that I have resigned my appointment as the Head Coach of Super Eagles of Nigeria.

“While I have had cause to express my displeasure over some issues that happened in the course of our participation in the AFCON 2013, which my team won by the grace of God, especially concerning my relationship with the Nigerian Football Federation, I have since had opportunity to discuss the various issues with all concerned. I am therefore pleased to say that I have reconsidered my position and have decided to continue with my job.

“I want to thank the Honourable Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, for his swift and kind intervention.”

It was obvious that in the wake of Keshi’s epic victory on Sunday, which ended Nigeria’s 19-year wait for the African title, there was no way he would be allowed to go without government pulling out all the stops to keep him.

It was reliably learnt that as soon as world reached Abuja of Keshi’s decision, the Presidency immediately swung into action instructing the Sports Minister, who is on ground with the team in South Africa, to convey in the strongest terms to the coach of government’s wish that he stayed on.

Apparently from the press statement, Abdullahi was able to convince the former national team skipper to have a rethink.

Meanwhile, THISDAY learnt that the Super Eagles departed the OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg at 8.45am Nigerian time (9.45 South African time) for the six-hour flight to Abuja where the Presidency is planning a huge reception for them.

Stephen Keshi resigns as Nigeria's Super Eagles coach

Barely 24 hours after guiding the Super Eagles to Nigeria's third Africa Cup of Nations trophy, Stephen Keshi yesterday announced his resignation as the coach of the nation's senior national team.

Neither the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) nor the National Sports Commission (NSC) officials were ready to speak on the sudden resignation that Keshi announced on the radio programme of a South African presenter, Robert Marawa, aired on Metro FM in Johannesburg.

The resignation of the Eagles' head coach ended the hide-and-seek game Keshi and the NFF leadership have been playing since the group matches of the just-concluded 29th Africa Cup of Nations which Nigeria won with a 1-0 over the hard fighting Burkina Faso on Sunday night at the Soccer City Stadium in Soweto.

Despite spirited attempts by the NFF to douse the tension created by Keshi's spat with the leadership of the football federation when the Super Eagles' campaign was floundering with two draw games against Burkina Faso and Zambia, the sign of a frosty relationship between the two parties was obvious.

During a meeting at NFF's StayEasy Hotel in Nelspruit the day after the Eagles played a draw game against Zambia, the football federation officials rebuked Keshi for his inability to win the match.

The scathing criticism he was subjected to, sources said, rankled the former Togo and Mali coach and prompted him to make up his mind to quit the job, irrespective of his team's performance in the competition.

"It doesn't really matter what people think about what Stephen Keshi is doing. The most important thing is what I am doing here and passing on to my team. If back home in my country, they don't appreciate what I am doing with the team, so be it.

"You can't force somebody to love you. You can't force somebody to accept you. It has to come from within," Keshi had admitted his frustration to his associates at the tournament.

He also did not fail to give a hint of his intention to resign after the game at every interaction with sportswriters covering the AFCON 2013.

But Eagles' quarterfinal victory over the Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire which the leadership of the NFF had thought was an impossible mission, appeared to have confirmed to Keshi the impression that the people he was working with did not have confidence in his ability.

"They were expecting Keshi to fail. In short, the NFF people had even given out money to their protocol staff to be on the stand-by to buy a return ticket for Keshi," a source said.

Shortly after appearing as a guest on Marawa's radio show yesterday, the South African posted on his Twitter account, @robertmarawa: "Stephen Keshi has just announced that he handed over his resignation letter after the game exclusively on 083Sport@6With Marawa on MetroFM."

But another source said Keshi had only resigned verbally and was expected to hand in his letter as soon as the team arrives in Abuja today. It is also not yet certain if the Eagles coach will honour the invitation to be part of the grand reception for the team that President Goodluck Jonathan is planning for the players later tonight.

All attempts to get the leadership of the NFF to throw more light on the issue last night failed as calls to the mobile phones of the officials were not answered. The federation is also yet to make an official statement on the latest development.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Three Korean doctors killed in Nigeria

Three eyewitnesses yesterday gave chilling accounts of how six gunmen murdered three Korean doctors in Potiskum, Yobe State. The hoodlums broke into their apartment in the early hours of the day and slit their throats, said the eyewitnesses.

This is coming barely two days after gunmen killed 10 polio vaccination workers in Kano. Nine of the slain vaccine providers were women. Some were killed in Kano, others at a health centre in Hotoro, outside the city.

The gunmen were said to have attacked the residence of three Korean and Egyptian doctors at the T-junction area of Potiskum LGA of the state in an operation that lasted about 40 minutes. They killed the doctors before escaping.

According to Mustapha, who told LEADERSHIP that he was peeping through a window when the attackers stormed the apartment, the gunmen walked straight to the compound and broke the gate to the main entrance.

Mustapha said in a telephone interview: "I was peeping through the window when six armed men walked to the house of doctors in this area. Two of the gunmen took positions at the gate, while four entered the house. Ten minutes later, I started hearing cries and yelling, probably from the gunmen giving orders to their colleagues. But I cannot tell you whether all the three doctors were killed or not, because I did not hear the sounds of any gunshot fired by the suspects that night."

Another eyewitness, Isa Yakubu, said the gunmen overpowered the doctors, tied their hands to their backs and slit their throats. He added that the wives of the doctors were looking for help when the gunmen escaped but could not find any help.

Yakubu, who said that the attacks and killings lasted about 40 minutes, added that the gunmen left the dismembered head of one of the doctors on the apartment's gate.

Another eyewitness who sought anonymity said the remains of the doctors were deposited in the Federal Medical Centre, Azare, Bauchi State, because the morgue facility in Potiskum General Hospital was ill-equipped.

Confirming the incident yesterday, the commissioner of police, Yobe State Command, Alhaji Sanusi Rufai, said the three doctors were killed in the early hours of yesterday. He said the three men and a woman were posted to the Potiskum General Hospital.

Rufai said it was however too early to know who was behind the attack. "Police have begun an investigation. The victims were reportedly found inside their flat on Sunday morning, after people became worried that they were not answering the door," he said. "Unfortunately, when they were posted and assumed duties as expatriates, the police were not notified to give them adequate security coverage. As I am talking to you now, I am in Potiskum. The three male health workers have been confirmed dead while we are still working to uncover the details."

"For now, we cannot say with certainty those behind it or what exactly happened," he said.

The Yobe State branch of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) condemned the killing of the Korean health workers. This is contained in a statement issued by Dr Adamu Umar, the state chairman.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Video - Nigeria wins Africa Cup of Nations

Nigeria 1 – Burkina Faso 0 (Africa Cup of Nations, February 10, 2013) Sunday Mba broke the deadlock on 40 (with his second goal of the tournament on successive Sundays!) to put Nigeria in front.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Video - Nigeria's graveyard of airplanes

Nigerian transport authorities are trying to change the image of their airports. Many travelers complain about the lack of proper facilities and customer care. In fact, at some of the country's airports, travellers will come across veritable graveywards of damaged and abandoned planes.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Video - Nigeria destroys Mali 1-4 in Nation Cup semi-final

Mali 1 – Nigeria 4 (African Cup of Nations, Semi-final, February 6 , 2013) Victor Moses produced some brilliant wingplay to assist Elderson Echiejile. Nigeria added a second minutes later through Brown Ideye. Emmanuel Emenike made it three on the stroke of half time with a heavily deflected free kick. Ahmed Musa added a cool finish to make it 4-0 in the 60th minute. Fantamady Diarra scored a consolation goal for the Malians.

Related stories: Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba wants Nigeria to win Nations Cup

Video - Nigeria defeat Ivory Coast in Nations Cup quarter final

Video - Nigerians make witty remarks on Super Bowl power outage

Nigeria's president, Goodluck Jonathan, told CNN's Christine Amanpour in a recent interview that electricity supply has improved in Nigeria. A Super Bowl power cut sparked tweets a follow-up that showed the Nigerian president misrepresented the condition on ground.

Related stories: President Jonathan believes citizens are happy with progress made in power supply

Video - Nigeria's electricity generation crisis continues

Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba wants Nigeria to win Nations Cup

Even in defeat, Didier Tebily Yves Drogba was graceful. Despite swallowing the bitter pill of defeat that has dented his beautiful career without a Nations Cup trophy, the Ivorian has sent a passionate plea to the Super Eagles

"Please, win the Nations Cup for us", he pleaded as he hugged Stephen Keshi and his former teammate Mikel Obi after the 2-1 defeat in the quarter final match at Rustenberg.

Drogba's army of super stars were tipped by all and sundry to win the match against a relatively young and inexperienced Super Eagles. The Eagles stepped up their game and were immaculate in their form, attack, defence and discipline. They stung Cote d'Ivoire and have made their critics to swallow their words.

"Your team was beautiful", Drogba told Keshi as he hugged him. "If you beat us and don't win the trophy, it will be a slight to us. But if you win the trophy, it will be a thing of joy and justification that you are the best in the tournament", Drogba told Keshi who praised him for his maturity and high display of professionalism.

Ex-international, Peterside Idah who witnessed the emotional embrace and discussion said that he was touched by Drogba's professionalism.

"It was an emotional meeting and I was very proud of the Super Eagles. We should learn to appreciate our own.

Honestly, it is a shame that many Nigerians do not appreciate the Eagles. Here in South Africa, we are proud of Eagles and the whole of South Africa love and appreciate the Eagles.

The South Africans lost but they still love their Bafana Bafana", the former goalkeeper-turned analyst and Pastor said as many people hugged him and congratulated him.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Police foil assassination attempt on Minister of Finance Okonjo Iweala

Men of the Anti-Bomb Squad of the Nigeria Police Force yesterday defused a device believed to be an improvised explosive device (IED) in front of the NIPOST office in Area 10, Abuja.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the IED, contained in a parcel with N100 postage stamp, was addressed to the minister of finance and coordinating minister for the economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and deposited in front of the NIPOST office premises.

Speaking with journalists, Ibrahim Musa said the members of NIPOST staff came to work in the morning and noticed a funny-looking package with two N50 postage stamps in front of their premises. The workers quickly notified their boss who promptly called in the anti bomb squad, he said. "When the anti-bomb squad came, they cordoned off movement around the area and went to work with their instruments immediately. After a while, we heard an explosion and another explosion later," Musa stated.

But an eyewitness, who pleaded anonymity, claimed that the parcel had been deposited at the gate of the post office since Friday evening.

He also claimed that the material was brought by a male of average height, who, he said, made a mild scene as he conveyed the parcel in a "wheel barrow" to the post office. The man usually comes to the post office, he said.

The witness also claimed that after the anti-bomb squad blasted the parcel, sand and tiles-like substances were seen.

But another witness confided in our correspondents: "The person who brought the parcel kept it at the gate. He wanted to send the parcel to the minister of finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; it had her face on it.

"The parcel has been there since Friday until it was discovered and the bomb squad was called in."

But, in a swift reaction, the post-master-general of Nigeria, Mallam Ibrahim Mori Baba, said that the package did not go through the process of NIPOST.

He said, "I want to stress that the package was not processed by our men. The issue was that somebody came with the said package on Friday but the gates were locked and he could not get access into the premises. So, he simply dropped it with a vendor, who thought he would come back for it, but it was discovered by our officials this morning who quickly alerted the anti-bomb squad."

No bomb anywhere in FCT - Police

Meanwhile, barely a few minutes after the news of the bomb scare broke, residents and employees working around the area, which is also a few metres from the Force CID headquarters, began to run in different directions, not sure where the suspected bomb was planted. The confusion caused heavy gridlock of both human and vehicular traffic, LEADERSHIP gathered.

A newspaper vendor who gave his name as Victor Paul said the item was similar to items seen in places where IEDs are found but he could not affirm if it was an explosive. He said when the police anti-bomb squad came they were able to defuse what was in the bag and set the content on fire.

He said, "From the items displayed, I saw some of those things seen whenever we heard of people being caught with IEDs and others - most of these items like wire, sand, clay and so on. All those substances were actually there. If only the police could show you the video, you would have seen the items, but I cannot say it was a bomb because we were watching at a far distance."

But the FCT police command has, in a swift reaction, refuted the claim that a bomb was found at the NIPOST, saying that there was no bomb anywhere in the nation's capital.

Commenting on the issue, the commissioner of police, FCT command, Mr. Aderenle Shinaba, claimed that there was no bomb explosion in any part of the territory, contrary to a rumour that there was a blast.

Shinaba made this clarification while speaking on the alleged explosion in front of the NIPOST office at Area 10, Garki.

He said that what was rumoured as an explosion was the sound from a defusion carried out on the suspected object by men of the anti-bomb squad.

Shinaba said that, following information received by the command on the object at about 10am, men from the Explosive Ordnance Department (EOD) were dispatched to the scene.

He said, "The true position is that there is no bomb anywhere in Abuja today. At about 10 o'clock this morning, we got information that there was something that was packaged in a carton that looked like bomb at the gate of NIPOST in Area 10.

"And because of the security situation in the country generally, the people became apprehensive and they were scared, so we had to move in promptly."

The commissioner stated that, in order to avoid a similar incident in Kaduna where an explosion went off and killed a policeman, the anti-bomb squad men had examined the object first before detonating it.

"It was that noise of detonation that sent down shivers down the spine of most people and rumours flying in the air.

"At the end of the day, what we discovered is that it is a package containing sand as well as tiles; there is nothing to indicate that it has anything to do with any form of explosive. It has nothing to do with improvised explosive device (IED)."

Man collapses and dies during Super Eagles quarter final match

The tension that goes with watching Nigerian soccer teams play in international tournaments is often so injurious to the health of many soccer enthusiasts. The picture was aptly depicted recently on the social media after the Nigeria-Burkina Faso match when a Nigerian was shown as he was watching the match on a television screen, but supported on both sides by a nurse and a medical doctor. While many soccer fans survive such endeavours, others do not.

One of the few exceptions happened in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, last Sunday when a 40-year-old soccer fan, identified as Moshood Ismail Owolabi, suddenly collapsed and started foaming in his mouth during the Super Eagles' quarterfinals match against the Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

The incident happened at a viewing centre located at Lanlepe compound, Oke-Sokori in Abeokuta. Eyewitnesses told THISDAY that Owolabi, who had watched the match expectantly, lost consciousness when an Ivoirien defender deflected Victor Moses' shot at the Ivoirien goal post.

His collapse caused a stampede at the viewing centre, as he had to be rushed away for treatment by some of the fans while others stayed back to continue watching the match. THISDAY gathered that when he collapsed, he was said to have been rushed to a nearby clinic, Success Medical Clinic, where he was given first aid treatment before being referred to First Alpha Hospital. He was said to have died before reaching the hospital.

Owolabi, a father of two, was an engineer with the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) in Abeokuta. He is survived by aged parents and a widow.

The Medical Director of Success Medical Clinic, Odede Sulaiman Kolawole, told reporters that Owolabi was already dead before he was brought to the clinic. Kolawole blamed his sudden death to excessive intake of carbon dioxide for a prolonged period of time, resulting in what he called anoxia.

However, Taiwo Adebayo, a neighbour of the deceased who was also at the viewing centre when the incident happened, said Owolabi might have died from a cardiac arrest, adding that he started foaming when he fell. Adebayo disagreed with Kolawole, saying that Owolabi was rushed to the clinic alive. He added that the doctor was not available at the hospital, implying that if Owolabi had been given medical help promptly, he might have survived.

Owolabi's widow, Tawakalitu, was still in shock when THISDAY visited her at the family's apartment in Abeokuta. She described the incident as a dream, which she had not come to terms with. She recalled that her late husband had roamed around the area with a close friend for hours impatiently waiting for the commencement of the match, without knowing that he was spending his last hours on earth.

Video - Nigeria defeat Ivory Coast in Nations Cup quarter final