Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Former music producer Aswad Ayinde given 90 years jail sentence for fathering children with daughters

An Award winning Nigerian music director found guilty of fathering children with his daughters will spend the rest of his life in jail.

Aswad Ayinde, 55, of Paterson, NJ, was sentenced to 50 years in prison Friday after being found guilty in the second of five expected trials in which he is accused of repeatedly raping his six daughters, resulting in six children being fathered. Mr. Ayinde was found guilty in his latest trial of having intercourse with one of his daughters when she was as young as eight-years-old. The second sentence adds to the 40 year sentence Mr Ayinde received in a 2011 trial for sexually assaulting a separate daughter.

Mr. Ayinde is known for directing the music video for the Fugees 1996 smash hit 'Killing Me Softly.'

In a disturbing disclosure during his first trial, Mr. Ayinde's former wife said he was trying to create a 'pure family bloodline' by impregnating his daughters. He even claimed during a pre-trial hearing before the first trial that 'the world was going to end, and it was just going to be him and his offspring and that he was chosen.'

In this latest trial, it was revealed that Mr. Ayinde began having intercourse with his second daughter from the time she eight-years-old, impregnating her four times.

As repoted by Mail Online the sexual assaults happened for almost 30 years until Mr. Ayinde and his wife separated, officials said. They occurred in numerous homes across northern New Jersey, even while the family was under watch of state child welfare officials, according to NBC New York. Some of the rapes even took place in an abandoned funeral home.

The family moving as far away as Florida to avoid investigation after case workers removed multiple children from the Ayinde household in 2000, resulting in Mr. Ayinde being arrested for kidnapping for trying to take them from state custody in a medical center, NBC New York reported.

He pleaded guilty to lesser charges and received a year's probation - as he continued raping one daughter for at least another two years, according to officials.

The depraved father also beat and starved the girls using wooden boards and steel-toed boots for even 'minor transgressions,' Ayinde's wife testified at the first trial.

Some of the children Ayinde fathered with his daughters were born in the home, with at least two babies who died in the home having been buried without notifying authorities or obtaining birth certificates, NBC New York reported.

Mr. Ayinde also fathered 12 additional children with an additional three women, according to court records

Ayinde's tortured daughters were home schooled and isolated from other children, so as to keep the family secrets hidden, the station added.

With his wife too afraid to confront him, Mr. Ayinde carried out his evil plan without hindrance even while directing the music video for the Fugees 1996 breakout hit 'Killing Me Softly, for which he won 'Best R&B Video' at the 1996 MTV Music Video Awards. The Fugees are also originally from Northern New Jersey.

Mr. Ayinde faces three more trials over the alleged assaults.

Multiple explosions in Christian district of Kano, Nigeria

A series of explosions have torn through a predominantly Christian district in Nigeria's largest northern city, Kano. It was not immediately what had caused the blasts.

At least ten people were killed and at least as many were injured late Monday when a series of bombs were detonated in Kano's Christian district, Sabon Gari, according to eye witnesses and Nigeria authorities.

The city of Kaduna has been closely linked with lethal religious violence. Yet on Sunday a Christian cleric was given a Muslim award. He had bailed Muslims out of jail so they could spend Ramadan at home. (22.07.2013)

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Kano lies in the country's Muslim north, where the Islamist al Qaeda-linked sect Boko Haram is staging an insurgency in an effort to impose Shariah, or Islamic law. About 40 percent of the Nigeria's 170 million citizens are Christian.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Blessing Okagbare Sets New 100m African Record

Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare Saturday wiped out her London 2012 Olympic tears when she returned to the same venue at Olympics Stadium in Strafford and sensationally beat the world to win the 100m, setting a new African record in the process.

It was at the venue where she raised hopes of Nigerians but crashed them at the Olympics, getting to the final but placing last.

Before more than 80,000 spectators, the new Africa's Queen of the tracks first broke Gloria Alozie's 14 -year old record of 10.90 record when she returned in 10.86 seconds in the heats. She further lowered that in the final to produce what is now the talk in town, a sensational feat of 10.79 seconds.

"I see a world champion in her and I pray she makes it in Moscow during the World Championships. Setting a record is always a great thing. I congratulate her,"quickly reacted Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan who has been supporting Nigeria's elite athletes especially Okagbare.

It was a strange afternoon in what was the deepest sprint field of the second day of the London Anniversary Games.

Reigning world champion Carmelita Jeter withdrew from the final with a quad injury, according to Flotrack, after running a season's best 10.93 in her heat.

Jeter missed the U.S. championships in June due to a quad injury. With worlds just two weeks away, this is a situation to monitor.

Two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce put up a very smooth world-leading 10.77 in her heat. But Fraser-Pryce was never a factor in the final, running a 10.94 for fourth place. The winner was Blessing Okagbare in 10.79 seconds.

Okagbare is also ranked fourth in the world this year in both the 200 and the long jump.

The fastest American on Saturday was a woman who didn't make the world championships team - Barbara Pierre. Pierre matched her personal-best 10.85 in the final, the same time English Gardner clocked to win nationals in June.

"Blessing is Nigeria's greatest sensation now and needs the support of the whole country,"celebrated Solomon Ogba, the President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria who was at the stadium yesterday.

"I congratulate Blessing and I thank Governor Uduaghan for all his tremendous support,"Amaju Pinnick, Delta's Sports boss said last night.

"Blessing is the pride of Africa at the moment and Nigeria is lucky to have such an athlete," Godwin Abigor, chairman of Warri Wolves and an ardent sports enthusiast said.

"She is absolutely sensational. She is unbelievable. Breaking African record two times in one event is sensational," Dare Esan, Editor of Complete Sports said.

Usain Bolt wrapped up the London Anniversary Games with a no-doubt-about-it anchor leg on the 4×100-meter relay at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.

Bolt and his Racers Track Club won the event in 37.75 seconds, easily beating France (38.45). The 4×100 world record set by Bolt and Jamaica at the 2012 Olympics is 36.84. This was Bolt's first appearance at the Olympic Stadium since his triple gold performance at the 2012 Games.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Nigeria to withdraw troops from Mali

Plans are underway by the Nigerian Army to withdraw some of its 1,200 soldiers from the UN peacekeeping force currently operating in the troubled west African country, Mali. This was revealed by the Ivorian President, Alassane Ouattara.

Mr Ouattara who is the Head of Regional Group Ecowas, disclosed that the troops would be leaving for Nigeria to tackle the ongoing Boko Haram campaign in the country.

Mr Quattara however, did not confirm the number of troops that Nigeria will leave behind in Mali. Mali would be holding its general elections on 28 July.

The Nigerian troops form part of a force of 12,600 African troops that took charge from a French-led mission early July.

A combined troops of French and West African succeeded in driving militants out of northern Mali in February.

The UN force, with its French acronym Minusma has aligned with the Malian army to secure the forthcoming election. The troop is expected to grow up to 11,200, plus 1,400 police towards the end of the year.

Speaking at a summit of West African nations in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, President Ouattara said, the withdrawal was “because of the domestic situation in Nigeria”.

“They are not withdrawing everyone. A good part of the troops are going to be there,” he said.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Video - Nigeria's booming fashion industry

In Nigeria, the economy is booming thanks to the country s rich oil supplies, and now the country s fashion designers are wanting to ride the wave of economic prosperity with the hope of making Lagos an international fashion hotspot.

Bloomberg ranks Nigeria as most stressful country in the world


Bloomberg ranked countries based on the stressfulness of their living environments.


Seven equally weighted variables were considered: homicide rates, GDP per capita on a purchasing-power-parity basis, income inequality, corruption perception, unemployment, urban air pollution and life expectancy. Income inequality was measured by the Gini Index, where a score of 0 represents perfect equality and 100 perfect inequality. Corruption perception refers to Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, which scores countries on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being the most corrupt. Urban outdoor air pollution is the annual mean concentration of fine particles smaller than 10 microns, measured in micrograms per cubic meter. Countries were allotted points for each variable based on their relative position in that category's ranking. The country with the least-stressful measure for each variable received 0 points, while the country with the highest stress level received 100 points. All other countries were scored on a percentile basis depending on their position between the two extremes. Points for the seven variables were averaged for a final score from 0 to 100, a higher score indicating a more stressful living environment. All data were the latest available. Only countries with data available for all seven variables were included.


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, International Monetary Fund, Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook, Transparency International, World Health Organization
Last Updated

May 10, 2013

Related stories: Video - homeless battle in Makoko 

Africa's richest man speaks about the future of Nigeria

Monday, July 15, 2013

India has now become Nigeria's biggest crude oil buyer

India has overtaken the U.S. as the top buyer of Nigerian crude oil, a top Indian diplomat in Abuja has said.

Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria Mahesh Sachdev said recent statistics showed that India had been buying more of Nigeria’s crude than the U.S. over the last three months.

“India will continue to cooperate with Nigeria to improve its economy and it will also assist the country in capacity building of workers in both the public and private sectors,” Mr. Sachdev said, during a courtesy visit to the Governor of Niger state in northern Nigeria last Wednesday.

On the bilateral trade, he said the present figure stands at $10 billion, even as the total investment of India in Nigerian economy could be valued at $16.6 billion.

Mr. Sachdev disclosed that India would partner with the government of Kano state to establish a film city and also collaborate with the Niger state government to establish health care facilities as well as improve agriculture.

He also promised assistance in the state on the training of young people who wish to embark on vocational education.

Governor of the state Babangida Aliyu commended India for being one of the few countries that had kept faith with strengthening the work force.

According to him, this has helped Nigeria to develop in every ramification.

India has recently reduced its dependence on Iranian oil in the wake of the U.S. and European sanctions on the import of oil from the Islamic Republic.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Secondary schools in Northern Nigeria close after 42 students killed

Secondary schools in the north-eastern Nigerian state of Yobe have been ordered to close until September after a massacre at a boarding school.

Authorities said 42 people were killed in a gun and bomb attack by suspected Islamist extremists early on Saturday in the Mamudo district.

Witnesses said the assailants, believed to be Boko Haram Islamists, rounded up students and staff in a dormitory before throwing explosives inside and opening fire.

The gunmen "stormed the school around 5:30am and began to shoot at the students from different directions," said a spokesman for a military task force in the state, Lieutenant Eli Lazarus.

A senior police officer said the students were asleep when the attackers stormed their school.

It was the third school attack in the region in recent weeks, and the second in Yobe.

The government issued a statement ordering "all secondary schools in the state be closed down from Monday 8th July 2013 until a new academic session begins in September."

Boko Haram, which translates roughly to "Western education is a sin," has repeatedly targeted schools in the north-east as part of its four year insurgency.

One local resident said Saturday's attack was believed to be a reprisal for the killing of 22 Boko Haram members during a military raid in the town of Dogon Kuka earlier in the week.

The European Union condemned the Yobe school attack, as a "horrific murder by terrorists."

Calls for phone network to be restored

The state government also called on the military to restore local mobile phone services, saying a blackout was preventing residents from reporting suspicious activity.

Nigeria's military cut phone service in much of the country's north-east in mid-May, in an effort to end Boko Haram's insurgency.

Satellite phones have also been banned, with the military saying insurgents use them to plan attacks, and landlines are rare.

A number of residents had initially expressed support for the phone cut if it could lead to peace.

Violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency has left some 3,600 people dead since 2009, including killings by security forces, which have come under criticism for alleged abuses.

The current military offensive was launched after President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states on May 14.

He said at the time that the insurgents had managed to take control of a number of remote, border areas of the region.

Since then, the military has claimed major successes and say they have pushed the insurgents out, but the violence has continued, indicating the gains may be short-lived.


Related story: Video - Thousands flee Boko Haram violence

Friday, July 5, 2013

Nigeria's government website hacked by gay activist

An Irish hacker, angered by Nigeria's stance on homosexuality, has attacked Nigeria's official government website in an attempt to coerce President Goodluck Jonathan to veto a bill seeking to jail homosexuals.

The attack happened on Thursday night and normalcy only returned to the site at about 11.00 p.m. on Thursday. It is not known whether it was the government that regained control or whether the attackers simply suspended the attack.

The anti-gay bill, passed by Nigeria's National Assembly and generously supported by Nigerians, seeks to jail convicted homosexuals for 14 years.

"Nobody should live in fear of being jailed, when their only action is loving another consenting adult, regardless of gender," the Irish hacker, Paddyhack said.

A message left on the defaced website gave the president 72 hours to "renounce and veto this Bill... "

"Failure to follow our order will unleash a torrent of fury aimed directly at the direction of your administration, starting with some startling but unsurprising evidence of corruption in your ranks,"the hacker, who also claims to be a member of the global Anonymous group, said.

"No need to start destroying evidence. I already have it," the hacker declared.

The hacked website, Nigeria.gov.ng, is Nigeria's official website. It is the equivalent of UK's gov.uk and U.S' USA.gov. It is managed by Nigeria's information ministry.

The Thursday night attack was a continuation of an #opNigeria the attacker launched on July 1. Despite announcing his intention hours before hijacking the website, Nigeria's Information Ministry's web administrators appear unable to avert the attack.

"Just over two hours to launch of #OpNigeria," the attacker announced in his twitter diary.

The spokesperson of the ministry, Joseph Mutuah, could not explain the attacks when pressed for reasons the government is unable to provide appropriate security for its web infrastructure.

He likened it to armed robbers breaking into one's property. "They are hackers," he said.

The ICT department of the Information Ministry received N63.5 million from the national treasury this year. Of this amount, N10 million was set aside for the management of the website.

Nigeria cyber protest culture

Although the web profile of the attack suggests Irish origins, it is difficult to isolate the incident from Nigeria's growing culture of cyber activism.

Cyber warfare is fast becoming a major protest tool for Nigeria's social media community. Besides using the Internet to disseminate information, protesters use hacking skills to get government officials' attention to civil issues.

After playing a major role in the global Occupy Movement, the Internet anarchy group, called Anarchy, is lending support to clones in developing countries, including Nigeria.

Various clones operating in Nigeria have carried out operations against government Internet infrastructures as a means of protesting unfavourable policies, mostly as support for a protest in the social media community.

Early in January 2012, during the Occupy Nigeria protest, Nigeria Cyber Hack-activists, the lead clone of Anonymous, began a "Tell Them How You Feel" campaign. The group bombarded mobile phone lines of Nigerian politicians, lawmakers and top government functionaries - including the Vice president - with a million text messages each.

Thereafter, these phone numbers were published by the group on social media, inviting Nigerians to call or text them to denounce the policy.

Nigeria Cyber Hack-activist, believed to be made up of mostly young people, have been carrying out attacks on government Internet infrastructure since 2010. It was a means of protesting the lavish expenditure of the government on Nigeria's 50th anniversary - in the face of worsening poverty and infrastructure decay. The group launched attacks that crippled many government websites.

The group has a history of defacing government websites. In May 2011, they ruined several government websites, including the National Assembly's, in a campaign - Op-Nigeria - targeted at forcing government to cut waste and sign the Freedom of Information Act.

After the Occupy Nigeria protest, Nigeria Cyber Hack-activists announced it was planning an attack on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission's website in a bid to push the anti-corruption commission into arresting Messrs Femi Otedola and Mike Adenuga, earlier fingered as members of a cabal that have fuelled corruption within the oil industry.

But a day before the group's planned attack, the EFCC website was brought down.

No other group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The unannounced attack on EFCC's website suggested there were other hack groups operating in Nigeria.

In 2012 alone, up to eight hack groups, with focused operations on Nigeria, sprang up in the cyberspace - including Anonymous Nigeria, Ibomhacktivist, and the Op-Arik - used to taunt Arik Air, Nigeria's leading airline, for poor customer services.

The radical, faceless, and irrepressible groups threatened to upload stuxnet - a deadly computer worm discovered in 2010 - on Shell flow station in the oil rich Niger Delta after the government threatened them with treason and arrests.

They warned that Nigeria's cyber infrastructure was insecure and would overthrow it if the government does not meet their demands to stop corruption and political patronage in Nigeria, cut waste in governance, and prosecute members of the cabal.

Although the Nigerian government is yet to meet these conditions, the hackers have since gone under, remaining silent even on the latest attacks. It is now unclear whether the latest vandalization of Nigeria's cyber infrastructure is being carried out by them or foreign cyber-warlords.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4,000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroon

Cameroon has received 4 000 refugees fleeing a Nigerian military offensive against Islamists in the north, the governor of the affected region said on Wednesday, bringing total refugee numbers from the conflict to at least 10 000.

Since mid-May, Nigerian forces have been engaged in a concerted crackdown against the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, bombing their bases, raiding neighbourhoods where they are suspected to be hiding and cutting phone lines.

The remote, semi-desert region where the operation is being carried out is sparsely populated.

“There are 4 000 refugees who have come in from Nigeria and we are working out a programme with the International Red Cross to set up a refugee camp for them near the town of Mokolo,” Cameroon's Far-North region governor Fonka Awa said.

Nigeria's military was not immediately available for comment. The local Red Cross said it was still investigating.

The figure was much lower than that given by Hamed Jaha, a member of parliament in Nigeria's Borno state, who said on Monday that 20 000 had fled from the Nigerian border towns of Ashigashiya and Ngoshe into Cameroon after army raids.

Last month, the UN refugee agency said it had registered 6 000 refugees from Nigeria in neighbouring Niger.

Boko Haram has become the biggest risk to stability in Nigeria, Africa's top oil producer and second largest economy, but rights groups and aid agencies fear that the longer the offensive against it goes on, the more the local population will suffer.

A government rights watchdog said this week that violence since President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in May had forced thousands of farmers to flee their land. It said the exodus could trigger a food crisis.

The National Human Rights Commission said it had credible reports of killings, torture, rape and arbitrary detention by security forces. Nigerian authorities have yet to respond.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Video - National theatre of Nigeria faces closure

The Nigerian government is planning to turn the country's national theatre into a hotel and shopping mall. The proposals have upset actors, threatre groups and artists but the government says the plans will generate money and create employment.

Gilbert Chagoury poised to build city for the elite in Nigeria

Africa's cities are running out of land, prompting a real-estate developer here to erect what might be Africa's ritziest district on a beach long known as a haven for day laborers and beer tipplers.

The shacks that crowded the shoreline called Bar Beach are gone, replaced by construction tents. Families who squatted here were evicted. For the past four years, a Lebanese-Nigerian property developer has hosed sand into the ocean, creating new land for planned jogging paths, yacht jetties and condominiums with helipads for 250,000 opulent Nigerians.

The new Eko Atlantic township is emblematic of a booming business in Africa in which developers build walled-off cities for the very rich on a continent that is still the world's poorest.
Developer Gilbert Chagoury, founder of Nigeria's Chagoury Group, is the epitome of Africa's moneyed class: Aside from a friendship with Bill Clinton, whose 1996 presidential campaign he helped fund, Mr. Chagoury boasts an ambassadorship from St. Lucia to the Vatican and a gallery in the Louvre named after him and his wife, both contributors.

Flush with funding from French banks that are enticed by Africa's rapid growth, the 67-year-old Mr. Chagoury is aiming to cap his career with the most colossal real-estate project in West Africa.

"This is going to be the equivalent of Champs Élysées in Paris or Fifth Avenue in New York," says David Frame, managing director of South EnergX, a construction unit of Chagoury Group. He was standing on a gravel road that will be paved into an eight-lane boulevard, ending at a gated exit into the rest of Lagos.
Africa has the world's fastest-growing cities, according to the United Nations. Its current urban population of 450 million is expected to triple in the next four decades.
As vacant land vanishes in African cities, foreign investors are responding with the creation of new cities out of forests, grasslands and landfill. Investors expect to wring big profits from offering Africa's wealthy places to live, work and shop away from the crumbling infrastructure and squalor of old cities.

But those projects have come under fire from critics who point out that they will in no way alleviate the housing crisis hitting the majority of the population. In Lagos, few will be able to afford Eko Atlantic's glass tower condos.

Meanwhile, some of these gargantuan projects are struggling. Renaissance Capital Financial Holdings Ltd. of Moscow plans to build a city for 62,000 people on a coffee farm outside Nairobi, Kenya, and a similar-size project on a pepper field near Ghana's capital of Accra.
The coffee farm in Kenya is still just that, as Renaissance works out a dispute with shareholders. The project in Ghana is mired in a disagreement between local chiefs over who owns the pepper field.

China International Trust and Investment Corp. built a $3.5 billion city for 500,000 people near Angola's capital, Luanda. The suburb opened in 2011 but remains a ghost town, as the government strains to sell the $200,000 condos to a population whose per-capita income is $6,000 a year.

Mr. Chagoury hopes that Eko Atlantic will be different. Project executives point to Lagos's population of oil-rich elites, which is both larger than that of Luanda's and readier to pay top dollar for clean streets and modern infrastructure. They decline to say how much Eko Atlantic will cost, other to say it will be "in the billions" of dollars.

Their city, Lagos, is crowded and chaotic. Its population grows by nine people every 10 minutes, according to the U.N., which estimates that Lagos has 11 million people and is the world's fastest-growing megacity. The Nigerian government puts the city's total population at 21 million.
Even in posh neighborhoods, sewage bubbles up from open ditches. For want of office towers, hundreds of companies squeeze their headquarters into moldy midcentury ranch houses. At lunch, many companies turn off their lights to rest chugging electric generators. To escape choking traffic, many elites commute by helicopter or yacht.

What little housing there is for Nigeria's growing middle class is pricey. Average rent on a three-bedroom apartment in downtown Lagos is $3,624 a month, according to Dubai-based research firm Reidin. Landlords usually expect two years of rent in advance, preferably paid in U.S. dollars. It is a challenge for Nigeria's middle class, whose income averages about $600 a month, according to Renaissance Capital.

Buying is just as tough. City records on land ownership are a mess, stockpiled or missing. Swindles involving forged titles and the fraudulent sale of villas are common.
Home loans come with double-digit interest rates. In a country of 167 million people, there are only 20,000 mortgages, according to Nigeria's finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

To keep pace, construction activity expands by 13% a year, according to government statistics. Architect Ade Laoye estimates that Lagos needs at least needs 10,000 additional houses a year.
"We don't have the architects, electricians, bricklayers, engineers, the builders," Mr. Laoye says.
One person who does have resources is Mr. Chagoury, a Nigerian-born construction magnate. He got his first taste of city-making in the 1990s, when the government hired him to construct a small banana-shaped peninsula now dotted with million-dollar homes.

In 2003, Lagos's government approached Mr. Chagoury with a problem. Waves were crashing over Bar Beach, washing away some of the drug scene, but also flooding shore-side avenues and wetting the lobbies of important Nigerian companies.
He returned with an offer to build a sea wall without charge. In return, Lagos's government allowed his company to dredge sand from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean—and shoot it out of a hose to create 3.9 square miles of beach.

The square mile poured so far is a panorama of sand, resembling the Sahara. Manhole covers pop up several feet above the dunes as the skeletal beginnings of a drainage system. Near the ocean, cranes drop X-shaped blocks to make a sea wall.
Mr. Chagoury declined requests for an interview. But project executives say that they already have sold all but two of the several dozen building sites on the sandlot. Buyers plan an international school, high-rise condos, spas, headquarters for several oil companies, a conference center shaped like the sails of a boat and a U-shaped office tower called Unity.

Lower-end developers worry such endeavors will inflate the cost of building materials for years to come. An already stretched supply of bricklayers and cement mixers will leave to work here.
Developers like Michel El Chemor are unapologetic about catering to the top end of Nigeria's property market. He bought a plot from Mr. Chagoury for the site's first skyscraper: a $50 million, 24-story condo called Eko Pearl. It will peer out over a marina—and the smog and skyline of Lagos.

"I'm sorry to say, but it's chaos in Lagos," he says. "They're going to need to destroy what they had before and rebuild it, which will take a long time."

Wall Street Journal

Related story: Nigeria's growing middle class