Wednesday, September 30, 2015

President Muhammadu Buhari finally names people to serve in his cabinet

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday finally submitted names to serve in his cabinet, four months since taking office and after announcing he intended to take personal charge of the country's crucial oil portfolio.

The long-awaited list of nominees was submitted to Senate president Bukola Saraki at the National Assembly buildings in Abuja, the leader of the upper chamber of parliament wrote in a tweet.

Names of the nominees were not immediately disclosed.

Thursday is a public holiday in Nigeria to mark the 55th anniversary of independence from Britain, meaning senators will not reach a decision to approve the candidates before parliament resumes next Tuesday.

Buhari, who has been running the country with permanent secretaries (civil servants) at government ministries, on Tuesday evening said he would appoint himself minister of petroleum resources.

A junior minister will oversee the day-to-day affairs in the sector, which provides the majority of government revenue, his spokesman Femi Adesina confirmed to AFP.

Buhari, 72, has made stopping the rot in the oil sector a priority, as he seeks to cut graft and put the country's crippled, crude-dependent finances on a firmer footing.

OPEC-member Nigeria -- Africa's number one crude producer and biggest economy -- has been hit badly by a slump in global oil prices since last year, squeezing government revenue.

Oil accounts for some 90 percent of Nigeria's foreign exchange earnings.

The president has vowed to recover "mind-boggling" sums of stolen oil cash, starting with a drastic overhaul of state-run oil firm the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).

The NNPC has become a byword for corruption and last year was accused of failing to remit $20 billion (18 billion euros) in revenue to the central bank.

Former military ruler Buhari has vowed that corruption and the corrupt will have no place in his government and vetting of candidates has been seen as delaying his nomination of senior ministers.

- 'Maximum power' -

Buhari has prior experience of dealing with the oil industry. In 1977, he was oil minister under General Olusegun Obasanjo and helped establish the NNPC.

He was later in charge of the Petroleum Trust Fund during the time of General Sani Abacha in the 1990s.

A committee advising Buhari on policy before he took office has recommended he streamlines the number of ministries and ministers.

He has already moved to revamp the NNPC, sacking the entire board, announcing a probe into opaque accounting practices and appointing a new boss to make the company more transparent and profitable.

Malte Liewerscheidt, senior Africa analyst at risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft, said Buhari's decision "furnishes him with maximum power to push through necessary reforms" in the oil sector.

It also demonstrated the importance he places on overhauling the industry but the analyst cautioned that concentrating powers "could send the wrong signal for the reform path ahead".

"Concentration of powers is among the chief reasons for the poor performance of Nigeria's oil sector governance," Liewerscheidt said in an email.

"Buhari will need to make clear that combining the roles of president and petroleum minister will only be an extraordinary and temporary measure to accelerate reforms."

Obasanjo also oversaw the oil ministry when he was civilian president from 1999 to 2007 and Buhari will have to guard against the perception of a potential for abuse.

"Buhari's self-appointment is a high-risk strategy, as it links his fate as president with successful reform of the oil and gas sector," he added.

"If he fails to deliver tangible successes soon, there will be no minister to shift the blame to."


Video - President Buhari promises to free kidnapped schoolgirls at UN General Assembly

President Buhari seemed to lament on the lack of adequate support from the international community in fighting the Boko Haram insurgency at the UN General Assembly.

President Muhammadu Buhari to become oil minister of Nigeria

President Muhammadu Buhari will hold Nigeria’s oil portfolio in his new cabinet, rather than trust anyone else with the source of most of Nigeria’s revenue, he said on Tuesday.

Buhari, who took office at the end of May promising to fight corruption, has made it clear he wants to overhaul the oil sector in Africa’s biggest economy, which provides the government with about 70% of its revenue.

“I intend to remain the minister of petroleum resources,” Buhari said in an interview on the sidelines of the annual meeting of world leaders at the UN general assembly in New York.

A minister of state would oversee the day-to-day running of the petroleum sector.

Buhari has not named a cabinet but is expected to submit candidates to parliament in the coming days.

A former general who briefly ruled Nigeria 30 years ago said Buhari has deep knowledge of the oil sector, having been head of the petroleum trust fund under the military ruler, Sani Abacha, in the 1990s and oil minister in the 1970s under president Olusegun Obasanjo.

A collapse in global oil prices has damaged Nigeria’s public finances and weakened its naira currency, delaying public salaries and fuelling inflation.

Buhari has said he would trace and recover what he has called “mind-boggling” sums of money stolen over the years from the oil sector.

The dealings inside the state-owned company Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation are so opaque that PricewaterhouseCoopers, commissioned to conduct an audit over the missing funds, said it was unable to obtain sufficient account documentation.

Not only is oil money stolen through accounting gymnastics and oversight gaps, but oil goes missing at unmetered oilfield wellheads, pipeline taps and export terminals.

Buhari has already split the NNPC into two, and said on Tuesday he was considering breaking up the company further to improve efficiency and better root out corruption.

“I haven’t absolutely made up my mind about that,” he said. “We want to see what we have done in reducing the size and redeploying most of the management. We want to see the impact of that before we decide further.”

He would re-evaluate in about 18 months.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Video - President Muhammadu Buhari urges China to continue cooperation in oil sector

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the Chinese government to sustain its cooperation in ongoing reforms in Nigeria's oil sector. Speaking at a meeting with President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations, Buhari thanked President Xi for China's continued help in curbing crude oil theft, saying that prosecution of those who misappropriated the NNPC's revenue under past administrations will soon commence.

President Muhammadu Buhari calls on world leaders to return Nigeria's stolen wealth

President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in New York called on the international community to urgently redouble its efforts to strengthen mechanisms for dismantling safe havens for proceeds of corruption.

Addressing world leaders at the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations, President Buhari also urged his counterparts to do more to return stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin.

Observing that corruption, cross-border financial crimes, cyber crimes and human trafficking are major challenges of the 21st century which the international community must work collectively to overcome, President Buhari reaffirmed his administration’s determination to frontally confront the twin evils of corruption and illicit financial outflows.

“Let me reaffirm the Nigerian government’s unwavering commitment to fight corruption and illicit financial flows. By any consideration, corruption and cross border financial crimes are impediments to development, economic growth, and the realization of the well-being of citizens across the globe,” Mr. Buhari said.

“Nigeria is ready and willing to partner with international agencies and individual countries on a bilateral basis to confront crimes and corruption.

“In particular, I call upon the global community to urgently redouble efforts towards strengthening the mechanisms for dismantling safe havens for proceeds of corruption and ensuring the return of stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin.”

President Buhari also proposed the adoption of peace as a seventh essential element of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted last Friday by world leaders in New York.

“The Secretary General has grouped the SDGs into what he calls six “essential elements” namely: Dignity, Prosperity, Justice, Partnership, Planet and People.

“As a prerequisite to these and as we look at history and remember the terrible events that gave rise to the birth of the United Nations in 1945, I would like to propose a seventh: PEACE.

“Peace is close to the hearts of Nigerians, as we are in the front line in the war on terror. Boko Haram’s war against the people of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon may not attract as much worldwide attention as the wars in the Middle East but the suffering is just as great and the human cost is equally high.

“This is a war between progress and chaos; between democracy and the rule of law. Boko Haram celebrates violence against the weak and the innocent and deplorably, they hide behind their perverted interpretation of Islam. Boko Haram is as far away from Islam as anyone can think of,” President Buhari declared.

The President assured the global community that his administration was doing all within its powers to quickly overcome the challenge of terrorism and insecurity.

“The new Nigerian Government which I have the honour to head, moved with dispatch to put in a bold and robust strategy to defeat Boko Haram. Nigeria and her neighbours Cameroon, Chad and Niger plus Benin are working together to face this common threat within the regional framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.

“We have established a multinational joint task force to confront, degrade and defeat Boko Haram. We have driven them away from many of their strongholds, killed or captured many of their operatives or commanders and freed several hundreds of hostages,” President Buhari told the General Assembly.

The President reassured the international community that rescuing the Chibok girls remains one of the major objectives of his administration.

“We are working round the clock to ensure their safety and eventual reunion with their families. The girls are constantly on our minds and in our plans,” he said.

President Buhari condemned the new and dangerous dimension which human trafficking has assumed in the world.

“We in Africa are grieved to see hundreds of our able bodied men and women dying in the desert or drowning in the Mediterranean.

“We condemn in the strongest terms these people traffickers and will support any measures to apprehend and bring them to justice,” the President said.

Noting that the world was witnessing a dreadful increase in conflicts fuelled by availability of small arms and light weapons, President Buhari called on the international community to work towards the effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty to ensure that small arms and light weapons can only be legally transferred.

Reminding the global assembly that peaceful co-existence and self-determination were among the key principles that led to the establishment of the United Nations, President Buhari called for the urgent resolution of the question of self determination for the people of Palestine and Western Sahara.

“The international community has come to pin its hopes on resolving the Palestinian issue through the two – states solution which recognizes the legitimate right of each state to exist in peace and security.

“The world has no more excuses or reasons to delay the implementation of the long list of Security Council resolutions on this question. Neither do we have the moral right to deny any people their freedom or condemn them indefinitely to occupation and blockade,” the President said.

Premium Times

Nigeria wins big at the Africa Movie Academy Awards

A total of seven awards were given to Nigeria at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), which was held in South Africa over the weekend.

Of the 28 categories, Kunle Afolayan’s ‘October 1′ got best Nigerian film, best actor in leading role for Sadiq Daba and best costume for Adeola Sagoe.

Comedian, Ayo Makun’s ’30 Days in Atlanta’ won best comedy film while Kemi Akindoju got best young promising actor for her role in ‘Dazzling Mirage’ in a joint win with a Ugandan actor, Hassan Insigoma.

Destiny Ekeragha won the best first feature film by a director for the movie ‘Gone Too Far’ and the ‘Legacies of Rubbies’ won Nigeria her first AMAA prize in animation.

Full List Of Winners

Best Short Film: Twaaga – Burkina Faso

Best Animation: The Legacies of Rubbies – Nigeria

Best Documentary: Egypt Modern Pharaohs ‘Nasser’ – Egypt

Best Film in an African Language: Timbuktu – Mauritania

Best film by an African living abroad: Fevers – France/Morocco

Best diaspora short film: Sound of Tears – Canada

Best diaspora documentary: The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution – USA

Best diaspora feature: Supremacy – USA

Best Production design: iNumber Number – South Africa

Best costume design: October 1 – Nigeria

Best Make-Up Njinga: Queen of Angola – Angola

Best soundtrack: Triangle Going to America – Ethiopia

Best visual effects: iNumber Number – South Africa

Best Sound: Lobraz Khan – Mauritius

Best Cinematography: Lobraz Khan – Mauritius

Best Editing: Timbuktu

Best Screen Play: Le President

Best comedy film: 30 Days in Atlanta

Best Nigerian Film: October 1

Best Child Actor: Layla Walet Mohammed and Mehdi A.G Mohammed – Timbuktu

Best young promising actor (Joint winners): Kemi Lala Akindoju – Dazzling Mirage Hassan Spike Insingoma – Boda Boda Thieves

Best actor in a supporting role: Samson Tadesa – Triangle Going to America

Best actress in a supporting role: Ama Amphofo – Devil in a Detail

Best actor in a leading role: Sadiq Daba – October 1

Best actress in a leading role: Lesliana Pereira – Njinga: Queen of Angola

Best first feature film by a director: Destiny Ekeragha – Gone Too Far (British-Nigerian)

Best Director: Abderrahmane Sissako – Timbuktu

Best Film: Timbuktu – Mauritania


Monday, September 28, 2015

Video - Nigeria steps up fight against Boko Haram

Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad are stepping up their fight against Boko Haram.A place called Banki in northern Nigeria is the latest place to be taken away from the armed group. It was a staging post for cross-border attacks into CameroonAl Jazeera's Ahmed Idris travelled with the Nigerian army on a 14-hour trip from Abuja to the frontline in northern Nigeria.

54 Nigerians died in Hajj stampede

At least 54 Nigerians are known to have died in Thursday's stampede during the Hajj pilgrimage near Mecca, says Nigeria's National Hajj Commission.

It was the deadliest incident to hit the Hajj in 25 years.

At least 769 pilgrims died in the crush, more than 200 of whom are believed to be from Africa.

The crush appears to have been caused when pilgrims converged at a junction in Mina, near Mecca, in Saudi Arabia on Thursday morning.

The pilgrims were taking part in the Hajj's last major rite - throwing stone at pillars called Jamarat, where Satan is believed to have tempted the Prophet Abraham.

The chairman of Nigeria's National Hajj Commission Abdullahi Mukhtar confirmed the numbers but said some pilgrims were missing, meaning the final death toll could rise.

The nationality with the highest number of deaths, with at least 140 dead, is Iran.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Alex Iwobi to play for Nigeria Super Eagles

Alex Iwobi has been called up by the Nigerian national team – ten days after Jordon Ibe committed himself to England.

Iwobi, who was on the bench for Arsenal’s clash against Spurs last night, has been selected by manager Sunday Oliseh for friendlies against DR Congo and Cameroon next month.

The 19-year-old was born in Nigeria but has represented England at under-16, 17 and 18 levels.

But Iwobi, who is the nephew of former Nigeria star Jay-Jay Okocha, has committed to the country of his birth.

He said in January: “My dad has told me a lot of things about the honour and pride that goes with playing for Nigeria.

“So I thought a lot about this and decided to play for Nigeria.”

Iwobi’s call up follows Jordon Ibe’s decision to commit his international future to England.

Manager Roy Hodgson revealed his admiration for the 19-year-old after being given information by former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.

“It was my choice and it feels the right choice for me,” Ibe told

“I was born here and have played in the younger age groups. I want to take it up to the first team one day.”


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Video - Nigeria entrepreneur Itoro Effiong-Bright starts food delivery service in Lagos

If you live and work in Lagos city chances are that you rarely have time to settle down and cook. A majority of Lagos residents usually head to work as early as 4am and return as late as 10 pm, because of the city's notorious traffic jams. Finding time to go to market and return home to prepare a decent meal therefore, is difficult. But, that problem is a big opportunity for a small start-up in that city.

Related stories: Video - Entrepreneur Adeyoin Oshinbanjo talks about her successful venture Mile 12 Marketonline

Video - Entrepreneur redefines garri productions and distribution in Nigeria

Video - Documentary on Nigeria's top fashion designer Deola Sagoe

Nigeria military rescues 241 women and children from Boko Haram camps

The Nigerian military rescued 241 women and children in a raid on two camps controlled by the Boko Haram terrorist group, the country's military said Wednesday.

The Tuesday operation unfolded in the villages of Jangurori and Bulatori, the statement said.

The operations also netted the arrests of 43 militants belonging to the Islamist group, including a local leader, Bulama Modu, who the Nigerian military says was acting as the "emir" of the village of Bulakuri.

The raids destroyed both camps, army spokesman Col. Sani Usman told Punch, a Nigerian newspaper. The military also confiscated weapons, some of which were buried by militants who appeared to be abandoning their posts during the raid, he told the paper.

"Apart from arms and ammunitions, bows and arrows recovered from Bulama Modu, the kingpin, he confirmed that the terrorists also gave him a horse to enhance his deadly pursuits," Usman told Punch.

Troops also arrested a suspected militant in Wudla village who provided the names of terrorists who helped stage an attack in northern Cameroon this month, Usman said. They hailed from Dara Jamel, where the insurgents operate a bomb factory, he told Punch.


Nigeria bans vehicles in Borno state

Nigeria has banned all cars, public transport, horses, donkeys and camels in Borno state to prevent an attack by militant group Boko Haram over the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.

The ban came into effect on Wednesday evening and lasts until Friday.

Borno is where the Boko Haram insurgency began and on Sunday at least 54 people died in a triple bombing in the state capital Maiduguri.

Some 17,000 people are said to have been killed in the six-year insurgency.

Attacks by the Islamist group have intensified since Muhammadu Buhari became president in May, after winning elections.

The Nigerian military has previously banned all horses and donkeys in Borno, following a wave of attacks by Boko Haram fighters using such animals.

Military spokesman Col Tukur Gusau added that "all vehicular movements into and out of Maiduguri town will also be restricted" until further notice.

The security forces have in recent months reclaimed territory captured by Boko Haram fighters.

The army has also freed a number of people kidnapped by the militant group and this week announced that 241 women and children had been rescued near the border with Cameroon.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Nigeria military dismisses Boko Haram leader

The Nigerian military said it was not considering the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, or any other particular person in the terror group to be relevant in the ongoing onslaught against insurgency in the North East.

“Shekau or any of his cohorts would not deter the spate of the military operations to rid the country of criminals hiding under strange religious ideology to kill innocent Nigerians,” the military said in a statement Tuesday.

The statement came days after the release of an audio clip online dismissing recent gains by the military in the war against the insurgents. The speaker claimed to be Shekau, whom the Nigerian military claimed it killed months ago.

The military said it viewed the new audio as “irrelevant and fruitless”.

“The Armed Forces is using this medium to appeal to the good citizens of Nigeria not to lose sleep over the concocted audio rhetoric of the waning terrorist sect which is a usual antic of a drowning person struggling to hold on to anything to remain afloat,” the statement signed by spokesperson for the armed forces, Rabe Abubakar, a Colonel.

“The Armed Forces wishes to reiterate that it is a well-known fact that the terrorists have been seriously decimated and the tremendous effort and achievement recorded in the recent time by combined forces of the Nigerian Army and the Air Force is commendable.

“The Armed Forces did not lie about the successes recorded so far in its counterinsurgency operations and for avoidance of doubt, the liberated communities in the North East, which were hitherto under the throes of Boko Haram terrorists, are free for interested person or body to explore.

“The military does re-state that in the recent time a number of Boko Haram members have been surrendering and denouncing radicalization. Our candid advice to Shekau or his ghost; cohorts or impersonators is to toll the line of their fellow comrades and surrender now as no more hidden place for him or his criminal gang to operate freely any longer.

“It is also necessary to tell those that are still masquerading as leadership of Boko Haram in whatsoever guise to quickly come to term with the fact that era of cheap propaganda is over and in no distance time Nigerians and the whole world will know who is saying the truth.

“Therefore, while urging Nigerians and the nation’s well-wishers to disregard the audio clip purportedly released by Shekau in its entirely, the Armed Forces is calling on peace-loving people of our dear nation to go about their normal businesses as the military is working round the clock to rid the country of this devilish and anti-human group.

“Our compatriots too are called upon to report any suspicious person or object to law enforcement agencies for prompt action. It is in doing this that we would jointly restore the dignity of our dear country from the claw of terrorists,” the statement said.

Premium Times

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Video - $700 million missing from Nigeria sovering wealth fund

A row has broken out among Nigerian officials over the whereabouts of 700 million dollars allegedly stolen from the country's sovereign wealth fund. Set up by former President Goodluck Jonathan's administration in 2012, the account was designed to hold excess revenue accrued when oil prices are high.

Related story: Former Nigeria Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi comments on audit that proves missing $18.5 billion

Video - Senate President of Nigeria Bukola Saraki on trial for corruption charges

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, pleaded “not guilty” on Tuesday to multiple charges of fraud brought against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau.

He was thereafter granted bail on self recognition.

He faces a 13-count charge bordering on corruption and alleged false declaration of assets.

Mr. Saraki arrived the tribunal Tuesday morning after failing to appear on Friday and Monday.

As the case opened, Mr. Saraki’s lawyers argued that the matter was not a criminal case, and challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

The prosecution opposed the argument. The tribunal ruled that the matter was criminal and directed Mr. Saraki to go ahead with his plea.

“I hold that the trial before the tribunal is purely criminal,” said the chairman of the tribunal.

On jurisdiction, the prosecution counsel argued that according to section 2 of the Administration of Justice Act, 2015, the matter could be heard alongside any preliminary objection regarding the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

The new law was signed by former President Goodluck Jonathan in March 2015, as part of a major reform of Nigeria’s criminal justice system.

The Act is expected to speed up corruption cases before the courts, by dealing with issues of preliminary objections, adjournments, and jurisdiction.

The law says such objections must be addressed by the courts concurrently with the corruption charge, unlike the past when interlocutory injunctions could go to the Supreme Court and return, before the main trial begins.

Asked to take his plea, Mr. Saraki said, “I believe that I am here as the Senate president to indicate my respect for the tribunal. I am puzzled why I am being compelled”.

He pleaded not guilty.

On the various assets he acquired, which the Code of Conduct Bureau said his earnings did not qualify him to acquire, Mr. Saraki said he got them through his investment in rice farming.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge concerning his failure to declare his assets when he was Kwara State governor.

He also denied making false declaration of assets.

He pleaded not guilty on the charge regarding his alleged use of foreign bank accounts while serving as a public officer in Nigeria.

Mr. Saraki arrived the tribunal premises at 9:32 a.m., accompanied by “about 50 senators and some members of the House of Representatives”, his spokesperson, Yusuph Olaniyonu, told PREMIUM TIMES.

Some of the senators in court, according to a PREMIUM TIMES reporter at the trial, are Theodore Orji, Sam Egwu, Ike Ekweremadu, Shaba Lafiaji, Aliyu Wamakko, Rafiu Ibrahim, Tayo Alasoadura, Hamma Misau, Samuel Anyanwu, Sabi Aliyu Abdullahi, among others.

This newspaper learnt that the Senate President and his supporters first converged on the National Assembly early on Tuesday morning from where they took off in a convoy of buses for the tribunal.

One of the senators, who asked not to be named, said he and his colleagues decided to provide cover for the senate president to prevent him from being arrested or humiliated by the police.

A supporter of the Senate President, now also inside the courtroom, told PREMIUM TIMES, “We are already seated. No shaking. The plan is to humiliate the man, not minding if they break the law or violate the procedure.

“We have nothing to fear. After Saraki has exercised his fundamental human rights in relevant courts, we are here to to show the lies contained in the charges.”

Mr. Saraki had on Monday released a statement, saying he was now ready to attend his trial, days after he battled frantically to use the courts to halt the trial.

The matter was adjourned to 21st, 22nd and 23rd October for hearing.

Premium Times

Monday, September 21, 2015

Video - Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari

It’s now been more than 100 days since Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as Nigerian president, and he’s already showed renewed vigour in the War against Boko Haram and clamped down on government corruption. But Africa’s biggest economy is still in a slump, and Buhari is yet to appoint a cabinet. So what exactly has been achieved under the APC? And has life been made better in Nigeria Under Buhari?

Video - Entrepreneur redefines garri productions and distribution in Nigeria

If you are from West Africa, chances are that you not only know Garri but you might have consumed it. Garri is a popuplar West African staple food made from cassava.

It's quite popular and widely consumed in Nigeria. It's sold virtually everywhere in the open market.

Three bomb blasts in Maiduguri, Nigeria leave 55 dead

At least 55 people have been killed by three bomb blasts in the north-eastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, according to a local hospital official.

The bombs, detonated at about 7.20pm on Sunday evening, also injured 85 people, Tunde Sotanmi – the security chief of the State Specialist Hospital Maiduguri – said Monday.

Casualties may continue to rise, he said.

Nigerian army spokesman Colonel Sani Usman confirmed the attacks, though said details weren’t immediately clear.

The explosives were detonated at a mosque, a dining area and an computer center, according to Hassan Ibrahim, a local pro-government militia member in the city. “The attacks signify a high level of desperation on the part of the Boko Haram terrorists,” Usman said in a statement on Monday. “There is need for more vigilance, security consciousness and prompt reporting of suspicious persons or group of persons in their midst.”

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. Boko Haram militant leader Abubakar Shekau said in an unverified audio recording posted over the weekend that Nigerian authorities aren’t winning a six-year war against the insurgent group.

Nigeria’s military said at the weekend that it “captured” the villages of Jerre and Dipchari in northeast Borno State and rescued 62 people fleeing from Bitti and Pulka villages as it pushed “for the final defeat of the Boko Haram terrorists”.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in May, has ordered the armed forces to end the insurgency by mid-November.

Irish Times

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Video - Nigeria cracks down on beggars

The government says it is a move to improve security and counter attacks by the armed group Boko Haram. But those affected say the ban is an infringement of their fundamental human rights.

Nigeria's richest woman Folorunso Alakija says oil taxation is too high

 Nigeria’s 85 percent tax on onshore crude oil production is dissuading local investors from taking over assets from international oil companies, said Folorunso Alakija, an energy tycoon and the nation’s richest woman.

Famfa Oil Ltd., founded in 1991 by Alakija, 64, has sought to acquire stakes in onshore oil fields, yet sees the tax regime as a deterrent, she said in an interview in her office in Lagos, the commercial capital. Onshore producers pay 30 percent corporate tax and 55 percent tax on petroleum profit, while offshore producers who bought stakes in the 1990s are exempt of corporate tax and pay 50 percent profit tax.

“The 85 percent that those who are onshore are having to pay is going to be too high for indigenous companies to be able to stand on their own two feet,” said Alakija, who has a fortune of $1.8 billion, according to an estimate by Forbes magazine. Famfa’s 60 percent stake in Agbami, an offshore field with an output of about 250,000 barrels a day, is the main source of her wealth.

Famfa was among dozens of Nigerian companies granted oil licenses in the early 1990s as the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida sought to wrest some control from multinationals.

Investment in Africa’s largest oil producer has been held up by uncertainty over Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Bill, a law that has been delayed in parliament for almost seven years due to political wrangling and opposition from international energy companies to proposed tax and royalty terms.

International producers have agreed to sell off $10 billion of mainly onshore assets over the past three years, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Those assets are largely being taken over by local companies, such as Seplat Petroleum Development Co. Most of the country’s crude is pumped by international companies, including Royal Dutch Shell Plc. and Chevron Corp., which run joint ventures with the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.

Tax Relief

“It would be a good idea when the Petroleum Industry Bill does come out that it would have looked at tax relief for onshore, to help our people to be able to continue running their businesses and investing in that area,” said Alakija. “Nobody knows what is going to be the outcome of that bill.”

Only local companies producing for more than eight years are paying 85 percent tax, said Dolapo Oni, the Lagos-based head of energy research at Ecobank Transnational Inc. A “major reason” international producers have protested one of the latest versions of the bill is that it raised the offshore tax to 85 percent, Oni said.

“Nigerian companies who acquire onshore fields can apply for pioneer status, which means they don’t pay taxes for the first three years and even when they start paying taxes, they start at 65 percent for the first five years,” he said by phone. “The issue is that we don’t know what the PIB looks like now.’

Emmanuel Kachikwu, the group managing director of the NNPC, said last month that a new version of the bill should be ready in a year. President Muhammadu Buhari’s party has recommended scrapping the PIB and replacing it with a new reform law based on discussions with producers.

Tough Financing

With the international companies selling off their onshore assets due to rampant theft and spillages, the output of indigenous producers could rise to up to 25 percent of Nigeria’s overall output from about 10 to 15 percent, Alakija said. Nigeria pumped an average 1.94 million barrels of oil per day in August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

When Famfa was founded, the government was “wooing the international oil companies to give up some of the fields that they have; they couldn’t force them,” Alakija said. About twenty years later, “they are giving them up willingly. That gives opportunity for the indigenous companies to be able to buy into some of the smaller acreages,” she said.

Getting financing for fields may prove tough, said Alakija, who expects more mergers and acquisitions in the industry. Most of the smaller companies obtained financing based on a price of $70 a barrel, compounding the difficulties since a halving of oil prices in the past year, Kola Karim, chief executive officer of Nigerian energy company Shoreline Group, said in an interview in February. Brent crude traded at $49.5 a barrel as of 9:47 a.m. in London on Thursday.

“There’s no indigenous company that can say they can stand on their own in an offshore block,” said Alakija, whose Famfa operates in partnership with Chevron and Petrobras Brasileiro SA.

Alakija is looking to diversify into other industries. Already owning real estate in Nigeria, Brazil and the U.K., along with a printing business, Alakija said she’s considering investments in agriculture and power, declining to elaborate.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Video - Healthcare volunteers defy Boko Haram in continue polio vaccination

Medics have vaccinated thousands of children in north east Nigeria despite security concerns. Boko Haram has been hampering Nigeria's polio initiative in the region.

Related story: Video - One year marked without polio in Nigeria

Video - Floods displace over one million people in Nigeria

At least a million people have been displaced by the floods from River Benue in the north-east parts of Nigeria. Officials fear the floods could bring food shortage in the country since the water swamped the farmlands. More that dozen people have been reported dead with homes flooded as well.

Video - Inflation hits Nigeria's economy

Nigeria's consumer inflation was at 9.3 percent year on year in August, up 0.1% from July. According to Nigeria's bureau of statistics the marginal rise was as a result of slower increases in alcoholic beverages, tobacco and kola, health, transport and recreation and culture divisions. Africa's biggest oil producer has been hit hard by the slump in global crude prices, which has sent its currency to record lows. The central bank has imposed stringent foreign exchange measures to prop up the naira but investors are losing confidence. National GDP more than halved in the second quarter year-on-year and JP Morgan chase said it would drop Nigeria from its emerging market bonds index due to foreign exchange controls.

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari orders single govt bank account to fight corruption

Nigeria’s central bank on Wednesday said government ministries and departments were complying with a presidential order aimed at more transparency over revenues.

President Muhammadu Buhari, elected earlier this year on an anti-corruption ticket, had ordered all ministries to put revenues into a single account with the apex bank by Tuesday night.

With all financial transactions passing through a single bank account, it’s hoped this will end the practice of ministries and departments maintaining multiple accounts for government revenues, reducing the chance of fraud and improving monitoring.

Asked on Wednesday whether the deadline had been met, Central Bank of Nigeria spokesperson Mu’azu Ibrahim said: “So far so good. We are happy with the level of compliance by the ministries, departments and parastatals with the president’s directive on a Treasury Single Account (TSA).”

Commercial banks are also making efforts to comply with the directive, and no extension to the deadline will be considered, he added.

Buhari has pledged to trace and recover what he called “mind-boggling” sums of money stolen from the crude oil sector.

“Two hundred and fifty thousand barrels per day of Nigerian crude are being stolen and people sell and put the money into individual accounts,” he said. “I assure you that we will trace and repatriate such money and use the documents to prosecute them.” Since he came to power in May, he has launched a crackdown on corruption at the state-run oil firm, sacking the entire board and ordering an investigation into its finances.


Nigeria in talks with Boko Haram over kidnapped schoolgirls

Nigeria's president says the government is talking to the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram about the more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls.

Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina in a tweet late Tuesday quoted President Muhammadu Buhari as saying the government is talking to Boko Haram members and it is trying to make sure they are genuine leaders. Buhari is in France on a three-day state tour.

Military from Nigeria and Chad freed hundreds of hostages from Boko Haram captivity earlier this year but none of those rescued were from the 219 girls abducted in April 2014 from a school in Chibok.

Nigeria's homegrown Islamic extremist group has used dozens of girls and women in recent suicide bombings in Nigeria and neighboring Chad, Cameroon and Niger, raising fears they are kidnap victims.


Women and children captives rescued from Boko Haram

Nigeria’s army has said it rescued at least a dozen kidnapped women and children held captive by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram.

Military spokesman Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman said they were freed as the army cleared Boko Haram camps on Monday in north-eastern Borno state.

The army did not say where the women and children had been kidnapped from or their condition.

Hundreds of hostages have been freed from Boko Haram captivity in 2015 but none of the 219 girls abducted in April 2014 from a school in Chibok has been among those rescued.

The Nigerian extremist group has used dozens of girls and women in recent suicide bombings in Nigeria and neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger, raising fears they were kidnap victims.

More than 1,000 people have been killed since President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in March with a pledge to annihilate the militants, whose six-year-old uprising has killed a total of about 20,000 people. At least 2.1 million people have been driven from their homes, some across borders.

Earlier this year troops from Chad and Nigeria drove the extremists out of some 25 towns held for months in an area that Boko Haram had declared an Islamic caliphate aligned with the Islamic State group in the Middle East. The insurgents have returned to hit-and-run attacks and suicide bombings.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Video - Documentary on Nigeria's top fashion designer Deola Sagoe

Nigerian fashion has broken out, gracing the catwalks of New York, Johannesburg and Monaco.Deola Sagoe was one of the designers who led this Nigerian fashion expansion.

France to invest €130m in Nigerian infrastructure development

French President Fran├žois Hollande Monday disclosed that his government has concluded arrangements to invest a total of €130 million in the development of infrastructure in Nigeria for rebuilding of roads, provision of electricity and water supply.

According to him, despite the fall in the price of crude oil in the international market which has affected Nigerian expected revenue, the country’s economy still remained strong.

“The Nigerian economy remains strong so, France wants to be doing business in the country” he said at a joint press conference at the Elsee Palace in Paris, after a closed door bilateral meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari who is on a three-day working visit to France.

He said France intends to increase the visibility of its investors more in Nigeria adding that his country will assist the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) with intelligence gathering and equipment in fighting terrorism in Nigeria and the African sub region.

“We provide all of the support to the countries in the region which are affected by this cult and in Nigeria, we want to provide support and solidarity,” he noted thanking the President for relocating the
military command center to Maiduguri.

In his remarks, President Buhari thanked the French government for his government’s interest in assisting Nigeria and expressed the readiness of his administration to partner with France to development of the country.

President Buhari noted that with commitment from France, Nigeria’s next shopping list regarding support will move to other members of the G7.

“We have to depend on France and the other G7 countries for support to fight piracy” the President said adding “Our next shopping list is going to G7in terms of intelligence and training. Another problem is the problem in the Gulf of Guinea, from Senegal to Angola, that area is endowed with resources like petroleum and other minerals but surrounded by piracy and theft.

“We are going to depend on France and G7 countries to flush these criminals out of the region.” Adding that they had discussed the Memorandum of Understanding to build a €30M project solar power plant in a rural local government of Osun State capacity of the solar power plant is 10 to 14 megawatts.

Speaking further President Buhari said that “On Nigeria’s problems, more than 67 percent of our youths and most of them under their youthful age are unemployed. We are finding best way in Agriculture and mining to address this before sophisticated infrastructure and security are provided.

President Buhari and Hollande also discussed on issued of climate change which Nigeria is expected to contribute to at a global level. Both Nigeria and France last year signed last year bilateral agreements which enables the Frech government provide 1.170 Million dollars soft loan through the french development agency AFD for the construction of high voltage power lines and substations that will connect Abuja with electrical distribution network.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Video - Life in the shadow of Boko Haram

The Nigerian military claims it has weakened Boko Haram militants. The humanitarian crisis as a result of the insurgency is far from over. More than 2 million people are displaced and many lack the very basics for survival.

Video - Possibility of Nigeria falling into a recession

Nigeria became Africa's biggest economy after it surpassed South Africa last year but soon its economy started suffering a downward trend. The worst blow followed the steep decline in the price of crude, from highs of over 100 dollars a barrel to the current under 50 dollars a barrel. Oil revenue accounts for 70% of government revenue.

Jordon Ibe chooses England over Nigeria

 Jordon Ibe will commit his international future to England rather than Nigeria, according to the Super Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh.

The 19-year-old Liverpool winger has represented England at under-18, under-19, under-20 and under-21 levels but also qualifies to play for Nigeria through his father and has been the subject of an international tug-of-war over his future.

Ibe has yet to play a senior game for either country, but now looks to have his heart set on representing England. The Nigeria coach and former captain had reportedly visited the player at Liverpool’s training ground last month to try to convince him to switch his allegiance to Nigeria.

“Jordon Ibe’s family informed me by a telephone call that he was giving priority to an England call-up. We wish them well,” Oliseh said on Twitter.

England’s manager, Roy Hodgson, has praised Ibe, who he said was brought to his attention by the former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. England face Estonia and Lithuania in their final Euro 2016 qualifiers in October, having already secured their place at next year’s finals in France.

“He is certainly a player we like very much and certainly a player we have our eyes on. It’s far from impossible that he will get called up in one of the next games,” Hodgson said.

Liverpool bought Ibe from the League Two club Wycombe in 2012. He made his debut for the Merseyside club in 2013 and was sent out on loan to first Birmingham and then Derby to continue his development.

The winger was recalled from his loan spell at Derby in January and has gone on to make 19 appearances for Liverpool, featuring in all five of their games this season.

The Guardian

Six Nigerians dead in Mecca crane crash

Six Nigerian pilgrims are among the 107 people killed in Friday’s crane collapse at Mecca’s holy site Ka’aba, Saudi Arabia.

Kaduna State Task Force on Hajj spokesman Saidu Adamu yesterday confirmed the death of a member of the state’s delegation.

National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) confirmed the death of five other Nigerians.

It named the dead Kaduna pilgrim as Alhaji Adamu Shuaibu Kargi from Kubau Local Government Area.

Federal Government officials had on Saturday said no Nigerian died.

Gombe State Amirul-Hajj, Abdullahi Mai-Kano, said four women pilgrims from the state were missing after the incident.

According to him, the four pilgrims were from Akko, Dukku and Nafada local governments areas of the state.

Mai-Kano said the pilgrim was injured in her head, but had been treated and discharged.

He said the four pilgrims were declared missing after a thorough verification and bed checking in the three houses accommodating the state’s pilgrims.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia had earlier on Saturday confirmed that 107 people died.

The spokesperson for the Saudi presidency on the Affairs of the two holy mosques, Ahmad Al-Mansouri, said at “least 107 people were dead and another 238 were injured.

The Nation

Primary school in Jos collapses - 4 children dead

At least four children have died after a primary school building collapsed near the central Nigerian city of Jos, according to officials.

Twenty-four pupils were injured in the incident at the Abu Naima Islamic school on Sunday, Mohammed Abdulsalam, from the National Emergency Management Agency said.

It is unclear whether more students may be trapped under the rubble, he added.

Building collapses often occur during the rainy season in Nigeria.

The cause of the collapse is not clear, but investigators are trying to determine whether it may have been due to extra floors being added to the one-storey building.

A multi-storey church hostel run by popular Nigerian evangelist TB Joshua collapsed last September in Lagos killing 116 people.

The authorities said it had more floors than its foundation could hold.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Danny Glover in Nigeria to film Nigerian movie about the ebola outbreak

U.S. actor Danny Glover said Thursday that he is in Nigeria to star in a movie based on people who risked and sacrificed their lives to stop the spread of Ebola in Africa's most populous country.

Glover said he is proud to take part in the film, called "93 Days," because of the achievements made by the real-life characters. Nigerian actress Bimbo Akintola will portray Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, who along with her team diagnosed the first Ebola case in Nigeria.

Adadevoh put the patient under quarantine, and stubbornly refused to discharge the Liberian man who was sick with the infection despite pressure.

Adadevoh eventually died along with three other hospital staff that had contracted the disease. Her actions ensured that the fast-spreading viral infection was quickly contained.

Glover will portray the director of the hospital where Adadevoh worked.

Akintola said the movie is a story of how Nigeria— a country where many institutions have weakened due to endemic corruption and ethnic strife — triumphed over the spread of Ebola, which ravaged her West African neighbors of Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Liberia.

"Nigerians acted as one. There was nothing about you being from different ethnicity or different political party, it was about Nigerians just standing up and doing this incredible thing for Nigeria," Akintola said.

She said the movie will be about courage in the face of death. "The doctors at First Consult (hospital) didn't ask for an Ebola patient. They weren't expecting it. But they stood up to the plate when it turned out the patient had Ebola. No one run away. That is courage in the face of death," Akintola said.

About 12,000 people fly out of Nigeria daily to different corners of the globe, Akintola said, adding that an Ebola outbreak in Nigeria would have had a devastating effect on the world.

According to the World Health Organization, news of the first Ebola case in Nigeria on July 23 last year rocked public health communities all around the world.

"Nigeria is Africa's most populous country and its newest economic powerhouse. For a disease outbreak, it is also a powder keg. The number of people living in Lagos — around 21 million — is almost as large as the populations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone combined," WHO said last year in a publication about the outbreak.

Lagos also is characterized by a large population living in crowded and unsanitary conditions in many slums, it said.

Thousands of people move in and out of Lagos, Africa's largest city, every day, constantly looking for work or markets for their products in a busy metropolis with frequent traffic gridlocks, said WHO, adding that officials were worried how they would manage to trace people who had come into contact with persons infected with Ebola in order place them in isolation.

"The last thing anyone in the world wants to hear is the two words, 'Ebola' and 'Lagos' in the same sentence," said WHO, quoting Jeffrey Hawkins, the United States Consul General in Nigeria at the time.


Video - Nigeria prison reforming Boko Haram members

Nigeria has launched several programmes to try and reform captured members of the Boko Haram group.

The violent extremist group has been active in the north-east of the country, as well as across the border in Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Video - World Bank gives Nigeria money to rebuild after Boko Haram attacks

The World Bank is considering a 2.1 billion dollar loan to rebuild infrastructure in the northeast state of Nigeria that has been strongly affected by the Boko Haram insurgency. Boko Haram militants may have destroyed infrastructure worth over a billion dollars in the Nigerian state of Borno, since the group's insurgency began six years ago.

Nigerian military says it has wiped out all Boko Haram camps

The Nigerian military on Wednesday said it has destroyed all known Boko Haram terrorists’ camps and cells in the North East.

The Defence spokesperson, Rabe Abubakar, said this at his maiden news conference, adding that the camps were destroyed by troops operating in the region.

Mr. Abubakar said the terrorists have been “so militarily defeated and weakened” that they can never hold any part of the territory in that part of the country.

He said, “These terrorists have been subdued. Even if they are adopting other means and as they are re-strategising, we are also doing same.”

The defence spokesperson said the military had been coordinating air and ground assault to make sure that terrorists’ hideouts are completely decimated.

“As I am speaking to you, all the terrorists’ camps have completely been wiped out. So, right now they are completely in disarray, having no command and control of where to plan. We have even taken over the camps that most of them have even abandoned their bases and blended within towns and communities,” Mr. Abubakar said.

He also said some of the terrorists had been apprehended.

“We are making a lot of headways and a lot of achievements and people should know that Boko Haram is no longer strong enough to hold ground. Very soon this issue of whether they are in control of any territory in Nigeria or not will come to the open,” he said.

Mr. Abubakar, a colonel, assured Nigerians that no territory in the country will be taken captive by the insurgents.

He also said that significant progress has been made due to various strategies including morale boosting of troops by the chief of army staff, Tukur Burutai.

Mr. Abubakar said, “the issue of desertion, complaints of non-equipment and lack of morale and motivation are now things of the past”.

He noted that emphasis are now placed on credible training and retraining on the sanctity of human rights and protection of the combatants in the battle fields.

Premium Times

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Video - New Super Eagles coach Sunday Oliseh records first win

Ahmed Musa opened the scoring with a penalty 10 minutes in before Moses Simon bagged his first international goal.

Nigeria claimed the first win of Sunday Oliseh's tenure on Tuesday as they saw off Niger in a 2-0 friendly victory at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium.

Former Eagles ace Oliseh took charge in July and saw his spell at the helm get off to a disappointing start with a goalless draw against Tanzania earlier this month.

However, CSKA Moscow man Ahmed Musa struck from the spot before Moses Simon wrapped up the friendly win in Port Harcourt with his first Nigeria goal.

Musa carried Nigeria's main threat early on, testing Daouda Kassaly with a shot from distance before Anthony Ujah caused the visitors' defence more serious problems, earning a penalty 10 minutes in.

That was duly dispatched by Musa, but Nigeria struggled to consolidate their advantage until seven minutes from time when substitute Simon put the game to bed.

Having replaced Musa shortly after the hour, Simon latched onto a sloppy clearance to beat Kassaly with a fierce drive from inside the area, opening his international account in the process.

Oliseh's men now turn their attentions to their African Nations Championship first-round play-off with Burkina Faso in October.


Nigeria to be removed from JP Morgan Emerging-Market Bond Index

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has excluded Nigeria from its local-currency emerging-market bond indexes tracked by more than $200 billion of funds, after restrictions on foreign-exchange transactions prompted investor concerns about a shortage of liquidity.

The first phase of removing Africa’s biggest economy from the Government Bond Index-Emerging Markets, or GBI-EM, will take place at the end this month followed by a full exit by the end of October, the New York-based lender said in a statement sent to Bloomberg on Tuesday by spokesman Patrick Burton.

Nigeria’s central bank under Governor Godwin Emefiele introduced several foreign-exchange trading restrictions from December to stem the drop of the naira amid weaker oil prices. The country is Africa’s largest producer of crude, which accounts for about 90 percent of exports and two-thirds of government revenue. JPMorgan placed Nigeria on index watch in January, saying the foreign-exchange measures made it more difficult for foreign investors to replicate the gauges.

Currency Reaction

The country will “lose a significant chunk of regular portfolio inflows,” Gareth Brickman, a market analyst at ETM Analytics NA LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, said in a e-mailed note on Wednesday, estimating that more than $3 billion of Nigerian bonds will need to be sold. “The pressure will most certainly be back on the bank to allow the official naira rate to be at a lower, more sustainable level. Whether this comes with a more liberalized foreign-exchange regime is now anyone’s guess.”

Nigeria will not be eligible for re-entry for at least 12 months from the date of exclusion, JPMorgan said. The country has a 1.5 percent weighting in the biggest GBI-EM index, which is tracked by $183.8 billion of funds, according to the bank.

“Investors who track the GBI-EM series continue to face challenges and uncertainty while transacting in the naira due to the lack of a fully functional two-way FX market and limited transparency,” JPMorgan said in the statement. “As a result, Nigeria will be removed.”

The naira weakened 20 percent to a record low of 206.32 per dollar in the year through Feb. 12. Extra curbs introduced by Emefiele after that slashed trading in the interbank market and have seen the currency stabilize at an average of 198.93 since the beginning of February.

“We would like to strongly disagree with the premise and conclusions upon which the decision rests,” Ibrahim Mu’azu, a spokesman for the Abuja-based central bank, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Nigeria has already introduced an order-based, two-way foreign-exchange market to stabilize the naira and limit speculation, according to the statement.

“Despite these positive outcomes, JPMorgan would prefer that we remove this rule; even though it is obvious that doing so would lead to an indeterminate depreciation of the naira,” Mu’azu said.

Emefiele repeatedly said that Nigeria wanted to remain in the indexes and that there’s enough liquidity in the currency market for foreigners to buy and sell naira bonds. Average yields on those securities rose 11 basis points to 16.04 percent on Sept. 7, the highest among 18 countries included in the GBI-EM indexes, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

‘Big Blow’

“This will place additional pressure on the currency and even more upward pressure on domestic yields,” Stephen Bailey-Smith, head of Africa strategy at Standard Bank Group Ltd., said by phone from London.

JPMorgan included Nigeria in the GBI-EM in October 2012 after Emefiele’s predecessor, Lamido Sanusi, removed a rule that foreign buyers of naira bonds had to hold them for at least a year. Foreign holdings of the country’s local debt surged as a result to a peak of about $11 billion in 2013 before falling to $3 billion today, Samir Gadio, head of Africa strategy at Standard Chartered Plc., said by phone from London.

The exclusion hurts Nigeria just as President Muhammadu Buhari, in power since May, prepares to announce his cabinet, according to Ronak Gopaldas, head of country risk at Rand Merchant Bank. Buhari said he would have ministers in place by the end of the month.

“The move is a big blow to the country’s prestige and will result in negative market sentiment and capital outflows,” Johannesburg-based Gopaldas said in an e-mailed response to questions. “The performance of the currency, stock market as well as yields on the country’s debt are all expected to be adversely affected.”


Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari considering closing some Nigerian embassies

Nigeria could see a reduction in its foreign missions after President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday ordered a review of the country's diplomatic postings overseas.

A presidential committee will look at "the number of essential missions Nigeria needs to maintain abroad so that appropriate standards and quality can be maintained", a statement from his office said.

Buhari, 72, took over as head of Africa's biggest economy and most populous nation in May and is keen to tighten government spending to reduce a yawning deficit caused by a slump in global oil prices.

He said the need for some of the missions was "questionable" and asked whether keeping embassies and consulates "with dilapidated facilities and demoralised staff" was wise.

No specific missions were mentioned.

"Let's keep only what we can manage. We can't afford much for now. There's no point in pretending," he said after meeting senior foreign ministry officials in the capital, Abuja.

Buhari has built a reputation as a no-nonsense campaigner against corruption and has sought to crack down on excesses that have built up over the years in government and state-run companies.

In June, the president vowed to "restore sanity to the system" after claiming the previous administration had left the treasury "virtually empty" through graft and mismanagement.

He also said on Tuesday action would be taken against former government ministers and others using diplomatic and official passports illegally.

"Something has to be done so that we can get back our respectability as a country," he said.

"Some people carry official passports and get involved in all sorts of negative acts. We need to do something about it."


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Video - Nigeria electricity supply improves after reforms

In Nigeria, power distribution has improved in recent months. The government hopes reforms in the sector and efforts to improve infrastructure, increase public and private partnerships and foreign direct investment will eventually boost the available generation capacity, and make transmission and distribution, more efficient.

Video - Gbenga Sesan: Connecting million of Nigerians

As a school student Gbenga Sesan was denied access to the computer room at his Nigerian school and told he was not clever enough to operate one.Years later, Gbenga is an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) expert, who has won international awards and is running a successful consultancy business."I'm the kind of guy you don't tell not to do something, I will do it. If you tell me it's impossible, I'll take it as a challenge....I think the first thing that hit me was: 'Do I want to raise a child in Nigeria?' There were things that I didn't have access to myself because I was raised here, but I think it makes me double my effort because I want to raise my child in a country that works," he says.The social entrepreneur is spreading his good fortune by teaching ICT and life skills to young adults in Nigeria's poorest neighbourhoods.Gbenga was appointed Nigeria's first IT Youth Ambassador in 2001.With up to 56 percent of youth in Nigeria being unemployed, he is determined to "training young people, connecting them with opportunities, through technologies.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Video - Assessing President Muhamadu Buhari first 100 days in office

This weekend Nigerian President Muhamadu Buhari marks 100 days in office. When he defeated Goodluck Jonathan back in March, he promised to deal swiftly with Boko Haram, tackle corruption and improve the country's economy. So has he lived up to his promises?

Friday, September 4, 2015

President Muhammadu Buhari declares assets in act of transperency

Nigeria's leader Muhammadu Buhari has declared he has $150,000 (£100,000) in his personal account, in a move aimed at promoting transparency.

The amount showed the ex-military ruler and minister of petroleum had been living a "Spartan lifestyle", his spokesman Garba Shehu said.

The BBC's Will Ross says the assets are loose change for Nigerian politicians but a fortune for most of the country.

Mr Buhari is the first opposition candidate to win a national election.

The former military ruler was elected in March largely on a promise to tackle corruption and insecurity.

Corruption is a major problem in Africa's biggest economy and last month, Mr Buhari said that $150bn (£100bn) was missing from state coffers.

Buhari's assets:
Five homes and two mud houses, as well as farms
An orchard and a ranch with 270 head of cattle,
25 sheep, five horses and a variety of birds
Shares in three firms
Two undeveloped plots of lands
Bought two cars from his savings

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, a successful lawyer and pastor at one of Nigeria's biggest churches, is considerably wealthier.

Mr Shehu said in a statement Mr Osinbajo had $1.4m (£900,000) in his bank accounts.

In his declaration of assets, Mr Osinbajo also revealed that he owned a four-bedroom residence, a three-bedroom flat, a two-bedroom flat and a two-bedroom mortgaged property in Bedford, UK.

His political career started when he was appointed commissioner of justice in Lagos state in 2007 - a position he held for eight years.

The statement did not give the value of all the assets held by the president and the vice-president, saying the documents submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau would be made public as soon as the verification process was completed.

The leaders are also required by law to declare their assets when they left office.

Late President Umaru Yar'Adua was the first Nigerian leader to declare his assets publicly.

He was reported to be worth $5m (£3.5m) when the declaration was made in 2007.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote to invest in Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote, plans to set up the biggest cement plant in the country, but he is not stopping there. He plans to make investments in energy and mining too. The Nigerian businessman announced the plans after meetings with senior government officials in Harare, on August 31st.

Super Eagles goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama pulls out of Nigeria squad after mother passes away

Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama has pulled out of Saturday's 2017 Africa Cup of Nations tie against Tanzania following the death of his mother.

"He is completely devastated and coach Sunday Oliseh has excused him on compassionate grounds," a source close to the family told BBC Sport.

Enyeama was due to fly to Abuja on Monday but cancelled the trip.

Uncapped Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme is set to step into the starting line-up for the Group G qualifier.

Enyeama, who plays for French club Lille and is the Super Eagles most capped player with 101 appearances, was in goal for Nigeria when they beat Chad 2-0 in their opener in Kaduna in June.

Egypt, who have missed the last three continental finals, beat Tanzania 3-0 in Alexandria to top the group on goal difference.

Even though they are among the best-known sides on the continent, neither Nigeria nor seven-time champions Egypt qualified for the Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has confirmed that the Super Eagles face the Mena of Niger Republic in an international friendly on 8 September in Port Harcourt.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Central Bank of Nigeria trying to regulate bitcoin

The Central Bank of Nigeria has called for the regulation of the cryptocurrency, bitcoin, in Nigeria. Businessday reports that CBN is making the call in a bid to stem money laundering and protect consumers.

The intention of the apex bank was disclosed at the second Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism stakeholders’ consultative workshop in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. The workshop was seen as an occasion that “will further assist in laying a solid foundation for the much needed regulatory climate on the operations of virtual currency in Nigeria.”

“Virtual currency was dangerous because it was not a legal tender of any country hence it has a borderless nature without jurisdiction which makes it a channel for money laundering,” said Dr Okwu Nnanna, deputy governor of financial system stability at Nigeria’s Central Bank (CBN).

Obot Akpan’s, deputy director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department at CBN also touched on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FAFT) recommendation on closer monitoring of digital currency exchanges and gateways to counter money laundering and terrorism financing.

The central bank also expressed its fears over the currency’s volatility as it has increased in use for both payment transactions and investment purposes.

CBN is yet to outline the roadmap to executing this regulation, but it is hardly possible to regulate bitcoin as is.

The bank’s fears are accurate and may well be the foundation of a CBN study of the workings of bitcoin, but the call for bitcoin regulation seems more akin to CBN making a scripted call similar to what Nigerian regulators have been known to make when confronted with a development they do not understand.


Related story: Another Bitcoin service BitX launches in Nigeria

Nigeria to begin using drones to combat oil theft

Nigeria is to deploy drones to monitor the movement of ships in an effort to curb the rampant oil theft in the country, the state oil firm says.

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says it wants to end crude theft in the next eight months.

Nigeria is Africa's biggest crude producer but its revenue is severely reduced by theft and attacks on oil pipelines.

New President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to clean up the industry.

Oil generates around 70% of government revenues in Africa's biggest economy.

But a 2013 report by think tank Chatham House said that 100,000 barrels per day were being stolen.

That was equivalent to 5% of Nigeria's daily production.

It said the theft was occurring on an "industrial scale", with small barges transferring stolen oil to tankers waiting offshore to take it to international markets.

Senior politicians and military officers are said to be involved in the illegal trade.

The new head of NNPC Ibe Kachikwu also said the company would work more closely with Nigeria's navy to tackle the problem.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Nigeria's sacked national security adviser Sambo Dasuki appears in court

Nigeria's sacked national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, has appeared in court in the capital, Abuja, charged with illegally possessing weapons.

Nigeria's intelligence agency said it had seized firearms during a raid on his properties in July.

Mr Dasuki pleaded not guilty to the charge and was given bail.

He is the first senior official of the former government to be charged since President Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated in May.

Mr Buhari is the first opposition candidate to be elected president in Nigeria.

The judge ordered the agency to return Mr Dasuki's passport to the court as part of his bail conditions.

Mr Dasuki appeared calmed and relaxed, reports the BBC's Nasidi Adamu Yahya from the court.

Some associates of former President Goodluck Jonathan were present in solidarity to the retired army officer, he says.

President Buhari replaced Mr Dasuki and other security chiefs in July in a renewed effort to end a six-year insurgency by militant Islamist group Boko Haram.


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