Friday, December 30, 2016

Video - Government cuts 50,000 non-existent public workers from payroll

Nigeria has removed 50,000 ghost workers from its public payroll over the past 11 months. Essentially, people who don't exist have been receiving salaries. Authorities say it's part of a scheme that ripped off the public to the tune of 600 million dollars this year alone. Kelechi Emekalam reports from Abuja.

Toronto sisters post apology video for causing Nigeria sex scandal

In a bizarre video posted to YouTube on Thursday, the two Toronto sisters detained in a sex scandal in Nigeria appear to have issued an apology.

“We apologize to Femi Otedola and his family, especially his wife and children, and all the other petitioners,” a woman who appears to be Jyoti Matharoo says in the 45-second video, while another woman — apparently her sister Kiran Matharoo — stands beside her.

The sisters were charged last week after being accused of cyberbullying and attempting to blackmail numerous moneyed Nigerian men with photos of sex acts, according to reports in Nigerian media.

Police in Nigeria have alleged the sisters targeted Otedola, who is a billionaire oil tycoon.

The accusations against the sisters made headlines in Nigeria and in Canada. Photos of their Kardashian-like Instagram accounts show a lavish jet-setting lifestyle, complete with cocktails, expensive handbags, and the latest fashions.

In Thursday’s video, posted by an account called Linda Ikeji TV, the Matharoo sisters appear standing, Jyoti in a black dress and Kiran in a black jumpsuit.

Jyoti speaks to the camera while reading off a phone, while the other woman looks on.

“We created a platform called and .co where people can send in stories,” Jyoti says. “Most stories were sent by close friends or associates of people being written about. The intention was not to hurt anyone or to be malicious. The intention was not to extort anyone. We haven’t received any money from this website.”

She goes on to say “the money” went to someone else.

“We are again very sorry and we assure all the petitioners that we will not have any affiliation whatsoever with this website or any other website that has to do with this,” Jyoti continues.

“We promise not to say anything of the contrary to what we are saying now. We freely volunteer to make this video, and not under duress, because we are aware of the damages done to people.”

NAFDAC says rice contaminated, not plastic.

Lab tests on a consignment of rice seized by Nigerian customs officials show that the product is "contaminated" but not plastic, the National Agency For Food and Drugs (Nafdac) says.

The rice contained bacteria "above permissible limits", a senior Nafdac official said.

Customs officials' claims that the rice seized in Lagos last week was "plastic" sparked confusion and official denials.

The health minister intervened, saying there was "no evidence" for the claims.

Tests on samples of the rice showed that it was "unwholesome for human consumption", exceeding the maximum limit for bacteria including "Coli form", Nafdac said in a statement.

The Nigerian customs service, speaking at the same press conference, said that it had acted on "credible intelligence" that "large consignments of plasticized rice were.... to be shipped from the Far East to Africa".

Regardless of the outcome of the lab tests, intelligence still indicated that "several metric tonnes of expired and dangerous rice are still lying in wait at warehouses in neighbouring countries", with the Nigerian market the ultimate destination, customs chief Ibrahim Ali told media.

Rice is Nigeria's staple food and it is a tradition for people to give bags of rice as a gift during the Christmas period.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Video - Nigerian army freed hundreds from Boko Haram

Hundreds of Boko Haram prisoners have been freed during an army offensive in northern Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari says Boko Haram has been defeated in its war for an Islamic state.

Fighters have fled their last remaining stronghold in Sambisa Forest.

Al Jazeera is the only media organisation that has entered the forest since its recapture by the army.

Video - Niger Delta militants express readiness to dialogue with government

Niger delta militants are have been attacking oil pipelines in Nigeria have formally agreed to hold talks with the government. President Muhammadu Buhari's earlier this year appealed to the militants to come to enter into negotiations the government. The militants now say the decision to embrace dialogue was reached after a meeting held under the auspices of the Coalition of Niger Delta Group.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Video - Sunday Oliseh cautions Gabon on Aubameyang's overdependence

Former Nigerian coach Sunday oliseh has cautioned Gabon against solely relying on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the African cup of nations. The former super eagles player also says Nigeria will overcome the crisis engulfing the football sector.

Video - Nigeria to turn Sambisa forest into training ground for its troops

Nigeria's military is set to turn the Sambisa forest, a former bastion of militant Islamist group Boko Haram, into a training centre for its troops. The new base will also be used as ground for testing acquired equipment before putting them into operation. The move is to prevent the militants from rebuilding a presence in the area. Last Friday, Nigeria's military overran the militants' last camp in the forest. Sambisa had become their main base after they lost control of urban strongholds in north-eastern Borno state in 2015.

MTN issues first payment to Nigeria for $254 million fine

Telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria has paid $254 million of the $1 billion fine imposed on it for failing to deactivate more than five million unregistered sim cards in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu said the company paid the sum as the first installment out of the three years given for the completion of the payment.

MTN was initially fined $5.2 billion but the fine was later reduced to $1 billion after negotiating the fine with the Nigerian government.

The fine, according to the law is $636 for each unregistered sim cards and in this instance, MTN’s violation was to the tune of five million lines.

Shittu said MTN accepted that they were in default, apologised for it, made a commitment never to allow such a thing to happen again and asked for remission.

Should the company had paid the initial sum of over $5 billion dollars, the minister said the mobile operator would have folded up hence the need to reconsider the fine.

Nigerian army searching for kidnapped Chibok girls

After the Nigerian army claimed victory over Boko Haram in the armed group's forest stronghold, a commander at the forefront of the battle says the search is still on for the missing Chibok girls.

The army captured the Sambisa Forest in the country's east over the weekend.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Tuesday, Brigadier General Victor Ezugwu, the army commander, said that while his soldiers had made significant gains, they had not been able to track down the missing girls who were captured by Boko Haram in April 2014.

About 200 of the 276 Chibok girls who were taken remain missing. Some were believed to be in the Sambisa Forest.

"We are still searching for our dear daughters," Ezugwu said. "As I speak to you now, we've not been able to make contact with them because the insurgents are running away with the girls. We are still trailing them."

He added that "so far, we have rescued over 1,900 Nigerian citizens [from captivity]".

He said the operation against Boko Haram is ongoing.

"It's not finished business. It's a work in progress. At the end of the day it's a bright light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

While Nigerian authorities say they are working hard to find the missing girls, there are concerns over how those who have been freed are treated.

Kidnapped girls freed from more than two years of captivity were prevented by Nigerian officials from spending Christmas at home with their families and relatives, a lawyer said on Tuesday.

Parents said they were taken to see their daughters, but the girls who were not allowed to go home or go to a church service.

The news raised questions about Nigeria's handling of the 21 girls freed in October by negotiation with the group.

'Final defeat'

Boko Haram's insurgency began in Maiduguri, though it has since spread beyond Nigeria's borders to Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

Nearly 15,000 civilians have been killed since 1999, when Boko Haram launched a campaign to establish an Islamic state.

"We are on top of the situation, all hands are still on deck," Ezugwu said. "This defeat is final and it [Boko Haram] will not spread to other parts of West Africa."

His comments echoed those of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who on Saturday announced the "final crushing of Boko Haram terrorists" in a message posted to his Twitter feed.

Army officials told Al Jazeera that it took around 40 minutes to breach Boko Haram defences in Sambisa Forest.

"Now the biggest task of retaking Sambisa is over, the problem is how to secure the location," said Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris, who is embedded with the army in Sambisa. "This whole area is booby trapped and mined."

Elsewhere, 31 Boko Haram fighters surrendered to authorities in Niger's southeast region, the West African country's Interior Minister Bazoum Mohamed announced on Tuesday.

Boko Haram has been carrying out attacks in Niger since February 2015.

"They came one by one and are currently held in a secure centre," a security source based in Diffa told the AFP news agency, adding that they would return to their families after undergoing a "de-radicalisation" programme.

Video - Toronto sisters accused of blackmailing Nigerian billionaire released on bail

Two sisters in Nigeria with ties to Toronto have been released on bail after being detained for allegedly attempting to blackmail a billionaire with claims he cheated on his wife.

According to the website Politics Nigeria, Jyoti and Kiran Matharoo operated a website called naijagistlive. It’s alleged the sisters cyber-bullied several high-ranking men, including a billionaire named Femi Otedola, and accused them of cheating and seeing prostitutes.

Politics Nigeria said the sisters tried to blackmail Otedola by claiming they had evidence of him having an affair.

“It was also discovered that the girls recorded conversations and s*x (sic) romps with their rich clients which comprise of politicians, club owners and businessmen.”

The report said the sisters contacted the clients through a third party and demanded they pay “thousands of dollars or risk the release of the recordings/pictures/videos online through their website.”

Politics Nigeria said sources told them Otedola contacted police to report the blackmail attempt. It said the sisters made “a confessional statement” saying they were behind the website and made an apology to Otedola.

The article said the sisters were arraigned at the Yaba Megistrate Court on Friday. The case will be heard again on Jan. 26.

The online article contains a picture of a document entitled “Criminal Undertaking” which lists several allegations.

“From time to time, I charged various individuals for the removal of certain content posted on the site, as well as for the posting of certain information about various people,” it also said.

The document has the name Taranjot Matharoo printed at the top with a west-end Toronto address and it is signed by Kiranjot Matharoo at the bottom, along with a Toronto-based phone number.

A spokeswoman from Global Affairs Canada said in a statement that consular services are being provided to Canadian citizens detained in Lagos, Nigeria. However, she said further details couldn’t be released due to privacy issues.

Salem Moussallam, who said he has been friends with the sisters for around five years, described the pair as “socialites” and said he was “very shocked” about what happened.

He said the sisters have been released on bail and the situation has been “blown way too much out of proportion.”

Moussallam said he spoke with Jyoti as recently as Monday.

“They’re saying, ‘We’re all right. We’re fine. We’ll come and see you – back soon. We’re going to be going to (Las) Vegas,’” adding the pair don’t live in Nigeria.

Global News hasn’t been able to independently confirm the allegations contained in the Politics Nigeria article.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Toronto sisters arrested in Lagos for allegedly cyberbullying Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola

Two sisters from Toronto with a substantial Instagram following have been detained in Lagos, Nigeria, reportedly to face allegations that they tried to extort and cyber-bully a Nigerian billionaire.

According to the news site Politics Nigeria, sisters Jyoti and Kiran Matharoo are accused of trying to blackmail the billionaire by claiming they had evidence of businessman Femi Otedola cheating on his wife that they would post on a notorious sex-scandal website. Forbes magazine’s list of 2016 billionaires says Otedola made his money in the energy sector; it estimates his net worth at $1.8 billion.

Following a private investigation, the sisters were arrested, the publication said.

According to a court document dated Dec. 20 and posted to Nigeria Politics, the sisters stand accused of being “responsible” for the website NaijaGistLive and several other social media accounts on Instagram and Twitter used for “cyberbullying” around 274 people, “mostly based in various regions of Africa.”

A Toronto home address has been entered in the document for the sisters.

Combined, Jyoti and Kiran have nearly 50,000 followers on Instagram. Other local media supported the Politics Nigeria account of the sisters’ legal troubles.

Global Affairs Canada confirmed to the Star that consular services were being provided to the Canadian citizens who have been detained in Lagos, Nigeria.

Video - Nigeria mulls banning black market trade to protect naira

Nigeria plans banning black market trading to protect its currency, the naira from further depreciation. The Nigerian unit touched a 492 per dollar low last week, as the difference between the official rate and black market rate continues to widen. The naira trades at an average of 315 on the official market.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Video - Nigeria claims capture of Boko Haram base in Sambisa

Nigerian president says fighters "on the run" after army seizes their "last enclave of Sambisa Forest" in Borno state.

Video - Economic hardship forces Nigerians to cut back, even on essentials

In Nigeria rising inflation and dwindling income is dampening the festive mood to many. Nigeria is struggling to lift itself from the worst recession in decades and many can't find enough money to afford essential goods and services during the festive season.

Video - Nigeria's Aruna Quadri first African to reach table tennis quarters

The Olympic Games were not just about winning medals, some athletes like Aruna Quadri made history by breaking new ground in Table Tennis.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Video - CBN's special auction to clear backlog of dollar obligations

Nigeria's Central Bank will hold a special foreign exchange auction to clear a backlog of outstanding dollar demand for selected sectors. It has asked commercial lenders to submit the backlog for dollar demand from fuel importers, airlines, as well as manufacturing and agricultural firms. These sectors have seen severe foreign exchange shortages hamper, at best, but more often, cripple their operations.

Nigeria denies plastic rice being sold in Nigeria

Nigeria's government has denied reports that "plastic rice" was being sold in the country, days after the customs service said 2.5 tonnes of the contraband had been confiscated.

Health Minister Isaac Adewole tweeted that tests by the food safety agency found "no evidence" of plastic material.

Lagos customs chief Haruna Mamudu said on Wednesday the fake rice was intended to be sold during the festive season.

Rice is Nigeria's staple food.

Mr Mamudu has not commented on the health minister's statement.

It is not clear where the seized sacks came from but rice made from plastic pellets was found in China last year.

Mr Adewole said the agency would "release detailed findings to public as soon as it concludes investigations", urging Nigerians to remain calm.

Mr Mamudu had said the rice was very sticky after it was boiled and "only God knows what would have happened" if people ate it.

The BBC's Martin Patience in Lagos, who felt the rice, said it looked real but had a faint chemical odour.

The Lagos customs chief had called on "economic saboteurs who see yuletide season as a peak period for their nefarious acts to desist from such illegal" business activity.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Video - Boko Haram: Behind the Rise of Nigeria's Armed Group

An investigation into the origins and ideology of the rebel group and its bloody rise.

Abuja airport closed for repairs

Nigeria says it will close the main airport in the capital Abuja, in order to carry out a major upgrade.

The airport will be closed for six weeks, starting in February 2017.

The announcement comes after airlines threatened to stop flying to Abuja because of safety concerns over the state of the runway.

During the repairs, domestic and international flights to Abuja will be diverted to the city of Kaduna more than 160km (100 miles) away.

BBC Nigeria correspondent Martin Patience says passengers diverted to Kaduna will face a two-hour journey along a road that has recently been hit by a spate of kidnappings.

The hour-long flight from Nigeria's commercial centre Lagos to the capital is used as a shuttle by many businesses.

Critics are warning that the closure will prove hugely damaging to the country's economy, which is already reeling from its worst recession in decades.

But the government says that by carrying out the major work in one go, it will not have to make smaller repairs in the future.

Celebration of former governor of Delta release from jail condemned

Some Nigerians on Thursday expressed displeasure with the celebration of the release of James Ibori, a former Delta Governor, from a prison in London. They said in Lagos that such celebration was condemnable, unfortunate and uncalled for.
They said in Lagos that such celebration was condemnable, unfortunate and uncalled for.

The former governor of Delta was on Wednesday released from prison in London, U.K. Ibori was jailed in 2012, two years after he was arrested by the Interpol in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, where he was hiding after fleeing Nigeria.

He was sentenced to 13 years in prison by Southwark Crown Court on April 17, 2012 after pleading guilty to 10-count charge of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud. In spite of his guilty plea and conviction for corruption, his kinsmen at Oghara and other Urhobo communities in the Delta, however, turned the affair to a carnival as they lined up major streets dancing. There was wild jubilation in Delta following the news of the release of the former governor. 

A retired teacher, Mr Augustine, said it was unfortunate that some Nigerians celebrated criminals and those who contributed to the bad situation of the country. “It’s a shame that we are celebrating those who had contributed the increased unemployment rate in the country, lack of healthcare services, dwindling standard of education and failed democracy among other challenges. “Until we start to change our ways and mindset, we will continue to wallow in our problems in the nation,’’ Igwe said. In his views, Mr Sesan Adeleye, a businessman, said such jubilation showed that politicians had successfully brainwashed some citizens with ill-gotten wealth. “The problem of some Nigerians is a clear case of poverty of the mind. 

We value wealth so much. They are not even bothered about why he went to prison. “They are already waiting for him to come back so that he can continue to distribute ill-gotten money to them. “They don’t even care that the money stolen was meant for their welfare and development,’’ he said. Also, Dr Edewede Iyamu, a private physician, told NAN that the celebration over Ibori’s release was uncalled for as he also contributed to the pervasively poor and under developed state of the Niger Delta. “Those from Niger Delta continue to blame the Federal Government for the challenges confronting their region, whereas, people like Ibori should be held responsible. “It is sad that people from that region are now celebrating him,’’ she said. 

A Lagos-based legal practitioner, Mr Adekunle Aribisala, said something must be done to stop the celebration of criminality in the country as it was becoming rampant. Aribisala also expressed worry that it would not be easy for the Western community to release the money in question — 18 million Pounds — to the Nigerian government. “We had the same situation when Chief Bode George and Mr Hamza Al-Mustapha were released too, now it’s Ibori. I feel really ashamed as a Nigerian. “We do not need people like that in our society any longer. They need to be isolated so they don’t corrupt more people,’’ he said. 

In her opinion, Alhaja Aishe Jelil, a civil servant, said the future of the youth who were being used by politicians called for concern. “We seem to have lost our values in this society, I wonder what the future holds for our future generations. They are celebrating Ibori because they consider him a hero and a role mode,’’ she said.


Related story: Video - How ex-governor of Delta state James Ibori started as petty thief in London

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Video - UN Commissioner calls for long-term development aid solutions in Nigeria

The UN High commissioner for refugees wants aid intervention to North-east Nigeria to incorporate long term development aid. Filipo Grandi's comment follows first hand assessment of the humanitarian crisis in Borno state in north east Nigeria.

Former Delta governor James Ibori released from prison

Former governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori has been released from prison. 

He was released a few minutes past noon upon a court order. His media aide, Mr. Tony Elumenor confirmed the release to Vanguard. Ibori was sentenced by a United Kingdom court to prison for 13 years and served out his term midnight yesterday. Expectation of his return home to Nigeria, however, remains murky as friends and associates many of who are gathered in London deliberate on the future of the former governor.

Related stories: Video - Britain to banish children of James Ibori and other corrupt leaders

Plastic rice confiscated in Nigeria

Nigeria has confiscated 102 bags of "plastic rice" smuggled into the country by unscrupulous businessmen, the customs service says.

Lagos customs chief Haruna Mamudu said the fake rice was intended to be sold in markets during the festive season.

He said the rice was very sticky after it was boiled and "only God knows what would have happened" if people ate it.

It is not clear where the seized bags came from but rice made of plastic pellets was found in China last year.

Rice is the most popular staple food in Nigeria.

The BBC's Peter Okwoche says it is the only foodstuff that crosses cultural and ethnic lines across the country.

Investigations are under way to establish how much of the contraband has already been sold.

The customs official called on "economic saboteurs who see yuletide season as a peak period for their nefarious acts to desist from such illegal" business activity.

Mr Mamudu did not explain how the plastic rice was made but said it had been branded as "Best Tomato Rice".

Monday, December 19, 2016

Video - Nigerian trade hub left in ruins after Boko Haram repulsed

Nigeria's Bama town in Borno State, has been left in ruins after the military managed to reclaim the town from Boko Haram militants. Borno State has been at the epicentre of Boko Haram's seven-year insurgency that has left at least 20,000 people dead in Nigeria and neighboring countries. Here's more on that story.

Video - Nigeria to end joint venture agreement with foreign owned oil companies

Nigeria's state owned NNPC has signed a deal to exit the long standing joint venture agreement with international oil companies in a move seen to maximize benefits from the oil industry.Petroleum minister Ibe Kachikwu says his government can no longer afford paying oil companies under the joint venture cash call.

Nigeria's women's football team end protest

Nigeria's women's team have ended their sit-in protest at a hotel in Abuja after being paid money owed to them.

They were demanding US$23,650 per player from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for winning the 2016 Women's Africa Cup of Nations.

The Super Falcons had been at the hotel in the capital since 6 December.

"The players have all left the hotel in Abuja after they started receiving payments alerts," the team's media officer Remi Sulola told BBC Sport.

One of the players also confirmed that she and her roommate had been paid.

"It's taken some time, [because banks don't work over the weekend] but we've finally received our money today," one player, who insisted on anonymity, told BBC Sport.

"We thank the government, the fans and media for their roles in making sure we got our hard-earned dues."

To mark the 10th day of their complaint the team protested outside parliament in Abuja while the annual budget was being presented.

This led to the government releasing about US$1.2m to the cash-strapped NFF on Friday to pay the ladies.

Nigeria's victory in Cameroon was their eighth African women's title and means they have only twice failed to win the women's championship since its inception in 1998.

The money was also used to settle outstanding win bonus for the men's team in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Video - Nigeria's inflation rises to record high of 18.48% in November

Nigeria is projecting its economy to grow at over 2 percent next year, rising from a current recession that analysts fear could drag into depression. The country has registered negative growth for the last three consecutive quarters, but president Buhari is betting 24 billion dollars to turn things around. He tabled his spending plan on Wednesday. Another thing that the country is grappling with is inflation. Annual inflation rose to 18.48 percent in November, the highest in more than 11 years, and the tenth straight monthly rise. The rise from 18.3 percent in October reflected higher prices for housing, electricity and food.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Video - President Buhari presents $24 billion plan to revive economy

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has presented a record budget of 7.3 trillion naira, or just about 24 billion dollars for 2017. The budget marked an increase of 20.4 percent on last year's spending plan and seeks to boost spending to revive the economy. The country is currently in a recession largely caused by low global oil prices, as crude sales account for two-thirds of the government's revenue. Buhari said the budget was based on an exchange rate of 305 naira to the dollar and a projected oil output of 2.2 million barrels per day at an assumed price of 42.5 dollars per barrel.

Video - Recession, rising costs put a damper on the festive season in Nigeria

To give an indication of the economic situation in Nigeria, prices of some goods have more than doubled over the past year. And with Christmas just weeks away, people at a Nigerian market are not impressed.

Video - President Buhari orders all Super Falcons' fees and bonuses paid within 24 hours

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an immediate settlement of the money owed to the women's national football team -- the Super Falcons. The directive follows a protest by the team over the non-payment of stipends and match fees. CCTV's Kelechi Emekalam has more.

40% of men in Nigeria have prostate cancer

Forty per cent of men aged about 40 years are living with prostate cancer and many are unaware of their status, an expert has said.

Dr Ovunda Omudu, Head, Department of Surgery at the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, disclosed this on Thursday while delivering a lecture on cancer to officers and ratings of the Nigeria Navy Ship Pathfinder in Port Harcourt.

Omudu, a trained Urologist, said the disease had killed many due to several factors including poor awareness, knowledge, ignorance and manpower.

According to him, treatment for the disease is equally very expensive as it cost between N90,000 to N110,000 per one injection administered to a patient every three months.

“Prostate cancer is one of the leading killer diseases in men in Nigeria and the second cause of cancer deaths in men worldwide.

“Here in Nigeria, we do not have a national budget designated for prostate cancer as obtainable in some western nations which meant that treatment lies solely on the sufferer.

“Due to exchange rate, a 10.8 milligram of prostate cancer injection goes for N90,000 to N110,000 which a patient takes once every three months.

“Similarly, 3.6 milligram of the same injection which is taken every month is sold for N45,000 combined with drug which cost N27,000 per dosage.

“So, you can imagine that every month a retiree or pensioner with prostate cancer will spend roughly N120,000 to treat the disease.

“So, it is very important that we do our best to prevent the disease and stop paying salary to prostate cancer via drugs and medication,” he said.

Omudu said that surgery to remove prostate cancer abroad cost about 10,000 U.S. dollars (N4.85 million) while cost of travelling, hospital and hotel accommodation increased the figure to N7 million.

Omudu, however, said that a foundation based in the country had intervened by reducing cost for laser surgery to N600,000.

He said the disease could be prevented by eating consumables like red tomato; Green tea, sea foods, such as periwinkles and snails, and regular exercise.

“Green tea contained anti-oxidant and anti-free radicals while the sea foods have magnesium, manganese, selenium and vitamin E and D which are nutrients for prevention of the disease,” he said.

Omudu said that efforts were currently being made to reduce the number by creating more awareness and training of additional Urologist doctors to provide needed expertise.

The medical doctor advised officers and ratings to take measures to prevent the diseases, especially going by the nature of their jobs which demanded physical fitness.

Speaking, Commodore Obi Egbuchulam, the Commander of Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS), said the base organised the lecture to expose troops to dangers posed by the disease.

He said that some serving and retired naval officers and ratings were currently suffering from prostate cancer which could affect their ability to provide optimal service to the country.

“I think it is our responsibility to educate and enlighten our personnel on dangers of prostate cancer, so that they can live a happy and healthy life serving and after retirement.

“Some people developed this disease due to ignorance and so, this lecture is taking place together with a free Prostate Specific Antigen screening to enable our personnel know their cancer status,” he said.

Egbuchulam assured that the exercise would be a regular and urged personnel from other units and formations to always get tested.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Video - Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote committed to investment in Tanzania, if gas prices are cut

Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote says he's committed to investing in Tanzania -- despite halting production at his cement factory over energy costs. President John Magufuli has invited him to Dar es Salaam to broker a solution, saying Dangote could buy gas directly from the state supplier. But as Dan Ashby reports, there may be more problems ahead.

Video - Nigeria's government audit uncovers $7.2 billion concealed debt

Nigeria's government has stumbled over a debt amounting to $7.22 billion that was not recorded by the previous administration. Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun says the whooping amount emerged during an audit aimed at improving transparency. The debt owed to contractors, oil marketers, exporters and electricity distribution companies amounts to 2.3 percent of the gross domestic product. The government has now issued a 10-year promissory note to settle the amount due to creditors. President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to present the 2017 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly later on Wednesday. Nigeria is facing its worst economic crisis in 25 years, brought on by low oil prices, which have slashed government revenue, hammered its currency and caused chronic dollar shortages, frustrating businesses.

Millions of Nigerians at risk of losing money to a Ponzi scheme

After a strong run which saw it garner more than two million users, Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox (MMM), a Russian Ponzi scheme, has suspended its operations in Nigeria. The scheme, described as a “mutual aid fund where ordinary people help each other”, guaranteed returns of 30% per month on payments and has grown popular across Africa’s largest economy.

Depending on its users to pay each other without running a central bank account or physical address, MMM sees registered participants pledge and donate money to other participants when directed to do so by the scheme’s operators. After a month, donors are entitled to receive the donated sum, plus 30% interest, paid by another user.

In a message to its users, MMM says the suspension of operations is because “the system is experiencing heavy workload.” It also blames its disruption on “the constant frenzy provoked by the authorities in the mass media.” Over the past year, as the scheme’s popularity has grown, Nigerian authorities have stepped up campaigns to dissuade Nigerians from taking part in the scheme.

Central Bank of Nigeria warned against committing funds to “fraudsters”. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria’s chief anti-corruption agency, also launched an investigation of the scheme’s operations.

The government’s tactics appear to have had the desired effect as reports suggest that, given heightened risk warnings by the government’s agencies, MMM participants have become hesitant to make payments as directed by the system causing a hiccup in operations. As a result, MMM says its operations “will be frozen for a month.” By extension, participants due to receive returns having paid out money over the past month will be unable to do so.

“The reason for this measure is evident,” MMM’s message to its users read. “We need to prevent any problems during the New Year season, and then, when everything calms down, this measure will be cancelled.” It refers to paying out by users as PH (Provide Help).

But the promise of a return has proven scant assurance for Nigerians with money trapped in the scheme. Taking to social media, MMM participants have requested clarity and complained about the suspension of operations in the typically busy festive season.

MMM’s suspensions of operations in Nigeria is similar to events in South Africa where the scheme collapsed and was forced to start over. In that instance, MMM also blamed the collapse on “persecution” which it claimed was “organized by the mass media” to provoke panic. Similarly, in Zimbabwe, the scheme temporarily suspended operations and slashed withdrawal exchange rates upon resumption causing participants to lose 80% of their investment. It remains to be seen whether the scheme will make a January return as promised, but if it does, there’s a good chance, having faced the prospect of losing their money, participants are likely to be only interested in getting out their cash.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Video - Malaria infections on the rise in Nigeria

The World Health Organization says more women and children in Sub-Saharan Africa are being tested for malaria.

It says there's been a 20-percent rise in testing, but despite the progress, a large number of infections are still being reported.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Girls aged between 7-8 used as suicide bombers attacked market in Gombe, Nigeria

A pair of girls, believed to be aged between 7 and 8, blew themselves up in a bustling northeastern Nigerian market in Maiduguri, killing themselves and injuring at least 17 others, according to a local official and a militia member.

The attack carried out by the two suicide bombers killed at least three people, according to state emergency agency NEMA spokesman, Sani Datti, who spoke to Reuters. The locals told the news agency that up to nine people died.

A local militia member, Abdulkarim Jabo, told AFP he saw the girls seconds before the explosion.

“They got out of a rickshaw and walked right in front of me without showing the slightest sign of emotion,” he said. “I tried to speak with one of them, in Hausa and in English, but she didn't answer. I thought they were looking for their mother.”

One of the girls “headed toward the poultry sellers, and then detonated her explosives belt.”

The suicide bombers were as young as “seven or eight,” Jabo said.

The attack was not immediately claimed by IS-affiliated Boko Haram, notorious for its signature strategy of kidnapping girls, but bore all the hallmarks of the terrorists.

Maiduguri, the capital and largest city of Borno State, is the epicenter of the Boko Haram insurgency. One of the deadliest terrorist groups in the world, they are responsible for 5,478 deaths in 2015, surpassed only by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), according to the new Global Terrorism Index.

On Friday, two women carried out suicide bombings at a crowded market in Madagali, killing at least 30 people and injuring 67, AP reported.

More than “1.3 million children have been uprooted by Boko Haram-related violence,” according to the UN children's agency (UNICEF).

A Finn Church Aid report, based on interviews with 119 former Boko Haram members, recently found that female members of the terrorist group are almost as likely as men to be deployed as fighters.

“This large role of women in Boko Haram was one of the most surprising results we got,” Mahdi Abdile, director of research at Finn Church Aid and co-author of the study, said in the report. “For example, in [Al-Qaeda-linked] Al Shabab, women basically do not have an active role at all,” he added.

Boko Haram has killed about 20,000 people and displaced more than 2.5 million in Nigeria in a seven-year insurgency, according to AP.

Video - Nigeria Treasury targets $24 billion as economy verges on depressio

This week the Nigerian government will table a budget of nearly 24 billion dollars for 2017. That's a 20 percent increase in expenditure from 2016 estimates. Businesses have been weighed down by the recession.

Video - Rescue and recovery operations continue, death toll likely to rise in Nigeria church tragedy

In southern Nigeria, rescue and recovery operations after still under way after the roof of a church caved in, trapping hundreds of worshippers. The death toll is estimated at 160, however it's expected to rise as more bodies are pulled from the rubble. Hundreds of people were inside Reigners Bible Church in the city of Uyo on Saturday, when the metal girders broke and the corrugated iron roof caved in. Building collapses are not uncommon in Nigeria. In 2014, 116 people died when a multi-storey guest-house collapsed in Lagos.

Building collapse in Lagos, Nigeria kills 30

Friday, December 9, 2016

Video - Buhari hails progress by regional multinational force

At a peace and security forum in Senegal this week, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari assured the international community that the end of Boko Haram is in sight. He's also hailed the increased cooperation between Nigeria and its neighbours in the fight against terrorism. Buhari says that the formation of the multinational joint task force comprising Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Benin troops had greatly enhanced the fight against Boko Haram. However, Buhari has appealed for more international assistance in addressing piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, and unemployment in Nigeria.

Thousands of Nigerian women forced to work as prostitutes in Italy

A steep rise in the number of Nigerian prostitutes working in Italy is being linked to the arrival in the country of well-organized Nigerian mafias, which are using violence and religious rites to terrify trafficked women into submission, police say.

Police say their operations this year have revealed the presence in Italy of a host of Nigerian gangs with names such as the Black Axe, the Vikings, the Buccaneers, the Eiye and the Maphites.

The gangs have arrived in Italy as the number of Nigerian women sailing to the country from Libya has risen from 1,454 in 2014 to 10,624 between January and the end of November.

Of those, as many as 80% are forced to work as prostitutes, according to the International Organization for Migration.

With prices for sex with girls as young as 14 starting at around $10, 1 in 2 street prostitutes in Italy today is Nigerian.

Seventeen members of the Black Axe mafia were arrested last month, including the group’s “head of zone” for Italy, taken into custody in Verona, and the “minister of defense” in Palermo. The latter was said to be responsible for singling out errant members for machete attacks.

“Our probe showed how gangs like the Black Axe are running the whole prostitution pipeline, which brings trafficked women from Nigeria to Italy,” said an investigator in Palermo who declined to be named because he was not allowed to speak on the record.

Women are usually fooled into believing they will be given regular jobs in Europe by traffickers who stage voodoo rites in which the women promise to pay back the cost of their travel, authorities said.

Upon arrival, police said, the women are told they must work as prostitutes until they pay off debts of about $30,000.

The police official said former prostitutes often manage the women, but mafia members are on hand to punish them if they try to escape.

“If women rebel, it won’t be their madams who punish them, but Black Axe,” he said.

Anna, 40, who declined to give her last name because of the sensitivity of the topic, said she was forced into prostitution for three years after being told by traffickers she would pick fruit in Italy. She said she was warned that her mother in Nigeria would be hurt if she fled.

“I stayed on the street, pressured by my madam, to save my mother,” she said in an interview. “My message to girls back in Nigeria is, ‘Don’t come.’”

Fabio Sorgoni, an official with the charity On the Road, which helps prostitutes in Italy, said Italian men are attracted by the youth and low price of the women. “They think these girls come from a culture where it is normal to be a prostitute,” he said. “Ironically, that is what Germans used to say about Italian women who immigrated to Germany.”

Sorgoni said Nigerian women lodged applications for asylum in Italy when they arrived and then worked as prostitutes while their paperwork wound through Italy’s overwhelmed immigration bureaucracy. “They are also put to work inside migration centers in Italy,” he said.

Police in Palermo first learned about the Black Axe mafia in 2014, when member Austine Johnbull was arrested after inflicting serious face wounds with an axe on a rival from another Nigerian gang.

Investigators applied their experience in chasing the Sicilian mafia, setting up microphones in meeting places, tailing suspects, trawling Facebook accounts, and, most important, finding a member ready to give evidence.

From the historic Palermo neighborhood of Ballaro, the Black Axe was building a drug and vice empire with 100 affiliates in the Palermo “forum” — its name for areas of operation in Italy, authorities said. All members took on gang nicknames and greeted each other by crossing raised forearms.

New recruits, or “ignorants,” were held in apartments and beaten to test their courage, police said.

Authorities identified the head of the Palermo gang as Evans Sylvester, who was arrested. His sister ran a brothel, police said.

“The turncoat we used was a modern-day Buscetta,” said the police official, referring to Tommaso Buscetta, the first major Cosa Nostra turncoat in the 1980s.

He also said there were parallel Black Axe operations in Germany, France and Holland.

The official said the Black Axe had learned to coexist with Sicily’s traditional mafia clans. “The mafia here has no interest in the Nigerian community, but they do trade drugs with the Nigerian mafias, so it’s mutually beneficial,” he said.

In September, police in Turin, Bologna and Rome arrested 44 members of other Nigerian mafia clans, including the Eiye and the Maphites.

Investigators discovered mobsters were stabbing victims in the face or dousing them in acid to keep control over the Italian suburbs where they placed prostitutes and sold drugs.

During clan initiation ceremonies, new members were forced to drink a mixture of blood, gin and tapioca as they swore allegiance.

Unlike most mafia groups, which recruit on the streets, Nigeria’s mafias are often formed on the country’s university campuses, where they offer protection to rich students, nongovernmental organization officials have said.

Police said that members of the Eiye mafia would whistle like birds to identify themselves. They said the Maphites favored sharp suits and called bosses “Dons” in deference to the Italian mafia.

“The Maphites would hold meetings in smart hotels and pose as local community leaders, but wiretaps showed they were receiving orders from Nigeria and sending cash back there,” said Marco Sgarbi, a police official in Turin. “They are involved in the trafficking of the women from start to finish.”

To solve a dispute over control of the Maphites in 2013, a boss arrived from London for a summit, Sgarbi said. “He was likely the deputy head of the group at European level, responding to an overall boss in Nigeria — their structure is like a pyramid,” he added.

The boss was recorded stating that anyone disobeying the group would have a relative in Nigeria killed and that a senior Nigerian police official “is our best friend,” Sgarbi said.

The police official in Palermo said the round-up of Black Axe leaders would help “slow down” the Nigerian prostitution trade. “They will be disorientated, but we now need to see how capable the madams are at keeping order,” he said.

Vivian Wiwoloku, a Nigerian aid official in Palermo who helps trafficked women and has had his car firebombed twice, said he was not optimistic.

“As long as there is a recession in Nigeria, more girls will come,” he said.

Sorgoni, the official with On the Road, issued an appeal to Italian men who pay Nigerians for sex. “If you go to a prostitute, try to understand if they are a minor and whether they are doing this work of their own free will,” he said.

80% of Nigerian women in Italy are victims of sex trafficking

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Video - Nigeria's farmers adapt to climate change

In Nigeria, farmers are facing expanding deserts and increasing drought. One farmer explains how he's dealing with the new challenges.

Video - Nigerian navy conducts drills to sharpen skills against pirates, oil thieves

Nigeria's navy has been carrying out sea drills to better prepare sailors to tackle piracy. The sea exercises are also intended to sharpen the navy's skills in the fight against pipeline vandalism in the oil-rich Delta region. Militants' attacks on oil installations have significantly cut Nigeria's production, affecting revenue. The navy says it's determined to end the attacks, as CCTV's Deji Badmus reports.

President Buhari claims Boko Haram is finished as a fighting force

Almost exactly a year after he proclaimed that the Nigerian military had “technically defeated” Boko Haram, President Muhammadu Buhari has again insisted that the end is coming for the Islamist militant group.

At a security conference in the Senegalese capital Dakar on Tuesday, the Nigerian president said that members of the militant group—which has fractured into a faction loyal to long-time leader Abubakar Shekau and another affiliated to the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group—had been surrendering “en masse” in Chad, and that regional military forces were preparing a final onslaught on the group’s hideout in the remote Sambisa forest. “As far as Boko Haram is concerned in the Lake Chad Basin area, I think they are done for,” said Buhari.

The comments echoed a similar pronouncement Buhari made in December 2015, when he told the BBC that “technically, we have won the war” against the militant group. Buhari’s logic was that Boko Haram had reverted to guerrilla tactics—using young girls as suicide bombers, for example—and no longer resembled an “organized fighting force” capable of “conventional attacks on centers of

Deaths in Boko Haram-affected states

Boko Haram’s armed insurgency, which began in 2009, has been heavily concentrated in northeast Nigeria. The group was founded in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, and previously held territory also in the neighboring states of Yobe and Adamawa.

From January to December 2015, a total of 7,309 deaths were recorded in these three states, according to the Council on Foreign Relations’ Nigeria Security Tracker. While this tool does not identify the perpetrators of the deaths, it is safe to assume that Boko Haram is the main contributor: no other group has been as active or deadly as the Islamist militants, who were named as the world’s deadliest militant group in 2014, ahead of ISIS, by the Institute of Economics and Peace.

So far in 2016, the number of casualties attributable to the group in those three states has dropped by a third. Boko Haram has killed 2,306 people in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. While Boko Haram has regularly used suicide bombing as a tactic, the group has also shown it still has the capacity to attack settled communities, contrary to Buhari’s December 2015 comments: in January, suspected Boko Haram militants attacked the village of Dalori, burning homes and livestock and killing more than 80 people.

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria

As well as causing thousands of deaths, the militant group has displaced millions of Nigerians during the course of its conflict. There were 2.15 million IDPs in Nigeria as of December 31, 2015, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, which is run by the Norwegian Refugee Council. Of these, an estimated 85 percent were displaced as a result of Boko Haram’s insurgency, and more than 1.4 million IDPs were located Borno state.

Over the past year, the number of IDPs in Nigeria has fallen: the United Nations Refugee Agency estimated around 1.82 million people remain displaced inside the West African country as of December 2. But as Boko Haram has been squeezed within Nigeria, it has spawned out into neighboring countries in the Lake Chad Basin. A total of 2.25 million people are displaced in the region, including substantial populations in Niger, Chad and Cameroon. And the needs of these IDPs continues to grow: the U.N. on Friday launched a $1bn humanitarian appeal to cope with the crisis in northeast Nigeria, saying that 5.1 million people could face serious food shortages over the next year. The appeal led President Buhari to accuse the U.N. and others of exaggerating the situation’s severity with “hyperbolic claims.”

Territory held by Boko Haram

At the peak of its insurgency in early 2015, Boko Haram was estimated to control more than 11,000 square miles of territory—an area the size of Belgium. But Nigerian military advances and the establishment of a regional task force in 2015 gradually reclaimed ground from the group. During his December 2015 interview with the BBC, Buhari claimed that Boko Haram controlled a maximum of four local government areas (LGAs) in Borno state, and none within Yobe or Adamawa. Nigeria has a total of almost 800 LGAs.

In his speech in Dakar on Tuesday, Buhari asserted that Boko Haram is no longer in control of a single LGA in Nigeria, nor of any meaningful territory. The Nigerian military has said that the militants are pinned back into the Sambisa forest and that soldiers are increasingly advancing upon their positions.


President Buhari again appears to have acted prematurely in declaring Boko Haram finished as a fighting force. Nigeria and its allies have substantially limited the number of deaths perpetrated by the militants and rolled back their territorial gains.

The Buhari administration has also made important symbolic gains against Boko Haram, chiefly the freeing of 23 of the 276 girls abducted from their school in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, in April 2014. Prior to 2016, none of the Chibok girls had been freed, excluding the 57 girls who escaped from the group on the night of the abduction.

But Boko Haram remains a potent paramilitary force: scores of Nigerian soldiers have been killed or gone missing in recent clashes with the militants in Borno, suggesting that the group retains the capacity to battle the military. Boko Haram is still displacing people in Nigeria and beyond, and while it allegedly no longer holds any territory, the group appears well-suited to asymmetric warfare. It may be some time yet before Nigeria can truly say that Boko Haram’s insurgency is over.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Video - Nigerian athlete raises awareness about traditional cloth

A 47-year-old Nigerian is using sports to preserve the culture of his community's ethnic wraps. Adjarho David Obaro -- nicknamed "World Wrapper Man" -- has run long distance races in a wrap that's 34 metres long and weighs four kilograms. Over the weekend, he ran 15 kilometres in Lagos as part of a fundraiser for his former school.

Nigeria women's football team launch sit-in protest for not receiving payment after winning Africa Cup of Nations

Nigeria's women's team have launched a sit-in protest in an Abuja hotel as they seek allowances and bonuses for winning the Women's Africa Cup of Nations from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

The Super Falcons players clinched their eighth African title on Saturday with a 1-0 win over hosts Cameroon.

They say the NFF promised them that their outstanding allowances for qualifying and their win bonuses would be sorted before the start of the competition.

The players are now holding out for both in their hotel.

"We are tired of the lies and false promises from the NFF," one player, who insisted on anonymity, told BBC Sport.

"They told us we would be paid before the tournament in Cameroon, but that never happened.

"We continued playing and now we are owed additional allowances and bonuses for winning the competition itself.

"We have made it clear to the NFF president and general secretary that we are going nowhere until all our monies from the qualifying and the competition in Cameroon have been paid."

The NFF, which receives direct funding from government, is in dire straits after Nigeria slipped into recession in August for the first time in more than a decade.

Since March, Super Falcons coach Florence Omagbemi and her assistants have only received a month's salary.

The NFF has said in a statement that its general secretary Mohammed Sanusi met with the players and officials at the Agura Hotel on Tuesday.

"The NFF is not happy owing players and coaches, but present severe economic challenges inform that it can only continue to seek the understanding of these persons, as well as hoteliers, travel agents, management and staff until the situation improves," Sanusi said in a statement.

"All organisations, whether government or private, are feeling the pinch.

"We know we have financial commitment to you (players and officials of Super Falcons) and we have not at any time stated otherwise. But the money is not readily available.

"I have come to appeal to you, to understand the situation of the federation, to understand the situation of the country at the present and exercise patience.

"We will pay you all monies you are being owed as soon as we receive same from the government."

Despite this latest appeal by the NFF, the Super Falcons insist that they do not trust the federation's promises and will not be calling off their sit-in protest as requested.

"Contrary to what was said in that statement, Mr Sanusi used some strong words during our meeting," another player told the BBC.

"Our coach (Omagbemi) has gone unpaid for months, she lost her father yet she went to the tournament and won it for Nigeria.

"They can't treat the Super Eagles (the men's national team) like this. The only thing we understand right now is for them to pay and stop making promises."

It is not the first time the Super Falcons and the NFF have clashed over unpaid bonuses and allowances.

Twelve years ago, the team remained in their hotel in South Africa for three days after the Nigeria FA (NFA) failed to pay their bonuses for winning the 2004 African Women's Championship.

Pay rows have often surrounded Nigerian teams, with coaches not paid regularly, while players have boycotted training during important qualifiers or at major tournaments over unpaid bonus.

The poor financial position of the NFF has already forced the country to cut their backroom staff and slashed the salaries and allowances of the various national team coaches, excluding new Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Video - Nigeria tourism sector largely untapped due to dependence on oil

Nigeria is known more for being among the world's largest oil producers. But the country also boasts some attractive tourism destinations. Unfortunately, the sector remains untapped. CCTV's Deji Badmus takes a look at why Nigeria is far from realising its tourism potential.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Video - President Buhari criticises UN for blowing crisis out of proportion

President Muhammadu Buhari has criticized the United Nations over its aid appeal for the country's north east. UN officials have doubled their target for international donations - to one billion dollars. Buhari however says they are exaggerating the troubles - just to raise money.

Video - 47% of Nigerians in the country still shun banks

Nigeria has 22 banks with several branches across the country. Before they consolidated in 2005, there were 89 banks in operation. Twenty-two is still a significant number. Despite this, millions of Nigerians are unbanked. Some reports put the figure at 47 percent of the populations; Others claim it's even higher.

Wole Soyinka to hold funeral to mourn death of common sense in Nigeria

Nigerian Nobel prize-winning author, Wole Soyinka says he will hold a private funeral on January 20 when United States President-elect, Donald Trump, is inaugurated as President.

Soyinka revealed this on Monday December 5, while speaking to journalists at the Freedom Park in Lagos.

He explained that the funeral is not to mourn with the citizens of the US over their choice of Trump as president but to mourn the death of Nigeria’s common sense.

“On the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, I will have a private funeral keep to mourn the death of Nigeria’s common sense. If the board agrees (because I do not like to be authoritarian) I will move the residency of my foundation out of the country,"

“Our common sense is totally lost. I am embarrassed sometimes that I occupy the same nation space with some people,” he said.

He added that Nigerians do not have the right to query his personal decision to tear his US green card.

Recall that the revered playwright and Nobel laureate fulfilled his pledge to throw away his US residency green card and leave the country if Donald Trump won the presidential election.

Shortly before the vote, Soyinka had vowed to give up his permanent US residency over a Trump victory to protest against the Republican billionaire’s campaign promises to get tough on immigration.

“I have already done it; I have disengaged (from the United States). I have done what I said I would do,” the 82-year-old told AFP on the sidelines of an education conference at the University of Johannesburg, days ago.

Related story:Video - Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka gives up US residency after Trump's victory

Bayo Ogunlesi appointed in Donald Trump's economic advisory team

The Nigerian community in U.S. has lauded the appointment of Bayo Ogunlesi by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump into his Economic Advisory Team, saying it could signal a positive trend for Africa.

The Nigerians told the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York, that Ogunlesi has been an excellent ambassador for Africa and Nigeria in particular.

Mr Michael Adeniyi, former President of a Nigerian U.S.-based group, the Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians Inc. (OAN Inc), told NAN that "Bayo Ogunlesi is an excellent and extraordinary Nigerian.

"He is very humble, brilliant and outstanding in every way you can think of.

"He has achieved outstanding success in Wall Street and he's a proud ambassador of Africa, which he started in Kings College.

"For him to be appointed into Trump's Economic Advisory Team is a honour to Africa and especially to Nigeria. He will add value to the Trump's team and he's worthy of celebrating.

"Prior to his appointment, Bayo Ogunlesi has been a pride of Africa; he reached the pinnacle of his career in Walls Street through his company which he built from the scratch. He is a round peg in a round hole."

Another Nigerian, Prof. Yetunde Odugbesan-Omede, a professor of Global Affairs and Political Science, at Rutgers University and Farmingdale State College, said Ogunlesi has all it takes to contribute to a positive American economic outlook

"Mr Ogunlesi has an impressive background and will be able to add his perspective and vast knowledge on how to move America forward that will yield positive economic outcomes."

Odugbesan-Omede, however, said it was too early to say if the appointment would have any impact on Nigeria.

"It is too early to determine or come to a conclusion at this moment on whether Mr Ogunlesi's role will have any impact on Nigeria's foreign and economic policy.

"I hope that Mr Ogunlesi will provide guidance on improving both economic and political U.S.-Nigeria relations," Odugbesan-Omede said.

Spokesperson for the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN, Pastor Akinremi Bolaji, said Ogunlesi's appointment was a positive development for Nigeria and Africa.

"I am not speaking for the Nigerian diplomatic community because I am not in the position to do so; it for the Embassy in Washington to do.

"Speaking as a Nigerian, it is a good indication and positive development for Africa and Nigeria that we are among the best brains everywhere.

"It is also to show you that one in every five Blacks is a Nigerian. It is a good indication for our economic and foreign policy.

"It also shows that Africa and Nigeria have good ambassadors everywhere. Ogunlesi has to see himself as a representative of the Black race as the only Black man that made the list by further distinguishing himself.

"I advise him to use his opportunity well and he should bring together people of integrity who will not smear his integrity."

Bolaji said the younger generation has a lot to learn from his distinction, adding "journalists have a lot to do to tell us how he was able to weather the storm and got recognised worldwide.

"It also shows that the best economic brains are scattered everywhere in Nigeria. We have the Dangotes in the North, Jim Ovias and Tony Elumelus in the East and South South and Otedola in the West, and now Ogunlesi.

"If we put our house together, we have people all over the world and at home who have all it takes for us to succeed," Bolaji said.

NAN recalls that Ogunlesi, who is the chairman of Global Infrastructure Partners, a private equity firm and one of Fortune 500 companies, was named a member of an economic advisory forum to Trump.

The 63-year-old Nigerian is the only African face in the 16-man team.

"President-elect Donald J. Trump today announced that he is establishing the President's Strategic and Policy Forum," said a press release from Blackstone published by Business Insider.

The Forum, which is composed of some of America's most highly respected and successful business leaders, will be called upon to meet with the president frequently to share their specific experience and knowledge as the president implements his plan to bring back jobs and 'Make America Great Again'.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Video - Government boosts other sectors to wean the country off oil

The manufacturing sector in Nigeria has suffered years of decline as the oil boom eclipsed other industries. To encourage the private sector, the government is already spending heavily on the country's run-down infrastructure, and promoting the consumption of local goods and services.

Video - Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka gives up US residency after Trump's victory

Nigerian Nobel Laureate, author and playwright Wole Soyinka has thrown away his green card in protest against Donald Trump's presidency. The Nigerian vowed to do so if Trump won the U.S. presidential polls. The 82-year-old scholar was the first African to win the Nobel Prize for literature in 1986. He's been living in America for for more than 20 years. Soyinka maintains Trump's presidency is a sign it's the right time for him to leave.

400,000 children in Nigeria at risk of starvation

Fati Adamu has not seen three of her six children nor her husband since Boko Haram fighters attacked her hometown in northeast Nigeria in a hail of gunfire.

Two years on, she is among thousands of refugees at the Bakassi camp in Maiduguri, the city worst hit by a seven-year-old conflict that has forced more than two million people to flee their homes.

The United Nations says 400,000 children are now at risk from a famine in the northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe - 75,000 of whom could die from hunger within the next few months.

A push against the fighters by the Nigerian army and soldiers from neighbouring countries has enabled troops to enter remote parts of the northeast in the last few months, revealing tens of thousands on the brink of starvation - and countless families torn apart.

"I don't know if they are dead or alive," Adamu, 35, said of her missing relatives.

There is a renewed threat of Boko Haram attacks. The start of the dry season has seen a surge in suicide bombings, some of which have targeted refugee camps, including one at Bakassi in October that killed five people.

The World Food Programme said it provides food aid to 450,000 people in Borno and Yobe. About 200,000 of them receive $54 each month to buy food, soon to rise to $73.

At least 15 camps, mostly on the outskirts of Maiduguru, the Borno state capital, are home to thousands of people unable to return home and surviving on food rations.

At one known as New Prison, women and children visibly outnumber men, many of whom were killed by Boko Haram or are missing.

One man - Bukaralhaji Bukar, 45, who has eight children from his two wives - said the food he buys with the monthly stipend finishes within two weeks.

"We are suffering. It is not enough," said Bukar, who begs on the street to make money.

In the centre of Maiduguri, life seems to be returning to normal. Food markets are bustling but soldiers in pick-up trucks clutching rifles are reminders of the need for vigilance.

Malnourished children

In a ward in Molai district near the Bakassi camp, the air is filled with the sound of crying babies and the gurgle of those who lack the energy to cry. Some, whose skin clings tightly to their bones, are silent - too weary to even raise their heads.

"Many of them are malnourished, which is already bad enough, but they also develop things like malaria which further worsens their illnesses because they cannot eat and start vomiting," said Dr Iasac Bot, who works at the unit overseen by the charity Save the Children.

Children have conditions ranging from diarrhoea and pneumonia to bacterial infections and skin infections.

Hauwa Malu, 20, fled with her husband and their two-week-old daughter, Miriam, from her village in Jere after Boko Haram fighters burned the farming community to the ground and took their cattle.

Miriam, now aged 10 months, has suffered from fevers, a persistent cough, and is malnourished. Her mother said they have been left without a home or livelihood.

Tim Vaessen of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization said a failure to restore their ability to farm would in the long term mean displaced people would depend on expensive food aid.

"They would remain in these camps, they would become easy targets for other armed groups and they might have to migrate again - even up to Europe," he said.

Al Jazeera