Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Video - Young soprano promotes love for opera in Nigeria



Nigeria is known widely for its Afrobeat stars. But one young soprano hopes to make opera the country's next musical sensation. Let's take a listen.

Video - Nigeria appeals to global community to help tackle graft



The Nigerian government has called on the international community to help repatriate the country's stolen assets. Nigeria has signed several treaties with nations still holding assets belonging to the West African country. The call was made during the unveiling of an anti-corruption project by humanitarian organization ActionAid in Abuja. The initiative aims to include citizens in the government's drive to rid the country of corruption.

Video - FIFA sanctions Nigeria for fielding ineligible playear



The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has been sanctioned for fielding an ineligible player in the match between Algeria and Nigeria on November 10, 2017. In addition, Nigeria is to pay a fine of 6,000 Swiss Francs (about N2.2million)

FIFA's Disciplinary Committee yesterday awarded three points and three goals from the November 10 last Group B World Cup 2018 qualifier in Constantine to Algeria. Incidentally, Nigeria only lost one point as the match ended 1-1. Nigeria's remaining 13 points ensured Super Eagles have nothing to fret about as winners of the group while Algeria moved from two to four points.

The world football ruling body insisted that Abdullahi Shehu was ineligible to play Nigeria's last World Cup game away to Algeria on November 10, 2017.

Shehu was first booked in Nigeria's first round qualifier against Swaziland in 2015 before another card in the game against Zambia. The two caution (yellow) cards made it mandatory for the Nigerian defender to miss one game.

"The sanction relates to the player Abdullahi Shehu failing to serve the automatic one-match suspension imposed on him as a result of receiving a caution in two separate matches of the same competition," observed FIFA.


Traditionally, yellow cards issued in previous rounds of the qualifying race are cancelled going forward, but the principle did not apply for the latest series.

However, in a swift reaction to the sanction from FIFA, a miffed NFF President, Amaju Pinnick directed that an internal inquiry be instituted immediately and persons found culpable be dealt with.

"We accept the decision of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee to fine the NFF and award the match to Algeria.

"However, this is a grave error and somebody must be punished. We apologise to Nigerians for this and assure that this will not in any way derail or even distract us in our well-laid plan to ensure that the Super Eagles have a great outing in Russia.

"At the same time, I want to assure that persons responsible for this slip would not be given just a slap on the wrist. We are actually looking at a re-organisation of the Technical Department. The Technical Committee will henceforth play serious superintending role on all details, no matter how minute, in technical matters.

"It is important that all committees and departments at the NFF should move at the same pace as the Executive Committee," Pinnick concluded.

FIFA had hinted the NFF about the disciplinary proceedings, following the use of Abdullahi Shehu in the match against Zambia in Uyo on October 7.

Pleas from the federation that the technical officer (at the NFF) whom the FIFA email (suspending Shehu) was directed to was hospitalised at that period with a serious heart problem and so was not on emails and couldn't have seen it was rejected by the men in Zurich.

Two seasons ago, Real Madrid was thrown out of the Copa Del Rey and fined for fielding an ineligible player.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Video - Nigeria hopes to get $500 million in stolen assets back from the U.S.



Nigeria is a little closer to getting back 5-hundred-millions dollars stashed in the United States. A top Nigerian asset recovery official has told CGTN she's very optimistic. But that's only a drop in the pail. It's believed former Nigerian president Sani Abacha and his government stashed away over four billion dollars.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Video - Nigeria's Non-Academic Staff Union calls for higher pay, improved working conditions



Members of Nigeria's Non-Academic Staff Union -- NASU -- have gone on strike. Union leaders argue that the government must do more to improve working conditions and salaries at the 60 state universities across the country.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Video - Lagos festival showcases locally produced alcohol brands




At a festival in Lagos, Nigeria recently showcased more than 90 locally produced types of liquor from wine and liqueurs to traditional mixes. It's part of the country's efforts to penetrate its huge beverage market, which is currently dominated by imported brands.

Video - Hundreds more Nigerians flown home from Libya



The process of deporting migrants from Libya continues.Four hundred and one Nigerian migrants have been flown back home from Libya. They are the latest Nigerian returnees from Libya - where they had been in various detention camps for months.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Video - Nigerians demand repatriation of hundreds trapped in Libya



To Nigeria and since a video emerged of an alleged slave market in Libya where African migrants are sold, there have been growing protests across the country over the issue. There have been protests in both Abuja and Lagos demanding action from the government and a speedy repatriation of Nigerians trapped in Libya.

Switzerland to return $320m of Abacha loot to Nigeria

The Swiss government has announced that it will return $320m (£240m) of the money allegedly stolen by Nigeria's late military ruler Sani Abacha.

The money was frozen in 2014 by a Swiss court after a legal procedure against his son, Abba Abacha.

Originally deposited in Luxembourg, it is a fraction of the billions of dollars allegedly looted during his rule from 1993 to 1998.

Recovering the "Abacha loot" has been a major priority for Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari made the recovery of stolen assets a major part of his 2015 election campaign and this will be the largest yet.

Although an agreement to repatriate the money was signed in March, the Nigerian Ministry of Justice, the World Bank and Switzerland have been grappling with legal complications surrounding the return of the money, says the BBC's Stephanie Hegarty in Abuja.

However an agreement setting out how the money would be repaid was signed on Monday by the three parties at the Global Forum on Asset Recovery GFAR in Washington, which means the funds will finally be sent back to Nigeria.

How much 'Abacha loot' is outstanding?

The Swiss government has paid $700m of the "Abacha loot" to the Nigerian government in the last 10 years and the outstanding $320m is the last of the money on Swiss soil and will be remitted in the next two to three years, ambassador Roberto Balzaretti, head of the Swiss delegation to GFAR told BBC's Gbolahan Macjob in a telephone interview.

"The money will be transferred to the Bank for International Settlements in Basel into the Nigerian government account," he said.

"It will be used to finance projects that will strengthen social security for the poorest sections of the Nigerian population."
What are the conditions of the agreement?

The money will be paid in instalments and in small amounts, specifically to finance the National Social Safety Net projects, which would be agreed with the Nigerian government under the supervision of the World Bank with regular audits.

If the first instalment is not properly accounted for, subsequent payment will be halted. This is to prevent the funds from being stolen again, Mr Balzaretti said.

"It is the first time we are having this sort of trilateral agreement and we feel confident that it will work, plus we signed it in the spirit of trust that the money will be put to good use," he said.

Switzerland said the agreement was in line with its policy on returning illegally acquired assets and would set a good example for future cases, according to a statement from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

"The fight against corruption is one of Switzerland's priorities" Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter said, adding that the move should "strengthen social security for the poorest Nigerians", AFP reports.

General leading fight against Boko Haram in Nigeria removed

The Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Attahiru Ibrahim, has been removed from that position.

Mr. Ibrahim’s redeployment comes three days after Boko Haram insurgents carried out one of the deadliest attacks on Biu town in Borno where at least 18 people were killed and 52 others seriously injured.

Mr. Ibrahim, a major general, took over the command of the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the North-east in May 2017. The former occupant of that position was Lucky Irabor who was redeployed to coordinate the Multi-National Joint Task Force, MNJTF.

Boko Haram attacks appear to have increased since Mr. Ibrahim assumed duties with scores of suicide bombings, mostly by teenage girls, occurring between May and December.

The Chief of Army staff, Tukur Buratai, apparently unimpressed with the way the operation was going, had in August issued a rare ultimatum of ‘40 days’ for the theatre commander to arrest the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, and put an end to the incessant Boko Haram attacks. Neither was achieved.

The insurgents continued to stage daring attacks including on military formations.

Though a large number of Boko Haram hideouts were raided and many terrorists including kingpins reportedly killed by soldiers during the period, well over 50 soldiers including officers were killed between May and now.

Some of the most recent cases were the ambush in Magumeri that caused the death of about 19 soldiers and kidnap of some oil explorers.

The military also suffered a major loss of some 15 soldiers including a commander in November when Boko Haram insurgents attacked troops’ location in Sassawa village near the Yobe State capital, Damaturu.

Also in November, Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, witnessed one of the worst suicide bombings in recent times when four female suicide bombers attacked Muna Gari, a suburb of the city, killing 14 persons.

About 45 persons were also killed and 47 critically injured in November after a suicide bombers detonated their explosives in a mosque in Yola, Adamawa State.

Another suicide bombing was witnessed on December 2 when two teenage suicide bombers attacked Biu market killing at least 18 persons and injuring 52 others.

About two weeks ago, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin, paid a sudden visit to the Command and Control Centre in Maiduguri. Mr. Ibrahim had a closed door session with the defence chief. No reason was given for the CDS’ visit without other service chiefs.

Mr. Ibrahim has now been replaced by Rogers Nicholas, also a major general.

The new Theatre Commander was, until his appointment, the Chief of Logistics at Army headquarters in Abuja. Before that, he was Commander of the Special Security Task Force in Jos as well as Chief of Civil Military Affairs at Army headquarters.

Mr. Ibrahim is believed to have been redeployed to the Army headquarters as the Deputy Chief of Policy and Plans.

Although the army has not officially announced the new deployments to Nigerians, the military radio in Borno has already made the announcements.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

US, UK issue travel advisories against Abuja, Nigeria



The Governments of both Britain and the United States of America have issued advisories to their citizens residing in or planning to visit the Nigerian capital of Abuja. This was inspired by the information that terrorists are threatening to carry out attacks in the city during the festive season of Christmas and New Year. Both countries are advising their citizens to limit movements around the city. The U.S. Government in particular warned its citizens not to travel to Northern State like Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa and Yobe till the end of the year. The Nigerian government has however said it's taken every security measure to forestall any planned attack.

Fuel scarcity hits Nigeria again

In a bid to salvage the fuel supply and distribution challenges witnessed in some parts of the country due to panic buying from motorists, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, on Tuesday cut short his trip to London.

Mr. Baru, who was billed to receive the Forbes Oil & Gas Man of the Year Award 2017 in the British Capital on Tuesday, flew back home to attend to what he described as a “matter of urgent national importance.”

Speaking on the development shortly before his departure back to the country, Mr. Baru called on Nigerians to stop panic buying as the Corporation was doing everything within its reach to address the situation.

“For the umpteenth time, I wish to call on all Nigerians to stop panic buying. We have said times without number that NNPC has sufficient products to cater for the needs of all consumers,” Mr. Baru said.

Before leaving for London, the GMD had directed that more truckload of petroleum products be dispatched to various parts of the country to cushion the effects of excessive demand caused by panic buying.

Earlier on Monday, NNPC informed Nigerians that there was no plan whatsoever to increase the prices of petroleum products both at the ex-depot level and pump price ahead of the forthcoming yuletide.

The NNPC in a release said that the ex-depot petrol price of N133.38 per litre and the pump price of N143/N145 per litre have not changed noting that the Corporation has enough stock of fuel to ensure seamless supply and distribution of products across the country.

While assuring that the Corporation has the full commitment of all downstream stakeholders including petroleum marketers and industry unions to cooperate in achieving zero fuel scarcity this season and beyond, the NNPC enjoined motorists and other users of petroleum products to disregard trending rumours of an impending fuel price hike as reported in some news platforms.

The Corporation also noted that its downstream subsidiary companies namely the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and NNPC Retail Limited are fully geared up to ensure that motorists enjoy uninterrupted access to petrol throughout the nation during the yuletide period and beyond.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Video - Nigerian fans wary of their Group D opponents especially Argentina



Nigeria will be facing a familiar foe in the group stages of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The Super Eagles have been paired against Argentina for the fifth time in its six World Cup appearances. Other teams in the group are Croatia and Iceland and indeed they are no pushovers. CGTN's Deji Badmus has been weighing the reactions of football fans on the streets of Lagos.

Nigerian narrates how he became a slave in Libya

The Edo State indigene, whose emotion-laden interview with CNN’s Nima Elbagir in a Libyan deportation camp, was viewed by millions worldwide, shared his life-experiences in T.B. Joshua’s church on Sunday.

The young barber explained that his father died when he was just 11, adding that he struggled to sponsor himself through school along with his five siblings.

“When I was cutting the hair of one of my customer’s, he advised me to go to Europe where he promised I could earn a lot of money,” Mr. Imasuen recounted.

“I asked the man how much it would cost me. He said N350,000 but I said I only had N140,000 with me,” he said.

Mr. Imasuen had been determinedly saving N10,000 monthly for over one year.

The man promised to ‘help’, not knowing that Mr. Imasuen was naively about to use his own hard-earned cash to sell himself into slavery.

Travelling by road on a tortuous journey through Niger, the young Nigerian explained how one of the vehicles in his convoy had a “terrible accident” in the Sahara Desert, killing 30 people instantly.

“Upon arriving in Libya, the driver said he had not been paid his money and we were sold into the slave trade in Sabha.”

Mr. Imasuen said he and ten other Nigerians were ‘sold’ and then “locked up in one small room.”

More than 200 slaves were kept inside that inhumane cell.

“They started beating me to call my mother to send money. That was when my mother learned I was not in Nigeria – because I did not tell her before I left,” he admitted.

The ransom they demanded – N200,000 – was simply too much for Mr. Imasuen’s poverty-stricken mother to raise.

“For months, I did not hear from her. They kept on beating me everyday and I fell sick. If I went to the toilet, I was shitting blood.”

Mr. Imasuen said he was beaten three times daily for eight gruelling months. That was his fate as a male.

For the ladies sold into slavery, “they would send them out to do prostitution before selling them to another person; I know of a girl there who was sold three times.”

According to him, most of the enslaved females fell pregnant “without even knowing the father of the child.”

When a picture of Mr. Imasuen’s emaciated condition was circulated in his local community, they managed to come together to raise the money to secure his freedom in March 2017.

After gaining his freedom, he attempted to travel to Tripoli, hoping to join the thousands of illegal migrants who would brave the sea to try and reach Italy by boat.

“I didn’t even get to Tripoli before I was caught and taken to prison. I met more than 10,000 Nigerians there. We only eat once a day there – one piece of bread. I would drink salt water.”

While suffering the horrific prison conditions, Mr. Imasuen hatched a plan to reach the deportation camp.

He slipped a note into the female section of the prison, pleading that any of the ladies who was being taken for deportation claim he was their husband.

The ruse worked and Mr. Imasuen was taken to Tripoli’s main deportation camp – one step closer to being repatriated to Nigeria.

It was there he granted an interview to CNN, he said.

“I decided to speak to them, hoping to get help but at the end, nothing came out of it,” he bemoaned.

Through the intervention of the International Organisation for Migration, IOM, Mr. Imasuen was finally deported to Nigeria – with nothing but the clothes on his back to show for his “journey through hell”.

“Upon getting to Nigeria, I decided to come to T.B. Joshua because even before I left, I heard of the help he renders to others. I need prayer.”

Osazee Aghimie, another deportee, equally shared his own sorrowful tale, explaining how over 100 migrants died in the boat he was in after it capsized en route to Italy. He narrowly survived only to be thrown into prison and eventually deported.

T.B. Joshua, who had just turned from the Dominican Republic, gave the two men each N200,000. Mr. Imasuen could not hold back tears as he received the gift.

Mr. Joshua’s support to the duo is not an isolated instance. This week alone, the cleric gave over N4.4 million to Nigerians returning from Libya, and well over N100 million ($277,000) has been provided to them by The SCOAN since 2016.

The illegal sex trafficking trail between Nigeria and Europe

Sandra knew there was always a chance that her clients would kill her.

For three years, she was forced to work as a prostitute on the streets of Moscow, repaying a $45,000 debt to the trafficker who brought her from Nigeria.
"There were five of them," she recalls of one occasion. "They were brutal, they beat me up, they brought out a knife and tried to stab me."

Instead, they pushed her out of the two-story window for not submitting.
Often times, there were more men -- 10, 15, 20 per call.

"They might even kill you if you try to defend yourself," she says. "That's the reason why it is very horrible. And in that process most Nigerian girls lose their life, because not every girl can withstand the pressure of 10 men."

Sandra, not her real name, is one of tens of thousands of Nigerian women who have been trafficked into Europe for sexual exploitation. And many of those women come from a single city.

For decades, Benin City, the capital of Edo State in southern Nigeria, has been tied to trafficking to Europe. Here, a potent mix of poverty and spiritualism drives thousands of young women to make the dangerous journey.

Along its often unpaved, mud-ridden streets there are houses with wide gates and high walls. These belong to the families with a relation who has "made it," says Roland Nwoha, a local NGO worker who has devoted his career to stopping the trade. "Almost every family has a contact in Europe."

Organizations like Nwoha's help educate people about the risks. But he says these few stories of success continue to be a powerful motivator in a city where so many live in desperate conditions.
And in Benin City, the push to leave comes from every direction.

Trapped by fear

Sandra says she was convinced to go by a man she met at church, who said he was an assistant pastor.

She says he told her he had a vision from God that she traveled overseas, that his sister in Russia could get a job in a hair salon. For added insurance, the man had given the items she left behind to a traditional priest.

"We always have had this belief that your future lies in the hand of God," says Nwoha. "Religious leaders, both the traditional and the Christian, are capitalizing on this."
Like so many, Sandra feared the juju -- traditional witchcraft -- as much as she trusted her friend.

Her trafficker took much more than just her passport. "My pants, my bra, the hair from my head, the armpit and my private parts," she says.

The items were for a juju oath, so powerful, a local priest said, that no one dares break it.
For Sandra, it bound her to her home thousands of miles away in Benin City, and the assistant pastor that convinced her to go.

"I saw it with my own eyes. It's like a danger to weak girls, especially when it has to do with sensitive parts of your body."
She believed that her passage to Europe would cost her no more than $2,000. She ended up owing her trafficker $45,000.

The average debt for girls trafficked from Nigeria is around $25,000, but it can be as much as $60,000. None of them have any idea that they will owe these extortionate amounts. The debt, and the fear of juju, keeps them trapped.

Sea of misery

Sandra's journey took her through Lagos and then an onward flight to Europe.

But increasingly the trafficking trade is flowing through the lawlessness of Libya and across the Mediterranean where, according to the UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM), over the past three years there has been a 600 percent rise in the number of potential sex trafficking victims arriving into Italy by sea.
The IOM estimates 80 percent are from Nigeria. The majority are from Benin City.

"When the Europeans started their search and rescue operations, many people in Benin said, 'the road has opened, once you get on the boats you will be rescued," says Nwoha.

But just last month, the bodies of 26 Nigerian women were recovered from the Mediterranean in a single day, bringing this year's total number of migrant deaths in that sea to at least 3,000.

Often, the journey ends in tragedy. More often, the tragedy happens in Libya.

Ede's story

Physically, 28-year-old Ede is finally free, but the pain of what she endured is still raw.

"He used to hurt me, apart from work," she says of the man who purchased her. She was sold into sexual slavery in Libya as she tried to make her way to Europe.
"That is how they do there," says Ede, "When you finish paying your money [to your captor], if you are staying with a wicked somebody, they will sell you to another people so you start all over again."
She was freed after a police raid and eventually deported to Nigeria.
Now, back in Benin City, she sits next to 18-year-old Jennifer, who is too traumatized to talk. They are recent rescues, kept in a safe house run by the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
"Especially they hate us, we Nigerians ... they don't even want to hear anything concerning Nigerians," Ede remembers. "They treated us like a slave, as if we are nothing. So we went through a lot there."

Outside, the house is a non-descript, high walled compound, just like the others in the neighborhood.

Inside, the young women sit in a dark living room, where the hum of an overhead fan, and the Nigerian soap opera on TV are the few comforts in this temporary home as they wait for their cases to be investigated and to be reunited with their families.

Reducing demand
But few cases end up in court. Fewer still end in convictions.

According the US State Department's latest Trafficking In Persons report, last year NAPTIP reported 654 investigations, with 23 convictions for trafficking offenses.

"We're prosecuting the small fries in Nigeria," says Julie Okah-Donli, director general of NAPTIP. "Absolutely the number one problem is the inability of destination countries to clamp down on their own criminal networks.

"We've looked at the root causes in Nigeria without addressing the root causes in the destination countries," she says. "What is being done to reduce the demand for this crime?"

Sandra's case is one of the rare prosecutions. Her trafficker was arrested, as was his sister, who was Sandra's "madam" in Russia, pimping her out to clients. They are both awaiting trial.

"When I was in Russia I said to myself, if I get back to Nigeria alive I will expose her," says Sandra. "She is not going to go unpunished. The wicked don't have any place here, they have to face the law."

Her former church admits her trafficker was a member of the congregation but denies that he was an assistant pastor.
The betrayal that stretched across two continents is now even closer to Sandra.

"Even my own father he said I am not his daughter," she says.

The trafficking is not Nigeria's problem to solve alone, says Okah-Donli, but it is Nigeria's tragedy.

"It's our young boys and girls who are trafficked. Many are not making it back alive and the ones that do are battered and bruised."



Nigeria's international sex-trafficking ring

Friday, December 1, 2017

Video - Nigeria diversifying economy by promoting domestic tourism



Nigeria is now turning its attention to the tourism sector as a means of diversifying its economy away from oil. But what authorities are trying to promote is domestic tourism; getting Nigerians to travel within Nigeria. Tourism experts say that is the way to go and that Nigerians must be ready to embrace the idea for it to work.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Video - Nigeria's Kachikwu on Oil, OPEC Cuts, Prices



Nigeria Petroleum Minister Emmanuel Kachikwu discusses the possibility of a 9-month extension for OPEC, the hardest part of the discussions, Nigeria's contribution to the production cut and his outlook for prices.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Video - Nigeria's statistics bureau forecasts faster growth next year



Nigeria's Bureau of statistics is forecasting a faster economic growth in next year, months after the country emerged from recession. Latest statistics shows the country's GDP growth doubled compared to the second quota.

Police chief says corruption has "drastically reduced" in Nigeria

The Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris, said corruption has drastically reduced amongst police personnel despite several allegations of bribery and corruption against the force.

Mr. Idris made this known on Tuesday at a stakeholder’s workshop tagged “Speaking for the Nigerian Police Force” organised by CLEEN foundation held at Nicon Luxury Hotels, Abuja.

The forum is a two-day capacity building training on “Effectiveness Communication and Public Relations in Nigeria” under its Law Enforcement and Public Engagement project in Nigeria organised for Police spokespersons.

The IGP, who was represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Habila Joshack, said Public Relations Department of the Nigeria Police Force is relentless on its effort to forestall further denting of its public image.

“Since the creation of Nigeria Police Public Relations department in 1961, it has evolved over the years with the trends of existing governments and has consistently worked towards the implementation of its mandate.

“However, the conduct of some police personnel has caused serious image for the Force whereby the duties of some police officers have been compromised because of some social maladies plaguing the country as whole. Chiefly, among these is corruption which permeates both the public and private sectors of the country”, he said.

The police chief, who is also accused of corruption by a senator, noted that some ”internal working mechanisms” have been introduced by the present police management and “it is yielding positive result to a large extent as incidents of corruption has drastically reduced in the Force.”

“It is common to hear allegations of corruption, incompetency, unprofessional conducts and other questionable practices that have nothing to do with normal police duty or maintenance of law and other being levelled against a few police officers.

“This is premised on our firm conviction that if the image of the Police Force is not good before the public, the effectiveness of the police towards fighting crime and reducing corruption (may be affected)”, he added.

In his reaction earlier, Benson Olugbuo, executive director, CLEEN Foundation, said his organisation had the mission to hold public institutions including the police accountable to the people.

“The foundation has the objective of promoting public safety, security and access to justice. And we do that through empirical research, legislative advocacy and publications in partnership with government, civil society and the private sector.

“We are working closely with the Nigeria police Force to consciously promote its image as well as build community relationship and trust for the institution with some of our projects which include the ‘stop the bribe campaign’, the police station visitor’s week, for the purpose of improving police neighbourhood relationship and by extension, building community trust”.

Apart from perceived endemic corruption in the police, the Nigeria Police Force was recently rated the worst in the world by the World Internal Security and Police Index International, WISPI.

The 2016 report rates the Nigeria Police Force the “worst” globally in terms of its ability to handle internal security challenges.

Tuesday’s event was attended by Emmanuel Ojukwu, Provost, Public Relations School of the Nigeria Police Force; Fatima Mohammed, National Human Rights Commission representative; the Market Women Association led by Hadiza Ishaku; and 32 police command spokespersons across the nation.

The representative of the market women association, Mrs. Ishaku, in her remarks appealed to the federal government to adequately equip the Nigeria Police to enable them tackle internal security challenges effectively.

Hundreds of migrants in Libya repatriated back to Nigeria

More than 200 Nigerian migrants stranded in Libya have been returned to their home country, Nigerian officials said.

The 242 migrants landed at Lagos airport on a Libyan airline flight at around 9pm local time on Tuesday. Among them were women carrying children and at least one man in a wheelchair.
Nigerian authorities say they worked on returning the migrants from Libya in collaboration with the International Organization of Migration. (IOM)

Some of the 242 men and women who returned had been in Libyan detention camps while some of them willingly approached the Nigerian embassy in Libya to return home because of hardship there, authorities said.


Abike Dabiri, SSA to President Buhari said the Nigerian government had been working with the IOM, and the Nigerian Commission for Refugees and Migrants (NCFRMI) and other local agencies for the past year to bring Nigerians back home.

Dabiri told CNN that around 5000 Nigerians have come back from Libya in the past year. She said: "The President has said any Nigerian who wants to come back should be brought back, so IOM has been helping out."

The NCIFRM said it has been processing on average between eight to 10 flights per month of Nigerians returning from Libya.

There were poignant scenes as the men and women touched down at Lagos Murtala Muhammad airport. One man, visibly moved, knelt down on the tarmac and made the sign of the cross as he got off the plane.

Nikki Laoye, an ambassador for NCFRMI who filmed the arrivals and posted them on her Instagram page, told CNN: "It was quite emotional seeing this. We heard about their ordeal in the desert, some of them were praying to die. No water to drink, thrown into jail and finally given the option to go back to their country."

"Many of them had traveled illegally through the desert trying to reach Italy via Libya before finding themselves in tight situations, thrown into jail for illegal entry or falling into the hands of wrong people and being sold into slavery/prostitution."

Laoye said the new arrivals would be profiled and registered by the Nigerian authorities. Some of them were taken to a shelter run by the NCIFRM in Lagos, where they can remain for up to 90 days.
She added that officials from Edo State, where a large number of the migrants are from, were also airside to take them back to the state.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Video - One million Nigerians to learn programming skills by 2019



Authorities have launched an initiative to put Lagos at the frontier of technology on the continent. "Code Lagos" aims to train around one million people in computer programming by 2019. It's open to all residents in the city -- from primary schoolchildren to adults Badmus reports.

Lagos to overtake Nairobi as startup capital of Africa

As Africa’s tech startups and their founders go about creating disrupting industries or, in some cases, building new ones, they’ve typically tended to mushroom across three major ecosystems: Nairobi, Cape Town and Lagos.

But over the past year, Lagos’ claim as the continent’s startup epicenter has gained currency. For starters, it’s the continent’s most valuable ecosystem with its startups typically raising far more in early-stage funding. It’s also home to e-commerce heavyweights such as Jumia and Konga and has birthed some of the continent’s best known startups including Andela, iROKO and Flutterwave which have all attracted major global investor interest. Hence, it’s not surprising the world’s biggest tech companies have been paying some attention and, now, they’re backing that up with action.

Lagos, being Africa’s largest city and the commercial center of Africa’s largest economy, has seen its ecosystem grow rapidly time largely thanks to work that’s been done to build the its “Yabacon Valley.” That work is paying off: last year, Nigeria attracted more investment than any other startup ecosystem in Africa.

Last week, Facebook said it will open a tech hub in Lagos—it’s first in Africa—”early next year.” The hub is in collaboration with Co-Creation Hub, one of Nigeria’s most prominent startup hubs, and will have incubation programs for startups and developers. The social network giant will also run training programs for 50,000 Nigerians as part of a digital skills training program. Facebook’s decision to deepen its operations in Nigeria comes a little over a year after Mark Zuckerberg, its CEO, chose Lagos for his first visit to Africa.

But it follows on the heels of a similar move by Google. In July, while on his first visit to Lagos, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, announced the company’s plans to open its first Google Launchpad Space outside the United States in Lagos. Earlier this month, it hosted the first ever Google Developers Launchpad Start, a one week long boot-camp, for early stage startups in Lagos.

But it follows on the heels of a similar move by Google. In July, while on his first visit to Lagos, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, announced the company’s plans to open its first Google Launchpad Space outside the United States in Lagos. Earlier this month, it hosted the first ever Google Developers Launchpad Start, a one week long boot-camp, for early stage startups in Lagos.

The incubator plans to host 12 companies its first year in Lagos. Fu says the the “quality” of Nigerian entrepreneurs that have previously participated in MEST’s Accra program has been a pointer to the possibilities in Lagos.

That’s a view shared by Bertil van Vugt, business development lead for VC4Africa, a platform that connects entrepreneurs with resources and funding. “What has changed over the last two or three years is that from the quality we saw in the beginning, we’re now really starting to see the quality [of Nigerian start-ups],” van Vugt said at the MEST Lagos launch. “I spent some time in Nairobi a couple years back when it was really the start-up capital of Africa but we’ve seen this start-up capital status shift to Lagos.”

Much of Kenya’s reputation as the leading startup ecosystem in Africa has been down to its pioneering use of mobile money technology, particularly through the Safaricom-owned M-Pesa, and its impact on ordinary Kenyans and the local economy. It’s also become well-known for a concentration of social enterprise start-ups that have received attention—and millions of investment dollars—globally. One of such is M-Kopa, a startup that helps customers in East Africa stay connected to electricity using low cost pay-as-you-use solar systems.

30 hostages rescued by Nigerian Army and 14 terrorists killed

The Nigerian Army said its troops attached to Operation Lafiya Dole under the army’s 202 Battalion, 21 Brigade in conjunction with the Mobile Strike Team, MST, killed 14 terrorists and rescued 30 hostages on Saturday.

The operation ended with the rescue of the hostages from Boko Haram terrorist’s enclaves in Abusuriwa, Newchina, Bonzon, Usmanari, Goyayeri, Shitimari, Gashimari, Awaram amongst other villages in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.

According to a statement issued on Tuesday by the Director Army Public Relations, Sani Usman, it said the operation led to the capture of one suspected terrorist, while many fled.

“The troops whose continuous resolve in routing out the remnants of the suspected terrorists hibernating within the Brigade’s Area of Responsibility ensured that their superior fire power made the terrorists to flee in disarray leading to the capture of one suspected terrorist while 8 of the Boko Haram terrorists were neutralised.”

“In addition, the troops also rescued three men, 12 women as well as 15 children, among whom were an aged man and a woman held captive by the Boko Haram terrorists”, he said.

“The suspected terrorist has been handed over to the relevant authorities for further interrogation, while the rescued civilian captives are being attended to”, he added.

Mr. Usman, a brigadier general, said the troops were also able to recover four AK-47 rifles, three magazines, seven dane guns and machetes, amongst other items.

The statement also noted that in similar operation, troops of 152 Battalion of the Brigade ambushed some fleeing terrorists and killed five of them, while troops of 151 Battalion also deployed at the Forward Operations Base, Darel Jamel, killed a terrorist in an ambush.

Shell accused of abuses in Nigeria

Oil giant Shell should be investigated for alleged complicity in" horrific crimes" committed by the military in Nigeria in the 1990s, Amnesty International has said.

Shell encouraged a crackdown, which led to killings and the burning of villages in the oil-producing Ogoniland region, the rights group added.

The Anglo-Dutch oil firm said the allegations were "without merit".

The region was hit by protests over oil pollution and poverty in the 1990s.

It led to a massive crackdown by Nigeria's then-military regime.

Nine activists, including writer and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, were executed in 1995, causing global outrage.

In a statement, Shell Nigeria said it had always denied involvement in the executions.

"We were shocked and saddened when we heard the news of the executions. Shell appealed to the Nigerian government to grant clemency. To our deep regret, that appeal, and the appeals made by many others within and outside Nigeria, went unheard," it said.

Amnesty said it had studied thousands of internal documents of the company and witness statements which pointed to the need for the UK, the Netherlands and Nigeria to launch an investigation into the firm's alleged complicity in human rights abuses in Ogoniland.

"The evidence we have reviewed shows that Shell repeatedly encouraged the Nigerian military to deal with community protests, even when it knew the horrors this would lead to - unlawful killings, rape, torture [and] the burning of villages," the rights group said in a statement.

"In the midst of this brutal crackdown Shell even provided the military with material support, including transport, and in at least one instance paid a military commander notorious for human rights violations. That it has never answered for this is an outrage," it added.

In its response, Shell Nigeria said Amnesty's allegations were false.

The firm did not collude with the authorities to suppress unrest and in no way encouraged any act of violence in Nigeria, it said.

"We believe that the evidence will show clearly that Shell was not responsible for these tragic events," the firm added.

Shell is the oldest multinational energy company in Nigeria, and is involved in joint ventures with the government.

Its investment and those of other firms have long been dogged by controversy.

In 2015, Shell agreed a $84m (£55m) settlement with residents of the Bodo community in Ogoniland for two massive oil spills in 2008 and 2009.

In 2011, a UN report said the Ogoniland region could take 30 years to recover fully from the damage caused by years of oil spill.

Communities faced a severe health risk, with some families drinking water with high levels of carcinogens, it said.

Communities say the spills have had a devastating effect on farming and fishing, worsening poverty.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Video - Fela Kuti - The father of Afrobeat



Fela Kuti, born as Olufela Ransome Kuti was a Nigerian music maestro and the pioneer of Afrobeat.

"Faces of Africa" brings you the story of one of Africa's music legends and his influence through music.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Video - Nigerians react to the ousting of President Mugabe in Zimbabwe



The change in leadership in Zimbabwe is sparking strong reaction across the continent. CGTN spoke to a some Nigerians and Ugandans.

Nigeria drops 50th in FIFA rankings

Nigeria’s good run in the last eight weeks of the World Cup 2018 qualifiers and the victory in the Grade-A friendly with Argentina a fortnight ago failed to count in the November rankings released thursday by FIFA.

Instead of upward movement, the Super Eagles who were forced to a one-all draw by Algeria in the last Group B Russia 2018 qualifying game in Constantine and winner of the friendly with the two-time World Cup holders and the world’s number four ranked Albiceleste, slumped nine places to be ranked 50th globally.

Super Eagles midfielder Ogenyi Onazi yesterday described the ranking system as ridiculous and confusing.
Speaking from his base in Turkey, the former Lazio player said though the team isn’t bothered about it’s current ranking, it has done more than enough to rank better than teams that failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup like African champions Cameroon who are five places above the Eagles.

“Well, I don’t know how this FIFA ranking thing works but it doesn’t matter whatever position we are ranked. The current ranking is not a position of the way things are. it’s just not fair we dropped despite the performances we put up in the qualifiers and even in the friendly match against Argentina,” Onazi told AOIFootball.com from his base in Turkey.

In Africa, Eagles are now ranked 8th after Senegal (23), Tunisia (27), Egypt (31), Congo DR (36), Morocco (40) , Burkina Faso (44) Cameroon (45).

Only Ghana (51st) and Cote d’ Ivoire (61st) are below Nigeria in the Top Ten of the African rankings.

The Lions of Teranga were the heaviest mover in Africa in the November rankings. This was due largely to the home and away defeat of the Bafana Bafana in the rescheduled World Cup qualifier. The 23rd spot is Senegal’s highest-ever position on the global ladder Of the 32 teams that qualified for the Mundial next year, Eagles are better ranked than World Cup hosts Russia (65th) as well as Saudi Arabia (63rd) and Panama (56th).

Nigeria is in Pot 4 of the World Cup draw slated for December 1 in Moscow. FIFA rankings for the month of October were exclusively used for the seedings.

Meanwhile, there was no movement in the top five of the global rankings as Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina and Belgium maintained their positions from the October rankings. Spain’s La Roja leap-frogged France and Poland into the sixth place. Switzerland is 8th while Chile is tenth.

Toll gates will make a return to Nigeria

The federal government has concluded plans to re-introduce tolls on roads across the country, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said.

He said this at an interactive session with the Senate committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA, on Thursday.

Mr. Fashola said the new toll regime will be an improved adaptation of the past toll points as the ministry will adopt similar toll regime throughout the country.

“Tolls will come,” Mr. Fashola said. “We have looked at the previous tolling regime, the inefficiencies raised we have tried to review. One of the things we have done is to try and standardise the toll designs for the entire country. We have finished with that. So that we’ll expand its width according to the size of the road but they will be built with the same kind of materials that we can control.”

Mr. Fashola said that the toll points will be managed by private organisations as part of the federal government’s job creation scheme.

He added that the tolls will first be re-introduced at moribund toll points previously used by the government.

“The existing law allows us to toll and we have gone back to pre-existing toll points where the previous tolls were dismantled and those are the places where it is easy to re-introduce them again for a start because they used to be there. So, its sensitisation that is necessary will not be expensive.

“We’ve identified 38 points across the country. What we are waiting to achieve now is completion of the construction work that is going on. We don’t think it is fair to ask people to pay tolls on roads that are not motorable. While that is going on, we are working on the design. We want to standardise it so that when we put out the advert for people to come and bid, we can control what they are going to construct.”

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Video - Economists warn Nigeria against heavy reliance on external loans



Nigeria's government is being cautioned not to rely too heavily on external loans to finance its budget deficits. Economists are warning that borrowing from external sources could increase the vulnerability of the economy. The concerns follow the Senate's approval of 5.5 billion dollars in borrowing requests by the government.

Yakubu retires from football

Former Super Eagles forward, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, who played mostly in England and made his name with Portsmouth and Everton FC, has retired from professional football on his 35th birthday.

Aiyegbeni, who also played for Middlesbrough and Blackburn Rovers, made 250 Premier League appearances and scored 96 goals in a career spanning 20 years.

He however also featured three times for English fourth-tier side, Coventry City this year before being released.

“I will like to officially announce my retirement from professional football today,” Aiyegbeni said on Wednesday.

The powerful striker scored 21 goals in 57 appearances for Nigeria and took part in four Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) as well as the 2010 World Cup.

“The Yak… is third-best all-time scorer of the senior national team. Thank you for the memories,” the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) tweeted in a reaction.

Facebook launches tech hub in Nigeria

Facebook is launching a "community hub" and training program in Nigeria, its biggest market in Africa. 
The hub will offer support to tech startups and will also train 50,000 young people and SMEs in digital skills across the country.
Opening in 2018, it will be Facebook's first tech space in Africa as the social media company follows in the footsteps of search giant Google who in July launched an ambitious initiative to train 10 million young people in online skills over five years.

Emeka Afigbo, Head of platform partnerships, Middle East & Africa told CNN: "What we aim to do at the incubator is to provide support for high tech startups that do not ordinarily get investments, until they can develop a proof of concept, which will attract other investors."
With an eye on growing their user base, US technology companies are increasingly turning to Africa's large youth population.
In Nigeria alone, there are 22 million monthly Facebook users; 10 million of them log in daily to the platform, all on mobile devices, Facebook says.

Afigbo added that Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, was an important market for Facebook. "Everybody knows about the country's entrepreneurial drive," he says.
"Its creativity, large population, and that a lot of this population is young people, more important is that we think the investment in Nigeria will spread and have impact across the continent," he added.

Facebook has been investing heavily in Africa, recently appointing a regional director based in South Africa.

In August, founder Mark Zuckerberg visited Nigeria and Kenya for the first time and visited the Co-Creation (CCHub). He met with developers and entrepreneurs and spent time learning about the startup ecosystem in Nigeria. 

"The energy here is amazing and I'm excited to learn as much as I can," he said during his visit.
During that visit, Zuckerberg announced an investment of 24 million dollars through his Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in Andela, a tech startup that trains software developers in Africa and gives them full-time roles in international companies.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Video - Nigerian artists showcase their works in Lagos



The Art in the Park initiative has come to the city of Lagos. It's a concept that's been growing in popularity around the world. Now, Nigerian artists have the opportunity to bring their art to the public.

Nigerian Army gives deadline for all soldiers to learn Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba

The Nigerian Army has directed all its officers and men to immediately commence the learning of the three major Nigerian languages.

A statement by army spokesperson, Sani Usman, on Wednesday morning said all personnel are expected to be proficient in Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba by December 2018.

Mr. Usman, a brigadier general, said the directive is part of the new language policy by the army.

Read full statement below.

NIGERIAN ARMY INTRODUCES NEW LANGUAGE POLICY FOR OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS

1. The Nigerian Army has introduced a new Language Policy. The study of foreign and local languages is world-wide practice among armies, in which officers and soldiers are encouraged to be multi-lingual. The Policy will foster espirit-de-corps and better communication with the populace to enhance information gathering, civil-military relations, increase understanding between militaries when operating abroad and assist officers and soldiers to perform their duties professionally.

2. It is to be noted that English remains the official language in the Nigerian Army. Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa languages could be used during Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) activities or interrogation. Therefore all Nigerian Army personnel have been given one year to learn the three major Nigerian languages. Invariably, by December 2018, all Nigerian Army personnel are expected to learn the three major Nigerian languages. The standard of proficiency to be attained is the basic level. Certificated proficiency level will attract Language Allowance.

3. The ability to speak the 3 major Nigerian languages will be an added advantage to those applying for recruitment or commissioning into the Nigerian Army. Therefore, prospective candidates are encouraged to learn Nigerian languages other than their mother tongues.

4. Before now, the Nigerian Army officially encouraged the learning of French, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese and Swahili. French language is an assessed subject in some career courses and examinations for Nigerian Army personnel.

Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman
Director Army Public Relations

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Video - Nigeria to ramp up tax collection to support 2018 budget



Nigeria is hoping that a substantial portion of money it needs to fund its $28 billion budget for next year will come from tax. Before now, authorities did not reckon much with revenue from tax -- given what the country earns from oil. However the global oil glut has changed that thinking. The government now wants to ramp up tax collection. But it faces a daunting task, as Deji Badmus explains.

Suicide bomber kills 50 in Mosque attack in Nigeria

More than 50 people have been killed by a teenage suicide bomber who blew himself up during morning prayers in a mosque in north-east Nigeria.

Boko Haram, the militant group that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions in the region, is thought to be behind the attack in Mubi, a town in Adamawa state, but has not yet claimed it.

The group has used children as young as five to carry out hundreds of attacks on busy marketplaces, checkpoints and mosques in the past few years, but the death toll from the Medina mosque is among the highest.

Pictures posted on social media in the aftermath of the attack showed bloodstains on the floor of the mosque, which had a gaping hole in its wall.

Abubakar Sule, who lives near the mosque, told Agence France-Presse he had just returned home when he heard the blast and rushed back to the scene.

“I was there when the rescue was on and 40 people died on the spot and several others were taken to hospital with severe and life-threatening injuries,” he said.

“The roof was blown off. People near the mosque said the prayer was mid-way when the bomber, who was obviously in the congregation, detonated his explosives.”

A police spokesman, Othman Abubakar, said authorities were “still trying to ascertain the number of injured because they are in various hospitals”.

Asked who was responsible, Abubakar said: “We all know the trend. We don’t suspect anyone specifically but we know those behind such kind of attacks.”

Boko Haram is most infamous for the abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls three years ago from their dormitory. Many of the Chibok girls, whose cause was made famous by Michelle Obama and other celebrities, have been released, but more than 100 remain missing.

Pushed back from some of its former strongholds, Boko Haram’s main tactic is now bombing.

Some bombers kill a handful of people; others hand themselves in to the authorities, who remove their and have their explosive vests.

There is little that can be done to stop the attacks and girls and young women walking alone are frequently suspected of carrying bombs under their clothes.

This year, the Guardian interviewed vigilantes who described the “hugging technique” they had developed in response: young men take turns to keep an eye on busy neighbourhoods, and if they see somebody who seems suspicious, they run up to them and hug them to limit the damage should they detonate.

The Nigerian military has repeatedly claimed to have won the war against Boko Haram and to have killed its most prominent leader, Abubakar Shekau. But President Muhammadu Buhari’s claim late last year that the extremist group had been “crushed” has proven to be premature.

Boko Haram has been blamed for more than 20,000 deaths during its nearly decade-old insurgency, which has spilled over into neighbouring countries and displaced millions of people, creating a vast humanitarian crisis.

Boko Haram briefly overran Mubi in late 2014 as its fighters rampaged across north-eastern Nigeria, seizing towns and villages in its quest to establish a hardline Islamic state.

The town’s name was changed temporarily to Madinatul Islam, or “City of Islam” in Arabic, during the Boko Haram occupation.

But it has been peaceful since the military and the civilian militia ousted the terrorists from the town, which is a commercial hub and home to the Adamawa State University.

In recent months, Boko Haram activity has been concentrated on the far north of Adamawa state, around Madagali, which is near the border with Borno state.

This month, at least two civilians were killed when dozens of Boko Haram fighters tried to storm the town of Gulak but were repelled by soldiers.

There have been repeated suicide bombings in the area, which is near to the Sambisa forest area of Borno, where the militants had a base.

Boko Haram fighters are also said to be hiding in the Mandara mountains, to the east of Adamawa state, which forms the border with neighbouring Cameroon.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Former Nigerian Vice President Alex Ekwueme passes away

Former Nigerian Vice President, Alex Ekwueme, is dead.

According to the SUN newspaper, a statement from his family said he died at a London clinic on Sunday.

The statement, signed by his brother and the traditional ruler of Oko in Anambra State, Igwe Laz Ekwueme, said Mr. Ekwueme died at 10:00 pm.

The statement reads in part: “Ekwueme family regrets to announce the peaceful passing away of their patriarch, the former Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme GCON.

“The sad event occurred at the London Clinic at 10:00 pm on Sunday 19th November 2017.”

The former vice president, who turned 85 in October, reportedly collapsed in his Enugu residence few weeks ago.

He was immediately taken to the Memfys Neurosurgery Hospital, Enugu, where he relapsed and went into a coma.

President Muhammadu Buhari subsequently directed that he be immediately flown abroad for urgent medical treatment.

Mr. Buhari authorised the trip after being briefed on Mr. Ekwueme’s condition.

Born October 21, 1932, Mr. Ekweme was the first elected Vice-President of Nigeria.

He served as deputy to former President Sheu Shagari between 1979 and 1983.

WELL-EDUCATED

Mr. Ekwueme was vice president to Shehu Shagari from 1979 to 1983.

The late Second Republic politician was one of the most educated Nigerian political leaders.

He was educated at the King’s College, Lagos and earned a degree in Architecture and City Planning from the University of Washington, as a Fulbright scholarship recipient.

Mr. Ekwueme also took a masters degree in Urban Planning and later obtained a PhD in Architecture from the University of Strathclyde.

Aside his degrees in Architecture, Mr. Ekwueme also obtained degrees in Sociology, History, Philosphy and Law from the University of London. He was also called to the Nigerian Bar.

He was president of the Nigerian Institute of Architects.

JAILED BY BUHARI

Following the coup that ousted the Second Republic administration of Shehu Shagari in December 1983, Mr. Ekwueme was among politicians arrested by the incoming military government of Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr. Ekwueme and other politicians accused of various infringements and corruption were detained at the Kiri-kiri Prison in Lagos.

The family has not announced burial arrangement yet.

Video - Nigerian government to ramp up on tax collection to fund 2018 budget



Nigeria is hoping that a substantial amount of money it needs to fund its $28 billion budget for next year will come from tax; turning away from depending on oil revenue due to falling prices. With a tax to GDP ratio of just 6%, Nigeria is ranked among the lowest tax- collecting nations in the world. The country is looking to see a 15 percent tax to GDP ratio. The government's efforts to ramp up tax collection face road blocks in the form of tax dodgers. But it's announced a tax amnesty plan for tax dodgers to pay up arrears of unpaid taxes without any penalty. It's also leveraging on technology to drive its tax collection initiative. Nigeria plans to raise around three billion dollars in VAT and Company income tax alone in 2018 while also ramping up earnings from other taxes like PAYE.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Video - Nigeria's Mr. Arsenal



Kelechi Anyikude. Proud Nigerian, dedicated football fan. But for Arsenal’s no.1 African supporter, it’s about being so much more.

Video - At least 18 killed, dozens hurt in suicide blast near Maiduguri, Nigeria



In north-eastern Nigeria, at least 18 people have been killed and scores wounded in a suspected Boko Haram suicide attack. Several bombs went off on the outskirts of Maiduguri -- the capital of Borno state -- on Wednesday. It's the deadliest suicide attack in Nigeria in months.

Nigeria to have bobsled team at the winter olympics for the first time ever

Nigeria's women's bobsled team has qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The three-member team — which was only formed in 2016 — is the first to represent Nigeria at the winter event, to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February next year.

Driver Seun Adigun, brakemen Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omega, qualified for the event over five races held in Utah, Whistler and Calgary.

In 2012, Adigun competed in the women's 100 metre hurdles at the summer Olympics.

She told ESPN that the qualification is a "huge milestone for sports in Nigeria".

Adigun hopes that the bobsled team will help create opportunities for winter sports to take place in Nigeria.

Adigun started a Go Fund Me campaign late last year to raise $US75,000 to fund their Olympic bid, which they achieved in 11 months.

President of the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation of Nigeria, Solomon Ogba, said in a statement he hopes Nigerians can appreciate the effort the team has put in, "the work, the discipline, and the personal sacrifices."

Mr Ogba he was proud the team was representing their country in "a very technical and high risk sport".

Another Nigerian competitor, Simidele Adeagbo, is just two races away from qualifying for the Skeleton competition.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Suicide bombers kill 18 in Maiduguri, Nigeria

At least 18 people have been killed and 29 others wounded in northeast Nigeria after four suicide bombers carried out separate attacks, state police said.

The first explosion on Wednesday evening took place at a prayer ground in the Muna Gari suburb of the regional capital, Maiduguri.

Other attacks followed in the same neighbourhood.

"At about 6:13pm local time (17:13 GMT), four suicide bombers - two males and two females - infiltrated Muna Gari community and detonated IED strapped to their bodies at different locations," Victor Isuku, Borno State Police Command spokesman, said in a statement.

"A total of eighteen persons including the four suicide bombers, died in the multiple explosions," he confirmed.

Isuku said those injured were rushed to the University of Maiduguri teaching hospital and the State Specialist Hospital for medical attention.

According to the statement, police patrol and bomb disposal teams promptly mobilised to the scene to sanitise and render the area safe.

The statement also said that order had been restored to the community.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

17 year old girl killed for body parts to use for rituals in Nigeria

A 17-year-old girl in Nigeria has been murdered for body parts to be used in suspected rituals believed to bring wealth, police have told the BBC.

Three people have been arrested, including a man who allegedly confessed to killing her and selling some body parts to a witch doctor for $25 (£18).

He then threw the girl's decapitated body into a well in Idosemo village in Ogun state, a police spokesman said.

Belief in witchcraft or "juju" is widespread in Nigeria.

Traditional witchcraft practitioners are widely consulted for cures for various ailments and because they are believed to have magical powers to protect their clients from a wide range of misfortunes and to bring good luck.

The witch doctor, who is also in detention, has admitted to receiving human body parts, but said he did not contract the killing, police spokesman Abimbola Opeyemi said.

The girl had been selling street snacks when she was attacked, he said.

Her father had reported her missing to local police.

Collaborative work between the police and a local vigilante group led to the arrest of the witch doctor who "confessed under police interrogation" and led police to the well where her body was dumped, Mr Opeyemi said.

The suspects are yet to be charged in court.

It is the latest in a spate of such murders in the south-west of the country.

Nigeria army considered not allowing women to participate in combat training

Nigeria has looked into stopping the admission of female combatants into the military training program after a recommendation by the country’s Armed Forces council, according The Punch Newspaper.

Quartz’s email inquiries to the army about the reasons for the decisions were not replied before publication. But Premium Times later reported that Nigeria’s defense headquarters refuted the suggestion it would stop admitted female cadets altogether.

Female cadets were first admitted in 2011 and if such a policy was adopted, it would have meant female soldiers never being able to rise high enough to head any of Nigeria’s armed forces.

Given Nigeria’s largely conservative disposition, much of the rhetoric to explain the possible policy reversal has focused on religion. “The northern Muslim leaders want to prevent a situation where one day, a woman will lead the army and give orders to men,” an unnamed army general told The Punch.

Any considerations for such a decision could not have been blamed on female cadets performing poorly. According to The Punch, female cadets excelled—and won awards—since they started getting admitted to the training program in 2011.

Other African countries have looked to lead the way with female combatants. In 2014, Algeria became the Arab country with the most high-ranking female army commanders after appointing three female army generals. The move was part of the country’s efforts to improve gender equality in its law enforcement agents.

In the Horn of Africa, women have long played prominent roles in Eritrea and Ethiopia. During the war for Eritrea’s independence, female combat soldiers accounted for 30% of Eritrea’s military.

Ethiopia’s female soldiers also continue to play a role in the country’s peacekeeping missions on the continent. In 2000, a UN resolution pushed for women’s involvement in its peacekeeping mission to reach 20% by 2020 but Ethiopia had reached the 16% mark at the time. Beyond the continent, the United States opened up all combat military jobs to women last year.

There had already been some push back for the army council’s recommendation by civil society groups and a petition to halt the policy reversal has garnered almost 1,000 signatures since being published.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Video - Nigeria beat Argentina 2-4




Uber drivers in Lagos, Nigeria using fake GPS app to inflate fares

Some Uber drivers in Lagos have been using a fake GPS itinerary app to illicitly bump up fares for local riders.

Initially created for developers to “test geofencing-based apps,” Lockito, an Android app that lets your phone follow a fake GPS itinerary, is being used by Uber drivers in Lagos to inflate the cost of their trips.

In some cases, inflated trips can cost riders more than double the rate they should be paying. “It’s more like a parasite,” says Mohammed, a driver for both Uber and Taxify in Lagos. “It sets the false GPS movement while allowing the phone also to keep track of its actual movement. The Uber app can’t tell the difference between both so it just calculates both.”

When a driver uses Lockito for an Uber trip he or she can have the fake GPS running (and calculating a fake fare) from the pickup point to the drop off location, before the passenger has even got into the car. When the real trip starts, the real GPS starts running and calculating the actual fare. But at the end of the journey the fares from both trips (real and fake) are tallied up as one fare which the unsuspecting rider pays.

Uber Nigeria is aware of the abuse of Lockito by certain drivers. Spokeswoman Francesca Uriri, said it is in violation of Uber’s guidelines and the company is “constantly on the lookout for fraud by drivers and riders who are gaming our systems.”

The drivers Quartz spoke with said Lockito or “Locki”, is simply a reaction to Uber’s 40% slash of its base fare implemented in May. Many drivers were unhappy about the price drop and there were a series of protests which had little impact.

Williams*, an Uber driver who asked his real name not to be used, says he heard about Lockito a while ago but initially had no interest in using it. “Uber was sweet, until they slashed the price,” he says. “They did not bring back their price up, so the work started getting tough and tougher.”

“When the thing was just getting tougher, I had no choice but to go on Lockito.”

He claims he uses the app four to five times a week, but has specific targets and does not use it on just anyone.

Williams says the main reason he uses the app is to ensure he can meet his weekly payments to his Uber partner [the owner of the car], a situation he says many other drivers are in. Most ridesharing drivers in Nigeria do not own their cars, instead they partner with car owners and pay them a weekly fee, which according to Williams has become harder to meet as a result of the base fare slash.

Despite coming out of recession in September, the economic situation is still tough in Nigeria, which is still struggling to bounce back from the global drop in oil prices. A recent report from the World Poverty Clock predicts that by February 2018 Nigeria will overtake India and become the country with the most people living in extreme poverty. Food prices are still high although inflation has dropped and many Nigerians still lack access to basic amenities. Unemployment and underemployment are rife, leading some Nigerians to cut corners to make things work.

In recent weeks, two Uber drivers representing other drivers on the platform have started a class action suit in Nigeria’s economic hub arguing that they should receive employee benefits from Uber.

“There are a lot of drivers on Locki, every driver on Uber is on Locki,” Williams says. “The only ones that are different is the new drivers…and they’re still coming to us to teach them Locki.”

Some drivers use Lockito to inflate fares by adding 1000 naira to 2000 naira extra (roughly $3 to $6) but some drivers are believed to inflate fares to exorbitant levels.

A trip from Lekki, a neighbourhood in Lagos, to Murtala Muhammad International airport is roughly 32 kilometers and would normally cost just under 3,000 naira ($8). Williams says he recently heard of a Lockito trip that cost more than 5 times that amount.

Williams’ highest Lockito ride so far is 10,000 naira, (the trip normally would have cost the rider N3,000), and although he has expressed guilt over using the app he remains adamant that an increase of the base fare is the only way to stop it being used, a sentiment shared by other drivers.

“If you block that same Lockito today, another one will come out,” says Uchenna*, a partner and driver on Uber who claims not to use Lockito. “If that base fare is normal [and] everybody’s receiving their incentive on a normal level, that thing [Lockito] will go off. They want to get the normal, accurate price that Uber were before.”

“Lockito or no Lockito,” adds another driver who asked not to be named, “if Uber want the Lockito not to exist, that means they have to come back to the base fare.”

Perhaps most surprisingly, drivers accuse Uber of not only knowing about app, but purposely not doing anything about it because they still want to maximize their profits.

“If you’re using Lockito [with] Uber [it] will tell you “fake location detected”…they will tell you [the driver],” says Williams. “Sometimes when I run it [Lockito], Uber will tell me, “your map of your location…is fake,” you’ll now click OK…and still yet, I take my money…”

Uber denies these allegations. “Uber has automated rules in place that warns and permanently deactivates any account or accounts associated with fraudulent activity,” Uriri says. “Uber encourages both riders and driver-partners to rate their journey at the end of the trip. Honest feedback helps ensure that everyone is accountable for their behavior.”

Uber says all riders that report fraudulent activity will be refunded. But Uriri adds that the use of the Lockito will not impact Uber’s pricing policy.

Taxify, one of Uber’s biggest rivals in Nigeria, has been blocking drivers that try to use Lockito.

“You can’t do that anymore on Taxify, they were doing it before on Taxify but then Taxify made drivers update the app, once you update your app, you can’t use Lockito anymore,” says Williams.

Despite issues with the base fare, Uber’s brand stays strong in Nigeria and drivers want the company to remain, but only if the system changes. This is important as competition increases from newcomers including local e-hailing apps like Motionplus and Alpha One, some of which are offering to pay fuel for drivers.

“I pray Uber should learn from now,” says Williams. “This is Nigeria, not abroad, the more things are getting worse, the more drivers are planning things.”

20,000 teachers in Nigeria face getting sacked after failing test meant for 10-year-olds

More than 20,000 teachers in Nigeria are facing the sack after failing competency tests designed for children aged ten. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has backed the plan in the northern Kaduna state and branded the situation ‘tragic’.

He said: ‘It is a very very serious situation when teachers cannot pass the exam they are supposed to teach the children to pass. Is a very tragic situation we are in.’ Kaduna Governor Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai tweeted the test results of the primary teachers last week. He asked the public: ‘Would you allow someone like this to each your child.’

The Governor said teachers who were marked below 75% will be sacked but they can re-apply if they can improve their grades. The BBC reported least 19,000 applications had already been received to replace the teachers who will be sacked. Labour unions opposed the plans to sack the teachers and branded the move ‘propaganda’.

UN children’s agency Unicef found Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world. Around ten million children have no access to basic education in Nigeria and Unicef described the education system as beset by poor teachers with a lack of proper facilities.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Video - Italy opens investigation on the death of 26 Nigerian girls



Italy has opened investigations into the death of 26 African girls whose bodies have been found in the Mediterranean Sea this week. A Libyan and an Egyptian were arrested on suspicions of involvement of what Italian official believe could be a murder case.

Nigerian soldier kills captain then commits suicide

A Nigerian Army captain who led an emergency response team was killed in Adamawa State on Sunday, gunned down by a fellow soldier who subsequently took his own life, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.

The Army said the tragic incident happened in Chibok, Borno State.

Our sources said a report of the incident has been filed by the Nigerian Army 28 Brigade Headquaters in Mubi, Adamawa State, to the 7 Division Headquarters in Maiduguri, Borno State.

Those familiar with the incident said Army captain, T. Mani, was on Sunday morning patrol with other officers when they responded to a distress call that Silas Ninyo, a staff sergeant, was beating civilians at a nearby location.

Upon arrival, Mr. Mani and his team members prevailed on Mr. Ninyo and rescued the civilians from him; but the situation quickly turned fatal when the service men tried to disarm their raging colleague.

Mr. Ninyo opened fire, killing Mr. Mani, authorities said.

The incident occurred at about 12:50 p.m. and the remains of the two soldiers were later deposited at Brigade Medical Centre in Yola, the state capital.

All officers around the brigade have been warned to be on the alert as whole-scale investigation of the incident continued.

The tragedy appears to be the deadliest episode of soldier-on-soldier violence amongst Nigerian troops in recent months, although security analysts believe mutinous attacks are not uncommon.

“Unfortunately, conflict between armed service members is not an unusual occurrence,” said security analyst Mukhtar Dan’Iyan. “Hopefully, escalation to this extent won’t happen again anytime soon as it diminishes professionalism and erodes esprit de corps.”

The incident report said the motives for Mr. Ninyo’s attack on the civilians and the deadly assault on his senior colleague were not immediately clear.

Nigerian Army spokesperson, Sani Usman, did not initially respond to requests for comments.

He however later issued a statement saying the army has raised a board of inquiry to probe the incident.

The statement reads, “The Headquarters of 28 Task Force Brigade, Nigerian Army, has instituted a Board of Inquiry (BOI) to unravel the circumstances surrounding the shooting incident that resulted in the death of an Officer and a Senior Non-Commission Officer (SNCO), deployed on duty at Chibok, Borno State earlier today Sunday, 12th November 2017.

“At about 12.50pm today, the unit received a report that a Staff was seen to be drunk and misbehaving to civilians. An officer was despatched to the scene with a view to bring him back to base. The officer did his best but the SNCO refused several entreaties to calm him and be disarmed by the superior officer. Unfortunately, the Staff Sergeant shot the officer dead and then killed himself.

“Their remains have since been evacuated to a military facility. The BOI is expected investigate the incident and promptly turn in its report and findings in one week.

“The Nigerian Army is a disciplined and professional force with zero tolerance for any acts of indiscipline and misdemeanor.

“The death of the officer and the Staff Sergeant is painful and a great loss to the unit and the Nigerian Army.”

Adamawa State has witnessed renewed Boko Haram attacks in recent weeks, with Boko Haram killing scores in successive attacks on Madagali Local Government Area amidst fears that the insurgents might have returned to areas that were amongst the earliest to be liberated during the 2014 and 2015 military offensive.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Drivers in Lagos, Nigeria suing uber for employee status

Uber is facing an old problem but in a new place.

The ride-hailing company has faced lawsuits from drivers who argue they are employees rather than independent contractors in several cities where it operates and it can now add one more city to the list: Lagos.

Two drivers representing other drivers on the platform have started a class action suit in Nigeria’s economic hub arguing that they should receive employee benefits from Uber. The suit poses that “by virtue of the nature of the defendant’s control over the claimants and members of their class, they are not meant to be classified as independent contractors.” The suit also wants Uber to be mandated to provide its drivers with health insurance and pension benefits. Uber launched in Lagos in August 2014.

Uber’s classification of drivers as independent contractors is fundamental to how it operates as it allows the company avoid paying any employee benefits, a guaranteed minimum wage or be liable for any extra expenses incurred by the drivers. Employing all its drivers as staff will prove expensive even for a company possibly valued at over $100 billion.

Uber’s company’s relationship with its drivers has long been subject to lots of scrutiny—and lawsuits—with mixed results. In one of the most prominent cases, back in April 2016, Uber reached a prominent $100 million settlement in a class-action suit which included nearly 400,000 drivers in Massachusetts and California which let it to continue classifying them as independent contractors. (The settlement was later rejected as being unfair by a US district judge). Elsewhere, in June, New York’s state labor department ruled that three former Uber drivers were eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

Across Africa where it has now operated for four years, Uber’s challenges have often come more in form of protests than lawsuits. Local taxi drivers have claimed that ride-hailing company and its driver have an unfair advantage as they don’t have to pay taxi union levies and fees. In South Africa, the face-off has spurned violent protests and, to better protect drivers, Uber launched in-vehicle SOS buttons. In Nigeria, the company has also faced strike actions from its drivers who claim fares are too low.

Nigerians warned about investing in bitcoins

Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) ​has​ warned ​Nigerians ​against ​investing in digital currencies, especially Bitcoins​.

It stated that such currencies were yet to be approved by Nigerian regulators.

Chief Executive Officer, NDIC, Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim ​spoke on Thursday at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair.

Represented by the Director, Claims Resolution, Mr. A.S Bello, ​the CEO said: “The protection of the depositor remains our top priority.​

“​That is why we continue to stress the need for depositors to patronise only financial institutions that are licensed by the CBN and which display the NDIC Sticker with the words ‘insured by NDIC’ in their banking halls or entrances.

“It is for this reason that I must sound a word of warning against patronising dubious fund managers, otherwise known as “Wonder Banks”. They persuade their unsuspecting victims to part with their hard earned money with promises of interest rates that are unrealistically high as the returns on their investments.

“The result is the loss of vital savings and sometimes disastrous consequences to the lives of the victims.

​”​Also, the emerging trend of investing in digital currencies popularly known as Bitcoins is equally dangerous because just like the “Wonder Banks’, the digital currencies are not licensed by the CBN and are therefore not insured by the NDIC.”

​Ibrahim ​disclosed that the corporation had paid over N100 billion to depositors of liquidated banks​, adding that the payments​ were announced​ ​via newspapers, radio and television​.

“We implore those depositors who have not responded to our calls to come forward to collect their insured deposits and liquidation dividends already declared for uninsured deposits,”
​he​ added.

$43.5m discovered in flat in Lagos, Nigeria linked sacked Director General

A Nigerian judge has ordered the seizure of a flat linked to the former head of the country’s National Intelligence Agency after more than $43m in cash was found during an anti-corruption raid.

Judge Saliu Seidu, sitting at the federal high court in Lagos, said the apartment in the upmarket Ikoyi area of the city should be temporarily forfeited to the government, pending any challenge within 14 days.

Acting on a tip-off, agents from Economic and Financial Crimes Commission raided the property on 12 April this year and discovered just under $43.5m (£33.1m).

They also found £27,800 as well as 23.2m naira (£49,600), the court was told.

Documents established the flat was bought in 2015 by Folashade Oke, the wife of Ayodele Oke, who at the time was director general of the NIA.

It was alleged she bought the property using $1.66m from government funds to which her husband had access.

President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in 2015 on a promise to cut endemic corruption in government and has vowed to recover what he said were “mind-boggling” sums of stolen public money.

Oke, who had been suspended for keeping an unauthorised stash of cash in a private home, was sacked last week along with the country’s most senior civil servant, Babachir Lawal.

Lawal was accused of awarding deals for reconstruction in areas of north-east Nigeria hit by Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency to companies in which he had a personal interest.

Buhari’s handling of the two cases has been seen as a litmus test for the extent of his anti-corruption drive, given that most of those arrested and charged so far have been high-profile members of the main opposition.

The Oke case was adjourned until 30 November.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Video - Nigeria partners with China to start business exchange program



Nigeria has partnered with China in opening a way for small and medium sized businesses to interact through an exchange program. According the country's statistics bureau, there are more Chinese construction companies operating in Nigeria, than anywhere else in Africa. And expansion is expected in other sectors too. But some experts argue Africa's most populous country must do more to protect its local industries.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

70% percent of medication in circulation in Nigeria is fake

At least 70 per cent of pharmaceutical products circulating in Nigeria are fake, says Andrew Nevin, the Financial Services Advisory Leader and Chief Economist, Project Blue PWc Nigeria.

Mr. Nevin said this in his keynote address at the opening of the 90th Annual National Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) in Umuahia, the Abia capital.

According to him, Africa records at least 100,000 deaths, arising from fake drug-related ailments, annually.

He, therefore, underscored the need for the federal government, National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, and other relevant agencies to intensify the war agianst fake and counterfeit drugs in the country.

“This will go a long way in reducing the harmful effects of the menace on the citizenry and the nation’s economy.”

Mr. Nevin expressed delight that Nigeria had achieved “significant progress” in reducing sexually transmitted diseases and infant mortality.

He, however, expressed concern that Nigeria’s population had been on a steady rise while its Gross Domestic Product is on the downward trend.

In his speech to declare the week-long event open, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu also tasked NAFDAC to check the perceived abuse in the certification of traditional medicines.

Mr. Ikpeazu called on the agency to withdraw “its stamp of authority from all producers herbal medicines that it cannot vouch for their efficacy.

“I am worried at the use of herbal drugs. NAFDAC has not helped matters also.

“It is amazing to see different concoctions with label from NAFDAC and to an average Nigerian, once you see NAFDAC number on a product, it means a seal of authority.”

He appealed to the federal government to regulate the importation of drugs as a means of encouraging indigenous pharmaceutical firms.

He also urged drug manufacturers in the country to take steps to make their products affordable to the ordinary Nigerian.

In an address of welcome, the National President of PSN, Ahmed Yakasai, said that the association had embarked on an advocacy for the local manufacturing of pharmaceuticals.

Mr. Yakasai, however, underscored the need for governments at all levels to create the enabling environment for the pharmaceutical sector in Nigeria to thrive, stressing that “PSN believes in Nigeria-made medicines.”

He mentioned the donation of drugs worth over N50 million to Internally Displaced Persons in the North-east, among others, as some of the key achievements of the association under his watch.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that major highlights of the conference were the conferment of awards to some eminent Nigerians, including Ikpeazu, the unveiling of new products and products exhibition.