Friday, April 28, 2017

Video - 30,000 people forced out from slum housing in Nigeria

At least 30,000 people have been forcefully evicted from their slum housing in Nigeria.
Lawyers say they're the victims of a land grab as real estate developers move in to the commercial capital.

Nigeria Football Federation gets $8.2million boos

The cash-strapped Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has received a financial boost from an energy company worth around US$8.2 million over the next five years.

The deal with the Aiteo Group will commence on 1 May.

"This will make it easier for us to plan adequately for our national teams," NFF boss Amaju Pinnick said.

"It is important to note that this will also take care of the national team coaches' salaries."

Pinnick hopes that this means no repeats of problems paying national team coaches that has troubled the NFF in the past.

"There will be no owing of coaches for the next five years," he added.

"This lucrative deal with Aiteo will cover all the national teams and has an option of a one-year extension."

"We are happy to have a sponsor come in at this crucial time and this is a big boost for our football."

Former Nigeria coaches Christian Chukwu, Shaibu Amodu, Samson Siasia,Austin Eguavoen, Sunday Oliseh and the late Stephen Keshi have all previously complained about outstanding salaries in recent years.

The chairman of the Aiteo Group, Benedict Peters, feels it is important for Nigerian companies to share their success.

"As Nigerian companies grow, I believe the benefits of that growth should be spread as widely as possible," he explained.

"Aiteo Group is as passionate about leadership as Nigerians are about football, so we are proud to be working together with the NFF and its coaching staff to reach a shared goal of a more prosperous Nigeria."

"It is an exciting time for the Nigerian Football Federation and for Aiteo - two organisations which are increasingly seeing global success, competing with global players.

"Aiteo Group is proud to sign this multi-million dollar partnership, which will help to support the Super Eagles to success in the 2018 World Cup, the 2019 AFCON and beyond."

5 soldiers killed by suicide bomber in Nigeria

A suicide car bomber has attacked a military convoy in northeast Nigeria, killing five soldiers and injuring another 40, security forces have said.

Two military officers told the AFP news agency on Friday that the attacker, believed to be loyal to factional Boko Haram leader Abu Mus'ab Al-Barnawi, targeted the convoy, which was conducting "clearance operations" between Yobe and Borno states.

"At about 10:00 GMT on Thursday, a suicide bomber believed to be a Boko Haram terrorist riding in a van loaded with explosives rammed into a military convoy at Manguzum village," one said.

"We lost five soldiers in the incident and more than 40 sustained various degrees of injuries," added the officer, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak about the incident.

In a separate development, at least 15 gunmen believed to be Boko Haram fighters were shot dead during a battle with soldiers.

Kinsley Samuel, Nigeria's military spokesman, said that the fighting occurred in the Sambisa forest in the country's north.

There has been a spate of deadly attacks on military targets in recent months, as troops fight to end the eight-year insurgency, which has killed thousands of civilians.

A multinational force of troops from Nigeria and its neighbours last year drove Boko Haram out of towns and villages in northeast Nigeria, but isolated attacks and suicide bombings continue.

In December, President Muhammadu Buhari said the capture of a key camp marked the "final crushing" of Boko Haram in its last enclave in Sambisa Forest, once the group's stronghold.

But since then, the group, which split into two factions last year, has stepped up its attacks.

One Boko Haram faction is led by Abubakar Shekau from the Sambisa Forest. Abu Mus'ab Al-Barnawi leads the other faction, based in the Lake Chad region, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

At least 20,000 people have been killed in the Boko Haram conflict since it began in 2009 and more than 2.6 million others made homeless.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Video - Nigeria gets loan to modernize rail network and link Lagos to Kano

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking parliament's approval for a proposal to borrow $5.85 billion from China to modernize its rail network. Buhari urged parliament in a letter to approve the railway borrowing because China has a limit on funds available from its China Africa Fund. The president wants to sign loan agreements as soon as China approves the project. Buhari also asked lawmakers to also approve a $1.075 billion loan to help rebuild the northeast, which has been ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency, and to expand support to the poor in Nigeria.

Death toll in meningitis outbreak in Nigeria reaches 813

A meningitis outbreak in Nigeria has killed 813 people so far this year, the country’s health minister said, as Africa’s most populous country and aid organisations attempt to tackle the surge in infections.

The government on Wednesday approved a house-to-house search in northern Nigeria to identify those afflicted with meningitis for vaccination and treatment, Isaac Adewole told reporters after a cabinet meeting under vice president Yemi Osinbajo.

The West African nation in April launched a mass vaccination campaign as part of its emergency response to the outbreak in its northwestern states, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said.

The NCDC said the infection killed 33 people in 2016.

More than 2,000 people died from an outbreak of the disease in Nigeria in 2009, with basic healthcare limited in rural parts of the country, where most people live on less than $2 a day, despite the country’s huge oil resources.

Meningitis is the inflammation of tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord which can be caused by viral or bacterial infections. It spreads mainly through kisses, sneezes, coughs and in close living quarters.

The NCDC is working with the World Health Organisation, the UN’s Children’s Fund and Medecins Sans Frontieres, also known as Doctors Without Borders, to try to control the outbreak.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Video - Abuja residents learn martial arts for personal security

The rising crime rate is driving residents to learn martial arts in an effort to protect themselves in Nigeria. Although no official statistics exist, armed robberies, burglaries, car-jackings, rape and kidnappings are common.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Video - Nigerian entrepreneur revives local market for hand-made chocolates

Nigeria is the world's fourth-largest producer of cocoa. But most of its beans are exported for processing abroad. This means chocolates and sweets are almost always imported. Nigeria's oldest cocoa community is slowly trying to change that by producing hand-made chocolate straight from their farms.

Video - Nigerian Air Force shows off new weapons to fight Boko Haram

Nigeria's air force has shown off new assets it says will be used to combat the Boko Haram insurgency in its north and oil militants in its south.

The West African nation's air force over the weekend demonstrated a new attack helicopter during 53rd anniversary celebrations.

The chief of defense staff, Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin, says the military now can "deliver appropriate firepower at the right time and at the right place."

The military also expects that the Trump administration will move forward with the sale of high-tech aircraft to Nigeria for its campaign against Boko Haram despite concerns over abuses committed by the African nation's security forces.

"We are highly impressed and knowing that this air force is now on the rise again," says retired air vice marshal O.C. Obierika.

Reason behind piles of cash popping up in Nigeria

Nigerians have been shocked and bemused after huge piles of cash have been unearthed in various parts of the country in recent months. Journalist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani looks at what is going on.

In February, $9.2m and £750,000 were discovered by Nigeria's anti-corruption agency, the EFCC, in a property belonging to Andrew Yakubu, a former director of the national oil company, NNPC.

In March, large sacks containing bundles of "crispy" banknotes worth a total of $155,000 (£130,000) were found in Kaduna airport.

In April, a stash containing $43.4m, £27,800 and 23.2m naira were recovered from a Lagos apartment with its owner yet to be identified.

And these are just the tip of the iceberg.
Whistle-blowers rewarded

EFCC head Ibrahim Magu was quoted in the local media as saying that the total amount recovered by the agency in the past few months was about $53m, £120m and €547m, on top of hundreds of millions of Nigerian naira.

He credited this to the whistle-blower policy put in place by the government in December 2016.

A particularly juicy sentence stands out from the five-page policy document made available on the ministry of finance website:

"A whistle-blower responsible for providing the government with information that directly leads to the voluntary return of stolen or concealed funds or assets may be entitled to anywhere between 2.5-5% of amount recovered."

There is a special page for submitting tip-offs.

Within three months Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun disclosed that they had received 2,351 tips, sent in through phone calls, text messages and emails.

Naturally, the policy also promises to protect the identity of all whistle-blowers.

Such huge sums of cash as those discovered could not have walked into the residences on their own.

The typical Nigerian wealthy man or woman, indisposed to manual labour, would have had to enlist the services of their extended family, minions or hangers-on, to transport the cash.
Cashless policy

In the past, whistle-blowers or not, it may have been difficult to find any large amounts of cash lying around in Nigeria.

The stashes would have been cooling off in banks, or en route to various foreign destinations.

But, in 2012, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), under Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, now the Emir of Kano, introduced a "cashless policy".

This placed limits on the amount of cash-based transfers, encouraging electronic transactions instead.

As the CBN notes in the "Cash-less Nigeria" section of its website: "High cash usage enables corruption, leakages and money laundering, amongst other cash-related fraudulent activities."

Imagine the predicament of the serial looters, bribe givers and takers, accustomed to handling incredible amounts of cash.

Recent reports, for example, allege that in 2011 a whopping $466m was withdrawn in cash - raw notes and bundles - to pay a few Nigerian government officials to facilitate Shell Petroleum's acquisition of a lucrative oilfield. Shell said it did not believe its employees acted illegally.

The CBN's cashless policy would have made it hard for subsequent bribe-takers to deposit such huge sums in banks.

Again, the extended family, minions and hangers-on can come to the rescue.

People could open different bank accounts in the names of their siblings, aunts and uncles, father, nephew, spouses, in-laws, house girls, cooks, drivers and so on.

The heaps of cash can be broken into smaller batches and deposited in these various accounts.

Those in whose names the accounts are opened might not have any knowledge of or control over the transactions.
Bank verification

This short-circuiting of the cashless policy seemed to be working fine, until President Muhammadu Buhari came to power and introduced yet another policy: The Bank Verification Number (BVN) policy.

Every bank customer in Nigeria was required to have their biometric details captured and linked to a unique number that could be verified across every account and transaction they made in every bank.

The first step to getting a BVN was to turn up at the bank in person.

As of November 2016, the Nigerian parliament was set to discuss the billions of local and international currency reportedly abandoned in bank accounts as a result of the BVN policy.

Apparently, owners of dubious accounts are afraid to step forward and claim their riches.

Banks in Nigeria are definitely no longer the best hiding place for unexplained funds.

The $9.2m found in Mr Yakubu's residence was discovered in a fireproof safe.

He has sued the EFCC for violating his fundamental human rights, insisting that the money was his - a "gift from unnamed persons".

After much speculation as to its ownership, the $43.4m found in a Lagos apartment was finally claimed by the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), whose director, Ayo Oke, stated that the money was released by the previous government to help with the agency's "special services".

Mr Buhari has suspended the director from his position and ordered a two-week probe into the origin of the funds.

Two years into his tenure, President Buhari's war on corruption is finally producing tangible results - cash - even if there have been no high-profile convictions yet.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Video - Managers systematically plunged Nigerian airline into debt

Revelations that managers of Nigeria's grounded airline Arik Air systematically plundered the company, have sparked widespread condemnation Investigations by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria show that the former managers deliberately pushed the airline into 1.2 billion dollar debt. International auditing firm KPMG is carrying out a forensic investigation at the campany, and it is expected that key managers will be prosecuted. Nigeria's biggest airlines troubles mounted at the end of last year, when 70% of its international flights were delayed.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Nigeria is a destination of choice for West African immigrants

Nigeria remains one of West Africa's most attractive destinations for immigrants. Many of them looking for jobs and what they believe is a better life. Rights groups however say more needs to be done to protect such communities that remain highly vulnerable.

Video - President Buhari orders corruption probe over humanitarian funds

In Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation into alleged corruption involving money set aside for a humanitarian crisis in the country's north-east. Buhari wants contracts awarded under the programme investigated. He also has suspended a senior official on the programme. The Presidential Initiative on the North East was set up to coordinate the government's response to the humanitarian crisis in the northeast. 4.7 million people, many of them refugees from the Boko Haram insurgency, are on the brink of famine and survive on rations. In what the presidency described as a related development, the director general of the National Intelligence Agency was also suspended. This comes after the discovery of more than $43 million in an apartment complex in Lagos.

Head of Nigeria National Intelligence Agency suspended after $43 million seized from apartment

Nigeria's spy chief has been suspended amid reports that a $43 million stash seized in a widely trumpeted apartment raid belonged to his agency.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Ayodele Oke, director-general of the National Intelligence Agency, over the April 12 raid, Buhari aide Femi Adesina said.
When Nigeria's anti-corruption agency raided an upscale apartment in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city, agents found more than $43 million as well as 23.2 million naira (Nigerian currency worth about $76,000) and £27,800 (about $35,000).

At the time, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said the funds were suspected to be linked to unlawful activity.
But according to local media reports, Oke eventually admitted his agency was responsible for the cash, saying it was being stored for covert operations.

An investigation has been launched into how the National Intelligence Agency got the money, including who authorized the funds' release to the agency, Adesina said. A panel headed by Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will carry out the probe and report to Buhari within the next two weeks, Adesina said.

Nigeria has struggled with corruption and looted funds for decades. The anti-corruption unit has scored a number of cash seizures this year after Nigeria's finance minister announced a new whistleblowing policy in December.

30 Manchester United fans electrocuted in Nigeria

No fewer than 30 people lost their lives in Calabar, the Cross River State capital on Thursday night after a high tension cable fell on them at a football viewing centre.

The football fans were said to have assembled at the centre to watch a UEFA Europa League quarter-final match when the incident happened.

According to reports by Channels TV, the electricity cable broke and fell on the football fans who had gathered at the centre to watch a UEFA Europa League quarter-final match between Manchester United and Anderlecht.

Speaking with newsmen after the incident, a survivor said a transformer near the viewing centre located in the Iyang-Esu area of Calabar municipal local government area, exploded during the match.

He said this caused a high-tension cable to drop on the viewing centre.

“It happened during the match between Manchester United and Anderlecht. I heard a deafening bang. I rushed out to see what was happening,” he was quoted as saying.

“When I turned back to go inside the viewing centre, I saw a cable coming down on the centre and this electrocuted the viewers in the hall.

“It was a horrible sight to behold. I wish I didn’t come out to watch the match. Come to think of it, I have DStv at home but I enjoy watching matches at viewing centres. I could have been dead. I can’t believe that the people I was chatting and joking with a few minutes ago are all gone in a most anguishing way. This world is vain.”

Meanwhile, when DAILY POST reporter contacted the Cross River State Police Public Relations Officer, Ms Irene Ugbo for comment, her number was switched off.

53 men charged for celebrating gay wedding in Nigeria

A group of 53 people have been charged in Nigeria after they were arrested last week from what police say was a party celebrating an unofficial gay wedding.

The group pleaded not guilty to charges relating to conspiracy, unlawfully assembly and membership in an unlawful society, the BBC reports.

Homosexuality has been illegal in Nigeria since 2014, and homosexual acts could result in a maximum jail sentence of 14 years.

A defense lawyer for the group said in court that the defendants were mostly students, and that the group had been illegally detained for more than 24 hours, according to local media reports cited by the BBC.

LGBT-rights activists refute the police's report that the men were celebrating a same-sex wedding, saying the event in the northern city of Zaria was a birthday party.

Maria Sjodin, deputy executive director of OutRight Action International, a group advocating for LGBT rights internationally, told NBC News that the arrests were part of an attempt to suppress "an emerging LGBTQ movement" in the West African country. Sjodin said Nigeria's laws prohibiting gay marriage are being used as "a way to crack down on anyone advocating for human rights of LGBT people."

Related stories: Being gay in Nigeria

92 percent of Nigerians support anit-gay law

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Video - Making accessories from recycled plastic bags in Nigeria

Women in the north-eastern Nigerian city of Yola are making a living from recycling plastic bags and using them to make accessories and usable household products like baskets for sale. The project aims at empowering members while at the same time reducing the number of plastic bags dumped indiscriminately.

UN employee arrested for robbing banks in New York

Abdullahi Shuaibu, described by the New York Police department as an employee of the United Nations was arrested for robbing four Manhattan banks, all during his lunch hour.

Shuaibu, 53, a journalist and former staff of the News Agency of Nigeria was picked up by police on Monday and charged with robbery and attempted robbery for the crimes committed during his two-month spree.

All four banks are within walking distance of UN headquarters on First Ave. near E. 42nd St., where the Nigerian worked. Authorities were led to the suspect after a retired police officer who works at the UN recognised him from a surveillance image previously released by the police. In the first incident, Shuaibu walked into a Santander Bank on Madison Ave. near E. 43rd St. on Feb. 27 and told the teller he had a gun.

The bank employee complied and handed him an unknown sum of money. He hit two more banks in March, first striking out at a Bank of America on Third Ave. near E. 47th St. on the 13th. He was also successful in robbing a Santander Bank on Third Ave. and E. 63rd St. on the 27th. During the most recent incident on Monday, Shuaibu walked into an HSBC on Third Ave. and E. 40th St. around 2:30 p.m. and passed a note demanding cash to the teller. The teller did not read the note and asked him for identification. He, however, instructed the teller to read the note, keeping his hand in his jacket pocket while simulating a gun, police said.

Police arrested him later in the day when he returned to the UN. Shuaibu was an employee of the News Agency of Nigeria and served as its UN correspondent between 2006 and 2009. The agency, however, terminated his appointment in April 2013 following his refusal to resume work in Nigeria at the expiration of duty tour and extended period which he requested to enable him complete an academic programme.

The termination of appointment was formally conveyed to the UN. A UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric denied that Shuaibu was a staff of the organisation. He told NAN in New York that the suspect was also not accredited to the UN after NAN withdrew his accreditation. Dujarric also said that the suspect only worked as a contract staff for three months in Darfur and his contract was terminated in 2012. However, Shuaibu on his LinkedIn page, describes himself as a “communications specialist at United Nations”. Shuaibu attended Ahmadu Bello University between 1980 and 1985, where he studied International Relations.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Video - Race to beat deadline to reopen Nigeria's main airport

With just days to go until the April 19th deadline to re-open Abuja's international airport, contractors are racing to finish their work in time. Nigeria's Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika says the airport MUST reopen as scheduled. CGTN's Kelechi Emekalam has more on the last-minute upgrades.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Video - Abuja club hopes to get more young people interested in hiking

Young people in Nigeria are keen to explore the capital, Abuja. To help them, two friends have come up with a brilliant answer. They've started a hiking club, aimed at encouraging domestic tourism. CGTN's Vic Chege has this story.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Video - Former Nigerian president implicated in controversial exploration permit

Staying with Nigeria, former president Goodluck Jonathan could soon appear before Parliament to explain his role in the alleged fraudulent sale of an offshore oil block to Shell and Eni. The former president and other high-ranking government officials allegedly accepted over 1 billion dollars in bribes to push through the controversial sale.

Nigeria secret service prevents bomb attack in US, UK embassies

Nigeria's secret service says it foiled a planned attack by Boko Haram militants on the US and UK embassies in the country's capital, Abuja. 

Six ISIS-linked Boko Haram members were arrested for the planned attack last month, the Department of State Services (DSS) said.

"The group had perfected plans to attack the UK and American Embassies and other western interests in Abuja," DSS official Tony Opuiyo said in a statement.

The men were arrested March 25 and 26 in Abuja and central Benue state, Opuiyo added. Another man was previously arrested, on March 22, in north-eastern Yobe state, the DSS said. That man confessed to being part of the group, officials said. 

In 2011, Boko Haram killed at least 21 people in a car bomb explosion at the UN headquarters in Abuja.

A UK Foreign office spokeswoman said the UK is "grateful for the support we receive from the Nigerian security authorities in protecting UK diplomatic staff and premises in Nigeria."
"We are in regular contact with the Nigerian security authorities concerning potential threats to UK interests in Nigeria," the spokeswoman said.

The United States "appreciates the work of Nigerian security forces in fighting terrorism and keeping citizens and residents safe," a spokesman for the US Embassy said.

"Nigeria and the United States continue to have a strong partnership in combating terrorism."

$43 million found in apartment in Lagos, Nigeria

The Nigerian anti-corruption unit discovered more than $43 million in US dollars at an upscale apartment in Lagos. 

The anti-graft agency said in a statement it raided the apartment Tuesday after a tipoff about a "haggard" woman in "dirty clothes" taking bags in and out of the apartment. 

The agency said it also found 23.2 million naira (Nigerian currency worth $75,000) and £27,800 (UK currency, worth $35,000 US) "neatly arranged" inside cabinets hidden behind wooden panels of a bedroom wardrobe.

The commission said the funds are "suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity" but no arrests have been made yet. 

Nigeria has struggled with corruption and looted funds for decades, but the watchdog unit has been on a lucky streak.

Earlier in the week, the agency discovered around 250 million naira in cash ($817,000) in a Lagos market and a further 448 million naira cash ($1.5 million) at a shopping plaza.
These gains have been credited to a whistleblowing policies launched in December by Nigeria's finance minister.

Whistleblowers can now anonymously provide information through a secure portal, if the information leads to the recovery of stolen public funds, the whistleblower is entitled to between 2.5%-5% of the total money recovered. 

In February, the minister of information, Lai Muhammad, said the policy has led to the recovery of over $180 billion.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Video - U.S. deal to sell war planes to Nigeria still needs Congress approval

The US Government is set to sell high tech military planes to Nigeria to help it fight ISIL affiliate in West Africa-Boko Haram. The deal will however need congress's approval.

Boko Haram survivor to provide prosthetics for victims in Nigeria

When 29-year-old Member Feese woke up in a London hospital one month after a Boko Haram bomb attack in Nigeria's capital Abuja blew off her left leg, she knew it was a blessing to be alive.

Feese's family flew her to Britain days after the August 2011 bombing. There the postgraduate student received care over a six-month period, and was fitted with a prosthetic limb.

Inspired by the care she was lucky enough to receive, Feese set up Team Member, an advocacy group to aid victims of bombings in Abuja, which has been hit by several blasts bearing the hallmarks of the jihadist group Boko Haram since 2010.

"I was fortunate because of the network I had ... to fly out of Nigeria. But there are many who are not fortunate enough," Feese told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in her home in Abuja.

"Some of the victims are just hawkers and mechanics. They just go to the National Hospital and they can barely afford their hospital bills," she added. "How do they start their lives back? How do they get money to start their businesses again?"

Every time a bomb strikes Abuja, Feese, her parents and volunteers race to hospitals to offer victims food, arrange counseling and start raising money for care and surgeries.

Few Nigerians have health insurance, leaving many patients trapped in hospital by their debts, responsible for feeding themselves and clinging to the hope their bills will be waived by hospital directors or paid off by well-wishers.

"Some of the victims have no family in Abuja, so we support them," Feese said. "We take food, milk, sugar, toiletries ... then we get their contact details and keep in touch with them."

Dozens of bomb blast victims in Abuja have benefited from the group's support, including a man who needed several surgeries to remove a nail lodged in his head, Feese said.

Yet she is concerned about those who need prosthetic limbs, and said Team Member is raising money in the hopes of opening a rehabilitation center for bombing victims in Abuja.

"We've not identified any hospital that specializes in advanced prosthetic limbs ... the technology is not advanced.

"Not everybody can afford to go to the United Kingdom or South Africa. We want to give Nigerians a chance."

The 2011 attack which injured Feese struck the U.N headquarters in the capital Abuja, killing at least 24 people.

While the last bombing to hit Abuja was in late 2015, Boko Haram has continued to target markets, bus stations, places of worship villages in Borno state during its eight-year insurgency to carve out an Islamist state in the northeast of the country.

Nigeria negotiating with Boko Haram to release remaining Chibok girls

The Nigerian government is in talks with the terror group Boko Haram to release the remaining Chibok girks, the country's president has said.

Some 276 young girls were abducted by the Islamist extremists in 2014, shocking the world and sparking a huge campaign with the slogan "Bring Back Our Girls".

More than 20 were released in October in a deal brokered by the International Red Cross and others have escaped or been rescued, but 195 are still missing.

A day before the third anniversary of the kidnapping, President Muhammadu Buhari said the government "is in constant touch through negotiations, through local intelligence to secure the release of the remaining girls and other abducted persons unharmed".

In 2015, the Islamist militants pledged their allegiance to so-called Islamic State.

They have been waging an eight-year military campaign to carve out an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

Last year, several senior Boko Haram fighters were killed by Nigeria's air force, with the group's leader believed to be among the dead.

Several months later, the terror group was ousted from its last major camp in the northeastern Sambisa forest stronghold.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Video - Much-anticipated Nigerian Basketball League finally begins after several delays

Nigeria's long-awaited Basketball League has finally started after repeated delays. The Nigerian Basketball Federation had been forced to postpone the competition as it had yet to conclude contractual agreements with sponsors. The women's league got under way on Monday, while the men's is set to begin on Thursday. The federation has announced several changes to the league. It says the 2017 season will consist of 28 regular games, with four rounds of action. For the players, the start of the league is welcome news.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Video - Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya look to invest in coal-fired power plants

After years as the only country with a heavy investment in electricity from coal, South Africa may be joined by Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya over the next five years. All three plan to add just under 3 GW of coal-fired power plants. Kenya has been heavily reliant on hydro- and geothermal power sources for decades. But as droughts become more frequent, and energy demand rises, planners see coal as an ideal source of cheap, reliable, affordable electricity. Our Business anchor Ramah Nyang spoke to the head of the country's energy regulator.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Video - Campaigners in Nigeria urges world not to forget Chibok girls

Recently marked three years since the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls from Chibok. Three years on, and many have since been released. But others remain in captivity. To commemorate the anniversary, Bring Back Our Girls campaigners gathered in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. There, they planted trees and ties symbolic ribbons around them. The campaign says people need to be reminded of plight of the girls who remain in captivity. It's believed around 200 girls remain in the militant's clutches.

Nigerian government plans to end open defecation in Nigeria by 2025

The Federal Government (FG) has developed a national roadmap to eradicate the menace of open defecation in Nigeria by 2025.

It said the roadmap has already been adopted by the National Council on Water Resources as a veritable tool of fighting the menace.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu, at the Wide Open Defecation Free celebration in Obanliku Local Government Area, Cross River State, Nigeria.

He said that the programme has been incorporated into the annual plans and budgeting processes for phased implementation at the national level while states are expected to do same.

He added the Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) and the Open Defecation Free (ODF) Roadmap will eliminate open defecation.

“To achieve ODF, means without exception, all households and institutions have ended the practice of open defecation; they have cleaned their environment and have constructed basic or modified toilets. That is the case of Obanliku LGA we are celebrating today.

“Nigeria is reported to be a country with the highest number of people practicing open defecation in Africa estimated at over 46 million people and more than two-thirds of the population are without access to basic sanitation facilities,” he stated.

Adamu said that efforts in time past to address the situation has yielded minimal results, maintaining that: “A critical look at the situation shows that it cannot be business as usually and that all hands must be on deck in tackling this challenge.”

Also launched to address this issue was the PEWASH, a national collaborative instrument for the improvement of access to water supply and sanitation in Nigeria.

Nigeria through the PEWASH strategy targets eliminating open defecation by 2025 in line with the ODF Roadmap and achieving 100 per cent access to rural water supply and basic sanitation by 2030.

In his reply, the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Senator Ben Ayade, represented by the State Commissioner for Water Resources, Ntufam Oji, commended the Federal Government’s efforts at ending open defecation in Nigeria.

He stated that the feat achieved by Obanliku as ODF status was a collaborative efforts of the Federal, State, Local Government as well as other stakeholders in the sector.

According to him, the practice of not defecating in the open has helped the communities in the Local government area and this has improved the health status of the entire LGA.

“The state will try as matter of priority to pay its counterpart funds of the programme so that the achievement could be replicated in other LGAs of the state,” he said.

Also, the Executive Director of Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) Chris Williams stated that WSSCC has been a key partner in Nigeria’s WASH sector.

Chris said that WSSCC has supported Sanitation programme in Nigeria with a grant of $5 million through the Global Sanitation Fund.

“With this feat achieved in Obanliku LGA, WSSCC will keep on supporting Nigeria in the fight of ending open defecation in the country. Nigeria will be considered in the second tranche of $5 million so as to replicate the feat in more LAGs of the country,” he said.

US to sell warplanes to Nigeria in fight against Boko Haram

The Trump administration will move forward with the sale of high-tech aircraft to Nigeria for its campaign against Boko Haram Islamic extremists despite concerns over abuses committed by the African nation's security forces, according to U.S. officials.

Congress is expected to receive formal notification within weeks, setting in motion a deal with Nigeria that the Obama administration had planned to approve at the very end of Barack Obama's presidency. The arrangement will call for Nigeria to purchase up to 12 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft with sophisticated targeting gear for nearly $600 million, one of the officials said.

The officials were not authorized to discuss the terms of the sale publicly and requested anonymity to speak about internal diplomatic conversations.

Though President Donald Trump has made clear his intention to approve the sale of the aircraft, the National Security Council is still working on the issue. Military sales to several other countries are also expected to be approved but are caught up in an ongoing White House review. Nigeria has been trying to buy the aircraft since 2015.

The Nigerian air force has been accused of bombing civilian targets at least three times in recent years. In the worst incident, a fighter jet on Jan. 17 repeatedly bombed a camp at Rann, near the border with Cameroon, where civilians had fled from Boko Haram. Between 100 and 236 civilians and aid workers were killed, according to official and community leaders' counts.

That bombing occurred on the same day the Obama administration intended to officially notify Congress the sale would go forward. Instead, it was abruptly put on hold, according to an individual who worked on the issue during Obama's presidency. Days later, Trump was inaugurated.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said this past week that he supported the A-29 deal to Nigeria as well as the sale of U.S.-made fighter jets to Bahrain that had been stripped of human rights caveats imposed by the Obama administration.

Under Obama, the U.S. said Bahrain failed to make promised political and human rights reforms after its Sunni-ruled government crushed Arab Spring protests five years ago.

"We need to deal with human rights issues, but not on weapons sales," Corker said.

The State Department said in a 2016 report that the Nigerian government has taken "few steps to investigate or prosecute officials who committed violations, whether in the security forces or elsewhere in the government, and impunity remained widespread at all levels of government."

Amnesty International has accused Nigeria's military of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the extrajudicial killings of an estimated 8,000 Boko Haram suspects. President Muhammadu Buhari promised to investigate the alleged abuses after he won office in March 2015, but no soldier has been prosecuted and thousands of people remain in illegal military detention. Nigeria's military has denied the allegations.

The A-29 sale would improve the U.S. relationship with Nigeria, Africa's largest consumer market of 170 million people, the continent's biggest economy and its second-largest oil producer. Nigeria also is strategically located on the edge of the Sahel, the largely lawless semi-desert region bridging north and sub-Saharan Africa where experts warn Islamic extremists like the Nigeria-based Boko Haram may expand their reach.

The aircraft deal also would satisfy Trump's priorities to support nations fighting Islamic uprisings, boost U.S. manufacturing and create high-wage jobs at home. The A-29 aircraft, which allow pilots to pinpoint targets at night, are assembled in Jacksonville, Florida.

"It's hard to argue that any country in Africa is more important than Nigeria for the geopolitical and other strategic interests of the U.S.," said J. Peter Pham, vice president of the Atlantic Council in Washington and head of its Africa Center.

Once Congress is officially notified of the sale, lawmakers who want to derail it have 30 days to pass veto-proof legislation. That's a high hurdle given Corker's support. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, also said he backs the sale.

"We've really got to try to do what we can to contain them," McCain said of Boko Haram.

In Trump's first phone call with Buhari in February, he "assured the Nigerian president of U.S. readiness to cut a new deal in helping Nigeria in terms of military weapons to combat terrorism," according to Buhari's office.

A Feb. 15 White House statement that provided a summary of the call said "President Trump expressed support for the sale of aircraft from the United States to support Nigeria's fight against Boko Haram."

Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in mid-February he was "leery" of the sale because of the Nigerian military's impunity. Cardin said this week he's not trying to block the deal.

"Ultimately we hope that the sale goes forward," he said. "But there is progress that needs to be made in protecting the civilian population."

Friday, April 7, 2017

Video - Racism against Nigerians in India

Endurance Amarawa, Ibgiya Malu Chukwuma, Precious Amalsima were admitted in Kailash Hospital after racial attacks on African nationals near Pari Chowk on March 28, 2017 in Greater Noida, India.

Ademola Odujinrin becomes first Nigerian to fly around the world

Nigerian airline pilot Ademola Odujinrin, known as “Lola”, has become the first African to fly solo around the world, his foundation Transcend said in a statement Thursday.

The 38-year-old Nigerian left Washington in September last year abord a Cirrus SR22, a small, single engine airplane, and stopped in more than 15 countries on five continents during the journey, according to the statement.

Odujinrin landed at his starting point at Dulles Airport, just outside the American capital on March 29. “I want African children to think: ‘I can do this too!'” Odujinrin said. The website Earthrounders lists Odujinrin as the first African among the 120 pilots who have flown around the world solo since American Wiley Post became the first to do so in 1933. A commercial airline pilot since 2011, Odujinrin works for Air Djibouti, which partially financed the project.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Video - Teenagers hope to bring Nigeria boxing glory at 2020 Olympics

Two teenage boxers have set their sights on representing Nigeria in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. The country used to be an African boxing powerhouse, and these two young women are hoping to return the country to its glory days.

Former oil minister of Nigeria charged with money-laundering

Nigeria's Federal High Court has charged a former oil minister with money-laundering in an election bribery scandal. Diezani Allison-Madueke is the first minister from former President Goodluck Jonathan's Cabinet to be formally charged.

Prosecutors allege that she paid bribes totaling nearly $1.4 million to three electoral officials the day before the March 2015 presidential elections.

A former national security adviser has told the High Court that $2.1 billion was diverted from the war on Boko Haram Islamic extremists for bribes to ensure Jonathan won the election.

Allison-Madueke was absent when charges were read Wednesday. She has been in London since Jonathan lost the 2015 elections. British National Crime Agency officers detained her briefly in 2015 for questioning about alleged money-laundering.

Dog saves wedding guests from suicide bomber in Nigeria

A dog is being credited with saving lives by intervening to stop a suicide bomber who was attempted to enter a wedding party near Maiduguri, Nigeria.

Army radio says that the dog grappled with the teen girl bomber until the explosives went off, killing them both, as NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

"Most Belbelo villagers were reportedly at the wedding when the dog pounced on the would-be suicide bomber, who was reportedly hovering on the outskirts of the ceremony on Sunday morning," Ofeibea adds.

The local Vanguard newspaper states that the bomber, "whose original mission appeared to have been thwarted, detonated her explosives while battling to wriggle herself from the canine grip of the dog."

Buba Ahmed, who lives in the area, told the Associated Press that the "guests are grateful that the dog sacrificed itself to save their lives." Police spokesman Victor Isuku also confirmed the incident to the wire service.

The Nigerian military has launched a major offensive against Boko Haram militants and rolled back their territory in the north of the country, though the militants continue to mount attacks.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Germany to deport 12,000 Nigerians

German government has concluded plans to deport 12,000 Nigerians who are seeking asylum in the country.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on diaspora affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa hinted that the German embassy in Nigeria has intimated her office about the plans to repatriate 12,000 Nigerians who are seeking asylum in the country.

She describes the development as unfortunate, adding that 128 Nigerians also died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Dabiri-Erewa disclosed yesterday at the public presentation of two books “From Libya with Tears’’ and “Practical News and Feature Writing’’ written by former Managing Editor/Director of News Agency of Nigeria, Mr Dele Bodunde. “Just some days ago, 128 Nigerians died in the Mediterranean sea out of 576. Most of them were from West African countries and they were on their way to Europe.

“Now, this is an unfortunate incident and I think it is better to remain in Nigeria and keep struggling, instead of making desperate journeys that could take their lives,’’ she said Dabiri-Erewa, who was represented by her Special Assistant on Media, Mr Abdul-Rahman Balogun said some Nigerians had been trapped in Libya and were subjected to various inhuman treatments and that only the intervention of the Federal Government had ensured the return of many. 

The Presidential aide commended Bodunde for writing a book on the travails of Nigerians in Libya, saying the work could not have come at a better time. Also speaking at the occasion, a former governor of Ogun State and a veteran journalist, Chief Olusegun Osoba, said there was the need for journalists to constantly update themselves with the requisite skills of the profession. According to Osoba, the main problem to the development of the profession is a deficit in skills.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Video - 22 women and girls abducted by Boko Haram in separate attacks

Boko Haram terrorists have reportedly abducted 22 women and girls in two separate raids on rural communities in northeast Borno State in Nigeria. The insurgents reportedly raided Pulka community close to the Nigerian border with Cameroon and later attacked Dumba, a community near Lake Chad and made away with the women and girls as well as food stuff. But the Nigerian Army has denied both attacks.

Nigerian to start registering unemployed by April 5th

The Federal Government has said all is set for the commencement of online registration of unemployed persons in the country on Wednesday April 5th 2017.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Deputy Director, Information & Public Relations, National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Edmund Onwuliri on Monday.

According to him, the development was part of the federal government’s plan to develop and maintain a robust database of unemployed persons and for job provision.

He explained that the registration was in compliance with the third mandate of the NDE which required it “to obtain and maintain a data bank on employment and vacancies in the country with a view to acting as a clearing house to link job seekers with vacancies in collaboration with other government agencies.”

He said: “The online portal which goes live on Wednesday April 5, 2017, is designed to capture the relevant details of any unemployed person. It will equally serve as a job exchange portal that will link job seekers and employers.

“There will be a practical demonstration of the workings of the portal at the NDE stand at the on-going 28th edition of the Enugu International Trade on Thursday April 6, 2017. However, the portal can be accessed by logging on to

“The Directorate sees this initiative as a bold step towards deepening the effectiveness of its employment creation strategies and a critical input into the process of designing, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes and schemes.

“The online portal will also serve as a meeting point for job seekers and employers thereby reducing the cumbersome process of recruitment among employers of skilled labour in the private and public sectors.”

Monday, April 3, 2017

Video - Nigerians in India concerned about their safety following recent attacks

African students in India continue to live in fear, and now lock themselves indoors, fearing a resurgence in violence. There has been a spate in attacks on African nationals in and around the capital New Delhi in the recent past. Just a week ago, four Nigerian students were thrashed in a shopping mall in Greater Noida. The mob accused the Nigerian community of supplying drugs to a pupil, who allegedly died from a drug overdose. There are currently 4,000 students from Africa studying in various colleges and private universities in Greater Noida. Some say they have been facing discrimination and racial prejudice, since landing in India.

Vaccine cost cripples response to meningitis outbreak in Nigeria

Nigeria does not have enough vaccine doses to deal with a deadly meningitis outbreak because they are too expensive, a senior official has said.

Each vaccine dose costs $50, and only 500,000 doses are currently available, Dr Chikuwe Ihekuwazu, head of Nigeria's Centre for Disease Control said.

The outbreak which is said to be spreading rapidly has already killed more than 300 people.

It is the worst to hit Nigeria since 2009 when it killed 156 people.

Since December, 2,524 cases including 328 deaths have been reported from across the country.

The predominant type of meningitis causing the outbreak is type C, which is unusual.

Nigeria, which lies on the meningitis belt, stretching from the Sahel region to the Horn of Africa, is used to type A meningitis outbreaks.

"The government has mounted a significant response which will culminate in a broad vaccination campaign in the epicentre of the outbreak which is Zanfara state in north-west of Nigeria," Dr Chikuwe told the BBC's Newsday programme.
More doses 'needed'

"For this meningitis C, there is no widely available vaccine globally and the one that is available is extremely expensive."

Nigeria applied to a global stock held by the World Health Organization and 500,000 doses were released to the country.

But the scale of the outbreak means more doses are needed, with an additional stock of 800,000 expected to be shipped from the UK.

Over the weekend, the government urged Nigerians not to panic, noting that the epidemic is not unique to Nigeria.

Cases are reported in neighbouring countries such as Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Togo and Burkina Faso, the health ministry said.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Video - Meningitis kills 269 people in Nigeria

We begin the hour in Nigeria where an outbreak of meningitis has killed 269 people in recent weeks. According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, 1,828 suspected cases of meningitis were reported in 15 of the country's 36 states. The centre said on its website that 33 people died of meningitis in 2016. The current outbreak is the worst in Nigeria since 2009 when it killed hundreds. The disease is spreading amidst fears it could be out of control if refugee camps, prisons and police cells become affected through crowds. The Nigerian government says that the current outbreak was caused by a new strain and thereby requires a different type of vaccine. Nigeria lies on the meningitis belt, stretching from the Sahel region to the Horn of Africa, where outbreaks occur regularly.

Indian ambassador summoned in Nigeria over student attacks

Nigeria summoned the Indian ambassador to Abuja on Wednesday following violent mob attacks on Nigerian students in India, the country's state news agency reported.

Hundreds of residents of Greater Noida, a satellite city of New Delhi, went on a violent rampage on Monday, attacking Africans following the death of local a teenage boy of a suspected drug overdose.

India should ensure the immediate arrest and prosecution of those behind the attacks, permanent secretary at the ministry of foreign affairs, Olushola Enikanolaiye, said after meeting Nagabushana Reddy - the Indian ambassador.

“This is not the first time this would happen, Nigerians have suffered similar attacks in the past," Enikanolaiye was quoted by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

"So, what we will like to see on this occasion is that the perpetrator should be arrested. And we want to see diligent prosecution so that it would serve as a deterrent to those who think they can take laws into their hands and harass students who are going about their studies." Enikanolaiye said.

A female Nigerian student was attacked on Wednesday, while another five Nigerian students were attacked on Monday by a mob in a mall. A Kenyan woman was dragged out of a taxi and beaten by mob in the satellite city on Wednesday, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Police said they have arrested five people and booked more than 1,000 suspects in connection with the attacks. They also said several people involved in the incident had been identified from video clips of the attacks.

The country's foreign affairs minister Sushma Swaraj also ordered an "impartial" inquiry into the attacks on Nigerian students, urging the newly-appointed Uttar Pradesh state Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, to ensure the safety of Africans in Greater Noida.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Video - Nigerian students beaten by mob in India

To India now, and we're following an attack against Nigerian students by a crowd in the capital, New Delhi. India's Foreign Ministry has vowed to investigate. At least five Nigerian students were injured in Monday's incident. Affected students have been sharing their ordeal. The crowd was angry at the death of a local teenager from an apparent drug overdose. Crowds turned on Nigerian and other African students after the teen's family blamed them for giving him the narcotics. Several attacks have been reported against African nationals in New Delhi. Last year, a Congolese student was stoned to death.

Nigerian court rules Sprite and Fanta poisonous

A high court judge in Nigeria has ruled that some popular soft drinks sold under the Coca-Cola brand could be poisonous.

Bottles and cans of Fanta and Sprite in Nigeria may soon come with written health warnings after Justice Adedayo Oyebanji ordered the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) - the local manufacturer of the soft drinks - to place labels on the beverages to inform consumers against drinking them with vitamin C, according to a CNN report citing local sources.

Coca-Cola said the claims are inaccurate and unsupported by science.

“All our products are safe and strictly adhere to regulations in the countries where they are sold while complying with our company’s stringent global safety and quality standards,” a spokesperson for Coca-Cola told the Independent.

Asked about drinks sold in the UK, Coca-Cola said: “Everywhere in the world, we review and evolve our recipes to meet the local market’s needs and tastes. All of the drinks that are sold in Great Britain are manufactured locally. Our priority is always to provide great tasting, affordable drinks with the same high level of quality regardless of where they are sold.”

The Lagos High Court ruled that high levels of benzoic acid and additives in Coca-Cola’s soft drinks could pose a health risk to consumers when mixed with ascorbic acid, commonly known as vitamin C.

The judge also gave a fine equivalent to $6,350 (£5,115) to the National Agency For Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for failing to ensure health standards.

"It is manifest that NAFDAC has been grossly irresponsible in its regulatory duties to the consumers of Fanta and Sprite manufactured by Nigeria Bottling Company," the judge said.

"NAFDAC has failed the citizens of this great nation by its certification as satisfactory for human consumption products [...] which become poisonous in the presence of ascorbic acid," he added.

The ruling was the result of a nine-year-long court battle initiated by Nigerian businessman Fijabi Adebo.

Mr Adebo’s drinks company attempted to export the drinks to the UK in 2007. However, the beverages were confiscated by UK customs and after being tested by UK health authorities they were deemed unsafe for human consumption and destroyed.

Mr Adebo then sued NBC, which had sold him the products.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Adebo said: "Initially they were flexing their muscles, which dragged [out] the process. I went to court to compel Nafdac to do its duty.

"We shouldn't have a product that is considered substandard in Europe."

NBC lawyers argued that the products were not intended for export but the defense was rejected by the judge.

"Soft drinks manufactured by Nigeria Bottling Company ought to be fit for human consumption irrespective of colour or creed," the judge said.

Both the NBC and NAFDAC are appealing against the ruling.

“Both Benzoic Acid and Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) are ingredients approved by international food safety regulators and used in many food and beverage products around the world. These ingredients are also used in combination in some products within levels which may differ from one country to another as approved by the respective national food and drug regulators in line with the range prescribed by CODEX, the joint intergovernmental body responsible for harmonizing international food standards,” NBC said in a statement.

Nigeria's health ministry published a statement reassuring Nigerians that the drinks are safe for human consumption.

However it also advised all Nigerians to take medicine with potable water as this “would help to prevent unexpected drug-food interactions”. It also “encourages” all bottling companies to “insert advisory warning” on all products as necessary.

Customers took it to Twitter to express their anger and call for a boycott after the ruling was made public.

"No longer drinking Coca Cola products in Nigeria. Short story, they are not fit for consumption," Onye Nkuzi, based in Nigeria, tweeted.

"Nigerians should boycott Coca-Cola products until foreign experts come to certify their products in Nigeria safe for consumption," Henry Asede said on Twitter.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Video - Nigerian Central Bank sets new exchange rate for certain consumers

Nigeria has set a new naira exchange rate for consumers with certain foreign expenses and stepped up dollar sales on the official market to narrow the spread with the black market. Analysts doubted whether the moves would draw investors back to the suffering economy. The regulator said Nigerians can now get the dollar at N360 across all commercial banks within the country. Nigeria is battling a currency crisis brought on by low oil prices. The prices have tipped its economy into a recession, hammered its dollar reserves and created chronic dollar shortages, frustrating businesses and individuals. The central bank, opposed to a free naira float, has been selling the U.S. currency on the official currency market to try to narrow the spread with the black market rate, which was at 390 last week, albeit down from 520 to the dollar a month ago.

Nigeria records increase in oil rig count

NIGERIA’S oil rig count slightly increased to 26 in February, from the 25 recorded in January, this year, Baker Hughes Incorporated and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, secretariat data shows.

But the nation remains number eight out of the 13 – member OPEC, whose total rig count also slightly increased to 554, from the 550 recorded in January. The data showed that Nigeria’s rig count still falls below the 30 recorded about this time in 2015 and 34 recorded in 2014. Among OPEC members, Saudi Arabia led with a rig count of 155, followed by Venezuela, 96, Iran, 61, Kuwait, 59, Algeria, 50, United Arab Emirate, 49, Iraq, 40, Qatar, 11, Ecuador, 7, Angola, 3, Libya, 1, Gabon, 0. Africa’s non OPEC members still maintained the 16 rig count it recorded in January. “Regulatory uncertainty has resulted in fewer investments in new oil and natural gas projects, and no licensing round has occurred since 2007. 

The amount of money that Nigeria loses every year from not passing the PIB is estimated to be as high as $15bn,” the United States Energy Information Administration said in its ‘Nigeria Brief’. It indicated that Nigeria has the second-largest amount of proven crude oil reserves in Africa, but exploration activity has slowed. 

Rising security problems, coupled with regulatory uncertainty, have contributed to decreased exploration,” the EIA said. According to the agency, the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, which was initially proposed in 2008, is expected to change the organisational structure and fiscal terms governing the oil and natural gas industry if it becomes law. “International oil companies are concerned that proposed changes to fiscal terms may make some projects commercially unviable, particularly deepwater projects that involve greater capital spending,” it stated. The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had recently said the agreement by OPEC and non-OPEC producers to cut production with a view to stabilising prices was already yielding results for Nigeria. 

He said higher oil prices and a long-term plan for production were spearheading the country’s efforts to get its oil and gas sector back on track. Kachikwu explained that tackling militancy in the Niger Delta communities was a high priority for the government, which would produce far-reaching benefits. “We can already see that our efforts to create a more enabling environment and increase stability are producing positive responses from investors,” he said. Also speaking on the issue, the Chief Executive Officer of Tecon Oil Services, Mr. Casmir Maduafokwa, said that the vital measurement of the level of activity in the oil sector is the level of rig activity. “The rig count has been shrinking. In the period 1990 to 1991, the rig count was close to 50. The current rig count is below 30. 

We have a lot of stacked rigs. We also have four workover units stashed. Even with no income, you have to maintain them. “There are lots of idle rigs in the market. The rig activity normally drives a lot of other activities. If you pull a rig out of the system, all these services basically dry up. The oil companies are even smart. They have call-off provisions. You can invest and if there is no work, you are not paid a dime. The point is that the oil sector especially the joint venture aspect has performed poorly,” he added.

Meningitis outbreak kills 140 in Nigeria

An outbreak of meningitis in several states of Nigeria has killed at least 140 people, officials say.

It has been reported over the last week in six states and has so far infected more than 1,000 people, the Abuja Centre for Disease Control says.

Meningitis causes an acute inflammation of the outer layers of the brain and spinal cord.

The current outbreak is the worst in Nigeria since 2009 when it killed at least 156 people.

The disease is spreading amidst fears it could be out of control if refugee camps, prisons and police cells become affected through crowds, the BBC's Chris Ewokor in Abuja says.

Vaccination is an effective way of preventing against meningitis.

However, a new strain, which may have been imported from a neighbouring country is now prevalent in Nigeria and requires a different type of vaccine, Nigerian Minister of Health Isaac Adewole said.

The seasonal outbreak has been attributed to cold nights, dusty winds and dry weather, which were aggravated by traditional beliefs, poor hygiene, and overpopulation, our reporter says.

Nigeria lies on the meningitis belt, stretching from the Sahel region to the Horn of Africa, where outbreaks occur regularly.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Video - Nigeria eyeing to capture a sprint medal at the Tokyo 2020

A few years ago, Nigeria was a dominant force in athletics Track and Field events. Nigerian sprinters were ranked among the best in the world, often competing with the Americans and Jamaicans. The country has produced among the highest numbers of sub-10 runners in the 100 meters in Africa. But athletics has taken a nosedive in the country. In the last two Olympics, Nigeria did not win a single medal. But one young Nigerian is driving an initiative to change that in the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 as CGTN's Deji Badmus now reports.

Video - CGTN speaks to a survivor of the Boko Haram insurgency

Here’s another CGTN special report out of Chad. The Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria has been affecting the Lake Chad Basin, and has brought the entire region to the brink of famine. Thousands live in camps for the displaced. And they're running out of critical aid. But for these Nigerian refugees, returning home isn't an option. CGTN's Peninah Karibe met with a survivor of a massacre in the Nigerian town of Baga. Hundreds were slaughtered there.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Video - Aviation unions in Nigeria shutdown Arik Air for not reinstating sacked members

Aviation unions have shut down Arik Air, the largest airline in Nigeria. The unions, had threatened to shut down the airline following Arik management's failure to reinstate its sacked members. With regards to the Airline, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria had taken over Arik as a result of the airline's high debts. AMCON had thereafter appointed Roy Ilegbodu as manager of the airline. The new management was shortly however accused of intolerance to unions. It was alleged that the new management, through a recent circular, warned the workers not to join the unions in the industry and had refused to address all the pending issues affecting the workers. Staff at the airline shut down its operations, as the entrance of the airline's office at the Lagos airport was barricaded.

Libya deports 159 Nigerians

Libyan authorities on Thursday flew home 159 Nigerian migrants stranded after failing to reach Europe, in the second such voluntary repatriation operation this week. “In coordination with the IOM (International Organization for Migration), we are repatriating 159 Nigerians… including three infants,” Badreddine Ben Hamed, head of Libya’s anti-illegal immigration force, told AFP at Mitiga airport.

The Nigerians, wearing tracksuits and new sneakers, were driven to the airport near the Libyan capital in two buses. “I wish I could go to Europe but I can’t,” said a woman called Fate, carrying a baby in her arms. “I’m happy to be going home,” said another Nigerian woman. IOM head William Lacy Swing, who was in Tripoli on Wednesday, visited a reception centre for migrants accompanied by the UN special envoy for Libya, Martin Kobler.

“We can no longer turn our back on the communities affected by the current migration crisis” in Libya, said Swing, who met with Libyan officials. Kobler said it was “a humanitarian imperative” to improve the living conditions of migrants and help with repatriations.

“Voluntary return must be assisted,” he wrote on Twitter. A group of 150 nationals of the Ivory Coast, gathered from detention centres around Libya, were flown home on Tuesday. Six years since a revolution that toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi, Libya has become a key departure point for clandestine migration to Europe via perilous boat crossings of the Mediterranean. The IOM has said 521 migrants died in the Mediterranean from January 1 to March 5, 2017.


48-hour online visa application system launched in Nigeria

Nigeria has launched an online system aimed at enabling business executives to apply for a visa online and collect it on arrival 48 hours later, its immigration service said on Thursday.

The move to ease visa rules in the West African country follows complaints from foreign executives that obstructive embassy officials made it difficult to enter the country.

Under the new system, travellers must register with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and provide details including travel document information, after which a letter of approval may be issued and the visa collected on arrival.

Mohammed Babandede, comptroller general of the NIS, said the facility was in line with the government's "policy on creation of a conducive environment to attract foreign high net worth investors and professionals into the economy".

Overseas investors have mainly stayed away from Africa's largest economy after being put off by a gap of around 30 percent between the official rate of the naira currency, controlled by the central bank, and rates on the parallel market.

Nigeria, an OPEC member, is in recession for the first time in 25 years largely due to low oil prices.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Video - Suicide attackers target camps for displaced people in Maiduguri

Multiple blasts have rocked camps for internally displaced people in the North-eastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri. Two blasts took place at camps for Nigerians fleeing Boko Haram's insurgency. That's according to Borno State Police Commander Damian Chukwu. At least four people have been killed and nearly 20 others injured in the attacks. All of the suicide bombers involved in the attacks have been killed. Boko Haram has been waging an insurgency in the region for years now. It's believed the ISIL-affiliated group has killed at least a hundred thousand people over the years.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Video - Nigeria introduces new immigration regulations

Nigeria has unveiled a new immigration policy to check the entry of terrorists and other trans-border crimes in the country. According to the country's Interior minister, the policy known as Immigration Regulations 2017, is also aimed at fast-tracking the ease of doing business in Nigeria. Abdulrahman Dambazau says new regulations would include temporary permit, visa on arrival, entry for business purposes and immigrants register among others. He said new documents to be issued will go a long way in tackling terrorism and herders/farmers clashes in the country.

Bomb blast kills 3 in Maiduguri, Nigeria

At least three people have been killed and 18 others wounded in multiple suicide blasts at a refugee camp on the outskirts of the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, security sources told Al Jazeera.

Police said five male suicide bombers detonated explosives at the camp which is located at the Muna Garage area of the city in the early hours of Wednesday.

Those wounded were taken to hospital to receive treatment.

The blasts triggered fires which burned down tents in the vast Muna camp, Tijjani Lumani, a coordinator at the camp told the AFP news agency.

"There were four explosions inside the camp. The bombers struck at different locations around 4:30 am." Lumani said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Maiduguri has been frequently targeted by fighters of the Boko Haram armed group.

According to eyewitnesses, the bombers had sneaked into the camps late on Tuesday night alongside those who sell charcoal to refugees, who use it to cook their food.

Most of the people living there are those who have fled their homes due to the spate of attacks by Boko Haram in the country's northeast.

Wednesday's blasts were the latest blamed on suicide bombers, who continue to pose a threat to civilians despite military claims of success against Boko Haram.

Four people were killed on Saturday when suicide bombers blew themselves up in a village near the city.

On Tuesday, Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari met security chiefs in the capital Abuja to review the security situation in the country. The nearly seven years Boko Haram crisis topped the agenda of the review, according to a presidential aide.

Maiduguri, the state capital of Borno state, is the birthplace of the Boko Haram insurgency, which has claimed the lives of over 20,000 people and forced 2.6 million from their homes since 2009.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Nigeria ranked 6th happiest country in Africa

Nigeria has been ranked 6th in Africa in the latest World Happiness Report of 2017 and 95th in the World. The Report, ranks 155 countries by their happiness levels.

Despite the economic recession, Nigerians are Africa’s sixth happiest people, according to the new report released on Monday that called on nations to build social trust and equality to improve the wellbeing of their citizens.

Algeria leads the rest of Africa in happiness, followed by Mauritius. Strife-torn Libya is surprisingly ranked third, ahead of Morocco.

And even a bigger surprise, another crisis-torn nation, Somalia is Africa’s fifth happiest country ahead of Nigeria and South Africa, ranked 7th. Tunisia is eighth and Egypt ninth, while Sierra Leone is tenth.

At the bottom ten are Benin, Madagascar, South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and the worst of them, Central African Republic.

On the global stage, Norway displaced Denmark as the world’s number one happiest nation.

The Nordic nations are the most content, according to the World Happiness Report 2017 produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a landmark survey of the state of global happiness, first published by the United Nations in 2012.

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Syria and Yemen, are the least happy of the 155 countries ranked in the fifth annual report released at the United Nations.

“Happy countries are the ones that have a healthy balance of prosperity, as conventionally measured, and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government,” Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the SDSN and a special advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General, said in an interview.

The aim of the report, he added, is to provide another tool for governments, business and civil society to help their countries find a better way to wellbeing.

Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden rounded out the top ten countries.

Germany was ranked 16, followed by the United Kingdom (19) and France (31). The United States dropped one spot to 14.

Sachs said the United States is falling in the ranking due to inequality, distrust and corruption. Economic measures that the administration of President Donald Trump is trying to pursue, he added, will make things worse.

The rankings are based on six factors — per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business.

“The lowest countries are typically marked by low values in all six variables,” said the report, produced with the support of the Ernesto Illy Foundation.

Sachs would like nations to follow United Arab Emirates and other countries that have appointed Ministers of Happiness.

The report also shows that Africans are optimistic about the future, with Nigerians the leaders in this regard.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Video - Nigerian businessmen eager for xenophobic tensions to settle

A high level Nigerian delegation is visit South Africa this week to discuss the recent xenophobic attacks. Tensions flared between Nigerian and South African residents in and around Johannesburg in recent weeks. There have been several attempts to quell the violence but Nigerian nationals are still being targeted. Well known South African brands MTN, Shoprite and DSTV run successful businesses in Nigeria. Nigerian run businesses in South Africa are also thriving. However the recent violence has raised concerns around the relationship between the two countries and the businesses run by citizens of the two countries. Sumitra Nydoo caught up with a Nigerian businessman who's been living in South Africa for over 20 years.

EFCC seize large bundles of cash at Kaduna Airport in Nigeria

Large sacks containing bundles of "crispy" banknotes worth a total of $155,000 (£130,000) have been seized at a Nigerian airport, officials say.

The cash, in the local naira currency, was found near Kaduna airport's check-in and was still in sealed packs.

An investigation is under way to trace the source of the cash, a spokesman for Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says.

Tackling corruption was a key election pledge for President Muhammadu Buhari.

"Operatives [of the EFCC] intercepted a sum of 49m naira in five large black 150kg... sacks following a tip off," the EFCC said on its website.

It added that investigations are "in top gear" to find the "culprits behind the attempted illegal movement of the cash".

EFCC official Ibrahim Bappah said the cash haul, made up of "crispy naira notes", was discovered on Tuesday when airport security detected a distinctive aroma during a routine screening.

It is not known where the cash were being sent, and the EFCC has said it is looking into whether the money is linked to any crime.

The discovery of the money at the airport fits into a pattern of cash being found by the anti-graft team.

In February the EFCC seized nearly $1.75m in cash at a house belonging to the former boss of the country's giant oil firm.

In another case, a corruption-related probe against the former minister of petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, resulted in a federal high court directing the confiscation of $150m.

Last year, the commission recovered some cash stashed away in a hole dug at the house of ex-air force chief, Marshal Adesola Amosu.

In this case, Nigerians are very keen to know who left the bundles of crispy notes and what they planned to do with the cash.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Video - Nigerian government unveils comprehensive plan to revive economy by 2020

The Nigerian Government has unveiled a comprehensive plan to get the country's economy out of recession and set it on a strong path of growth. Called the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, it is envisaged that by 2020, Nigeria would have made significant progress towards achieving structural economic change with a more diversified and inclusive economy.

Hate Crime Unit to launch in South Africa to defend Nigerians

South Africa says it will launch an "early warning" system with Nigeria to track and deter xenophobic attacks following a surge in violence in the rainbow nation.

South Africa's Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the new monitor would "help prevent violence" against foreigners and their businesses as she met with Geoffrey Onyeama, her Nigerian counterpart on Monday.

Last month, more than 20 shops were targeted in Atteridgeville, 120km west of Pretoria, while in Rosettenville, an area south of the commercial capital Johannesburg, residents attacked at least 12 houses.

In response to the violence, the Nigerian government called for the African Union to step in and stop the "xenophobic attacks", claiming 20 Nigerians were killed in South Africa last year.

South African authorities have declined to confirm the figure, which may have been the result of other criminal activity, not just anti-immigrant violence.

Nkoana-Mashabane told reporters it was untrue that the attacks were specifically "targeting Nigerians", adding that citizens of other countries were also affected.

She said the monitor would meet every three months and would be made up of representatives from both countries including immigration officials, business associations, and civil society groups.

'Mass attacks'

Onyeama said he had received assurances that Nigerians in South Africa would be able to live in peace and called for an end to "mass attacks".

According to the Nigerian Union in South Africa, there are about 800,000 Nigerians in the country, many of them living in Johannesburg.

A protest march against "migrant crime" was held in Pretoria on February 24 and resulted in violent clashes between crowds of young South African men and migrants from elsewhere in Africa, including Nigerians and Somalis.

Attacks against foreigners and foreign-run businesses have erupted regularly in recent years in South Africa, fuelled by the country's high unemployment and poverty levels.

President Jacob Zuma called for calm and restraint, saying that migrants should not be used as a scapegoat for the country's widespread crime problem.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Video - Nigerian foreign minister due in South Africa for talks

Nigeria's foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama is due in South Africa Monday. The backdrop is a recent strain on relations triggered by a spate of attacks on foreign nationals, particularly Nigerians. Some South Africans claim foreigners are taking their jobs and promoting crime. The South African government has condemned the violence, but blamed criminal elements, rather than xenophobia.

President Buhari resumes work after sick leave

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari wrote to lawmakers informing them that he’s returning to work Monday after more than seven weeks on sick leave in the U.K., presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said on Twitter.

Adesina said Buhari, 74, will be briefed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was acting president during his medical treatment for an undisclosed medical condition. Buhari returned to Nigeria on March 10 and spent the weekend resting. His long absence fueled concern about government paralysis and speculation that he wouldn’t be able to continue in office.

Buhari has been confronting growing opposition in a nation suffering an economic recession amid a slump in the production and prices for oil, its main export, and an Islamist insurgency in the nation’s northeast that he’s failed to quell.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Krispy Kreme to open in Nigeria

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation on Wednesday announced a development agreement with Quality Foods Africa. The agreement will bring 20 Krispy Kreme shops to Nigeria over a period of five years.

“We are thrilled to be expanding into Nigeria, and we are fortunate to be working with an exceptional group,” the Vice President of International at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Michael McGill said.

“The joy of a Krispy Kreme doughnut and coffee is beloved all over the world, and we cannot wait to introduce that joy to the people of Nigeria over the next several years.”

According to Business Week, Quality Foods Africa (QFA) is an African quick service restaurant business focused on providing a dining experience in accordance with top global standards and service quality to Africa’s rapidly growing consumer markets.

“We are delighted to be able to bring the Krispy Kreme brand to Nigeria,” the CEO of QFA, Edmond Sassine said.

“Nigeria is a huge market and we are truly excited about bringing the world’s best doughnuts to one of Africa’s biggest economies.”

This development agreement will make Nigeria the 31st nation with a Krispy Kreme presence worldwide. Nigeria is the second African nation to open Krispy Kreme shops. Krispy Kreme made its African debut in South Africa in 2015.

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation is a global retailer of premium-quality sweet treats, including its signature original glazed doughnut. Headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, U.S.A., the company has offered the highest-quality doughnuts and coffee since it was founded in 1937.

Video - Air passengers struggle as Abuja airport closes for repairs

People travelling to Abuja will have to fly to an airport several hours away in the north of the country and then go by bus, accompanied by armed guards to the city.

Video - Nigeria government assures that country will overcome recession by end 2017

The Nigerian government hopes that the economy will be back on the growth path, and out of a recession by December. The Budget Minister, Udoma Udo Udoma, says that policies needed to ensure that happens are being put in place. He emphasized the need for the 2017 budget to be passed quickly so that its implementation can begin. Nigerian legislators are currently debating the proposed spending plans, for this fiscal year.

Video - President Buhari returns to Nigeria after a 2 month medical leave

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived back home. The president is said to have touched down at the new Kaduna international airport early Friday, amid tight security. Buhari has been on medical leave in London for nearly two months. No official pictures of him or his meetings in London had been posted until Thursday.

The presidency released photographs of him meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. The 74 year old originally planned to stay in London for 10 days. He however, extended his stay twice, saying he needed further rest. His absence sparked concerns as rumours about his health continued to swirl. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has been in charge during his absence.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Video - Nigeria to start leasing national airports to private investors

Nigeria government says it would soon start leasing out all its airports to private investor management. The aviation ministry says the concession plan is aimed at modernizing infrastructure and management in Nigeria Airports.