Friday, October 20, 2017

Video - Former president of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan hails Chinese model of development an inspiration to Africa

Former Nigerian president Jonathan Goodluck has hailed the Chinese model of development to be copied by African countries. Speaking to CGTN, Goodluck said China's model for development especially for small and medium companies is key to the development of nations.

Chief of Football in Nigeria Amaju Pinnick confident country can win 2018 World Cup

Nigeria's Football Association chief Amaju Pinnick was confident that the West African country will win the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia in the light of the preparations the football administrators are putting in place.

Pinnick said Thursday the country, which occupies the 41st position in current FIFA ranking, was well positioned after it had surmounted the challenges that plagued the nation's football.

"With the kind of preparations we are putting in place, I think we can win the World Cup," he told reporters in central Nigeria's city of Jos.

He said the Nigerian government was giving the right support to the local soccer governing body to achieve its aim.

Nigeria was the first African country to qualify for the FIFA 2018 World Cup barely two weeks ago.

No African country has won the FIFA World Cup since its inception in 1930.

1000 Nigerians in jail in Thailand

Nigeria Ambassador to Thailand, Nuhu Bamali, says close to 1000 Nigerians are in prison in the Asian country of Thailand.

Bamali disclosed the shocking revelation on Thursday at the Africa Gems and Jewelry Exhibition and Seminar, in Abuja.

The Ambassador, who did not give details of their offences, also advised Nigerians travelling outside the country to always follow the proper channels.

“One area that was left out by the Honourable Minister was the consular issues. I am very delighted that all the key stakeholders are here in this forum.

“It’s a very serious issue for Nigeria because in Thailand alone, we have close to 1000 people in jail, which is very embarrassing to our country.

“So, I am craving the indulgence of the organisers of this event to counsel genuine investors, so that at least whenever they are traveling outside Nigeria they should go through the proper channel,” the Envoy said.

Bamali, however, assured facilitation of partnership between genuine Nigerian investors and Thais, whom he described as advanced in gems and jewelleries.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Video - Nigeria confirms at least three cases of Monkey pox

Nigeria has confirmed at least three cases of the viral infection monkey pox, with at least 30 more suspected cases across eight states
while more samples are sent to the World Health Organization WHO laboratory in Dakar Senegal for tests.

Health officials from the Center for Disease control says efforts are being made to trace persons who may have come in contact with the infected population.

Four British missionaries kidnapped in Nigeria

Four Britons have been kidnapped in the southern Delta state in Nigeria, according to the police.

The authorities are attempting to rescue the four people, who were taken by unidentified gunmen on 13 October, said Andrew Aniamaka, a spokesman for Delta state police.

Kidnapping for ransom is common in parts of Nigeria. In the past few years, a number of foreigners have been kidnapped in the Niger Delta region, which holds most of the country’s crude oil – Nigeria’s economic mainstay.

“The abductors have not made any contact but we are doing our investigations to know the motive and have them rescued without jeopardising their lives,” said Aniamaka.

“Information available to us shows they are missionaries giving free medical services,” he said, adding that the British nationals had been working in a very rural area.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Video - Nwanko Kanu backs more countries to qualify in future

Retired Nigerian footballer Nwanko Kanu believes any African country can qualify for the world cup. The Nigerian legend believes future finalists must begin early preparations.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Video - Survivor of Chibok girls kidnapping by Boko Haram narrates horrific ordeal

Joy Bishara, a survivor of the April 2014 Chibok girls’ kidnapping by jihadist group Boko Haram on Friday got an opportunity to narrate her ordeal at the United Nations Security Council. She described the happenings of that night, telling of her daring escape from a moving truck.

Video - UN expresses worry over trial of Boko Haram suspects in Nigeria

In West Africa, Nigeria's mass trial of suspected Boko Haram insurgents, has drawn condemnation from the United Nations Human Rights Agency. There's concern the suspects might not get a fair trial, given the secrecy of the trial.

South Africa president Jacob Zuma honoured with statue in Nigeria

President Jacob Zuma has been honoured with yet another statue, this time in Nigeria.

On Saturday, the Imo State unveiled the giant statue and even named a street after the visiting president during his recent trip to the country.

In addition the state governor, Owelle Okorocha, conferred on Zuma the Imo Merit Award, the highest award in the state conferred on those who have made a difference in the development of their communities.

Zuma was on a working visit to Zambia, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo to strengthen socio-economic relations and other co-operations.

Both Nigerians and South Africans were quick to take to social media to comment about the decision.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Video - Farmer pioneering sack farming in Nigeria

A young Nigerian is making waves in the north with his sack farming initiative. Popularly known as the sack farmer, Abdullahi Yakub went into sack farming when he couldn't find a white-collar job after graduating from the University. Today he is making a success out of a farming initiative that is still very new in Nigeria.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Nigerian painter Njideka Akunyili-Crosby wins $625,000 MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant”

Njideka Akunyili-Crosby, a painter and daughter of the late Nigerian minister, Dora Akunyili, has been awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship.

Ms. Akunyili-Crosby was described by the foundation as “a figurative painter whose large-scale works express the hybridity characteristic of transnational experience through choices of subject matter, materials, and techniques.”

The fellowship, which is also referred to as the Genius Grant, awards $625,000 to artists, writers, teachers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and people from all works of life, that have shown exceptional creativity.

The grant is doled out in quarterly installments, made over a period of five years. Amongst past recipients is writer Chimamanda Adichie who received the grant in 2008.

The 24 recipients of the 2017 MacArthur Fellowship are:

• Njideka Akunyili Crowsby – Painter

• Sunil Amrith – Historian

• Greg Asbed – Human Rights Strategist

• Annie Baker – Playwright

• Regina Barzilay – Computer Scientist

• Dawoud Bey – Photographer and Educator

• Emmanuel Candes – Mathematician and Statistician

• Jason De Leon -Anthropologist

• Rhiannon Giddens – Singer, Instrumentalist & Songwriter

• Nikole Hannah-Jones – Journalist

• Cristina Jimenez Moreta – Social Justice Organizer

• Taylor Mac – Theater Artist

• Ramir Nashashibi – Community Leader

• Viet Thanh Nguyen – Fiction Writer & Culture Critic

• Kate Orff – Landscape Architect

• Trevor Paglen – Artist and Geographer

• Betsy Levy Paluck – Psychologist

• Derek Paterson – Historian

• Damon Rich – Designer & Urban Planner

• Stefan Savage – Computer Scientist

• Yuval Sharon – Opera Director & Producer

• Tyshawn Sorey – Composer & Musician

• Gabriel Victora – Immunologist

• Jesmyn Ward – Fiction Writer

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Video - Nigeria to begin trial for 2300 suspected Boko Haram insurgents

Nigeria's government could soon start a mass trial of Boko Haram suspects it has been holding in custody since the start of Boko Haram insurgency. About 2,300 suspected militants are expected stand trial for crimes committed through out the 8 years of Boko Haram insurgency. More than 20,000 are estimated to have been killed and millions displaced in the northeast by Boko Haram.

About 40 Boko Haram militants willing to surrender

The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, in Borno says about 40 Boko Haram insurgents have indicated willingness to surrender to the Corps in the state.

The Commandant of the corps in the state, Ibrahim Abdullahi, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Maiduguri.

Mr. Abdullahi said that the insurgents had indicated their intention to renounce membership of the terrorist group but through an intermediary.

He said that negotiations between the command and the insurgents were conducted through a firewood vendor.

He also said that six insurgents had earlier surrendered to the Corps in the last one month in the state.

The commandant stated that the extremists surrendered voluntarily under the Federal Government’s Safe Corridor Initiative (SCI).

“About 40 of the insurgents have come forward to surrender. They indicated that many of them are willing to lay down their arms,” Abdullahi said.

According to him, the command has also conducted town hall meetings with communities and religious leaders to enhance security in the state.

NAN report that hundreds of the insurgents had surrendered to the Nigerian Army under the SCI in the past three months.

The surrendered insurgents are currently undergoing de-radicalisation process at the Military Rehabilitation Centre, Gombe, to facilitate their reintegration into the society.

Teachers in Kaduna, Nigeria fail pupils' exam

Thousands of primary school teachers in Nigeria's northern Kaduna state are to be sacked after failing the exams they set for their six-year-old pupils.

State governor Nasir El-Rufai said 21,780 teachers, two-thirds of the total, had failed to score 75% or higher on assessments given to pupils.

He said 25,000 new teachers would be recruited to replace them.

Mr El-Rufai made the comments at a meeting with World Bank representatives in the state capital, Kaduna.

"The hiring of teachers in the past was politicised and we intend to change that by bringing in young and qualified primary school teachers to restore the dignity of education in the state," he was quoted as saying by Nigeria's Daily Trust newspaper.

Mr El-Rufai said problems with pupil-teacher ratios across the state would also be addressed.

He said some areas currently had one teacher for every nine pupils while in other areas the ratio was one to 100.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Video - Operations at Nigeria's main sea port almost grounded to a halt

For over two months now operations at Nigeria's main sea port in Lagos have almost grounded to a halt. The roads leading to the port are in bad shape and reconstruction work has been slow. Lines of trucks and tankers trying to access the port now stretch back to over 10 kilometers, making it virtually impossible to drive around the port area. The situation is now taking a serious toll on exporters of agriculture products.

Ban on open drugs markets in Nigeria to take effect in 2019

Open drug markets will be outlawed in Nigeria and shut down by the end of next year, the federal government has said.

The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, made this known on Monday in Lagos at a workshop organised by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation on “The prevention, Detection and Response of Substandard and Falsified medical Products.”

According to a report of the event by Thisday newspaper, the minister said the government would introduce coordinated wholesale centres nationwide for distribution of drugs, to check the menace of fake medical products in Nigeria.

Mr. Adewole said the new measure would ensure that drugs are sourced directly from importers or manufacturers and distributed down to the end users instead of having Nigerians continuing buying drugs from the open drug markets.

He said the ministry had developed a National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG) in 2012 to address Nigeria’s chaotic drug distribution system.

Mr. Adewole said the “Coordinated Wholesale Centres”, which will accommodate open market medicines sellers, had been approved and are being developed in Lagos, Onitsha, Aba and Kano and will commence operation by January 1, 2019.

He said: “Medicine is an important component of healthcare delivery service and without the infusion of medicines; the health care service delivery system of a nation is sterile.

“A good-quality medicine supply system is essential for healthcare delivery. There is a special need to prevent therapeutic drug falsification in order to safeguard against health and maintain trust in healthcare system. The overall scale of trading in medicine and the resultant harm done to global health has not been adequately accessed,” he said.

In his remarks at the workshop, the acting Director General of NAFDAC, Ademola Mogbojuri, noted that the public health implications of substandard and falsified medical products include treatment failure, high treatment cost, development of resistance, loss of confidence in the healthcare providers and healthcare system and may ultimately, result in fatality and death.

Mr. Mogbojuri who noted that the problem has become a serious threat to global public health, said the fight against the menace requires a sustained action by both governmental and non-governmental bodies. 

While noting that single and isolated interventions cannot address the issue of substandard falsified medical products, he called for coordinated actions with international organisations to reduce the practice to the barest minimum.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Video - Children in Nigeria's northeast miss on education due to insecurity

As the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria's northeast drags into its ninth year, children in the region continue to miss out on an education. Many schools remain closed due to insecurity.

Nigeria to begin closed door trials of Boko Haram suspects

Nigeria is set to begin a legal marathon: More than 1,600 suspected Boko Haram members will be going on trial starting Monday. But many observers doubt the trials can be carried out successfully.

Mohammed Tola was surprised when relatives of a number of accused Boko Haram fighters began calling his office a few months ago to ask him to defend the accused in court. Tola's legal offices, situated in the center of Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, is specialized in criminal law. But he and his colleagues have had little experience with terrorism trials to date.

Boko Haram is one of the deadliest terror organizations in Africa. Over the last few years more than 50,000 Nigerians have died in their government's conflict with the Islamist militia. Nevertheless, the lawyer was immediately prepared to take on the task. He says that everyone, even suspected terrorists, have the right to a fair trial. "If public opinion was the only thing that mattered, we would never have fair trials," says Tola.

Overburdened judges

This Monday, some 1,600 suspected Boko Haram members are to go on trial — and each one is to be tried individually. The trials are to take place in the detention center where the accused have been held since their arrests. However, the criminal proceedings have faced criticism before even getting underway. Even Nigerian Minister for Justice Abubakar Malami in a statement made several weeks ago voiced concern about the utter lack of evidence against many of the accused, adding that there is "hardly any qualified personnel available to work through the complex cases before the court."

Nigerian legal expert Mainasara Umar sees three major problems that he says are cause for skepticism. "Four judges have been appointed to hear cases. That is far too few. Furthermore, plaintiffs and witnesses must be afforded better protection. But the most important thing is that cooperation between investigators and prosecutors must function perfectly."

Lawyer Tola fears another problem altogether: The lack of evidence means that investigators will largely have to rely upon defendants' confessions. He knows from experience that violence is often employed in such instances in order to get the accused to talk. "I have had cases in which there were blood stains on signed confessions. Torture was clearly used to get people to sign." He assumes that violent methods are used in about 80 percent of all confessions in Nigeria. And he says that can quickly lead to the wrongful conviction of innocent people — especially when pressure from public opinion mounts.

Calls for a special court

The dimensions of this pending legal marathon against suspected terrorists have no precedent in Nigeria. So far, just 13 trials against Boko Haram members have been completed, only nine of which ended in convictions. Add to that 33 cases that are still ongoing — some for years now. Attorney Tola is preparing for lengthy trial. "I just spoke with a colleague who represents clients accused of having carried out a terror attack in the capital." He says the trial has been dragging on for three years due to the poor body of evidence that has been gathered against the defendants. "And there is no end in sight."

Legal expert Umar is convinced that the Nigerian government must better prepare the courts involved if it is to avoid a legal disaster in the forthcoming 1,600 trials. "I think it would be better if the government appointed a special court to handle the matter." The court, he says, would have to be given sufficient personnel and funding, and be tasked with hearing all terrorism cases — from armed rebellion to kidnapping. Umar says that is the only way to guarantee that trials can be completed in a timely fashion. As he puts it, "Ultimately, justice delayed is justice denied."

Friday, October 6, 2017

Nigerian army ordered to pay N85.8 million for killing civilian

The Nigerian Army has been ordered by the Federal High Court in Lagos to pay N85.5 million for the assault and killing of one Olajide Enilari, a flour merchant.

The verdict came eight years after the deceased died from a brutal assault by soldiers in 2009.

A human rights campaign organization, Access to Justice, dragged the army before the court on behalf of the deceased.

Details of a court judgement dated September 26, revealed that the judge, I. N. Buba, ruled that the assault which led to the death of Enilari was wrong and unlawful.

The Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff, the Attorney General of the Federation and 3 others were named as defendants.

Details made available in the court said that Enilari was brutally assaulted by officers of the Nigerian Army on January 27, 2009 along Airways junction in Apapa, Lagos.

He died due to head injuries sustained during the assault on January 29, 2009, in Lagos.

After careful consideration of the evidence (oral and documentary) of the parties in the suit, the court found no merit in the defence.

The court ruled that the assault, which resulted in the death of the deceased was unlawful, wrong and a gross violation of Olajide’s right to life.

The court ordered the defendants to pay N50 million as aggravated damages, jointly and severally.

It also ordered the payment of N295,000 as special damages to cover for the deceased burial expenses.

It further granted the plaintiffs N35 million for loss and pain caused them by the brutal assault on the deceased which led to his death; and the cost of N250,000 in favour of the plaintiffs.

The total payable amount pegged was N85,545 000.

Reacting to the judgment, a Senior Programme Officer at Access to Justice, Chinelo Chinweze, said, “This climate of impunity feeds the recklessness and unlawfulness of the actions of security forces and law enforcement agencies in varied contexts.

“We see it in Mr. Enilari’s case but it is also seen in the conduct of counter-terrorism warfare in the North-east; in the brutal crackdown against members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, (i.e. Shiites) and of IPOB members.

“For many victims of human rights abuses, this time standard is just enough to discourage them from pursuing redress and justice for acts of impunity.

“We need to reform our judicial procedures to reduce the time taken to meet basic justice needs and deliver needed services.”

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Video - Anxiety rises in Nigeria over Biafra leader Nnamdi Kanu's disappearance

To separatist matters in Africa now, and anxiety is building up in Nigeria, after the apparent disappearance of Indigenous People of Biafra leader Nnamdi Kanu. Kanu has been missing for two weeks now. The family alleges that the army raided his home and took him away, although Nigerian military denies this. Kanu has been leading agitations for secession of the Biafra region from Nigeria.

Boat capsize in Nigeria leaves at least 17 dead

At least 17 people drowned when a boat ferrying around 60 passengers capsized in northwest Nigeria, the National Emergency Management (NEMA) said on Wednesday.

The boat smashed into a tree trunk in the rain-swollen River Niger on Tuesday.

"So far 17 bodies have been removed from the water, 12 yesterday (Tuesday) and another five this morning", NEMA coordinator Suleiman Karim told AFP.

Another 17 passengers were rescued by emergency workers and local divers, Karim said.

"We are still searching for at least 26 people because the 60-passenger boat was full at the time of the accident", he said.

The number on board may have been higher as ferries in the riverine region are usually overloaded, Karim said.

The boat had left Jilbabo village in Kebbi state and was heading to Tetebo village in neighbouring Niger state in central Nigeria when the accident happened.

Capsizes are a frequent occurence in Nigeria, where overcrowding is common and unscrupulous operators flout health and safety norms.

The accident rate typically rises in the May-September rainy season when rivers swell.

Last month 74 people were killed in three separate boat capsizes in northern Nigeria, according to emergency services.

In one instance 56 people drowned when an overloaded boat sank carrying 150 passengers in Kebbi state.

The boat was ferrying local traders from neighbouring Niger Republic to a market in Nigeria.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Video - Brewers showcase drinks at beer festival in Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria has held its first beer festival in Lagos. The event is aimed at promoting the country's top brews. More than 20 beer brands were showcased during the festival, which attracted thousands of people. Nigeria is Africa's second-biggest beer consumer, behind South Africa.

Video - Nigerian volleyball team chases continental glory

It has been week of intensive training for men's national volleyball teams ahead of the 2017 African championships in Egypt. 5th ranked Nigeria hopes to end their trophy drought this year and has boosted the team with new talent.

P2P Bitcoin exchange in Nigeria offers services to all African countries

The Nigerian person-to-person (P2P) bitcoin exchange, Bitkoin.Africa, launched on October 1st. The exchange currently only provides Nigerian users with full functionality, but claims to allow customers from “all other countries” to buy bitcoins.

Nigeria has become host to a P2P bitcoin exchange seeking to facilitate greater access to bitcoin throughout the African region. Bitkoin.Africa has been launched by a team of Nigerian developers including Timi Ajiboye.

The platform currently only allows Nigerian users to post listings to sell bitcoins, however, offers listings to buy to customers from “all other countries.” The exchange provides wallet and escrow services, and facilitates a range of payment methods via Paystack. According to Techmoran, Ajiboye stated that “each Bitkoin Africa account comes with a bitcoin wallet that enables users store, receive and send bitcoin. Bitkoin Africa transactions are carried out online and are facilitated by users’ Nigerian bank accounts or Naira debit cards.”

Timi Ajiboye announced the launch of Bitkoin.Africa via twitter, posting that he and his team had “been working hard on something for the past four months; a bitcoin exchange for Africa.” Ajiboye garnered international attention in 2016 for his and his partner’s involvement in the development of Muslimcondemn – a website which hosts “a collection of all the cases where Muslims have condemned wrongdoings done falsely in the name of Islam” in an attempt to provide a greater public platform for the sentiments of Islamic moderates.

Bitkoin.Africa enters a relatively crowded market of companies providing exchange services to the Nigerian bitcoin community, with Luno, Remitano, and NairaEX already competing for the loyalty of local cryptocurrency users., an e-commerce website claiming to be the first of its kind in Nigeria to solely accept bitcoin as a means of payment, opened its doors in recent months – suggesting that cryptocurrency demand and adoption is growing locally.

Shopnow is reported to have stated that “bitcoin is becoming more popular in Nigeria and today the country has the highest volume of Bitcoin transactions in Africa and according to google trends, Nigeria is the country that searches the word “Bitcoin” the most on in the whole world.” P2P bitcoin trading on localbitcoins has shown a steady rise in volume since November 2016. Weekly trading volume has oscillated between the 900,000,000 – 1,100,000,000 Nigerian Naira area in recent weeks, excluding the sudden spike that established the current all-time high of approximately 1,866,600,000 during the week of the fifth of August.

The increased entrance of Nigerian investors into the cryptocurrency markets has not gone unnoticed by the country’s Central Bank. Last month, the Deputy Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Musa Jimoh, stated that the apex bank “cannot stop the tide of waves generated by the blockchain technology and its derivatives”, during a recent conference in Lagos. Speaking at the same conference, David Isiawe, President of the Information Security Society of Nigeria, stated “the reality… is that the distributed ledger technology, blockchain and cryptocurrency are facts that we must face, whether we like it or not. We cannot wish this reality away.”

Nigeria former first lady accuses the government of witch-hunt

Nigeria's ex-First Lady Patience Jonathan has accused the government 's anti-corruption agency of conducting an "unjustified witch-hunt" against her.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was following a "sinister script to embarrass and browbeat" her, she said in a statement.

Last year, the EFCC froze $15m (£11.4m), which the ex-first lady said was to settle medical bills abroad.

Her husband, Goodluck Jonathan, stepped down in 2015 after losing elections.

He was widely praised for being the first incumbent to give up power voluntarily in Nigeria since its independence in 1961.

His successor, Muhammadu Buhari, vowed to tackle corruption in the government.

Mrs Jonathan said that unlike other former first ladies with pet projects seeking to help the less privileged, her NGOs were "being subjected to indefinite probe and microscopic scrutiny by the Buhari administration".

EFCC head Ibrahim Magu had linked her to all sort of "fake possession and properties around the country", it added.

The EFCC has not yet commented on her statement.

Systematically persecuted

Mrs Jonathan's vehicles had been attacked on the road four times since 2015 and the couple's house in Abuja "was vandalised allegedly by security agents sent by government to secure it, and the items stolen are yet to be recovered", said a statement issued by her media aide and published in full by Nigeria's privately owned Vanguard newspaper.

The statement urged President Buhari to order that the harassment should stop.

"We believe that she is being systematically persecuted and punished because of her unflinching support for her husband during the 2015 elections," it said.

In September, the Committee on Public Petitions in the lower parliamentary chamber, the House of Representatives, asked six banks to unfreeze her accounts, saying it had been done without a court order, local media reported at the time.

The EFCC had ordered that the accounts be frozen as it investigated corruption allegations against her.

Mrs Jonathan denies any wrongdoing.

Central bank of Nigeria printing money to keep government afloat

For a while now, economists and finance types who follow the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have been sounding a low intensity alarm about the CBN’s direct funding of the Nigerian government.

Between December 2013 and April 2017 for instance, the CBN’s “claims on the federal government” went from 678 billion naira to 6.5 trillion naira ($1.8 billion to $17.3 billion)—an almost 10-fold rise. These “claims” are made up of overdrafts, treasury bills, converted bonds and other such lending. For the most part, the issue has remained an obscure one that receives hardly any attention from local media.

But then, a couple of weeks ago, the CBN finally published the personal statements of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members from the July meeting [PDF] and suddenly the alarm bells started ringing. The personal statement of Dr. Doyin Salami, a well-regarded member of the MPC noted for his straight talking, said the CBN was providing a “piggy-bank” service to the federal government. Specifically, he said [page 38]:

Perhaps the most challenging of the present characteristics of the economy in Nigeria is the adoption of a quantitative easing stance by the management of the Central Bank. Monetary data shows a sharp rise in the extent of CBN financing of the government deficit.

He quoted statistics that showed much of the rise in the CBN’s financing of the federal government have come since last December with its purchases of government bonds being the worst culprit with a 20-fold rise in 2017 alone. In effect, the CBN has been printing money to fund the government’s spending. The reason for this is, of course, clear—Nigeria’s government has not been able to recover in any meaningful way from the collapse in oil prices that has now entered its fourth year.

Salami goes on to explain a second order effect of increased government lending. To keep a lid on inflation, the CBN has to balance out the increased government lending with a tightening of the amount of cash banks could lend. It does this by raising the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of banks—effectively taking money out of circulation. Thus, the private sector is “crowded out” for the sake of the government.

That is, the government itself is making it practically impossible for the private sector to pay it the taxes it desperately needs by starving it of the credit it needs to grow. Completing the vicious cycle, the government must then borrow more to fund its spending. A few days ago, it announced plans to raise another $5.5 billion in Eurobondswhich will inevitably raise its debt servicing costs.

A bigger problem with all of this is that it could very well be illegal. The CBN Act of 2007 in section 38(2) says [pdf]:

The total amount of such advances outstanding shall not at any time exceed five per cent of the previous year’s actual revenue of the Federal Government.

One can thus do a quick check to see if the CBN’s lending has broken the law. In the prospectus to the government’s $300 million Diaspora Bond sold in June, it disclosed to the London Stock Exchange that its revenues for 2016 were 5.3 trillion naira [pdf, page 158]. In other words, the CBN could only have legally advanced the government 265 billion naira. The CBN’s figures clearly show it has blown through this limit multiples times over.

But this last week, the CBN governor Godwin Emefiele felt obliged to respond to the controversy, stating “categorically” that the central bank has not over-funded Nigeria’s government. “The government had, on its own, decided that all its funds in banks, both local and foreign currencies, should be moved into the TSA at the CBN,” he said.

Emefiele added: “If a customer of a bank has fixed deposits in an account and needs some spontaneous financing to meet his obligations, his commercial bank can allow him overdraw his account temporarily. That is what is happening.”

Effectively, according to the governor, CBN was lending against the federal government’s deposits in its Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the CBN which currently stand at 5.2 trillion naira. The TSA is a mechanism whereby all cash resources of government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are consolidated in a single account with the CBN. The policy had been half-heartedly implemented for several years but president Buhari finally expanded it to cover the entire government in 2015.

While it will be hard to legally question the CBN Governor’s explanation, it is worth understanding how the TSA works in practice using a personal example.

I recently had to donate to a government owned school in Nigeria for the purchase of some equipment for the students. I asked the school head to send me the school’s bank account details and they replied with a bank account that was clearly the personal bank account of the school’s head. I thought this was a red flag but they then explained why it had to be done that way.

Given that I wanted to make a charitable donation and the school desperately needed the funds, the school head explained that paying it into the school’s official bank account would mean the money was swept by the TSA mechanism to the CBN. The school would then need to go through the considerable bureaucracy of getting the funds back with no guarantee of success. Thus, to avoid this “problem”, they asked that I trust them with the funds by paying it into a private bank account.

This story illustrates the problem with the CBN Governor’s explanation—not all the funds in the TSA belong to the federal government but the CBN has effectively lent against all of it. If I had sent the donation to the school’s official bank account, it would have been counted as part of the balance of funds in the TSA and perhaps the CBN would have increased its funding to the government by a corresponding amount. But the money was only there till the school would have gotten it back for the original purpose for which it was donated.

This is not a distinction that is trivial–many government departments receive foreign funding to carry out projects, for example. The money is swept up into the TSA once received and then drawn down as costs are incurred often several months later. The large TSA balance is thus often subject to sizeable timing differences.

The TSA’s very survival is also threatened by political wrangling every other day. One of the demands by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) before calling off their recent strike was for Universities to be excluded from the TSA regime. It was also the main reason they went on a warning strike last year. ASUU are by no means the only ones who are sworn enemies of the TSA. So far, the government has admirably stood its ground and refused to trade away TSA compliance. But as elections approach and various groups begin to make louder demands from a desperate government, it is not inconceivable that the TSA will be the sacrificial lamb that buys the government favors from one of its numerous clients.

These illustrate just how precarious Nigeria’s finances have become. The CBN is lending the federal government huge sums of money based on a suspicious interpretation of its banking mandate all constructed on ephemeral deposits.

Unlike Quantitative Easing by Federal Reserve and Bank of England that came with built-in mechanisms for their eventual unwinding, there is no clear-cut mechanism by which the CBN can roll back the expansion of its balance sheet.

Nigeria’s economy is by no means out of the woods. The government has just not been able to come to terms with the adjustments it needs to make in the face of stubbornly low oil prices. It has tried to soldier on, perhaps hoping that oil prices will rebound soon.

With growth in government revenues that can match the scale of the gap the CBN is currently funding all but impossible, it is time to end this CBN financing of the federal government before it drags the whole economy down with it.

Minister of State for Petroleum accuses NNPC boss of insubordination

Minister of State for Petroleum Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has accused the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Dr. Maikanti Baru of "insubordination and humiliating conducts" in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The letter, dated August 30, 2017, was circulated widely in the social media yesterday.

The NNPC had announced major appointments and redeployments on August 29, 2017.

The minister, who chairs the NNPC Board, complained in the letter that the NNPC Board, which by NNPC statutes was meant to review appointments and postings, was never briefed about the appointment or redeployment.

"Members of the board learnt of these appointments from the pages of social media and the press release of NNPC," he said in the letter.

"Like the previous reorganizations and repostings done since Dr.Baru resumed as GMD, I was never given the opportunity before the announcements to discuss these appointments. This is so despite being Minister of State Petroleum and Chairman NNPC Board.

"The Board of NNPC which you appointed and, which has met every month since its inauguration and, which by the statutes of NNPC is meant to review these planned appointments and postings, was never briefed. Members of the Board learnt of these appointments from the pages of social media and the Press Release of NNPC,"Kachikwu said.

The minister said he had decided to bring to the attention of the president after one year of tolerating "these disrespectful and humiliating conducts" from Mr.Baru.

Minister wants NNPC reorganisation suspended

He consequently appealed to the president to approve that the recently announced reorganization in NNPC be suspended.

"My prayers most humbly and respectfully are that you save the office of the minister state from further humiliation and disrespect by compelling all parastatals to submit to oversight regulatory mandate and proper supervision," the letter read.

Mr.Kachikwu said he was constrained to write to President Buhari after failing to secure appointment to see the president "despite very many attempts."

The minister also pleaded with the president to save NNPC and the oil industry from collapse arising from the non-transparent practices of the GMD.

It is a normal correspondence - Ministry

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources yesterday said the letter was "a normal procedural correspondence by the Minister to the President relating to developments in parastatals under his supervision."

"It is most distressing to the ministry of petroleum resources that a confidential communication to the President on the performance of one of its parastatals can be made public," spokesman for the ministry Idang Alibi said.

"The focus of the communication was on improving efficiency and deepening transparency in the oil and gas sector for continued investor confidence.

"It is noteworthy that the President has been fully supportive of the efforts of the Ministry to entrench good governance and accountability in the oil and gas sector," he added.

Alibi said the ministry remained focused on achieving measurable progress in the implementation of the ongoing oil sector reforms in line with the mandate of the President.

I haven't seen letter - NNPC spokesman

when contacted about the letter yesterday, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC,NduUghamadu, simply said: "I have not sighted the letter in question neither have I read it... "

He said he wouldn't comment "Until I see such letter."

Between Kachikwu and Baru

There have been little or no clues of a frosty working relationship between the minister and the GMD.

Buhari had in August 2015 appointed Kachikwuas NNPC boss, and named him as Minister in November 2016.

While Kachikwu held sway as NNPC GMD, Baru's name always popped up as his possible replacement.

But in a restructuring exercise at NNPC in March 2016,Mr.Baru was redeployed by Kachikwu from his position then as NNPC's Group Executive Director (Exploration and Production) to the petroleum ministry as Technical Adviser Upstream to the minister.

Baru was however appointed as NNPC GMD on July 4, 2016, while Kachikwu was named as the chairman of the NNPC board.Kachikwu had earlier doubled as minister and NNPC boss.

One of our sources said "Restructuring the NNPC was actually started by Kachikwu when he was the GMD. When Baru came in, he continued with the restructuring but in his own way. The consultants brought in by Kachikwufor the reorganisation exercise were disengaged. I think that was the beginning of the problem between the minister and the GMD."

'They should resolve problem quickly'

A board member of the NNPC, who spoke in confidence, said he was deeply pained that an issue which should have been resolved in camera was thrown to the public galore; thereby subjecting the NNPC to ridicule.

"You cannot rule out scheming in the board of any agency or parastatals and that's exactly what is happening in NNPC. But the most important thing is how the intrigues are managed. It was a serious embarrassment when we read the petition in the social media.

"Of course, all of us in the board are disappointed with the apparent misunderstanding between the minister and the GMD. Yes, there are issues relating to poor communication and consultation.

"But then, these are issues that ought to have been resolved. Remember, we have very prominent people on board, all of them in their own right, including the Chief of Staff to the president.

"Sadly, and for some obvious reasons, the minister ran out of patience and for the fact that he has his ways to the president, he took advantage of that and ensured that his petition was heard.

"We normally meet as at when due; we never missed any of our meetings and even when he was unable to attend for two times because of his tight schedule, the chief of staff had sent his memos.

"This altercation might possibly erode the successes in the oil sector. Remember the crisis we went through when the oil price crashed; but Nigeria was able to find its way at OPEC. At present, fuel price is gradually coming down. I hope this problem would be resolved quickly," he said.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Video - Three million children out of school in Borno state, Nigeria

Close to three million children are in need of an education in Northeast Nigeria- according to UNICEF. The persistent threat from armed group Boko Haram has forced more than half of the schools in Borno State to shut down. In addition to the violence, there is an outbreak of cholera and already most children are suffering from malnutrition. Humanitarian organisations are concerned that the dangers are creating a lost generation of children and the country's future is under threat.

Video - Nigeria turns 57 - President Buhari's full independence speech

Friday, September 22, 2017

Life expectancy increases by 8 years in Nigeria

The life expectancy in Nigeria has increased considerably even though people in many other sub-Sahara African countries still live longer and healthier lives, the Annual Global Burden of Disease Study, published last week in the international medical journal, The Lancet, has revealed.

The study shows that a Nigerian man born in 2016 can expect to live 63.7 years, an increase in life expectancy of seven years over the past decade, while a woman has a life expectancy of 66.4 years, up 8.1 years from 2006.

But the study was quick to stress that illnesses and injuries can take away years of healthy life, adding that a Nigerian male born in 2016 will live approximately 55.5 years in good health, while a female will live a healthy life of approximately 57.2 years.

Nigeria has a higher life expectancy than South Africa , Niger , and Cameroon , but lags behind Kenya , Rwanda , and Ethiopia .

According to the Director, Centre for Healthy Start Initiative, Jacob Olusanya, while lending his voice to the study, said: "Life expectancy in Nigeria is growing, but people in many other sub-Sahara African countries are living longer, healthier lives. Communicable diseases like malaria, diarrhea, lower respiratory diseases, and HIV are still taking the lives of far too many Nigerians. Infants and children are at particular risk from these diseases, and neonatal ailments like sepsis and encephalopathy kill thousands of infants. We have much more work to do," he said.

He said, the top five causes of premature deaths in Nigeria are malaria, diarrheal diseases, HIV, neonatal encephalopathy, and lower respiratory infection, noting that the ailments that cause illnesses can be very different, with iron-deficiency anemia, back pain, and migraines topping the causes of years that people live with disability in Nigeria .

"Deaths of children under five are a persistent health challenge. For every 1,000 live births, 46.6 Nigerian children under the age of five die. That far exceeds the global figure of 38.4, and the regional average of countries in western sub-Sahara Africa , which is 40.7. Only a few countries in the region - such as Niger , Mali , and Chad - have higher rates of under-five mortality.

"Moreover, in 2016, for the first time in modern history, fewer than five million children under age five died in one year, as compared to 1990 when 11 million died," he added.

The study, which is the world's largest scientific collaboration on population health, also shows that globally, countries have saved more lives over the past decade, especially among children under five, but persistent health problems, such as obesity, conflict, and mental illness, comprise a 'triad of troubles,' and prevent people from living long, healthy lives.

Researchers attribute the global health landmark to improvements in increased educational levels of mothers, rising per capita incomes, declining levels of fertility, increased vaccination programmes, mass distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets, improved water and sanitation, and a wide array of other health programmes funded by development funding for health.

"Death is a powerful motivator, both for individuals and for countries, to address diseases that have been killing us at high rates," said the Director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington , Dr. Christopher Murray.

"But, we are being much less motivated to address issues leading to illnesses. A 'triad of troubles' - obesity, conflict, and mental illness, including substance use disorders - poses a stubborn and persistent barrier to active and vigorous lifestyle," he added.

He said the study also shows that one of the most alarming risks in the Global Burden of Diseases (GBD) is excess body weight, adding that the rate of illness related to people being too heavy is rising quickly, and the disease burden can be found in all socio demographic levels. "High body mass index (BMI) is the fourth largest contributor to the loss of healthy life, after high blood pressure, smoking, and high blood sugar.

"Deaths over the past decade due to conflict and terrorism more than doubled. Recent conflicts, such as those in Nigeria , Syria , Yemen , South Sudan, and Libya , are major public health threats, both in regard to casualties and because they lead to long-term physical and mental consequences.

"Mental illness and substance use disorders continued to contribute substantially to the loss of healthy life in 2016, affecting all countries regardless of their socioeconomic status. Treatment rates for mental and substance use disorders remain low. Even in high-income countries where treatment coverage has increased, the prevalence of the most common disorders has not changed."

Murray said the GBD is the largest and most comprehensive epidemiological effort to quantify health loss across places and over time, noting that it draws on the work of over 2,500 collaborators from more than 130 countries and territories.

"IHME coordinates the study. This year, more than 13 billion data points are included; the papers comprise a complete edition of The Lancet. This year's GBD improves upon the previous annual update through new data, improvements in methodology, and a measure for tracking completeness of vital registration information," he said.

Other findings of the study shows that poor diet is associated with one in five deaths globally; non-communicable diseases were responsible for 72 per cent of all deaths worldwide in 2016, in contrast to 58 per cent in 1990. It also shows that within the past decade, diabetes rose in rank order from 17th to 9th leading cause of death in low-middle income countries.

Continuing, the findings show that tobacco is linked to 7.1 million deaths, and in more than 100 countries, smoking was among the leading risk factors for loss of healthy life.

"The leading causes of premature death globally included: ischemic heart disease, stroke, lower respiratory infections, diarrhea-related diseases, and road injuries. Ischemic heart disease was the leading cause of premature death for men in 113 countries and for women in 97 countries.

Only four of the leading 20 causes of disability in 2016 - stroke, COPD, diabetes, and falls -were also leading causes of death," the GBD study shows.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Video - President Buhari urges conflict resolution at UN general assembly

African leaders are also taking part at the UN General assembly. Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari's on his first foreign trip since returning home to Nigeria. Before, he'd been in the UK for medical treatment. The Nigerian leader likened the crisis in Myanmar to what happened during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. He also spoke about democratic processes in Africa, and how it's improving.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Video - Sukur Kingdom of Nigeria fights to preserve UNESCO status

A kingdom in northern Nigeria is trying to recover three years after a devastating attack by Boko Haram. The people of Sukur Kingdom fear they may lose their UNESCO World Heritage status after fighters destroyed 500-year-old buildings and artefacts.

Video - Abuja's Zuma Rock a big attraction to local and foreign visitors

In Nigeria, we discover a popular tourist attraction in the country's capital, Abuja - The Zuma Rock. This is a natural statue that stands 2,500 feet tall. Locals consider it as an emblem of Abuja, and also as a sacred ground. And to many tourists, it is a big attraction. As CGTN's Sophia Adengo reports, this is one of the charms that Nigeria is looking on, to boost its tourism sector.

Video - Indigenous People of Biafra group declared a terrorist organisation

The Nigerian army has declared a secessionist group as a terrorist organisation. The Indigenous People of Biafra group or IPOB is based in south-eastern Nigeria, and wants the region to be independent from the federal government. CGTN's Deji Badmus has the latest on the military operations against the group.

Suicide attacks kill 15 in Nigeria

At least 15 people were killed on Monday when two female suicide bombers attacked an aid distribution point in northeastern Nigeria.

A rescue worker said the first blast happened at 11:10am local time (10:10 GMT) in Mashalari village of the Konduga area, about 40km from Borno state capital Maiduguri.

"[It] killed 15 people and left 43 others injured," he told AFP news agency. "It happened during aid distribution by an NGO, when people had gathered to receive donations."

"Twelve minutes later, another bomber struck, but luckily only she died," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The rescue worker said both bombers were women but did not specify which NGO was distributing aid.

Babakura Kolo, from the Civilian Joint Task Force, a militia assisting the military with security, confirmed the rescue worker's account.

"We have dispatched out a team to the scene," he said.

Bello Dambatta, head of rescue operations for Borno state's Emergency Management Agency, said women were the majority of those killed in the morning attack and the death toll was likely to rise.

No immediate claim of responsibility came for the attack, but the Boko Haram armed group has carried out similar bombings in the past in the region.

Northeastern Nigeria is in the grip of a humanitarian crisis caused by Boko Haram violence, which has left at least 20,000 people dead and displaced more than 2.6 million since 2009.

The violence has devastated farming, leading to chronic food shortages and leaving hundreds of thousands of people on the brink of starvation and dependent on aid agencies for help.

Nigeria's military and government maintain that Boko Haram is a spent force as a result of a sustained counterinsurgency campaign over the last two years.

But continued attacks, particularly in hard-to-reach rural areas of Borno, suggest claims of outright victory are premature.

On Saturday, at least 28 people were killed and more than 80 wounded when three female suicide bombers detonated their explosives outside a camp for displaced people in Konduga.

This month, Boko Haram fighters fired a rocket-propelled grenade into a camp for internally displaced persons near the border with Cameroon, killing seven.

Amnesty International says Boko Haram attacks since April have killed nearly 400 people in Nigeria and Cameroon - double the figure of the previous five months.

The UN children's fund said last month 83 children had been used as suicide bombers this year, four times as many as in all of 2016.

Amina Yuguda from Nigeria wins BBC World News Komla Dumor award

A journalist from north-eastern Nigeria has won the third BBC World News Komla Dumor Award.

Amina Yuguda is a news presenter on local network Gotel Television, where she has reported on high-profile news stories, including the Boko Haram insurgency.

She will start a three-month placement at the BBC in London in September.

The award was created to honour Komla Dumor, a presenter for BBC World News, who died suddenly aged 41 in 2014.

Ms Yuguda said her win was a "huge honour".

"I was overwhelmed with joy. Storytellers have always had an important role in Africa... this is what defines us. Today journalists are taking on that responsibility."

She impressed the panel with her story-telling and her ability to convey complex ideas in a way that resonates with a wide audience.

She is excited to work at the BBC, given her understanding of the corporation's impact among pastoralists in her hometown, saying in her application:

"With little or no formal education, my countrymen can hold their own in a variety of topics, including the Trump presidency in America, North Korea's defiance, Russia's foreign relations under Putin, and more."

BBC World Service Group Director Francesca Unsworth said Ms Yuguda was a worthy winner:

"To find someone who possesses many of Komla's qualities is something for us to celebrate, and we are very excited about working with Amina."

Previous winners of the Komla Dumor Award were Ugandan news anchor Nancy Kacungira and Nigerian business journalist Didi Akinyelure.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Video - Nigerian Teacher who helped Boko Haram schoolgirls’ release wins UN award

The founder of a school for orphaned children in Nigeria has won a top United Nations award. The UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award honours people who dedicate their lives to helping victims of war. 

Zannah Mustapha has helped children whose parents were killed by the armed group Boko Haram. He also helped secure the deal to release schoolgirls held by the armed group. Al Jazeera's Catherine Soi reports from Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria.

Video - Hope for release of more Chibok girls

In Nigeria, there's renewed hope that the remaining Chibok girls may be released by Boko Haram militants. They were taken more than three years ago. Now, Nigeria's Minister For Women's Affairs says major progress has been made in ongoing talks.

Nigeria gets first DNA laboratory in Lagos

The Lagos State Government on Sunday said it had completed the construction of the first ever high-powered DNA Forensic Laboratory in Nigeria.

Adeniji Kazeem, the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, who disclosed this in a statement said skeletal work had already commenced in the lab known as the Lagos State DNA Forensics Centre (LSDFC), and that it would be formally commissioned in coming weeks.

The State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, had last year approved the construction of the DNA forensic lab as part of the criminal justice sector reforms designed to solve crime through technology and fulfil an unmet need for DNA profiling in the country.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos to announce activities lined up by the state government to commemorate the 2017 United Nations International Day of Peace, Mr. Kazeem said DNA laboratory “just opened this month.”

The state’s Attorney General, who was represented at the briefing by Funlola Odunlami, the State’s Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, said the lab, among other initiatives of the state government, was part of efforts geared toward enhancing peace in the State.

“We are yet to commission it but it has been opened and it is a DNA crime forensic lab and at the same time, it is going to deal with other DNA matters like paternity issue,” said Mr. Kazeem.

He recalled that since 2007, the state government through the Citizens’ Mediation Centre (CMC), an agency under the Ministry of Justice, commenced collaborations with the United Nations Information Office to mark the International Day of Peace as an annual event to propagate the ethos of peaceful co-existence among residents in the State, thereby educating and sensitizing the public on the need for peaceful co-existence and respect for human dignity to engender socio-economic growth.

Mr. Kazeem said the laboratory is one of the mechanisms put in place by the government to promote investment and economic activities in the state.

Speaking on activities to mark the 2017 edition of the day tagged “Together For Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity For All,” Mr. Kazeem said on September 18, there would be a Walk for Peace/Legal Clinic on Ikorodu Road precisely from Funsho Williams Avenue through Ojuelegba to Yaba, while on September 19, a second Walk for Peace/Legal Clinic will hold at Jubilee Under-bridge in Ajah through Ibeju Lekki Expressway and back to the bridge.

On the same day, Mr. Kazeem said the CMC would hold a Legal Clinic at both venues where free legal services and mediation services will be rendered to residents of the state, while on September 21, the 18th Stakeholders’ Conference and Book Launch would hold at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium in Alausa to mark the day.

Every year, September 21 is observed as the International Day of Peace as declared by the General Assembly of United Nations as a day devoted to strengthening ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

Nigerian wins top UN award

A teacher who takes in orphans of both Islamist fighters and Nigerian army soldiers has won this year's UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award.

"They are the best of friends," Zannah Mustapha says of his pupils. "This should be a template for world peace."

Mr Mustapha is the founder of one of the few remaining primary schools in Nigeria's troubled city of Maiduguri.

He also negotiated the release of 82 so-called Chibok girls, kidnapped by Boko Haram.

A former barrister, Mr Mustapha played a crucial role mediating between the Nigerian government and the Islamists for the release of the abducted schoolgirls.

More than 100 of the 276 girls kidnapped from their school in Chibok in 2014 are still unaccounted for, and are presumed to still be in the custody of Boko Haram.

At Future Prowess Islamic Foundation School, the volunteer teacher provides the students with a free education, as well as free meals, uniforms and healthcare.

The UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award honours those who give "extraordinary service to the forcibly displaced".

Previous winners include Gra├ža Machel, Luciano Pavarotti and Eleanor Roosevelt.

"Education is one of the most powerful tools for helping refugee children overcome the horrors of violence and forced displacement," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

"The work [Mr] Mustapha and his team are doing is of the utmost importance."

Mr Mustapha will be presented with his award at ceremony in the Swiss city of Geneva on 2 October.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Video - eCommerce in Nigeria

When it comes to eCommerce on the continent, Nigeria is arguably ahead of the pack in several respects. Last year, what's now known as the Jumia Group raised over $300 million in funding, getting a $1 billion valuation in the process. Tencent, and other firms invested $1.3 million last December in the payments processing firm, Paystack. Earlier this year, the Cars45, raised $5 million in funding. Clearly, on cash alone there's a lot more equity flowing into West Africa, than the Silicon Savannah in the East. 

Ahead of the WCA Summit in October, CGTN's Ramah Nyang spoke to the CEO of Cars45, Etop Ikpe, to find out what makes Nigeria's eCommerce sector tick.

Video - Nigeria's Power Woes: Interview with CEO and Chairman of Genesis Energy Holdings

Why does a country with the ninth largest proven gas reserves on the planet have a crippling electricity deficit? On September 10, 560 MW of gas generation capacity was offline, and the country's sector regulator estimated losses attributable to that lack of power, at $3.5 million. 

That figure doesn't take into account the enormous amount of gas wasted through gas flaring. Earlier, CGTN's Ramah Nyang debated this subject with Akinwole Omoboriowo II, CEO and Chairman of oil, gas, and power firm, Genesis Energy Holdings.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Former Nigerian president Obasanjo launches book on Africa in Tunisia

A new book launch recently took place in Tunis called "Making Africa Work". It's author is none other than former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo. The book deals with his insights into Africa's challenges and solutions.

Video - Nigeria to roll out bicycles to help decongest traffic

The Nigerian government is set to introduce bicycles as a major mode of transport - to decongest traffic. Nigeria's capital city, Abuja will be a model city for the project.

Nigeria Super Eagles drop to 44th in FIFA rankings

The Super Eagles of Nigeria dropped six spots from 38th to 44th in the latest FIFA world rankings published on Thursday.

But the Eagles moved up two spots on the continent, going from sixth to fourth.

Egypt, who remain first in Africa, dropped from 25th position to 30th in the world. The North African country remains the highest ranked African team.

Cameroon, whom Super Eagles defeated 4-0 in the World Cup qualifier in Uyo, dropped 10 spots from 35th to 45th.

Germany displaced Brazil as the number one in the world.

The top 10 ranked teams in the world rankings are as follows: Germany (1), Brazil (2nd), Portugal (3rd) Argentina (4th) Belgium (5th) Poland (6th) Switzerland (7th) France (8th) Chile (9th) and Colombia (10th).

Wikipedia to boost Nigerian women visibility

Wikipedia, the world largest encyclopedia says it will increase Nigerian women visibility on the internet through its affiliate, Wikimedia Nigeria. Mr Olaniyan Olushola, the President of Wikimedia User Group Nigeria (WUGN), said this in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos.

Olushola said that the group had partnered with the Radio WFM 91.7 to give visibility to Nigerian women. He said that WFM 91.7 was Nigeria’s only radio station for women and their families therefore it would be used to boost the needed visibility of women. 

He said that as part of the partnership, a project tagged: ”Wiki Loves Women”, which was conceptualised in 2015 to give visibility to African women on Wikipedia would be aired on the station. According to him, being a Pan African initiative ”Wiki Loves Women” started in four African countries – Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon. 

"The project seeks to encourage the contribution of quality information on African women to be published and made widely available via Wikipedia."

This will correct gender inequalities on Wikipedia, the world largest encylopedia as statistics show only 16 per cent of African women biographies are available in contrast to their female counterparts globally. ”We plan to engage female students in our various tertiary institutions across the country to create contents on Wikipedia to increase our local contents and to create awareness for Wikipedia in Nigeria. 

"The core objectives of the project is to give visibility to Nigerian women using Wikipedia through Wiki Loves Women programmes and create awareness about Wikimedia and related projects,” he said. Olushola said that the objectives would be achieved with a 30 minutes per week of 13 weeks phone-in live broadcast with focus on Nigerian women on Wikipedia. He said that the radio programme was also to identify women that were supposed to have articles on Wikipedia but not yet there. According to him, suggestion will be collated from callers on the radio programme about who they think should be on Wikipedia but not yet there. 

"It will also serve as providing answers to series of questions from readers and contributors on Wikipedia in Nigeria.”

There will be monthly Edit-a-thorn with participation from female students in tertiary institutions across the nation and each month will focus on a unique theme. ”Most reports about women in Nigeria focus mainly on works of such individuals but not on their personalities. We tend to use this medium to change this attitude,” he said.

$5.8 billion hydropower deal announced in Nigeria

The government of Nigeria has announced the award of a $5.8 billion contract to build what will be the largest power plant in the country.

The 3,050-megawatt Mambila hydroelectric power project in the state of Taraba will be delivered by a consortium of Chinese state-owned construction firms.

The megaproject will feature four dams between 50 and 150 meters tall, and take six years to complete, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, told reporters in Abuja.

The Chinese Export-Import Bank will finance 85% of the development, with the Nigerian government contributing 15%.

Minister Fashola claimed the project will deliver far-reaching benefits.
"(Mambila) will have a transformational effect on all of Nigeria's socio-economic development," he said through a government spokesman, "It will have considerable positive impact on electricity supply nationwide, productivity, employment, tourism, technology transfer, rural development, irrigation, agriculture and food production."

False starts

The Mambila hydropower plant has been in development for over 30 years, but previous administrations have made little progress.

In 2007, the Nigerian government awarded a $1.4 billion contract to two Chinese construction firms for a 2,600-megawatt plant, but the agreement broke down soon after.

Attempts were made to revive the deal without success. But the deadlock was broken by conversations between the presidents of China and Nigeria in 2016, according to the spokesman of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

"The major breakthrough in the execution of this project was achieved when President Muhammadu Buhari initiated discussions at the level of the President of the Peoples Republic of China in the course of his State Visit (in 2016)," wrote government official Garba Shehu.

The meeting resulted in the creation of a consortium of Chinese companies to deliver the project, according to Shehu, and an agreement that the Chinese government would commit finance to it.

Power shortage

Despite being one of the largest economies in Africa, over 40% of Nigerians live without access to electricity, according to World Bank figures.

Hydropower, one of the cleanest and cheapest forms of power, is a key target for development as Nigeria is currently exploiting just a fraction of its potential resources.
The country is also seeking to shift away from oil dependency, after plummeting oil prices triggered a recession.

The clear need for the Mambila project could make it more likely to succeed, some analysts believe.

"The prospects of project implementation starting are perhaps stronger than in previous decades," says Elizabeth Donnelly, deputy head of the Africa Programme at UK think tank Chatham House. "Nigeria continues, albeit slowly, with its complex power sector reform and badly needs to generate - and more importantly distribute - more power for its 180 million people."

"Hydroelectricity is an important part of this mix, particularly for rural electrification."

Risk factors

The location of the development could lead to complications.

"There is strong competition for land in Taraba state, which regularly sees outbreaks of ethno-religious violence," says Donnelly. "Such a project, with its need to resettle people, could considerably worsen the conflict dynamics and humanitarian situation in the state."

Environmental groups have also raised concerns about the potential impact.

"If the Mambila dam project does continue, it could mean disastrous environmental and social impacts for those already living in poverty along the banks of the Benue River," warned NGO International Rivers,

The Nigerian government says that 100,000 people will be displaced by the development, and has pledged to resettle and compensate them.

Taraba state Governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku, has welcomed the project for its potential to boost tourism and agriculture.

Chinese interests

The power plant is one of several major Chinese investments in Nigeria, including multiple railway projects.

In January, Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi announced plans to invest a further $40 billion in Nigeria.

"Nigeria is seen as an important power that China wants good relations with," says Yun Sun, a scholar of Chinese foreign policy at US think tank, The Stimson Center.

Sun adds that the primary motivation is financial. Investments such as the Mambila power plant make good business sense.

"Nigeria is using Chinese banks to hire Chinese companies for the project, which will create profits and jobs," she says. "China also wants to identify large projects that make it look good and (Mambila) falls into this category."

But while China is likely to gain from the deal, Sun sees higher risk on the Nigerian side.
"I am less optimistic about the financial impact on the Nigerian economy as the project is very large and there is a question about how Nigeria will repay the 85% finance from the Export-Import Bank," she says. "There could be implications for the national debt."

Millions of Nigerians at risk of famine

The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock is to address the UN General Assembly in New York next week urging world leaders to maintain their financial and political support for the Lake Chad Basin crisis so that millions of people facing starvation in north-east Nigeria are saved.

“At next week's General Assembly in New York, I will urge world leaders to maintain their financial and political support for the Lake Chad Basin crisis,” said Lowcock, who is also the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, in a UN press release.

Lowcock explained that there had been a significant improvement in the situation, with the international system rapidly scaled up, thereby saving millions of lives, reaching two million people with food assistance every month, as well as providing life-saving nutritional support to hundreds of thousands of children.

However, he warned that millions of people still faced famine in the north-east and that their lives would be at risk should the international community cease providing support in conjunction and coordination with the Nigerian authorities.

The UN humanitarian official also explained that the security situation in the vicinity remained precarious due to the ongoing conflict with the militant Boko Haram group.

Since the beginning of the conflict, more than 20 000 people have been killed, thousands of women and children abducted, many forced into displacement, and subjected to violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

In north-east Nigeria, at least 8.5 million people are dependent on humanitarian assistance.

Lowcock said that though many towns in the region are relatively safe, more needed to be done to bring safety to the rural areas.

Lowcock travelled to Niger and Nigeria from September 9 to 12, shortly after beginning his roles as the top UN relief official on September 1.

While in the two countries, he also held meetings with senior government officials, UN humanitarian agencies, international non-governmental organisations and the diplomatic community.

Meanwhile, ahead of its planned nationwide strike expected to commence on Friday, the United Labour Congress of Nigeria (ULC) has urged Nigerians to stockpile foodstuff and other basic necessities that could last them during the duration of the strike as critical sectors of the economy will be affected by the action.

The reasons for the industrial action is to create a nation that is better governed for the benefits of Nigerian workers and the country's masses.

Firms in Canada part of arms deal to Nigeria

When the Nigerian air force killed at least 112 people and injured another 150 in an attack on a refugee camp this year, it reinforced the human-rights concerns that have halted many arms exports to the Nigerian military in recent years.

But now, under the administration of President Donald Trump, a major U.S. weapons export is going ahead – with Canadian components in the deal.

Human-rights groups and U.S. politicians are questioning the sale of warplanes and ammunition, worried that the Nigerian military is continuing to kill and abuse civilians in its operations against the radical Islamist militia known as Boko Haram.

The U.S. deal is the second substantial military sale to Nigeria that includes hardware from Canadian sources this year, but neither will be subject to a review by the Canadian government or Parliament because of loopholes in federal regulations. The other deal involves the sale of 177 armoured vehicles to the Nigerian armed forces from a Canadian-owned company.

The Nigeria deals were revealed at a time when Canada is under growing scrutiny for its decision to authorize the sale of weaponized armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, which has a record of human-rights abuses. The Globe and Mail reported in July that the Saudi military appears to be using Canadian-made combat vehicles against Saudi citizens.

The federal government promised last year that it would sign the Arms Trade Treaty, a global agreement to regulate arms exports. At a conference on the arms treaty in Geneva this week, a federal official insisted that Canada already conforms to the "spirit" of the treaty, despite the Saudi deals, according to an observer from Project Ploughshares, a Canadian disarmament group, who is at the conference.

The U.S. sale of $593-million (U.S.) in warplanes and ammunition to Nigeria was finalized last month. It includes a dozen A-29 Super Tucano warplanes, equipped with engines manufactured by Pratt & Whitney Canada, which is based in Longueuil, Que. The export also includes thousands of bombs and rockets, plus 20,000 rounds of machine gun ammunition.

As part of the deal, the United States promises "special training" of the Nigerian military to "minimize civilian harm" – an implicit acknowledgment of the human-rights concerns.

The other export deal was announced in June by Streit Group, owned by Canadian businessman Guerman Goutorov. It began with a shipment of 25 armoured personnel carriers, the first batch in an agreed sale of 177 armoured vehicles to the Nigerian military, the company says.

Neither deal required a Canadian government approval because the products are not being exported directly from Canada to Nigeria, analysts say. The Pratt & Whitney engines are supplied to a Colorado-based company, Sierra Nevada Corp., which is the prime contractor for the Super Tucano sale to Nigeria. The Streit armoured personnel carriers for Nigeria are manufactured at a Streit-owned production facility in the United Arab Emirates, according to Nigerian media reports.

Neither company was willing to comment on the Nigeria sales. Streit's policy is "non-engagement with the media," according to a communications firm that has worked for Streit in the past.

On its website, Streit said its export to Nigeria includes Spartan armoured vehicles, which have applications "ranging from a battlefield ambulance up to a fully armed direct-fire vehicle." It also includes Typhoon mine-resistant vehicles, which are used primarily as a mounted infantry troop carrier.

Marc Duchesne, a spokesman for Pratt & Whitney Canada, declined to comment on the Nigeria deal. "We will not comment on this story; the U.S. government cleared the Tucano sale to Nigeria," he said.

Ken Epps, a policy adviser at Project Ploughshares, said his group is concerned about the loopholes that allow Canadian equipment to be sold in U.S. arms exports without federal authorization.

"We are concerned that the transfer of aircraft powered by Canadian-built engines will proceed without any required review or reporting by the Canadian government," he said.

The U.S. Super Tucano warplanes will support Nigerian counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations against Boko Haram and will also counter illicit trafficking, according to the U.S. Defence Security Co-operation Agency, which gave details of the deal.

It said the export deal will include "special training on the law of armed conflict and human rights, and air-to-ground integration to minimize civilian harm in air operations."

Even before the refugee-camp bombing in January, the Obama administration had frozen arms sales to the Nigerian military for the past several years because of frequent reports of military abuses.

But less than a month after the refugee-camp bombing, Mr. Trump spoke by telephone to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and promised to "cut a new deal" on weapons sales, a Nigerian government statement said.

Several human-rights groups, including Amnesty International, have expressed alarm at the aircraft sale. "Without strong human rights structures in place, the transfer of the Tucano attack aircraft armed with heavy machine guns could exacerbate the conflict, or fuel new ones," the groups said in a letter to U.S. Congressional committees in May.

Two U.S. senators, Cory Booker and Rand Paul, have also protested against the aircraft sale, accusing the Nigerian military of "flouting the laws of war" and massacring hundreds of Nigerians.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Video - Nigerian president Buhari to push for UN reforms at UNGA

Nigerian foreign minister has confirmed President Muhammadu Buhari will lead the Nigerian delegation at the UN General Assembly. Buhari will reportedly renew its call for international support for the release of the Chibok girls. The Nigerian president will also reportedly be pushing for comprehensive UN reform, specifically with regard to the Security Council. The foreign ministry say Buhari will be engaging robustly with the international community. The Nigerian president has spent months away from the country recently due to an undisclosed illness. He's cancelled two cabinet meetings with no reason given.

Nigerian military denies siege of Biafra separatists home

A group campaigning for the secession of a part of southeastern Nigeria, formerly known as Biafra, on Tuesday accused the army of laying siege to their leader’s home, a charge the armed forces denied.

Rising tensions prompted the governor of Abia state, where the leader’s residence is located, to impose a curfew.

Members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group said soldiers had surrounded the home of leader Nnamdi Kanu. Groups have stepped up calls for secession since Kanu was released on bail in April after being detained for nearly two years on charges of criminal conspiracy and belonging to an illegal society.

“There was no surrounding of Nnamdi Kanu’s residence. It is not true,” said army spokesman Sani Usman.

Secessionist sentiment has simmered in the region since the Biafra separatist rebellion tipped Africa’s most populous country into a civil war in 1967-70 that killed an estimated one million people.

The military presence in southeastern Nigeria has increased in the last few weeks to crack down on crime.

The IPOB also said that soldiers stormed Kanu’s family compound on Sunday, which the army also denied.

Politicians waded into the dispute on Tuesday.

Abia state governor Okezie Ikpeazu said in a statement that people were advised to observe a curfew from 6 p.m. (1700 GMT) to 6 a.m. (0500 GMT) from Sept. 12 to Sept. 14.

A caucus of southeastern lawmakers in the Senate, the upper chamber of parliament, said in a statement through its chairman Enyinnaya Abaribe that the military had sent a “strong signal that the region is under siege, which should not be so in a democracy”.

Renewed calls for Biafran secession prompted President Muhammadu Buhari to use his first speech after returning from three months of medical leave in Britain, in August, to say Nigeria’s unity was “not negotiable”.

Amnesty International in 2016 accused Nigeria’s security forces of killing at least 150 Biafra separatists at peaceful rallies. The military and police denied the allegations.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Video - Dangote Cement among bidders for S. Africa's largest cement firm PPC

Investors are lining up for South Africa's largest cement maker - PPC. The company has fallen on hard times over the last decade after being unbundled from diversified industrial and logistics group Barloworld. Merger talks with local rival Afrisam are said to have hit a brick wall, reportedly sparking a flurry of interest from other bidders. Sumitra Nydoo with the story.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Video - Security boosted in Plateau State Nigeria following Friday's clashes

Authorities are investigating Friday's deadly reprisal killings in the central Plateau State. At least 19 people are dead when Fulani herdsmen launched the attack. Security has been boosted in the region.

Video - Nigeria community leaders try to quell farmer-herder conflict

Leaders of rival communities in Nigeria are trying to stop the war between Christian farmers and Muslim cattle herders. Their disputes over grazing land have killed at least 200 people in the past year in Kaduna State.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Video - Nigerian army denies militant killings have risen sharply since April

Nigeria's military is disputing the latest Amnesty International report that claims a sharp rise in Boko Haram killings over the past five months. The report released this week claims close to 4-hundred civilians have been killed in Nigeria and Cameroon since since April.

Sanction on Nigerian players for attacking referees

Nine players and two officials have been handed 12-match and 19-match bans respectively for attacking match officials in a Nigerian league game.

The club in question, FC Ifeanyi Ubah, became an official partner of West Ham last year.

During August's game three players attacked referee Nakura Auwal after winger King Osanga was sent off.

Six more joined in the ensuing melee, while officials Chidi Nwogu and Adrika Obiefuna also assaulted the referees.

Two of the players punished by the Nigerian Premier League, Stephen Eze and Adeleye Olamilekan, have played for Nigeria in the African Nations Championship team for locally-based stars.

The club was also fined $4,900 for the incident and ordered to pay $700 to each of the officials involved and any certified medical bills.

The move by the LMC is the latest attempt to try and crack down on referee's assault and crowd trouble in the country's premier division.

Back in December 2012, the LMC inherited a league system punctuated by crowd violence, lack of funds, poor player welfare and the challenge of creating a well-organised league that will bring back the fans to deserted stands.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Video - Young Nigerians step up, start shoemaking business

In Nigeria, a group of unemployed young people has joined forces to start a shoemaking business in the northern city of Yola. The entrepreneurs say they're inspired by the government's drive to promote locally made goods as a way of growing the economy. Leslie Mirungu has more.

Food prices drop in Nigeria

The harvest of food crops in the South-west has made appreciable positive impact on the prices of foodstuff, a survey by the News Agency of Nigeria has revealed. Some farmers and stakeholders, who spoke with NAN correspondents across some states in the zone on Wednesday, attributed the positive development to the sustained focus on agricultural development by the federal government.

They expressed optimism that the effort at revamping the country’s ailing economy would materialise, if the renewed focus on agriculture persisted. They also cited government’s efforts at strengthening the naira by encouraging locally produced goods. These actions, they concluded, had boosted food production, resulting to good harvest that had led to a drop in the price of foodstuff. 

In Oyo State, a maize seller, Azeez Zubair, told NAN in Ibadan that a measure (mudu) of maize, which cost N420 before the current harvest period, now goes for N200 while a bag of maize, which was sold for N18,000 previously now cost N10,000. He said that the price could have been further reduced if more youth had ventured into agriculture and therefore, advised youngsters to go back to farming in order to permanently tackle food insecurity in the country. 

Also speaking, Romoke Fashola, a yam seller, said that six tubers of yam that previously cost 3,000, now sells for N1, 200 while the price of 60 tubers of yam had dropped to N18,000 from N30,000. Mrs. Fashola said that the price of yam would still drop as the harvest period lasted. She, however, observed that exportation of yams, would limit the drop in the price of yam this harvest season. In his own contribution, Alao Adetayo, a farmer, identified one of the factors inducing price spikes as the high cost of farm inputs and transportation occasioned by bad roads. 

He urged the federal government to rehabilitate rural roads to ease farmers’ stress in the transportation of farm produce to urban centres. Reacting to the development, Oyewole Oyewumi, the Oyo Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Development, said the state government had embarked on various measures to boost food production. Oyewumi said that the government had begun to recruit many unemployed youth into agriculture through the inauguration of the Oyo State Agricultural Initiatives (OYSAI) tagged ‘OYO AGRIC’. 

He said that this effort had contributed to increased food production and the resultant affordable prices of farm produce this harvest period. The commissioner added that the government had also embarked on the repair and expansion of rural roads to ease the transportation of farm produce from rural communities to urban areas. In Osun, a similar trend was observed in different parts of the state, especially at major markets in Osogbo and Ile-Ife. A yam seller at Itakogun market, Ile-Ife, Christiana Alani, said that five big tubers of yam, previously sold for N4,000 now cost N2,500. Mrs. Alani added that five small tubers which cost N1,200 before harvest, now sell for N800. 

She observed that a small bag and a measure of maize, which sold for N24,000 and N350, now cost N21,000 and N300 respectively. Similarly, in Alekuwodo market in Osogbo, five big tubers of yam now cost N,3000 as against N4,500 before the harvest while a bag of maize sells for N22,000 against N24,000 previously. 

Tawa Ahmed, a food seller at the market, attributed the fall in the prices of foodstuffs to the ongoing harvest of farm produce. “Usually, prices of foodstuffs come down at this period of harvest but by the end of October, there may be slight changes in the prices when harvest of crops draw to a close,” Mrs. Ahmed said. On the contrary, however, Taye Babatunde, a foodstuff distributor at Oja Tuntun, noted that the price of beans had remained high in the last few months as a bag of white beans sells for N40,000 while a plastic measure costs N650. 

Mrs. Babatunde said that a bag of sweet beans, which was formerly sold for N25,000 and a plastic measure for N700, now costs N30,000 and N750 respectively. At Igbonna market in Osogbo, a bag of brown beans attracts N33,000, as against the initial price of N29,000 while a plastic measure, which formerly cost N600 now costs N700. Meanwhile, Moses Oladipupo, the Vice President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Osun, said that the newly-harvested crops had triggered 50 per cent drop in the prices of foodstuff generally in markets in the state. Mr. Oladipupo noted that most of the food crops being harvested were planted between March and June. 

He expressed optimism that the prices of foodstuff would further drop in the course of the harvest period. Also commenting, Ganiyu Awojobi, the AFAN Chairman in Ife East Local Government, concurred that the prices of foodstuff would further decline as the harvest progressed. He, however, argued that it was normal that when certain food crops were being harvested and made available in the market, their prices would drop in line with the law of demand and supply. 

In Ekiti, respondents said they were excited over the evident fall in the prices of foodstuff and their availability in the market. A farmer, Jide Ogunyemi, in Ikere Ekiti, said that farmers were actually relieved of the hardship associated with the ailing economy, saying that they would not relent in their efforts to sustain the trend. Mr. Ogunyemi, however, said that the state government needed to do more in the area of providing the enabling environment as well as incentives for farmers to further encourage them. 

He told NAN that many farmers in the state still lacked access to agricultural inputs and cash support to enable them to expand and maintain their farms. The peasant farmer noted that most of them would want to be equipped with agricultural skills, equipment and facilities, including storage, marketing and distribution of farm produce. In Kwara, the newly harvested crops also made some positive impact on the prices of foodstuff, as revealed in the NAN survey. 

For instance, in Baruten Local Government Area of the state, a measure of maize, which sold for N6,000 before, now costs N4,000 while six big tubers of yam now cost N2,000 as against N5 000 before the harvest period. However, the price of Guinea corn remained high as the crop was not yet due for harvest hence, one basin of Guinea corn sells for N6,000 as against N5,000 in May. A pepper seller who identified herself as ‘Iya Ramota Alata’, said that pepper had also witnessed price reduction as a bag of long pepper sells for between N6,500 and N7,000 as against N8,000 sold in May. 

She also said that the price of onion had also dropped with the arrival of the newly harvested commodity. According to her, a bag of white onion now sells for between N18,000 and N20,000 while the red onion sells for N15,000 to N18,000. Kayode Ehindero, the Chairman, Agriculture and Allied Employees Union (AAEU) in Kwara, attributed the drop in commodity prices to good harvest.