Thursday, March 30, 2017

Video - Meningitis kills 269 people in Nigeria

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

Indian ambassador summoned in Nigeria over student attacks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Video - Nigerian students beaten by mob in India

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

Nigerian court rules Sprite and Fanta poisonous

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both the NBC and NAFDAC are appealing against the ruling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

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

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

Nigeria records increase in oil rig count

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meningitis outbreak kills 140 in Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

Vaccination is an effective way of preventing against meningitis.

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

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

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

Monday, March 27, 2017

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 24, 2017

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

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

Libya deports 159 Nigerians

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

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

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

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


48-hour online visa application system launched in Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Video - Suicide attackers target camps for displaced people in Maiduguri

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

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Video - Nigeria introduces new immigration regulations

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

Bomb blast kills 3 in Maiduguri, Nigeria

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

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

Those wounded were taken to hospital to receive treatment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 20, 2017

Nigeria ranked 6th happiest country in Africa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Video - Nigerian businessmen eager for xenophobic tensions to settle

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

EFCC seize large bundles of cash at Kaduna Airport in Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

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

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

Hate Crime Unit to launch in South Africa to defend Nigerians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Mass attacks'

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 13, 2017

Video - Nigerian foreign minister due in South Africa for talks

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

President Buhari resumes work after sick leave

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

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

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

Friday, March 10, 2017

Krispy Kreme to open in Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video - Air passengers struggle as Abuja airport closes for repairs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Video - Nigeria to start leasing national airports to private investors

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

Abuja airport closed for repairs

Nigeria has closed its main airport in the capital, Abuja, for six weeks to allow badly needed repairs to be carried out.

It comes after airlines threatened to stop flying there because of safety concerns over the state of the runway.

From now, those wishing to travel to Abuja are being encouraged to instead fly to the northern city of Kaduna, 190km (120 miles) away.

But all but one international airline has refused to fly there.

Ethiopian Airlines is currently the only company offering international flights to Kaduna, which has been hit recently by a spate of kidnappings.

The government has set up a dedicated Abuja Airport Closure website, where passengers can book free bus tickets for the two-hour journey by road.

"The runway has deteriorated to such an extent that it requires complete reconstruction," the government said.

"This cannot be done at night. Furthermore, the runway has been maintained mostly through closure at night in the past several years, but is has reached a state where that method will not work anymore."

What are people going to do?

All domestic flights are being rerouted to Kaduna, a small regional airport.

The shuttle bus to Abuja will take two hours on a good day, more with traffic. Like most Nigerian roads it is bumpy but the government has undertaken some repairs on it in preparation for the airport commuters.

On the international front however there are not many options.

Most international airlines said they were worried about security. Some also expressed concern that the equipment at Kaduna airport was not of a high enough standard.

Henrietta Yakubu from the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that plans had been put in place to protect passengers and to transfer them in luxury buses.

"The police boss has assured members of the public that for each luxury bus on the highway, there will a police patrol vehicle on the front and behind," she said.

"A police checkpoint will also be set up every one kilometre on the road between Kaduna and Abuja."

Is it safe to fly to Kaduna?

In February two German archaeologists were kidnapped while working on a dig near the Kaduna-Abuja road. That sounded the final death knell on efforts by the Nigerian government to convince international airlines to fly there.

The government has promised extra security on the Abuja-to-Kaduna highway but that will not reassure many passengers or airline bosses.

Even in Lagos and Abuja they hire police escorts for their crew. Southern Kaduna has also been in the news recently over ethnic clashes between farmers and Fulani herdsmen which may put some passengers off travelling there.

However that conflict is further west in very rural areas and unlikely to spread to the Abuja-Kaduna road.

Could I go to Lagos instead?

The airport in the commercial capital, Lagos, has more international flights than Abuja but it would be a 12-hour drive to Abuja, at the very least. Though it may be safer, the Abuja-to-Lagos road is in terrible disrepair.

Some embassies in Abuja have talked about the possibility of flying to Enugu, a six-hour road trip from Abuja, in case of an emergency.

What will the impact be?

It is hard to tell just what impact the closure will have or how many people will choose not to fly. Nigeria's biggest airline Arik has introduced a reduced schedule.

But flying in Nigeria is incredibly unpredictable anyway, with flights often delayed for hours and then cancelled.

Nigerian air travellers are already extremely resilient and will most likely weather this latest storm just fine.

However, it is also likely to affect Nigeria's postal service, as 40% of the country's international mail is transported through Abuja.

How bad is the Abuja runway?

It is bad. There are two major holes in the runway and several serious cracks and bumps.

In August a South African Airways plane damaged its landing gear when it hit one of the potholes. Although no-one was injured, the plane was out of commission for four days.

Many of the major airlines threatened to stop flying if the runway wasn't fixed.

Why did it get so bad before anything was done?

Successive governments have ignored the problem for more than 15 years. The runway was supposed to be upgraded in 2002 - it was built in 1982 and was only meant to have a 20-year lifespan.

That is because of a cocktail of corruption and incompetence on the part of those in charge. But with gaping potholes now posing a real danger, the problem is impossible to ignore.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Video - Johannesburg mayor meets Nigerian officials to ease tensions

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has moved to assure the Nigerian consulate that the city welcomes all Africans. Mashaba met with Nigerian Consul General Godwin Adama to bolster relations. It follows alleged xenophobic comments by the Johannesburg mayor which reportedly led to attacks on foreign nationals.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Video - Nigeria dismisses UN warning about looming famine

The Nigerian government has dismissed the warning from the United Nations that famine is looming. The country's agriculture minister says the UN is exaggerating, and that no one is facing starvation.

Nigeria warns citizens not to travel to USA

The United States are looking less and less welcoming to would-be visitors.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is advising its citizens against traveling to the US, except on urgent trips. The move is in response to reported difficulties that Nigerians have faced gaining entry into the US, despite holding valid visas.

During a business trip on March 2, Nigerian software engineer Celestine Omin was detained despite holding a valid visa. Before granting him entry, officials at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport forced Omin to answer generic engineering questions to prove his profession.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a presidential aide on foreign affairs and diaspora, appears to blame such incidents on confusion over US president Donald Trump’s recent failed executive order, which banned visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries. On March 6, Dabiri-Erewa advised prospective visitors to the US to “consider rescheduling their trip until there is clarity on the new immigration policy.”

“In the last few weeks, the office has received a few cases of Nigerians with valid multiple-entry US visas being denied entry and sent back to the Nigeria.”

“In such cases reported to the office, such affected persons were sent back immediately on the next available flight and their visas were cancelled.”

Trump’s travel ban was revised and re-issued today, March 6. Neither version mentioned Nigeria.

Nigerians are a major source of visitors to the US. They accounted for 32% of the nearly half million nonimmigrant US visas issued to African nationals in 2015.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Video - Abuja Airport to be closed temporarily for runway rehabilitation

It's now a matter of days before a six-week shutdown of the Abuja international airport, to allow for an overhaul of its runway. CGTN's Kelechi Emekalam takes a closer look at final preparations to make Kaduna Airport a viable alternative for passengers traveling to Nigeria's capital, Abuja.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Video - Incubating tech and innovation in Kaduna, Nigeria

CoLab is the first tech hub in the northern part of Nigeria where developers and start-ups can work and grow. Located in Kaduna, CoLab's founder wants to explore the opportunities for tech in a state traditionally known for processing, farming, and cattle.

Triple suicide bombing in Nigeria

Three suicide bombers blew themselves up in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, but failed to cause any casualties besides themselves, according to emergency officials.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) tweeted that the three had detonated their devices on Damboa Road—one of the main roads into the city—early Friday morning.

Three petrol bankers were burnt as a result of the bombings, which took place outside a gas station and opposite the regional headquarters of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

NEMA spokesman Abdulkadir Ibrahim said that one bomber had exploded next to a stationary tanker filled with fuel, setting two more tankers on fire and killing the other attackers, according to the AP.

Officials blamed the militant group Boko Haram for the attack, without specifying which faction. Boko Haram has been waging an armed insurgency in northeast Nigeria since 2009, aimed at establishing a hardline Islamic caliphate in the region. In 2016, the group split into two factions—one loyal to longtime leader Abubakar Shekau, and the other led by Abu Musab al-Barnawi, whom the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) appointed as Boko Haram’s leader in a decision rejected by Shekau.

There have been multiple suicide bombings in the region in recent months, but the incidents have failed to cause the large-scale casualties once common in Boko Haram attacks.

Seven suicide bombers blew themselves up on the outskirts of Maiduguri on February 17, apparently targeting a refugee settlement. Nigerian officials did not report any casualties besides the bombers. Shekau also claimed responsibility for the bombing of a staff mosque and campus gate at the University of Maiduguri in January, which killed a professor and a child as well as the two bombers.

“We are lucky. Today could have been another sad day for us in Maiduguri,” said Police Commissioner Damian Chukwu Friday, according to the AP. Chukwu said he assumed the intended target of the attack was a fuel depot down the road from the site of the explosions.

Offensives by the Nigerian military and a regional joint task force have pressed both factions of Boko Haram back. Shekau’s faction is reportedly confined to the remote Sambisa forest in Borno state, northeast Nigeria, while Barnawi’s is reportedly operating out of the Lake Chad Basin area.

A recent report to the U.N. Security Council claimed that both factions are running out of money and are unable to pay fighters’ salaries, and that many attacks perpetrated by the militants were aimed at stealing provisions. Depleted resources have resulted in defections from Boko Haram factions, according to the report.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Video - Should Nigeria's president resign?

President Muhammadu Buhari flew to London in mid-January to be treated for an undisclosed medical condition.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is temporarily leading the country.

But opposition leaders say Buhari has been out of the country for too long and he should resign.

So what will this mean for Nigeria and the region?

Video - Discussion on underage marriage and polygamy ongoing in Nigeria

In Nigeria, a senior Muslim cleric and former central bank governor has suggested Islamic marriage reforms. Muhammadu Sanusi has announced that men shouldn't take more than one wife if they can't afford to look after multiple spouses. His controversial comments come amid an ongoing debate on polygamy in Nigeria. Sophia Adengo has this story.

Nigerian engineer forced to take written test at New York airport

A Nigerian software engineer claims he was handed a written test by a US border officer at New York's JFK airport to prove his tech credentials, and Filipinos on social media criticise a proposed death penalty bill.

A software engineer from Lagos, Nigeria, is claiming that he was made to sit a written test by US airport immigration officers because they weren't convinced he was telling the truth about his skills.

According to social networking site LinkedIn, Celestine Omin, 28, landed in New York's JFK airport last Sunday after a 24-hour flight from Nigeria.

Mr Omin is employed by Andela, a tech start-up with offices in New York, Lagos, Nairobi and San Francisco.

The firm says it recruits "the most talented developers on the African continent" and connects them with tech employers in the US for potential job vacancies. Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg visited Andela's office in Lagos last year.

Mr Omin had reportedly been granted a short-term visa to work with First Access, a financial technology company in New York's Manhattan district.

After being asked a series of questions by a US Customs and Border Protection officer, he was taken into a room for further checks.

"Your visa says you are a software engineer. Is that correct?" an officer is reported to have asked Mr Omin.

He says he was then given a piece of paper and a pen and told to answer these two questions to prove he is actually a software engineer:

"Write a function to check if a Binary Search Tree is balanced."

"What is an abstract class, and why do you need it?"

Mr Omin told LinkedIn it seemed to him the questions had been "Googled" by "someone with no technical background".

He said later on Twitter that he was "too tired to even think", and told the officer they could "talk about other computer science concepts".

After he handed back his answers, he was told by the officer that they were wrong. He said he presumed he was required to provide "the Wikipedia definition" for the questions.

However, he was even more surprised a little later when the officer told him he was "free to go".

"Look, I am going to let you go, but you don't look convincing to me," said the officer, according to Mr Omin.

"I didn't say anything back. I just walked out."

He later found out that border protection officers had phoned Andela to verify his story.

A Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told the BBC: "US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers strive to treat all people arriving in the country with dignity and respect.

"While we are not at liberty to discuss individual cases due to the Privacy Act, our CBP officers enforce not only immigration and customs laws, but also more than 400 laws for 40 other agencies and have stopped thousands of violators of US law."

Nigeria is not one of the seven countries included in US President Donald Trump's temporary immigration pause. However, the African country has been struggling with the threat of terrorism in recent times, in particular from the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

Mr Trump has repeatedly called for "strong borders" and "extreme vetting" since taking office on 20 January.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Video - Former Nigerian leader Obasanjo condemns South Africans attacking Nigerians

Nigerians have been condemning the violence against foreigners in South Africa. Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has added his voice to the criticism. CGTN's Deji Badmus sat down with the former leader, and filed this report.

97 Nigerians deported from South Africa

While the Nigerian government criticises South Africa’s handling of recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians, the South African Government has deported 97 Nigerians for committing various offences in the country.

The property of several Nigerians and other sub-Saharan Africans have been destroyed across South Africa in xenophobic attacks that have been condemned by various governments.

While asking its citizens to stop the attacks, the South African government has also blamed illegal immigrants from Nigeria and other countries, as well immigrants who commit crime for the attacks. The government has thus decided to clamp down on such immigrants.

The 97 deported Nigerians landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Monday night in a chartered aircraft with the registration number GBB710 from Johannesburg.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that they were made up of 95 males and two females.

Joseph Alabi, the spokesperson of the Lagos Airport Police Command, confirmed the development.

An immigration source told NAN on condition of anonymity that six of the deportees were returned to the country for drug offences while 10 were arrested and deported for other criminal offences .

The others were said to have committed immigration offences in the Southern African country.

All the deportees were profiled by officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) while those deported for drug related offences were handed over to the Police for further investigation.

The Federal Government had also on Monday evacuated 41 Nigerian girls who were trafficked to Mali for sex and labour exploitation.

Six of the suspected human traffickers were also apprehended and brought back to the country for prosecution.