Friday, April 28, 2017

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

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

Nigeria Football Federation gets $8.2million boos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 soldiers killed by suicide bomber in Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 27, 2017

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

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

Death toll in meningitis outbreak in Nigeria reaches 813

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

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

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

The NCDC said the infection killed 33 people in 2016.

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Video - Abuja residents learn martial arts for personal security

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

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reason behind piles of cash popping up in Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is a special page for submitting tip-offs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 24, 2017

Video - Managers systematically plunged Nigerian airline into debt

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Nigeria is a destination of choice for West African immigrants

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

Video - President Buhari orders corruption probe over humanitarian funds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

30 Manchester United fans electrocuted in Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

53 men charged for celebrating gay wedding in Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related stories: Being gay in Nigeria

92 percent of Nigerians support anit-gay law

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Video - Making accessories from recycled plastic bags in Nigeria

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

UN employee arrested for robbing banks in New York

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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

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

Monday, April 17, 2017

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

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

Friday, April 14, 2017

Video - Former Nigerian president implicated in controversial exploration permit

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

Nigeria secret service prevents bomb attack in US, UK embassies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

$43 million found in apartment in Lagos, Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

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

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

Boko Haram survivor to provide prosthetics for victims in Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nigeria negotiating with Boko Haram to release remaining Chibok girls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

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

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

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

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

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

Monday, April 10, 2017

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

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

Nigerian government plans to end open defecation in Nigeria by 2025

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US to sell warplanes to Nigeria in fight against Boko Haram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, April 7, 2017

Video - Racism against Nigerians in India

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

Ademola Odujinrin becomes first Nigerian to fly around the world

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

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

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

Thursday, April 6, 2017

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

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

Former oil minister of Nigeria charged with money-laundering

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

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

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

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

Dog saves wedding guests from suicide bomber in Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Germany to deport 12,000 Nigerians

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

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

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

Nigerian to start registering unemployed by April 5th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 3, 2017

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

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

Vaccine cost cripples response to meningitis outbreak in Nigeria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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