Thursday, July 27, 2017

Video - Nigerian state oil firm says 10 employees abducted by Boko Haram



10 geological researchers have been kidnapped by suspected Boko Haram militants in Nigeria. According to the National Petroleum Corporation, geologists and surveyors from the University of Maidugiri were ambushed near Jibi village in Borno state. They are contracted to work on oil exploration in nearby Lake Chad. Some local media are reporting that many people were killed in the ambush. But this has yet to be confirmed.

More young people to participate in the house of senate in Nigeria

Nigeria’s next general elections might still be two years away but there’s already a good reason for young citizens to be excited.

In a session today (July 26), the Nigerian senate voted to lower the age limit for contesting for elections for the offices of state governors and president. The age limit for candidates for president has been reduced from 40 to 35 and, for governorship positions, from 35 to 30. To take effect, the vote still requires endorsement by 24 of Nigeria’s 35 state assemblies as well as the president’s assent. Regardless, the landmark vote marks a triumph for the “Not Too Young To Run” campaign led by a coalition of youth advocacy groups.

The vote comes at a time when public perception favours a younger generation of leaders with a recent survey by NOIPolls showing that a majority of Nigerians hope to elect a president younger than 50 in the 2019 elections. At 53, Goodluck Jonathan was Nigeria’s youngest president at time of taking office since 1999, the start of the current democratic era.

Nigeria is a particularly young country with a median age of 18. UN predicts that while 2.2 billion people could be added to the global population by 2050, Africa will account for more than half of that growth. Nigeria will account for some of that growth spurt as it is projected to become the world’s third largest country with a population of over 300 million.

The current debacle around the health status of Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari, 74, also serves as a timely reminder to the perils of electing older presidents. Buhari is currently away in London on his second medical leave in 2017 where he’s spending time getting treatment for an undisclosed ailment. The president has spent more time away getting treatment than he’s been at work this year. A photo of president Buhari released earlier this week was the first time he’d been seen in public in nearly three months.

The Senate also voted to allow independent candidates to run for office, reversing a decades-old trend which has required aspirants to be members of political parties, thus needing the backing Nigeria’s political establishment to seek and possibly win votes.

However, running as an independent candidate, while encouraging more participation, is hardly a guarantee of victory as aspirants will still be up against the deep pockets and network of the country’s largest parties. But, if nothing else, the move is seen as bringing local politics in line with global trends. Long-term, the Senate’s votes today will likely further galvanize young Nigerians who, after becoming more involved in politics, have witnessed repeatedly underwhelming governments and may have become cynical or apathetic.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Video - Women take the stage in Nigeria's floating slum



Nigeria's floating Makoko slum - a vast settlement of houses on stilts in a Lagos lagoon was the stage for this year's showing of the popular play - "Hear Word" - a performance targeting issues affecting women. The cast of Makoko residents, with no acting experience, alongside Nollywood veterans delivered powerful scenes on a stage that will later be converted to a community center for the women of the slum.

Nigeria has highest number of children out of school in the world

Nigeria has the largest number of children in the world who are not being educated, the government has said.

Acknowledging the scale of the problem the education ministry's permanent secretary Adamu Hussaini said it was "sad to note" that Nigeria had 10.5 million children out of school.

This is the first time senior officials have admitted the size of the problem.

Cultural factors have been blamed but critics point to a lack of money going to publicly funded schools.

The UN's children's agency, Unicef, has been campaigning on this issue as well as a number of other groups.

On a visit to the country last week, education activist Malala Yousafzai met acting president Yemi Osinbajo and asked him to declare what she called "an education state of emergency in Nigeria".

Mr Hussaini said those most affected were girls, street children and the children of nomadic groups and added that economic prosperity can only be achieved with an "inclusive and functional education system".

But BBC Hausa editor Jimeh Saleh says the failure in the education system is due to a lack of government funding, rather than any cultural factors as suggested by the ministry.

"Government funded schools in Nigeria have practically collapsed over the years because of poor funding leaving children from poor homes with nowhere to go but the streets," he says.

Unicef estimates that 60% of Nigerian children not attending school live in the north of the country.

Shell shuts down major oil pipeline in Nigeria

Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell said Tuesday it has shut down a key crude supply pipeline in Nigeria’s restive south because of a leak.

Shell subsidiary the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) said the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) was shut on July 21 at B-Dere in Ogoniland.

“Efforts are ongoing for a joint investigation visit to determine the cause of the leak and repair of the pipeline,” the company said in a statement. The volume of production shut-in was not disclosed. The TNP feeds the Bonny Light export terminal, which has a production capacity of 225,000 barrels per day of oil. Militants and oil thieves in the region have repeatedly attacked the pipeline. Community unrest forced Shell to quit oil production in Ogoniland in 1993 but the company still runs a network of pipelines criss-crossing the area. 

A spokesman for the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) pressure group said it was not responsible for the latest shutdown. “We are not involved in the incident we only heard about it. Our position however remains that Shell is not welcome on our land,” Fegalo Nsuke told AFP. He called on Shell to address the issues of environmental degradation, neglect, injustice and under-development before considering the resumption of production in Ogoniland. 

“If they want our oil, they have to take care of the people,” he added. MOSOP founder Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed with eight other activists by Nigeria’s then-military government in November 1995 on trumped-up murder charges at a secret trial. Many believed his conviction was politically motivated because of his opposition to Shell’s presence in Ogoniland, where there have been repeated oil spills. In 2015, Shell agreed to pay £55 million ($72 million, 61 million euros) in compensation to more than 15,500 people in Ogoniland and agreed to start a clean-up of two major spills.

Boko Haram ambush oil convoy in Maiduguri, Nigeria

Authorities in northern Nigeria say roughly 10 military personnel have been killed and a similar number of university workers are unaccounted for after Boko Haram extremists attacked their convoy.

The secretary of the Hunters Association in Borno State, Bunu Bukar, says members of the self-defense group saw the bodies of military personnel after the ambush Tuesday.

The military and self-defense group were providing security for oil exploration workers in northern Borno state. Bukar says the convoy had been traveling between Magumeri and Gubio towns.

Nigeria’s military has not immediately commented on the ambush.

Boko Haram’s eight-year insurgency has killed more than 20,000 people and continues to carry out deadly attacks despite the government’s declaration late last year that the extremists had been “crushed.”

AP

5 dead in building collapse in Lagos, Nigeria

A four-story residential building collapsed in Nigeria's largest city and killed at least five people, emergency officials in Lagos said Wednesday.

Authorities said at least 15 people had been rescued from the rubble of the building that collapsed Tuesday afternoon.

Government officials did not immediately say what caused the collapse in a poor neighbourhood of the sprawling city of about 21 million people. Rescue efforts continued overnight and into Wednesday morning.

An Associated Press photographer at the scene saw the body of one adult pulled from the rubble. It was not clear how many people were living in the building.


Hundreds of people gathered at the scene where rescue workers and heavy machinery were sifting through the rubble.

Building collapses are not uncommon in the West African powerhouse where corruption is rampant and infrastructure often poor.

Lagos, Nigeria's commercial hub, is said to be Africa's largest city.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Video - U.N. says Nigerian government must intensify efforts to free remaining girls



The United Nations has called on Nigeria to intensify its efforts to find and free the remaining girls abducted by Boko Haram. A U.N. panel of experts has been assessing discrimination against women in the West African nation. It's recommended that the government ensure young women are able to return to school without fear of stigma due to their abduction.

Government of Nigeria wants to regulate social media

The federal government is in a move to set up a council whose duty will be to regulate the use of social media in Nigeria.

The recommendation was made by the National Council on Information, NCI, which suggests, “setting up of a council to regulate the use of social media in Nigeria.”

The recommendation was part of a communiqué issued at the end of Extraordinary Meeting of NCI on Hate Speeches, Fake News and National Unity held in Jos, Plateau state.

The Council, presided over by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, recommended the use of stringent measures in checking conventional media and their programmes.

The Council noted that there was no way vetting and editing posts on Social media could be possible since it has no address.

The Council also suggested that information managers at the state level should open a website that would immediately counter report of any misinformation posted on social media.

It further recommended the killing of whatever is assumed or presumed to be hate speeches or fake news or misinformation by the information managers in various states on social media.

NCI said social media might take over the 2019 elections because Nigerians have come to rely on whatever they find on social media than on conventional media.

President Buhari expected back in Nigeria in two weeks

A Nigerian state governor says he expects President Muhammadu Buhari to return home from the UK within the next two weeks.

Governor Rochas Okorocha was a member of a delegation who met the president in London on Sunday.

Mr Buhari has been receiving treatment in the UK for an unspecified illness.

His absence has led to some anxiety in Nigeria, with some speculating that he might have died. Others have worried he may not be able to return to duty.

The presidency later released images of Mr Buhari, 74, at the meeting with governors from his party. It is the first time he has been pictured in London since leaving Nigeria almost 80 days ago.

'High spirits'

The Imo state governor told the BBC's Newshour programme on Monday: "I met a very hardy man in high spirits, and he's doing quite well. He has not lost his sense of humour, for which is he known for.

"So he is doing quite well and we are very pleased to see him and I think that has gone a long way to reassure Nigerians about the health of their president."

Mr Okorocha earlier said Mr Buhari had laughed off rumours concerning his health when asked about them.

"President Buhari was completely unperturbed by the cocktail of lies. He, instead, sent his best wishes to Nigerians."

Mr Buhari would be returning as soon as doctors gave him the green light, Mr Okorocha said.

The president left Nigeria on 7 May - his second trip to the UK for treatment this year.

In his absence, he has given Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo full powers to act as head of state.
Buhari's unhealthy start to 2017

19 January: Leaves for UK on "medical vacation"

5 February: Asks parliament to extend medical leave

10 March: Returns home but does not resume work immediately

26 April: Misses second cabinet meeting and is "working from home"

28 April: Misses Friday prayers

3 May: Misses third consecutive cabinet meeting

5 May: Appears at Friday prayers in Abuja

7 May: Travels to UK for further treatment

6 June: Buhari's wife says he is "recuperating fast"

12 July: Acting head of state says the president will be home "very soon"

Monday, July 24, 2017

Video - Nigeria government sending troops to Kaduna amid ongoing clashes



Nigeria's government says it is sending more security personnel to southern Kaduna where hundreds have been killed in clashes between Fulani herdsmen and villagers in the past months.The statement follows latest clashes in the village of Kajuru where 37 people were killed in the past week.

Video - Nigeria releases first photograph of president in almost 80 days



Nigeria has released a photograph of President Muhammadu Buhari-the first in almost three months, since he left the country for treatment in the UK. The picture shows Buhari dining in Britain with senior members of his political party. Speculation is rife in Nigeria, over Buhari's medical condition. Buhari is on his second medical leave so far this year. His health has also sparked debate about his ability to finish his current term, to his being able to contest the 2019 election.

Suicide bombers attack IDP camps in Nigeria

At least eight people have been killed after female suicide bombers attacked two camps hosting internally displaced people (IDP) in northeastern Nigeria's Maiduguri, a civilian self-defence group said.

It was the first major attack on a displaced persons camp in the city which is the birthplace of the Boko Haram.

The attack started late Sunday night and left another 15 people wounded, the Civilian-JTF group spokesman Bello Danbatta told The Associated Press.

Boko Haram often targets the city with suicide bombers and has been using female ones increasingly.

Late last year, Nigeria's government declared the group "crushed" but dozens of such attacks have taken place in 2017.

The latest bombings occurred a few days after Nigeria's army chief of staff issued a 40-day deadline for troops to flush out Boko Haram's leader and finish off the group.

Danbatta said one bomber sneaked into the Dalori camp and detonated, and two other attackers exploded on or near the camp's perimeter fence. Another bomber detonated early on Monday.

Thousands of people continue to shelter in camps after being forced from their homes by Boko Haram.

Attacks carried out by the group over the last eight years have killed more than 20,000 people, kidnapped thousands of others, spilled into neighbouring countries and created one of the world's largest humanitarian crises.

Nigeria is moving closer to famine, with more than five million people expected to face "crisis, emergency and famine conditions" by the end of August as the lean season continues, the Norwegian Refugee Council said in a statement on Monday.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Video - Etisalat Nigeria rebranded as 9mobile



Troubled telecoms firm Etisalat Nigeria has a new image. The company will now trade as nine-mobile. The new look was triggered by Etisalat International's decision to pull out of Nigeria after debt restructuring talks between the firm and banks failed.

Nigeria's former oil minister's $37.5 million property to be seized

A Nigerian court has ordered the temporary seizure of a $37.5 million property owned by a former oil minister, the state news agency said, the latest move related to graft allegations against a lynchpin of the last administration.

Diezani Alison-Madueke, a key figure in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan who served as petroleum minister in the OPEC member country from 2010 to 2015, has been dogged by corruption allegations over the last year.

The U.S. Justice Department filed a civil complaint last Friday aimed at recovering about $144 million in assets allegedly obtained through bribes to the former minister.

A lawyer representing the former minister did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Alison-Madueke's whereabouts are unclear, but she was last known to be in Britain.

In April, she was charged in absentia with money laundering by Nigeria's financial crimes agency.

In October 2015, she was briefly arrested in London for questioning about allegations related to missing public funds but no charges were brought against her. Prior to her arrest she had denied to Reuters any wrongdoing when asked about missing public funds and corruption allegations.

On Wednesday the Federal High Court in the commercial capital Lagos issued the order over Alison-Madueke's property in the city's upmarket Banana Island area which she bought in 2013, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said.

The property is an apartment block situated in a heavily guarded gated community where some of the richest people in the country have properties worth millions of dollars. The area is also popular with expat oil executives.

The court also ordered a temporary freeze on sums of $2.74 million and 84.54 million naira ($269,000) that were said to be part of the rent collected on the property.

The temporary seizure orders were made following an application to the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Anselem Ozioko, the barrister representing EFCC, told the court that the financial crimes agency suspected the property was acquired with the proceeds of alleged illegal activities.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari took office in May 2015 vowing to crackdown on corruption, but there have been no high-profile graft convictions during his tenure.

A number of former government officials have faced criminal charges, which they have denied, since Buhari took office.

The opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP), which ruled for 16 years prior to Buhari taking office, has previously accused the 74-year-old former military ruler of mounting a witch-hunt against its members.

Hotline set-up to stop Nigerians from murdering their wives

It was an ordinary afternoon when Anthonia Iheme left her work at a nursing home in Hennepin County, Minnesota, and got into her car. But as she was about to pull out of the car park, she was shot - twice. Her vehicle lurched forward and clipped the side of a parked van before going over a pavement, down a small hill and striking a chain-link fence bordering the nursing facility. The gunman followed. He approached the driver's window and fired several more shots.

The attacker was Anthonia's husband. It was July 24, 2008. After murdering his wife, he called 911 and declared: "I have killed the woman that messed my life up … a woman that destroyed me."

Years later, Grace Ogiehor-Enoma sat quietly on the J train heading to her office in the New York borough of Brooklyn. When the train emerged above ground, her phone rang. The caller had hidden his ID.

"Tell me why I should not kill my wife now," he raged.

Although she receives similar calls 10 to 15 times a year, they never cease to startle Ogiehor-Enoma. The man, calling from the state of Georgia, launched into a tirade against Nigerian nurses in the United States.

"Some of the women, they deserve what they get," he said. Ogiehor-Enoma let him vent.

When he had finished, she assumed the role of educator and counsellor. She asked: What would become of his children? What would become of him? By the end of her commute, she had managed to talk him down.

After 10 Nigerian women - eight of them nurses - had been killed in the US by their partners between 2006 and 2008 - shot, stabbed or bludgeoned to death - Ogiehor-Enoma decided to act.

The nurse and executive director of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses in North America (NANNNA) started handing out her mobile phone number at community gatherings and events. It became an unofficial, de facto hotline for Nigerian men abusing or contemplating killing their partners, for couples seeking help, and for abused women.

The unofficial hotline was part of her organisation's efforts to understand and tackle domestic violence among Nigerians in the US. Why was there so much violence against nurses? What should be done?

Deciphering violence
Domestic abuse and fatal cases of partner violence are global phenomena. According to the United Nations, 38 percent of murders of women worldwide are committed by their male partners, and partner violence is the most common type of violence against women, affecting 30 percent of women globally.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence reports that three women are killed every day in the US by their partners. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), black women in the US have historically experienced intimate partner violence at rates higher than white women.

These numbers, however, fail to account for the plurality of experiences within the African-American community. The BJS' National Crime Victimization Survey did not track domestic-related murders and murder-suicides by perpetrators with an immigrant status until July 2016.

NANNNA wanted to determine the specific factors driving violence in the Nigerian diaspora. In 2011, they conducted an informal investigation into the murders of Nigerian nurses, gathered anecdotal data by reviewing comments on Nigerian news sites and blogs, hosted focus groups and used knowledge gleaned from the hotline.

Their findings revealed a recurring theme for Nigerian women in the US. They earned more than their partners and worked long hours, which kept them from what their partners perceived to be their domestic duties and led to suspicions of infidelity.

It also revealed a clash between a particular strain of patriarchy - as embodied by the Nigerian man accustomed to the norms of his male-dominated homeland - and feminism, as represented by the acculturated Nigerian woman.

Women were accused of "losing their identity" in the US and being corrupted by its "women-friendly" legal system.

NANNNA is currently collaborating with two psychiatrists at Yale University, Theddeus Iheanacho and Charles Dike, to formally research domestic violence against nurses in the US and Nigeria. Based on news reports of fatal domestic violence cases, Iheanacho estimates that on average in the past decade about three to four Nigerian nurses are killed by their intimate partners every year.

"In Nigeria, the balance of power, most of the time, is in the man's hands, so he has less recourse to violence," says Iheanacho. "Domestic violence is acceptable in Nigeria."

Nearly a third of all women in Nigeria, 28 percent, have experienced physical violence. Nigeria has disparate pieces of legislation. A few states have passed legislation on domestic violence, but others permit husbands to physically "correct" their wives. Nigeria signed the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act into law only in 2015, after a decade-long legislative process. The bill finally tagged spousal battery as "an offence".

"[But] there is no enforcement of laws around domestic violence in Nigeria," says Iheanacho.

Sometimes the abuse can escalate to extreme violence because women often stay in abusive relationships and refuse to take advantage of the different sources of aid available to them in the US. They believe as Ogiehor-Enoma puts it, "that as Nigerian women you have to be married to gain the respect of the community".
Why nurses?

One of the reasons nurses are targeted is because it is a common profession for Nigerian women in the US.

Based on data from the Migration Policy Institute as of 2015, Nigeria was the third source country for foreign-born registered nurses in the US. The field is relatively easy to get into; one can become a certified nursing assistant, picking up extra shifts and working for $12.78 an hour, in a matter of weeks.

"Nigerian nurses [also] marry Nigerian-American men as tickets/passports to higher income and better quality of life," states the NANNNA study, which also revealed that some Nigerian-American men often return to Nigeria to marry nurses or women they later convince to adopt the profession.

After bringing their female partners to the US and or funding their nursing education, some of the men feel entitled to their partners' salaries and insist on controlling their income. Once the women start to work, the men expect a return on their investment, says Ogiehor-Enoma - but in the US they often find it harder than anticipated to control their partners.

"Decisions about how money is spent are a source of conflict. The women were blamed for rebelling against this expectation and sometimes flaunting their superior contribution to their peril," says the NANNNA study.

It is not just the prevalence of the nursing occupation in the community that accounts for why most of the victims of fatal domestic violence cases are nurses. For Iheanacho, the murders of nurses are almost symbolic.

"Nurses are just representative of a professional woman," he says. "A nurse from Nigeria represents a successful professional, potentially independent, woman."

Ogiehor-Enoma receives calls from irate husbands, complaining that now their women are nurses they no longer feel respected by them.

Her hotline has deepened understanding into the issue, and it is also filling a void - offering help to a community that is often not reached.

Official marriage counselling or involving the authorities in marital disputes is not common in the Nigerian community "because back home we tend to focus on elders; reporting the woman or the husband to the mother-in-law or to the family member to discuss the issues," Ogiehor-Enoma says.

Community members, like most immigrants, are often unwilling to seek help from official sources of aid for fear of the authorities and of betraying their own group.

Research findings suggest West African immigrants are more likely to turn to informal avenues such as religious leaders, friends and relatives for help with domestic violence than the authorities, psychologists or marriage counsellors.
Filling the void

The advice and counselling Ogiehor-Enoma dispenses draws on her medical training, her Nigerian background and common sense.

When she receives calls from men, she refers them to local NANNNA leaders in their state; and she directs abused women to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The calls are confidential and are often from nurses and their partners. But it is difficult to get these men and women to trust and use resources outside the community.

After the 2011 research, NANNNA presented its findings to the Ministry of Health in Nigeria and created domestic violence groups in their 13 chapters across the US.

Ogiehor-Enoma faces a lack of resources to create an official hotline with designated responders other than her as well as the culture of silence around domestic violence that prevents more people from using existing services to openly discuss intimate partner abuse.

More research, services and programmes tailored to the cultural needs of the community are needed to effectively monitor and curb domestic violence, she says. This would involve collaborating with diaspora groups and religious centres such as churches and mosques.

There have been no fatal cases since the death of Nigerian-American nurse Nnenna Laura Ogbonna-Onwumelu in Baltimore, Maryland on February 16, 2016.

The calls to Ogiehor-Enoma's hotline are decreasing, and she isn't certain why, but she attributes it partly to a lack of awareness and people's unwillingness to discuss domestic violence. Perhaps opening a direct line to her community has also helped with curbing domestic violence, but without the data, it's hard to tell.

Ogiehor-Enoma, like Iheanacho, believes the murders are just the tip of the iceberg, as the abuse endures and remains normalised below the surface. For their study, Iheanacho and Dike screened 100 Nigerian nurses in the US and Nigeria, and while their final findings will be reported in November, Iheanacho says the majority of the women screened positive for intimate partner violence.

As much as the Nigerian diaspora tries to save face and tackle its issues internally, Ogiehor-Enoma admits their aims cannot be met alone. More external assistance and resources are needed for community-run programmes; particularly programmes targeting men. "Our community needs help," she says.

Written by Irene Chidinma Nwoye


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Video - Abuja, Lagos are among the most costly cities for expats in Nigeria



Consulting firm Mercer has released its latest Cost of Living Survey. African, Asian and European cities top the list of most expensive locations for people working abroad in 2017. Two of those African cities are Lagos and Abuja -- both in Nigeria.

Video - Retired footballer Okocha believes Nigeria will rise again



Speaking on the sidelines of that symposium, retired Nigerian footballer Austin Okocha has backed his country to bounce back, despite a recent spate of poor results.

Nigeria clears Cameroon of the death of 97 fishermen

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, on Wednesday said there was no evidence of 97 Nigerians being killed by Cameroonian Gendarmes.

He said the 97 deaths represented the accumulation of all the Nigerians that had been killed in previous incidents in the Bakassi area since 2008.

Mr. Onyeama made the claim before the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs headed by Nnena Elendu-Ukeje. The committee is probing the incident.

The minister, who was represented by the permanent secretary in the ministry, Olusola Enikanolaye, added that independent investigation had shown that such killings did not occur.

He explained that the incident started following the deployment in July 2017 of a new Divisional Officer (DO) to Idabato sub- division of Cameroon to administer the Bakassi General Area.

“On assumption of office , the new DO commenced the imposition of new taxes on the residents after a meeting with all the chiefs.

“Accordingly, all men engaged in fishing and other business activities in the area were to pay N55,000, women 30,000 and churches N50,000 per annum.”

“Furthermore, taxes on packets of fish were raised from N200 to N1,000. Butchers were to pay N1,000 per head for goats slaughtered by them.

“The sanctions placed on the residents for violation of the tax rules include seizure of their boats and payment of 200 per cent of the initial tax.

“This accounts for the N100,000 which was hitherto heralded in the news and initial reports as the amount of the tax to be paid by Nigerians.”

He said by the records of the Nigerian Mission, the death recorded were not orchestrated by the Gendarmes.

He said some Nigerians fled their homes and headed for the Ikang Jetty when the new DO threatened to use force. It was while they were on their way that some of them reportedly drowned.

“Unfortunately, the leaders who confirmed these assertions to the team had no corpse of persons drowned in the incident as proof of the manner of death,” he said.


New oil policy approved by Nigeria

The Federal Government has approved a new policy on oil administration in the country.

The approval is sequel to a memo presented to the Federal Executive Council, FEC, by the Minister of State, Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu.

Mr. Kachikwu said the approval was given at FEC meeting Of Wednesday chaired by the acting president, Yemi Osinbajo.

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Mr. Kachikwu said his ministry had already began implementing some of the policy.

“We are working assiduously to exit the importation of fuel in 2019 and we also captured the cash calls changes we have done which enables the sector to fund itself through incremental volumes,” he said.

The minister also said the new policy captured the reorganisation in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, for efficiency and to enable accountability.

“It captured the issues in the Niger Delta and what we needed to do as a government, to focus on stability and consistency in the sector.

“It is a very comprehensive 100-page document that’s deals with all the spectrum in the industry,” he said.

Mr. Kachikwu said the last oil policy was in 2007.

“It’s has been 10 Years and you are aware that the dynamics of the oil industry has changed dramatically.

“Apart from the fact of fluidity in pricing and uncertainty in terms of the price regime in crude, we are pushing for a refining processing environment and moving away from exporting as it were to refining petroleum product, that’s one change you will see.

“Secondly how we sell our crude is going to be looked at, there is a lot of geographical market we need to look at in the long term, contracting and sales as opposed to systemic contracting that we have been doing.

“Those are the fundamentals, it’s a document if well executed will fundamentally take the change process that we began in 2015 to its logical conclusion hopefully in the next couple of years,” he said.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Video - Public outcry over Nigerian lawmakers' salary perks intensifies



If there is one thing Nigerians are unanimous about, it's that their lawmakers earn far more than they should. Public pressure to reduce lawmakers' salaries and allowances has been growing -- but nothing has happened. One of the problems is that Nigerians don't know what their politicians earn.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Video - Anger grows in Nigeria's south over oil spills



Oil production in southern Nigeria is at its highest level in the last two years. But it comes with a cost.

There is growing anger over pollution that is affecting local communities, an anger now threatening stability in the region.

Video - Nigeria working on improving tax compliance



Nigeria is cracking down on tax avoidance to help rebuild its finances. But experts say more needs to be done in changing public perceptions towards tax compliance.

Suicide bomber kills in Maiduguri, Nigeria

At least eight people were killed on Monday when a female suicide bomber detonated her explosives at a mosque in northeastern Nigeria.

The head of the Borno state emergency management agency, Ahmed Satomi, said the blast injured 15 others in the London Ciki area of Maiduguri, which has been at the epicentre of Boko Haram violence since 2009.

"The mosque was being guarded by civilian JTF [joint task force militia] during prayers," he told AFP.

"Unknown to them, the girl was being pursued from another part of town by residents who were suspicious of her movement at the time.

"When she approached the mosque, they demanded that she stop to be searched but she suddenly bolted into the mosque and set off her bombs."

"There were two girls that wanted to attack the mosque but one of them got stuck in barbed wire in the ditch dug near the area. The second one escaped and began to run as our operatives there began to chase after her," said spokesman Danbatta Bello with the Civilian-JTF self-defence force.

"She rushed to the mosque and detonated the second bomb."

The mosque collapsed in the blast. Police did not immediately comment.

Two other female suicide bombers were shot and killed in Maiduguri around the same time as the mosque was attacked, Bello said.

It is the second time in a week that four female suicide bombers have sought to cause carnage in Maiduguri.

Last Monday, at least 19 people were killed and 23 others injured when four women set off their bombs in the Molai Kolemari area of the city.

Boko Haram has increasingly used girls and young women to carry out attacks. Some young women who escaped the hardline group have said girls are drugged and forced to carry out suicide missions.

Nigeria's government late last year declared that Boko Haram had been "crushed" but deadly attacks continue. The Islamic group have killed more than 20,000 people, abducted thousands of others and spilled over into neighbouring countries.

Northeastern Nigeria is part of what the United Nations has called the world's largest humanitarian crisis in more than 70 years, with the World Food Programme estimating that more than 4.5 million people in the region need emergency food assistance. Boko Haram has disrupted both agriculture and markets.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Video - Nigerian entrepreneurs help riders, passengers beat traffic safely



Nigeria's biggest city Lagos is notorious for its terrible traffic. Motorcycle taxis or Okadas in the city are an easier way to get to your destination -- but authorities recently banned them from highways because of a sharp increase in accidents. Two young entrepreneurs want to make it easier for Okada riders and passengers.

HBO to adapt book by Nigerian novelist to TV series

Nigerian-British writer Nnedi Okorafor has revealed that her 2010 fantasy novel 'Who Fears Death' has been adapted by Home Box Office (HBO) for a television series. In a tweet on the 10th of July, the writer shared this news with her fans and followers. The book won the 2011 World Fantasy Award for best novel as well as the Carl Brandon Kindred Award in 2010, for outstanding work of speculative fiction dealing with race and ethnicity because of its unique blend of Nigerian culture with science fiction.

Nnedi's works are usually laced with cultural norms- especially the ones that affect women, yet she skillfully shatters these stereotypes about Africans and women. The book 'Who Fears Death' is the story of a girl - Onyesonwu, who was conceived as a result of rape. The story takes us through her development to the point where she discovers a world full of mystical powers, where she learns that she must end the war between the two communities.

Also included in her tweet was the Executive Producer of the upcoming series. The writer stated that the prestigious George R. R. Martin will preside over the production process of the series. She wrote: "My novel WHO FEARS DEATH has been optioned by @HBO & is now in early development as a TV series with George RR Martin as executive producer. George is the author of best-selling series of fantasy books 'Game of Thrones' and is currently the Executive Producer of the HBO adaptation of his book- hit TV series Game of Thrones, and he's doing a great job with that, therefore Nnedi is in great hands".

According the author, the development has been in the works for a few years, but they just decided to come forward with it. She also revealed in another tweet that she will be overseeing the adaptation:"I am very involved. I also know George well (we met in 2014 and I stayed in touch); he's been a sort of mentor to me through all this. And all those involved know what this story is; Onyesonwu is in good hands."

America gives Nigeria $4.3 billion to tackle HIV in Nigeria

The US government support for HIV/AIDS programmes in Nigeria totalled $4.3 billion between 2014 and 2016 with more than 700,000 patients treated in 2016 alone.

Charge D Affairs U.S Mission in Nigeria, Mr David Young who disclosed this in Abuja. Young who made the call at the commissioning and official handing over of Jikoko Community Health Centre project supported by U.S. Ambassador’s small Grant Programme in Bwari Local Council Area, Abuja, said over $23 million is contributed annually to immunisation activities in Nigeria. 

The envoy said the US through the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, made annual contribution of $7.35 million to support Nigeria polio programme.” “In addition to the annual contribution the polio programme also received an additional seven million dollars at the national level in 2016 and provided technical assistance in Bauchi, Katsina and Sokoto States. 

“The U.S. Government is appreciated of our work with the National Primary Health Development Agency, the UN agencies, state governments as well as National Stop Transmission of Polio programme and GAVI alliance. “We urged them to strengthen this work to kick out polio out of Nigeria. Nigeria is the only country in Africa that is still on the endemic list of polio.” 

He said health workers are encouraged to continue to make the provision and demand for immunisation a priority, and that health of children is the future of the family, community and the country in general. The envoy said U.S. always cooperates with other partners and government to make a difference in Nigeria.

He expressed confident that the commissioning of the health centre in the community would contribute towards the goal to kick out polio. “The commissioning of the clinic was an indication that “health is one of the priority areas of U.S. development assistance in Nigeria.”

Friday, July 14, 2017

Video - New plan adopted to eradicate insurgency in Lake Chad Basin




Well, authorities say they're close to eradicating Boko Haram. Defence ministers from the Lake Chad Basin and the government of Benin have adopted a new strategy to curb the insurgency.

Cameroon military kill 97 Nigerian fishermen

Nigeria's parliament is investigating reports that 97 fishermen have been killed in the Bakassi peninsula, which the country ceded to Cameroon.

Reports say that the killings happened last week when a Cameroonian paramilitary unit was enforcing a $300 (£230) fishing levy.

Nigerian Interior Minister Abdulrahman Dambazau accused Cameroon of breaching an agreement to protect its citizens.

The Cameroonian government is yet to comment.

Cameroon took control of oil-rich Bakassi in 2008 after an International Court of Justice ruling, ending years of border skirmishes.

Survivors of the attack have been arriving back in Nigeria with injuries, reports the BBC's Naziru Mikailu in the capital, Abuja.

Nigeria's lower house of parliament resolved that it will investigate the reports in view of the 2005 Green Tea agreement between the two countries, to protect the citizens of the ceded areas from harm.

A five-year UN-backed transition period was put in place exempting the area's residents, many of them Nigerian fishermen, from paying tax.

Nigeria earlier this week summoned the Cameroonian ambassador to lodge a formal protest note.

Nigeria possibly headed to a civil war?

On August 1, 1966, after the collapse of last-ditch attempts by Nigeria's power brokers to prevent the impending civil war, Lieutenant Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu said only one thing would make the rebels cease fire: "that the Republic of Nigeria be split into its component parts; and all southerners in the North be repatriated to the South and that Northerners resident in the South be repatriated to the North".

On May 30, 1967, Oxford-educated Ojukwu declared Biafra an independent state in the southeast of the country, in an attempt to fulfil his dream for an Igbo homeland. On July 6, 1967, civil war broke out in Nigeria, which claimed more than a million lives in just three years.

Fast-forward to June 2017. Irked by renewed secessionist calls from the same Igbo ethnic group, a coalition of northern groups issued a notice, demanding "all Igbo currently residing in any part of Northern Nigeria to relocate within three months and all northerners residing in the East are advised likewise".

Although made 51 years apart, those two statements are strikingly similar. Since the first was followed by a war, there is real reason to worry that the second could prompt another.

Last week's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Nigeria's civil war should have been an opportunity for Nigerians to remember the ills of war and to vow not to let it happen again. Instead, the voices of secession raged even louder.

Secessionist movement an indictment of past leadership
The resurrection of the clamour for secession five decades since the civil war is simply the result of serial leadership failure in Nigerian politics. When the war ended in 1970, Yakubu Gowon, then head of state, promised to "build a nation, great in justice, fair trade, and industry". But he and his successors didn't.

Although there is no evidence of efforts to specifically ignore the plight of the Igbo, generations of corrupt and selfish leaders have entered and vacated office with no real plan to rebuild the East from the ruins of war, neither have they done anything for the insurgency-ravaged North-East. They have been filling their pockets with public funds while ignoring a disenchanted youth and growing anger.

Now, the Igbo youth is ready to do anything, including sacrificing their lives, to actualise the dream of an independent Biafra. Some 150 of them already died for this causebetween August 2015 and August 2016. The series of military crackdowns on pro-Biafra activists was a grave error by the authorities as it has spawned clusters of bellicose Igbo youth who want to avenge their brothers' deaths. Anyone who has physically met secessionist leader Nnamdi Kanu's apostles, or read their viperous online comments, will admit that quite a number of them are seething with rage that can only be thawed by the highest level of tact from the government.

The absence of that kind of tact is arguably the reason for the escalation of the Biafra agitation in the last two years. After all, Kanu, the face of the secessionist movement, was little-known until October 2015 when the Muhammadu Buhari government arrested him and subsequently disobeyed court orders granting him bail.

He was eventually released in April this year, but thanks to that unlawful detention Kanu exchanged his freedom for undeserved martyrdom. Now, what should have been an intelligent campaign for self-determination has been entrusted to a man whose message is primarily driven by emotion and aggression.
'Nigeria's unity is non-negotiable'

The most important question regarding the secession of Biafra is, of course, whether Nigeria's unity is negotiable. President Buhari has said it a few times, and his vice - now acting - president, Yemi Osinbajo has reiterated it: Nigeria's unity is not negotiable. According to them, secession is not and will never be on the negotiation table.

The superficial argument behind this claim is that the Nigerian Constitution is unequivocal in its exclusion of secession when it states in Section 2(1) that "Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign state to be known by the name of the Federal Republic of Nigeria".

But Biafra is not a fresh secessionist movement - it is a 50-year-old idea. And, regardless of the grave shortcomings of its current proponent, a 50-year-old movement cannot be dispelled with a wave of the hand or by locking up the proponent or brandishing the Constitution. The Nigerian government must come up with an agreeable, realistic and practical solution to this problem.

In its ninth section, the same constitution provides for dialogue on the possibility of amending Nigeria's indissolubility. But for this amendment to come into force, not less than two-thirds majority of state and federal legislators must support the move. So, instead of saying an outright "no" to Biafra, Buhari and Osinbajo should remind the secessionists of what they must do: lobby the legislature. Everyone knows the success rate is negligible, if not nil, but good luck to them if they succeed.

A referendum on internal governance
Importantly and urgently, Nigeria needs a referendum. There is palpable public frustration with a governance structure that allocates the lion share of the country's earnings to the federal government while leaving states to scramble for crumbs. A referendum on the preferred system of internal governance is crucial, even though recent calls for fiscal federalism have come from politicians who are more interested in cornering the nation's wealth than redistributing it for common good.

Now is the time to take the decision to the public court. Some may criticise direct democracy as the "tyranny of the majority", but there's no other option for a Nigerian state where the tyranny of the ruling minority is monumental.

Neither history nor currency is on the side of Biafra. Only two secessionist movements have ever succeeded in Africa: Eritrea from Ethiopia after 30 years of war, and South Sudan from Sudan in 2011 after 22 years of war - the latter still as war-torn as the pre-2011 Sudan. Herein lies the lesson for Biafra agitators: Secession from Nigeria will not solve their problems unless accompanied by conscientious leadership.

Nigeria, meanwhile, must go back 50 years to draw its own lessons: These types of agitations can lead to war. If the south-easterners don't want to stay, let them go. Fragmentation is a million times better than the devastation of war.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Video - Suicide bombers kills 19 in Nigeria



Four suicide bombers have targeted a civilian self-defence force in Nigeria, killing 19 people. The bombers are reportedly from the militant group, Boko Haram. This has been the deadliest attack in months in the northeastern city of Maiduguri - the birthplace of Boko Haram's eight-year insurgency. Borno state police commissioner Damian Chukwu said 23 others were wounded during the attacks. Reports also state that at at least one of the suicide bombers was female. Boko Haram has increasingly used girls and young women to carry out attacks on marketplaces, checkpoints and other targets.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

25% of Nigerians excrete openly according to unicef

The United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, says 25 per cent or 46 million Nigerians defecate openly, while 33 million of these people are in the rural areas

Nawshad Ahmed, Programme and Planning Specialist, UNICEF, Abuja, said this in Minna on Tuesday during the 2017 Niger State UNICEF mid-year review.

He noted that open defecation, which was higher in the northern part of the country than the southern part, was present across Nigeria.

Mr. Ahmed said that open defecation was less in urban areas due to access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in urban areas.

He also said that one out of every three Nigerians did not have access to safe drinking water, adding that the rate surpassed 80 per cent in some southern states and less than 35 per cent in some northern states.

On open defecation in Niger, Mr. Ahmed said that there was a need to review the state's WASH policy for presentation to the State Executive Council for approval.

He said that there was inadequate government support for the implementation of the state's Open Defecation-Free Road Map to end open defecation by 2025.

The specialist noted that none of the 25 local government areas of the state had tangible plans to end open defecation, while there were no WASH departments in the local government councils.

He also said that none of the local government councils had existing budget for WASH facilities.

He added that the pace of expansion of safe water facilities was lower than the rate of increase in population.

On education, Mr. Ahmed said that over 20 per cent of world's out-of-school children -- 10 million children -- were in Nigeria.

"Children from the richest quintile are three times likely to attend school than children from the poorest families.

"There is no gender disparity in the school attendance for children in the richest, fourth, or middle wealth quintile; gender gap appears in the second quintile and is wider among poorest children," he said.

He, however, stressed that mother's education was important to improving the standard of education of children.

Usman Musa, Permanent Secretary, Niger Ministry of Planning, disclosed that the 2017 UNICEF work plan was already in progress.

He said the work plan would soon be signed by Gov. Abubakar Bello.

Mr. Musa advised participants to participate actively in the plan whenever it became operational so as to achieve the objectives of the review.

Etisalat Nigeria to retain operations with new brand name

Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Ltd. (EMTS) trading as Etisalat Nigeria on Tuesday informed its customers that the change of brand name will not affect its operations. Mr. Ibrahim Dikko, the Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, EMTS made this known in a statement.

Dikko said that EMTS was aware of recent news reports regarding Etisalat Group’s withdrawal of the right to the continued use of the Etisalat brand in Nigeria by EMTS. He said that EMTS had a valid and subsisting agreement with the Etisalat Group.

According to him, the agreement entitles EMTS to use the Etisalat brand notwithstanding the recent changes within the company. “Indeed, discussions are ongoing between EMTS and Etisalat Group pertaining to the continued use of the brand. “EMTS will issue a formal statement once discussions are concluded. 

“The final outcome on the use of the brand in no way affects the operations of the business as our full range of services remain available to our customers,’’ he said. Dikko said that EMTS launched in Nigeria in 2008 with “0809ja’’ to affirm the “Nigerianness’’ of its origin and sphere of influence. He said that in nine years of operation, the company remained a prime driver and avid supporter of the Nigerian spirit of excellence. According to him, the telecommunications company will continue to stay true to its “Naijacentric identity’’. 

“This notion is strongly reflected in our core messages and depicted in major projects and initiatives, which we have been known to support. “All these initiatives have their foundation embedded in supporting key aspects of the Nigerian fabric: building Nigerian businesses and empowering Nigerians with a focus on the youth. “Nigeria remains the soul of EMTS’ business and we have made the brand alluring to our teeming subscribers, who see a piece of the spirit and character of Nigeria in everything we do. 

“EMTS is here to stay and we wish to assure our esteemed customers that our core values of youthfulness, customer-centricity and innovation will remain the pillars on which we operate. “We thank our esteemed customers for their abiding faith in us,’’ Dikko said. Since the month of March, Etisalat Group has been having the issues with the consortium of 13 banks over the payment of 1.2 billion dollar loan. 

The group had on Monday given Etisalat Nigeria three weeks ultimatum to stop the usage of its brand name.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Video - Etisalat to phase out brand in Nigeria



Abu Dhabi's Etisalat has terminated its management agreement with its Nigerian arm and given the business time to phase out the brand in the country. This, after Nigerian regulators intervened to save Etisalat Nigeria from collapse, after talks with its lenders to renegotiate a $1.2 billion loan failed. All UAE shareholders of Etisalat Nigeria have exited the company and have left the board and management. Discussion between Etisalat International and its Nigerian arm are now ongoing to provide technical support for another 3 weeks before phasing it out.

NTA journalist shot dead

A reporter with the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, Benin, Lawrence Okojie, was allegedly shot dead by gunmen on Saturday night in Benin, the Edo State capital.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr. Okojie was said to have been killed around Ogunola Junction, off Siluko Road.

The spokesman of the Edo State Police Command, Moses Nkombe, who confirmed the report, said one person had been arrested in connection with the incident.

NAN gathered that the late Mr. Okojie, who was dropped off by NTA staff bus at Ogunola Junction around 8: 00 p.m. on Saturday, had called his wife on phone and informed her that he was on his way home.

It was, however, several hours later that the wife, after repeated calls to his phone without any response raised an alarm that her husband, who was supposed to have arrived home could not be reached.

It was gathered that some of his colleagues at NTA joined by some family members on a search mission, discovered his corpse in a morgue in Benin on Sunday night.

As at the time of filing in this report, the circumstances surrounding the death of the reporter are still sketchy.

The police have, however, promised to thoroughly investigate the matter.

NAN reports that Mr. Okojie’s death brings to five the number of journalists killed in the state in the last six years.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Video - Nigeria racing against time to raise funds to send athletes to Kenya



The IAAF World Under-18 Championship is due to begin on Wednesday the 12th in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. But there is still no definitive word yet that one of Africa's sprinting powerhouses, Nigeria will be there. The country has entered 15 Athletes for the competition and the contingent is expected to arrive in Nairobi on Sunday, but the Athletics Federation of Nigeria is racing against time to raise funds and put everything in place for the trip as Deji Badmus now reports.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Video - Nigerian girls rights campaigners working to create awareness



Rights campaigners in Nigeria are making strides to create awareness to end child marriage and boost economic growth. A UN report indicates up to 43- percent of girls in the country are married as children.

Nigeria ranked 5th most dangerous country in the world

Nigeria has been placed 5th in the ranking of the most dangerous country in the world by The World Economic Forum, WEF.

The ranking is part of WEF’s biennial tourism report with one section focusing on safety and security.

136 countries were ranked and Nigeria was the 5th most dangerous based on violence and terroristic attacks by Boko Haram.

Finland was named the safest country in the world while Colombia was listed as the most dangerous.

See the top 10 most dangerous countries in the world below.

1. Colombia
2. Yemen
3. El Salvador
4. Pakistan
5 Nigeria
6. Venezuela
8. Kenya
9. Honduras
10 Ukraine

Nigeria Super Eagles goalkeeper diagnosed with acute leukeamia

Wolves and Nigeria goalkeeper Carl Ikeme is to begin chemotherapy after being diagnosed with acute leukaemia.

The Championship club say Ikeme, 31, returned "abnormal blood tests" during pre-season testing and further checks confirmed the diagnosis.

Ikeme has been with Wolves for his entire career, making more than 200 appearances for Wanderers.

Thirty-three of those came last season, having previously been in the team that won the League One title in 2013-14.

"It would be an understatement to say that everyone at Wolves has been shocked and saddened to hear the news of Carl's diagnosis," said Wolves managing director Laurie Dalrymple.

"That relates to both players and staff as Carl has been at the club for a very long time and remains such an integral personality within the group.

"At the same time, we all know what a fighter and a competitor Carl is, and I have no doubt that he will take all of those attributes into this battle.

"Similarly, its goes without saying that Carl and his family will receive the full love and support that we at Wolves can provide - we are all with him every single step of the way towards a full recovery."
'A strong man, a strong wolf'

Football clubs, players and team-mates of Ikeme, past and present, have been offering their support to the goalkeeper on social media.

Striker Nouha Dicko: "No words can express how I feel right now. I love you Carl. We are all with you, you are a strong man, a strong wolf. Stay strong bro."

Winger Jordan Graham:
"Kemes - you're like a second father to me. The love I have for you I can't even put into words. Stay strong we are ALL with you bro!"

Midfielder Dave Edwards: "On and off the pitch you are a role model to so many Carl Ikeme...we are all by you and your family's side right now and we all love you!"

Millwall midfielder Jed Wallace: "One of the most genuine people you could wish to meet. Role model on and off the pitch. Stay strong big fella."

Norwich winger Matt Jarvis: "Stay strong big man! Wishing you my best!"

Bolton striker Adam Le Fondre: "Absolutely gutted to hear - one of football's top guys! My thoughts are with you and your family!!"

'I know exactly what he's going through'

Former Wolves and England midfielder Geoff Thomas was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2003 and, after successfully beating the disease, has taken part in several fundraising efforts to raise awareness and fund research.

His latest challenge - cycling the Tour de France course one day ahead of the elite riders in aid of Cure Leukaemia - is ongoing.

"It hit me really hard," Thomas, 52, told BBC WM. "I was having a bad day on the bike, we did 130 miles in the searing heat and I was thinking 'why am I doing this?'

"I really contemplated getting off. Thankfully I didn't. Then I was inundated with messages about Carl's illness and it just really hit me.

"It took me back to when I was diagnosed. I know exactly what he's going through, it's a painful period over the next few weeks getting all the information. I just wish him and his family well."

Video - The re-emergence of the Biafra movement



A look at the Biafra movement, five decades after the civil war.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Video - Nigeria's maize prices shoot up by 60% in the last year



The price of maize in Nigeria has gone up by nearly 60 percent in the last year. Coupled with already high inflation, experts warn of a food security threat in Africa's most populous country.

Nigeria drop to 39th position in FIFA rankings

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have dropped one position, in the latest FIFA Ranking released on Thursday.

Gernot Rohr’s men, previously occupying the 38th position in the world moved down one place and are now 39th.

The Eagles finally lost their unbeaten run under the German, as they went down 2-0 to South Africa, in the first match of their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying round.

Nigeria is now ranked the sixth best team in Africa with Egypt, Senegal Congo, Cameroon and Burkina Faso occupying the top five positions.

Germany climbed to top spot in the world, having won the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and Brazil dropped to second.

The top five is completed by Argentina, Portugal and Switzerland.

Daily Post

Transparency Bill to expose illicit funds from Nigeria

A corporate transparency bill introduced in the U.S. Congress last week will force disclosure of Nigerians and other nationals who run shell companies registered in the United States.

The bipartisan bill, ‘Corporate Transparency Act of 2017’, introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat, and co-sponsored by Congressman Peter King, a Republican, will compel disclosure of beneficial owners “to prevent wrongdoers from exploiting United States corporations and limited liability companies for criminal gain”.

Both legislators represent New York, a city that has been cited in several investigative reports as one of the prime destinations for illicit financial flow from Nigeria.

The bill enjoys the support of members of the Financial Services Committee of the U.S. Congress, law enforcement agencies, 44 anti-corruption advocacy groups, and 27 investors whose combined asset are in excess of $855 billion.

Nearly two million companies are registered in the United States every year. The bill will amend current incorporation law which often demand only basic information from proprietors and typically does not ask for the names of beneficial owners.

In her introduction, Congresswoman Maloney said “criminals have exploited the weaknesses in state formation procedures to conceal their identities when forming corporations or limited liability companies in the United States.”

“They then use the newly created entities to commit crimes affecting interstate and international commerce such as terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering, tax evasion, securities fraud, financial fraud and acts of foreign corruption,” she added.

Congresswoman Maloney’s speech to U.S. Congress on June 28 coincides with recent uptick in Nigeria’s campaign for transparency in the financial sector. Speaking in Abuja on June 5 at the Conference on Promoting International Co-operation in Combating Illicit Financial Flows, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo observed that the Thabo Mbeki-led High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa singled out Nigeria as source of most of the illicit fund flow out of Africa.

“The Thabo Mbeki report shows that most of the illicit funds flow that comes out of Africa are from Nigeria and that shows us very clearly especially the security agencies that we simply have to do more. It is evident that so much money is leaving our shores.

“There is no way the transfer of this assets can happen without a handshake between the countries that they are transferred and the international banking institutions in the countries in which they are transferred, there is no way it will happen without some form of connivance,” Mr. Osinbajo said.

While the acting president called for criminalising financial institutions, Akere Muna of the International Anti-Corruption Conference Council, who also chaired the conference, drew attention to Mbeki report’s emphasis on the need for transparency in all segments of financial transaction as the key to combating all “aspects of illicit financial flows.”

“New and innovative means of generating illicit financial flows are emerging; more effort is needed in asset recovery and repatriation; Weak national and regional capacities impede efforts to curb illicit financial flows; Financial secrecy jurisdictions must come under closer scrutiny,” he said.

Speaking at the conference, Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, stressed the long-term commitment needed to combat cross-border illicit financial transactions.

“We’re still collaborating with other nations of the world to repatriate funds stolen from Nigeria 20 years ago”, she said.

Ms. Maloney similarly called for international collaboration on corporate transparency. “Anonymous shell companies have become the preferred vehicle for money launderers, criminal organisations, and terrorist groups because they can’t be traced back to their true owners” she said, adding that “the U.S. is one of the easiest places in the world to set up an anonymous shell companies.”

“Frankly, it’s an embarrassment. We need to fix this gaping hole in our national security and listen to law enforcement who is requesting these changes.”

Ms. Maloney who was joined by Stefanie Ostfeld, Deputy Head of Global Witness’ U.S. office; Greg Baer, President of The Clearing House Association; and Rick Fulginiti, retired Price George’s County detective and Chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police’s National Legislative Committee, among others however, assured that once the Corporate Responsibility Law takes effect, criminal organisations that are infamous for using anonymous shell companies, both foreign and domestic, to open bank accounts, launder money and will no longer be able to escape oversight and thwart law enforcement.

The Corporate Transparency Bill 2017 will empower United States Treasury Department to issue regulations requiring corporations and limited liability companies to file information about their beneficial owners.

The bill also stipulates that Treasury Department will collect beneficial ownership information for corporations registered in states that choose not ask for such information.

The bill when it becomes law would also establish minimum beneficial ownership disclosure requirements, the beneficial owners’ name, current address, and details of their non-expired passport or state-issued driver’s license must be recorded at the time of registration. False, fraudulent or incomplete beneficial ownership information will attract civil penalties.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Video - Nigerian Government to provide training for recent graduates



Nigeria is suffering from a high rate of unemployment, particularly with graduates. Employers have long complained that most graduates in the country lack employable skills. As CGTN's Deji Badmus reports, authorities in the country's commercial city of Lagos are now offering a solution.

Video - Government decries forceful repatriation of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon



The United Nations agency for refugees, UNHCR and Nigerian authorities are calling for immediate end to forceful repatriation of Nigerian refugees from Cameroon. The call comes after close to 900 Nigerian refugees who fled from Boko Haram insurgency were forcefully repatriated last week. More in the following report.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Boko Haram kidnap women and children from village

Residents of a village in southeast Niger said Tuesday that Boko Haram Islamic extremists had killed at least nine people and taken some 40 others hostage in a brazen attack over the weekend.

Adam Babakarna said the attackers arrived on camels and horses late Sunday, shooting in all directions in NGalewa, about 44 miles east of the city of Diffa. He said the Islamic extremists took mostly women and children hostage and threatened to hold them until other extremists are released from prison.

"Boko Haram elements... slit the throats of nine people... they took women, 37 women, and departed with them," Diffa Governor Laouali Mahamane Dan Dano, told Niger's state TV. He said security forces "are already in pursuit, and we hope that in the coming days these women will be found and freed."

Niger contributes to the multinational force set up to fight Boko Haram in the region.

Nigeria-based Boko Haram's eight-year insurgency has killed at least 20,000 people. The group has pledged allegiance to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In May, five Boko Haram commanders were released in exchange for the freedom of 82 schoolgirls from the northern Nigerian town of Chibok, after more than three years held in captivity by the Islamic militants.

Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in April 2014, bringing the extremist group's deadly rampage in northern Nigeria to the world's attention. A first group of 21 girls was freed in October 2016 and they have been in government care since then, despite calls by families and human rights groups for them to be released to their loved ones.

The group of 82 released in May also remains in government care.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Video - Nigeria government launches income declaration scheme to boost collections



Nigeria has launched a voluntary assets and income declaration scheme to boost its domestic revenue collection. The country has one of the poorest tax paying records in the continent but its mostly because of a poor system following years of reliance on oil revenue. According to the ministry of finance, a mere 20% of economically active Nigerians pay taxes-making it impossible for government to effectively finance development programs.

Nigerian shoots up hospital in New York before killing himself

More facts have emerged about Michael Bello, the gunman who shot seven people at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Centre, New York on Friday, and identified as a Nigerian.

Bola Omotosho, the Community Board Chair for The Bronx 5, New York, told the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria that Mr. Bello hailed from Auchi, Edo State.

Mr. Bello, 45, shot dead a woman on the 17th floor and injured six others on the 16th floor, before allegedly killing himself, the New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neil, said.

He went into the hospital, his former workplace, wearing a white lab coat with an AR-15 machine gun hidden underneath and asked for a specific doctor on the 16th floor.

However, when he was told the doctor was not there, he started shooting at everyone and tried to set himself on fire before allegedly committing suicide.

Mr. Omotosho said: “He (Bello) is a Nigerian, he’s from Auchi, virtually not that I knew him personally but he had his medical education in the Caribbean, came back here – U.S.

“He left the hospital and up till recent, was working with the HRA – Human Resources Administration – here in the Bronx, after he left the hospital.

“But he left that place, the HRA where he was working, unceremoniously. The relevance of this is there are several Nigerians in the HRA, New York City Human Resources Administration.

“So, he just abandoned the job and when he did not show up after a couple of weeks even up to a month, he was recently terminated from there about two or three weeks ago or so.

“But of course, he must have had his own challenges, while he was planning something.

“And in addition to that, very recently, as at this past week, less than two weeks ago, was when they notified the HRA Police as part of precautionary measure.

“That any ex-staffer who has been dismissed or terminated, should not be allowed into the building; just this past two weeks or less than that.

“It is unfortunate that hospital has no metal detector; we don’t use metal detector in the office.

“That’s the last place you expect a disgruntled worker to come back and do such a heinous crime or retaliation.”

Mr. Omotosho, who has been elected the Community Board Chair for Bronx 5 for 10 years, just got re-elected during the City Council election on June 21.

“I’ve held that position now for 10 years. I’ve been re-elected every year; this is the eleventh year,” the Nigerian-born medical doctor told NAN.

According to him, when the incident involving Mr. Bello occurred, he responded as the Committee Board Chair, as it was part of the process expected of him as the representative of the people.

“The officer from my 46 Precinct, who responded to the 911 call, is in my District.

“So, part of the verification process is for the Public Affairs Officer to call me, being the Committee Board Chair, that ‘this is what’s going on, somebody is killed in your District’.”

Meanwhile, there have been some controversies as to whether Mr. Bello killed himself or was actually shot dead.

It was believed that shooters who committed suicide usually shot themselves on the head and not on the chest as it was in Mr. Bello’s case.

At Mr. Bello’s home in the Bronx, investigators recovered the box the rifle had been packed when he bought it on June 20, reports said.

Of the six people wounded in the shooting, two had been transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital by Sunday as they had injuries to the brain and liver and remained in critical but stable condition.

Four patients – medical residents, a medical student and a patient – remained at Bronx-Lebanon, where they were in stable condition recovering from injuries to the abdomen, neck, thigh and hand, hospital officials said.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian community in the U.S. has condemned the shooting.

The Organization for the Advancement of Nigerians, OAN, in a statement issued by its President, Solomon Bakare, said the Nigerians in the U.S. are the best of their kind.

“The Organization for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN, Inc.) condemns, in strongest terms, the senseless and shocking shooting of seven innocent people by Dr Henry Bello at the Bronx Lebanon Hospital on Friday, June 30, 2017.

“On behalf of the Nigerian Community in New York City, we offer our sympathies and condolences to the family of Dr Tracy Sin-Yee Tam, the physician whose life was unjustly taken by this senseless shooting.

“Our thoughts and prayers also go to the other victims, most of whom are still undergoing treatment for their injuries, as well as to the entire staff and patients of the Bronx Lebanon Hospital, who have been needlessly traumatised by Dr Bello’s heinous act.

“We like to state categorically that Dr Bello’s dastardly act is by no means reflective of the exemplary service and professionalism of thousands of Nigerian physicians and other health care practitioners all over the United States, who have dedicated their lives and careers to saving lives and are highly respected in the medical field.”

Founded over 25 years ago, the OAN is a New York based not-for-profit organisation that represents the interests of Nigerians in the Diaspora.

The Nigerian organisation has also been at the forefront of encouraging Nigerians to make positive contributions in the U.S.

“OAN is also the arrowhead of the Nigerian Independence Day Parade Committee, which is a coalition of Nigerian religious, professional, and socio-cultural organizations that plans the annual Nigerian Independence Day Parade in New York City.

“These organisations include Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas, Nigerian Nurses Association, Nigerian Lawyers Association, Nigerian Social Workers Association, and various religious and Nigerian ethnic associations.

“OAN also sponsors seminars and symposia on various topical issues, and has received several awards, proclamations, and citations from City, State, and Federal elected officials for its work,” the statement read.

Mr. Bello, who hailed from Auchi, Edo State, was going to be fired by the hospital, after reports of sexual harassments, but instead chose to resign in February 2015 in lieu of termination.