Thursday, August 31, 2017

Video - Nigeria return home after victorious Afrobasket campaign

Afrobasketball women's champions Nigeria will have little time to rest after winning this year's tournament. They beat defending champions Senegal -- and qualified for the World Championships next year. They've barely got time to celebrate their victory before preparing for the next challenge.

Video - Stiff competition in Nigeria leads to lower data costs

Internet penetration is growing rapidly in Nigeria. The telecoms regulator estimates that there are around 91.6 million users . Part of what is driving growth is the cost of data.

UK to give Nigeria £200m to help fight Boko Haram

The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and international development secretary Priti Patel have travelled to the heart of the Boko Haram uprising in Nigeria to show solidarity with the fight to bring the jihadists under control.

In their first joint visit, the two ministers travelled to Maiduguri, the capital of the north-east state of Borno, which suffered the worst killings by the Islamist terrorist group, including attacks at the university campus.

Overall Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people, displaced 1.7 million and left 8.5 million in desperate need of urgent support, in some cases on the brink of famine. Borno itself has seen more than 27,000 killings by the terrorist group and others.

Boko Haram is trying to create an Islamic state in the Lake Chad region, which spans parts of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad. It gained notoriety by abducting more than 200 girls from the north-east Nigerian town of Chibok in April 2014. Aid groups say it has kidnapped thousands more adults and children.

The UK has so far trained 28,000 Nigerian soldiers and over 40 UK military personnel have been deployed to Nigeria on a long term basis.

On Wednesday, Patel announced an extended five-year package of help, costing an extra £200m, to prevent 1.5 million people lapsing into famine and help keep a 100,000 boys and girls in education. The development secretary’s package also includes the restoration of key infrastructure and services in the north-east of the country.

Johnson said: “Boko Haram has generated suffering, instability and poverty on a huge scale, with profound knock-on effects far from Nigeria’s borders.”

He met survivors of Boko Haram violence, including bomb and gunshot victims, and saw for himself the displacement of people created by the conflict.

Johnson, under criticism at home for his performance as foreign secretary, said he was proud of the help the UK was providing: “This is about helping a Commonwealth partner in its time of need as well as addressing the root causes of international challenges such as migration.”

Patel said: “It is catastrophic that at least 20,000 people have been murdered by Boko Haram’s terrorist regime, and over 5 million people have been left hungry and many homeless. Babies’ bodies are shutting down and mothers who have lost everything are fighting to keep their children alive.”

Boko Haram has responded to its loss of territory by resorting to guerrilla tactics on soft targets such as markets, often using children as suicide bombers. Unicef claims the number of child suicide bombers in 2017 has reached 83 this year; more than four times the figure in 2016.

Nigerian ministers have previously prematurely claimed the terrorist group had been suppressed.

At the weekend it was confirmed that the US was selling Nigeria surveillance aircraft that will make the fight against terrorism much more effective. The weapons sale, consisting of $593m worth of equipment including 12 Super Tucano A-29 surveillance and attack planes, was initially signed off under former US president Barack Obama. However, it was delayed over concerns about alleged human rights violations by Nigerian troops.

Those concerns stemmed from report by rights group Amnesty International in March 2015, which claimed that Nigeria’s military arbitrarily detained and killed civilians in the north-east.

The visit by the UK ministers coincided with the first cabinet meeting overseen by Nigerian prime minister Muhammadu Buhari since his much-criticised 104 days spent in the UK for health treatment.

The country, rich in oil reserves, remains wracked by corruption, with more than $20m recently seized by authorities from the bank account of the former oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke. It is alledged that she has gone into hiding after travelling to London.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Video - Nigerians divided on ruling on instant divorce for Muslims

In India, a court ruling banning instant divorce among Muslim couples continues to generate debate. The court maintains the practice is un-Islamic and unconstitutional. CGTN's Kelechi Emekalam takes a look at how that decision is being perceived in Nigeria -- where the population of 180 million people is divided almost equally between Christians and Muslims.

Iceland set to deport family from Nigeria seeking asylum

The Immigration and Asylum appeals board in Iceland has denied the appeal of Nigerian couple Sunday Iserian and Joy Lucky, and their eight year old daughter to stay in Iceland.

Mbl.Is reports that the family received the news on Monday that they were to be deported to Nigeria after living in Iceland for a year and a half.

Iserian had appealed for political asylum due to threats he received from the current government and Joy Lucky was a victim of sexual slavery while pregnant with their daughter Mary.

However, the news of the the rejection of their application met with some furore in Iceland and an online petition was set up for them to be able to stay in the country.

The Ombudsman for Children in Iceland had made a statement to say that they are concerned about the welfare of children seeking in asylum in Iceland.

In an earlier report, Joy described how she was approached by a vicar at her local church back in Nigeria who promised to get her a job as a nanny in Europe. Once she accepted the offer, which she had good faith in, she was taken to a building where her hair, and her pubic hair, was cut off and her body washed according to black magic rituals to scare her into compliance.

She was transported to Libya where she met Sunday and fell in love. Once they fled across the Mediterranean to Italy the couple lost track of each other and Joy discovered that she was pregnant. She only found Sunday again three years later.

Sunday, on the other hand said he fled the country for political reasons and that he was afraid for his life.

5 pilgrims from Nigeria die in Saudi Arabia

Five Nigerian pilgrims to this year’s hajj in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, have died.

The Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, Abdullahi Mohammed, announced the passage of four of the pilgrims on Tuesday in Makkah, Islam’s holiest city.

Mr. Mohammed, who spoke at the 2017 pre-Arafat meeting with Hajj stakeholders, however, declined to disclose the identities of the late pilgrims as well as the circumstances that led to their death.

He said such information could only be disclosed after their families had been appropriately informed.

The NAHCON chair pleaded with the media to withhold the details so as not to further devastate the families of the affected pilgrims.

Shortly after the chairman spoke, an official on the medical team of NAHCON announced the passage of another pilgrim from Kwara.

A total 81,200 Nigerian pilgrims are performing this year’s hajj, all of whom have converged on Makkah after some of them visited and prayed at the Prophet Mohammed’s mosque in Madinah.

A few other pilgrims came directly to Makkah after flying into Saudi Arabia through the nearby city of Jeddah.

All the pilgrims have performed the rites of Umrah, the lesser hajj, at al-Masjid al-Haram in which is situated the Kabah.

On Wednesday, the pilgrims, like their counterparts from other parts of the world, will move to the city of Mina to spend the eve of the 9th of Dhul-Hijah.

The pilgrims will then proceed to Arafat on Thursday praising Allah and reciting the Qur’an.

US sells half a billion dollars worth of military equipment to Nigeria

In its fight against Boko Haram, Nigeria’s military has consistently appeared less equipped than its adversaries. But that may soon change.

The Pentagon notified US Congress yesterday (Aug. 28) of the sale of $593 million worth of military equipment to Nigeria. The equipment consists of 12 Super Tucano A-29 surveillance and attack planes, among other weapons.

The sale comes as Nigeria looks to step up its fight against the terrorist group. Despite losing former strongholds, Boko Haram has remained active, killing 200 civilians in several attacks throughout the first half of 2017. The most prominent recent attack was the bombing of the largest university in Nigeria’s northeast region, the University of Maiduguri, which was once regarded as a safe haven. The attacks have undermined the military’s claims that the sect has been defeated.

Super Tucano A-29 planes are a boon for counterinsurgency operations, allowing pilots to carry out reconnaissance and surveillance missions, as well as providing close air support to ground troops. But despite their advantages, the sophisticated aircrafts are unlikely to give Nigeria’s army an immediate edge in fighting the insurgency. Boko Haram has become more slippery, adopting guerrilla tactics after losing much of the territory it once held in northeast Nigeria.

The militant sect has increasingly resorted to suicide bombings on soft targets, such as markets, car parks and schools, rather than the coordinated large-scale attacks on towns and villages it used previously. Many of the suicide bombings are carried out by children. According to UNICEF, the number of children suicide bombers deployed by Boko Haram this year is already four times higher than it was in all of 2016.

The weapons sale, while initially agreed to under former US president Barack Obama, was delayed over concerns about human rights violations by Nigerian troops. Those concerns stemmed from a March 2015 report by rights group Amnesty International, which claimed that Nigeria’s military arbitrarily detained and killed civilians in the northeast.

More recently, Nigeria’s air force accidentally bombed a refugee camp, killing more than 200 people. A spokesman for Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari called the bombing a “regrettable operational mistake.”

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

$21 million seized from Nigeria's former oil minister Alison Madueke

A Nigerian court has seized $21m from bank accounts linked to Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former oil minister who faces corruption allegations.

Abdulazeez Anka, federal high court judge, ordered on Monday the immediate forfeiture of the sum allegedly held in local bank accounts by Alison-Madueke, who was once one of Africa's most prominent female politicians.

Nigeria's anti-graft Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which accuses Alison-Madueke of corruption, argued in the Lagos court that she had illicitly laundered the funds with the help of top oil officials.

Since leaving office in 2015, Alison-Madueke has been implicated in bribery, fraud, misuse of public funds and money laundering cases in Nigeria, Britain, Italy and the United States.

Alison-Madueke - the former president of the global oil cartel OPEC, and the first woman to hold the post - has always denied the allegations which involve billions of dollars syphoned from oil deals and state accounts.

Monday's ruling followed two applications by the EFCC which earlier this month successfully seized properties worth $44m that Alison-Madueke allegedly purchased with the proceeds of corruption.

The court had also ordered an interim forfeiture of 56 houses linked to the former minister valued at $9m.

Nigeria is reeling from a series of corruption scandals by top officials.

Earlier in April, the EFCC uncovered $43m worth of cash during an apartment raid in Lagos.

After the discovery, Nigeria's National Intelligence Agency (NIA) claimed the money belonged to the organisation, prompting President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend its head, Ayodele Oke

Also suspended and under investigation is Lawal Babachir, Buhari's secretary and longtime ally, following his indictment by the legislature for an alleged 200 million naira ($635,000) scam.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Video - Nigeria up for tough contest against Indomitable Lions

The Nigerian Super Eagles will take on the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in a double header for a place in next's world cup in Russia. The first leg comes up Friday, September 1 at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, south of Nigeria while the return leg takes place three days later in Yaounde, Cameroon. A win for Nigeria will all but secure the country's place in the world cup.

Alex Iwobi ruled of World Cup qualifier due to injury

Nigeria have suffered a blow ahead of their 2018 World Cup qualifier against Cameroon in Uyo on Friday, after Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi withdrew from the squad with a thigh muscle strain.

The 21-year-old will also miss the away leg against African champions Cameroon in Yaounde on 4 September, according to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

Iwobi was due to join the Super Eagles training camp on Monday after Arsenal's Premier League game at Liverpool on Sunday.

Iwobi, the nephew of legendary Nigeria star Jay-Jay Okocha, had played in Nigeria's first two World Cup qualifiers against Zambia and Algeria, scoring in a 2-1 win in Zambia in October last year.

He has been replaced in Nigeria's squad by CSKA Moscow striker Aaron Samuel, who was placed on standby last week.

Samuel made the last of seven international appearances two years ago.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Video - Boko haram torch newly renovated hospital, houses in Nigeria

Militant group Boko Haram has burnt down a newly renovated hospital and several houses in Adamawa State in north-eastern Nigeria. That's according to the local government. are no reports of casualties, as residents reportedly fled when they saw the attackers approaching. It's the latest in a string of recent attacks in north-eastern Nigeria. And suggests that despite the army's confidence it has driven Boko Haram out of Nigeria, this is not the case. During its insurgency, the group has killed tens of thousands of people and forced millions from their homes. It's also come at a massive economic cost for Nigeria. Some estimates place the damage Boko Haram has caused to property at more than $5.2 B in eight years.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Video - Nigerian president cancels first Cabinet meeting

President Muhammadu Buhari has cancelled his first Cabinet meeting. No reason's been given. Buhari is currently working from home in Abuja. He'll be doing so for the next three months. Presidential spokesperson Malam Garba Shehu says Buhari's office has a rodent problem. The president returned home over the weekend after spending three months in London, being treated for an undisclosed illness. On Monday, Buhari gave his first address to the country, but made no reference to his health.

Star of HBO show Insecure Yvonne Orji celebrates virginity at 33

Yvonne Orji, the sex-drunk character Molly in HBO series Insecure, is proud to be a 33-year-old virgin, even though she is currently playing the sexy role.

The Port Harcourt-born star said she is keeping herself for her husband.

“She is keeping it locked. “I wasn’t going to hide it just because I’m on TV,” the Nigerian star told People. “I’m grounded in who I am.” And to show just how much she is dedicated to keeping her virginity, she created a clothing line to promote abstinence.

“I have a clothing company called Rock Your Stance, and we sell shirts that say ‘Keeping it locked till I get that rock’,” she said, adding, “Entertainment chose me. Before any of this happened, I sat down with myself and with God. I said, ‘I know why I’m here. It’s to make you proud.’” Yvonne Orji went further to speak about her career as an actress, adding that her parents, like most Nigerian parents, wanted her to be a doctor. 

“It sounded noble,” she said. “But then I took organic chemistry and I was like, ‘Well, maybe not.’ I ended up getting my master’s degree in public health and then working in war-torn Liberia to stall from crushing my parents’ hopes and dreams.” She continued, “’It would take me eight years to become a doctor, but give me eight years to make it in entertainment,’” she recalled telling her family. “And I’m happy to say, I did it in seven!” 

She did it, and is promoting abstinence until marriage. Her belief has invoked social media comments with spurious comments on twitters. Morqos‏ said: “ Why do people think Yvonne Orji is lying about her virginity? That’s such a stupid thing to lie about.” Morgan‏ said “Yvonn Orji has said she’s a virgin like 100 times and y’all are just now finding out today and making a big deal about it.” “Yvonne Orji is goals mate. 

Not because she’s a virgin but because she’s unashamed to speak about it & link it to her faith in this day & age,” says king woman, in her tweet. 

Orji emigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria at age 6. “It was the traditional immigrant story of my parents wanting the best for us and bringing us here,” she says. But life in Maryland wasn’t always easy. “I was bullied because I have this thick Nigerian accent,” she recalls. “My mom would say, ‘We didn’t come to America for you to be popular.’ 

Which is fair, but as a kid, you’re just like, it would be really nice to have this thing that everyone else has.” Later, after graduating with a master’s degree in public health from George Washington University, Orji says she shocked her family (who had always hoped she’d be a doctor), by announcing she wanted to move to New York to pursue stand-up comedy.

Africa's richest man Alike Dangote to build university in Abuja, Nigeria

The President and founder of Dangote Foundation, Aliko Dangote, has set aside N200 billion to establish a world-class university in Abuja.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the proposal has since been delivered to the National Universities Commission, NUC.

A former Executive Secretary of the NUC, Julius Okojie, who is the chairman of the technical team for the establishment of the university, said the foundation intends to drive technology and research in stimulating economic growth.

Mr Okojie, who led his team to the current Executive Secretary of the commission, Abubakar Rasheed, said the proposed university is meant to be technology-driven and asked for the cooperation and support of the NUC towards the realisation of the goal.

According to a National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, publication, the team, accompanied by the Chief Executive Officer, CEO of the foundation, Zouera Yousouffou, disclosed that Mr. Dangote’s desire was to float a unique university of technology with all the necessary infrastructure and best faculty members from across the globe.

Mr. Rasheed, who applauded the bold step, promised to offer all the needed assistance for the success of the project.

He, however, advised the team to reconsider its plan of establishing a university of technology to ‘a conventional university running all programmes but with specialty in the area of technology.’

The executive secretary, who underscored the advantages of the conventional university over the special one, said with the countless impacts on society by the business mogul, the project would be a success.

He asked the team to consult widely and look at the universities in Nigeria and abroad with a view to creating a unique university that would be different in terms of quality in all its operations.

In her remarks, Mrs. Yousouffou said the foundation was ready to make the dream a reality with the sum of N200 billion already earmarked for the project.

She said the land was purchased and preliminary measures were in place for the headquarters of the university at the nation’s capital city of Abuja.

Mr. Dangote is a Nigerian mega-entrepreneur cum billionaire, who owns the Dangote Group, which has interests in diverse commodities.

The company with massive business tentacles operates principally in Nigeria but has corporate interests in other African countries.

Former Nigerian minister kidnapped

The police command in Nasarawa State has confirmed the abduction of a former Minister of Labour and Productivity, Hussaini Akwanga.

Mr. Akwanga served during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo but was removed on December 4, 2003, following an alleged $214 million national identity card scam.

The spokesman for the Nasarawa State Police Command, Kennedy Idirisu, who confirmed the abduction in Lafia on Wednesday, said Mr. Akwanga was kidnapped by gunmen at his farm on Wamba Road on Tuesday.

Akwanga town is about 46km north of Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa State.

Mr. Idirisu said that on receiving information on the abduction, the state’s Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Sadiq-Bello, mobilised policemen, led by the deputy commissioner in charge of operations, to search for the abducted former minister.

“As we speak, the commissioner himself has gone to Akwanga to boost the rescue operation to ensure that the victim is released unhurt,” he said.

Mr. Idirisu reiterated the commitment of the command to ridding the state of kidnappers and other criminal elements.

Meanwhile, a family source told NAN that the kidnappers had contacted them, demanding an unspecified amount as ransom.

On May 6, the mother and sister of a member of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Kassim Mohammed, were similarly abducted in Akwanga.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Video - IMF urging Nigeria's gov't to do more to address job scarcity

The International Monetary Fund says not enough is being done to provide people of working age in Nigeria with jobs. The country's informal working sector is making a significant contribution to the GDP and the IMF says it's becoming a big problem for the country's tax revenues.

Video - Huge rise in children used as human bombs by Boko Haram in Nigeria

There has been a significant increase in the number of children used as human bombs by Boko Haram militants in north-east Nigeria, the United Nations says.

Unicef reports there have been 83 cases so far this year - four times as many as in the whole of last year.

55 were girls under the age of 15 and in one case the bomb was strapped to a baby being carried by a young girl.

Unicef says this tactic is an atrocity causing fear and suspicion of children released by the militants.

According to the UN children's agency, 127 children have been used as bombers in north-east Nigeria since 2014.

The Islamist militants Boko Haram have regularly used children in its insurgency, abducting hundreds of schoolgirls, and forcibly recruiting boys as child soldiers.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Video - Tattoos become increasingly popular among young people in Nigeria

Tattoos are becoming more and more popular among young people in Nigeria. Inspired by global celebrities, the culture has given rise to the emergence of a new business – tattoo parlours.

Nigeria bans music from popular Nigerian artists

The National Broadcasting Corporation has banned five Nigerian songs having tagged them as “Not to be Broadcasted.”

The banned songs are Olamide‘s “Wo” and “Wavy Level“; Davido‘s “Fall” and “If (Remix)“; and 9ice’s “Living Things.”

The corporation released the list on Tuesday, saying it has banned the 5 songs from being aired across the Nigerian airwaves.

The Federal Ministry of Health had in a tweet on Friday said that the video to Olamide’s “Wo” violated the Tobacco Control Act 2015.

The 28-year-old rapper, who is signed to his own record label, YBNL, had returned to Ladi Lak in Bariga where he was raised to shoot the video of his latest single.

“This is our position: video contravenes the act. Innocently or otherwise Tobacco Promotion Advertising Sponsorship is banned in all forms.”

PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately ascertain why the songs of the two other musicians were banned.

In June this year, the federal government, through the Ministry of Health, had launched a campaign to ban smoking in public places including motor parks, shopping malls and health care centres.

The Health Ministry, in a communiqué, said according to Section 9 of the Nigeria Tobacco Control Act 2015, once convicted, offenders are liable to a fine of at least N50, 000 and/or six months’ imprisonment.

Tweeting the information via its official Twitter page, the Ministry of Health claimed that the video, which features ghetto scenes in which youth are seen smoking, encourages second-hand smoking.

This is not the first time that an Olamide song will be banned by the Nigerian regulatory body.

In 2016, just a few months after the ban of one of his songs ‘Shakiti Bobo’, NBC also banned, ‘Don’t Stop’ which is a track off Olamide’s 5th studio album, Eyan Mayweather, for its vulgar lyrics.

Defending the decision at the time, the NBC said the song was banned from being played on the airwaves for its ‘obscenity, being indecent, vulgar languages, lewd and profane expressions like ‘wa gba ponron’, ‘I just want to hit you now’, ‘je kin wo be…”

Rapper Falz had also in June criticized Nigerian musicians who glamourise fraud with their lyrics, a criticism fans took to be directed at 9ice for “Living Things.”

The actor and rapper stated that the recent trend of hailing Internet fraudsters in music is not helping future generations as the young ones are beginning to see this as a normal way of life.

He recounted the personal experience of challenges faced by Nigerians in other countries as a result of cyber crime.

According to the 2015 Tobacco Control Act, it is prohibited to promote or advertise tobacco or tobacco products except between a manufacturer, retailer and consenting persons above 18 years of age.

“No person shall promote or advertise tobacco or tobacco products in any form.

“No person shall engage or participate in any tobacco advertising, promotion or sponsorship as a media or event organizer, celebrity or other participant,” it read.

According to the 2015 law, anyone who violates the law faces the risk of a fine and jail term of not more than one year.

Persons that produce or publish advertising, promotion or sponsorship content shall attract a fine of not less than N3,000,000 and a term of imprisonment of not more than one year.
If the tenets of the tobacco-control act are followed to the latter, then the rapper is at risk of N3 million fine, one-year jail term over ‘Wo’ video.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Video - Nigerian president addresses the nation for the first time in months

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has addressed the nation for the first time in months. In a televised address he thanked Nigerians for their thoughts and prayers while he was receiving medical treatment in the UK. Buhari arrived back in the country at the weekend. The exact nature of his illness has still not been disclosed. The president has called on Nigeria to remain united, especially when it comes to battling Boko Haram militants in the country.

Video - Food lovers celebrate Nigeria's most spicy meal

If you've ever been to West Africa, you'll know that jollof rice is big business. It's a fundamental part of the region's culture in many respects. And there's been a long-standing dispute over which country's jollof is the best. Well, at a recent jollof festival in Lagos, Nigerians came out in their numbers to show off their skills. Hlonela Lupuwana gives us a taste.

Nigerian drug smuggler exretes 1410.9 grams of cocaine wraps

The High People’s Court of Guangdong Province, China, has finally confirmed a death sentence with two years probation on a Nigerian, Mr. Ikechukwu Peter Obiekezie, who was reportedly found guilty of smuggling 1410.9 grams of cocaine into China.

Details reaching Vanguard disclosed that Obiekezie, with Nigerian standard Passport No. A50296207, was on 2nd October, 2016, arrested at the Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, China, upon arrival from Addis Ababa aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight No. ET 606 on suspicion of smuggled drugs, which he swallowed and brought to China.

He has, since October 3, 2016, joined the growing list of Nigerians who are detained and serving various jail terms in Guangdong Province, China, after he excreted a total of 1410.9 grams of cocaine at the Chinese Aviation hospital. Having been in detention since then, Obiekezie was on August 18, 2017, issued a death sentence, following rejection of an appeal made at the Intermediate Peoples’ court of Guangzhou on April 7, 2017, after he was declared guilty of smuggling the hard drug into China and was given suspended death sentence. 

A follow up report from the Nigerian Consulate General in Guangzhou, China, disclosed that, the death sentence, in the case of Obiekezie, will not be carried out within the period of two years if the convict shows remorse, good behavior and if no new crime is intentionally committed during the two-year probationary period. The Consulate also said that the death sentence will be reduced to life or 10 to 15 years imprisonment if the convict remains of good behaviour. “Capital Punishment is a legal penalty in the People’s Republic of China. 

It is mostly enforced for murder and drug trafficking, and executions are carried out by lethal injection or shooting. “There is widespread public support for capital punishment, especially as a penalty for violent crimes. The People’s Republic of China executes the highest number of people annually. “It is worth noting that after a first trial conducted by an Intermediate People’s Court which concludes with a death sentence, a double appeals process must follow. 

“The first appeal is conducted by a High People’s Court if the condemned appeals to it, and since 2007, another appeal is conducted automatically (even if the condemned does not make the appeal) by the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China (SPC) in Beijing, to prevent the awkward circumstance in which the defendant is proven innocent after the death penalty, an obviously irrevocable punishment has been administered. “Chinese courts often hand down the death sentence with two years probation. 

This unique sentence is used to emphasize the seriousness of the crime and the mercy of the court.” It also stressed that cases of drug smuggling into the People’s Republic of China is giving Nigeria a bad image in China, adding that, “Presently, there are more than 500 Nigerians serving jail terms for drug trafficking and over 200 languishing in jail for illegal residence in China. “The Consular problems arising from this barrage of drug related activities of Nigerians have overwhelmed the staff of the Consulate-General of Nigeria in Guangzhou, China. “On 31st July, 2017, a Nigerian with drugs in his system died aboard the Ethiopian airlines flight to Guangzhou”.
In reaction, Nigeria Consul General to China, Ambassador Wale Oloko informed the need to equip the Mission regulating authorities. He noted that the Nigerian Mission in Guangzhou, China, is the busiest among the four Nigerian Missions in China and should be quipped with necessary tools to address affectively and follow up cases affecting some Nigerian immigrants to China, while pointing out that the Mission should not be facing serious financial predicament, which also include non-payment of Foreign Service Allowances (FSA) and rent on the accommodation of the Home-Based Officers and salaries of locally recruited staff. 

The Mission currently is said to be facing ejection notice from its present location after its inability to pay its rent. And if it goes through, it would be the second time within a period of ten months to witness such embarrassment, having earlier been ejected from its previous location in November, 2016 for non-payment of accumulated rent to give way to the Consulate-General of an African country and now the owners of the property have taken the Mission to court to recover outstanding rent fees.

President Buhari pleas for unity in Nigeria

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has addressed the nation following three months of medical leave in the UK.

In a televised speech, Mr Buhari, 74, said he was "distressed" by calls for the dissolution of Nigeria, urging Nigerians to come together.

But the president failed to disclose his illness. It was his second spell of medical leave this year.

Many Nigerians had called for him to resign during his absence, saying he was unfit to run the country.

Others have called for more transparency over his condition, as speculation grows over whether he will be fit to seek a second term in 2019.

Vice-President's Yemi Osinbajo has been in charge during his leave but Mr Buhari has now officially resumed his duties as president.

Speaking two days after his return, Mr Buhari said that comments around the dissolution of Nigeria had "crossed national red lines".

"Nigeria's unity is settled and not negotiable," he said. "We shall not allow irresponsible elements to start trouble."

The president also made reference to ethnic violence in the country, blaming "political mischief-makers".

Ethnic tensions - with some calling for a separate state in the south-east known as Biafra - surfaced during his leave, while the war against the Islamist militant group Boko Haram continued in parts of the north.

Nigerians were hoping to find out just what's wrong with the president - to get some clarity on the mystery illness that had him absent from his job.

But it seems the presidency intends to keep Mr Buhari's condition a secret.

They may have trouble convincing the public to believe the line they've been touting for months that the president is "hale and hearty". He was visibly thin and frail as he greeted politicians on Saturday.

He has made some sort of recovery - in his last public appearance before he left in May, when he greeted the 82 released Chibok girls, he was barely able to stand.

On Monday, the president was eager to show that he is ready to take the reins again.

But the address will fail to answer the question on many people's minds - does this ailing 74-year old man have the energy to lead?

Back when Mr Buhari first went to London - in June 2016 - his office said it was for a persistent ear infection.

An official statement released in March 2017 - following a longer spell away - said that the president ad been on "vacation, during which he had medical check-ups".

His main opponents in Nigeria's 2015 election had claimed he had prostate cancer - which he denied.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Video - Nigerian president has been in London for more than 100 days

It's been more than a hundred days since President Muhammadu Buhari left the country for medical treatment in the UK. The Nigerian government maintains all is in order, despite concerns from citizens.

Nigerian hacker sentenced to jail in New York

Obinna Obioha, a Nigerian hacker, has been jailed for 51 months by a New York federal judge for operating a fraud scheme that swindled $6.5 million from businesses in the U.S. and elsewhere.

U.S. District Judge David N. Hurd sentenced Mr. Obioha, 31, for running a scheme in which he instructed hackers to hack into computers and email accounts of individuals around the world using malicious software.

The announcement of Mr. Obioha’s sentence was made by Acting United States Attorney Grant CJaquith and Vadim D. Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Obioha, working from Nigeria, was a central figure in a fraud scheme using digital disguises and deceit to bilk businesses out of millions of dollars. We will continue to track down and bring to justice cyber criminals like Obioha no matter where they operate. I thank the FBI for its terrific work in this case identifying and apprehending Obioha,” said Acting United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Vadim D. Thomas said: “These schemes can rob individuals and businesses of their livelihood. Cyber-crime is a serious threat and the FBI is prepared to go to any lengths to apprehend those like Obioha.”

As part of his guilty plea to wire fraud in April 2017, Mr. Obioha admitted that, while in Nigeria, he worked with and instructed others to hack into computers and email accounts used by dozens of victims in the United States and around the world. The organisation infiltrated victims’ computers and email accounts using malicious software (“malware”). After monitoring victims’ information to identify imminent commercial transactions, Mr. Obioha and his associates created knockoff email addresses that appeared similar to – but varied slightly from – victims’ legitimate email addresses.

Mr. Obioha and his associates used those bogus email accounts to send fraudulent invoices to victims, instructing them to wire funds to bank accounts controlled by Mr. Obioha and his associates, under the pretence that the wires were payments for actual deals that had been previously negotiated by the victims. Mr. Obioha admitted that between January and September 2016, he was involved in at least 50 wire transfers, and that about $6.5 million was sent by wire to bank accounts that he and his associates controlled. The accounts received money from fraud victims in New York, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Texas, among other places.

During Thursday’s sentencing, U.S. District Judge Donald N. Hurd described Mr. Obioha as “right in the middle of the action” in “very sophisticated criminal activity” designed to achieve “millions of dollars in illegal funds.”

Mr. Obioha was arrested on October 6, 2016, after flying from Lagos, Nigeria, to JFK International Airport. He has been in custody since that time.

This case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne Myers.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

President Trump fires adviser Adebayo Ogunlesi

Nigerian born international CEO, Adebayo Ogunlesi has now ceased to be an adviser to embattled US President Donald Trump. Trump sacked him today along with other distinguished CEOs counselling him via two councils on how to “Make America Great Again”.

Trump sacked Ogunlesi on Twitter, when he announced the dissolution of two business advisory councils, in one fell swoop.

Ogunlesi was a member of Strategic and Policy Forum, one of the two disbanded by the unpredictable president. The other group was the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative Council. Ogunlesi, heads Global Infrastructure Partners, a private equity firm and one of Fortune 500 companies. He was the only African on the panel.

The New York Times reported before Trump’s tweeted dissolution, that members of Ogunlesi’s panel were debating dissolving the body entirely as Trump wallowed deeper into bigotry quagmire. But Trump preempted their move. “Corporate leaders had hoped that President Trump would help businesses by slashing taxes and gutting regulations. 

It is not clear how much he will deliver on that score. On top of that, he is putting many chief executives in the position of answering for a president with an unparalleled track record of outraging people, most recently at a contentious press conference on Tuesday when he drew a false equivalence between the white supremacists who protested in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend and counter-protesters.”, NYT reported. Trump had earned rebuke and isolation from business leaders for supporting racial bigotry, White Supremacists and the KKK, following his remarks that failed to blame the tragic violence in Charlottesville, Virginia on the group. Instead, he blamed all the sides and the group that challenged the racists. 

The leaders of three companies — Kenneth Frazier of Merck, Kevin Plank of Under Armour and Brian Krzanich of Intel — were the first to resign from the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative Council. They resigned on Monday because Mr. Trump was slow to condemn the white supremacists during the weekend and blamed “many sides” for the violence. 

When Trump moderated his tone on Monday by saying “racism is evil” and condemning neo-Nazis, he did not assuage some of the CEOs working with him. Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, an organization backed by the steel industry and the United Steelworkers resigned. he was followed on Tuesday by Richard Trumka and Thea Lee, the president and deputy chief of staff for the union group A.F.L.-C.I.O.. The latter’s resignation followed Trump’s reversed position at a press conference at Trump Tower in New York, in which he said that “not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me,” referring to the white nationalists who were chanting “Jews will not replace us” as they marched with tiki-torches. 

Ogunlesi’s Strategic Forum, composed some of America’s most highly respected and successful business leaders. Members of the body were expected to meet with Trump frequently to share their specific experience and knowledge as the president implements his plan to bring back jobs and “Make America Great Again. ”

Apart from being managing partner of Global Infrastructure Partners, Ogunlesi also serves on the boards of Callaway Golf Co. and Kosmos Energy Ltd. At the same time he’s the chairman of Africa Finance Corp. and serves on the boards of various not-for-profits ranging from New York Presbyterian Hospital to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Video - Nigeria's blogger uses digital media to promote political dialogue

A social entrepreneur in Nigeria is using digital media platforms to promote political dialogue. Last month, Facebook reported there were nearly 16-million active users in Nigeria. And one blog has become popular among those who want to air their views on the political climate. However, critics have warned that the biased information provided on these sites could hinder an expanding media industry.

30 dead in suicide bomb attack in Nigeria

At least 30 people were killed and more than 80 others injured in a triple suicide attack Tuesday in the town of Mandarari, in Nigeria's Borno State, according to civilian vigilantes fighting Boko Haram Islamists in the area.
Three female suicide bombers detonated their explosive belts in a local market and outside a nearby camp for people displaced by Boko Haram violence.
"The first bomber struck outside the IDP (internally displaced persons) camp overlooking the market around 6 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET) hitting some people and causing confusion as people tried to flee," civilian vigilante Bukar Kyari said.

While traders were trying to close their shops and evacuate their wares, two female bombers hit the market "almost simultaneously," said another civilian vigilante, Usman Grema.
The attacks happened on a weekly market day when people from the town and nearby villages flood the market to buy and sell food, clothing and livestock.

Twenty-eight people were initially killed at the explosion site, and two others died after being taken to a hospital in the town of Maiduguri, where they died at admission, according to a medic at the state-run hospital. The death toll is expected to rise. 

As of yet, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the Konduga district where it took place is a known flashpoint for Boko Haram attacks.

Earlier this month, a study found that the majority of suicide bombers used by Boko Haram to kill innocent victims are women and children.

Researchers at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point and Yale University analyzed the 434 suicide bombings carried out by Nigeria-based militants Boko Haram since 2011, and found that at least 244 of the 338 attacks in which the bomber's gender could be identified were carried out by women.

The ISIS-affiliated insurgent group's use of women as bombers increased after the abduction of 276 female students aged between 16 and 18 from their school dormitories in April 2014. It has sent over 80 women to their deaths in 2017.
The report's authors say there are several reasons why women and children are chosen as bombers, one being that they are far less likely to be searched.
They can hide explosives under their billowing clothing, or inside handbags, and in some cases have even strapped explosives on their backs with infant children.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Video - Nigerian Petroleum Minister threatens to cancel licences due to high costs

The Nigerian petroleum ministry may be forced cancel production licenses if some companies fail to lower the cost of production. The ministry is engaging in negotiations with oil firms for better costs to improve revenue from crude exports.

Nigerian soldier killed by angry mob

The Nasarawa State Police Command has arrested two persons in connections with a mob action that led to the death of a soldier, Ayuba Ali, on Monday in Akwanga, Nasarawa State.

The command’s spokesperson, Kennedy Idirisu, confirmed the arrest to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Monday in Lafia.

Mr. Idirisu said that available information revealed the victim, who was on pass from Maiduguri, allegedly hit a street hawker at Agwan Affi area of the town while riding on a motorbike.

According to him, the soldier, who was in mufti, tried to pacify the hawker and an altercation ensued resulting in irate youth beating him to coma.

Mr. Idirisu said the soldier later died at the hospital, while investigation has begun to arrest all the perpetrators of the dastardly act.

Meanwhile, John Abimiku, a witness, told NAN that the area has been deserted for fear of the unknown.

“As I speak with you now, about four military trucks are stationed in the area and soldiers are picking up any youth on sight,” Mr. Abimiku added.

He claimed that the two persons arrested by the police were amongst those who took the soldier to the hospital after the mob action.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Video - Nigerian president says he is ready to return home

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says he's ready to go home after more than three months in London for his health. Many Nigerians have been questioning whether the president would be well enought to run the country. In 2017 he's spent more time in the UK than he has in Nigeria. The country's Vice President has been running Nigeria in his absence. His health has sparked several protests, with people calling for more transparency over the president's health. Nigerian authorities have maintained Buhari was getting better. All that remains now is the all-clear from his doctors.

Nigeria aplogises to the United Nations

The federal government on Sunday assured the UN of its commitment to respect and safeguard diplomatic status of the organisation’s personnel and property in Nigeria.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement by its acting spokesperson, Jane Adams, said that the assurance was sequel to the military search of the UN premises in Maiduguri, Borno on August 11.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Edward Kallon, had on August 11 expressed concern over the unauthorised search of a UN base for humanitarian workers in Maiduguri by security forces.

The Ministry expressed the federal government’s regret over the incident noting that government recognised its obligations under international humanitarian law and principles which protect all humanitarian organisations.

“The federal government, however, noted with satisfaction the success of the collaborative efforts by the Nigerian Army, the Borno governor and the UN team in Nigeria.

“It also noted the efforts to re-establish trust, confidence and cooperation, between the Nigerian Army and the UN in Maiduguri.

“The federal government appreciates the vital support being provided by the UN and other humanitarian organisations in addressing the humanitarian crisis in the north-east of the country,” the spokesperson said.

She said government would continue to take all necessary measures to respect and safeguard the neutrality of these institutions and the diplomatic status of the UN personnel and property in Nigeria.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Nigerians want President Buhari to resume duties or resign

Nigerian protesters in Lagos and Abuja are demanding President Muhammadu Buhari either resume his job as president or resign, after more than 90 days of absence.

Demonstrators have rallied in Lagos for three days, demanding action by the government, with many claiming Buhari's absence is unacceptable and harmful for the country.

"We believe the president has become incapacitated and cannot continue in office, so we are calling for the President to either resume (to continue as president) or resign" Adeyanju Deji, founder of the online campaign #ResistOrResign, told Al Jazeera.

Charles, another supporter of the campaign told Al Jazeera: "It's quite unacceptable that the leader of the most populous African nation in the world would leave the country and go sit down in the UK, on account of a health issue that is unknown to Nigerians".

Some have also used the hashtag #ResumeOrResign.

Buhari, 74, has been under growing pressure to disclose his state of health since a series of lengthy trips abroad to seek treatment for an unspecified illness.

He returned from London in early March after nearly two months away, then left Nigeria again on May 7, 2017.

On the other hand a pro-Buhari group called "Coalition for good governance and change initiative" also took to the streets supporting President Buhari carrying banners that read: "Our President is recuperating. Nigeria is moving forward. No cause for alarm."

Buhari was last in Nigeria in May welcoming back 83 Chibok school girls who had been abducted and then released by Boko Haram. He went on to say that he has "absolute confidence the government will continue to run smoothly while I'm away. God bless Nigeria".

In July, the Nigerian President Twitter account tweeted that Buhari "will be back to Nigeria as soon as his doctors give the go-ahead". As of now it's been more than 90 days since he was last in Nigeria.

While outside Nigeria, Buhari has handed power temporarily to vice president Yemi Osinbajo.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Video - Nigerian militants kill at least 31 fishermen in two attacks

Boko Haram militants have killed at least 31 fishermen in two separate attacks in Nigeria's north-eastern Borno state. Eyewitnesses say the gunmen stormed two islands in Lake Chad.

Graft Agency traces $615 million to Nigeria former oil minister

Nigeria’s anti-graft agency said it traced at least $615 million of allegedly illegally acquired cash and properties to the West Africa nation’s former oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

In addition to “boxes of gold, silver and diamond jewelry, worth several million pounds” found at her residence, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission identified more than a dozen buildings across the country worth more than $500 million owned by the former minister, the agency said in a statement on its website on Wednesday.

On the strength of the evidence it has gathered, the EFCC said it will ask federal courts to order that the assets be forfeited to the government, according to the statement.

Alison-Madueke has previously denied any wrongdoing, and calls to her mobile phone for comment didn’t connect. Oscar Onwudiwe, a lawyer representing Alison-Madueke, didn’t answer four calls to his mobile phone or respond to a text message seeking comment.

Appointed by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, Alison-Madueke, an ex-president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, served as national oil minister for five years until her party lost elections in 2015. She was arrested in London in the same year on suspicion of bribery and money laundering and later released on bail, a spokesman for the Nigerian government said at the time.

Property Forfeit

Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court court in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, on Aug. 7 ordered Alison-Madueke to forfeit a $38 million property in the Banana Island district, one of the richest areas of the city, saying it was unlawfully acquired.

U.S. prosecutors are also seeking to recover $144 million of assets, including proceeds from the sale of a luxury condominium in Manhattan, New York, which they claim were bought with the proceeds of bribes paid for Nigerian oil contracts when Alison-Madueke was minister.

The U.S. Justice Department, in a suit filed in a Houston, Texas court, said bribes were paid between 2011 and 2015 to the former oil minister by two business associates, Kolawole Akanni Aluko and Olajide Omokore. The defendants acquired real estate in London that was used by the minister and her family, and bought her more than $1 million of furniture and artwork from several stores in Houston, according to the complaint.

Alison-Madueke was charged in a Nigerian court in April with violating anti-money laundering laws. She was described in the charge as being "at large."

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Video - Boko Haram female suicide bombers sold by their parents

Nigeria military claims parents are offering their daughters to Boko Haram militants to be used as suicide bombers. If true, it's a bizarre twist in the recruitment methods the insurgents are known for.

$37.5 million luxury apartment complex seized from Nigeria's ex-oil minister

Nigeria’s ex-oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke has been embroiled in a global corruption scandal involving hundreds of millions of dollars that has pulled in investigators from London to Houston to the tiny island of Dominica.

On Monday (Aug. 8), a Lagos court ordered the final forfeiture of a $37.5 million apartment complex on Banana Island, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Lagos. The building was allegedly purchased by the 56-year old ex-oil minister between 2011 and 2012 while she was still in office. The court also ordered that rent proceeds from the apartment building, totaling nearly $3 million, be forfeited.

The ruling comes after Alison-Madueke and other respondents failed to show cause for why the property should not be forfeited in the 14-day window granted by the court at its last hearing on July 19.

It is the latest high profile example of president Buhari’s government using a forfeiture strategy through the court to reclaim stolen funds or property from the ex-minister. Back in January, the government reclaimed up to $153.3 million of funds misappropriated from the Nigeria’s national oil company NNPC.

Since leaving office in 2015, Alison-Madueke has become the face of corruption during the administration of president Goodluck Jonathan.

Just last month, Alison-Madueke was named in a US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit seeking to reclaim assets worth $144 million believed to have been proceeds of corrupt dealings. The assets include a $50 million luxury condo apartment in New York and a $80 million yacht purchased by Nigerian businessmen believed to have received lucrative oil contracts from Nigeria’s state oil company largely thanks to Alison-Madueke’s influence.

Among other details, DOJ’s 54-page case showed that, in exchange for the contracts, the businessmen purchased property in the United Kingdom worth £11.5 million for the ex-oil minister. Back in Oct. 2015, Alison-Madueke was arrested in London on charges of bribery and money laundering.

Monday, August 7, 2017

11 left dead in attack on Catholic Church in Nigeria

Authorities in Nigeria say at least 11 people are dead and others were critically wounded when gunmen attacked a church in southeastern Nigeria.

Garba Umar, police commissioner of Anambra state, said a gunman attacked St. Philip Catholic Church early Sunday.

But one parishioner, Uche Nonoso, told The Associated Press there were in fact two gunmen and more than 15 killed at the church.

The Rev. Hygi Aghaulor, communications director for the Nnewi Diocese, said the community was praying for the wounded.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the police say a manhunt has been launched. Authorities said they did not believe Boko Haram was behind the attack. The group has burned hundreds of churches over the past decade.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Video - Nigeria army moves operation base to Maiduguri to tackle insurgency

Following Nigeria’s acting president Yemi Osinbajo's order, Nigeria's top military officials have moved their operation base from the country's capital Abuja, to the northeastern city of Maiduguri in Borno State. The move is meant to tackle a resurgent Boko Haram, which seems to have surprised Nigerian authorities by staging new deadly attacks.

US to sell attack aircrafts to Nigeria

The Trump administration is greenlighting a nearly $600 million sale of high-tech attack planes to Nigeria, officials said Thursday. The goal is to shore up the West African nation's ability to fight Boko Haram and other extremists, despite U.S. concerns about human rights abuses by Nigerian security forces.

The sale will let Nigeria buy up to 12 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft from Colorado-based Sierra Nevada Corp., according to officials who were briefed on the matter but spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly. The aircrafts come with sophisticated targeting equipment that the U.S says will help Nigeria fight terrorism, trafficking, insurgency and illicit trade.

In his final days in office, former President Barack Obama put the planned sale on hold after a Nigerian fighter jet repeatedly bombed a camp near the Cameroon border housing civilians who had fled Boko Haram. Local officials have said more than 230 people were killed, in an incident that brought new attention to alleged abuses by Nigeria's forces.

A few weeks later, newly inaugurated President Donald Trump told Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that he supported the sale. Trump told the Nigerian leader in their first phone call that it would increase American exports and help Nigeria fight terrorists, according to officials.

The move is Trump's latest to arm countries despite questionable rights records in some cases. On his first trip abroad as president, Trump announced a $110 billion sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, including precision-guided munitions that Obama had cut off over concerns about high rates of civilian casualties in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is at war with Iranian-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen.

Despite approving the sale to Nigeria, the U.S. is keeping up the pressure on Buhari's government to improve its forces' human rights practices and ensure accountability for violators, a U.S. official said. The aim of the sale is to help Nigeria and its neighbors strengthen their ability to fight Boko Haram and an Islamic State group affiliate in West Africa. Other countries in the region fighting similar threats already have the Super Tucano, the official noted.

The State Department notified Congress late Wednesday of its plans to approve the sale. That triggered a 30-day review period in which lawmakers can try to block the sale. While several Democrats in particular have raised concerns, Congress is unlikely to stop the administration from proceeding.

John Campbell, a Nigeria scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, said concerns have receded somewhat as Nigeria has taken steps to address shortcomings, including granting the International Committee of the Red Cross access to some Nigerian detention facilities.

"There are signs of some progress," Campbell said. Still, he said Nigeria had a "long way to go."

If the sale goes forward, the U.S. will have to send employees or contractors to Nigeria to provide logistical support and train teams on how to use the aircraft. They also would provide guidance on international laws for protecting civilians, officials said.

The Nigerian air force has been accused of bombing civilian targets several times in recent years. The State Department said in report last year 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 also has accused Nigeria's military of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the extrajudicial killings of an estimated 8,000 Boko Haram suspects. Buhari promised to investigate the alleged abuses after he won office in March 2015. No soldier has since been prosecuted.

Nigeria is Africa's largest consumer market, with 170 million people, and the continent's second-largest oil producer. It is strategically located on the edge of the Sahel, the largely lawless semi-desert region bridging north and sub-Saharan Africa where experts warn of Islamic extremists expanding their reach. More than 20,000 have been killed and about 3 million displaced in Boko Haram's insurgency since 2009, in which the extremist group has sought to enforce strict Islamic rule.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Video - Nigeria's Senate withdraws report exonerating MTN

Nigeria's Senate has withdrawn a report that largely exonerated South African telecoms giant MTN of illegally repatriating 14 billion dollars. The Senate also rebuked the Nigerian central bank for regulatory failures. The report was almost immediately sent back for further work because it did not capture possible infractions by all stakeholders. The crux of the allegation is that MTN did not obtain certificates declaring it had invested foreign currency in Nigeria within the 24-hour deadline stipulated in a 1995 law, making the repatriation of returns on the investments illegal. MTN has denied any wrongdoing.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Oil region in Nigeria threaten to quit peace talks

Negotiators representing militants in Nigeria’s oil region in talks with the government said they’ll pull out of the process if some demands aren’t met by November, accusing President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration of not doing enough for peace.

The efforts of the group, known as the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, “to help Nigeria climb out of recession through stable oil and gas production have not been met with tangible reciprocal action by the federal government,” Edwin Clark, its leader, said in a statement emailed on Tuesday.

A list of 16 demands, including the withdrawal troops from the region and the clean up of oil spills, presented for implementation “without delay” at the group’s meeting with Buhari last year was ignored, according to the statement. The negotiators “may consider pulling out of the ongoing peace process” by Nov. 1 if these demands aren’t met, said Clark.

Nigeria is suffering its worst economic downturn in a quarter century after oil prices fell in 2015 and output was hampered by a resurgence of militant attacks on pipelines in the Niger delta. The armed groups, including the Niger Delta Avengers that claimed most of the attacks, nominated the community leaders last year to represent them in talks with the government and agreed to a cease-fire.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Video - No clarity yet on how many killed in last week's attack in Nigeria

There is still no clarity yet on the death toll from last week's deadly Boko Haram attack on oil exploration experts in remote north-eastern Nigeria. The military had initially said only six of its personnel died in the ambush AND that it rescued all the oil exploration experts reportedly kidnapped. But it later emerged that information was not correct. The military has apologised, saying its initial statement was, quote, most regrettable.

Video - Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer calls for shift in strategy

Nigeria is calling for a drastic shift in business strategy among African oil producers to cope with the industry's crumbling fortunes. Nigeria spearheads the African Petroleum Producers Association. Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has asked the association's technical committee to urgently craft a new strategy for the continent.

Former Nigeria President's house looted by police

Former president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, lost properties running into millions of naira when his residence in the administrative capital, Abuja, was burgled over a period of time.

The Premium Times news portal in an exclusive report said three police officers detailed to guard the premises had ‘conducted a systematic looting over a period of three months beginning from around March 2016.’

The ex-President’s spokesperson is said to have confirmed the incident adding that the said officers had been arrested. The implicated men are said to be two sergeants and an inspector.

They are said to have stripped the house bare over the period and were selling these items – some of which were customized materials – to traders in a popular second-hand market at Abuja.

Mr. Jonathan who is said to have visited the property after the looting according to the report, spoke directly with the Inspector General of Police with respect to the matter.

The 59-year-old former governor of Bayelsa State, is said to have occupied the house in his capacity as Vice-President for about a year. He moved to Aso Rock – the seat of government – as Acting President following the death of his boss, Umaru Musah Yar’Adua in 2010.

He won a substantive term after seeing out Yar’Adua’s tenure. He beat Muhammadu Buhari in polls held in 2011. But lost a second term bid to Buhari in 2015. His government came under flak for rising Boko Haram attacks and issues of widespread corruption.

The Premium Times portal listed some of the looted items as follows:

1. Traditional attires and bowler hats of the Niger Delta region: about 20 bags.
2. Customized suits: about five bags.
3. About 10 bags of Niger Delta styled women attires.
4. Bundles of Ankara materials, known as ‘Atamfa.’
5. About 10 sets of northern Nigeria styled three piece apparel.
6. Bag containing clothes with the opposition PDP logo sewn on each one.
Other electrical appliances that were stolen and sold by the officers were:

1. 36 Plasma televisions.
2. About 25 refrigerators.
3. Five sets of furniture.
4. Two sets of sitting room chairs.
5. Several air conditioner units.

Google CEO visits Nigeria

Google boss Sundar Pichai joined members of his executive team on his first visit to Nigeria as the company launched YouTube offline for Nigeria to help users save on data costs.

“What a great honour to have had our CEO @sundarpichai join us for #GoogleforNigeria today,” it tweeted via its verified handle @googleafrica.

Pichai who announced a series of products for the country, including YouTube Go, a platform where users with slow Internet can preview and save videos, also announced plans to train 10 million Africans.

This means that YouTube users in the country can now download any video in a range of different resolutions so that they can watch it later without an Internet connection.

Although, the cost of data is expensive and at times the Internet is very slow, Nigeria, with about 93 million mobile Internet users, making it the highest in Africa, is the second country after India to have the YouTube Go capability.

The move is certain to increase YouTube’s growing Nigeria base, which the platform is keen to court; it held the first YouTube sub-Saharan Africa awards last year and prominent Nigerian bloggers have been featured in advertising campaigns around the country.

According to Google, owners of YouTube since 2006, the number of hours of video content being uploaded in Africa has doubled for the past two years, while viewing time on mobile phones is grown 120% year over year.

According to Caesar Sengupta, Vice President of product management, Google will also launch a partnership in September with Japanese mobile manufacturer Freetel to provide 13,000 Naira (about $40) Android phones for the country.

Another feature that was launched for Nigeria was the Lagos Street View.

Imagery of 10,000 kilometres of Lagos roads, including Eko Bridge, Carter Bridge and the National Museum, are now available on Street View.

The tech giant is also set to launch Google Impact Challenge in Africa in 2018 as innovators from non-profits will be able to share ideas on how they can impact their communities and beyond.

“We ask non-profits from around Africa to nominate the best ideas and we allow local people to vote for what they think is the best idea. Nongovernmental organizations nominate themselves and people get to vote and choose where the funding goes to,” announced Pichai.

Google set up the challenge and visits regions across the world asking locals to share innovation that could help their communities and beyond. The winners will get a grant of $5 million to develop the concept.

Google grants arm will also train 100,000 African software gurus focusing mainly on Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.