Monday, July 16, 2018

Video - Nigeria floods worsen food shortages

Flooding and heavy rains are affecting many parts of Nigeria. Dozens of people have been killed and crops have been lost, raising fears of a food shortage. As the rains peak in a few weeks’ time, many farming communities living in Nigeria’s fertile basins are bracing for more losses, with wider implications on country’s agricultural output.

Video - Five officers, 18 soldiers missing after attack in Borno state, Nigeria

More than 100 Nigerian army troops are still missing following an attack on a military convoy on Saturday in Borno state. The attacking insurgents were believed to have been those who escaped the ongoing military offensive in the Sambisa Forest and Lake Chad region. Local media reports say the military was acting on intelligence when it mobilised the troops in a convoy of 11 trucks to clear the insurgents from the Bama Local Government Area in Borno State. Reinforcement troops have since been deployed from Maiduguri to Borno state following the attack.

China planning to invest $3 billion in oil operations in Nigeria

China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) is willing to invest $3 billion in its existing oil and gas operation in Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Sunday following a meeting with the Chinese in Abuja.

During a visit to Nigeria’s state-owned NNPC, CNOOC Chief Executive Yuan Guangyu said the Beijing-based oil company had invested more than $14 billion in its Nigerian operations and expressed readiness to invest more.

Guangyu said Nigeria was their largest investment destination and also asked the NNPC to seek common grounds with CNOOC for enhanced productivity.

Nigeria has been holding talks with oil majors over new finance agreements for joint ventures since last year. The NNPC last year signed financing agreements with Chevron (CVX.N) and Shell (RDSa.L) worth at least $780 million to boost crude production and reserves.

Other western oil companies, including ExxonMobil (XOM.N), operate in Nigeria through joint ventures with NNPC.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Video - Nigerian president says he intends to sign CFTA agreement

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has admitted the reason he hasn't signed the Continental Free-Trade Area agreement is because he is, quote, a slow reader. But the Nigerian leader says he does intend to sign the deal, which was reached by African leaders at a summit in Rwanda in March. Once the agreement is implemented, it will be the world's largest free-trade area.

MTN offices reopen in Nigeria after days of violent protests

MTN Group Ltd. reopened offices in Nigeria that had been closed since Monday due to violent protests by labor groups against Africa’s largest mobile-phone company by subscribers.

Staff were assaulted and properties vandalized during the demonstrations, the Johannesburg-based company said in an emailed response to questions on Friday. The wireless carrier is working with the Nigerian Communications Commission, government ministries and industry groups to reach an “amicable resolution” with unions led by the Nigeria Labour Congress, MTN said.

A spokesman for MTN Nigeria said later Friday that the offices were back open. He declined to comment on whether a settlement had been reached with the labor groups.

The NLC had been picketing MTN’s offices across Nigeria all this week, accusing the company of refusing to allow workers to be asked whether they want to join a labor union. The company rejected the claim, saying none of its workers took part in the protest.

MTN is the market leader in Nigeria with almost 55 million customers, but has had a troubled relationship with Africa’s most populous country in recent years. In 2015, the company was hit with a regulatory fine that led to more than 18 months of negotiations that eroded the share price. Last year, MTN Nigeria’s headquarters in the capital, Abuja, were vandalized in retaliation for xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

The shares declined 0.2 percent to 106.67 rand as of 12:15 p.m. in Johannesburg, extending the year-to-date drop to 21 percent.

New China-assisted light rail services commences in Abuja, Nigeria

Nigeria on Thursday formally commissioned the China-assisted Abuja light rail transportation system, the first of its kind in West Africa.

Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari declared the full operation of the capital city's light rail system, handled by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and partly funded by the Export-Import Bank of China.

Buhari, while delivering a keynote address at the light rail's commissioning ceremony, hailed the project as a significant milestone in the history of Nigeria.

"I am very optimistic that a modern rail service would bring about a boost to the FCT (Federal Capital Territory) economy and greatly enhance social life," said Buhari, who, thereafter, took a ride on the train.

Local passengers will enjoy a free ride on the train for one month, starting from Friday, said Kong Tao, an operations manager of the CCECC.

Kong said the three available coaches can convey more than 300 passengers on a trip, while at least 1,000 people are expected to daily ride on the train.

With a total length of 45 kilometers, the newly completed Lot A1 and Lot 3 of the light rail are part of the Abuja rail mass transit project.

The light rail was designed to have an interface with the national line at two points, where there would be interchanges to join the rail line linking the northern part of Nigeria.

It covers 12 stations, 21 operational offices, 13 bridges, 50 culverts and nine pedestrian overpasses.

The commissioning was preceded by a three-month test run, during which residents of Abuja beheld the new addition to the country's transportation infrastructure.

Buhari, together with key cabinet members and officials of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, flagged off the light rail transportation from the Abuja Metro Station, located behind the Abuja World Trade Center still under construction in the city center.

The president and co-passengers, including Zhou Pingjian, the Chinese ambassador in Nigeria, rode on the train to the Abuja Airport Terminal at the capital city's Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport.

Forty-year-old Chima Paul, who drove Buhari and others, told Xinhua it was a rare privilege for him to convey the country's very important personalities on his train.

"Apart from that, I am happier because this light rail system is a historic feat happening in my lifetime," said Paul.

"I've been driving the train for about three years now after learning from the Chinese. With this now, I can support my family and build a new career for myself," said the father of three.

Paul said the Abuja light rail is expected to reduce vehicular traffic and accidents, ensures the durability of the roads and makes transportation of goods, services and people a lot easier.

Nigerians had long anticipated the use of this facility, said Daniel Obot, a local civil servant.

According to him, the local transportation experience in the city of Abuja, the political capital of Nigeria, may never be the same as the train service cuts down travel time and cost.

Abuja, with a population of 4 million, is a relatively new city in Nigeria, but one of the fastest developing cities in Africa.

The construction of the light rail and its use is expected to open up new towns and boost economic activities along the corridor of Gwagwa, Kalgoni, DeiDei, Kubwa, Kokoaba, Dasonga, Asa, among 12 satellite towns in the Nigerian capital city.

For now, only three sets of standard coaches have been provided to cover skeletal services as the main set of the rolling stock is being awaited to make operations cover more passengers.

Sunny Moniedafe, a Nigerian education administrator, described his first ride on the train as "comfortable."

"I am seated as if I'm in my parlor and it is moving. Truly, this is commendable. I can see that the journey between the airport and the main city has reduced drastically and it is very comfortable," Moniedafe said.

"It is a very good thing. I commend the Chinese government for the relationship with the Nigerian government to make things better for us," he added.

Second man jailed for involvement in Chibok girls kidnapping

A Nigerian court has jailed a second man involved in the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok town in northeast Nigeria, officials told CNN Friday.
Banzana Yusuf was sentenced to 20 years in prison by the court sitting at the Kainji military base in Niger, a central Nigerian state this week, Salihu Isah, a spokesman for the justice ministry said.
No further details were given about his involvement in the abduction.

This is the second conviction in connection to the Chibok kidnappings this year.
In February, the court imposed a second 15-year sentence on Haruna Yahaya, who was involved in the kidnapping.

Boko Haram militants seized 276 schoolgirls between the ages 16 to 18, from their boarding school in the town of Chibok, Borno State April 2014, sparking global outrage.

Eighty-two of the schoolgirls were released in a swap between the Nigerian government and the militant group last year.

But more than 100 of them remain in captivity, with their whereabouts unknown.
The militant group has kidnapped more than 1,000 children in Nigeria since 2013, according to a recent report, most recently kidnapping 110 schoolgirls from the town of Dapchi in Yobe state on February 19.

More than 200 people have been convicted for their involvement with the insurgent group this year.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Video - South African president Ramaphosa visits Nigeria

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa is in Nigeria for a official two-day visit. He is expected to attend the annual Afri-exim bank meeting, and hold bilateral talks with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Video - Nigerian opposition parties form alliance to challenge Buhari in 2019

It looks like President Muhammadu Buhari has a fight on his hands for next year's elections. 38 opposition parties have united to field a presidential candidate to run against Buhari in the February polls. Among the parties is the main opposition P-D-P and a breakaway faction of the ruling All Progressives Congress. CGTN's Deji Badmus takes a look at how much of a threat this new coalition poses to Buhari.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Google to partner with Nigeria on global digital access

The Federal Government on Tuesday gave the assurance that it would partner premier internet provider, Google, in the Google’s Next Billion users plan intended to ensure greater digital access in Nigeria and around the world.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gave the assurance during a meeting with Google executives at the company’s corporate headquarters in the Silicon Valley at the start of the investment roadshow he is leading to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The proposal is in line with the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), especially its strategy to diversify the economy by making technology an important foreign exchange earner.

A release issued by Mr Laolu Akande, the Vice President’s Spokesman said that Google CEO Sundar Pichai welcomed the Vice President to the meeting held at Googleplex in California, U.S.

The Vice President also said the Federal Government would partner Google in the area of localisation of content and content creation to make content cheaper and more accessible to Nigerians.

Osinbajo also discussed other areas for partnership with Google, including the establishment of Google Artificial Intelligence Centres in Institutions of Higher Learning in Nigeria.

Another is the establishment of a Youtube Creator space to support Nigeria’s digital content producers and enable them to make money with their craft leveraging on Youtube and Google Tools.

Other areas discussed include the expansion of Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Programme in Africa.

According to Akande, Google also indicated interest in the policy environment in Nigeria and formulation of policy to encourage partnerships and investments from Google global with companies in Nigeria’s technology space.

For Nigeria, the Google Next Billion Users plan is expected to provoke innovation on a large scale.

Nigeria has been identified as one of the major countries where the latest generation of Internet users will come from, and the next billion users are said to be already changing the Internet in three key ways.

The areas include: the prominent use of smartphones to access the Internet, an instinct for universal computing, and a demand for localized content.

The future of the internet is in the hands of the next billion users, as the global technology company has noted.

It is reckoned that the latest generation of internet users will come online on smartphones in places such as Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Nigeria.

The country’s interest is in line with its ERGP plans and quest to become a data-driven digital economy in addition to making gains in terms of the efficiency and transparency of process that a digital economy offers.

“Also in Federal Government’s effort of ensuring a skilled work force, it is partnering Google to increase the number of Nigerians in the global technology firm’s Launchpad Accelerator, and Google I/O Developer Festivals.

“Also Google will offer training to Nigerians on Android and Web Development, Digital Marketing and Taking Business Online,’’ he said.

Akande recalled that an objective of the Vice President’s trip was to showcase to the world the progress and strides in the country’s technology, innovation and creative space by Nigerian start-ups and entertainment industry practitioners.

At the meeting held on Tuesday in Silicon Valley, the Vice President also interacted with scores of Nigerians working with Google.

He later met with a series of key technology investors and also visited the headquarters of LinkedIn where he was the Special Guest at the firm’s Fireside Chat with Nigerians in the Diaspora.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Video - CAF promotes Nigeria Football Federation chief Amaju Pinnick amidst power struggle

Africa's football body CAF, has promoted Nigeria's embattled football president to the post of first Vice-President, despite protracted leadership wrangles in the country's football federation.

Video - Nigeria's World Cup Experience

Nigeria's World Cup dream may have come to an end in the group stage, but the nation recently had the chance to present itself to the world from Russia...away from the pitch. At an exhibition in Moscow, Nigerian song and dance was on display for football fans from all over the world in Russia for the World Cup.

Video - New breakaway faction yet to register as party ahead of polls in Nigeria

Still in Nigeria, internal rifts in the ruling All Progressive Congress are deepening. A group of party members announced they were forming a break-away faction, just months before next year's elections. The splinter group is compromised of politicians from six states, who have indicated that they will be backing a candidate under a new party, known as the Reformed A-P-C. CGTN's Kelechi Emekalam takes a look at how much the new party could change Nigeria's political landscape.

Video - Nigeria's epicentre of unrest over land and resources

The fight for fertile land and other resources between farmers and cattle herders in central Nigeria has forced hundreds from their homes. In Jos, central Nigeria's Plateau State, food shortages are feared as the economy suffers because of the rising violence and lack of investment.

Vice-president of Nigeria meets with Google's CEO

Nigeria’s vice-president Yemi Osinbajo, who is leading a three-day US roadshow to showcase the growth of Nigeria’s tech and entertainment sectors, yesterday met with Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Yesterday Pichai tweeted: “Happy to welcome the Vice President of Nigeria @ProfOsinbajo to the Googleplex today — great to chat with him about the opportunities of Nigeria’s digital economy”.

Osinbajo, who arrived in the US yesterday, is leading a public-private sector collaborative investment roadshow to the US, where he will be speaking to global industry leaders in IT and entertainment sectors in Silicon Valley in San Francisco and in Hollywood, California, until tomorrow (11 July).

The vice-president yesterday tweeted that at a fireside chat with LinkedIn co-founder Allen Blue he described the role the role of the recently inaugurated Technology and Creativity Advisory Group to drive policy in tech innovation and entertainment.

In a press release today the vice president’s office said Osinbajo has spoken extensively about the commitment of Nigeria’s federal government to supporting the growth of technology and creative industries in the country through its policies and reforms.

180 child soldier handed over to UN by Nigerian military

Nigerian army says it has handed over 183 child "foot soldiers" freed from the Boko Haram terror group to a UN agency and the government. 

The children aged between seven and 18 years old were released to the Borno State government and UNICEF in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria, which has borne the brunt of Boko Haram's decade-long insurgency. 

Army spokesman John Agim told CNN the children were being used as "foot soldiers" by the militants.
"Boko Haram militants send them for different kinds of operations, but they are under-aged. So, they need to be rehabilitated before they are released to their families," Agim said.

However, a UNICEF Nigeria spokeswoman said the group of eight girls and 175 boys were released after they were cleared of any affiliation with Boko Haram. 

Eva Hinds said the agency "views the children as children," and therefore they could not be classified as child soldiers or "being affiliated to violence without any judicial process. From our perspective, children are easily coerced into doing things to stay alive." 

"Their involvement is still an allegation," she added. 

The children are being rehabilitated and given psychological support, Hinds said. 

Around 8,700 children released from armed groups have been rehabilitated in the country since 2017, according to UN figures. 

Mohamed Fall, who heads UNICEF Nigeria, said their release from the military was "an important step on their long road to recovery."

"I also want to commend the action taken by the military and the authorities, it demonstrates a clear commitment to better protect children affected by the conflict," Fall said.

Last month, the army said it had rescued 148 hostages, most of them women and children, from Boko Haram militants.

Over 1,000 hostages were also freed in May by the military after a week-long battle with insurgents in northeast Nigeria.

Boko Haram has devastated vast swathes of northeast Nigeria over a ten-year period and has kidnapped more than 1,000 children in Nigeria since 2013, according to a recent report.
The group sparked global outrage after militants seized 276 girls from a boarding school in Chibok town, Borno in 2014. 

Some of the girls were freed last year following negotiations between the government and the militant group.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Video - President Buhari optimistic about defeating insurgents in Nigeria

Nigeria's President Muhamadu Buhari is in the north east of the country, to mark military successes recorded against Boko Haram insurgents. The one-week long celebration is being held amidst renewed claims that Boko Haram is all but defeated. CGTN's Kelechi Emekalam takes a closer look at how much the offensive against Boko Haram has achieved.

Video - Nigerian military denies UN report on human rights violations

Nigeria's military is rejecting a UN report that placed equal blame on the military and Boko Haram for killing and maiming hundreds of children in the country's north east. CGTN's Kelechi Emekalam has more.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Video - U.S. court awards P&ID $8.89 billion against Nigeria government

A United States' district court has awarded Process and Industrial Developments Limited 6.59 billion dollars and interest of 2.3 billion dollars after the Nigerian government failed in its part of the deal. The company got into a contract with the government for gas supply.

British Nigerian jailed for trafficking women

A London-based nurse has been sentenced to 14 years in prison following a landmark prosecution which saw her convicted for trafficking Nigerian women to Europe and forcing them into sex work.

Josephine Iyamu, 51, was sentenced to 14 years in prison, 13 years for the slavery offences and 1 year for perverting the course of justice, to be served consecutively. She will serve at least half of that in prison, the rest on the licence.

Iyamu is the first British national to be convicted under the Modern Slavery Act for offences committed overseas, UK’s National Crime Agency said in a statement on its website.

In July 2017, The National Crime Agency’s (NCA) investigation into Iyamu began following information from the German Police who had identified one of her victims working in a brothel in Trier.

Investigations showed that she had positioned herself as a rich and powerful woman in Nigeria and had launched a political campaign through which she claimed she wanted to empower women and families.

Iyamu recruited vulnerable women from rural villages and promised them a better life in Europe but was arrested by NCA officers after landing at Heathrow airport on a flight from Lagos on 24 August 2017.

Whilst in prison, she made attempts to trace and intimidate the victims and their families together with bribing law enforcement officers into proving her innocence.

On 28 June 2018 at Birmingham Crown Court, she was found guilty of five counts of facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation and one count of attempting to prevent the course of justice.

The NCA’s financial investigation into Iyamu’s illicit earnings and assets continues.

Speaking as he sentenced Iyamu, Judge Richard Bond described Iyamu’s victims as “naive and trusting women who only wanted to make theirs and their families lives better,” and said she had seen them as “commodities…to earn you money.” During their journey to Europe, he said they had been “exposed to a real and significant risk of death.”

Kay Mellor, operations manager at the NCA, said Iyamu specifically targeted vulnerable women and put them through the most horrific experience for her own financial gain.

“She thought living in a different country to were her crimes were committed would protect her. Working closely with our Nigerian and German colleagues however we were able to bring her to justice right here in the UK.

Mellor added that Iyamu’s expenditure on travel and properties far outweighed her legitimate earnings as a nurse and investigation into her finances is ongoing.

National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) Director-General, Dame Julie Okah-Donli said: “As part of our renewed determination to root out human trafficking from Nigeria, we have strengthened our networking and collaboration with the relevant sister law enforcement agencies around the world. This simply means that there no more a hiding place for any human trafficker around the world.”

He further commended the officers of NAPTIP and the partners in NCA for the heart-warming development.

Nigerian football fan in Russia seeks political asylum

A football fan from Nigeria has reportedly requested political asylum in Russia, citing fears of political persecution in his home country, the Moscow Times reports. Human rights groups say it is difficult for asylum seekers to obtain refugee status in Russia, with only 582 people admitted as refugees in 2017, the lowest number in the past decade.

Since the World Cup began, dozens of people who entered Russia using World Cup fan identity documents have attempted to enter neighbouring European countries and request asylum.

The 31-year-old citizen of Nigeria arrived to Russia for the World Cup before asking police in the Perovo district of Moscow for political asylum, the RBC news agency reported, citing an unnamed police source. “The man said that he had participated in anti-government protests in his country and that his life was currently threatened by Nigerian government forces,” the police source was cited as saying. 

The asylum request has been transferred to a local migration services branch of the Interior Ministry, RBC reported. According to Russian law, political asylum requests are granted by presidential decree.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Video - France sign $475 million agreement on projects with Nigeria

France's Emmanuel Macron is wrapping up his two day state visit to Nigeria. The French president and his Nigerian counterpart Muhamadu Buhari have signed a 475 million dollar agreement for the implementation of different projects in Lagos, Kano and Ogun States.

Traditional healer killed in 'bullet-proof' charm test in Nigeria

A self-styled traditional healer in Nigeria has died after one of his clients tested his "bullet-proof" charms on him.

Chinaka Adoezuwe, 26, was killed after instructing the man to shoot him as he was wearing the charms around his neck.

Police in the country's south-eastern Imo state say the client has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Charms are popular in Nigeria, where traditional healers are consulted for cures for various ailments.

But there have been several reports of people being killed after testing "bullet-proof" charms and medicines.

"A young man had gone to [the healer] to prepare bullet-proof charms for him, which the native doctor did," a villager told the Punch newspaper.

"To prove the efficacy of the new charms, [he] positioned and handed over a gun to his customer. Tragedy struck."

In January, a traditional medicine seller was arrested after a man drank a "bullet-repelling" liquid and was shot dead.

The seller in north-western Nigeria reportedly assured the man that he could not die if he was shot.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

France pledges security support to Nigeria

French Leader Emmanuel Macron yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, challenging him to work towards providing an enabling economic and political environment to help youths to achieve their dreams.He noted that it was important for leaders in Africa to understand why young people were disposed to joining terrorist groups.

“What we have to better understand is why many people are convinced to join these jihadists and these terrorists. That is why it is very important to build not just the security approach but also the stabilisation approach at the same time, to provide new opportunities.“Your governments will take care of you, I mean provide security and secondly, your governments can provide opportunities to you. And the best support is not to join crazy people and buy a bunch of guns and do crazy things,” Macron said.

At a joint press conference with Buhari after a closed-door bilateral meeting at the Presidential Villa, Macron pledged to increase the cooperation between Nigeria and France in tackling security challenges brought about by the activities of Boko Haram and ISIS jihadists in Nigeria and the Sahel region of Africa.“What is important to me is how the different African governments organise themselves to fight against terrorism and get rid of these people and especially, Jihadism. That’s is why I do promote the G5/Sahel Initiatives,” he said.

The French President noted: “First of all, I think the main plan is an African plan and France is not the one to solve or fix African situations. So, what we want to do is that we will intervene and maintain our presence in Africa and the Sahel, to fight against terrorism especially in Mali and in the region.”Both leaders signed agreements to facilitate French assistance totalling $475 million for some projects in Lagos, Kano and Ogun States. Specifically, the Lagos deal is a letter of intent for the financing of urban mobility improvement project via a loan of $200 million. This will involve the development of eight priority bus corridors connected to the Lagos mass transit network.

In Ogun State, a French firm in conjunction with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority is to mobilise from investors about $200 million for land reclamation to correct the massive degradation of arable land being witnessed in the state.The project aims to reforest 108,000 hectares of depleting forest in Ogun, which the state governor, Ibikunle Amosun, hailed as very vital to not only addressing climate change challenges and recreating the forest, but also providing employment to the people of the state, among other benefits.

France, through its foreign development agency, Francaise de Development (AFD), will also extend a credit facility of $75 million towards improving water supply in Kano city.The concessional loan is expected to help the Kano government ensure more residents of the city have access to drinking water, while improving the financial viability of the state water board to increase its revenues.

Responding to questions on why he chose to visit the New Afrika Shrine of popular Afrobeat king, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Macron said the place was an iconic hub.“First, because I wanted to find a good occasion to come back there. I know the place and I have some memories. I think that is such an iconic place for a lot of African people and African culture. Fela, Femi, Seun Kuti are obviously very famous in France and Europe. I mean they are big successes, but the Shrine is a cultural hub, an iconic hub. And it is very important for me, first on a personal level. That is why I want to say with a lot of humility that I recognise the importance of this place. I recognise the place of culture in this current environment.”

Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, said the visit would signal the dawn of a new era between France and the state, especially for the myriads of talents that have made Lagos a home.During a special Afrobeat performance for Macron at the Shrine in Agidingbi, Ikeja, Ambode said: “It is with joy that I look forward to deep collaboration with France in our quest to make Lagos the culture and entertainment capital of Africa.”

He noted that the French Cultural Centre and Alliance Francaise have always been an asset to the cultural landscape of Lagos, saying: “I am glad that the French Cultural Centre will now have a befitting and hopefully a permanent home in the heart of our city.”Guests at the Shrine included former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, Senator Ben Murray Bruce and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana.

Falana said the visit showed that a king, referring to the late Fela, is not honoured in his own country.Commending Macron for promoting arts and culture, Falana urged Nigerian artistes and musicians to borrow a leaf from Fela by singing songs that mirror the society and call government to order.Femi Anikulapo Kuti, son of the musician, described the visit as an endorsement of what his father stood for while he lived.

Nigerian police arrest 11 suspected Plateau attackers

The police have arrested 11 suspects in connection with the recent killings in Barkin Ladi, Riyom and Jos South council areas of Plateau State.In a statement yesterday, the force said the suspects were assisting the investigating team with useful information.It said five AK47 rifles and two live cartridges were recovered from the arrested persons.

The release reads in part: “It would be recalled that the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, visited Plateau State on June 26, 2018. “While in the state, he assessed the security situation and police deployment. Since his visit, the security situation has improved. Peace and normalcy have been restored in the affected areas.

“The Police Special Investigation Team, comprising the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Special Tactical Squad (STS), and Technical Intelligence Unit (TIU), led by Commissioner of Police, IGP Monitoring Unit deployed to Plateau State, has commenced investigation and recorded significant progress in getting to the root of the killings of innocent people.

“The Nigeria Police Force is assuring the people of Plateau State of adequate security of lives and property.” In a related development, the force said it had also arrested eight bandits, including the Councillor for Fidi Ward, Makurdi, Benjamin Bagugba Tivfa, for allegedly admitting to have supplied arms to the criminals.It added said two AK47 rifles and 436 rounds of ammunition were also recovered from the suspects.

The police said: “The bandits confessed that the councillor is a member of their gang and is responsible for supply of arms and ammunition, including money to finance their operations. “The councillor admitted to have bought 15 rounds of AK 47 ammunition from the last suspect, Sunday Cheche, 34, and native of Guma Local Government Area of Benue State. He also confessed to have provided money to finance the operations of the gang.

“The bandits also admitted to have carried out several killings and armed robbery attacks in different locations in the state.”Meanwhile, troops of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) have denied involvement in the killing of six herdsmen and l50 cows as alleged by the Nasarawa State Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Mohammed Hussein.The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. John Ajim, who made the clarification yesterday in a statement, maintained that the claim was unfounded.

According to him, “the OPWS was established on May 8, 2018 by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, in consultation with the service chiefs and commanders of other security agencies with the mandate to completely restore law, order and peace in four affected states, Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara.”

He added: “It is therefore the duty of OPWS to ensure that all the people in these states go about their lawful duties without fear or molestation. These we have done at great cost to the military, which include some paying the supreme price.”“I wish to make it abundantly clear that the Special Forces troops of OPWS did not kill herdsmen or cows as claimed by the MACBAN chairman in Lafia.”

Video - President of France visits famous New Afrika Shrine nightclub in Nigeria

France’s president on Tuesday visited a nightclub founded by legendary Nigerian Afrobeat star Fela Kuti which has a reputation as a hedonistic haven filled with frenetic music, scantily clad podium dancers and the stench of marijuana smoke.

Emmanuel Macron arrived at the famous venue in the Nigerian city of Lagos, just hours after holding talks and a joint news conference with President Muhammadu Buhari in the capital, Abuja, at the start of a two-day visit to the West African country.

During the news conference he stated his commitment to helping the fight against Islamist militants in the northeast, before embarking on the hour-long flight to Lagos to visit the New Afrika Shrine.

The venue replaced the famed original - created by Fela - which burned down in 1977. It is managed by the musician’s sons Femi and Seun who continue their father’s musical and cultural tradition.

Fela - a singer, composer and saxophonist - pioneered the Afrobeat sound by combining organ riffs with West African drumming and brass instruments. He was famed for his sexual exploits, marijuana smoking and fearless critiques of Nigeria’s military regime.

“Fela was not just a musician. He was a politician who wanted to change society. So if I have one message for young people, it’s this: ‘Yes, politics is important; yes, be involved,” Macron told the audience from the stage.

Fela was jailed on dozens of occasions by military rulers in the 1970s and 1980s, including by Buhari during his time as a military leader in the early 80s.

The presence of the French president brought a different ambience to the famed venue: the smell of marijuana was absent and the gathering of youths that usually gather outside were absent due to the heavy security presence.

During an evening in which classic Fela songs were played alongside contemporary artists, and a fashion show was held, the French president told the audience Nigeria was important for African culture.

He said France planned to launch a season of events intended to be “the face of African culture in Europe”.

“It will be about a new generation of African artists - for them by them,” he said.

The visit to Nigeria has marked a return to familiar territory for Macron. He spent six months in Abuja as an intern at the French embassy in 2002.

When asked about previous visits to the legendary Lagos club, he said: “I can’t tell you everything that happened when I used to come to the Shrine because what happens at the Shrine stays at the Shrine.”

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Video - Nigeria oil output drops

10 people dead by flood in central Nigeria

A flood that wreaked havoc in central Nigeria has killed at least ten people, police and rescue officials said Tuesday.

The flood in Nigeria's central state of Niger followed a heavy downpour late Monday in the Kontagora area, the police said.

A local market in the area and two other communities were hard hit by the flood. So far, eight bodies have been recovered by local divers, said state police chief Dibal Yakadi.

Head of the Niger State Emergency Management Agency Ibrahim Inga said seven teenage girls were washed away by the flood in the Rafin-Gora local market.

Three other children were killed by the flood elsewhere, Inga added.

A boy was rescued Tuesday morning by a truck driver during a rescue operation.

Inga said the boy was holding tight to a tree when the truck driver saw and rescued him.

According to the emergency response official, it is difficult to ascertain the number of the dead or missing for now.

John Obi Mikel reveals that his father was kidnapped during the World Cup

Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel faced Argentina last Tuesday in the knowledge that his father was being held for ransom, but did not tell anyone about it as the kidnappers threatened to shoot "instantly" if authorities were informed.

Mikel told KweséESPN that he received a call from the kidnappers four hours before kickoff in the decisive World Cup clash in St Petersburg, and they demanded N10 Million ($28,000 US) for the safe return of his father, Pa Michael Obi.

The elder Obi was on his way to a funeral in south eastern Nigeria from Jos when he was abducted along the Makurdi-Enugu expressway on June 26. He and his driver were rescued after a "gun duel," on July 2, nearly a week after the kidnapping, Nigeria Police confirmed on Tuesday.

Mikel's father was then taken to hospital for treatment, with family sources telling KweséESPN that the elderly man had been tortured and required multiple stitches. He returned to hospital on Tuesday after some of the sutures broke, and Mikel is considering flying his father abroad for further treatment.

Mikel, speaking to KweséESPN after the rescue, said that he did not tell his bosses at the Nigeria Football Federation, nor did he tell his coach Gernot Rohr, but instead kept the situation to himself and opted to face Lionel Messi's team as if nothing was amiss.

"I was confused. I did not know what to do, but in the end I knew that I could not let 180 million Nigerians down," Mikel said.

"I had to shut it out of my head and go and represent my country first. I was told that they would shoot my dad instantly if I reported to the authorities or told anybody.

"And I did not want to discuss it with the coach because I did not want my issue to become a distraction to the coach or the rest of the team on the day of such an important game. So as much as I wanted to discuss it with the coach, I could not do it."

Nigeria lost that game 2-1 to Argentina and were eliminated from the World Cup. The midfielder flew home to England almost immediately to deal with the situation, and is scheduled to return to China, where he plays his club football, later on Tuesday.

Pa Obi was eventually rescued by the Nigeria Police on Monday at Egede, near Udi in Enugu State. The news was announced by the Enugu State Police Command via their official Twitter account, and only then did Mikel speak publicly about the incident.

Command spokesperson, Superintendent of Police Ebere Amaraizu said in a statement on Tuesday: "The abductors started calling to demand a ransom of N10 million before police operatives acted on intelligence information and swooped on them.

"In the process of the rescue, a gun duel ensued between police operatives and the kidnappers which forced the hoodlums to abandon their victims inside the forest and they were promptly rescued."

This was the second time that Mikel's father had been kidnapped. The first was in 2011, where he was released after 10 days. Security will be enhanced around the player's family in Nigeria, according to Mikel's advisor.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Video - Nigerian activists encourage youth to vie for political office

Young activists in Nigeria have started a campaign called "Ready To Run" to encourage younger people to stand in elections. It follows the success of "Not Too Young To Run". CGTN's Phil Ihaza has more on this from Abuja.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Video - Nigerian police deploy special force to bring order in central plateau

The Nigerian government says it has deployed a Special Intervention Force to restore peace in the central plateau region that saw violence over the weekend.

Video - 11-year-old artist becomes a sensation in Lagos, Nigeria

In Nigeria, an 11-year-old artist is creating waves with his unique creations. From a makeshift studio in a poor neighbourhood in Lagos, Waris Kareem produces incredibly life-like works of art.

Nigeria Super Eagle Ighalo comments about alleged death threats

Super Eagles player Odion Ighalo has spoken out against alleged death threats from fans who are blaming him for Nigeria's failure to advance to the knockout stages of the World Cup in Russia. 

Ighalo has been singled out for missing what fans believe was a clear goal opportunity that would have kept Nigeria's World Cup hopes alive in Tuesday's game against Argentina. 

Since their defeat, the striker has faced a barrage of insults -- including threats of violence -- online.
Ighalo took to social media Thursday to address fans and appeal to those who "want to kill him."

Writing in the local pidgin vernacular, Ighalo asked fans to remember he was "someone's child."
"Great experience to be at the World Cup and I enjoyed every moment of it," he wrote on Instagram.
"We did our best but sometimes things don't always go the way you want, but life has to go on.
"For those that want to kill me abeg na person pikin I be o (please I am someone's child), Ighalo wrote.

The Nigerian Football Federation's spokesperson, Ademola Olajire, told CNN in St Petersburg, that it strongly condemns threats to any of its players or members of their family because of the World Cup results.

Olajire said: "We understand that people might have been hurt by the loss to Argentina, and failure to qualify for the knockout stage. But we condemn any threat on the life of any of our players or their loved ones. We will immediately alert the police to this issue."
The NFF believes it is the first time a direct threat has been made to any of its players, many of whom do not live in Nigeria.

Fuel truck blaze kills nine in Nigeria

A petrol tanker has caught fire in Nigeria's biggest city, Lagos, killing at least nine people, officials say.

More than 50 vehicles, including five buses, were set ablaze after the truck lost control and spilled its contents on a busy motorway during rush hour.

The tanker is said to have crashed after its brakes failed.

Fuel explosions are common in Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer. Petrol is transported via badly maintained roads and vehicles.

The incident on Thursday occurred at about 17:30 local time (16:30 GMT) on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, one of the main motorways into the city.

A representative from the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) told the BBC that the tanker had lost control as it approached a bridge, and ended up falling on its side.

Petrol then began pouring from the tanker and a fire erupted. The blaze quickly spread from vehicle to vehicle.

Images later showed black smoke rising from the road and the shells of several burnt-out cars.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari said he was "very sad to learn of the tragic loss of lives".

"Sadly, this seems to be one of the greatest tragedies we have seen in recent times," he said in a statement.

Government spokesman Kehinde Bamigbetan said it was time "to find ways of ensuring that tankers are driven by drivers who have more responsibility".

"We need to work more with federal agencies so we don't have these crises all the time," he said.

Disaster waiting to happen

By Friday morning the full scale of Thursday's tragedy was still visible as rescue workers clear the road of the burnt-out remains of the vehicles.

An acrid smell still hangs in the air.

It's a gory scene many Nigerians are all-too familiar with. Oil tankers have been involved in some of Nigeria's worst road accidents. Many of these tankers were conveying imported fuel from the Lagos port for distribution around the country.

Even though Nigeria is the world's sixth largest exporter of crude oil, the country imports virtually all its fuel because its refineries are not working due to years of mismanagement.

The Lagos port remains the main entry for the fuel that serves Nigeria's almost 200 million people.

It is a disaster always waiting to happen in a country where fuel distribution is in the hands of often reckless oil tanker drivers.

Most of them are driving tankers imported from Europe that are not roadworthy.

While Nigerians mourn the victims of this latest accident, many know it may not be the last, if efforts are not made to get good drivers and vehicles for Nigeria's fuel distribution business.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Video - Nigerian fans disappointed by refereeing decisions after loss to Argentina

Well, fans of the Super Eagles watching the match in Russia are disappointed about some of the refereeing decisions.

Death toll increases to 200 after attacks in central Nigeria

Over 200 people have died in Nigeria's central state of Plateau where gunmen attacked many villages last weekend, according to a local lawmaker and the media on Wednesday.

Peter Gyedeng, a member of Plateau State's parliament, said over 200 of his constituents died in the attack.

"Over 200 innocent citizens of my constituency were killed...this is barbaric and evil. This is happening even when we have security all over the state," Gyedeng told reporters in Jos, the state capital.

The lawmaker alleged "genocide and ethnic cleansing" against his constituents.

The attacks, which started on Saturday, continued on Monday in another area of the state, despite a dawn-to-dusk curfew imposed by the government.

Local police on Sunday confirmed only 86 people were killed and six others severely wounded. Meanwhile, 50 houses, two cars, and 15 motorcycles were razed, the police added. However, residents said more than 140 bodies were buried during a mass funeral on the same day.

More than 11 villages were targeted by the gunmen during these coordinated attacks, which mostly affected Razat, Nekan, Ruku, Nyarr, Kufang, Kura and Gana-Ropp villages of Gashish District in Barkin Ladi area of Plateau, Terna Tyopev, the spokesman for Plateau police, said.

The local Vanguard Newspaper on Wednesday reported that Ruku Village recorded more deaths in the attack, with at least 47 victims.

President of Nigeria's Senate Bukola Saraki on Wednesday arrived in the city of Jos to commiserate with Governor Simon Lalong and families of the victims.

Saraki's visit was also to do an on-the-spot assessment of the carnage.

On Tuesday, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari was also in the city to mourn the victims. Buhari's condolence visit was preceded by that of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who led a federal government delegation to Plateau following the attacks.

Plateau State is located in Nigeria's middle belt where the Muslim-dominated north and the Christian-majority south meet.

There had been a long time strife in the central state between indigenous groups, mostly Christian or animist, and migrants and settlers from the Hausa-speaking Muslim over the control of fertile farmlands.

Earlier in the week, one regional head of a local cattle breeders group had opined that those who carried out the attacks in Plateau might be on a revenge mission.

Danladi Ciroma, the head of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in the north-central region, said there had been recent reports of cow rustling and destruction of farms between local farmers and herdsmen.

"The people carrying out these criminal activities are well known to the communities but the communities are hiding them," Ciroma said in a statement.

This incident was not the first herdsmen-farmers conflict in the most populous African country, whose estimated nearly 200 million people are divided into at least 200 distinct ethnic groups and about evenly split between Muslims and Christians.

On March 7, 2010, members of local Muslim and Christian communities fought each other in revenge for previous killings.

In November 2008, clashes between Muslim and Christian gangs triggered by a disputed local government election killed hundreds of people in Jos and rendered thousands of people homeless.

According to media reports, hundreds of people died in clashes in the town of Yelwa in Plateau State in 2004, while in September 2001, ethnic and religious rioting in Jos had killed at least 915 people, according to official statistics.

On the other hand, Plateau has witnessed some bomb blasts, too, apart from the constant rifts between local farmers and herdsmen, with many, especially women and children, losing their lives.

The herders, pressured with the effects of climate change and others, are forced southward into the farming communities in search of better resources of grazing.

The threats posed by the fighting between herders and farmers as provided by some accounts have been more serious than those from Nigeria's Boko Haram extremist insurgency.

The conflict in the region has weighed upon the government and other political forces as general elections approach next year.

Bitcoin used in Nigeria to hedge against national currency

The scrappy citizens of Lagos, Nigeria are traders and can-do survivors almost by nature. Their government, however, has mismanaged the nation’s money to such a degree that it’s prone to wild devaluation swings. And while an argument could be made bitcoin too is volatile, it actually isn’t comparatively. With access to peer-to-peer exchanges such as Localbitcoins, Nigerians are revolutionizing even their traditional outdoor marketplaces, providing a financial oasis in rather dark times.

“I can use Bitcoin for anything now […],” Soji, a Lagos web designer told Jeremy Kirshbaum and Pelumi Oguntemehin. “It means I can invest and also pay anybody currently, except old people, I will send them bitcoin. But some people think it is a scam to deal in Bitcoin and they also fear being hacked, as many people do not know how to protect themselves online.” Bitcoin is a handy way for Soji to gain overseas hosting services from vendors who simply won’t accept his country’s native fiat currency, Naira.

Bitcoin gets considerable flack in professional financial circles for its legendary volatility. Wild price swings can for sure occur, and have. However it is no match for Nigeria’s Naira. As Longhash explains, “Silas Okwoche is a self-taught engineer […]. He was the co-founder of a cell phone company called Nerve Mobile, which used Android smart phones from Shenzhen, China. Silas found a Chinese partner via the e-commerce platform Alibaba. Nerve Mobile’s venture was profitable for a time, but ended for a reason that had nothing to do with Silas’s product. The Nigerian Naira fell against the Chinese yuan by over 15%, and the hardware became too expensive. Silas’s story is not exceptional: Nigerian business people struggle with currency volatility every day,” the reporters insist.

Nigeria rests on the African continent at its Western curve, hugging the Gulf of Guinea, a click North of the Equator. It’s bordered by four countries to its immediate East, as a kind of horseshoe with only the South Atlantic opening West. Lagos is the largest city in Nigeria, while also boasting being the highest concentrated city in Africa. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, according to many estimates. It routinely ranks as the highest in African GDP, acting as a financial center and bustling port. A rather wonderful examination of Lagos can be found in Robert Neuwirth’s presentation, “The power of the informal economy,” though admittedly a bit dated.

Present day sees the broader country as lagging behind even India in extreme poverty, as CNN reports, “Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty, with an estimated 87 million Nigerians, or around half of the country’s population, thought to be living on less than $1.90 a day […] In Nigeria, as with other countries on the continent, that figure is projected to rise. ‘By the end of 2018 in Africa as a whole, there will probably be about 3.2 million more people living in extreme poverty than there are today,’” according to researchers. All this, and with being the largest oil producer in Africa.

Crypto as an Oasis in Extreme Poverty, Sectarian Violence

As of this writing, central Nigeria has descended into sectarian violence. Reports are sketchy, but most outlets reveal scores of people have been killed as ethnic and religious tensions rise. Fifty houses have been destroyed, if local police are to be believed. And these tensions have been brewing at least since 2013 between herdsmen and farmers.

Lagos, then, becomes a beacon of hope in a sea of economic and sectarian devastation. The settling of bitcoin in terms of price, the sideways action of recent weeks, has ironically allowed more businesspeople of Lagos to onramp into crypto. It’s also tamped down scams. “Currently, most Ponzi scheme traders are out of the market as they were only there for profit only, now that Bitcoin is stable and the profit margin is small, we will witness a gradual growth and diverse application of blockchain tech solutions,” Toyosi, investor and crypto trader, told Longhash.

Jeremy Kirshbaum and Pelumi Oguntemehin note “it is hard for a cryptocurrency to act as both a speculative asset and a currency. Countries like Nigeria that suffer from high volatility or institutional uncertainty actually need Bitcoin to act as a medium of exchange.” Traders such as Toyosi turn to remittance tokens such as Sure Remit, hoping to reduce overall costs. “Sure Remit,” they explain, “uses a cryptographic token as an alternative for sending money home from abroad. When people are using cryptocurrency for normal transactions and the value is more stable, Sure Remit can provide a more useful service.”

The key is contending with its fiat currency, Naira. Its flash devaluations add “another layer of uncertainty to businesses that purchase goods or components from abroad. That’s why Nigeria presents the perfect use case for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin,” Longhash stresses. Another tech businessman, Temo, “works on hardware ventures and he buys his components from China. When he does this, the most convenient option is to purchase Bitcoins on or another peer-to-peer marketplace using Naira, and then sell them for Chinese yuan. It is much faster than using normal channels, and costs a fraction of the price. If he uses a normal bank transfer, he will be charged huge fees by both the sending bank in Nigeria and the receiving bank in China. Also, it can take up to a week for the wire transfer to move the money.”

Video - Nigerian police deploy special force to bring order in central plateau

The Nigerian government says it has deployed a Special Intervention Force to restore peace in the central plateau region that saw violence over the weekend.

Video - Nigeria coping with food shortage caused by Boko Haram attacks

Our main problem is food and nothing is more important than that.” Breastfeeding her child, Yagana shares while she sits in the crowded conditions of an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State in northeast Nigeria. Only twenty years old, she fled with her child after Boko Haram attacked her village, losing contact with her husband and family along the way. Over the past decade, the Boko Haram insurgency has displaced over 1.8 million Nigerians in an predominantly agricultural northeast Nigeria, stalling food production, hiking up prices, and restricting safe market access to help create one of the world’s worst food crises.

Just Food: Coping With The Crisis, an immersive film by Contrast, sheds light on the people impacted by the widespread food insecurity crisis. Uncertain of whether they can return to their homes, hundreds of thousands of families live suspended lives in IDP camps and host communities, all the while struggling to feed their families. Through the stories of three displaced women who live in different IDP camps, we examine the situations they face and how in spite of hardship, they find ways to put food on the table for their children.

Video - Nigeria eliminated from the 2018 World Cup by Argentina

Marcos Rojo's late winner put Argentina through to the round of 16 at the World Cup with a 2-1 victory against Nigeria on Tuesday night.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Video - Nigeria promises to accommodate the disabled in next year's polls

The Nigerian government says it plans to make life a bit more easier for people living with disabilities - ahead of next year's elections. The World Health Organisation has put the number of people with disabilities in that country at over 25 million. There's skepticism coming from lobby groups against the country's electoral commission.

Nigerian filmmaker Femi Odugbemi becomes member of Oscars voting academy

Nigerian producer and filmmaker Femi Odugbemi has been formally invited into the voting membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the United States of America.

The academy organises and decides the nominations for the universally-acclaimed Oscars award for motion pictures.

It is a world recognised movie-related organisaion, comprising more than 8000 accomplished men and women working in cinema.

Academy membership is limited to film artists working in the production of theatrically-released motion pictures.

The academy has 17 branches ranging from actors, writers and two categories that involve members-at-large and associates to accommodate individuals who have no defined branches in motion picture.

Elated Odugbemi shared the news of his invitation to the oscars on his Instagram page @femiodugbemi on Monday.

He wrote: “so today, I received a formal invitation to become a voting member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the United States. Honoured! #Oscars #Vote4bestfilm.”

Odugbemi, who studied Film and Television at The Montana State University, scripted, directed and produced numerous documentaries, short films and drama.

He produced Tinsel, a widely acclaimed soap opera that started airing in August 2008 and celebrated as a successful drama on Nigerian television.

The producer’s filmmaking credits include ‘Gidi Blues’, ‘Battleground’, ‘Maroko’ and ‘Bariga Boy’.

Odugbemi was the President of the Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria in 2002, a tenure that ended in 2006.

In 2008, he produced ‘Abobaku’, a short film directed by Niji Akanni. The film won the Most Outstanding Short Film at the Zuma Film Festival held in 2010.

It also won Best Costume at the 6th Africa Movie Academy Awards held on April 10, 2010 at the Gloryland Cultural Centre in Bayelsa.

In 2013, Odugbemi scripted, produced and directed a documentary titled, ‘Literature, Language and Literalism’ about the late Nigerian writer, Daniel O. Fagunwa, the author of ‘Ògbójú Ọdẹ nínú Igbó Irúnmalẹ̀’.

Nigeria tops extreme poverty world ranking

Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty, with an estimated 87 million Nigerians, or around half of the country's population, thought to be living on less than $1.90 a day.

The findings, based on a projection by the World Poverty Clock and compiled by Brookings Institute, show that more than 643 million people across the world live in extreme poverty, with Africans accounting for about two-thirds of the total number.

In Nigeria, as with other countries on the continent, that figure is projected to rise. "By the end of 2018 in Africa as a whole, there will probably be about 3.2 million more people living in extreme poverty than there are today," the researchers write.

Despite being the largest oil producer in Africa, Nigeria has struggled to translate its resource wealth into rising living standards.
A slump in oil prices and a sharp fall in oil production saw the country's economy slide into recession in 2016.

A recent rise in oil prices has helped to spur the country's economic recovery. Addressing the situation in March this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that although growth was again beginning to rise, "more needs to be done to reduce unemployment and address poverty."

But while the numbers of Nigerians falling into extreme poverty grows by roughly six people every minute, poverty in India continues to decrease.
At present, an estimated 5.3% of Indians or 71.5 million people, live below the poverty line.

Confined to Africa

The researchers note that 14 out of 18 countries where poverty is rising are in Africa, adding that if current rates persist, 90% of the world's poorest will be living on the continent by 2030.
Bangladesh and Indonesia are the only other non-African nations to feature among the list of 10 worst affected countries, with an estimated 17 million and 14.2 million people living in extreme poverty, respectively.

Other nations in Africa to feature on the list of 10 worst affected countries, include the Democratic Republic of Congo, with 60 million people; Ethiopia with 23.9 million people; Tanzania with 19.9 million.
Mozambique, with 17.8 million people; Kenya, with 14.7 million people; and Uganda, with 14.2 million.

Countries falling behind

Data compiled by the World Poverty Clock was drawn from both household surveys and new projections on country economic growth from the International Monetary Funds' World Economic Outlook. 

Researchers noted that between January 1, 2016 and July 2018, the world has seen about 83 million people escape extreme poverty, owing in part to the introduction of internationally agreed UN Sustainable Development Goals, intended to "end poverty" by 2030.

"The task of ending extreme poverty by 2030 is becoming inexorably harder because we are running out of time. We should celebrate our achievements, but increasingly sound the alarm that not enough is being done, especially in Africa," the researchers say.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Video - 60% of Nigerian university students cite harassment

Staying with Nigeria, universities are at the centre of a growing sexual harassment scandal. An online survey shows over 60% of women at the country's universities have experienced some form of sexual abuse. In a bid for justice, survivors are taking matters into their own hands, naming the perpetrators and sharing their stories on social media.

Son of Nigerian music star D'banj drowns at home

The one-year-old son of Nigerian music star D'banj has drowned in a pool at his home in the commercial city of Lagos, local media report. 

D'banj did not directly confirm the Sunday incident but posted a black image on his Instagram account with the caption: "Trying Times . But my God is Always and Forever Faithful."

He was in Los Angeles attending the BET awards ceremony when his son died.

The Afrobeats star gained world fame for his 2012 hit, Oliver Twist.

He calls himself "Koko master" which could mean a variety of things from being the "boss", "lover" and the "main topic".

His music is a mix of Yoruba, English and Pidgin.

D'banj, whose real name is Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo, became a father in May 2017, and posted regular pictures of his son, Daniel Oyebanjo III.

His last picture was on Fathers' Day on 17 June, of him changing his son's nappy.

Drogba warns Nigeria Super Eagles against defensive approach with Argentina

Former Ivory Coast captain, Didier Drogba has told the Super Eagles of Nigeria that they will go home if they start defending against Argentina.

Argentina is Nigeria’s next opponent in the 2018 World Cup going on in Russia.

As Nigeria prepares to take on the South Americans on Tuesday, Drogba advised them to keep to their style of play if they are to go far at the 2018 World Cup.

Gernot Rohr’s men came alive again in their bid of reaching the knockout stages after beating Iceland 2 – 0 in their second Group D match on Friday.

Drogba told BBC Sport that the Eagles must keep to their aggressive and fast style of playing if they want to go far at the tournament.

The former Chelsea striker said, “It has been a disappointing start to the World Cup for Africa – until Nigeria beat Iceland on Friday.

“There had been six defeats in seven games for the five African countries in Russia. So it was great to see the Super Eagles win , but the way they did it was just as important and impressive.

“In the second half, Nigeria came to life and played the way I want to see all the African teams play – going on the attack, using their pace and power, and having lots of shots.

“That is what I did not see in their first game against Croatia , when Nigeria were playing within themselves – keeping a good shape , playing safe, and passing the ball from side to side.

“This time, they went out just to win. They played with two strikers and they were so fast and aggressive going forward that they frightened Iceland.

“They were spontaneous and exciting, which is the way I expected them to play at this World Cup – and that is why they won the game.

“The point I am making is that they need to keep their identity as a team. It is important they keep doing that if they are going to reach the last 16. If they decide to stay defensive and start fearing conceding goals, they will be going home.”

Farmers and Herders clash leaves 86 dead in Nigeria

At least 86 people have died in central Nigeria after violent clashes broke out between farmers and cattle herders, police in Plateau state said.

Some reports say fighting began on Thursday when ethnic Berom farmers attacked Fulani herders, killing five of them.

A retaliatory attack on Saturday led to more deaths.

The area has a decades-long history of violence between ethnic groups competing for land.

Earlier, dozens of people were killed in a similar round of violence between Fulani herders and local hunters in Mali.

A curfew has now been imposed in three parts of Plateau state.

State police commissioner Undie Adie said a search of villages following the bloodshed revealed that 86 people had been killed, and six injured.

He said 50 houses had been burned, as well as 15 motorbikes and two vehicles.

The Plateau state government said the curfew would be in place between 18:00 and 06:00 local time (17:00 to 05:00 GMT) in the Riyom, Barikin Ladi and Jos South areas "to avert a breakdown of law and order".

Tit-for-tat clashes erupt into warfare

Analysis by the BBC's Stephanie Hegarty, in Lagos

It's an age-old conflict that has recently taken on a new level of brutality.

In Nigeria's central region settled farming communities and nomadic cattle herders often clash - usually over access to land and grazing rights.

But these tit-for-tat clashes have erupted into inter-communal warfare, killing thousands in the last year.

This region, where the Muslim north meets the Christian south is prone to religious tension - herders are ethnic Fulani and mostly Muslim, while the farmers are mostly Christian.

But it's not clear why this spike in violence is happening right now. Nigeria's president has repeatedly blamed the escalation on an increase in gun-running from Libya.

Others blame security forces' failures in a country busy fighting two insurgences - Boko Haram in the north and militants in the oil-producing south.

The state's governor Simon Lalong said work was under way "to secure the affected communities and fish out perpetrators of these crimes".

"While we pray for God's guidance through this difficult time, we will do everything humanly possible to secure our state immediately," he said.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari - himself a Fulani - is under increasing pressure to address the tensions ahead of elections in 2019.

In January he ordered the head of police to relocate to the country's middle belt to manage clashes there.

Special forces were also deployed to the central states of Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba to "secure vulnerable communities and prevent further attacks".
Who are the Fulani herdsmen?

They are believed to be the largest semi-nomadic group in the world, and are found across West and Central Africa - from Senegal to the Central African Republic.

In Nigeria, some continue to live as semi-nomadic herders, while other have moved to cities.

The nomadic groups spend most of their lives in the bush.

They herd their animals across vast areas, frequently clashing with farming communities.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Video - President Buhari signs long delayed 2018 budget for Nigeria

Nigerian President Muhamadu Buhari has finally signed the 2018 budget-more than six months after it was tabled at the national assembly for approval. While signing, Buhari said he only did so to avoid an economic shutdown. CGTN's Kelechi Emekalam tells us why in the following report.

Britain open to loan Nigeria stolen art

Nigeria’s looted art could be returning home from cultural institutions such as the British Museum after officials said they were open to the idea of it being a loan. Some of the most prized items stolen by British forces are the Benin kingdom’s bronze statues.

The statues were pillaged in 1897 as British forces sought to wipe out the kingdom in what is known as the ‘punitive expedition’ for acts deemed an upfront to the colonial-occupier government. Despite repeated attempts by Nigerian authorities and traditional elders for them returned home, the statues remain unmoved in the British Museum in London or shipped across to other western museums.

The governor of Edo state in southern Nigeria (home to the modern day Benin kingdom) told Reuters: “whatever terms we can agree to have them back so that we can relate to our experience, relate to these works that are at the essence of who we are, we would be open to such conversations.” The Oba of the Benin kingdom has already announced plans for a new museum near his palace to house the art stolen from his forebears.Nigeria’s looted art could be returning home from cultural institutions such as the British Museum after officials said they were open to the idea of it being a loan. Some of the most prized items stolen by British forces are the Benin kingdom’s bronze statues.

The statues were pillaged in 1897 as British forces sought to wipe out the kingdom in what is known as the ‘punitive expedition’ for acts deemed an upfront to the colonial-occupier government. Despite repeated attempts by Nigerian authorities and traditional elders for them returned home, the statues remain unmoved in the British Museum in London or shipped across to other western museums.

The governor of Edo state in southern Nigeria (home to the modern day Benin kingdom) told Reuters: “whatever terms we can agree to have them back so that we can relate to our experience, relate to these works that are at the essence of who we are, we would be open to such conversations.” The Oba of the Benin kingdom has already announced plans for a new museum near his palace to house the art stolen from his forebears.

This appears to be part of a growing acceptance among African governments that such deals, however unpopular among the public, are the only way western museums will let go of pieces that attract millions of visitors. In April, Ethiopia also agreed to a similar move by theVictoria & Albert Museum to have its stolen art loaned to them, saying it viewed “[the] goodwill gesture as a step in the right direction.”

However, Egypt, which also has numerous art pieces spread across the west have insisted on unconditional returns. Analysts say if a successful deal is done with Nigeria, it could serve as a template for other equally contentious demands such as the ones for the Greek and Chinese governments for Britain to return stolen items.

Earlier this month, the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn promised to return stolen artefacts if he was voted in as British prime minister. In March, Emmanuel Macron appointed two experts whose job is to present to him by November, a plan on how to return stolen art. He has also set a target that could see the return of some items within five years.

Aside concerns that once these artifacts go back as a loan, they will not be handed back to western museums, wariness has been expressed about the safety of these items once they get back. There are fears that returning the pieces to poorly resourced African museums could expose them to poor maintenance or even ending up on a black market, where they could fetch millions of dollars.

Returning stolen art has for a long time being part of a wider campaign for reparations from Western governments to countries that endured the brutalities of slavery and colonization which contributed significantly to wealth of the west and impoverishment of colonized societies.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Video - Nigerian authorities discover at least 257 illegal orphanages in Imo State

At least 257 illegal baby factories were recently uncovered in Imo State. Scores of children have been rescued. It's part of a government directive to eradicate illegal orphanages. Reports say that only 15 of the 272 foster care homes in Imo state are legal. The first network of baby factories in Nigeria was identified in 2008. The rising numbers have caused increased concern over the past decade. In April, a raid in Lagos led to the rescue of about 160 children -- some of whom had been sexually abused.

9 soldiers killed by Boko Haram in Nigeria

Boko Haram fighters killed nine soldiers and wounded two others in northeast Nigeria, according to military sources, just days after 43 civilians died in deadly suicide bombings.

Both attacks came as the government, which says the jihadists are on the verge of defeat, urges those displaced by the conflict to return to their homes across the war-torn region.

Troops from 242 battalion Nigerian Army stationed at Gajiram, some 80 kilometres north of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, came under attack on Monday afternoon.

The Borno state police initially said its officers and soldiers "engaged the terrorists and promptly repelled the attack". "There was no casualty on the side of the police," it added.

But military communications seen by AFP said nine soldiers were classed as "KIA" -- killed in action -- while two others were "WIA" -- wounded in action.

Locals said they had seen between 10 and 12 Boko Haram fighters being loaded into vehicles but it was not clear how many were dead or injured, it added.

There was no immediate official response from army spokesman Brigadier General Texas Chukwu.

Gajiram has been attacked before during the Islamist insurgency, which has left at least 20,000 people dead and displaced more than two million since it began in 2009.

In February last year, seven soldiers were killed in an attack on military positions. Fighters loyal to the Islamic State group-backed faction headed by Abu Musab Al-Barnawi were blamed.

Barnawi split from the faction following long-time Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in mid-2016 in opposition to his indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

Shekau has in particular, used suicide bombers against civilian "soft" targets such as camps for the displaced, mosques, markets and bus stations.

Barnawi, in contrast, has vowed to hit only "hard" targets such as the military and police.

On Saturday, six young girls strapped with explosives were blamed for blasts that killed 43 in Damboa, some 90 kilometres southwest of Maiduguri.

More than 90,000 internally displaced people live in Damboa, the UN said on Saturday; 18,000 of them live in five camps.

The world body said humanitarian access outside the town remained "limited due to ongoing hostilities and lack of safety assurances".

Monday, June 18, 2018

Video - Nigerian fans disappointed after 2-0 Group D loss to Croatia

Nigerians gathered at viewing centres across the West Africa nation to catch the action from the Kaliningrad Stadium. It was a disappointing ending for most of them, who now believe making it out of the group will be a tall order. Others however, remain optimistic.

Nigerian Human traffickers operating at 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

Weeks before the 2018 FIFA World Cup was due to kick off in Russia, a woman met Blessing and Mfon at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in the southern Nigeria city of Uyo. The two young sisters had gone there to watch Nigeria play Spain’s Atletico Madrid in a warmup match ahead of the global soccer fiesta in which this West African nation is proud to participate, and the woman, in her 40s, seemed to be a devoted fan.

“We sat beside her during the match, and we were all analyzing the performance of the [Nigerian] team together,” Blessing, who is 19 and the older of the two siblings, told The Daily Beast. “After the match, she asked us if we would like to go watch the World Cup in Russia and work there after the tournament.”

Russia is open to foreigners with just a single match ticket and a FAN ID, which is available online to confirmed ticket holders. Once you’re in, you can stay legally until July 25, which is 10 days after the end of the competition.

While this is good news for soccer fans visiting the country, it is equally an opportunity for traffickers to do big business.

Blessing and Mfon were told their travel to Russia would be taken care of and that they would get jobs in Moscow as social workers for a nongovernmental organization dealing with traumatized athletes once the World Cup was over. The girls were told it would take about six months to pay back the cost of the journey to Russia, put at $20,000 each, after which they could keep all the money they made.

“We took her to our parents, and she told them the same thing,” Blessing said. “She said she had slots for 20 Nigerian girls and was looking to take girls from all regions of Nigeria with a passion for sports.”

No one suspected the woman was a human trafficker because she showed documents appearing to link her to a number of humanitarian organizations in Russia, and she hailed from the same wider community as the family of Blessing and Mfon, which gave the parents of the girls the impression that she wouldn’t hurt her kindred.

Suicide bomb blasts kills at least 31 in Nigeria

At least 31 people have been killed in a twin suicide bomb attack by suspected Boko Haram fighters on a town in northeast Nigeria, according to local sources.

Two blasts ripped through the Damboa government area in Borno state on Saturday evening targeting people returning from celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Following the suicide bombings, the attackers fired rocket-propelled grenades into the crowds that had gathered at the scene of the blasts, driving the number of casualties higher.

"There were two suicide attacks and rocket-propelled grenade explosions in Damboa last night which killed 31 people and left several others injured," Babakura Kola, from the Civilian Joint Task Force, a militia assisting the military with security, told AFP news agency on Sunday.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the attack bore all the hallmarks of Boko Haram, a group waging an armed campaign in northeast Nigeria for nearly a decade.

The blasts on Saturday occurred in the Shuwari and Abachari districts of the local government area, which is about 90km from state capital Maiduguri.

"It has destroyed our houses. We have also counted 31 innocent people including children and elderly killed in the attack," said local resident Modu Usman, son of a community leader, according to the Reuters news agency.

Boko Haram roughly translates to "Western education is forbidden".

More than 20,000 people have been killed and over two million have been forced to flee their homes since 2009, when the group launched its campaign which has seen the regular deployment suicide bombers in mosques, markets and camps housing displaced people.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said earlier this year that the era of Boko Haram violence "is gradually drawing to end".

However, the group continues to launch attacks in the country's northeast.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Video - Nigerian President Buhari apologises for Abiola's annulled 1993 presidential win

Nigerian President Buhari has been lauded for declaring the 12th of June as Democracy Day and for recognizing MKO Abiola's 1993 presidential election victory. Many Nigerians have described Buhari's announcement as a victory for democracy. The president has offered a public apology to Abiola, who won the 1993 vote -- an election that was later annulled by the military. As of next year, the 12th of June will be a public holiday and commemorated as Democracy Day.

Messi warns 'Nigeria will be no walkover'

The Albiceleste have defeated the West Africans in all their previous meetings at the tournament but in November they went down 4-2 to Gernot Rohr’s side in a friendly tie.

They lock horns with the Super Eagles in their last group game at the Saint-Petersburg Stadium after ties with other group D rivals Iceland and Croatia.

And the Barcelona star is certain that the encounter with Gernot Rohr's side will be a tough one.

“Croatia is a good team with players in the big European leagues and that makes them dangerous, Messi told the Express.

“We don’t know so much about Nigeria but the African teams are normally compact, tough and strong. So it will be no walkover.”

Video - Why Nigeria has more HIV-positive infants than anywhere else

Preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission is considered one of the most basic goals for curtailing the AIDS epidemic, and Nigeria is struggling mightily. In our series The End of AIDS, William Brangham and Jason Kane examine why this oil-rich nation is falling so badly behind, and profiles a unique, church-based program that’s showing real promise.

Psychic pig predicts Nigeria will reach the semi-finals in the World Cup

The psychic pig Mystic Marcus that predicted President Donald Trump’s victory has picked Nigeria, Argentina as semi-finalists for the 2018 World Cup. The psychic pig which has a history of sniffing out a winner – and is hoping to continue his unbroken record for this summer’s World Cup, thesportsbay reports.

Mystic Marcus has a 100 per cent track record of predicting sports results according to his owner Juliette Stevens.

The black micro pig has previously guessed the winner of the 2014 World Cup and the Wimbledon tennis finals by picking apples. With bad news for England fans, Mystic Marcus expects Belgium, Argentina, Nigeria and Uruguay to make it through. Farmer and micro pig breeder Juliette from Heage, Derbyshire, said: ‘Marcus is the seventh child of a seventh child and apparently they’re gifted with special powers so maybe that’s where it comes from. ‘A few years ago I was invited on a radio show because of Paul the octopus predicting results and they wanted to see if I had any animals that had the ability. ‘I hadn’t tried the seventh child theory out so thought I’d give it a go.’