Friday, April 20, 2018

Video - Police recover Senate's stolen ceremonial mace in Abuja

There's been drama in Nigeria's Senate. On Wednesday, a suspended lawmaker led a group of protesters to steal the Senate's ceremonial mace. Outraged, the Senate dubbed Ovie Omo-Agege's actions treasonous. The mace has since been recovered in the capital, Abuja.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Video - Nigerians in urban areas living in dire conditions demand reform

Nigeria's capital is one of the most highly modernised cities in Africa. But the original residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Abuja continue to live in humble mud homes without the most basic life amenities. Without an elected mayor or governor, or local council or minister, FCT people say they feel out of the power equation, which on the ground means economic deprivation.

Video - President Buhari to discuss security, corruption with Donald Trump

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari is also attending the Commonwealth Summit. Earlier this week he met with Theresa May. But the visits don't stop there. The Nigerian president is also due in Washington at the end of the month -- to meet with U.S. president Donald Trump.

Video - 90% of Nigeria oil spills were caused by oil theft in 2017

Moving on to Nigeria now, oil giant Shell says, it suffered 50% increase in loss of crude oil from its pipeline networks in 2017. The oil company said in its sustainability report, 90% of the spills from its pipeline were caused by sabotage and oil theft.

Armed men steal mace from Nigeria's senate

The Nigerian Senate was on high alert Wednesday after armed men interrupted a session at Nigeria's parliament, stealing its mace.

The men were allegedly led by suspended lawmaker Ovie Omo-Agege who seized the symbol of authority from the upper legislative chambers sitting in Nigeria's capital Abuja, the Senate said.

The incident was branded "an act of treason" by Aliyu Abdullahi, a Senate spokesman who said the lawmaker was trying to overthrow a branch of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

"This action is an affront on the legislature," he said in a statement.

"Security agencies must stand on the side of due process and immediately mobilize their personnel to retrieve the mace and apprehend the perpetrators of this act," Abdullahi said.

Laws cannot be passed by Nigeria's Senate in the absence of the mace, a symbol of authority binding decisions taken on the Senate floor.

Despite the incident, sessions continued Wednesday in the 109-member assembly with a spare mace, Shehu Sani, a senator representing Kaduna Central said.

"I and others insisted that the Senate must not adjourn. I removed my waist belt and lay to serve as a mace for us to continue."

"My colleagues seconded. Then a spare mace brought in and the session continued," Sani added.
The lawmaker who condemned the attack on Facebook called the incident an attempted coup that could fester if not addressed.

"Those who sanctioned,organized and supported this will someday do that to the Presidency or the judiciary," he added.

Nigeria's ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, has called Wednesday's incident an attack on the country's democracy and called for arrests. 

"The APC hereby condemns this action and views it as an attack on our democracy and a desecration of the hallowed institution of the National Assembly, " Bolaji Abdullahi, a spokesman for the party, said in a statement.

"We therefore call on security agencies to take all necessary actions to recover the stolen mace and ensure that the perpetrators and their sponsors are brought to justice," he added.

Violent outbursts are common in Nigeria's parliament but tensions rose last month over the proposed amendment of an electoral act that seeks to shift the presidential election date until after legislators and other branches have been elected. 

Omo-Agege, a member of the ruling party was reported to have objected to the move which led to his suspension from the Senate.

President Buhari is seeking for re-election next year and tensions are set to rise ahead of the polls.
Nigerians are clamoring for change in areas including: security, the economy and corruption- promises made by President Buhari during his campaign before he took office in 2015.

Four years on, Buhari has faced criticism over increasing attacks by terror group Boko Haram in Nigeria's northeast, frequent attacks from Fulani herdsmen in the central region of the country and a growing separatist movement in the east of the country.

Free food in school scheme changing education in Nigeria

Dozens of children cheer at the Baptist Nursery and Primary School compound in Bode-Ijaiye suburb of Abeokuta city, the capital of Ogun state, as their friends try to outpace each other on a 100-metre dash in a dusty field.

Ogun state inter-school football and track-and-field competitions are just around the corner, and teachers want to prepare the children physically and mentally for the task ahead.

Away from the laughter and shouts of encouragement on the field, four female cooks with aprons on top of traditional indigo-dyed adire gowns ladle porridge mixed with vegetables and fish into hundreds of stainless steel bowls with lids.

As the cooks ambled into a nearby classroom and began to place bowls on wooden desks, the 64 pupils remained quiet. After the dish was served, the students stood and began to sing "Bless this food O Lord for Christ sake Amen." Then they sat down and began to eat.

"I want to say a big thank you to the federal government of Nigeria and the Ogun state government for providing food for us," 10-year-old Ramon Samuel told Al Jazeera before opening the lid on his bowl.

Samuel and his classmates receive free meals every school day thanks to a national programme, which aims to provide nutritious meals to young schoolchildren in order to increase enrolment, help them stay in school, and reduce malnutrition, particularly among children from low-income families.

The Home Grown School Feeding initiative, a movement launched in 2003, is driven by national governments to improve the lives of schoolchildren and farmers alike. It is practised across the continent, including in Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Ethiopia, Namibia, Botswana, Ivory Coast, and South Africa.

The concept is not confined just to the continent as Brazil, Japan, and Italy have similar programmes aimed at keeping children fed while promoting local agriculture.

Though the scheme began in December 2016 in Nigeria, it is not entirely new here. Nigeria's former President Olusegun Obasanjo launched a pilot programme in 13 states in September 2005, but after a few years, only southwestern Osun state maintained it.

The plan was reintroduced by President Muhammadu Buhari in December 2016 as part of his administration's multi-million dollar National Social Investment Programmes to address poverty, hunger and unemployment in Nigeria.

The school programme operates in 20 out of Nigeria's 36 states and has fed nearly seven million pupils in about 40,000 public schools, the programme's manager Abimbola Adesanmi told Al Jazeera. She said more than 68,800 jobs have also been created through the initiative.

Knock-on effect

Adeleke Adewolu is the commissioner of special duties and inter-governmental affairs in Ogun state. He said the meals are not only nutritious but also serve as a "social safety net" for low-income households.

"If children eat nutritious food it will enhance their learning ability and this will have a knock-on effect on their cognitive development and help to encourage enrolment and retention," Adewolu said.

The programme provides income for thousands of people, including farmers, cooks recruited from local communities, and those involved in the processing and transportation of food, he said.

In Ogun, the coordinating team collaborated with the ministries of education, health, agriculture, women's affairs and community development to divide farmers into cooperative groups and link them to about 3,000 cooks who were trained and deployed to more than 1,500 schools. Farmers received training in seed quality and fertilisers to grow enough food to meet demand.

The cooks - who are responsible for procuring ingredients for the daily meals - are given a budget of 70 naira ($0.23) per child each day. With help from the state government, they received 57,000 naira ($188) in loans to purchase water drums, pots, bowls, uniforms, and cooking utensils.

"It gives me great joy to help in feeding the children in Baptist Primary School," said Omole Imoleayo, who left a career in banking to join the programme. "We receive our payment without delays and I have more time for my family now."

Sourcing foods locally helps millions of small farmers who produce up to 90 percent of Nigeria's food but are mired in grinding poverty.

"This has created a well-structured market for the farmers since they now know how much to produce and when it is needed," said Tinuola Shopeju, Ogun's programme manager.

Shopeju said the initiative is a "perfect model" for addressing food insecurity and improving local agricultural production in Nigeria, which imports about $20bn worth of food annually.

The menu differs daily and every state adopts its own meal schedule. In Ogun, schoolchildren get rice, stewed fish, and beans but also delicacies such as Ikokore - a dish made from water yam.


Nigeria's programme also offers health services including deworming children in public primary schools across 17 states. Adesanmi said worms affect the health of schoolchildren, potentially causing anaemia, malnourishment, and the impairment of mental and physical development.

"In the short term, children with worms may be too sick or tired to attend school or to concentrate. Basically, we do not want to feed worms, rather children," she said.

Teachers in Ogun say the programme is not only helping young students stay in school, but also attracting those from private schools. Ogunkola Adefunke Deborah, headteacher of Baptist Nursery and Primary School, said her pupils now "come to classes regularly" and are "very punctual".

"We have over 80 new pupils, most of them came from private schools," she said. "Before you hardly see parents coming here, but now they come to ask us why their kids beg to be brought to school early and why they always return home with their pocket money."

Deborah shared an anecdote of a boy who refused to go home even when he was sick because he didn't want to miss a meal.

Rebecca Faronbi, 72, was devastated when her son died and left her with four grandchildren to take care of. Her three-year-old granddaughter now receives the free meals at school.

"Until the feeding programme started I was struggling to feed the children. My granddaughter wakes me up before 7am and tells me she wants to go to school because she will get free food there," Faronbi said in the Yoruba language, which is widely spoken in southwestern Nigeria.

Rampant malnutrition

Research has shown that 42 percent of schoolchildren in Nigeria suffer malnutrition, and this has caused a high rate of absenteeism.

UNICEF estimates about 2.5 million Nigerian children under the age of five suffer from severe malnutrition each year, with about half a million children dying from it.

With a quality assurance tracking system known as #TrackWithUs, the programme handlers have urged Nigerians to visit nearby schools to check if meals meet the required standards and report any cooks who aren't serving proper food.

Several cooks were fired in southern Cross River state last November for serving biscuits in lieu of meals.

"The campaign has helped us track activities in schools and strengthened our existing monitoring and supervision mechanism," Adesanmi said. "Since there is a reward and sanction system in place we have been able to name and shame cooks who do not comply with our standards."

A major barrier to the programme's success is the inability of state governments to scale up the meals to senior classes in elementary schools. The federal government caters to pupils from Grades 1 to 3, but with many states struggling to pay salaries, pupils in higher grades are not being fed.

Experts hope the government will not repeat the same mistakes made a decade ago when a combination of inadequate funding, poor logistics, and corruption crippled the scheme.

"We need to promote community participation, community ownership, community implementation, community monitoring, strong institutional arrangements and multi-sector partnerships," Adesanmi said.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Video - Shrinking Goronyo dam threatens livelihood of millions in Nigeria

The lives and livelihoods of two million people in Nigeria are under threat because of a lack of water.

Video - Nigeria urges citizens to sign up for medical insurance

This year the World Health Organisation is focusing on universal health coverage. In Nigeria, the government is focusing on medical insurance to improve the country's healthcare system. It's urging citizens to join the health insurance scheme so that all Nigerians have access to affordable medical care.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Gunmen kill police escort and kidnap German in Nigeria

Gunmen in the northern Nigerian state of Kano killed a policeman and abducted a Germany citizen on Monday as they travelled to a construction site, police said.

The gunmen’s motive was unclear. Kidnapping for ransom is common in parts of Nigeria.

Five gunmen ambushed a vehicle carrying construction workers and opened fire on them along Sabon Titi Madobi road at around 7:45 a.m. (0645 GMT), a police spokesman said. The road is on the outskirts of the state’s capital city, also called Kano.

The vehicle was carrying staff of Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company, a Nigerian firm, to a building site, Kano police said in a statement. A police sergeant, who was part of a protection unit escorting the group, was killed and the German man was abducted, the statement added.

The “manhunt of the abductors is ongoing,” said Kano state police in a statement. The German embassy in Nigeria declined to comment. The company also did not immediately respond to calls and an email requesting comment.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Video - Nigerian company Neconde accuses Shell of illegally exporting crude

A Nigerian energy company Necode is dragging Royal Dutch Shell to British court of arbitration for illegally exporting crude oil from an oil well whose lease had already been sold.

Kenya Airways fires 86% of staff from Nigeria

Kenya Airways, weekend , sacked 22 out of its 26 Nigerian employees, representing 86.4 per cent of its Nigerian workers. Only four Nigerian staff are currently retained by the management of the airline after the exercise. Those retained are Country Manager, Mr. Afeez Balogun, the Station Manager, and two other staff.

According to the source within the airline, “the sacked staff were issued the disengagement letters at the airline’s office in Lagos in the presence of stern looking police officers who were engaged by the airline to scare away the affected staff and prevent possible breakdown of law and order”.

The source also said that the “affected staff were only given four weeks wages on disengagement by the management”. And that the abrupt sack of the Nigerian workers “happened when the airline was still negotiating a new condition of service with the industry unions. 

The management took the decision without taking into consideration the Nigeria labour laws, which kicks against unilateral decision by employers when disengaging workers”. While confirming the sack of the 22 workers, the General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, Comrade Olayinka Abioye said that the unilateral sack of the workers by the airline would not be allowed to stand by the industry’s unions. 

Abioye said: “We have been agitating for the review of terms and conditions of employment in Kenya Airways for about two years. We started the process and somewhere along the line, the management of Kenya Airways said they were doing restructuring exercise because of the financial conditions of the airline. In the meantime, we have even agreed to certain reviews approved by both parties and only waiting for implementation. 

“That was one of the reasons we embarked on the picketing we did last December. Then, after the picketing, we were invited and we concluded the review after the review, we discovered that our Nigerian staff were being owed about 26 months monetary benefits. 

They claimed that they won’t be able to pay all, but after the consultations, we agreed for 16 months to be paid the workers. “In between, they introduced a new shift into the discussion, saying that going forward they want to replace all business plans with new business plans called General Sales Agent (GSA), which means they want to engage a travelling agency to handle the ticket sales and reservation and all the workers would be sacked. 

“We as unions, didn’t like that and we expressed our dissatisfaction and they said it was not just only Nigeria that would be affected, but throughout the continent. Then, we just said we have formed a consortium of GSA so that the workers would still be retained, but they informed us that we were too late and as they have engaged another GSA already,” he revealed. 

He further said that the unions had informed the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Muhtar Usman of its intent to picket the operations of the airline any moment from now.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Video - Boko Haram Huntress

Among the thousands of hunters enlisted by the Nigerian army to track and capture Boko Haram fighters, one stands out from the crowd.

Video - Nigerian authorities battle to contain spread of cholera

Nigeria is also battling a cholera outbreak. Authorities in the north-eastern state of Yobe say at least 13 people have died of the disease so far. More than 150 cases have been reported in the town of Gashua, which is worst affected.

Video - Over $320 million recovered from former Nigeria president's Abacha's Swiss accounts

One area where Nigeria is doing well is in the recovery of looted funds.The government has received more than 320-million dollars allegedly stolen by former president Sani Abacha. The Finance Ministry says the money has been deposited in a special account in the central bank.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Video - W.H.O. director in Nigeria to launch new vaccine initiative

The director of the World Health Organisation has been in Nigeria. Dr Tedros Adhanom has officially launched a new vaccination campaign for yellow fever. Cases have been on the rise and sub-Saharan Africa is most at risk.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Population of Nigeria nears 200 million

Nigeria's current population is nearing 200 million, according to the National Population Commission.

Chairman of the National Population Commission Eze Duruiheoma presented the figure at the Commission on Population and Development in New York.

He said the country was just two million people away from hitting that 200 million mark.

Duruiheoma noted that at the last census in 2006 Nigeria's population was put at 140 million.

Just over a decade later, it is the seventh most-populous country in the world - and one in every 43 person in the world is Nigerian.

Nigeria is now projected to become the third most-populated country in the world in the next 30 years.

The UN has projected that it could overtake Pakistan, Brazil, Indonesia and the US by 2060 at the rate the country's population is growing.

Last month, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, warned there could be "a demographic disaster” in the making, especially as so many young people are jobless, lack access to education and the competition for resources.

Locals forcibly moved from capital of Nigeria Abuja

Nigeria's capital Abuja is a planned city with expansive roads lined with trees. Unlike Lagos - the commercial centre - traffic jams are rare.

Nigerian politicians are proud of Abuja and tout it as an example of what a modern African city should be.

It was not always the capital of Africa's most populous country. Lagos used to hold that title. But in the 1970s and '80s, Lagos experienced a population boom not seen before. The city became overcrowded and living conditions poor.

The government, armed with petrodollars, decided to intervene and move the capital to another part of the country.

Abuja was chosen as the ideal place as it is located in the centre of the nation. Because of Nigeria's ethnic and religious makeup, the government deemed the then-sleepy area a neutral place for all groups and persuasions.

On December 21, 1991, the city officially became the country's political capital. But the move came at a huge cost to local inhabitants.

Ancestral land

One of Africa's wealthiest cities, Abuja now has an estimated population of more than 2.4 million, up from about 800,000 people in 2006 when the last census was taken.

Chawandana Kauran is 102-years old and lives in the poor district of Kubwa - one of the many impoverished areas on the outskirts of the city. He remembers life before the capital took over.

"We had farms and tended to our farms every morning without issues. We were not consulted. Thousands of families used to be there. It was our ancestral land," a dejected Kauran told Al Jazeera as chickens pecked for food near his feet.

The move from Lagos to Abuja happened under the then-military ruler General Ibrahim Babangida. There was not much discussion about it, locals say.

"Government people came to us and told us we were moving. Then the next morning military trucks came to us and brought us here," Kauran said, pointing to the dusty ground beneath his feet.

"To this day, I will never forget how they treated us. They did that to us because they knew we had no one to turn to. We went to court and our case has not been heard yet. More than 30 years and we are still waiting," he added.

There were more than 800 villages where the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) stands today. At first, the villagers thought they would benefit from their land becoming the government's main centre in the oil-rich country.

A 20-minute walk to the south of Kauran's home, a group of old men sit under the shade of a mango tree. They gathered to witness a marriage and all appear happy as hugs abound and laughter rings out in the air.

Gvemanayi Dakoyi, a former resident of what is now Abuja, is happy to be attending the wedding of his friends' granddaughter. But deep down he is unhappy - still struggling to come to terms with what happened to him and the hundreds that used to live in his village.

"Where the National Stadium is located is where our beautiful village used to be. Life was good. We used to grow yam, corn, rice and soya beans. Food was aplenty," the father of 11 children and grandfather of 30 said.

"They gave us 1,000 naira [$2] and took our land. They moved us to this place with no water and no land to farm. They promised us water, electricity and schools but that was all lies," he added, anger palpable in his deep voice.

'Clean our tears'

Kubwa district is nothing like Abuja. There are no road signs and the handful of schools are overcrowded. Water taps run dry and electricity a luxury that does not exist.

"When I see the bright lights, tall buildings and tarmac roads where my village used to be, I feel very unhappy," Vizafilo Zezhiwo, a village elder of Kukwaba - one of the demolished villages - told Al Jazeera.

"The government needs to come and clean our tears. To correct the injustice it did to us, the government should give us back our land," the husband of three wives said.

The government says no one was removed from their land without adequate consultation and care. Most of the land that Abuja currently occupies was uninhabited, according to officials.

"There were pockets of settlements which were inhabited. It was not a case of forced eviction. It was a case of population resettlement because of developmental purposes," Baba Kura Umar, director of resettlement and compensation at the ministry of land, told Al Jazeera.

"The original inhabitants were given the option of going to any state of their choice or remain. Those who opted to remain, resettlement sites were chosen for them and developed by the government and they were moved there."

The only hope left for the thousands of people who made a way out for the new city is to have their day in court.

"I'm sure we will win if the case is heard. That is the only hope left for us. We will not give up until that day comes," Kauran, the 102-year-old elder, said.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Video - President Buhari to run in 2019 elections

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will be seeking a second term in office in elections due next year, his office has said.

It ends months of speculation about whether the 75-year-old leader plans to run for re-election.

His first term has been beset by poor health, which saw him spend months in the UK last year receiving treatment.

Mr Buhari defeated former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 election.

He was the first opposition leader to defeat an incumbent in Nigeria.

The announcement comes as he is due to travel to the UK on an official visit.

He is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Theresa May and attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which starts on 16 April.

Mr Buhari was on "medical leave" in the UK for three months early last year.

He revealed after his return to Nigeria that "I have never been so sick", but did not disclose what he was suffering from.

Mr Buhari will run under the banner of the ruling All Progressives Congress. The main opposition People's Democratic Party is yet to announce its candidate.

He has been under fire from former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who in an open letter called on him not to seek re-election because of his age and alleged poor health.

Mr Obasanjo added that he was disappointed with Mr Buhari, particularly because of what he called his poor handling of Nigeria's economy, the largest in Africa.

Mr Buhari's spokesman said the president accepted the criticism in good faith, but it should be noted that significant progress had been made under his rule in tackling Nigeria's problems.

The administration points to its fight against corruption and its military operations against Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which it says has "degraded" the group.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Armed gang robs 3 banks, attacks police station in Nigeria

A a string of bank robberies has left an estimated 20 people dead. A group of men robbed three banks and raided a police station. The assault took place in the remote town of Offa in central Nigeria. The men entered the busy commercial area, armed with assault rifles. According to officials, the men attacked the police station first. 8 police officers were reportedly killed. The men then went on to rob surrounding banks, before escaping on stolen motor bikes.

149 women and children rescued from Boko Haram in Nigeria

The Nigerian military says it has rescued 149 women and children abducted by the armed group Boko Haram in the country's northeast.

Onyema Nwachuku, army spokesman, said on Sunday the freed captives included 54 women and 95 children, according to the NAN news agency.

"The rescued hostages are currently receiving medical attention," he said in a statement, adding that they would be "profiled after the medical screening".

The rescues took place during a raid on a Boko Haram hideout in the community of Yerimari Kura on Saturday. Soldiers killed three fighters during the operation and captured five others suspected of belonging to the group, Nwachuku said.

His statement did not specify when the women and children had been abducted.

Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris, reporting from Abuja, capital of Nigeria, said the number of people Boko Haram had kidnapped in Yerimari Kura "demonstrated the group's resilience", despite losing significant swaths of territory to the Nigerian army in recent years.

Boko Haram, whose name roughly translates to "Western education is forbidden", has waged a nearly 10-year armed campaign to create an Islamic state in northeastern Nigeria.

The conflict has left at least 20,000 people dead and displaced more than 2.6 million.

At its peak, the group effectively controlled large areas in the Lake Chad region, but the Nigerian military, with assistance from Chad, Cameroon and Niger, has pushed Boko Haram fighters out of a number of provinces.

However, "Boko Haram has adapted by splitting into smaller groups, infiltrating communities, launching attacks here and there and continuing to make statements that they are very much around", said Idris.

In March, a Boko Haram attack on the northeastern town of Rann left at least two aid workers, a doctor and eight soldiers dead.

In February, Nigerian and Cameroonian troops freed 1,130 civilians kidnapped by the group in the Lake Chad region.

Boko Haram gained international notoriety after its fighters kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in the town of Chibok in April 2014. About 100 girls are still missing.

In February, the group's fighters attacked another school in the northeastern state of Yobe and seized more than 110 schoolgirls. A month later, the government said 101 had been freed.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Video - Mixed reactions to Buhari's decision to grant amnesty to militants

The announcement by the Nigerian government that it is willing to grant Amnesty to Boko Haram insurgents who are willing to lay down their arms is generating so much debate in the country. While some people have welcomed the idea, others have strongly opposed it. CGTN's Deji Badmus has more on that.

Video - Nigeria looking to achieve rice self-sufficiency by 2020

Nigeria is the world's 2nd largest importer of rice. The government is now looking to support local farmers and has set a goal of achieving self-sufficiency in rice production by the year 2020. Some economists feel that target may be a little ambitious.

Video - President Buhari authorizes $1 bln to boost military offensive

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has authorized the release of $1 billion for the procurement of weapons to boost the military offensive against Boko Haram. Defence minister Mansur Dan Ali said the decision was made on Wednesday at a meeting between president Buhari and his military chiefs.

Ex-president Goodluck Jonathan not aware of Cambridge Analytica involvement in elections

Nigeria’s former president Goodluck Jonathan was “not aware” of any attempts by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica to interfere in elections in 2007 and 2015, his spokesman said on Thursday.

The UK-based political consultancy is facing allegations that it improperly accessed data from social media website Facebook to target voters prior to the U.S. presidential election and Britain’s Brexit referendum in 2016.

In Nigeria, a government committee is looking into claims that SCL Elections, a Cambridge Analytica affiliate, organized rallies to dissuade opposition supporters from voting against Jonathan’s then-ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2007.

“Goodluck Jonathan was not aware of such attempts, if there were any,” said the ex-leader’s spokesman Ikechukwu Eze in a statement.

“The whistleblower who originated the allegation has been consistent in associating it to an unnamed businessman, who was neither linked to the party nor to the Jonathan campaign,” Eze said.

The government investigation announced on Monday will also look into whether Cambridge Analytica’s work for the election campaigns of the PDP broke Nigerian law “or infringed on the rights of other parties and their candidates”. 

PDP candidate Umaru Yar’Adua won the 2007 presidential ballot. He died in office in 2010 and was succeeded by his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan.

Unlike in Europe and the United States, where data-privacy laws provide a level of protection to consumers, many Africans have little or no recourse if a data breach occurs because often legal and regulatory safeguards do not exist.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Video - Nigerian playwright pushing for social change, equality

A woman playwright is pushing for social change in Nigeria through her performances. She wants African women to join global movements for gender equality. And she's calling her initiative "Hear World". Take a look.

142 have died from Lassa fever in Nigeria since January

Lassa fever has killed 142 people in Nigeria since the start of the year, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said on Thursday, reporting a rise of 32 fatalities in a month.

"Since the onset of the 2018 outbreak, there have been 142 deaths," it said.

Cases have been recorded in 20 of Nigeria's 36 states, it said.

"Eight states have exited the active phase of the outbreak while 12 states remain active," it said.

On March 6, the NCDC reported 110 deaths in 18 states.

Last month the World Heath Organization (WHO) said the epidemic had reached record highs and promised to support efforts to contain it and treat those affected.

The NCDC said the southern states of Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi were worst-hit.

"WHO and NCDC have scaled up response at national and state levels," it added.

Lassa fever belongs to the same family as Marburg and Ebola, two deadly viruses that lead to infections with fever, vomiting and in worst-case scenarios, haemorrhagic bleeding.

The name comes from the town of Lassa in northern Nigeria where it was first identified in 1969.

The virus is spread through contact with food or household items contaminated with rats' urine or faeces or after coming into direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.

It can be prevented by enhanced hygiene and avoidance of all contact with rats.

More than 100 people were killed in 2016 in one of the nation's worst outbreaks of the disease, affecting 14 states, including Lagos and the capital Abuja.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Nigerian football legend Nwankwo Kanu plans to run for president

Nigerian soccer legend Nwankwo Kanu has been inspired by Liberian icon George Weah’s feat, by announcing his intention to run for President of Nigeria in 2019 general elections.

Weah, who had a very successful football career in Europe, was elected President of Liberia in the 2017 election, defeating the incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai, and sworn in on 22 January 2018.

“My presence here today is about the future of our country and the happiness of our people,” Kanu told “The last 18 years of leadership has witnessed a decline in all critical sectors of life in Nigeria, plus general insecurity in the land.

“Also, I’ll do all it takes to wrestle corruption which has become blatant and widespread. The rest of the world looks at Nigeria as the home of corruption,” Kanu, who also had a successful career in Europe, added.

“If I get your mandate, I promise to do things differently and restore honour and integrity to public service by keeping the best and attracting the best. “George Weah’s victory in Liberia is a pointer that this dream is very realistic with you all on my side.” Kanu, 41, will be hoping to unseat incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari during the Nigerian general elections which will be held in Nigeria on 16 February 2019.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Video - Dozens killed in Boko Haram attacks in northeast Nigeria

The UN has condemned an attack in northeastern Nigeria that killed at least 34 people and injured dozens more. Suspected Boko Haram fighters detonated bombs and opened fire on residents of two communities on the outskirts of Maiduguri city.

Video - Low job prospects for Nigerian graduates who studied abroad

The number of Nigerians who travel abroad for studies is on the rise. The trend is visible at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels and the destinations are varied and diverse. Many of these Nigerians are returning home after their studies, but are often unable to find employment.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Video - Nigerian security agencies given shoot to kill order following killings

The Governor of the Nigerian northwestern State of Zamfara, where armed bandits believed to be cattle rustlers have killed dozens, has ordered security agencies to shoot to kill anyone found carrying firearms in the State. This follows frequent deadly attacks in the State, which has largely been blamed on Cattle Rustlers.

Boko Haram attack village in North east Nigeria

Gunshots and explosions have been heard near the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri.

Security forces are reportedly battling a large number of fighters suspected to be members of the Boko Haram armed group.

"According to our sources in Maiduguri, gunmen ... sneaked under the cover of darkness this evening and tried to infiltrate Maiduguri," Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris, reporting from Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, said on Sunday.

"They attacked two villages on the outskirts of Maiduguri. There are reported casualties and several people have been wounded," he added.

"The army so far was able to repel the attackers. Our sources are telling us that at least 10 bombs went off and there was some gunfire."

Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, has been frequently targeted by Boko Haram since the group launched its armed campaign nearly a decade ago.

On Friday, four female suicide bombers in their teens detonated their explosives near the city, killing one more person, according to police.

The Boko Haram armed campaign has claimed more than 20,000 lives and forced some 2.7 million people to flee their homes.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Video - Shell targets former senior executive in Nigeria graft complaint

Royal Dutch Shell has filed a criminal complaint against a former senior employee over suspected bribes in the 2011 sale of an oilfield in Nigeria. Dutch prosecutors confirmed they had received the complaint against Peter Robinson, a former vice president for sub-Saharan Africa. This comes at a time when the multinational oil and gas company and several former executives are already facing a criminal trial in Milan over an alleged bribery scheme related to the separate purchase of a Nigerian oil block.

Video - Twins born in Nigeria killed to 'ward off evil'

New-born babies are considered to be a blessing and their arrival is widely celebrated. But in some parts of Nigeria, babies from multiple births like twins, are considered evil. Here is more on this shocking trend.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Video - Nigeria negotiating with Boko Haram on possible ceasefire

Nigeria's government says its negotiating ceasefire with jihadist group, Boko Haram. It's the first time the government has publically admitted to negotiating a peaceful end to nearly ten years of conflict. Previous talks with the group have been focused on the release of hostages.

Serbia beat Nigeria 2-0 in international friendly

Aleksandar Mitrovic's second-half brace secured a 2-0 win for Serbia against a disappointing Nigeria at The Hive in London on Tuesday.

The Super Eagles made four changes to the team that beat Poland 1-0 in Wroclaw on Friday, with the quartet of Tyronne Ebuehi, Chidozie Awaziem, Ogenyi Onazi and Ahmed Musa introduced to the line-up.

However, the changes served to undermine Nigeria's intensity, and their showing was a far cry from the high pressing and dynamism of recent fixtures.

Mitrovic might have opened his account in the first half, but his effort was ruled out despite his header appearing to cross the line before Francis Uzoho desperately scrambled to gather.

It was the second time in four days the Eagles had a controversial goalline decision go in their favour.

Uzoho did well to save from Mitrovic, Dusan Tadic and Branislav Ivanovic, and the youngster looked poised to preserve a third successive clean sheet in the green-and-white of Nigeria until the on-loan Fulham forward's late intervention.

Mitrovic broke the deadlock in the 68th minute with a composed finish, and added a second - exploiting some poor defending on behalf of the West Africans - in the 81st minute as Nigeria pressed forward in search of an equaliser.

Nigeria's best chance fell to Victor Moses, as the Chelsea wing-back forced Vladimir Stojkovic into a smart save at the death

The defeat was only the second defeat of Gernot Rohr's tenure, and the German tactician will surely have learned a lot from the performance of some of his peripheral players in their loss against the Eastern Europeans.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Video - Nigeria talking to Boko Haram about possible ceasefire

In Nigeria ceasefire talks are reportedly under way between government and Boko Haram militants. That's according to information minister Lai Mohammed. Boko Haram has killed thousands of people in the country during an insurgency that's lasted for years now.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Video - Borno state, Nigeria suspends boarding schools amid abduction threats

Borno state, Nigeria's north east state hardest hit by the 9 year old Boko Haram insurgency has ordered indefinite suspension of boarding schools. The call comes in the wake of increasing threats more abduction threats.The directive by the state government only allows boarding school within the state capital to remain open.

Freed schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram return home

More than 100 Nigerian schoolgirls, most of those recently kidnapped by Boko Haram, have gone home to their families, four days after being freed.

The jihadist group abducted the girls from the town of Dapchi in February.

After their release from captivity and a brief emotional meeting with their parents, the schoolgirls were flown to the capital to meet the president.

The girls - warned by Boko Haram not to return to school - were escorted back to Dapchi by Nigerian soldiers.

As well as meeting President Muhammadu Buhari, the newly-released girls underwent medical and security screenings.

The schoolgirls, who were kidnapped from their boarding school on 19 February, were reportedly released by the side of a road almost five weeks later.

A total of 110 girls were originally kidnapped, but five did not survive the ordeal and one other - a Christian who refused to convert to Islam - is still being held.

"The Buhari administration will not relent in efforts to bring [her] safely back home to her parents," a statement said.

Two other people - a boy and another girl from Dapchi - were freed at the same time, officials also said.

The government denies claims that Boko Haram was paid a ransom for the girls' freedom, or that there was a prisoner swap.

Information Minister Lai Mohammad told the BBC's Focus on Africa that the girls' return was part of ongoing talks about an amnesty in return for a ceasefire.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Video - 101 released schoolgirls to meet Nigerian President Buhari

After being reunited with their families, the schoolgirls from Dapchi village, have now arrived in the capital, Abuja. The girls are due to meet President Muhammadu Buhari. 110 girls were kidnapped over a month ago, during a raid by militants in northeast Nigeria. The girls, though, say five of them died in captivity. In an extraordinary turn of events, fighters of Boko Haram surrendered the girls to the community on Wednesday. Nigeria's Minister of Information has denied suggestions that a ransom was paid to secure the girls' freedom.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Video - Lack of funds to repair old refineries in Nigeria pushes deadline

In Nigeria the petroleum ministry is walking back on a 2019 deadline it set to end costly importation of refined fuel. The ministry has long complained of a lack of funds to repair domestic refineries. Nigeria is Africa's biggest exporter of crude oil but lacks the capacity to refine its own fuel and its economy often suffers from crippling fuel shortages.

More than half of 110 kidnapped schoolgirls freed from Boko Haram in Nigeria

More than half of a group of schoolgirls kidnapped last month in Nigeria by the terror group Boko Haram have been released and returned to their hometown of Dapchi, a Nigerian minister said Wednesday.
Seventy-six of the 110 schoolgirls whom militants abducted from their boarding school on February 19 were "dropped off" early Wednesday in Dapchi in northeast Nigeria, the country's minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement.

The release of the students was ongoing, and the number of freed girls will be updated after the remaining ones are documented, the statement said.

Boko Haram fighters abducted the 110 girls from the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi on February 19.

In the statement, the information and culture minister said the 76 students had been released following "back channel efforts" by the government.

The minister said the release was unconditional. "The government had a clear understanding that violence and confrontation would not be the way out as it could endanger the lives of the girls," he said in the statement.

Kachalla Bukar, the secretary of the missing girls parents' association, told CNN the girls were seen walking into Dapchi at about 7:30 a.m. local time.

Bukar said he saw around 50 of the girls but had not seen his 14-year-old daughter, Aisha, who also was captured in last month's raid.
"The girls said Boko Haram dropped them about 20 kilometers into Dapchi town and told them to find their way," he said. "... Parents are rejoicing here, but we can see they have suffered."
Parents were heading into town for a head count and confirmation of numbers, Bukar said.

The mass kidnapping brought back painful memories of the 2014 Boko Haram abduction of nearly 300 girls from a separate school in Chibok, 170 miles southeast of Dapchi. More than 100 of them remain in captivity.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has described the kidnappings in Dapchi as a "national disaster" and deployed troops and surveillance aircraft in search of the missing students.
"Let me assure that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return all the missing girls,"Buhari said in a statement on Twitter in February.

But an Amnesty International report on the kidnappings released this week accused the Nigerian army of failing to act on advance warnings of the raid.

According to the report, at least five phone calls were allegedly made to the army and police on the afternoon of the attack, warning the Boko Haram militants were on their way to the school.
"The Nigerian authorities must investigate the inexcusable security lapses that allowed this abduction to take place without any tangible attempt to prevent it," said Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International's Nigeria Director.

Nigerian army spokesman John Agim told CNN the allegations weren't true and the army had not been informed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Nigerian military were warned before recent Boko Haram kidnappings of schoolgirls

Nigeria's military was on Tuesday accused of ignoring repeated warnings about the movements of Boko Haram fighters before they kidnapped 110 schoolgirls in the country's restive northeast.

The students -- the youngest of whom is aged just 10 -- were seized from the town of Dapchi, Yobe state, on February 19 in virtually identical circumstances to those in Chibok in 2014.

Then, more than 200 schoolgirls were taken in an attack that brought sustained world attention on the Islamist insurgency and sparked a global campaign for their release.

President Muhammadu Buhari has called the Dapchi abduction a "national disaster" and vowed to use negotiation rather than force to secure their release.

But as in Chibok nearly four years ago, human rights group Amnesty International claimed the military was warned about the arrival of the heavily-armed jihadists -- yet failed to act.

In the hours that followed both attacks, the authorities also tried to claim the girls had not been abducted.

Amnesty's Nigeria director Osa Ojigho said "no lessons appear to have been learned" from Chibok and called for an immediate probe into what she called "inexcusable security lapses".

"The government's failure in this incident must be investigated and the findings made public -- and it is absolutely crucial that any investigation focuses on the root causes," she added.

"Why were insufficient troops available? Why was it decided to withdraw troops? What measures have the government taken to protect schools in northeast Nigeria?

"And what procedures are supposed to be followed in response to an attempted abduction?"

There was no immediate response from the Nigerian military when contacted by AFP.

Multiple calls 

Amnesty said that between 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm on February 19, at least five calls were made to tell the security services that Islamist fighters were in the Dapchi area.

Locals spotted about 50 members of the Islamic State group affiliate in a convoy of nine vehicles in Futchimiram, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from Dapchi, then at Gumsa.

In Gumsa, where Boko Haram stayed until about 5:00 pm, residents phoned ahead to Dapchi to warn them. The convoy arrived at about 6:30 pm and left about 90 minutes later.

Amnesty, whose researchers spoke to about 23 people and three security officials, said the army command in Geidam had told callers they were aware of the situation and were monitoring.

Police in Dapchi promised to tell divisional commanders, while army commanders in Geidam and Damaturu were also alerted during the attack, it added.

People in Dapchi have previously said troops were withdrawn from the town earlier this year, leaving only a few police officers. The nearest military detachment was an hour away.

The Dapchi abduction has thrown into doubt repeated government and military claims that Boko Haram is on the brink of defeat, after nearly nine years of fighting and at least 20,000 deaths.

Boko Haram, which has used kidnapping as a weapon of war during the conflict, has not claimed responsibility but it is believed a faction headed by Abu Mus'ab al-Barnawi is behind it.

IS in August 2015 publicly backed Barnawi as the leader of Boko Haram, or Islamic State West Africa Province, over Abubakar Shekau, whose supporters carried out the Chibok abduction.

Analysts have attributed a financial motive to the Dapchi kidnapping given government ransom payments made to Boko Haram to secure the release of some of the captives from Chibok.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Video - Nigeria's Central Bank could hold its first Monetary Policy Committee in April

Nigeria Central Bank now says it may hold its first 2018 Monetary Policy Committee in April weeks after a scheduled meeting. The committee failed to hold its first meeting for 2018, after legislatures blocked the approval of new presidential nominees in what appears to be an unfolding political wrangle between the senate and the executive.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Video - Nigerian youth activists look to lower age limit for political office

Activists in Nigeria are seeking to lower the age limit required for political office. Over 1 thousand young people marched to the Presidential Villa looking for President Buhari to sign the bill. Here's more on that story.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

President Buhari vows 'no rest' until girls kidnapped by Boko Haram are free

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari vowed Wednesday his government will never give up until the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants go free.

"There will be no rest till the last girl, whether from Chibok and (or) Dapchi, is released," Buhari said in a statement, referring to the towns where the terror group has struck in the past four years.

The Nigerian leader spoke Wednesday while visiting the Government Girls Science Technical College in Dapchi, a town in Nigeria's Yobe state where Boko Haram abducted 110 schoolgirls in a February 19 raid. It marked his first trip there since last month's attack.

In April 2014, Boko Haram sparked international outrage when it kidnapped 276 girls from a boarding school in Chibok, a town in Borno state. More than 100 of these girls remain in captivity, and their whereabouts.

In Dapchi, Buhari met Wednesday with families of the missing girls, saying his administration has remained resolute in fighting terrorism and ensuring the students are returned safely.

"We have re-equipped our armed forces, security and intelligence services," Buhari said, adding that Nigeria's air force is maintaining aerial surveillance of the area.

Buhari said the government was investigating circumstances that led to the girls' abduction and warned that "any agency, person or group found to have been negligent or culpable" would be punished.

He said he is confident that all the missing girls will be rescued or released and returned safely to their families.

"The government, under my watch, will continue to maintain normalcy and ensure that incidents of this nature are stopped," Buhari said.

Bashir Manzo, who attended the meeting, told CNN that he and other parents are anxious but are patiently waiting for the girls' rescue. Manzo's daughter, Fatima, 16, is among the missing.
"We want our girls back, but we will give them the time they need to find them," says Manzo, who was elected head of a parents' association for the missing Dapchi schoolgirls.

The Nigerian leader last month called the abductions a "national disaster."

He has said Nigeria is working with international organizations and negotiators to ensure the girls go free unharmed.

"Our resolve (is) to negotiate for the unconditional release of the girls," Buhari said in a statement Wednesday.

"Doing so is safer ... and will not endanger the lives of our young girls who are in harm's way," he said.

The government last year freed five top Boko Haram commanders in exchange for the release of 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls.

Nigerian army spokesman John Agim told CNN last week that one of those freed commanders, Shuibu Moni, would be apprehended again after he taunted the military in a recent propaganda video from the militant Islamic group.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Video - Nigerian entrepreneur makes clothes out of plastic waste

Now to Nigeria where one entrepreneur is recycling plastic water sachets into rain coats, school bags and even shoes. He says he is doing his part to fight pollution and encourage reuse and recycling while making a practical fashion statement.

25 dead in herdsmen attack in Nigeria

There appears to be no let up in the gruesome bloodletting in the Benue-Plateau region in North-central Nigeria, as yet another 25 persons were reportedly killed in the wee hours of Tuesday in an attack on Dundu village in the Kwal District of Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State.

Confirming the attack, the President of Irigwe Development Association (IDA), Hon. Sunday Abdu, said the suspected Fulani herdsmen swooped on the community Monday night and raided it for hours, leaving at least 25 persons dead in the aftermath.

While the 25 were being buried in a mass grave in the village, Abdu said the search for bodies was still ongoing since some of the residents who tried to escape the bloody raid were killed in the surrounding bushes and may not have been discovered yet.

Also confirming the killings, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Tyopev Terna, placed the death toll from the latest attack at 25, adding that his men were drafted to the village to take charge of the situation.

But the spokesman of the military Special Task Force (STF) on Security in the state, Major Umar, had initially said eight persons were shot at, adding that seven died on the spot while the eighth victim who was rushed to the hospital eventually died, bringing the fatalities to eight.

Umar, however, called back Tuesday to say that the death toll had risen from eight to 21.

He also said that when the STF received a distress call concerning the attack, they quickly drafted soldiers to rescue the villagers, but the assailants had fled before they got there.

He added that the Dundu terrain was a very difficult one, spanning over 11 kilometres from the village.

Rev. Jerry Datim, a local cleric who conducted the mass burial, said the bodies brought for burial were 25, and lamented that the state government had abandoned the villagers to their fate.

He was critical of the state governor, Simon Lalong, saying that while the latter was making merry with President Muhammadu Buhari during the president's visit, suspected Fulani raiders were killing more people in the villages.

He called on the state government to stop giving false reports on the existing peace in the state when the reverse was the case.

Meanwhile, a mass burial for about 10 other persons who were recently slain in Miango village had been slated for Tuesday before the latest killings. Miango is a stone throw from Dundu.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Nigeria plans to negotiate with Boko Haram for the release of 110 kidnapped girls

Nigeria's presidency said on Monday it plans to negotiate for the release of 110 girls abducted from a school in the northeastern town of Dapchi last month, rather than use a military operation to free them by force.

The kidnapping is one of the largest since the jihadist group Boko Haram abducted more than 270 schoolgirls from the northeastern town of Chibok in 2014. Some of the Chibok girls have been freed after what security sources say were ransom payments; around 100 are still being held.

Nigeria is grappling with an insurgency by Boko Haram that has killed at least 20,000 people since 2009. Members of the group are suspected of the latest kidnapping, on Feb. 19, in the state of Yobe.

President Muhammadu Buhari, a 75-year-old former military ruler, discussed the use of negotiations during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the capital, Abuja, the presidency said.

"Nigeria prefers to have schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok and Dapchi back alive, and that is why it has chosen negotiation, rather than a military option," Buhari's office said in an emailed statement issued by the president's spokesman.

"President Buhari added that Nigeria was working in concert with international organizations and negotiators, to ensure that the girls were released unharmed by their captors," the presidency statement said.

The issue of security has become politically charged in Nigeria less than a year before a presidential election. Buhari is touring areas hit by security problems and this week will visit the state where the schoolgirls were abducted, the statement said.

Tillerson was in Nigeria for the last stop in a week-long tour of African countries, his first trip to the continent as Secretary of State, during which he has emphasized security partnerships. He visited Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Chad before arriving in Nigeria's capital.

The emailed statement also said Buhari thanked the U.S. for assistance rendered in the fight against Boko Haram, noting that Nigerian forces are good but need assistance with training and equipment.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Video - Nigerian energy sector expert calls for change in export strategy

Nigeria needs to change its strategy if it wants to keep benefiting from its crude exports. That's according to an international energy sector analyst. The country lost its top market, the United States, in 2015, after the U.S. began shale production. But all is not lost for one of Africa's top oil producers.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Video - Dozens killed in Benue state, government orders a mass burial

To Nigeria's North Central state of Benue, where dozens are feared dead in fresh clashes between farmers and Fulani herdsmen. The state government has now ordered a mass burial of victims coming Friday.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Video - George Weah backs Super Eagles for the World Cup

Liberia's new president, George Weah, has thrown his support behind Nigeria for the upcoming World Cup. Weah is himself one of African football's most fanous names. He's predicting the Super Eagles will do well.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Video - Nigeria's 2018 national budget yet to be approved by parliament

It's been about four months since Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari presented the country's national budget to lawmakers in parliament. The Nigerian government had said it was returning to the January to December budget cycle. But so far, the budget has not been approved by parliament. Nigeria's 2017 budget was never passed until about six months into the year and it's now looking like the 2018 budget may suffer the same fate.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Video - Nigeria fighting HIV stigma by raising awareness among youths

While African nations have made great strides in the fight against HIV and AIDS, stigma is still a major problem in some areas. One charity in Nigeria is educating young people about HIV in a bid to curb prejudicial behaviour.

Jay-Jay Okocha inducted as Bundesliga Legend

Former Super Eagles and Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder, Austin Jay-Jay Okocha has been named as one of the German Bundesliga legends as confirmed on the German league's official website.

The Nigerian joins Ghana legend and CAF deputy general secretary, Anthony Baffoe, in the 11-man legends network that will be flying the Bundesliga flag across the world.

"His sublime skills and tremendous tricks brought joy to fans of Eintracht Frankfurt and lit up Germany's top division for many years, and now it has been announced that footballing icon Jay-Jay Okocha is the latest star to join the Bundesliga Legends Network.

"The newest member of an elite group of former playing greats to become part of the illustrious Bundesliga Legends Network, Okocha set Germany's playing fields alight between 1992 and '96 when the Nigerian ace scored 18 goals and provided 13 assists in 90 memorable matches for the team known as The Eagles.

"Never to be forgotten among the sides he has represented, it is with warmth and delight that this footballing artist is remembered among the denizens of Eintracht while followers of the Bundesliga will forever continue to delight in the legend that is Jay-Jay Okocha. Welcome to the Bundesliga Legends Network," a Bundesliga statement reads.

The Bundesliga was bewildered by the quick feet, spellbinding step-overs, dream-like dribbles and eye-catching creativity of one of the developing stars, and characters, of the world game.

On August 31, 1993, Okocha combined all of the above traits to score one sensational goal that had beaten goalkeeper Oliver Kahn tweeting over 20 years later, "I'm still dizzy," even now.

Bundesliga giant Kahn entered folkloric status at Bayern Munich, but it was while at Karlsruhe that the highly decorated shot-stopper faced his Nigerian nemesis on a night when he, and several defenders, were left with a sense of motion sickness following Okocha's jaw-dropping exploits.

Following his spell in Germany, the attacking midfielder took his skills to Turkish team Fenerbahce, Paris Saint-German and Bolton Wanderers, among others.

Aliko Dangote builds $3.5 million business school in Nigeria

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has donated a $3.5 million building to the Bayero University, Kano in northern Nigeria. The building, which is named after the Nigerian billionaire, will be the premises of the newly established Dangote Business School.

Speaking at the school’s opening ceremony which was attended by the Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Dangote told guests that the school was part of his contributions towards driving entrepreneurship education at the highest level in Nigeria. The Dangote Business School has been accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC), and will be first business school in Nigeria to offer the Doctor of Business Administration (PhD) programme in the country. Dangote also disclosed that talks are ongoing to develop strategic partnerships between the Dangote Business School and the Harvard Business School in the U.S.

’My interest for supporting higher education in Nigeria stems from the belief that we can and we should provide the same quality of education here in Nigeria like anywhere else in the world. Good quality education is fundamental in breeding a vibrant economy and society. My goal for this business school is for it to become a reference point when it comes to learning how to do business successfully in Nigeria and in Africa. This means that this business school should carry out studies and researches that are specific to our needs and ways of doing business which would allow more information to be shared globally on how Africans can do business,” Dangote said at the ceremony.

The Dangote Business School is made up of a 650-seating capacity auditorium, two theatres, four lecture halls, two libraries, and an incubation center.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Video - Nigerian Government sets up commission of inquiry into mass abduction

Nigeria's government has set up a commission of inquiry into the mass abduction of the Dapchi schoolgirls. It's the biggest kidnapping since Chibok in 2014. CGTN's Kelechi Eme-kalam spoke to the strategist of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, on how best to secure schools in the volatile area of north-eastern Nigeria.

Aid workers killed in Nigeria by suspected Boko Haram militants

Suspected Boko Haram militants killed at least 11 people including three aid workers in an attack on a military facility in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state late on Thursday, according to two security reports seen by Reuters.

The raid in the town of Rann marks the latest high-profile attack by militants in the northeast, coming less than two weeks after militants abducted 110 girls from a school in the town of Dapchi in neighboring Yobe state.

The United Nations confirmed three aid workers, all Nigerian nationals, were killed in the attack in Rann, near the Cameroon border, and said a female nurse was missing, feared abducted. It said it was also concerned other civilians may have been killed or injured.

Four soldiers and four police officers were also killed, according to the Nigerian security reports seen by Reuters.

The militants, armed with rocket-propelled grenades and truck-mounted guns, initially overpowered soldiers in a firefight at the military facility but the armed forces later regained control, according to the two reports.

The attack is a further setback for President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in May 2015 vowing to improve security and who has repeatedly said the Boko Haram insurgency has been defeated.

The government said on Friday that it was extending to neighboring countries the search for the girls taken in Dapchi, which is some 400 km (250 miles) west of Rann.

Borno state, where Rann is situated, is the epicenter of the Boko Haram insurgency, which aims to impose a strict interpretation of Islam in northeast Nigeria. More than 20,000 people have been killed and some two million forced to leave their homes since 2009.

Two of the aid workers who died were contractors with the International Organization for Migration, working as coordinators at a camp for 55,000 displaced people in Rann, the United Nations said. The third was a doctor employed as a consultant for UNICEF.

“We call on authorities to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice and account,” Edward Kallon, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, said in a statement.

Mohammed Abdiker, of the U.N. International Organization for Migration, said staff were“outraged and saddened” by the death of their colleagues.

Attacks on aid workers are rare, but not unheard of. In December, four people were killed when a World Food Program (WFP) convoy was ambushed in Borno state.

Boko Haram held a swathe of territory in northeast Nigeria around the size of Belgium in late 2014. It was pushed out of most of that land by Nigeria’s army, backed by troops from neighboring countries, in early 2015.

Although it has failed to control large areas of land since then, the group continues to carry out suicide bombings and gun raids in northeast Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

The camp for displaced people in Rann was bombed in an accidental Nigerian Air Force strike last year, killing up to 170 people.

72 dead in Nigeria from Lassa fever

Nigeria is facing its worst Lassa fever outbreak on record, with 72 people confirmed to be dead from the virus and 317 infected, according to the World Health Organization.

A further 764 are suspected to be infected, and 2,845 contacts have been identified.

On average, Lassa fever is deadly in 1% of all individuals infected, with higher rates of 15% morbidity among people hospitalized for the illness. As of Sunday, the case fatality ratio was 22%, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

Although it's endemic to the country, Lassa fever numbers have never reached this proportion before, according to the WHO.

Nigeria's Centre for Disease Control said Wednesday that it was facing an "unprecedented outbreak" that has spread to 18 states since it began in January.

The disease can cause fever and hemorrhaging of various parts of the body -- including the eyes and nose -- and can be spread through contact with an infected rat. 

Person-to-person transmission is low but has been seen in Nigerian hospital settings this year. Fourteen health workers were infected, of whom four died within eight weeks.

The WHO said Wednesday that health facilities were overstretched in the southern states of Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi, and it is working with national reference hospitals and the Alliance for International Medical Action to rapidly expand and better equip treatment centers.
It also hopes to reduce further infections to hospital staff.

"The ability to rapidly detect cases of infection in the community and refer them early for treatment improves patients' chances of survival and is critical to this response," said Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, the WHO representative to Nigeria.

State health authorities are mobilizing doctors and nurses to work in treatment centers. Four UK researchers have also been deployed to Nigeria to help control the unusually large outbreak. 

"Given the large number of states affected, many people will seek treatment in health facilities that are not appropriately prepared to care for Lassa fever," Alemu said.

"The risk of infection to health care workers is likely to increase."

Lassa fever is endemic in most of West Africa, especially Nigeria, where it was discovered in 1969.
Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi states account for 85% of cases, said Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, director of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, in a statement.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, touching, eating or sniffing foods and other household items that have been contaminated by multimammate rat feces or urine can aid transmission.

Nigerians, especially in those three states, should "continue focusing on prevention by ensuring they prevent access to their foodstuff by rodents," Ihekweazu said.

There is risk of the virus spreading to other West African countries due to increased migration, said Dr. Oyewale Tomori, professor of virology at Redeemer's University in Nigeria and the former regional virologist for the WHO's Africa Region.

"There is always cause for alarm in West Africa, where the rodent host of can be found in virtually all countries of West Africa," he said.

Benin, Liberia and Sierra Leone have all reported cases of Lassa fever over the past month, according to the WHO, but risk of further international transmission is low for now.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Video - Nigerian Painting of princess sold for $1.6 million at an auction in London

A painting by the renowned Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu that had been missing for decades, has sold for record 1.6 million dollars, at an auction in London. Enwonwu's 1974 classic painting of the Ife princess Adetutu Ademiluyi, known as Tutu, is widely celebrated in Nigeria, with reproduction posters found in many homes. Three were painted in the early 1970s and famously disappeared in an art world mystery that is until one was discovered in a very ordinary London apartment late last year.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Video - Nigeria's army, police trade blame over militant attack on school

It appears as if the Nigerian girls' disappearance is taking its toll on Nigerian security forces. The army and Yobe police are blaming each other for the abductions. Yobe police officers claim the militants attacked Dapchi because the army had withdrawn from the area. However, the military maintains it pulled out of Dapchi because calm had returned to the area. The army claims it handed over security control to the Yobe police -- and blames local officers for the bungle. Yobe's police commissioner, however, denies any handover took place -- and says the military failed to inform him of its intention to withdraw.

Nigerian and Cameroonian military free 1,130 hostages from Boko Haram

At least 1,130 civilians were freed, and 37 suspected Boko Haram militants were killed during a joint offensive by Cameroonian and Nigerian troops in communities around the Lake Chad region on Monday, according to a Nigerian army spokesman.

In a statement on Tuesday, spokesman Colonel Onyema Nwackukwu said the offensives took place in border villages of Kusha-Kucha, Surdewala, Alkanerik, Magdewerne and Mayen, culminating in the destruction of several Boko Haram camps and seizure of weapons, including machine guns and anti-aircraft guns.

Four improvised explosive devices were also destroyed.

Nwackukwu said some 603 hostages were freed across Kusha-Kucha, Surdewala, Alkanerik, Magdewerne and Mayen villages; they were taken to the Nigerian Bama town for profiling and handing over to relief agencies.

"The troops also extracted 194 civilians held captive by the insurgents and destroyed makeshift accommodations erected by the insurgents. Additionally, the combined troops successfully cleared Miyanti and Wudila villages, where they rescued three men, 121 women and 209 children," the army spokesman added.

On Tuesday, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Dr Yousef Al-Othaimeen condemned the abduction of some 110 schoolgirls from Nigeria’s northeastern Dapchi town Monday.

Names of 110 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria released

The Nigerian government has released the names of the 110 missing girls, some as young as 11 years old, who have not been seen since a raid on their school in Dapchi last week.

Fighter jets, helicopters and surveillance planes have all been deployed in the search for the girls, who vanished after suspected Boko Haram militants attacked the Government Girls Science Technical College.

According to a list of names released by the authorities Tuesday, the missing are aged between 11 and 19. The names have been verified by a panel of school administrators and government officials, according to a statement by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture.

As of Monday evening, the Nigerian Air Force had flown a total of 200 hours while searching for the girls. Nigeria's Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, has been relocated to Yobe State, where Dapchi is located, to personally supervise the search, the government statement said.

The school is only 275 kilometers (170 miles) from Chibok, where Boko Haram militants kidnapped nearly 300 girls from a school in 2014.

After global outrage and prolonged negotiation, many of the Chibok girls were later freed but more than 100 are still missing, thought to be held in a number of unknown locations.

The father of one of the girls who was taken from Dapchi, Bashir Manzo, told CNN he isn't happy with the way the government has handled the situation.

"My daughter Aisha Kachalla is missing and we can't get any information from school because soldiers are all over there," said Manzo, who is also the newly elected head of the parent's association.

"No security came to Dapchi the day the men came, now over a hundred soldiers have taken over the village."

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said the raid was a "national disaster" and promised the families of the missing girls their children would be returned.

"We are sorry that it happened; we share your pain. Let me assure that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return all the missing girls," Buhari said in a Twitter statement.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Video - Nigerian authorities intensify search for missing girls

Nigeria is sending extra troops and planes to the North-eastern state of Yobe as the search for missing schoolgirls intensifies. During the weekend, the government announced that 110 girls are presumed to have been abducted. That's according to information received from parents.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Father's plea to find daughter kidnapped by Boko Haram

The father of a 14-year-old girl who is among 110 believed to have been abducted by Boko Haram has pleaded with the Nigerian government to act quickly.

"We don't want these girls to stay long with those militants. Anything can happen to them," Kachalla Bukar told the BBC.

Jihadists stormed the school in the town of Dapchi in the north-eastern Yobe state on 19 February.

The attack has revived memories of the Chibok schoolgirl abduction in 2014.

President Muhammadu Buhari said it was a "national disaster" and apologised to the girls' families.

Mr Bukar says his wife cannot stop crying and he cannot sleep since their "brilliant" daughter Aisha disappeared.

"We are begging the government to control the situation quickly."

Nigeria has deployed extra troops and planes to search for the schoolgirls.

"We want to assure Nigerians that no stone will be left unturned in our determination to rescue these girls", Nigeria's Information Minister Lai Mohammed told the BBC.

Anger has been growing among the girls' parents amid reports that soldiers had been withdrawn from key checkpoints in Dapchi last month.

Dapchi, which is about 275km (170 miles) north-west of Chibok, came under attack last Monday, causing students and teachers from the Government Girls Science and Technical College to flee into the surrounding bush.

Residents say that Nigeria's security forces, backed by military jets, later repelled the attack.

Authorities initially denied the students had been kidnapped, saying they were hiding from their attackers.

But they later admitted that 110 girls were missing after the attack.

Boko Haram militants have been fighting a long insurgency in the country's north in their quest for an Islamic state in the region.

Nearly four years ago they abducted 276 girls from a school in Chibok, leading to a worldwide #BringBackOurGirls campaign. The location of more than 100 of those girls is still unknown.

The conflict is estimated to have killed tens of thousands of people, and led to the abduction of thousands.

Video - Has Boko Haram been defeated in Nigeria

The kidnapping of dozens more schoolgirls in Nigeria suggests Boko Haram hasn't been defeated, despite the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Video - The Battle Against Boko Haram

In 2009, Boko Haram began what would become one of the deadliest insurgencies in Nigeria. But according to authorities the militants have now been defeated.

Government confirms 110 girls still missing after Boko Haram attack another school in Nigeria

Nigeria's government acknowledged Sunday that 110 girls remain missing nearly a week after Boko Haram militants attacked their town. Frustrated family members already had compiled a list of missing girls after saying officials were being slow to respond.

The fate of the girls is not known, but witnesses said the Islamic extremists specifically asked where the girls' school was located. Some eyewitnesses reporting seeing young women taken away at gunpoint.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed made the announcement Sunday after meetings were held with family members and others, some of whom have criticized the government for taking days to make such an announcement.

Air Force spokesperson Olatokunbo Adesanya said in a statement Sunday that "the renewed efforts at locating the girls are being conducted in close liaison with other surface security forces."

Many fear the girls were abducted as brides for Boko Haram extremists. The group kidnapped 276 girls from a boarding school in Chibok in 2014 and forced them to marry their captors. About 100 of the Chibok girls have never returned to their families in nearly four years.

'A national disaster'

The militants arrived last Monday evening in the town of Dapchi in Nigeria's Yobe state, sending many fleeing into the surrounding bush amid the hail of gunfire. While Nigeria's president has called the girls' disappearances "a national disaster," local officials at first falsely indicated that some of those abducted were rescued, while others were hiding and would return in the coming days.

Bashir Manzo, whose daughter Fatima is among the missing, said the chances the children are merely hiding in the bush are slim.

"All those that fled into the bush had been brought back to the school on Tuesday, and a roll call was taken after which they had all gone home to meet their parents," he said.

Nigeria's president said earlier that no effort will be spared to locate them.

"The entire country stands as one with the girls' families, the government and the people of Yobe state," President Muhammadu Buhari said earlier in the week.

"This is a national disaster. We are sorry that this could have happened and share your pain. We pray that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return your missing family members."

Friday, February 23, 2018

Video - Government retracts statement that Nigerian schoolgirls were rescued

There's concern in north east Nigeria after the government retracted a statement claiming dozens of abducted schoolgirls had been rescued.

Outbreak of lassa fever kills 73 in Nigeria

Nigeria is grappling with an outbreak of Lassa fever, which has caused 73 deaths this year as the number of new confirmed cases surged in the past week, according to the country’s Center for Disease Control.

The acute viral hemorrhagic illness is endemic in several West African countries including Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization. The UN agency said earlier this month it was scaling up its response to the outbreak, which has spread to 17 of Nigeria’s 36 states.

The current outbreak “is more than what we have seen before, it is overwhelming,” Elsie Ilori, incident manager at the NCDC’s Lassa Fever Emergency Operations Centre, said by phone Thursday.

A total of 913 suspected cases have been registered since the start of the year, with Nigeria’s southern Ondo and Edo states most affected, according NCDC data. The fatality rate in confirmed and probable cases is 21 percent, it showed.

The Lassa virus is transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces, according to the WHO.

Nigeria Super Eagles coach to stick with core squad for 2018 World Cup

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has ruled out bringing in new players to bolster his squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The West Africans have been hit by a goalkeeping crisis; first choice Carl Ikeme was diagnosed with leukaemia, both Daniel Akpeyi and his replacement Ikechukwu Ezenwa have failed to impress while Francis Uzoho is inexperienced.

Rohr is not tempted to call up another goalkeeper, despite growing calls from a section of fans for him to recall the country's most capped player Vincent Enyeama from retirement.

"We have built a good environment for the team and I believe all the players gave everything to secure the ticket to Russia," Rohr told BBC Sport.

"It looks very impossible to get Carl Ikeme to play in Russia, but Ikechukwu Ezenwa showed in big matches so far that he can be in goal.

"The young boy Uzoho had a great game against Argentina so I've sent the goalkeeper trainer to continue to provide support for this boy in Spain.

"We are not limited as we also have other goalkeepers like Akpeyi, Ajiboye and Alampasu in the team, so I believe we are fine."

At the last tournament, Nigeria drafted in experienced Peter Odemwingie and Shola Ameobi, with the former scoring the only goal against debutants Bosnia-Herzegovina to give Nigeria their solitary victory in Brazil.

Many have cited a lack of experience in the current squad, but Rohr is confident he has the personnel to get the job done and will stick with his current group in Russia.

"You have to respect what the former players have done in the past but be careful that you don't try to bring them back because people think so," said Rohr.

"We have big experience in captain [John] Mikel Obi, Victor Moses and our left back Elderson who is now playing in Belgium.

"If we feel the need to strengthen this squad we know what to do because for nearly two years now we've had a good atmosphere so far. Another good news is that the young striker in Wolfsburg [Victor] Osimhen is also playing now.

"I will make the [provisional] squad based on this group and also give one of the CHAN boys a chance as well.

"We can't just keep bringing in player after player when you already have those who have proven that they can do the job," Rohr added.

The Super Eagles will be making a sixth appearance at the World Cup tournament in Russia wehere they will play Argentina, Iceland and Croatia in Group D.

The three-time African champions reached the round of 16 in 1994, 1998 and 2014 but exit the 2002 and 2010 tournaments in the group stages.

Nigerian schoolgirls still not accounted for after Boko Haram attack

Dozens of schoolgirls are still unaccounted for days after suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked their school in northeast Nigeria.

The Yobe state government issued a statement on Thursday that retracted an earlier one that some of the missing girls had been rescued by the military.

"We have now established that the information we relied on to make the statement was not credible. The Yobe state government apologises for that," said Abdullahi Bego, spokesman for Yobe Governor Ibrahim Gaidam.

Late on Wednesday, Bego had said some girls had been "rescued by gallant officers and men of the Nigerian army from the terorrists who abducted them".

Bego did not give a specific number of those saved.

Police said on Wednesday that 111 girls from the state-run boarding school in Dapchi, in Yobe state, were unaccounted for following an attack by the armed group on Monday night.

But exact figures have been difficult to confirm.

On Thursday, parents said 101 children were still missing, The Associated Press reported, while unidentified sources told Reuters 91 were gone.

The students were reported to have fled the attack with their teachers at the sound of gunfire.

More than 20,000 people have been killed and two million others forced to flee their homes in northeastern Nigeria since Boko Haram launched a campaign in 2009 aimed at forming a breakaway state.

Over the years, the armed group has kidnapped thousands of adults and children.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari recently said the era of Boko Haram violence "is gradually drawing to end".

However, the group continues to launch attacks in the country's northeast, and its leader remains at large.