Monday, April 30, 2018

Video - Nigeria wants to turn Sambisa forest into a tourist attraction

Nigeria's Sambisa Forest has long been known as the Boko Haram stronghold. Now the Nigerian military wants to turn the forest into a tourist attraction. But, is this plan viable?

Video - President Buhari Impeachment Process - Legal and judiciary committee to review Senate motion

Nigeria's senate has begun the process of impeaching president Muhammadu Buhari. It's in relation to the procurement of war planes in the fight against Boko Haram. The senate has voted in favour of impeachment. The matter now goes to a legal and judiciary committee for review - to see whether there's any legal merit.

Video - Nigerian government plans to hike energy tariffs to attract investors

Nigeria plans to hike energy tariffs by 2021 in a bid to attract more investment and improve power supply. Nigeria's electricity sector has remained unattractive to investors due to power tariffs set by the government which are below the cost electricity generation.

Regional leaders meet in Abuja, Nigeria seek end to land tensions

West African leaders are meeting for talks in the Nigerian capital Abuja. They're seeking solutions to the conflict over land resources in the region. One of the suggestions is banning the un-registered movement of animals across West Africa.

Video - President Buhari set to meet Donald Trump in Washington

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari is set to meet US President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, to discuss economic and military ties.

The meeting on Monday will mark the second time Buhari sits down with a US president in the three years he has been in power - the first being with Barack Obama in 2015.

Buhari, who came into office promising to defeat Boko Haram has just a year left of his first term. But the armed group still poses a significant threat to Nigeria, as attacks in the northeast of the country continue to take place.

Reporting from Nigeria's capital, Abuja, Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris said Buhari hopes to use his visit to the White House to acquire military hardware to fight Boko Haram.

"In the heart of the Nigerian president will be his three-pronged agenda to secure Nigeria, to revive the economy and to fight corruption," Femi Adesina, the media adviser to Nigeria's president, told Al Jazeera.

But with the invitation coming from the White House, some believe the meeting could focus more on what the Americans want.

"Inviting the Nigerian president is important to see how Nigeria can be co-opted to be part of the Western geopolitical interests," economist Basil Odilim Enwegbara said.

The talks take place at a time when both the US and China are looking to strengthen financial relations with Africa.

Buhari is the first leader from sub-Saharan Africa to visit the White House since Trump took office more than a year ago.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Video - Nigerian children at risk as vaccination campaigns have limited reach

Millions of Nigerian children under the age of five are at risk of contracting preventable diseases due to limited reach of immunization campaigns. A recent survey conducted by the Nigerian government shows only one out of every four children has received mandatory vaccinations.

Video - Another deadly raid reported in Nigeria's Benue State

There has reportedly been another attack in Nigeria's Benue State. At least seven people have apparently been killed in a raid on a church and a primary school in the Logo area. It comes just a day after at least 16 people -- including two Catholic priests -- were killed in a church in the village of Ayar Mbalom, also in Benue state. The government has yet to confirm this latest raid. It's believed unknown gunmen opened fire at the victims, who had been taking refuge in the church after being displaced from their homes during earlier violence.

Video - Blind Nigerian teen uses recycled plastic to create unique Fuji music

A Nigerian teenager is breaking into the international music scene with the help of social media. Basit Raheem performs Fuji -- an indigenous genre of music, influenced by traditional Islamic sounds. The 14-year-old uses recycled plastic bottles to create a unique beat to accompany his singing. But what's perhaps most impressive, is that Basit does it all by touch, as he is blind.

President Buhari summoned to Senate over church killings

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has been summoned by the Senate over a spate of killings in the country's middle belt.

The lawmakers are yet to set a date for the president's appearance but said violence in Nigeria's central states could lead to "serious crisis" in the country.

"We all know that the dimension this is taking can lead to serious crisis in this country. It means we need to take drastic action. We must say 'no'. These daily killings, have to stop," said Bukola Saraki, Nigeria's Senate leader.

Members of the country's lower parliament who had invited the President Wednesday also passed a vote of no confidence in service chiefs and security advisers, calling for their dismissal over their inability to protect Nigerians.

The lawmakers said could no longer watch "our people are murdered in cold blood" and urged government to increase security measures in affected areas.

"We also resolved to summon the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces President Muhammadu Buhari in order to answer pertinent questions concerning what the Executive is doing to put a decisive end to the spate of killings in different states of the Federation," said Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives.

Buhari's media aide did not immediately respond to CNN's request for a comment. 

The president is currently on a two-day working visit to Bauchi State, in north central Nigeria, where he is commissioning road projects and an air force medical facility, according to local media reports.
In the latest wave of violence to hit the middle belt region in recent months, two priests and 17 worshippers were killed Tuesday when armed men attacked a Catholic church during early morning mass in a remote village in Benue state.

The attackers razed over 50 houses in an attempt to take over the community, state police said. State police spokesman Terver Akase told CNN the attackers were thought to be Fulani cattle herdsmen,
Bello Bodejo, head of the cattle herders association, Miyetti Allah, denied the group's involvement in the attacks.

He called on the police and security agencies to investigate and reveal the identities of the attackers to put an end to speculation about his group's involvement.

"We are condemning Tuesday's attack because it is not acceptable. But we want a thorough investigation because every time there is an attack in the middle belt, they say it is Fulani people that caused it," he said in a phone interview with CNN.

"Many Fulani herdsman are not educated or organized enough to speak out against these accusations and this is why socio-cultural organizations like ours are appealing to Nigerians to assist us to get to the root of these attacks."

The violence between the Fulani herdsmen, who are mostly Muslims, and farmers, who are predominantly Christians, in the central state dates back to 2013. According to the Global Terrorism Index, Fulani extremists killed over 2,500 Nigerians between 2012 and 2016.

Cattle herders have evicted farmers by initiating deadly attacks in Nigeria's middle belt, the report from the Institute for Economics & Peace, a non-profit think tank, said.

The expanding conflict between herders and farmers in the region led to the enforcement of anti-grazing laws by local governments , a move that has exacerbated tensions in affected states.

At least 72 people were killed in January following weeks of violence between nomadic herdsmen and farmers in the central part of the West African country.

Buhari, who is ethnically Fulani, has been widely criticized by Nigerians for his perceived silence over previous attacks in Benue state. 

He visited the state in March to console families and communities involved and has vowed to bring those responsible for Tuesday's attack to justice.

"This latest assault on innocent persons is particularly despicable. Violating a place of worship, killing priests and worshippers is not only vile, evil and satanic, it is clearly calculated to stoke up religious conflict and plunge our communities into endless bloodletting," Buhari said in a tweet.

International Christian rights organizations have also spoken out about what they see as persecution of some Nigerians because of their faith. 

David Curry, president of Open Doors Christian Rights group, condemned Tuesday's attacks and stated that Christians are being targeted in north and central states in Nigeria. 

He urged US President Donald Trump to discuss these "religious attacks" during his meeting with Buhari later this month.

"President Buhari has done nothing more than issue empty words of condolence as villages have been burned and thousands of religious minorities have been slaughtered. 

His inaction has meant attacks by the Fulani are becoming more deadly and sophisticated," Curry said in a statement Wednesday.

Buhari will meet Trump in Washington April 30 to discuss ways of combating terrorism, promoting economic growth among other issues.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Video - Nigerian government aims to end malaria deaths by 2020

Nigeria is the country worst affected by malaria. The World Health Organisation estimates around 8,500 people are infected by the mosquito-borne disease every week. The government has stepped up efforts to treat patients -- and aims to ensure that no Nigerian dies of malaria by 2020.

Video - Nigerian Muslims may be forced to miss Hajj pilgrimage

Thousands of Nigerian Muslims could be prevented from taking part in the annual Hajj pilgrimage. This is after Saudi Arabian authorities said they may block them from entering the country due to a deadly Lassa fever outbreak in their country. It's the worst outbreak of the haemorragic fever on record in the West African nation.

Video - Nigerian lawmakers miss another deadline to pass 2018 budget

There has been yet another delay in passing Nigeria's 2018 budget. The National Assembly has missed a self-imposed deadline for a third time. Lawmakers have repeatedly pushed back the date for approving the 2018 spending plan -- claiming it's heavily padded and riddled with inaccuracies.

Baby factory raided in Lagos, Nigeria

More than 160 children have been rescued from a "baby factory" and two unregistered orphanages in Nigeria's main city, Lagos, an official has said.

Some of the babies and children had been sexually abused, Agboola Dabiri added.

It is not uncommon for Nigerian authorities to raid "baby factories".

In some cases, unmarried pregnant women are promised healthcare, only for their children to be taken away. In others, women are raped and made pregnant.

The babies can be sold for adoption, used for child labour, trafficked to Europe for prostitution or killed for ritual purposes.

In February, Lagos police told local media they had uncovered a case where a pregnant woman went to a private home to have her baby delivered - only for the baby to be taken away and sold.

Speaking after the latest raids, Mr Dabiri, the Commissioner for Youths and Social Development in Lagos State, said 100 girls and 62 boys had been rescued.

"The children and teenagers rescued from the 'baby factory' and homes were placed at government-approved homes for care and protection," he added.

In 2013, 17 pregnant teenagers and 11 babies were rescued from a house in south-eastern Imo state. The girls said they had been raped by one man.

In 2012, a UK judge raised concerns about "desperate childless parents" being caught up in baby-selling scams in Nigeria.

There was evidence that women were going to Nigeria seeking fertility treatment, then being sold unwanted babies, the judge said.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Video - Attack on church in Nigeria leaves 19 dead

At least 19 people were killed Tuesday after gunmen opened fire at a church in Nigeria's Middle Belt, police said.
Two priests and 17 worshippers were killed when armed men, believed to be cattle herders, stormed a Catholic church during early morning Mass on Tuesday in a remote village in Benue state.
State police spokesman Terver Akase told CNN the attackers, thought to be Fulani herdsmen, set many homes on fire.
"The herdsmen burnt nearly 50 houses during the attack and sacked the entire community, " Akase told CNN. "We expect arrests to be made because they (attackers) are becoming more brazen," he added.

According to Akase, 10 residents were killed by armed men a few days before Tuesday's attack.
Violent clashes between the Fulani herdsmen, who are mostly Muslims, and farmers, who are predominantly Christians, in the central state dates to 2013, according to local media reports.
Cattle herders have evicted farmers by initiating deadly attacks in Nigeria's Middle Belt, media reports say.

At least 72 people were killed in January following weeks of clashes between nomadic herdsmen and farmers in the central part of the West African country.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari who visited the state last month to console families and communities that suffered from violent clashes, vowed those involved in Tuesday's attack will be apprehended and brought to justice.

"This latest assault on innocent persons is particularly despicable. Violating a place of worship, killing priests and worshippers is not only vile, evil and satanic, it is clearly calculated to stoke up religious conflict and plunge our communities into endless bloodletting," Buhari said in a tweet.

A local Benue group expressed concerns over the increased spate of killings, calling for an "end to senseless slaughter of unarmed defenseless people" in the country.

"We call on all humane persons and groups around the world to come to the aid of our farming and worship communities and end these terror attacks across Nigeria and especially in Benue, our food basket, which also threatens our collective food security," the Benue Valley Professional Network said in a statement.

Video - Nigerian braided wigs offer hairstylists a share in the hair market

And to the fashion industry, African women spend billions of dollars annually on hair products. Nigeria is one of the biggest spenders in the continent. The west Africa giant spends more than $400 million but with hardly any product to sell in the lucrative beauty market. But the emergence of locally made braided wigs could offer a rare chance for Nigerian hairstylists to earn a share of the hair market.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Pirates in Nigeria kidnap 12 crew members on Dutch vessel

Suspected pirates kidnapped 12 of 14 crew members on board Dutch cargo vessel FWN Rapide near the southern Nigerian city of Port Harcourt, Ships & Ports reported, citing vessel owner ForestWave Navigation BV.

The incident occurred April 21 as the vessel was nearing Port Harcourt in Nigeria’s oil region, the online publication reported on its website Tuesday.

The ship owner is working with domestic and international authorities to contact the missing crew and secure their return, while the two other members are safe, it said.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Video - Nigeria authorities fire 4,500 teachers due to incompetence

The Nigerian government has sacked 4,500 teachers, recently recruited in the north-western state of Kaduna. Authorities say they are incompetent and not qualified to teach primary school pupils. Nigeria's local government has been trying to reform the education sector over the past year.

Video - Young Nigerians document their lives to reunite with families

Thousands of children in Nigeria are living in special camps after being separated from their parents during the ongoing violence in the country. They are using photography to document their lives -- in a bid to be reunited with their families.

Video - Nigeria's amputee team prepares for World Cup after ban is lifted

Nigeria's amputee national team could make their first appearance at the 2018 World Cup, after the World Amputee Football Federation lifted a 5-year ban. The team have already begun preparing for the championship, even though they have yet to receive a formal invitation.

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.