Thursday, September 27, 2018

Airport cleaner in Nigeria rewarded for returning lost valuables

Nigeria’s main airport operator, the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, has rewarded a cleaner who earlier this month found some valuables and returned them to the authorities.

FAAN Managing-Director, Engr. Saleh Dunoma, at a short ceremony presented a Commendation Letter and Plaque to Miss Ishai for her honesty.

Mary Ishai who works for Lakewood company, a cleaning contractor at the Abuja airport found and returned different cash sums, passports, ATM cards and bag claim tags.

“She found the following valuable items in the toilet: $2,000, $140 Canadian, eight pieces of coins, N21,850, two international passports, four ATM cards, four bus cards and baggage claim tags. The owner, an employee of Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Imade Uhunwagho, has since collected his valuables,” FAAN said in a tweet of September 11.

Her story comes on the back of a similar action by two guards at Nigeria’s Muratala Muhammed International Airport.

The two, junior security guard Achi Daniel and his supervisor Francis Emepueaku, according to the federal airports authority, returned a forgotten bag with large sums of money and expensive items. The two, work at the multi-level car park at the Lagos airport.

Their action has been lauded by most Nigerians including President Muhammadu Buhari who is quoted as saying: “Honesty remains the best policy. We must exhibit such behaviour in whatever position we find ourselves, whether high or low.

“Nigeria will no longer be a byword for corruption and plundering of public resources. That is the path we have chosen to take, and our country will eventually get to a new shore,” he added.

“If the money was in multi-millions of foreign currencies I would still have returned it,” Mr Daniel told Sahara Reporters. “No amount of money would make me to take what doesn’t belong to me,” he retorted to calls that he should or could have kept the money.

According to him, despite attempts by the owners of the bag to reward them with money, they refused the offer insisting that they “were just doing their job.” Reports say both men have been awarded by their security company with education scholarships worth 250,000 Naira ($686).

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Video - Nigerian authorities warn of possible disease outbreak due to floods

Nigeria's Centre for Disease Control is warning of possible outbreaks of water-borne diseases like cholera and malaria. A national disaster has been declared after heavy rains caused widespread flooding in more than 10 states. At least 100 people have died and more than 3-hundred thousand displaced.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Video - "Emekas Money" a Nigerian story on corruption

In Nigeria, one organisation has launched a book aimed at tackling corruption. It's being marketed for young people, with the idea of shaping mindsets from an early age. "Emeka's Money" tells the story of a corrupt government official and the negative impact his actions have on society.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Pirates kidnap 12 swiss crew members from commercial ship

Twelve crew members of a Swiss commercial ship have been taken hostage by pirates who attacked the vessel as it sailed off the coast of Nigeria.

Massoel Shipping said in a statement Sunday that the ship MV Glarus, with 19 crew on board, was attacked as it was carrying wheat from the Nigerian commercial capital Lagos to Port Harcourt.

Reuters news agency reported late Sunday the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had identified the nationalities of the kidnapped crew. It said seven crew members were from the Philippines and others were from Slovenia, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia and Bosnia.

Nigerian officials said the 12 were still unaccounted for.

Massoel Shipping said the vessel was attacked around 45 nautical miles southwest of Bonny Island early Saturday.

"It is understood the pirate gang boarded the Glarus by means of long ladders and cut the razor wire on deck to gain access to the vessel and eventually the bridge," the company said. "Having destroyed much of the vessel's communications equipment, the criminal gang departed, taking 12 of the 19 crew complement as hostage."

Piracy has been rising in the southern Niger Delta region in the past few years, along with the number sailors kidnapped for ransom.

According to a study published by the EOS Risk Group in July, the number of kidnappings in the region rose from 52 in 2016 to 75 last year. In the first half of this year, pirated kidnapped 35 sailors, it said.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Video - Nigeria's ruling and opposition parties accused of favoring rich aspirants

In Nigeria criticism is mounting against two of the country's main political parties, the ruling APC and the opposition PDP, allegedly for skewing political contest in favour of the rich. APC and PDP are set to hold party primaries in the coming weeks but they are being accused of limiting the participation of the majority-poor by charging steep fees for fresh entrants.

Relaunch of Nigerian airline suspended

Nigeria is suspending the relaunch of its national airline just over two months after it announced the new venture, the country's aviation minister has said.

The government had planned to launch the prestige project in December to make good on a promise by Muhammadu Buhari when he ran for president in 2015. He will seek re-election in February.

"I regret to announce that the Federal Executive Council has taken the tough decision to suspend the national carrier project in the interim," Hadi Sirika, junior aviation minister, said on Wednesday on Twitter after the weekly cabinet meeting.

"All commitments due will be honoured," he said. No reason was given for the decision.

In a separate statement, Sirika said: "The suspension was strategic and had nothing to do with politics."

The airline relaunch was announced in July as part of a plan to improve the country's infrastructure, which has suffered due to decades of neglect and underinvestment. The government maintains that improvement will require private investment.

A private operator was sought to manage the airline, according to a document seen by Reuters news agency.

The operator would enter a public-private partnership with the government, which would own no more than five percent.

The chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines said in August the airline was a frontrunner to set up and manage the carrier.

Nigeria Airways, the original national airline, operated for 45 years until 2003. Air Nigeria, its successor, ran from 2005 to 2012.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Video - Nigeria may declare national disaster as flood death toll rises to 100

Authorities in Nigeria say more than 100 people have been killed in the floods across the country in the past two weeks. Heavy rains have caused the country's two major rivers -- the Niger and Benue -- to overflow. Dozens of communities have been completely submerged, thousands of people displaced and vast swathes of farmlands destroyed. Rural areas are the worst hit. The government is urging residents living along waterways to relocate to higher places. It's also considering declaring a state of emergency to free up funding and ensure a more effective response. Nigeria is battered by floods almost every year. Analysts blame it on a lack of proper town planning, blocked waterways and poor drainage.

Video - Nigeria floods displaces more than 30,000 people

Nigeria's Emergency Management Agency estimates more than 100 people have been killed, and 30 thousand displaced by flooding in the past two weeks alone.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The battle to dispel black magic behind sex slavery in Nigeria

BENIN CITY, Nigeria, Sept 18 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Florence broke out in lesions on her face, she was convinced it was because she had crossed a black magic curse cast on her as she left Nigeria to work in Russia's sex trade.

Florence is one of a rising number of women lured in recent years from impoverished lives in southern Nigeria to Europe with the promise of lucrative work, many ending up selling sex.

Although some of the women knowingly entered into contracts for sex work, few realised they would be trapped like slaves for years, with their traffickers colluding with madams to ensure black magic curses, or juju, stopped them escaping.

For belief in juju to kill or maim is deeply rooted in Edo state, the home of about nine in every 10 Nigerian women trafficked to Europe, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC), with a battle now waging to end witchcraft's hold over trafficking victims.

Florence, 24, said she had not known she was headed for sex work six years ago when she agreed to a loan to fund a trip to work in Russia in a deal brokered by a pastor from her church.

Before leaving her home in Benin, the capital city of Edo, she was taken to a juju priest who used her hair and clothing to make a spell to bind her to her traffickers then she was taken to Lagos where she was raped before being sent to Russia.

"They took my pants. They took my bra. They took my hair from my armpits and also from my private parts," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"(The madam) used those items she took from me to take as vengeance against me."

She was convinced that juju was to blame for facial lesions that erupted in 2016 after she refused to give her captors any more money after paying them 45,000 euro ($53,000) and fled back to Nigeria.


Florence's fear of black magic if she disobeyed her traffickers, went to the police or failed to pay her debt is typical for many women trafficked from Nigeria, experts say.

Many end up enslaved after signing a contract to finance their move, leaving them with debts that spiral into thousands of dollars and take years to pay off.

Between 2014 and 2016, there was an almost 10-fold increase in the number of Nigerian women arriving in Italy by boat - about 11,000 - with at least four in five becoming prostitutes, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

But law enforcement officials and campaigners are hoping the intervention this year by Oba Ewuare II, leader of the historic kingdom of Benin, could end this burgeoning trade.

In March, the Oba summoned the kingdom's juju priests to a ceremony at his palace and dismissed the curses they had placed on trafficking victims - and cast a fresh curse on anyone who went against his order.

Since then, anecdotal evidence from people involved in the trade suggests the trafficking has slowed although it is too soon for firm data to be collated.

Patience, 42, who has supplemented her income as a hairdresser by selling girls into overseas sex work for about 16 years, said the leader's ceremony had stopped the trafficking.

"I didn't hear directly from his mouth but, through the radio and television. The Oba has stopped everything," Patience told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in her home in Benin, where she lives with her husband and four children.

"Whenever I go out, I meet girls who beg me to take them to Europe but I refuse because I don't want to die. Everybody is afraid."

David Edebiri, the second highest ranking chief in Benin, said he believes the Oba's involvement, inspired by repeated bad press in the international media, has reduced trafficking and could help bring more traffickers to justice as many women involved were previously too afraid of juju rituals to testify.

"It has been very, very effective and that if even anything is going on now, it must be a very minute dimension. Not as it was before (when) it was becoming everybody's game," he said.


But with unemployment in Edo at 20 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, women especially are hard pressed to find work. Living standards are low with large families to feed and few outlets to earn.

Nigeria has the most extreme poor people in the world, according to The World Poverty Clock, with almost half of its 180 million population living on less than $2 a day.

So many women, like Betty, say the crackdown on traffickers taking girls for sex work in other countries - often with the knowledge of their families - is unlikely to stop the industry.

When Betty touched down in Nigeria from Belgium two years ago, she knelt on the tarmac, raised her hands, and thanked God she was home after five years of being trapped in sex work repaying debts.

Now Betty, 29 and single, can't wait to get back to Europe.

She has not found work since returning to Benin. She avoids her mother, a fish seller, who is distraught about her daughter's fall from grace.

"When I was in Europe, I was like a celebrity ... I did a lot of things for my family," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, recalling life before she was deported from Belgium.

"I was their hope, their joy. I was giving my parents feeding money. My elder brother's children, the four of them, I was also paying their school fees," said Betty from the one-bedroom home she shares with her brother's seven-strong family.

She said it was now difficult to stay in Nigeria,

"If I have my way, I will definitely go back," said Betty, who paid about 50,000 euros ($58,000) to a Nigerian madam in Europe over five years to work in the sex business.

Betty, who did not want to reveal her surname, said she earned thousands of euros in Europe, selling her body several times a day from street corners and a rented flat.


It came with its risks.

She injured her back after jumping out of a speeding car to escape one punter. Her flatmate disappeared after going to meet a client.

Florence also spoke of the dangers involved, recalling arriving to meet a client and finding 15 men waiting and always checking out which doors and windows could be escape routes.

But some women and their families remain willing to take the risks for the money that can support whole families in Nigeria.

Victor Irorere has two daughters, aged 18 and 21, who have both lived in Europe for at least four years and he knows work "with their bodies" but he relies on their earnings.

"They help me ... They often send money," said Irorere, 47, a bricklayer and father of 11, as he waited outside a juju priest's shrine in Benin, a live chicken struggling in his hand, to pay for a good luck spell for his daughters.

Kokunre Eghafona, a professor of sociology at the University of Benin who researches human trafficking, said the Oba's curse was not stopping but just changing patterns in the sex trafficking trade.

With traffickers and juju priests terrified of the misfortunes that might befall them as a result of the Oba's curse, girls and young women are instead raising their own funds to finance their journeys to Europe and beyond.

The United Nations this year recorded a sharp fall in the number of migrants reaching Europe by sea, with the biggest change in the once-busy channel between North Africa and Italy.

But experts said this was because traffickers have found a new market.

Middle Eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Oman, are now the new destinations of choice for Nigerians selling sex, according to Nduka Nwanwenne, Benin zonal commander of Nigeria's anti-trafficking agency (NAPTIP).

He said many of the girls are tricked into believing that they will be going to work as house maids and nurses, only to be forced into sex work, while others are going willingly.

"But you know when it comes to willingness, a victim is still a victim. There are some that don't know the extent of what they are going to do there. They don't know the extent of exploitation," Nwanwenne told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

($1 = 0.8556 euros)

Video - Nigerian women trafficked to Europe for prostitution at 'crisis level'

Kidnapped International Red Cross aid worker murdered in Nigeria

A female aid worker abducted in Nigeria's troubled northeast region has been killed, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Monday.

Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, 25, was kidnapped by suspected Boko Haram militants in March this year alongside two other ICRC aid workers during an attack on a military facility. 

At least three Nigerian aid workers were killed and three others were injured in the attack.
The ICRC condemned the killing and said it was "devastated" by the news.

"We are devastated by the murder of our colleague Saifura," said Eloi Fillion, head of ICRC delegation in Abuja.

"Saifura moved to Rann to selflessly help those in need. Our thoughts are with her family and other loved ones at this incredibly difficult time," he added.

The ICRC said it will not comment on the "motives or the details" surrounding the nurse's death, and called for the immediate release of the two aid workers still held by the group. 

"We urge those still holding our colleague Hauwa and Alice: release these women. Like Saifura, they are not part of the fight. They are a midwife and a nurse. They are daughters, a wife, and a mother -- women with families that depend on them," said Fillion.

"Their families and friends miss them dearly and will not give up the hope of seeing them again soon. There is no ideology or religious law that could justify doing any harm to them," he added.

Khorsa was working in the UNICEF clinic in Rann with internally displaced people in a remote town outside Maiduguri, in Nigeria's troubled north east region. 

Her death comes as a local publication reported it had obtained a video that showed the aid worker being shot by the militants.

In the video, the insurgents alleged the Nigerian government ignored messages and audios it had sent showing that the aid workers were still alive, according to the report.

The report also stated that the kidnappers threatened to kill the two remaining health workers and kidnapped schoolgirl Leah Sharibu, who remains in Boko Haram camp because she reportedly refused to denounce her Christian faith.

Around 3,000 aid workers, most of them Nigerian nationals, work in Nigeria's northeast.
Boko Haram fighters who have waged a decade-long war in the region regularly attack such camps with gunmen and suicide bombers.

Using an app to tackle food waste in Nigeria

"Going without food for any person, for any child - it's destabilising, it shakes you to your core. I remember being a child and going without food and being able to have just one good meal in a day."

Oscar Ekponimo's drive comes from a childhood fuelled by hunger. When his father got sick and couldn't work, the whole family went hungry.

But now this tech entrepreneur in Nigeria's capital Abuja thinks he has the answer to the problem of food inequality.

He's the inventor of an app called Chowberry which connects people to supermarket food that would ordinarily end up in the bin.

It has already been taken up by 35 retailers, NGOs (non-government organisations) and other organisations in the country.

At a supermarket in Abuja, a sales assistant unloads shelves filled with semolina, a type of milled flour, into shopping trolleys. He's preparing the products for collection by Thrifty Slayer - a charity that has bought these discounted items via Chowberry.

Discount products

As we stand in one of the aisles, Oscar takes out a tablet to show me how the technology works. "We have a system on this app that allows retailers to put information about products that are about to expire.

"These products are deeply discounted because the products are reaching the end of their shelf life.

"The food would ordinarily be thrown away by the retailers, but with our system they have a way of saving their losses," he adds.

"At the same time NGOs are able to take this food at a very reasonable price and acquire more food for distribution."

Currently anyone can order food at a discount online, although there are 15 charities with priority access who are able to to order larger quantities.

Chowberry has a list of their preferences and sends them updates when it receives the type of food the charities need for their food distribution programmes.

The supermarket that Oscar is showing me round was an early adopter of Chowberry when it launched two years ago.

"Some of the shops we work with have said they've managed to save 80% of what they used to throw away," he tells me.

A study commissioned by the United Nations indicates that globally, one-third of food produced for consumption is lost or wasted.

This amounts to 1.3 billion tonnes a year. UN figures also suggest that one in nine of us across the globe go to bed on an empty stomach - despite there being enough food in the world.

Oscar's ability to relate to the problem is at the heart of his mission to reach those living on extremely low incomes, right at the bottom of the pyramid.

"They don't have access to smartphones, so the connecting entity is the NGOs," says Oscar.

Thrifty Slayer is one of the many charities and NGOs that buys discounted products for its food distribution programmes through the Chowberry app.

Its programmes are funded by selling donated second-hand clothing online but Ijeoma Nwizu, Thrifty Slayer's founder, says Chowberry helps the charity's funds go much further.

"We started feeding about 40 people, but then the community kept growing. Now we feed them and neighbouring communities - about 200 people every Sunday," she says.

"As the numbers of people we feed increased we started to look for ways to keep our costs low. The good thing about partnering with Chowberry is the availability of food in the quantities we need them."

UN figures show over 14 million people in Nigeria are classified as undernourished.

Hunger is a major problem according to Amara Nwankpa, director of public policy at the Shehu Musa Yar'Adua Foundation, an organisation campaigning for food security.

"I think the challenges we face with food supply and access represents an opportunity for innovators. We have no choice but to innovate our way out of this situation," says Amara.

"Most times I get emotional about it. I get a sense of fulfilment that a simple idea can reach people in a real way. But the feelings are mixed," says Oscar during a visit to Pyakasa, a small dusty town surrounded by mountains on the outskirts of Abuja where a feeding programme is under way.

On the days we are there, around 50 people, mainly women and children, were queuing for lunch. We were told that for most of them, this would have been their biggest meal all week.

"The challenge is to scale up, that's where our work is cut out for the next few years," says Oscar. "I'm in it for the long haul, as long as there's the value chain of food there will always be food floating around."

Food waste is a huge problem and this entrepreneur has global aspirations for his simple solution.

He hopes that once it makes inroads in Nigeria and across Africa, it will go on to transform the lives of people around the world.

Nigeria's undercover atheists

Denouncing God can be a dangerous thing in Nigeria, where religion is the rhythm of life.

Atheism, considered blasphemy by many, is a largely underground movement that's hard to quantify but increasingly reported among millennials.

Atheists come together in private on WhatsApp groups and use pseudonyms on social media sites to share ideas.

The Nigerian population of nearly 200 million is split almost evenly between Muslims and Christians with sizeable followers of traditional spirituality.

"As a clergyman, this makes me sad that today we have people in Nigeria going in for atheism," Gideon Obasogie, a Roman Catholic cleric tells A Jazeera. "The effect of this will be terrible. For one who says there is no God, he can do all kinds of horrible things … I feel this will lead to anarchy and chaos. The rise of atheism in Nigeria is not wonderful news."

In recent months, Nigerian atheists have registered three pro-secular organisations: Atheist Society of Nigeria, the Northern Nigerian Humanist Association and the Nigerian Secular Society.

"We need these organisations as a space for people to come out," says Mubarak Bala, who helped to register the groups.

Bala attracted media attention in 2014 after being admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Kano by his parents when they found out he was atheist.

He says his father and uncles held him down for 30 minutes and forced him to take medications given by the psychiatrist, who told him "everyone needs God".

"People began secretly contacting me, telling me that they too, don't believe in Allah. Even Christians told me they don't think Jesus is God and they just have questions about the whole religion thing," Bala said.

Most keep their beliefs secret.

Bala is the only atheist who allowed Al Jazeera to use his real name.

Al Jazeera travelled to three cities - Kano, Kaduna and Abuja - to meet some "undercover" atheists in their twenties and thirties.

Kenneth: 'My family told me I am possessed'

"I grew up a rebel. I grew up a black sheep in the family. If I go to church, I go because I am forced to go to church.

I've never believed anything, so at a point, the pastor of the church I was attending with my family told me that I am possessed with an evil spirit because I was always questioning God and the Bible.

As an atheist in Nigeria, you will be ostracised.

Up to today, I have many people who keep their distance from me simply because I ask a lot of critical questions about religion. Many of them don't even know I'm now an atheist."

Jiddah: 'I realised Islam didn't have my interest as a woman'

"I've always had questions, unanswered questions right from childhood.

It's not like I was the ideal Muslim girl, because I did a lot of things that Islam did not permit me to do such as wearing men's clothing - meaning trousers - going clubbing, having premarital sex.

Basically, I realised Islam didn't really have my interest as a woman. As a child at the Islamic school, I would always ask, 'Where is God? Why can't we see him or her?'

What I got was a beating, serious flogging because you shouldn't ask such questions.

The breakthrough came I guess when I met Mubarak [Bala]. I found him on Facebook and I sent him a friend request.

(Note: Before receiving death threats, Jiddah said she would use the site to criticise Islam and had 8,000 followers. She has now closed her account.)

Then, we began to talk about religion. Mubarak would say, 'It's just like me telling you there's a cat right here and you can't see it. Why would you believe anything like that?'

So gradually, I just rid myself of that belief in God and it's been liberating.

But it's heartbreaking because you really want to talk to your friends about these things and explain to them because you want them to feel what you feel. But you just can't."

Shehu: 'A scholar can declare you an apostate'

"In Islam, I used to see stuff that didn't correspond with reality. I tried to study Islam but I kept seeing more and more things that I just couldn't believe I was reading.

I went to school in Malaysia and learned about intellectualism and what I learned blew my mind. I was learning about science that broke down the myths of religion. Things just became clear.

I came out and told my father, thinking he would understand. It backfired.

We come from an Islamic royal family in northern Nigeria.

My dad, he went to the NGO I was working at. He was a board member and told them to fire me. So they did.

Then he brought a woman for me to marry so I could just conform and be normal.

My dad prevents me from telling anyone about my beliefs. Here in Nigeria, a Mallam - a respected Islamic scholar - can declare you an apostate as an atheist and order you to be killed, just like that. So I'm undercover."

Peter: 'Why is it that Christianity had to come through conquest?'

"My mother was quite religious. Every Sunday, we'd go to a Catholic church.

The religion, Christianity itself, came in through several tools. Slavery, colonialism and of course, the subtle colonialism, which is missionary style.

So my question has always been, why is it that something that I need had to come through in such an inhumane way? Why is it that it had to come through conquest?

Some people were put to the sword and they had to take it whether they liked it or not.

For my safety … if folks find out I'm an atheist, I could lose out on work opportunities (Peter is an IT professional). If people here in Nigeria find out I'm atheist, I think that would be the death of my reputation. Religion is a scam."

Freeman: 'The killings here over religion do not help'

"The killings that happen so much here in Nigeria over religion do not help.

I came back home one day from school and I learned that a lot of houses had been brought down by our people, Muslims, just thinking that they did that for God.

I watched somebody being burned to death on the road. I was coming back from school. I actually had friends, my Muslim friends, who went out to kill Christians and they asked me to join them and they actually believe they were doing it for God.

They said it's God's wish. They said that's what God wants them to do and that it's also what the Quran says. It really makes me upset."

Nasir: 'My father said I should leave or he'll kill me'

"I am against Islam entirely. Not just the way it's practised, but against it fully.

My parents, they know I don't believe in God.

My father is an Islamic scholar and one day he called me and my mum, and he asked if it was true, [if] what he was hearing about me being an atheist is true. I said yes.

So, he brought out a knife. He wanted to kill me. I was telling him, 'Wait let me explain to you.'

He said, 'How can you explain to me?'

I was scared actually and we were struggling, me and him. Then my mother seized the knife. My father said I should leave the house or he'll kill me at night. So I left the house and started living at my workplace.

My father sent me away and then a relative talked to him and told him I changed my mind and told him that I'm no longer an atheist. But my father knows that's not true.

Some of my relatives keep me away from their children because they say I will corrupt them."

Ayuba: 'It would break my mother's heart if she knew'

"My mother will call me and say, 'Have you been giving your tithes to the church?'

Like, if you don't pay, then you're stealing from God and God will punish you for that. So, it's like a way of indoctrinating people, trying to put fear in people.

I grew up in ECWA (Evangelical Church Winning All, formerly known as Evangelical Church of West Africa).

The whole story of the Bible and creation, I don't know. My mother, it would break her heart if she knew I am atheist."
"I told my father that I don't believe in prayers any more. He was grooming me to become a mallam, an Islamic scholar, like him.

He never encouraged me to go to Western schools. Even when I went to university, I just did it on my own.

He started preaching against me a few years ago.

He's an Islamic scholar so people listen to him. Him preaching against me, you know, someone could take action to harm me.

In his sermons, he would say, 'Just imagine, my son went to Western school so now he believes there is no creator. He thinks he is smarter than all of us and he gets his notions from a computer,' because he used to see me on the computer.

I see my father and other religious people as victims of their beliefs. I had to stop going to my family house."

These interviews were edited for clarity and length. 
All of the interviewees' names, aside from those in the introduction, have been changed to protect their safety. They also requested their ages were not published, out of fear of being identified.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Video - Nigeria's finance minister resigns over forged certificate

Nigeria's finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, has reportedly resigned following allegations that she forged her National Youth Service certificate. Adeosun has been under immense pressure to resign. A court hearing over the matter has been scheduled for early next month.

Video - Nigerian women, children clean Lagos beach for World Clean Up Day

Nigerian women and children have also come together to pick up plastic waste from a beach in Lagos. The initiative was organized by Kids beach Garden Club - an initiative under a local non-profit organization. Organisers say the event was meant to impart conservation and environmental values in the young minds.

Flooding in Nigeria leaves at least 100 dead

More than 100 people have died in floods after Nigeria's two major rivers burst their banks, authorities say.

The National Emergency Management Agency (Nema) says heavy rains caused the Niger River and Benue River to overflow.

It has resulted in a series of floods across the country over two weeks, with rural areas most vulnerable.

The government is urging residents along waterways to relocate to safe places.

Thousands of people have been displaced and vast swathes of farmlands have been destroyed by the floods in central and southern Nigeria, says the BBC's Is'haq Khalid in the capital, Abuja.

Worst hit is Niger State, where more than 40 people have died, Nema director Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja told the BBC.

Eleven other states have been affected - they are Kwara, Benue, Kogi, Adamawa, Taraba, Kebbi, Bayelsa, Edo, Anambra, Rivers and Delta.

Nigerian authorities are considering declaring a state of emergency, saying more floods could hit in the coming days and weeks as heavy rains continue.

Nigeria faces flooding almost every year.

Analysts blame recurring flood disasters on lack of proper town planning, blocked waterways and poor drainage systems.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Nigeria's Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun resigns

Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, has resigned sources close to her told Daily Trust.

It is not clear when she submitted her resignation letter.

According to our source, the resignation followed the allegation of not serving the compulsory National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, and obtaining a certificate that the NYSC have disowned.

The minister felt that her position is becoming untenable and is hurting the President in the run up to the 2019 election.

Nigeria appoints new head of intelligence

Nigeria has appointed a new head of the country's intelligence agency, after his predecessor was sacked when security operatives blockaded parliament.

The presidency said on Thursday evening that Yusuf Magaji Bichi has taken over from Lawal Musa Daura as director-general of the Department of State Services.

Daura -- a key ally of President Muhammadu Buhari -- was dismissed after ordering what the government called the "unauthorised takeover" of the National Assembly in early August.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said at the time the actions, which prevented lawmakers from entering parliament, were "a gross violation of constitutional order" and the rule of law.

The DSS under Daura was often accused of high-handedness and abuses against perceived political opponents of the Buhari administration.

The blockade came after the leader of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, defected to the main opposition from the ruling party.

Saraki, who has been at loggerheads with the executive since he took up the post in 2015, has since declared his intention to stand for president next year.

Buhari's office said the new spy chief was a "core secret service operative" who began his career with the Nigerian Security Organisation (NSO), the forerunner of the DSS.

Nigeria is facing multiple security threats, including from Boko Haram, where there is mounting concern about its IS-backed faction after a string of recent attacks on the military.

Security services are also stretched by a flare-up of violence in the long-running resources conflict between farmers and herders in central states.

There remain lingering threats to oil and gas infrastructure from militants in the southern Niger Delta region.

Gunmen in Nigeria kill 11 people in a cinema

Gunmen have attacked a cinema in Nigeria's north-western Zamfara State, killing 11 people and injuring more than 20, witnesses and hospital sources told the BBC.

The suspected armed bandits opened fire at a village hall, where residents gather at night to watch films.

The cinema-goers panicked, many escaped with multiple gunshot wounds or broken bones, according to witnesses.

Amnesty International has warned about the escalating violence in the area.

It is not clear why the cinema was targeted, but villages in Zamfara State have come under heavy attack from armed bandits in recent months.

Witnesses say the attackers arrived in the village of Badarawa on foot on 12 September before heading to the hall, known as a viewing centre.

Hospital sources says some of the victims' injuries are life-threatening, while the dead have already been buried.

The police say security personnel have been deployed to track down the assailants.

Nearly 400 people have been killed in the state this year amid an increase in robbery, killings, and kidnappings for ransom, according to the rights group Amnesty.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Nigeria has best economy in Africa according to Forbes

A major research firm, Forbes Africa has rated Nigeria as the 2018 best economy in Africa.

According to Forbes, Nigeria came top with $172 billion, which was followed by South Africa with $166.735 billion. Also on the list was Egypt as third with $78 billion, Algeria with $66, Libya :$65, Botswana: $22.675, Ghana :$20.458 Morocco :$18, Ivory Coast :$11 and Madagascar with $6.766 billion.

Nigeria’s West-African neighbours, Ghana, is seventh with $20.458, Morocco is eighth with $18 billion, Ivory Coast is ninth with $11 billion while Madagascar is tenth with $6.766 billion.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Video - Nigeria's external debt hits a record $11.7 billion

Nigeria's debt to international creditors has increased to a record 11-point 7-billion dollars in three years, according to the country's Debt Management Office. Despite this, the country still struggles to provide decent roads, running water and uninterrupted electricity to its growing population. CGTN's Phil Ihaza takes a look at some of the reasons why.

Video - Nigerian authorities call for ban on gas sales in crowded areas

To Nigeria now, where state authorities are pushing for a ban on the sale of gas in crowded areas. It follows Monday's deadly explosion at a filling station in the central town of Lafia. At least 35 people have been killed and more than a hundred badly burned.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Video - Nigerian entrepreneur introduces ready-made headwrap

The Gele is a traditional Nigerian Headwrap. It is worn during special occasions.The head accessory is usually made out of heavy or stiff fabric that can be wrapped and moulded into a specific shape. Nigerian Designer Toyosi Ande is producing ready- made headwraps--revolutionizing the popular style for fashion conscious women everywhere.

Video - Many feared dead after filling station blast in Nigeria's Lafia town

An unknown number of people are believed to have been killed in an explosion at a filling station in the central Nigerian town of Lafia. Scores are reportedly badly burned. It's not clear yet what caused the explosion. Local media reports suggest there was a leak in a pipe from a tanker offloading liquefied natural gas. Others claim a spark at the fuel station caused the blast. There are conflicting reports of the death toll. The injured are being treated at hospitals in Lafia. Emergency services have been praised for their rapid response to the explosion.

Video - Nigeria gets first Netflix Original starring Genevieve Nnaji

International TV streaming service, Netflix, is making its headway to Africa gradually. The company recently entered the Nigerian market by acquiring the world rights to Genevieve Nnaji’s Lion Heart film.

The movie will be showing on Netflix international platforms. The movie is Genevieve Nnaji’s first movie to direct. Lion Heart also premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada where Kenya’s Rafiki movie will also be screening.

Netflix already has several South African shows on its platform. Kenya might be next to this growing company.

35 dead in gas tanker explosion in Nigeria

At least 35 people were killed on Monday and hundreds were injured when a gas tanker exploded in the northern Nigerian state of Nasarawa, an emergency services official said.

The accident happened as the truck was unloading at a gas station along the Lafia-Makurdi road linking the capital city, Abuja, with northern and southern Nigeria, said Usman Ahmed, acting director of the State Emergency Management Agency.

The agency was investigating the explosion, he said.

“We have confirmed 35 dead and over a hundred injured,” Mr. Ahmed said. “Most of those that died rushed to the accident spot to see what was happening.”

In June, at least nine people were killed in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, when a gasoline tanker caught fire and burned 53 other vehicles.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Amateur rugby players in Nigeria train hoping to qualify for World Cup

A former Nigerian rugby player has returned home from overseas to help develop the sport in the country with an eye on international competitions. Unlike football, Rugby is yet to make its mark in Nigeria.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Video - Nigerian FA bans coach Salisu Yussuf over bribery scandal

We begin with a developing story from Nigeria. The country's Football Association has banned Salisu Yussuf, the Chief Coach of the country's senior national team the Super Eagles, after he was caught on camera accepting a thousand-dollar bribe.

Video - MTN woes over massive fine imposed by Nigeria

In 2015 MTN was slapped with a $5.2b fine for failing to register SIM cards on time in Nigeria. MTN eventually paid a reduced $1.7b to Nigerian authorities in late 2017. But the Nigeria Central Bank is now demanding a further $8b; this time for dividends it claims shouldn't have been taken out of the country.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Nigeria slams MTN with $2bn tax bill

Nigeria has asked mobile phone operator MTN to pay a $2bn (£1.6bn) tax bill, the company says.

MTN challenged the figure, saying it related to activities over the past decade. It said it had settled the bill with a $700m payment.

The tax demand is the latest in a series of disputes between MTN and Nigeria, the company's largest market.

In 2016 it agreed to pay Nigeria $1.7bn over failing to disconnect unregistered Sim cards.

Last week, Nigeria's Central Bank ordered the company to repatriate $8bn it said had been taken out of the country illegally.

MTN, Africa's largest mobile phone company, said the tax bill had emerged from an investigation by Nigeria's attorney general and related to "the importation of foreign equipment and payments to foreign suppliers over the last 10 years".

But, it added, "MTN Nigeria believes it has fully settled all amounts owing under the taxes in question".

Shares in the company on the Johannesburg stock exchange fell sharply on Tuesday's news, reaching a low of almost 10 years.

NFF bans assistant coach for accepting bribe

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has banned coach Salisu Yusuf for a year and fined him US$5000.

The sanctions were imposed on Yusuf, 56, following an NFF investigation into bribery allegations.

He was caught on camera taking cash from men posing as football agents, who requested that two players be selected for a continental championship.

The names of the players were not disclosed and Yusuf has denied any wrongdoing.

He appeared before an NFF ethics committee in the capital Abuja on Thursday.

The probe was prompted by footage captured by Ghanaian investigative journalist Anas Aremayaw Anas and handed to the BBC's Africa Eye investigation programme.

The committee said the ban was from "all football-related activities at both national and international level" adding that "an appeal against the decision can be made to the NFF Appeals Committee".

An NFF said in a statement "found as a fact from the documentary and video evidence before it, that he accepted the cash gift of $1,000.

"[He] Offered by Tigers Player's Agency, an undercover reporter, purportedly interested in acting on behalf of Players Osas Okoro and Rabiu Ali, for their inclusion in the list of players for 2018 CHAN Competition in Morocco."

He insisted at the time that the money was a gift and that the players were selected on merit and he is yet to say whether he will appeal the sanctions.

"There is nothing in the allegation pointing to a demand for the money from the agents of the two principals. Rather, the agent only handed the money to me after expressing 'hope' that the principals would play in the Championship," he said in a right of reply.

"Be that as it may, I did accept cash handed to me by one of the said football agents, which I later discovered, upon checking, to be $750 and not $1000."

Yusuf was assistant to Gernot Rohr at the recent World Cup in Russia and led the Nigeria to the final of this year's Championship of African Nations (CHAN) in Morocco.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Video - Nigeria's move to ease business

Francis Okolie had been operating his interior decoration firm without any formal registration for two years. He says the business was struggling until he decided to make the company official.

Boko Haram attack Nigeria base - 48 dead

The number of military personnel killed in a Boko Haram attack on an army post in Nigeria's northeast has risen to 48, according to sources.

The attack took place late on Thursday when scores of fighters in trucks stormed the base at Zari village in Borno state and briefly captured it after intense fighting.

"The casualty toll now stands at 48 with the recovery of 17 more bodies of soldiers in surrounding bushes in Zari by search and rescue teams," a Nigerian military source told AFP news agency.

More bodies are likely to be recovered as search and rescue missions continue.

Boko Haram took weapons and military equipment before they were pushed out of the base by soldiers with aerial support.

Increased attacks on military

More than 20,000 people have been killed since Boko Haram launched an armed campaign in northeast Nigeria nearly a decade ago. Over two million others have been forced from their homes.

In recent months, the armed group has intensified attacks on military targets.

On July 14, Boko Haram fighters overran a military base in Jilli village, in Yobe state, when dozens of troops were said to be been killed, wounded or missing.

Soldiers and civilians have also been targeted in separate attacks in neighbouring Chadand Niger.

The assaults appear to undermine repeated claims by the Nigerian military that Boko Haram had been defeated.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Video - Germany, Nigeria vow to combat illegal migration

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari have affirmed their commitment to fighting illegal migration. The German Chancellor met with President Buhari on Friday, in the last leg of her trip to three African countries. Speaking at a joint news conference in Abuja---Merkel emphasised the need to create economic opportunities for young Nigerians to reduce their motivation for leaving their home country. There are currently around 8,600 Nigerians in Germany, who have been denied asylum. Germany wants those who are rejected to return to Nigeria.

Video - Nigeria hosts beauty pageant advocating for girls education

In Nigeria, education activists are using a beauty contest to advocate for the welfare of the girl child. The Polo international beauty contest premiered this week in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

Video - Nigeria looking to broaden its relations with China

Nigeria is looking to broaden its relations with China to rip maximum benefits.