Friday, December 7, 2018

Nigeria is third most terrorised country in the world

Nigeria, for the fourth consecutive year, occupies the third position among countries worst hit by terrorism, globally, according to the 2018 ranking on terrorism. This has been blamed on the activities of Boko Haram and herdsmen.

Apart from 2014 when Nigeria was ranked fourth, it has remained in the unenviable third position in the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) ranking since 2015.

Mixed reactions have trailed the report. While former vice president and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, said the country’s ranking in terrorism shows the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) failed promises, the APC said report was far from reality.

In the latest report released on Wednesday, Iraq, a country in the Middle-East, is ranked first, a position it has held since 2014. Afghanistan has ranked second since 2013. Syria and Pakistan are ranked fourth and fifth respectively.

Others among the top 10 countries worst hit by terrorism in 2017 are Somalia (6th), India (7th), Yemen (8th), Egypt (9th), and Philippines (10th).

The good news, however, is that there has been a reduction in the number of deaths caused by terrorism in Nigeria in 2017, just like the other three preceding years, according to the report

“When compared to the peak of terrorist deaths in 2014, the largest falls in
the number of deaths occurred in Iraq, Nigeria, and Pakistan, with falls of 6,466, 5,950, and 912 deaths respectively,” said the 2018 GTI report.

The report said deaths from terrorism in Nigeria fell to 1,532 in 2017, a decrease of 16 per cent from the prior year.

There were 63 per cent and 34 per cent drop in deaths in the country in 2016 and 2015 respectively, according to the report.

“This highlights the effectiveness of the counterinsurgency operations undertaken in Nigeria and its neighbours, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad,” the report said, adding that the world has also experienced a drop in deaths from terrorism in 2017.

The GTI, while analysing global trends in terrorism in 2017, described the reduction in deaths in Nigeria and Iraq “the most dramatic.”

Boko Haram attacks, the report said, have substantially reduced in Chad and other neighbouring countries; and Al-Shabaab, in 2017, overtook Boko Haram as the deadliest terror group in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The GTI report raised concern over the killings by herdsmen, saying terrorism was shifting from Nigeria’s North-East region to the country’s Middle-Belt.

The report said: “In Nigeria in 2018, there has been a dramatic increase in violence involving Fulani extremists even as deaths committed by Boko Haram are falling.

“In 2018 alone, deaths committed by nomadic Fulani herders are estimated to be six times greater than the number committed by Boko Haram.

“In 2017, 327 terrorism deaths across Nigeria and Mali were reportedly committed by Fulani extremists, along with 2,501 additional deaths in the three years prior with the vast majority of these deaths being civilians.

“While deaths (killings) committed by Fulani extremists decreased following the peak of 1,169 deaths in 2014, violence from the group in 2018 is expected to surpass that peak. Nearly 1,700 violent deaths have been attributed to the Fulani Ethnic Militia from January to September 2018. An estimated 89 per cent of those killed were civilians.”

According to the report, two, out of 20 most fatal terrorist attacks, occurred in Nigeria. One was on March 20, 2017, when assailants identified as “Fulani extremists” opened fire at a market in Zaki Ibiam, Benue State killing 73 people. The other was on July 25, 2017, when Boko Haram terrorists opened fire on a Frontier Exploration Services team convoy at Jibi, killing 60 people.

The GTI, which is in its sixth edition, is produced annually by the Institute for Economics & Peace, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank with offices in Sydney, New York, and Mexico City.

Reacting to Nigeria’s rating, former Vice President Atiku has described this as a function of the failure of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to keep its campaign promises to Nigerians.

Atiku, who is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate for the 2019 polls, said it was unfortunate that the present administration could not deliver on its campaign promise to secure the country.

Speaking through his media aide, Paul Ibe, the former Vice President noted that that is the more reason Nigerians cannot take the APC serious in the run-up to the 2019 polls.

According to him, “it is very clear that this coincides with the era of the APC led administration. Again, it is also a confirmation of their failed promises. They have failed on economy. They have failed on alleviating poverty. They have again, failed on security. Then
you ask yourself without security, what can we do? That explains why every nook and cranny – the North West, the North Central, the North East, the South South – everywhere is a theatre of one war or the other.

He said: “It is not about promises. It is about policies. That is why we are different from them. You look at the well articulated policy, which Atiku has reeled out; it is a framework, and Nigerian are interrogating it. And security is an integral part of it.” In its reaction, the APC has dismissed the report, describing it as rating faraway from the reality on ground.

According to National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the rating was wrong, stressing that Nigerians who are on ground have the accurate rating.

Said he: “We cannot join issues with people far away from the reality. Nigerians have their own rating because Nigerians who could not move freely in Abuja before the APC came in have their rating. The residents of Abuja formerly perpetually under fears of insurgents attack have their ratings. People of the North East have their own rating because they understand the difference between when they could not even live in Borno or Yobe and Adamawa states and now. They know that insurgency has been degraded to the extent that they don’t have any community under their control.”

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Nigeria arrest 'fake first lady'

A woman who used various false identities to gain access to Nigeria's presidential complex to allegedly run business scams has been arrested.

The secret service said Amina Mohammed initially posed as Kogi state's first lady to gain entry to the presidential villa in the capital, Abuja.

She then allegedly invited people to the villa making them believe it was at the invitation of the president's wife.

At a press briefing about the arrest, Ms Mohammed shouted: "It is a lie."

Peter Afunanya, a spokesman for Nigeria's domestic spy agency, known as the Department of State Security (DSS), told reporters the scandal took place while First Lady Aisha Buhari was out of the country in November 2017.

Wealthy businessman Alexander Chika Okafor, invited to the the presidential villa by Ms Mohammed, accused her of defrauding him of 150m naira ($414,000, £323,000) over a property deal in the main city, Lagos, the secret service spokesman said.

"Investigation has shown that this unholy enterprise is not to the knowledge of the first lady," Mr Afunanya said.

Ms Mohammed "took advantage of the fact that personalities such as first ladies, ministers and certain categories of officials are not taken through rigorous protocols and security checks at the villa posts", he added.

The BBC's Ishaq Khalid in Abuja says the security breach is shocking as the presidential complex, known as Aso Rock, is well guarded by the DSS and police officers.

All staff working there have to have passes, that include biometric data, and all visitors need to be signed in, he says.

In September, the DSS arrested one of the first lady's aides for allegedly raising funds under false pretences. He denies the allegations.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who faces re-election in February, came into office promising to tackle the "enormous" scale of corruption in Nigeria.

Arrest warrant issued for Nigeria ex-oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke

Nigeria’s main anti corruption body has issued an international arrest warrant for its former oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The authorities accuse her of misappropriating public funds worth several millions of US dollars.

Alison-Madueke is currently being investigated in the United Kingdom but Nigeria wants her to face trial in her country for an alleged act of illegal acceptance and giving gratifications.


The former Nigerian Minister in charge of oil is currently in London. She is to appear before Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on February 25, 2019.

Alison-Madueke is also associated with alleged money laundering cases in several countries like the United States and Italy.

She’s been released on bail from the British courts, which arrested her in 2015 and seized her passports.

Alison-Madueke, was oil minister of former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan from 2010 to 2015.

She became the first woman to lead the organization of oil exporting countries (OPEC).

President Muhamadu Buhari pledged to fight corruption when he assumed office as president of Africa’s most populous nation in 2015.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Video - Striking teachers, rigid government and students’ misery in education in Nigeria



It has been nearly a month since the students of government universities in Nigeria have had any class. For, the teachers have been on a strike protesting funding for education in the country. While those who can afford are moving towards private institutions, those who can’t are staring at an uncertain future as the deadlock between the government and the teachers continues.

Nigerian Moses Peter becomes 2018 Africa Scrabble Champion

Just as the Super Falcons overcame South Africa to win the Africa Women Cup of Nations football title in Ghana on Saturday, Nigeria’s Scrabble national team captain, Moses Peter, also emerged the new Africa Scrabble Champion in the 13th edition of the championship held at the Resort Centre, Kiriyangi, Kenya at the weekend.

The Africa tournament, which featured seven countries that included Nigeria, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia with 62 players in attendance, saw Nigeria once again stamping its feet at the African scrabble scene by retaining both the individual and country titles for the 12th time.

Peter proved beyond reasonable doubt that he was the world second best player and Africa’s number one scrabble player when he defeated his opponents after game 30 of the just concluded Africa Scrabble Championship.

The national scrabble coach, Anthoney Ikolo, commended the 11 players that took part in the Africa championship and for giving their best and flying high the nation’s flag in Kenya.

He noted that the country’s representatives would not relent in dominating the continent in the game scrabble in Africa, adding that Nigeria’s success in the East Africa country could be attributed to hard work and determination to succeed by the players.

President Muhammadu Buhari denies death and body double rumours

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has denied rumours that he had died and had been replaced by a lookalike.

Some people thought he had been "cloned", but "it's [the] real me, I assure you," Mr Buhari said.

Rumours that he had been replaced with a body double called "Jubril" from Sudan had been widely shared online.

The 76-year-old Mr Buhari, who is seeking re-election in February next year, has been beset by ill health since taking office in 2015.

He was on "medical leave" in the UK for three months in 2017.

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

According to an AFP Fact Check investigation the rumours began late last year and have appeared on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Posts promoting the rumours have been viewed more than 500,000 times.

A former aide to Mr Buhari's predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, is among the high profile individuals who have promoted the rumours.

Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of secessionist group Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), has also been fuelling the rumours, AFP found.

In one instance, Mr Kanu shared two images of Mr Buhari, one reversed, to allege that the Nigerian leader, who is right-handed, was using his left hand - "proving" that that meant he was a body double.

One of Nigeria's main newspapers, Guardian, published a story in November about the rumours which the paper said "has refused to go away".

A scene from the 1997 film "Face/Off" has also been used by those promoting the rumours to show how a dead Buhari's face could have been transplanted to a body double.

Mr Buhari, who is in Poland attending a UN climate change conference, was asked about the rumours during a meeting on Sunday with Nigerians in the country.

Mr Buhari said those spreading the rumours about his health and identity were ''ignorant and irreligious.''

''A lot of people hoped that I died during my ill health. Some even reached out to the vice-president to consider them to be his deputy because they assumed I was dead.

"That embarrassed him a lot and of course, he visited me when I was in London convalescing… It's [the] real me; I assure you,'' Mr Buhari added.

A former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, 72, has emerged as Mr Buhari's main challenger in next year's election.

The opposition is expected to make the president's health a major campaign issue, but he insists he is healthy and fit to serve a second term.