Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Video - Nigeria you've probably never seen before revealed

Nigeria has long been known as the giant of Africa for its abundant resources, exploding population, and cultural influence. In this informational documentary; PenresaTV takes you on a journey to discover the vast potential of the nation's thriving industries and wondrous beauty.

Biafra dream lives on in underground radio broadcasts in Nigeria

Every evening as five o’clock approaches, the clogged, perpetually dusty streets of this industrial city in southeast Nigeria begin to empty.

Groups of men just off work go inside, shut their doors and tune their radios to 102.1 FM.

Then an anthem begins to play, and a voice says “Kedu” — “how are you” in the Igbo language — to welcome listeners to the daily broadcast of Radio Biafra.

For the next 90 minutes, hosts and various guests proselytize for the revival of an old dream: the creation of an independent state called Biafra.

The broadcasts, conducted live from an undisclosed location in Nigeria, are illegal, and the group behind them — the Indigenous People of Biafra, or IPOB — has been classified by the government as a terrorist organization since 2017. Its leaders say they eschew violence and want a peaceful settlement of the issue through a national referendum.

Activists say people caught listening to the station have been arrested or beaten. But many residents here say they are willing to take the risk.

Radio Biafra is a daily reminder of the bloody civil war that ravaged Nigeria between 1967 and 1970. The conflict started when a Nigerian military general, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, declared an independent state of Biafra. It ended after more than a million deaths, mostly from starvation after the government imposed a food blockade on the region.

Ultimately, the rebels surrendered and the area was reintegrated into Nigeria under the government motto “No Victor, No Vanquished.”

But the memory of the brutal war looms large in Aba, feeding enthusiasm for the broadcasts despite extremely long odds that Biafra will ever come to be.

The main host is a man who goes by the name Emma Powerful and dedicates much of his airtime to railing against the government and organizing protests such as a short-lived boycott of national elections earlier this year.

Stay home “to make an everlasting impression on the world stage that we Biafrans are prepared to sacrifice everything,” he instructed listeners. “Anybody or family found outside on election day will perpetually suffer the ignominy of being labeled a traitor.”

Much of the radio station’s wrath is directed at President Muhammadu Buhari, who was reelected in February and has said that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable, shutting the door on any discussions about a referendum.

Buhari is from the Muslim-dominated north.

The supporters of Biafran independence are from the southeast, mostly from the Igbo ethnic group, which numbers about 29 million people, or about 14% of the the country’s population.

Many Igbo people feel marginalized by the government far away in the capital, Abuja, and resent the heavy military presence in the region.

In 2016, Amnesty International accused the Nigerian military of embarking on a “chilling campaign of extrajudicial executions and violence” that resulted in the death of at least 150 peaceful pro-Biafra protestors over the course of a year.

The Nigerian military denied the claims, with Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar calling the report part of “a series of spurious fabrications aimed at tarnishing the good image of the Nigerian military.”

Outside experts and some locals suggested in interviews that tensions were on the rise.

“We feel like slaves in our own land,” says Victor Smith, a 23-year-old university student living in the city of Enugu. “It’s only a matter of time until [the army] pushes and people push back. We are getting stretched to the limit.”

Smith, who studies political science, said he listens to Radio Biafra, but has mixed feelings about it. He said he would like more discussion of the concrete policies he thinks will be necessary for a new state to function.

“What about policy discussions? Trade agreements?” he said. “We are making plans to leave, but where are we going. How are we going?”

A frequent voice on Radio Biafra is its founder, 51-year-old Nnamdi Kanu, who is patched in from London. The station first aired in 2009, only to close because of financial difficulties. It was revived three years later, when Kanu founded IPOB.

In 2015, after Kanu told a conference in Los Angeles that his group needed guns and bullets, he was arrested by the Nigerian government and charged with criminal conspiracy, intimidation and membership of an illegal organization. Kanu’s lawyers said his comments were political rhetoric and not an actual call to arms, according to the Telegraph newspaper in London.

Kanu spent 19 months in prison without trial before being released on bail in 2017. Later that year, according to IPOB, the Nigerian army raided his palatial home in Abia state, where Aba is located, and killed several of his supporters. The army denied that the raid ever took place.

This January, Kanu tweeted that he was in Britain. He holds citizenship there and in Nigeria.

The Nigerian government at various points has claimed to have blocked Radio Biafra broadcasts by shutting down radio frequencies and seizing transmitters.

But any successes were short-lived, and the efforts have become fodder for more ridicule of the government, including criticism that it is failing in its fight against Boko Haram, which nobody disputes is a terrorist organization.

“The government is insistent on spending scarce resources on tracing and jamming Radio Biafra while northern Nigeria is terrorized by Boko Haram daily,” Powerful said in an interview.

Gauging support for the cause of Biafra is difficult, as is determining how many people tune into the radio broadcasts.

One listener is Julius Nwokorocha, who at age 21 was drafted by Ojukwu’s army to fight in the war and served until he was injured in an explosion.

Today at 72, he lives in a tiny cement bungalow in Aba and never misses a broadcast.

Nwokorocha doesn’t agree with everything he hears, but he believes that there needs to be a national conversation about independence for Biafra.

“We still don’t feel like a part of Nigeria,” he said. “The army said, ‘No victor, no vanquished,’ but look at the federal roads here in the east. Most of them are bad. It feels like we are punished every day.”

“Kanu says a lot of things that are impossible,” he said. “But if Biafra happens tomorrow, it will be one of the greatest countries in the world.”

The end of each broadcast means his day is complete.

Life begins to return to the city as listeners emerge from their homes and shops. In the beer parlors, arguments can be heard about the day’s show.



Monday, April 29, 2019

Video - Group nurtures young Nigerian girls into tech

While science and technology is still widely considered a man's field, a group in Nigeria is getting more girls into the sector, helping achieve gender parity in education and work environments. These young Nigerian girls have fallen in love with the technical education and are hoping to influence their environments positively with the education.

Video - Nigerian libraries look to engage more readers

Nigeria lags behind globally in having a vibrant reading culture, despite producing several internationally acclaimed authors like Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe.

British army trains Special Forces of Nigeria to combat terrorism

The Nigerian Air Force confirms that the British Military Assistant Training Team has assisted the Service in the training of Regiment personnel as well as over 2,000 Special Forces to enhance Force Protection capabilities of the Nigerian Air Force.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, made this known during the NAF Day 2019 Lecture on Saturday in Abuja. The Lecture is one of the activities lined up by the NAF to celebrate its 55th anniversary. The air chief noted that the Service has grown in size, spread, and equipment holding in a bid to fulfill its statutory obligations of protecting and defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria from the air. ”In the area of force protection, the British Military Assistant Training Team has assisted the Nigerian Air Force in the training of Regiment personnel as well as over 2,000 Special Forces to enhance Force Protection capabilities of the Nigerian Air Force,” he said.

Abubakar noted that the service was also doing so much in further developing and improving her capacity for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions. “This era also had the Nigerian Air Force expanding its reach through establishment of units in many of the troubled areas such as Zurmi Local Government of Zamfara, Nguroje in Taraba, Agatu in Benue among others.

Albeit, these efforts may not yield expected results if proper integration with sister Services; which form the Land and Sea components of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, is not achieved. The air chief said that the chosen theme is apt, relevant and timely in view of contemporary challenges the nation is facing.’ He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his continued show of uncommon commitment to meeting the needs of the Nigerian Air Force.

In his remarks, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, represented by Peter Ashibe, the Director Air Force, in the ministry of Defence, said the NAF had transformed over the years. Dan-Ali said “Appraising NAF activities in retrospect while keeping current realities in mind, it gives me great joy to note the speedy rate at which the NAF has metamorphosed into an efficient arm of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.’’

‘’ Its fortunes have steadily improved operationally and administratively to the extent that the Nigerian Air Force of today is progressively building capacity and capabilities to effectively respond to internal security challenges, while efficiently projecting air power in defence of Nigeria’s territorial integrity,’’ he said.

Army Recognition

Kidnapped Chinese workers freed in Nigeria

Two Chinese construction workers, who were abducted in Nigeria’s southeastern Ebonyi state last Wednesday, have been freed, police said on Monday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Loveth Odiah, police spokeswoman for the state, said the Chinese workers -- Sun Zhixin and Wang Quing Hu -- were released on Saturday.

They were kidnapped by masked armed gunmen on Wednesday in Ohaozara area of the state where they were constructing a bridge.

Odiah did not say whether any ransom had been paid or that their abductors were arrested.

She urged expatriates in the area to seek security cover to avoid such incidents in the future.

Meanwhile, the army has confirmed the kidnapping of two foreign oil workers at an oil rig in Abua-Odua area of southern River state.

Local media, quoting sources, said the abductees are a Canadian and a Scot, who were taken away on Saturday.

"The joint military task force has launched a manhunt for the kidnappers with a view to free the oil workers," army spokesman Ibrahim Abdullahi told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

He said the kidnappers were yet to contact the firm the expatriates work for, urging the oil companies to always provide extra security to their workers in the volatile area.


Women and Children face sexual violence in prisons in Nigeria

An Amnesty International investigation has exposed sexual violence against children and women by security agents and inmates at two high-security prison facilities in Borno State, Nigeria.

The harrowing violations took place at Maiduguri Maximum Security Prison and Giwa Barracks, where thousands of civilians arrested due to claimed links to the Boko Haram armed group are being held. Amnesty’s research also found that scores of children are being unlawfully detained alongside adults in Maiduguri Prison.

“This is another sad and disturbing case of human rights violations against civilians caught up in the Boko Haram crisis in northeast Nigeria,” said Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International’s Nigeria Director.

“It is inexcusable that children are subjected to such vile treatment under government care, and likewise it is intolerable that women are once again bearing the brunt of abuse by the Nigerian security forces that are meant to protect them.”

An Amnesty International research team visited Maiduguri earlier this month to investigate claims made by inmate Charles Okah – first documented by Sahara Reporters – that children were being abused and unlawfully detained in Maiduguri Prison.

Okah alleged that three children detained on death row in Maiduguri were among the many victims of sexual abuse.

Amnesty International has obtained court documents confirming that at least 68 children are being held in Maiduguri Prison. The organization also spoke to former Giwa Barracks child detainees who identified 39 of these children as their former cellmates at Giwa; a list that included names of the three young boys detained in the same area with death row inmates mentioned in Okah’s report.

The findings confirm that dozens of children are being held in the maximum security prison in connection with the Boko Haram crisis. According to Amnesty International’s findings, the 68 boys held in Maiduguri Prison were first detained without charge by the Nigerian military in Giwa Barracks before they were transferred between late 2016 and early 2017.

“The government has so far failed in its duty to protect these children and violated its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Osai Ojigho.

“The Nigerian government must ensure the immediate transfer of all children from Maiduguri prison and those who have not been charged with a recognizable criminal offence must be released. Children suspected of criminal responsibility should only be detained in children’s facilities. The detention of children in the same cells with adults is unacceptable.”

Amnesty International interviewed a Maiduguri Prison detainee as well as a former prison warder who both confirmed that sexual abuse of children was widespread in the prison. The detainee said he had observed the abuse of children by adult inmates.

“It is not a secret in the prison what is happening with the little boys,” said the detainee, who spoke to Amnesty International via a contact to protect his identity.

The source also told Amnesty that it was sometimes possible to hear what was happening in the stalls, and this confirmed his understanding that sexual assault was occurring.

“Sometimes, you see that a little boy goes into the toilet and immediately, an adult detainee goes after them, and when the boy comes out, you don’t need to be told what has happened to him.”

The Maiduguri Prison former warder, who was also too afraid to meet Amnesty International in person, confirmed that he had been aware of sexual abuse of children.

According to the former warder: “The condition there [in the prison] is not good for children and it is difficult to stop what is going on with the boys. The only way is for them to be taken out of there. What do you expect when you keep children with grown up men?”

Amnesty International also documented the sexual assault of a 16-year-old boy by an adult inmate in Giwa Barracks in or around January 2018, six months before all children were released from the facility.

At the time, children were being detained in a cell next to adult cells, making interactions with adult inmates inevitable. A former detainee told Amnesty International he had witnessed an adult inmate “trying to take the trousers off” a sleeping boy.

“A boy who saw it woke the boy that was being assaulted and, in the morning, it was reported to the soldiers,” said the eyewitness. It is understood the adult inmate was subsequently transferred a different cell, although no other steps were taken to protect the boys. This incident was confirmed to Amnesty International by the boy who had been assaulted, along with 15 male former detainees.

Immediately after Okah’s report was published, the Borno State governor announced he had set up a panel to investigate and submit its findings and recommendations within a week. However, there has been no word on its progress. Amnesty International called the Borno State Attorney General on phone but there was no response. A text message sent to his phone was not replied to. The organization also sent an email and text message to the spokesperson of the Borno State governor but no response was received.

“To detain children with adults in the full knowledge that they may be abused is despicable. Far from protecting these children from this abuse, the Nigerian authorities have created the enabling environment for it to thrive,” said Osai Ojigho.

“The authorities must ensure that the investigation into these allegations is prompt, independent and impartial, and that any prison officials or military members found responsible for human rights violations are brought to justice.”

Women raped at Giwa Barracks

Amnesty International researchers in Nigeria also uncovered fresh allegations that soldiers have raped women in the Giwa Barracks detention facility.

Three former female detainees independently said they had witnessed such attacks and identified 10 of the male soldiers responsible - including five who worked in the detention centre’s health clinic. Two of these former detainees were women who said they had been sexually violated themselves.

According to the eyewitnesses, at least 15 former female detainees were victims of rape, with soldiers demanding sex in exchange for food, soap, basic necessities and the promise of freedom.

One female former detainee told Amnesty International: “We knew them, all the women befriended by soldiers. They always had things we did not have, like soap, detergent and wrappers [clothing items]. Some of the women… had as many as 15 wrappers each [given by soldiers]. The soldiers also bought bread, beverages and other food for their ‘girlfriends’.”

A victim and former detainee explained that while the soldiers did not use physical force to make women have sexual relationships with them, it was not possible to refuse sex due to their circumstances. One woman told us she had a soldier “boyfriend” to survive her time in detention and access additional food. She said she knew of others.

Another former detainee said soldiers promised to get women released if they agreed to sex, such as in the case of a woman who became pregnant by a soldier.

“Since [the soldiers] were the ones that would call the names of those to be released, it was easy for them to substitute some names. The women knew that the soldier’s girlfriend was two months pregnant. So a night before they released some women, the soldier did documentation for her and the next morning her name was called among those to be released,” the former detainee said.

Last year, female former detainees at Giwa Barracks told Amnesty International about sexual violence in the detention centre. Amnesty International called for an investigation into these allegations in May 2018, but it is unclear if one has been carried out.

“Even in cases where detained women apparently consented, these acts constitute rape as the soldiers took advantage of a coercive environment in which the detainees had little choice but to have sex with them,” said Osai Ojigho.

“The soldiers held massive power over the women; they controlled much of women’s daily life in detention, they held the power to mete out arbitrary punishments on the one hand, or to provide desperately needed food and medicine on the other. And yet some abused this power. This is despicable behavior and the soldiers involved must be held accountable.”

“These latest testimonies follow a pattern of violation we have repeatedly documented in Nigeria’s prisons. It is time for President Buhari to act.”


On 23 March 2019, Sahara Reporters revealed details of a 30-page eyewitness report by Charles Okah which described a pattern of sexual violence perpetrated against women and young boys in the prison. According to the media report, there are at least 106 young boys aged between 11 and 17 in detention in the prison.

A Borno State government committee visited the prison shortly after its inauguration to investigate the allegations in the Okah report. Some prison officials were arrested but released the following day. Nothing has been heard of the committee since. Amnesty International is calling on the Borno State government to make public the committee’s findings.

The Nigerian Prisons Service denied the allegations of sexual violence at the Maiduguri Prison, saying a committee set up to investigate the allegations did not find evidence of sexual violence.

The Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Prisons Service said the service would not share the report with the organization for security reasons because the report contains other security concerns.

The official, however, suggested that children were being detained in the same area with adult inmates at the Maiduguri Prisons.

According to the official: “Because of the nature of the crime, you may have people who are not supposed to be where they are. Maiduguri is an unusual situation due to the Boko Haram crisis.”

In April 2019 Amnesty International interviewed one adult detainee and one former prison warder at Maiduguri Prison, along with 18 former Giwa Barracks detainees, 15 boys and three women. It also spoke with relatives of detainees in Maiduguri Prison, court officials and sources with inside knowledge of Maiduguri Prison, including a former prison official.

Amnesty International

Foreign workers kidnapped from oil rig in Nigeria

A Canadian and a Scottish oil worker were kidnapped by armed men off a rig in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta over the weekend, a military spokesperson told CNN on Monday.

The foreign nationals were seized by the gunmen who attacked an oil rig owned by Niger Delta Petroleum Resources in the southern Rivers State around 8am local (3aET) on Saturday, Major Ibrahim Abubakar, a spokesman for the Niger Delta Military operations said.

"We have sent troops to the area, but we have not been able to locate the abductors and abductees," said Abubakar, adding that the military has extended the search for the nationals beyond the area where the incident occurred.

Abubakar added that no ransom has been demanded yet for the workers, who have not been named.
This latest kidnapping comes after two Shell workers were abducted and their police escorts killed on Thursday, a Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria spokesman said.

Those two Shell workers have not been named nor their nationalities released.

Nigeria's oil-rich Delta region produces the bulk of the country's crude oil but has been hit by violence from militia and armed gangs.

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria and foreign workers and prominent Nigerians are often targets.

Last year, British missionary Ian Squires was killed after being abducted with three others in the Delta area.


Friday, April 26, 2019

Nigeria plans to double oil output and triple refining

Nigeria plans to almost double oil production and triple its refining capacity within six years, reviving previous pledges that turned out to be too ambitious.

The OPEC member is looking to pump 4 million barrels a day by 2025 and increase refining capacity to 1.5 million barrels daily, Maikanti Baru, managing director of state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., said at a conference Thursday in the capital, Abuja. “Nigeria needs to unlock new barrels as quickly as possible,” he said.

Africa’s biggest oil producer pumps 2.2 million barrels a day and previously set a 4-million target for 2010, before successively delaying it. The country, where output peaked near 2.5 million barrels a day in the middle of the last decade, has grappled with militant attacks, leakages and theft at its oil installations.

“Targets such as these are not new to NNPC,” said Cheta Nwanze, an analyst at Lagos-based SBM Intelligence. “Nigeria has not met a single production target for at least a decade now, in many cases because of security concerns.”


Nigeria also wants to be self-reliant in meeting its fuel demand and cut imports that put a strain on foreign reserves. Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu told the BBC in 2017 that he’d step down if the country doesn’t achieve that goal by the end of this year. The target is likely to be missed as the four state-owned refineries struggle to fully utilize their combined 445,000 barrel-a-day capacity following years of neglect and mismanagement.

Baru said part of the additional refining would come from a 650,000 barrel-a-day complex being built near Lagos by Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person. NNPC is working with private investors for the remainder, Baru said.

“The desperate need for an improvement in local refining capacity has been obvious for decades,” Nwanze said. The 2025 plan is “extremely optimistic.”

NNPC, which pumps crude from the country’s fields in partnership with international companies like Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp., returned to profit in 2018 after reporting losses in at least the three previous years, according to statements on its website. That was mainly due to the strong performance of its oil and gas production unit. Its refineries had a $365 million operating loss.

Written by Paul Wallace and Elisha Bala-Gbogbo


Nigeria becomes first African country to win world curling championship match

 It was a curling celebration unlike any other.

As France's rock careened wide to end Thursday afternoon's mixed doubles game, Nigerian curlers Tijani and Susana Cole quickly shook their opponents hands and then started jumping up and down wildly.

They hugged. They yelled. They threw their hands in the air.

For the first time ever, an African nation had won a curling game at a world championship.

Nigeria defeated France 8-5 Thursday afternoon in Stavanger, Norway at the 2019 mixed doubles world curling championship.

"Nigeria we did it for you," Tijani said. "I'm over over-the-top happy, elated, excited."

The fans inside Sormarka Arena erupted in applause. Even some of the curlers started clapping too.

"All of our hard work has paid off. We did it," Susana said.

Tijani and his wife Susana live together in Denver where they started curling for the first time three years ago.

Tijani's family comes from the south-central Nigerian city of Onitsha. His love of sport and love of country has been an integral part of his life — so when he found out there was an opportunity to compete on the world stage in a sport, he jumped at the opportunity to curl.

"Watching it on the Olympics over the years was motivating for me and my wife. We're both athletes and competitors," he said.

The two have been training relentlessly over the past year for this world championship. They so badly wanted to win at least one game for Nigeria — and in their final game of the event they did it. And when it happened, there was an outpouring of emotion.

"What a great dream to share this with your best friend, my wife," Tijani said. "You go through so many trials and tribulations. It's been a long journey."

At times throughout the world curling championship there have been a lot of frustrating times on the ice, including a 20-0 loss to the Czech Republic.

But they were able to put all of their valuable learning lessons into practice to defeat France.

"To all of my friends in Nigeria and the entire Nigerian Curling Federation, thank you so much," Tijani said.

His wife echoed Tijani's praise for those who helped them achieve this first-ever win.

"Thank you for believing in us," Susana said.

Sweet victory for Canadian coach

At the end of the on-ice celebration after their victory, Tijana and Susana then turned to the bench behind them to salute their coach.

Ellery Robichard is a Canadian curler and coach based in Moncton, N.B. He holds a yearly summer curling clinic and that's how he first connected with Tijana and Susana.

It's been a long, challenging learning process for the Nigerian curlers but the victory Thursday made it all worth it for Robichaud.

"It's as if I won the Brier. For them it's quite an achievement," Robichaud said.

"You saw how happy there were. I don't see people win the Brier and be as happy as them. You get the feeling from there. The energy from them."

Robichaud says Nigeria's victory over France is one of top moments in his curling career — he's spent his life at curling rinks.

"It's a reward for the headaches of coaching," he said. "It can be frustrating sometimes. The rewarding part of today was they got it. They placed the rocks. They put it together."

Tijani couldn't stop raving about Robichaud after the victory.

"We have one of the greatest coaches in the world," Tijani said. "He knows our temperaments. He knows how to communicate. And he believes in us."

And maybe now after this first-ever curling victory Nigerians believe just a little bit more about their future on the pebbled ice.

"Even before the victory we had already won being here," Susana said.


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Video - Abuja-Kaduna railway: 1000 days in operation

The Abuja-Kaduna railway line has just marked its one thousandth day in operation. Commencing in 2016, the train service has transported over 1.5 million passengers. It's part of China's Belt and Road Initiative in Nigeria to boost economic and social development.

157 children rescued from slavery by Interpol in Nigeria

Up to 216 human trafficking victims have been rescued from forced labour and prostitution in a major operation in Benin and Nigeria, Interpol said on Wednesday.

Operation Epervier II involved 100 police officers across the two countries who rescued 157 child slaves, said the global police organisation, which coordinated the raids in early April.

Many of the children were working in markets peddling goods, carrying heavy loads or fetching water, while others worked as housemaids or were forced into prostitution, Interpol said. Of the minors rescued, 36 were boys and 121 were girls.

“This is about organised crime groups who are motivated by money,” Stanfield told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“It is challenging (to stop them) in the region because of lack of resources,” he said, adding that countries are nonetheless becoming better equipped and more prepared.

Child slaves

The children rescued were between the ages of 11 and 16 and came from Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria and Togo.

The youngest was a boy forced to smuggle heavy goods such as bags of rice across the Benin-Nigeria border, Interpol said.

Most were subject to beatings and abuse, including death threats and warnings they would never see their parents again. They are now in the care of national agencies or charities, and in some cases returned to their parents.

Dealing with perpetrators

Investigations are underway to dismantle the crime networks active in Benin and Nigeria, which are source, transit and destination countries for human trafficking, said Paul Stanfield, Interpol’s director of organised and emerging crime.

Police arrested 47 suspected traffickers and seized vehicles, cash, phones and computers in the operation, which targeted markets in the countries’ capitals as well as airports, seaports and border areas, said Interpol.

About 1.4 million people, or 0.8 percent of the population, are estimated to live as slaves in Nigeria, according to the 2018 Global Slavery Index published by human rights group Walk Free Foundation. Benin has an estimated 58,000 slaves out of a population of 11 million.

“These crimes can only be tackled collectively and through interagency cooperation,” said Dominic Asogwa, Comptroller of Nigeria’s Immigration Service in the Seme border region, in a statement.

Interpol will continue working to identify hot spots for modern slavery in West Africa with a focus on mobilizing countries to address the issue themselves, Stanfield said.

“I think we’ll be here for the long-term, but we don’t want to be in charge of leading it,” he said.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

British aid worker killed in Nigeria by kidnappers

A British aid worker and a Nigerian man were shot dead after being kidnapped with three other people in an attack at a resort in Nigeria on Friday, officials said.

The British High Commission said in a statement Sunday that Faye Mooney, 29, was killed when gunmen attacked the Kajuru Castle holiday resort in Kaduna state, located in the north-central part of Nigeria.

Mooney worked as a communications specialist for the aid group Mercy Corps, and was one of 12 tourists traveling to Kaduna from Lagos, according to Kaduna state police spokesman Yakubu Sabo.

The 29-year-old, who has lived in Nigeria for nearly two years, was attending a party before the incident, Sky News reported.

Mercy Corps said in a statement it was "utterly heartbroken" by the killing.

"Faye was a dedicated and passionate communications and learning specialist who had worked with Mercy Corps for almost two years, devoting her time to making a difference in Nigeria, supporting our teams and the communities we work with to tell their stories of impact, and leading efforts to counter hate speech and violence," the group said.

Sabo told reporters the gunmen kidnapped three other people but officials did not release details of their nationalities. Officers have not yet named the other person killed in the incident.

No individuals or groups have claimed responsibility for the killings, and police have yet to identify the kidnappers.

Northern Nigeria has been dealing with violence from Islamic militants affiliated with Boko Haram and ISIS, in addition to clashes between farmers and herders, in which hundreds have died.

The region has seen a spate of kidnappings by armed men in recent months, according to Sky News.

Earlier this month, an American tourist and her safari guide were kidnapped by gunmen in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park. Kimberly Sue Endicott and her guide, Jean-Paul Mirenge Ramezo, were eventually found alive in Congo, where their kidnappers had taken them after abducting them.

The kidnappers had demanded a $500,000 ransom after abducting the two at gunpoint. Ugandan officials say no ransom was paid, but a tourism operator said that money was paid to secure Endicott's release.

Fox News

Monday, April 22, 2019

Video - Trade volume increase between Nigeria and China

Trade volume between Nigeria and China has expanded by 10% in the last year-yielding more than 15 billion dollars in value. Nigeria is among China's important trading partners in Africa. Both countries are forecasting a significant rise in trade volumes in coming years as various trade deals get concluded.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Questions after deadly collapse in Nigeria

A building collapse in Nigeria last month that killed as many as 20 children is raising questions about construction safety standards. Many are now asking questions about safety standards and what can be done to prevent similar incidents.

Chief justice in Nigeria banned from holding public office

Nigeria's top judge has been sacked by a tribunal that found him guilty of falsely declaring his assets.

Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen was banned from office for 10 years on Thursday and ordered to forfeit any assets he could not account for to the state.

Onnoghen's suspension in January by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, just weeks before a presidential election, prompted allegations of interference in judicial matters.

The chief justice holds a key role in determining the outcome of Nigerian elections if the results are appealed by a candidate and a tribunal is formed.

A request to remove the chief justice usually requires the approval of two-thirds of the Senate, but Buhari did not follow that process.

Onnoghen was tried for failing to divulge cash in five foreign bank accounts in contravention of rules governing the declaration of assets by public officials.

"The defendant has clearly contravened the code of conduct for public officers, and he is hereby convicted," said Danladi Umar, chairman of the country's ethics court.

Umar ordered that any cash found in Onnoghen's foreign bank accounts be taken by the treasury.

"The money in the five accounts, which the defendant has failed to declare and disclose its source, is hereby confiscated, seized and forfeited to the federal government," Umar said.

After the ruling, Onnoghen's lawyer, Okon Efut, said the process had not been fair.

He decried what he called the "unconstitutional" suspension of the judge in January, claiming it was the first step in what he said was a "premeditated" decision.

"Judgment had been passed before today," Efut said.

As head of the Supreme Court, Onnoghen could have ruled on any disputes relating to the election, which saw Buhari, of the All Progressives Congress, win a second term of office.

Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition group, Peoples Democratic Party, who lost to Buhari has launched a legal challenge to the result, after calling the election a "sham".

Al Jazeera

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Video - Online house cleaning service in Nigeria

An online house cleaning service is promising to create millions of jobs for Nigerians. Kureen is an online service that pairs house cleaners with home owners in need of cleaning services in three major Nigerian cities.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Video - Nigeria to diversify economy away from oil

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer but more than half of its population lives in extreme poverty. In his recent election campaign, President Muhammadu Buhari promised to diversify the economy away from oil. But Nigeria is even struggling to grow its own food.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Video - Nigeria's Chibok schoolgirls: Five years on, 112 still missing

It has been five years since hundreds of schoolgirls were abducted in north-eastern Nigeria by Boko Haram fighters. While a total of 164 girls have been found or released as part of a deal between the Nigerian government and the armed group, 112 are still missing. In Nigeria's capital, there are renewed calls for the search to continue. The international outcry sparked the Bring Back Our Girls movement, which continues to this day. Despite the pain, one mother still hopes she will once again see her daughter alive.

President Buhari still promises to bring back Chibok students five years after kidnapping

Some of the young women are thriving at a new school. Some have returned home to their family farms. But the fates of more than 100 other students who were kidnapped from a school in northeastern Nigeria are unknown, five years after militants from Boko Haram abducted them.

On Sunday, the fifth anniversary of the kidnappings from the village of Chibok, President Muhammadu Buhari reiterated a pledge he had made years ago to bring back all of the students.

“We will not rest until all the remaining girls are back and reunited with their families,” he said on his official Twitter account. “I made this promise when I became President, and I will keep it.”

In 2014, Boko Haram militants stormed a girls’ school in Chibok and made off with over 200 girls who were boarding there to take exams the next day — an act that gained widespread attention across the world with the social media hashtag #BringBackOurGirls advocating their release.

Mr. Buhari’s message came after months of silence on the topic, which barely registered in campaign discourse during a heated presidential election this year. The kidnappings, which riveted a global audience at the time, seem all but forgotten by the outside world.

Protesters who once marched daily at Unity Fountain in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, have been quiet. Activists both locally and globally who had held signs and tweeted have mostly gone silent.

Yet the missing students remain constantly on the minds of their parents, who gathered Sunday at the site of the school in Chibok to offer prayers for their return.

“They are losing hope,” said Allen Manasa, a spokesman for the village, adding that in five years the government had yet to brief the parents about their missing daughters.

He said the community urged “mounting pressure on the Nigerian government to explore all available means to rescue these girls.”

Mr. Buhari’s message on Sunday sought to reassure Nigerians that he hadn’t forgotten.

“We will never give up on our missing daughters,” Mr. Buhari wrote on Twitter, also citing other hostages taken by Boko Haram. “In the last four years our security agencies have successfully rescued thousands of captives, and they will not relent until every captive is free.”

Yet critics say it defies belief that the students remain missing.

“It is a global failure of monumental proportion that the whereabouts of hundreds of girls who went to school remain unknown in an age of intrusive technology,” said Oby Ezekwesili, a former education minister who has been a leading advocate for the students’ release.

For the past decade, Nigeria’s northeast has been ravaged by a war with Islamist militants from Boko Haram who have made kidnapping innocent villagers one hallmark of their brutality.

A video that the militants released in 2014 of the sad-looking girls from Chibok, dressed in dark hijabs and sitting on the ground at a militants’ hide-out, caught the attention of celebrities and Michelle Obama, who was photographed holding a #BringBackOurGirls placard.

When Mr. Buhari assumed the presidency in 2015, he made progress in the fight against militants, chasing them from forest hide-outs and killing scores of fighters. But in past months the militants have regrouped, and simultaneously fractured while boasting about ties to the Islamic State, which they pledged loyalty to several years ago.

Boko Haram fighters have carried out suicide bombings and stepped up attacks across the border in Niger and Chad. One faction circulated a video of a violent attack on a military installation in Nigeria.

Last week, amid threats of an attack in the countryside, Nigerian soldiers rounded up community members in the middle of the night and herded them into a camp for displaced people, prompting outrage from residents who unexpectedly had to leave their homes.

Last year, the fighters carried out kidnappings eerily similar to the one in Chibok, taking dozens of girls in the community of Dapchi before returning most of them several days later. At least one student, Leah Sharibu, is still being held, reportedly because she is a Christian and refused to convert to Islam.

Mr. Buhari has negotiated for the release of about half of the students from Chibok, who are now in their late teens or early 20s. Many of them are studying at the American University of Nigeria in Yola, where a special program was designed to catch them up with their studies and advance them to university work if they choose. The government is picking up the tab.

On Sunday, the local news outlet This Day published an editorial calling for the remaining students to be rescued and saying that their continued absence “represent a blur on our collective humanity.”

“Until all the abducted girls can be accounted for,” the editorial said, “the promise of the constitution, that the welfare of Nigerians shall be the primary purpose of government, will continue to ring hollow.”

The New York Times

Friday, April 12, 2019

Entire town in Nigeria evacuated to screen out Boko Haram militants

Up to 10,000 civilians have been forcibly relocated because of a military operation against Boko Haramin northeast Nigeria, the United Nations said on Thursday, calling for better protection.

At least 2,000 people were initially said to have been moved the 40km from Jakana to the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, on Tuesday. But the UN said five times as many were forced to flee.

"The military ordered the immediate departure and forced the relocation of up to 10,000 civilians in the middle of the night, without prior warning," it said in a statement.

"The entire town of Jakana was emptied, and people were forced to move to Maiduguri with very little time to collect personal belongings," added UN Humanitarian Coordinator Edward Kallon. "Some people said they arrived in Maiduguri with nothing, not even with shoes on their feet."

The northeast is the battleground in Nigeria's decade-long fight against the armed group of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram.

A surge in attacks in December in which towns and military bases were overrun saw tens of thousands of civilians fleeing into Maiduguri and swelling the population of existing camps.

Humanitarian concerns

The armed groups have in the last few weeks been hit by intensive air and ground offensives from coalition forces involving Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon in the Lake Chad region, according to military sources and armed fighters.

But there are fresh concerns about the effects of the conflict on civilians after nearly 10 years of fighting, more than 27,000 deaths and 1.8 million made homeless.

Previous mass displacements of civilians have forced them into already overcrowded camps for the internally displaced in Maiduguri, putting pressure on the authorities.

"The United Nations is urging the government to urgently provide safety, shelter, food, water and medical care to the displaced civilians, in addition to information about when they will be allowed to return home," said Kallon.

Jakana lies on a known crossing route for ISWAP fighters moving between their camps in the Benisheikh forest area of Borno and their hideouts in the Buni Yadi area of Yobe.

In January, ISWAP sent letters to Jakana and Mainok residents telling them to vacate their homes for an impending raid on the military.

Al Jazeera

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Pirate attacks in Nigeria fall by 36%

Piracy attacks off Nigeria’s coast fell to 14 in the first quarter from 22 a year ago after the navy improved its response to incidents, the International Maritime Bureau said.

“These results confirm the Nigerian navy’s increased efforts to actively respond to reported incidents by dispatching patrol boats,” the London-based body that tracks attacks on sea vessels said. “Despite these efforts, Nigerian waters remain risky for vessels, especially the port of Lagos where four incidents have been reported.”

The Gulf of Guinea retained its notoriety for piracy with 22 incidents reported during the period. The region accounted for all the crew kidnappings reported globally in the three months, after 21 of them were taken in five separate attacks, the IMB said. Incidents were reported off the coast of Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo in the first quarter, it said.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Video - More than 11,000 youths complete government skills training in Nigeria

In Nigeria, more than 11,000 young people have received start-up Kits. This is after completing Government-sponsored Skills Development Training. Nigeria has a record 26 million unemployed people -- and the government is exploring ways to change this.

The town in Nigeria known for multiple twin births

In a dusty school playground in southwest Nigeria, the rows of children lined up to return to their classrooms are dotted with the faces of identical twins.

Sights like this can be seen everywhere in Igbo Ora, where a banner welcomes visitors to the “twins capital of the world”.

Twins are common in the Yoruba ethnic group that dominates this part of Nigeria. A 1970s study by a British gynecologist found that around 50 sets of twins were born out of every 1,000 births in the southwest - one of the highest rates of twin births in the world.

In Yoruba culture twins are so common that they are traditionally given specific names. They are called either Taiwo or Kehinde depending on whether they were born first or second.

But even for Yoruba people, Igbo Ora is considered to be exceptional. Among the nearly 100 secondary school children assembled at the end of their break there were nine sets of twins.

“There are so many twins because of the okra leaf that we eat,” said 15-year-old Kehinde Oyedepo, one of the twins, repeating a view commonly held in the town.

The leaves are used to make a stew that is popular in Igbo Ora.

Others have pointed to the popularity of Amala - a local dish made from yams and cassava flour. One theory is that yams prompt the production of gonadotropins, a chemical agent that stimulates the production of eggs.

Ekujumi Olarenwaju, an obstetrician gynecologist based in Lagos, around 100 miles (160 km) away, believes the causes of the phenomenon lie elsewhere because the same kind of yam is eaten elsewhere in the world without the same result.

“Thus far scientifically, no one can say this is the reason,” said Olarenwaju. “One of the plausible reasons is the hereditary aspect of it because maybe over the years they inter-marry, they now have that gene being pooled and concentrated in that environment,” he said.

But the women who sell piles of okra leaves at a town market are quick to disagree.

They said local traditions over how the leaves are consumed were crucial. For example, a stew made from the leaves should be eaten immediately and never stored.

Oyenike Bamimore, who sells the bread, said she was living proof that the diet was the cause. “Because I eat okra leaves a lot, I gave birth to eight sets of twins,” she said.


Parliament in Nigeria proposes tax rise on luxury goods

Nigeria’s parliament has asked the government to consider increasing taxes on luxury goods to boost revenues, it said on Tuesday.

An expenditure plan approved by the Senate on Tuesday showed Nigeria is expected to generate 172.47 billion naira ($564 mln) from privatisation proceeds this year.

The budget deficit for 2019 is estimated at 1.86 trillion naira ($6.1 bln), according to the plan. Lawmakers said the deficit would covered via borrowing, privatisation proceeds and loans secured for specific projects.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Video - Nigeria suspends mining in Zamfara state plagued by gang violence

Nigeria has suspended mining activities in Zamfara and has ordered foreigners engaged in the work to leave the northern state within 48 hours. The move comes after a surge in crime in the state. The military, police and the state security forces have been deployed in recent weeks to tackle criminal gangs behind a spate of killings and kidnappings. The government says the suspension begins with immediate effect. Any operators who defy the order will have their licences revoked. Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris has more from the capital, Abuja.

Video - Will Nigeria crackdown on crime in Zamfara state work?

Nigeria has suspended mining in one of its northern states and ordered all foreigners engaged in mining activities to leave. The move comes after a surge in crimes, including kidnappings and killings, in Zamfara state. Ahmed Idris has more from the capital, Abuja.

Crypto currency traders in Nigeria accuse Paxful of fraud

Cryptocurrency exchange Paxful is in hot water in Nigeria after crypto traders in the country claimed the firm has been closing down their accounts illegally, causing them to lost tens of millions of dollars.

The traders have filed the petition with Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), accusing Paxful of robbery, fraud, and breaching its terms and conditions. The EFCC is the country’s financial services law enforcement agency. According to a report by local outlet Punch Nigeria, the traders were joined on the petition by United Global Resolve for Peace, a non-governmental organization.

The petition claims that Paxful falsely accused Nigerian traders of being involved in fraudulent activities. It then allegedly used this excuse to close down thousands of accounts belonging to Nigerian traders. Traders who owned cryptos when their accounts were closed lost those cryptos.

Part of the petition stated:

“A few days ago, our organization was approached by some Nigerians who complained bitterly that Paxful Incorporated, the company that owns the online cryptocurrency trading and exchange platform, ‘https://paxful.com’ has been ripping them of their life investment in cryptocurrency by suspending their accounts, deactivating their wallets and refusing to return the value in their accounts to them even after investigation and finding that they were not involved in any fraudulent activities.”

The petition also gave some background on the immense success that the Estonia-based Paxful has had with Nigerian users. In 2018, the exchange made $20 million in profits from its operations worldwide. But it was Nigeria that contributed the bulk of this profit, making up over 40% of the total.

The petition further revealed how Paxful has used the opportunity to rob Nigerian traders. It stated:

“The respondent has, through willful disregard for contract and rules of commercial transaction, done a lot to rob Nigerians of their hard-earned money by its unrestrained activities of blocking their accounts and stating that investigation will be conducted. At the end of the investigation, the respondent always comes out to say the vendor has done nothing wrong and thereafter release their accounts without the funds in it.”

The report by Punch Nigeria also quoted some of the traders whose accounts have been drained under the guise of investigations. One of them is Samuel Olanrewaju, a trader who lost over 21 million Nigerian naira ($60,000) to the scam. Olanrewaju alleges that Paxful confiscated his Bitcoin Core (BTC) stash in November 2018. Paxful accused him of having a false online profile, a charge he still insists he is innocent of. Olanrewaju claimed Paxful is stereotyping all Nigerians as scammers. He told the news outlet, “We have about three million Nigerians trading on Paxful platform and they accounted for 40 per cent of its revenue. Despite this, the leadership of the firm was always referring to Nigerians as scammers.”

Paxful responded to the accusations in an email, denying any wrongdoing. According to the company, only accounts found to be engaging in fraud were suspended. Part of the statement said, “All accounts that have been shut down have a reason for it. We will not shut down any account unless they violate our TOS (Terms of Service).”

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) is today the only Bitcoin project that follows the original Satoshi Nakamoto whitepaper, and that follows the original Satoshi protocol and design. BSV is the only public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin and will massively scale to become the world’s new money and enterprise blockchain.


Monday, April 8, 2019

Video - Nigeria experiencing extended hot temperatures

Nigeria has been experiencing very harsh weather since March. Temperature have gone as high as 40 degrees celcius. The weather has had a huge impact on the lives of ordinary Nigerians, and experts have warned that the weather pattern will continue for some time.

Nigeria suffering from medical brain drain

In March, hundreds of Nigerian doctors gathered at a hotel in Abuja, the capital, and another in Lagos, the country's commercial centre, to take a test conducted by the Saudi Arabian health ministry.

In a symbol of the Nigerian medical "brain drain", those yet to migrate must complete foreign exams in order to get work placements abroad.

Weeks before the attempt by Saudi Arabia to lure Nigeria's greatest medical talents, dozens had sat the regular Professional Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) exams at the British Council. Once they pass, it will enable them to work in the UK.

According to some estimates, about 2,000 doctors have left Nigeria over the past few years.

Doctors have blamed the mass exit on poor working conditions - only four percent of Nigeria's budget is allocated to health.

While the annual healthcare threshold per person in the US is $10,000, in Nigeria it is just $6.

"More than half of those seeking visas to [India] are going for medical care that is not available here in Nigeria. Indigent Nigerians would be at the mercy of the dilapidated health infrastructure," Onwufor Uche, consultant and director of the Gynae Care Research and Cancer Foundation in Abuja, told Al Jazeera.

"It has become worse; a doctor [in Nigeria] earns N200,000 monthly ($560), necessitating moving to countries where they can be better paid for their services … This ultimately means that eight of 10 Nigerians are presently receiving substandard or no medical care at all."

Middle-class and wealthy Nigerians often travel for healthcare. Even the septuagenarian Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, seeks medical care in London.

British, American, South African, Emirati and Saudi Arabian agencies operate in Nigeria to recruit the best doctors.

Nigeria's polling agency, NOI Polls, in partnership with Nigerian Health Watch in 2017, found that most doctors seek work abroad.

"The trend of doctors emigrating to other countries is at an all-time high," Chike Nwangwu, head of NOIPolls, told Al Jazeera in Abuja. "Our survey … showed that 88 percent of doctors are considering work opportunities abroad."

Reasons for emigrating include better facilities and work environment, higher salaries, career progression and an improved quality of life.

One doctor in 5,000

Medical schools and residencies are subsidised by government funds, an investment that is now benefiting other countries.

With an estimated population of over 180 million, there is one doctor per 5,000 people in Nigeria, according to Isaac Folorunso Adewole, the health minister, compared with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of one per 600 people.

There are 72,000 doctors registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN); over half practise outside the country.

"Nine in every 10 doctors are considering work opportunities outside Nigeria. And it is projected to keep rising as doctors continue to face systemic challenges," said NOIPolls' Nwangwu. "I actually think [Nigeria] is already at the state of emergency with the availability of medical doctors."

The country's worsening health sector also grapples with strikes by health workers.

The government is often in conflict with the Nigerian Medical Association, an umbrella union of doctors, over working conditions. The union argues that government officials fail to stick to agreements, leading to industrial action.

When asked last year why Nigerian doctors had to wait a long time to get residency training, Adewole appeared to make light of the issue, saying: "It might sound selfish, but we can't all be specialists; we can't. Some will be farmers; some will be politicians … The man who sews my gown is a doctor. He makes the best gown. And some will be specialists, some will be GPs, some will be farmers."

As well as angering some doctors, the apparent failure to act seriously also affects patients.

"The government needs to urgently start addressing the issues and concerns of the medical workers and especially the doctors. The truth is, most of these doctors leave for better working conditions and you can't blame them," said Mariam Abdullahi, a 38-year-old patient at a hospital in Abuja.

"I am being referred to strange faces and different doctors almost at each of my bi-monthly visits and I'm always told the last doctor left the country. As a patient I feel heartbroken anytime my doctors leave, but what can I do when the system treats them poorly?"

By Mercy Abang

Al Jazeera

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Call to shut down controversial police unit in Nigeria after deadly shooting of a man

The fatal police shooting of a Nigerian man has sparked outrage and reignited a public call for the shutdown of a controversial police unit in the country.

Kolade Johnson was shot by officers with Nigeria's anti-cultism police unit during a raid in Lagos on Sunday, according to a statement from the Nigerian Police Force. Members of the unit were searching for a suspect and at one point fired into the air, Johnson's family and lawyer told CNN.

The 36-year-old father and a friend were leaving a soccer viewing center in the area, where they had gone to watch a Premiership league match, when a stray bullet hit and killed Johnson, his family and lawyer said.

Johnson died at the hospital while waiting for treatment, according to his sister Toluwani Lukman.
Lukman said her brother was dedicated to his family and had just returned from South Africa, where he had lived for five years to focus on his music career.

"He had saved up some money while working in South Africa and he returned to Nigeria to start his own music label. He was just getting back on his feet. I can't believe he is gone," Lukman told CNN.
Johnson's killing provoked widespread anger among Nigerians, who said the police unit had gone rogue and should be disbanded immediately.

High-profile Nigerians including Nollywood actors, politicians and celebrities took to social media, calling for justice.

Police in Lagos said the officers who fled the scene after the shooting were identified with the help of eyewitnesses.

"Members of the team suspected to be involved in the shooting have since been arrested and are currently in police custody undergoing interrogation," Lagos police spokesman Bala Elkana.

Nigeria's Presidency sent its condolences to the family in a post on Twitter and said the Nigerian police have assured the government that the members of the unit involved in the shooting were under arrest and were facing disciplinary measures.

Lagos State Commissioner Zubairu Muazu also paid a condolence visit to the family Tuesday and assured them their would be justice.

Nigeria's police force also shared photos of two police officers wanted in connection to the shooting.
But this has not stopped the growing calls by citizens and rights groups for a shutdown of the police unit.

In August 2018, Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo ordered an overhaul of the country's Anti-Robbery Police Squad (SARS), which was accused of torture, extortion, widespread brutality and even murder.

Osinbajo, who is also a law professor, promised a total reform of the controversial police unit and vowed to prosecute those found guilty after investigations.

Amnesty International Nigeria, which has long campaigned for the disbandment of the SARS police unit, said Monday the vice president's reforms have been "ineffective."

The rights group alleged that the police unit was still torturing many citizens and restructuring was not enough to stop their atrocities.

"Police torture is a stain on Nigerian society that must be addressed with clear orders to law enforcement officers not to inflict torture or other ill-treatment on detainees under any circumstances," Amnesty International Nigeria said.

A spokesman for Osinbajo, Laolu Akande, said it was hasty to describe the ongoing police reforms as ineffective.

"We are firmly committed to ensuring these reforms are fruitful. In the particular instance, we will ensure that justice is served," Akande told CNN.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Video - Lagos-based firm opens design hub & innovation center in Kigali

African cities like Nairobi, Cape Town and Lagos could be ahead of the game when it comes to digital innovations. Kigali is catching up. Recently, a Lagos-based tech hub opened a design and innovation center in the Rwandan capital. CGTN's Hlonela Lupuwana caught up with the company's Project Manager Tomi Jaiyeola. Here are excerpts from their conversation.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Nigerian journalist arrested at gunpoint

Unidentified armed men have taken away a Nigerian journalist in the southern Bayelsa state, according to witnesses and watchdog groups, just months after his release from a two-year stint in state custody.

Jones Abiri, editor and publisher of the Weekly Source newspaper, was accosted by armed men as he was meeting six colleagues at the Bayelsa Federated Newspaper Publishers Association on Saturday, witnesses said.

Eric Eweke, secretary-general of the publishers' association, told AFP news agency on Sunday that the men arrived in vehicles belonging to Nigeria's intelligence agency, Department of State Security (DSS).

"Two DSS vehicles ... stormed the office" of the publishers' association in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa, around lunchtime, Eweke said.

"They threatened that if [he] tries to run, they would shoot at him," he said.

Abiri's whereabouts were not known on Sunday.

Peter Afunanya, DSS spokesman, told local media he did not have any information on the incident.

Austin Bodo, another witness, told Nigeria News Agency that the men who accosted Abiri were "carrying the type of guns used by DSS operatives".

Sahara Reporters, a US-based independent news website that covers Nigerian affairs, quoted an unnamed witness as saying: "The men jumped out of the vehicles in a gestapo fashion while he [Abiri] was chatting with his friends and shouted at him that he was under arrest.

"While he was demanding to know his offence, he was forcefully pushed into a waiting vehicle at gunpoint."

Abiri was previously held by the DSS for two years without trial, over alleged links to rebels in the Niger Delta in the country's southeast. He was also accused of threatening oil companies.

He had no access to a lawyer or his family during this time, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Abiri was freed in August last year following a campaign by rights organisations.

Angela Quintal, CPJ Africa programme coordinator, said the press freedom group was "deeply worried" about Abiri's arrest.

"We call on federal and state authorities in Nigeria to disclose where Abiri is being detained and the reasons for his arrest, and urge that they ensure that his rights are not violated yet again and that due process is respected."

Amnesty International also expressed concern over the arrest "by armed men suspected to be DSS operatives". It added in a Twitter post: "The humiliating manner of his arrest is unacceptable."

Nigeria is ranked 119th out of 180 countries on Reporters Without Borders' World Press Freedom Index.

The global press freedom group says journalists in Nigeria "are often threatened, subjected to physical violence, or denied access to information by government officials, police, and sometimes the public itself."

Al Jazeera