Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Dozens killed in ‘barbaric, senseless’ violence in Nigeria

Nigeria’s presidency says dozens of people have been killed in violence between farmers and herders in the country’s central Nasarawa state.

In a statement late on Tuesday, the office of President Muhammadu Buhari said at least 45 farmers were killed in the violence that erupted on Friday. Dozens more were wounded, it said.

Buhari “expressed grief over the heart-wrenching” killings and said his government would “leave no stone unturned in fishing out the perpetrators of this senseless and barbaric incident, and bring them to justice”.

Local police said the violence broke out when armed Fulani herders attacked villagers from the Tiv ethnic group over the killing of a kinsman that they blamed on Tiv farmers. The unrest continued until Sunday. The police initially gave a death toll of eight.

Nasarawa state police spokesman Ramhan Nansel earlier said military and police teams had deployed in the area to restore calm and arrest the perpetrators.

“We received a complaint on the killing of a Fulani herdsman but while the investigation was ongoing, a reprisal attack was carried out in Hangara village and neighbouring Kwayero village,” Ramhan Nansel,

“Eight people were killed in the attacks and their bodies were recovered by the police and taken to hospital.”

But Peter Ahemba of the Tiv Development Association said the death toll was higher.

“We recovered more than 20 corpses of our people killed in the attacks in 12 villages across Lafia, Obi and Awe districts where around 5,000 were displaced,” he said, adding that many people were still missing.

Deadly clashes between nomadic cattle herders and local farmers over grazing and water rights are common in central Nigeria.

The internecine conflict has taken on an ethnic and religious dimension in recent years. The Fulani herders are Muslim, and the farmers are primarily Christian.

The friction, which has roots dating back more than a century, was caused by droughts, population growth, the expansion of sedentary farming into communal areas as well as poor governance.

Violence by criminal gangs of cattle thieves among the herders, who raid villages, killing and burning homes after looting them, has compounded the situation.

The Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule, has promised to go after killers of Fulani herders and Tiv farmers.

“There was needless loss of lives of our citizens. Such act of violence is most unfortunate, condemnable, and unacceptable and will not be condoned by this administration,” he was quoted as saying by the Sahara Reporters news site.

Al Jazeera

Related stories:

Video - Conflict between herdsmen and farmers remains deadly in Nigeria

Civilians are stepping in to keep the peace in the deadly feud between herders and farmers

Video - Nigeria community leaders try to quell farmer-herder conflict

Monday, December 13, 2021

Video - Nigerian entrepreneurs venture into sale of African snail molluscs


The giant African snail is sought after in parts of the world for its nutritional and cosmetic benefits. In Nigeria, some entrepreneurs have found opportunities by selling the molluscs, which are said to be low in cholesterol and high in protein. As CGTN's Kelechi Emekalam now reports, many Nigerians are cashing in on the ease of farming snails to earn a living.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Video - Nigeria faults travel ban imposed by the UK on African countries


The Nigerian Government faulted the travel ban imposed by the UK on Nigeria and other African countries. Authorities say the country will not reciprocate, rather it's travel protocol has been revised as a way to manage the risk of spreading the new COVID-19 variant of concern, Omicron. Phil Ihaza reports from Abuja.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Sylvester Oromoni and Nigeria’s school system

The death of Sylvester Oromoni, a JSS 2 student of Dowen College in Lekki, Lagos, under controversial circumstances, has understandably sparked outrage – with both parents and other concerned citizens expressing shock and anger. Sylvester Oromoni Jr’s death speaks to the failure of the Nigerian school system, the collapse of morals and the evil that has overtaken not just the education sector but virtually every segment of society. Many parents toil day and night to be able to give their children the benefit of a good education. With the Nigerian public education system having failed – many public schools do not even have blackboards, or chalk or duster, and many do not have decent classrooms, the children sit in decrepit buildings threatening to collapse; the teachers are poorly paid or they do not even get their salaries; the learning environment in many schools would seem fit only for goats and poultry, certainly not for those we describe as leaders of tomorrow. Faced with such a harum-sacrum public education system and demoralised teachers, many families opt to send their children to private schools. These schools vary in terms of structure, facilities and standards, depending on location and ownership. But what has been seen is the failure of the entire system, both public and private.

The standards of old have disappeared. Nigeria’s places of learning have become environments of strife and chaos. The moral turpitude, which has turned Nigeria into a land of failure – the failure of ethos, governance and leadership – has crept into the schools. In the Northern part of the country, terrorists routinely kidnap students for ransom, for conversion to the Islamic religion, for recruitment as child brides or soldiers, or as pawns in a sustained assault against the Nigerian state. Over 600 schools have been shut down this year alone due to terrorist attacks. In the South, patterns of violence have also been observed in schools. The students are on drugs, they form cult gangs, they bully one another, and they join armed robbery gangs. Each time there is a report of kidnap or disruption in any Nigerian school, there are loud ooohs and aaahs, and soon the noise dies down and we all wait until the next crisis occurs.

The latest is the death of Sylvester Oromoni Jr. He was said to have been bullied by four of his colleagues at Dowen College. They beat him up. They gave him a substance to drink. Every effort by his family to rescue him failed. He died in the hospital. Before he gave up the ghost, he reportedly mentioned the names of his assailants. The school had tried to cover up the incident by insisting that he was only injured during a football session and that he was not bullied by anyone. His father, who celebrated his 12th birthday, post-humously, on December 4th (what a way to handle grief!) insists that he wants the truth. He wants justice. And he would not bury his son until justice is done. He has the support of the Delta State government, the community he hails from and concerned parents across the country. Every family is united in condemning the death of the innocent 12-year-old. Master Oromoni could have been the child of any other family. Many testimonies have been given by other parents about how their children were bullied too and the cost of the negligence of school authorities. But one question: Why did it take so long before the deceased was taken to hospital for help?

The Lagos State government has shut down and sealed off Dowen College indefinitely. The government and the Nigeria Police have also commenced investigations into the incident. The school authorities finally managed to issue a statement on December 2. The school denied flatly that Sylvester Oromoni was ever beaten, bullied or assaulted by any student and that any other story is at best “wild social media tales.” Dowen College’s authorities also disclosed that the school has a “very cordial relationship” with the Oromoni family as Sylvester Jr. was “the fifth child of the family Dowen College had the privilege to train…” We are further told that the school is “built on core values of Godliness and Excellence and will not tolerate any acts of cultism…” Thus, there are two sides to the story of the painful death of Sylvester Oromoni, and it is the more reason an investigation is important: To establish the truth and to ensure that justice is done. I have heard some concerned parents threatening that if Sylvester had been their child, they would have gone to the school to burn it down and demonstrate “serious madness.” No parent ever wants a child to die. Parents send their children to school to prepare them for the future and help them achieve their dreams. Sylvester Oromoni wanted to be a pilot. That dream is dead, and a whole future has been buried. It is indeed painful.

It is even the more reason that both the Lagos State government and the Police must do a thorough investigation. There have been similar promises of investigations in the past which yielded no results. This particular case must not be swept under the carpet. This has come to public attention because it was reported by a whistleblower. The question is: How widespread are cases of this nature within the school system? Lagos State has over 20, 000 private schools, from primary to the tertiary level. Can the State boast of a strong inspectorate division to enforce standards in both the public and private schools? How many personnel work in the Inspectorate Division of the State’s Ministry of Education and how well equipped are they? How many times do they visit schools? Once upon a time in this country, school inspectors were an important part of the education sector. They even inspected teachers’ notes, school facilities and engaged with students. I recall they used to time their visits to coincide with lunch time. They tasted the food too! During school hours, there was a task force that patrolled the streets. If you were of school age and you were found loitering around during school hours, you could be arrested! We now have a Universal Basic Education (UBEC) Law with strict provisions on school enrolment, including penalties for parents but nobody enforces any law anymore. Is it possible that the school inspectors of today collude with school proprietors and simply look the other way?

There has been a reference to the existence of a cult or a gang in Dowen College, as in many other schools. Is it possible that the school authorities do not know this? The school claims that there was no bullying or assault. Does the school have House Masters? And how diligent are those House Masters? There have been allegations that the owners of the school are opposed to the idea of a Parents Teachers’ Association (PTA), and so the school does not have one. Is that true? It would be most strange indeed if it were to be true. What kind of school would not have a forum for regular interaction between the school authorities and parents. And what kind of parent would patronise such a school? Even universities these days set up PTAs. The University of Lagos (UNILAG) has a vibrant PTA that gets involved in everything from students’ registration to hostel allocation and the welfare of students! Parents should be the most important stakeholders in the school system. The Dowen College investigating panel should look into this and other issues. By the way, has anyone set up a panel yet? What is the composition of the panel? What are its terms of reference? Who are the members? Who is the chairperson? The public needs to know. An investigating panel of civil servants will not pass the trust test, Mr Governor. And by the way, Dowen College has issued another statement dated December 4, which seems to have been written by a wiser person.

Now, let me return to our preliminary comment about how the school system in Nigeria has failed. What has happened to our schools is frightening. Reported cases are frightening enough but imagine the number of cases that have been swept under the carpet. The Oromoni case has resulted in a prodding of public memory in this regard. One, people have again remembered the case of Don Davis Archibong, a JSS 1 student of Deeper Life High School, Uyo, whose mother, Deborah Okezie, cried out to the High Heavens early this year, that her son was emaciated and had been a target of sodomy in a Christian school. Months later, the school principal, and four others, including the vice principal and housemasters, have now been charged for involvement in the starvation and sexual abuse of Don Archibong. They have been remanded in prison custody pending when they meet their bail conditions.

In January, when the story became public knowledge, Okezie alleged that her son contemplated suicide. She said her son was bullied by a teacher and some senior students in his school. The case has only now shown up in December! Two, there is also the case of Karen Aondoo Akpager, a JSS 2, 12-year-old boarding student of Premier Academy, Lugbe, Abuja, who died on June 22. She took ill in school and was unable to walk. When she was eventually rushed to the hospital by her mother, doctors observed a discharge from her vagina, and this was found to be from a condom in her private part. Her urine also revealed dead spermatozoa. She died. Who on earth slept with a 12-year-old student in a boarding school and left a condom in her body? Her parents have been asking for justice since June. Of course, Premier Academy also blamed the social media for misinforming the public and peddling “unfounded statements.”

Three, in Delta State this year, a SS3 student, Michael Ogbeise, was reported to have beaten a teacher at Erimu Secondary School in Abraka to death for flogging his sister, who was also a student in the same school. The teacher, Ezeugo Joseph, was beaten black and blue; he slipped into unconsciousness. He never recovered. This is a classic case of how even teachers in Nigerian schools are no longer safe. Four, before the Abraka incident, a final year student at the University of Ilorin, one Salaudeen Waliu Anuoluwa, was reportedly expelled for having the temerity to beat up a lecturer, one Mrs Rahmat Zakariyau of the Department of Microbiology. And five, in the last week of November, in the Asero area of Abeokuta, students of two secondary schools engaged themselves in a bloody fight. When the police from Obantoko moved in to ensure peace, the DPO was attacked and drenched in blood. And six, only yesterday, December 6, students of Idogbo Secondary School, Benin City, Edo State, disrupted school activities as they went on rampage. The school principal was said to have called in the Police. The students (secondary school students!) overpowered the police men, gave them a thorough beating and seized their uniforms. There are probably many more examples out there, but the aforementioned must be shocking enough. What kind of country runs a school system that breeds cultists and hooligans who readily overpower teachers, the system and the rule of law? A straightforward answer is that the Nigerian school system is a reflection of the entire society itself.

The government bullies the people, assaults their sensibilities daily, beats the people, cheats them, deceives them, and so the younger generation simply reproduces the same patterns. The real danger is that Nigeria’s youth society is proving to be worse than the adult society. There are no innocent children anymore, no safe havens either. A few years ago, a Pentecostal Church in Nigeria established a University and came up with the idea that any female student seeking admission into that Christian University must undergo a virginity test. We railed at the time against what looked like a discriminatory idea. The university stood its ground. But it didn’t take long before the idea died a natural death, as the university itself discovered the ugly truth that there was no point looking for a virgin in a thriving abortion clinic! A few years later, one University Vice Chancellor in Ghana protested that foreign students from Nigeria were introducing cultism to universities in Ghana. Children have a way of imitating their parents.

What must we do? Parents need to be vigilant. Many parents think of the education of their children in terms of cost and class. There are many useless schools across the country with fanciful names, and strong snob appeal. Parents send their children there just so they can be seen to belong to a certain class – the nouveaux riche. My son is in so, so and so school… the snobs know themselves and how much some of these schools cost per term… even if many of them are relying on bank loans and borrowings to maintain their fake lives. A school should be chosen for a different set of reasons: Standards, values, quality. State authorities must also be awake to their responsibilities in the areas of policy and regulation. There are policies, rules and laws in the books, but they are invoked only when there is a crisis. For the most part, nobody would remember that there are laws in Lagos State against cultism in schools or that the state has a Child Rights Law. It took the Don Davis Archibong incident in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State for the Magistrate Court to throw the law at the defendants.

The state must be more vigilant. The laws relating to violence, cultism, and child rights, are strong enough. It is just that nobody enforces them, because the will to do so is absent. Everybody knows everybody in Nigeria and so the right thing never gets done. In France, there are about 700,000 cases of bullying per annum in schools, resulting in social media humiliation and increased cases of suicide among adolescents. Last week, the French parliament decided to introduce stiffer legislation. The proposed law imposes a three-year jail term, and a maximum fine of €150,000 in most serious cases, on anyone who is found guilty of school bullying. The law was proposed by Education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer. It has been approved by the lower house. If it is adopted by the Senate in February 2022, it would be one of the harshest laws against school bullying in the world. Combatting bullying is also part of Brigitte Macron, a school teacher, and the French President’s wife’s area of focus. Jean-Michel Blanquer says the law is “a way of enforcing the values of the Republic.” What are the values of the Nigerian Republic? Do we know or agree on what those values are? How do we begin to enforce them? We can start with our troubled school system by confronting the ugly truths. Sylvester Oromoni, the father, has taken a useful step in that direction by engaging Femi Falana (SAN), to sue the school and demand a coroner’s inquest.

By Reuben Abati

Premium Times

Friday, December 3, 2021

Escalating attacks targeting children endanger right to education in Nigeria

Nigerian authorities are failing children as at least 61 children in northern Nigeria remain in captivity, months after their abduction during mass attacks on schools which also terminated the education of thousands of children while putting children in captivity through horrific and degrading treatment in the hands of bandits, Amnesty International Nigeria said today.

Children in orphanages, schools and places of worship are often abducted and held in captivity for weeks, sometimes months depending on when or if the demands of their abductors are met. Children in school buses or walking to schools are also sometimes ambushed and abducted for ransom.

School children in some parts of northern Nigeria are constantly at the risk death or abduction. More than 780 children have been abducted for ransom since February 2021 during mass attacks on schools or religious institutions, with some of the children killed during the attacks. Parents of the abducted children or the school authorities are sometimes made to provide food and clothing for the children while in captivity,” says Osai Ojigho

The future of thousands of school children in Northern Nigeria remains bleak as hundreds of schools in some states have been closed indefinitely due to rising insecurity. Many children abandoned education due to the psychological trauma of witnessing violent attacks or living in captivity.

A primary school teacher who teaches in the community where 317 school children was abducted on 26 February 2021 in Jangebe LGA, Zamfara state told Amnesty International that insecurity has drastically reduced school attendance, as children are afraid of attending to school even when forced by their parents.

A 15-year-old boy who sustained injury while escaping mass abduction in his school told Amnesty International that he would not be returning to school, whenever it reopens.

“If school reopens, I won’t go back to the boarding school, I will rather become a day student elsewhere. Anytime I remember what happens I get scared; it’s disturbing, I want all the children most especially my cousins to be rescued”.

“When education institutions are targeted or attacked, the damage and consequences can be major and far-reaching. The protection of children’s lives is paramount, and the Nigerian authorities have a duty to ensure that the country’s educational sector is not further threatened by the abductions, intimidation and killing of school children”

Section 27 of the Child Rights Act prohibits the abduction of children. Having ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Nigeria has an obligation to take appropriate measures to prevent the abduction of children and to guarantee children’s right to education.

Death in captivity or during attack

Two girls and a boy abducted from Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri, Kebbi state on 17 June 2021, were found dead, days after their abduction. Also two of the children were shot in their legs while the third was suspected to have died of ill-health.

On 6 June 2021, the body of a 3-year-old boy abducted at the Salihu Tanko Islamic School, Tegina, Niger state was found few kilometers away from the town, while five other children abducted during the raid also died in captivity. At least 136 children between the ages of 3-15 were abducted during the raid and freed on the 26 of August after months in captivity.

On 17 February, Benjamin Doma was killed while trying to escape during an attack in his school, Government Science College Kagara, Niger state. Also 27 school children were abducted during the raid.

On 19 September, Edeh Donald a student of Marist Comprehensive Academy, Uturu, Abia state died when their school bus was attacked by gunmen along Ihube road in Okigwe LGA while returning with his school mates from an excursion.

Many abducted children have been released after negotiations, but more than 61 children are still in captivity months after their abduction. At least 56 children of Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri, Kebbi state are still in captivity 167 days after their abduction on 17 June 2021. Also 102 school children including eight academic and non-academic staff were abducted during the raid.

In Kaduna, three students abducted from Bethel Baptist High School on 5 July 2021 have spent 149 days in captivity. At least 121 children between the ages of 10- 15 were abducted during the raid in Chikun local government area.

Children including an infant are among the 66 people still in captivity after their abduction on 31 October 2021 at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Chikun LGA, Kaduna state.

“Attacks on schools, abductions and killings of school children demonstrate an absolute disregard for the right to life and the right to education. The Nigerian authorities must provide protection for schools and children. Attacks on schools are a violation of international law and the authorities must ensure that these attacks are properly investigated, and alleged perpetrators brought to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty, said Osai Ojigho.

Amnesty International Nigeria has repeatedly called for the protection of children during crisis and an end to attacks on schools.

Amnesty International

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Nigeria confirms first cases of Omicron among travellers from South Africa

Nigeria confirmed its first cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant among two travellers who arrived from South Africa last week, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said on Wednesday.

The NCDC also said retrospective sequencing of previously confirmed cases among travellers to Nigeria had identified the variant among a sample collected in October. It did not give details.

"Given the highly likely increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant, it is imperative to put in place measures to curb community transmission," NCDC said in a statement.

The announcement by NCDC comes ahead of a meeting between South African President Cyril Rampahosa and his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja later on Wednesday, where the issue of the Omicron variant is likely to be discussed.

Several nations have imposed travel restrictions on countries in southern Africa, where the variant was first reported, which Ramaphosa says is unjustified and hurts developing nations. 


Monday, November 29, 2021

Video - Former Nigerian President Obasanjo optimistic that peace will reign


African Union Special Envoy to Ethiopia Olusegun Obasanjo is optimistic that a peace deal will be agreed upon in the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Video - Nigeria's Borno State offers free vocational training for youth


Nigeria's northeastern Borno State is offering free vocational training in an effort to reduce youth unemployment. Borno has been the epicentre of Nigeria's more than decade-long conflict with Boko Haram fighters.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Video - Nigeria security: Fears of Boko Haram fade in Borno state

Boko Haram now appears to be on the back foot after 12 years of carrying out attacks in Nigeria's northeastern Borno state. But security forces have stepped up their campaign against the armed group in recent years and people in Borno say they feel more at ease about venturing out again.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Video - 2022 FIFA World Cup: Nigeria sails through to the playoffs qualifiers

Nigeria qualified for the playoff round of the qualification for the 2022 World Cup after playing to a 1-1 home draw against the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde on Tuesday. The Super Eagles finished top of Group C with 13 points, two more than Cape Verde. Here is CGTN's Deji Bademosi with more.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Gunmen kill 15 in latest attack in Nigeria’s northwest

Gunmen have killed at least 15 people in Nigeria’s northwest, the Sokoto state governor said, the latest incident in a spiral of violence in Africa’s most populous country.

The gunmen stormed communities in Sokoto state and raided houses from Sunday night into Monday morning, Gov. Aminu Tambuwal said in a statement, just days after nearly 30 people were shot dead across remote communities across Nigeria’s troubled north.

At least 13 people were killed in Illela, a town near the border with neighboring Niger and some 97 kilometers (60 miles) from the state capital, he said, adding that two others were killed in Goronyo, about 76 kilometers (47 miles) east of the state capital.

The violent attacks across the northwest and central parts of Nigeria have killed hundreds of people this year.

Most affected communities are in remote areas that don’t have adequate security or telecommunications, such as Goronyo community where more than 40 people were shot dead a month ago when assailants opened fire at a crowded marketplace.

The gunmen are mostly young men from the Fulani ethnic group who had traditionally worked as nomadic cattle herders and are caught up in a decades-long conflict with Hausa farming communities over access to water and grazing land, according to authorities and security analysts.

The attacks have taken on ethnic and religious dimensions, with clashes often reported in volatile states between the herdsmen and local communities. The assailants — called bandits in Nigeria — are “graduating into terrorists,” Gov. Tambuwal said.

The widespread banditry in the northwest is in addition to the Islamic extremist insurgency in the northeast that has lasted more than a decade. Some of the bandits — who often operate in bands of more than 100 — are now joining forces with the extremist rebels, security analysts and residents have told AP.

By Chinedu Asadu


Monday, November 8, 2021

Video - Prestigious International Polo tournament held in Nigeria


Nigeria held this year's International Polo tournament in the country's North-western Kaduna state. Professionals from Argentina, Europe, and South Africa joined top Nigerian polo patrons and players as they jostled for top honors in the 2021 edition. The prize - West Africa's oldest and most-revered polo trophy, the 400-year-old Georgian Cup.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Video - Dozens reportedly trapped after 21-storey building collapses in Nigeria's Lagos


A 21-storey building has collapsed in the Nigerian city of Lagos. It is believed 50 people are trapped in the building that is reported to have been under construction. Officials in the second-most populous city in Africa have been trying to demolish or retrofit unsafe buildings. More than 80 buildings have been demolished this year.

Related stories: Woman buried alive for four days rescued from collapsed building in Lagos, Nigeria

Search called off in school collapse in Nigeria

Video - At least 8 killed in Nigeria school building collapse

Video - Nigeria's bobsleigh team looking to build on breakthrough in Beijing


Nigeria made history by sending the first bobsleigh team from Africa to the Winter Olympics in 2018. Now the side is looking to build on their achievement from PyeongChang, and make additional progress in Beijing 2022. CGTN's Deji Badmus has more.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Nigeria’s eNaira digital currency had an embarrassing first week

It is not time for adieu yet, but Nigeria’s central bank digital currency—the first such attempt in Africa—has not gotten off to a great start.

The eNaira, as the digital currency is called, was initially scheduled to launch on Oct. 1 this year. That was postponed with the excuse that the launch clashed with independence day celebrations. Nigerians became suspicious of their central bank’s readiness for a digital currency rollout; after all, independence day is a fixed event every year and so authorities should have planned better.

Shrugging off sceptics, president Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the eNaira wallet at an indoor, socially-distanced ceremony in Abuja three weeks later (on Oct. 25,) where only three media houses were invited and no questions were taken, according to Reuters. Buhari said the innovation could grow Nigeria’s economy by $29 billion in the coming decade, and further financial inclusion goals.

But on just the fourth day, the eNaira was looking dead on arrival.

eNaira app hasn’t worked well

In designing the eNaira, Nigeria hoped to follow the emerging blueprint for central bank digital currencies, especially China’s.

The eNaira is supposed to live within a mobile wallet (pdf), have the same value and be interchangeable with the physical naira for everyday transactions. Nigerians believe the eNaira, which is governed by a centralized blockchain, is part of the central bank’s drive to discourage cryptocurrencies’ popularity among Nigeria’s youth, just like China’s effort with the digital yuan.

And so this week, Nigeria’s central bank made two types of eNaira wallets available on Google and Apple stores: one for individuals, and another for merchants. But some users say parts of the wallet for individuals have not worked properly.

Fisayo Fosudo, a Nigerian YouTuber who reviews gadgets and apps, said he and three friends initially got error messages that the eNaira app could not match their emails to their bank verification numbers. He would later register successfully but found broken links that did not lead to helpful support pages on the central bank’s website. “Was really looking forward to reviewing the eNaira app but it’s been hard to get it to work seamlessly. We wait,” Fosudo said.

After many users left poor reviews for the Android version of the eNaira app for individuals, it was taken down. It had been downloaded 100,000 times before that. The Apple Store version remained available at press time.

Nigeria’s central bank is pre-empting eNaira scams

Central bank digital currencies are not immune to scams. Last October, Chinese authorities started seeing fake digital yuan wallets, especially because the government had chosen to give away $6.2 million worth of digital yuan for free to citizens to encourage adoption.

Nigeria’s eNaira may be struggling to take off but the central bank is already warning of potential scams. In a press release on Oct. 27, the bank clarified that it did not have a dedicated eNaira account, and that it was not distributing 50 billion naira in eNaira.

What of the other CBDC plan in Africa?

South Africa is the other large economy in Africa contemplating a central bank digital currency, but it’s not quite through the same process as Nigeria’s.

Instead of a rollout to citizens for intra-country transactions, South Africa’s CBDC trial is part of a project by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) which includes the central banks of Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia. They are teaming up to test the use of CBDCs for international settlements.

Project Dunbar, as it is called, will use CBDCs to create platforms for financial institutions to transact directly with each other using digital currencies issued by the central banks. The hope is to make transactions faster, cheaper, and without a need for intermediaries.

By Alexander Onukwue 


Related story: Video - Nigeria becomes first African nation to roll out digital currency

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Video - Nigeria becomes first African nation to roll out digital currency


Nigeria has launched a digital currency. Called eNaira, it is hoped to foster economic growth. But there are challenges in its use. Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris reports from Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja.

Related stories: The NFT Craze Is Helping Nigerian Artists Go Global

Digital art thrives among crypto-curious Nigerian artists

Nigerians Are Using Bitcoin to Bypass Trade Hurdles With China


Monday, October 25, 2021

Will #EndSARS protesters in Nigeria see justice?


A year on from the social media-driven #EndSARS protests in Nigeria that brought the disbandment of a hated police unit, activists are still demanding wider police reform while also seeking justice for demonstrators who say they came under fire from security forces. 

Hundreds of people joined rallies in Lagos and other cities on October 20 to mark a year since peaceful protesters were fired on by security forces at the Lekki toll gate, according to multiple witnesses. At least 12 people were killed in the attack. Nigeria’s information minister insists no such shooting occurred. 

Amnesty International says dozens more people were killed by police in other protests in Nigerian cities in October 2020 calling for the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to be dissolved. 

The demonstrations were sparked by news that SARS officers in Ughelli had shot a young man before taking his car. At the height of the protests the government led by President Muhammadu Buhari demobilised SARS, whose officers had been accused of abuses ranging from arbitrary arrest and extortion to torture and extrajudicial killings. 

Activists remained on the streets for days afterwards, demanding that lawless officers be prosecuted while also calling for wider improvements to the police and other security agencies. In this episode of The Stream we’ll hear from activists still pushing for justice and police reform a year on from the landmark #EndSARS protests.

Video - Nigerian authorities hunt down escaped prisoners


Authorities in Nigeria are stepping up efforts to recapture prisoners who were aided to escape after an attack by gunmen. The gunmen attacked a jail in Nigeria's Oyo State late on Friday. Prison officials say the attackers gained entry to the prison yard by blasting the walls with dynamite.After an exchange of gunfire with prison officers, they freed over 800 inmates by force.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Video - Nigeria's Super Eagles bounce back after shock defeat

Nigeria's Super Eagles defeated the Wild Beasts of Central African Republic by two goals to nil in their reverse fixture of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, which took place in Douala, Cameroon. First-half goals from defender Leon Balogun and striker Victor Osimhen were enough to avenge Nigeria's shock loss to the C-A-R in the first leg. CGTN's Deji Bademosi has more.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Gunmen kill at least 43 in northern Nigeria

Gunmen killed at least 43 people in an attack in northern Nigeria's Sokoto state, the governor's office said on Monday.

The assault began at a weekly market in Goronyo on Sunday and continued into Monday morning, Sokoto Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said in a statement.

Gunmen across northwestern Nigeria have killed scores of people and kidnapped hundreds more for ransom over the past year in a security crisis that the government is trying to tackle via communications blackouts, military operations and stepped up policing.

Iliyasu Abba, a local resident and trader, told Reuters that there were 60 bodies at Goronyo General Hospital mortuary and that others sustained injuries while escaping.

"The gunmen stormed the market as it was crowded with shoppers and traders," he said.

The men were "shooting sporadically on us after they surrounded the market firing at every direction killing people."

Abba said the gunmen had at least initially overpowered police who tried to intervene. A police spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The government ordered shut all telephone and internet services in the whole of Zamfara state in early September, a blackout later extended to parts of Katsina, Sokoto and Kaduna states as military operations intensified.

Nigeria's top general said last week the telecoms blackout would be maintained because it was helping the armed forces crack down on the bandits. But the closure has made it hard to know what is happening in the affected areas, and has disrupted daily life and business for millions.

Tambuwal requested more security forces in Sokoto and the deployment of more resources. 


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Video - Nigeria launches sweeping measures to contain violence


Nigeria’s government has announced sweeping measures it hopes will help contain worsening attacks by armed groups in the north. Markets and the transportation of certain goods have been banned and communication services cut. But as days run into weeks, some citizens are getting desperate. Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris reports from Kaduna.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Video - Nigerian states arm locals against rise in attacks by armed groups


At least 20 people have been killed in Nigeria's Sokoto state when gunmen attacked a market. Armed groups still disrupt life for millions in the country's northwest, but Nigeria is also facing growing insecurity across regions. The military and police are stretched dealing with Boko Haram in the northeast, so-called bandits in the northwest, and criminal gangs in the south. And as Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris reports from Kaduna, Nigeria, state governors are arming local people to fight back.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Nigeria rescues 187 people from kidnappers

Nigerian security agents on Thursday rescued 187 people who had been abducted by armed gangs in the northwestern state of Zamfara, police said, after authorities launched a sweeping security operation against the kidnappers.

Since December last year, Zamfara has been at the centre of often violent kidnappings by heavily armed bandits who have targeted schools, villages and people travelling on highways for ransom.

The government last month shut telecommunication services in Zamfara and other states to disrupt coordination among the gangs.

Mohammed Shehu, the police spokesman for Zamfara, said in a statement that the 187 people, including women and children, had been seized by kidnappers from four local government areas in the state some weeks ago.

"The police and other security agencies have been carrying out assaults on identified bandits locations in different parts of the state with a view to ridding the state of all activities of recalcitrant bandits and other criminal elements," said Shehu.

Pictures and video circulated by police to the media showed some of the people with torn clothes and struggling to sit as they waited to be transported back to their homes.

Armed gangs have grown bolder over time, attacking army outposts, breaking prisoners out of a jail and shooting down an air force jet in July.

Authorities in neighbouring states have complained that bandits driven out of Zamfara have poured into their territories and were causing havoc.

Reporting by Maiduguri newsroom, writing by MacDonald Dzirutwe, editing by Richard Pullin


Related story: Video - Is Nigeria's kidnapping crisis out of control?

Nigeria cranks up spending to record $39.8 bln in 2022 budget

Nigeria's president unveiled a record 16.39 trillion naira ($39.8 billion) budget for 2022 on Thursday, with a projected 25% year-on-year rise in government spending as the economy struggles with the impact of the pandemic.

The deficit will rise to 6.26 trillion naira, or 3.39% of GDP to be funded by new borrowing, proceeds from privatisations and drawdowns on loans secured for specific projects, Muhammadu Buhari told a joint sitting of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The plan for Africa's top oil exporter assumes crude output of 1.88 million barrels a day and an oil price of $57 per barrel, said Buhari.

"Some have expressed concern over our resort to borrowing to finance our fiscal gaps. They are right to be concerned. However, we believe that the debt level of the Federal Government is still within sustainable limits," he said.

Economic analysts said Nigeria's budget signaled the government was not about to make any major policy shift as spending would remain elevated to deal with a deteriorating security situation in many parts of the country.

The armed forces have been struggling to contain Islamist insurgencies in the northeast, a spate of mass abductions and deadly bandit attacks in the northwest, conflicts between farmers and herders in many areas and a general surge in crime.

"In the meantime, Nigeria is likely to be stuck with large budget deficits. If borrowing conditions prove to be unfavourable, the government may increasingly lean on the central bank to finance budget shortfalls," said Virag Forizs, emerging markets economist at Capital Economics.

The World Bank has said that rising insecurity, along with high food inflation and stalled reforms, was a drag on growth and a factor in rising poverty.

The economy is projected to grow by up to 3% this year after it expanded by 5% in the second quarter. It contracted in 2020 due to the pandemic, though it managed to exit recession in the fourth quarter, but growth is fragile.


Buhari confirmed a previously published 2022 GDP growth forecast of 4.2% and an inflation projection of 13%.

"Our target over the medium term is to grow our revenue-to-GDP ratio from about 8 percent currently to 15 percent by 2025," Buhari said. This would be achieved by enhancing tax and excise revenues through reforms and administration measures, he added.

Nigeria has passed a string of record budgets since Buhari took office in 2015, but the country has struggled to fund the spending plans due to low revenues. The pandemic has added to the revenue problems.

According to IMF data, Nigeria has among the lowest revenues globally, with general government revenue between 2015 and 2019 at 7.9% of GDP, compared with a Sub-Saharan African average of 12.7% and a global average of 29.8%.

Buhari said a fuel subsidy which successive governments have tried unsuccessfully to scrap, continued to erode revenues. Attempts to remove it have triggered protests and strikes.

By Felix Onuah and Chijioke Ohuocha 


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Video - Why nothing will stop Yemi Alade

Nigerian pop superstar Yemi Alade is a force to be reckoned with. In her own words, a "Woman of Steel". Alade's accomplishments in music are many. Her song "Johnny" was one of the biggest hits on the African continent in 2014. In 2015 and 2016 she won Best Female performer at the MTV Africa Music Awards and was nominated for Best International Act at the BET Awards. In less than a decade, she has released five studio albums and has collaborated with artists such as Rick Ross, Duncan Mighty, Angelique Kidjo and Funke Akindele. But perhaps her biggest collaboration to date has been with Beyonce, contributing to the Black is King Album with The Gift and Don’t Jealous Me. Alade boasts more than 450 million YouTube streams, has close to 15 million Instagram followers, and is about to begin a second season as a judge on Nigeria’s The Voice. As if all of that wasn't enough, Alade has now become a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, working to highlight COVID-19 vaccine inequality. The daughter of a police officer, she was also part of Nigeria's huge End Sars campaign against police brutality and is passionate about women's rights. In this episode of The Stream, Yemi Alade us in-studio for a conversation about her music, women’s empowerment, her activism on COVID and for an exclusive live performance.

Video - Plans to rehabilitate former Boko Haram faces opposition


The surrender of hundreds of Boko Haram fighters in Nigeria’s northeast is causing anxiety in Borno state. The government says it will rehabilitate and reintegrate the former fighters into society. But the plan has divided people who have suffered unimaginable atrocities during the 12-year conflict. In the last two months, about 6,000 fighters and their families surrendered due to renewed ground and aerial offensive by Nigerian troops. Hundreds of thousands have already been returned to their towns and villages to homes being rebuilt by the government. For now, officials seem determined to speed up the process of rebuilding trust - hoping it could break Boko Haram’s fighting spirit and bring lasting peace. Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris reports from Maiduguri, Nigeria.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Doctors in Nigeria struggle to cope as acute malnutrition soars


Clinics and hospitals in northern Nigeria are struggling to cope with high numbers of severely malnourished children. Food shortages have worsened as violence by armed groups intensifies. Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris reports from Maiduguri, Nigeria.

Dozens killed and abducted in Nigeria’s north

At least 32 people have been killed in Nigeria’s north after armed groups attacked remote communities in 2 states, authorities said, the latest incident in a spiraling cycle of violence in Africa’s most populous country.

Local officials and residents told The Associated Press that the killings and the abduction of 24 persons in Niger and Sokoto states were carried out by the marauding gunmen operating across the northwest and central parts of Nigeria who are notorious for abducting hundreds of school children and travelers for ransom.

The attacks happened barely 48 hours after about 40 persons were killed in the northern region in what residents said could be a part of a prolonged religious conflict between Muslim and Christian communities in Kaduna state.

In the north central Niger state, assailants attacked Muya local government area on Tuesday morning, killing 14 people and abducting seven women, according to Garba Mohammed, the chairman of Munya LGA. The police spokesperson confirmed the incident to the AP but said he had no further details.

“These bandits invaded one of the communities around 2 a.m. yesterday, set the houses ablaze, burnt the people in their rooms while some of them (the attackers) were standing outside; those trying to escape were caught and slaughtered,” said Mohammed.

After the raid in Kachiwe, the assailants went to two more communities nearby, killing 2 persons they saw on their way before killing 16 more residents, the official added.

Mohammed said the gunmen took advantage of the blockade of telecommunications access. Authorities imposed the block to stem the exchange of information between gunmen and local residents who were acting as informants.

During a similar attack in the northwest Sokoto state, 17 persons were abducted from their homes in Sabon Birni local government area, according to Amina Al-Mustapha, the state lawmaker from the affected area.

The bandits attacked the Gatawa community in the neighboring country Niger on Tuesday, less than a week after earlier attacking the area and killing 22 persons mostly security operatives,

“We are under bandits now; We are suffering now,” the lawmaker said, adding that “at least 60%” of about 500,000 residents in Sabon Birni have fled the community, some taking refuge in Niger Republic which is just about 100 miles (160 kilometers) away.

Violent attacks by the assailants known locally as bandits are common across the northwest and central parts of Nigeria, especially in remote communities where there is no adequate security presence.

Authorities have said that special military operations targeted at restoring peace in the troubled states have been yielding results with dozens of the assailants often killed when their hideouts in abandoned forest reserves are bombarded.

But Nigeria’s security operatives, especially those operating in violence hotspots, are still outnumbered by the gunmen who often raid communities in their hundreds. The assailants are made up of various groups and security analysts have said they are mostly young men from the Fulani ethnic group who had traditionally worked as nomadic cattle herders and are caught up in a decades-long conflict with Hausa farming communities over access to water and grazing land.

In Sokoto state, lawmaker Al-Mustapha told AP that the Sabon Birni area had five military bases as of last year, but “now, we have only one in the entire with security operatives present,” with the others abandoned after suffering attacks.

By Chinedu Asadu


Thursday, September 30, 2021

Video - Can Boko Haram fighters rejoin society?


Nigeria’s military is increasingly confident in its fight against Boko Haram, as growing numbers of members surrender. But victims of the armed movement in the country’s northeast are nervous about reintegration programmes that aim to return former adherents to mainstream society. At least 10,000 people linked to Boko Haram and its rival, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), have given themselves up in recent weeks, the Nigerian army says. 

Those surrendering range from combatants to abductees coerced into working for the groups. The pace of defections from Boko Haram, which is fighting to impose its own interpretation of Islamic law on the northeast and is behind a wave of mass kidnappings, has increased since the reported death in May of the group’s leader Abubakar Shekau and the subsequent rise of ISWAP. Hundreds of former low-level members of Boko Haram are now undertaking government "deradicalisation" programmes to reintegrate them to civilian life, with authorities also providing support to family members of surrendered fighters. 

Supporters of state-run rehabilitation initiatives such as Operation Safe Corridor say they tempt fighters to give themselves up, and could help end a 12-year war between Nigerian government forces and insurgent groups that the UN estimates has killed about 350,000 people. But many people who have borne the brunt of Boko Haram attacks and exploitation are questioning the government’s decision to host surrendered fighters in a compound in Maiduguri - where Boko Haram originated. They have doubts about the sincerity of those who have given themselves up and say the rehabilitation schemes allow Boko Haram followers to get away with their crimes. Hundreds of thousands of people who remain displaced and dispossessed due to Boko Haram attacks are urging the government to ensure that victims are also supported. In this episode of The Stream we’ll look at the challenges in rehabilitating former Boko Haram fighters as victims maintain their call for justice.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Video - Nigeria builds new schools, but not all students can access them

Education in Nigeria’s northern Borno state, the region at the heart of years of Boko Haram violence, is getting back on track. With new schools now built, enrollment is increasing but because facilities cannot be built in areas where Boko Haram is still active, thousands of children still have no schools to go to. Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris reports from Maiduguri, Nigeria.

Nigerian air force kills dozens of civilians in northeast

The Nigerian Air Force fired upon and killed dozens of civilians at a village in the northeast, a victim and a resident said on Tuesday, as the country wages a 12-year war against Islamist insurgencies.

The air force did not respond to repeated requests for comment by phone and message.

The deaths come two months after the U.S. government transferred six A-29 Super Tucano fighter planes to Nigeria to assist in its war against Islamist militants. The sale of the aircraft was condemned by critics, citing the Nigerian military's record of killing civilians. read more

Two planes bombed a fish market in the village of Daban Masara on Sunday, said Husaini, who spoke to Reuters by phone on condition he be identified only by his first name. He said his leg was wounded in the attack.

"At least 50 people were killed instantly... including my friend who got married just three weeks ago," Husaini said.

The other resident, who asked not to be named, said locals had been fishing despite a military ban on the trade because of allegations the sales of fish are funding the Islamic State West Africa Province insurgent group.

The resident said they saw the corpses of at least 60 people after the air force's strike.

"They are innocent people like us that depend on fishing to sustain their living. Their mistake is that they were fishing in an area restricted by security forces," said the resident.

A United Nations security report reviewed by Reuters confirmed the strike, saying one fisherman was killed and six wounded

It is not clear whether the killings could affect the transfer to Nigeria of six more A-29 Super Tucanos, propeller-driven light attack aircraft.

The United States under then-President Donald Trump agreed to sell the planes to Nigeria in 2017, resurrecting a deal frozen by the Barack Obama administration after the Nigerian Air Force bombed a refugee camp, killing as many as 170 civilians.


Nigeria police arrest 57 in Shia procession, deny casualties

Nigerian police said they arrested dozens of Shia Muslim followers of an outlawed group at a religious procession in the nation’s capital with a spokesperson of the group claiming eight members were shot dead during the gathering.

Abuja police denied any casualties occurred when the group, marking the religious ritual of Arbaeen, was dispersed on Tuesday

Police said they intervened to stop members of the banned Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) as they had been causing “unnecessary hardship to motorists” along the Abuja-Kubwa expressway, adding that 57 people were arrested after IMN members attacked the police with petrol bombs and stones.

“The miscreants who were found in their numbers were promptly intercepted by the security operatives and dispersed to prevent them from causing further disruption of public order,” the police statement said.

However, Abdullahi Muhamed, an IMN member, told the Reuters news agency that participants were walking peacefully along the expressway when a team of police and soldiers fired tear gas and live ammunition at them.

IMN spokesman, Ibrahim Musa, said security forces shot and wounded protesters.

“We were almost rounding up the procession when the police and army came and started shooting,” he said.

The IMN, a pro-Iranian group that was outlawed in 2019 for protests against the arrest of their leader Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, has clashed with Nigerian security forces for years and often marches in Abuja.

The army killed 350 IMN Shia Muslims during a religious procession in northern Nigeria in December 2015. According to rights groups, many were gunned down and burned alive.

IMN leader el-Zakzaky and his wife, who have been in custody since 2015, were freed last month after a court acquitted them of murder charges involving the death of a soldier.

But the religious leader still faces terrorism and treasonable offences charges, according to prosecutors.

Muslims make up about half of Nigeria’s population of 200 million. The overwhelming majority of them are Sunni. The Shia Muslim minority have long complained of discrimination and repression.

Al Jazeera

Nigeria jihadist infighting kills scores in Lake Chad

Infighting between Nigeria's two major jihadist factions has left scores dead, raising the possibility of a prolonged internecine conflict between the two forces, civilian and security sources told AFP Tuesday.

Islamic State West Africa Province or ISWAP has emerged as the dominant faction in Nigeria's conflict, especially after the death of rival Boko Haram commander Abubakar Shekau in May during infighting between the groups.

His death marked a major shift in the grinding 12-year insurgency that has left 40,000 people dead, but security sources say Shekau loyalists have held out against ISWAP's bid to consolidate.

Boko Haram jihadists on Monday launched an attack on rival ISWAP militants on the Nigerian side of Lake Chad, ISWAP's bastion, seizing a strategic island, fishermen and a security source said.

Large numbers of heavily armed Boko Haram insurgents in speed boats invaded Kirta Wulgo island after dislodging ISWAP security checkpoints in an hours-long fight, those sources said.

- 'Mutually destructive fight' -

The seizure of Kirta Wulgo would be a huge setback to ISWAP as the island served as a port for importing weapons and supplies into its territory, according to security sources and local fishermen.

"It was a mutually destructive fight that lasted for more than nine hours, from 4 pm yesterday to early hours of this morning," said one fisherman in the area.

He could not give a figure for casualties, but his account was backed by two other fishermen in the region.

A local security source confirmed the clashes to AFP.

According to the security source, Boko Haram mobilised its fighters from camps in Gegime and Kwatar Mota on the Niger side of the lake and Kaiga-Kindjiria on the Chadian side.

"They gathered at Tumbun Ali island in the Nigerian side of the lake and dislodged six ISWAP checkpoints before taking over Kirta Wulgo," the security source said.

"It was a deadly fight. We are talking of more than 100 dead," the source said.

ISWAP split from Boko Haram in 2016 and rose to become the dominant jihadist group, focusing on attacking military bases and ambushing troops.

The two factions turned staunch enemies since the split and regularly fight for dominance.

Since Shekau's death in May following infighting with ISWAP militants in his Sambisa forest enclave, ISWAP has been fighting Boko Haram remnants who have refused to pay allegiance to it to consolidate its grip in the northeast.

More than two million people have been displaced by Nigeria's conflict since it began in 2009, and the violence has spread over the borders to Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

- Battles to come -

After Shekau's death, Boko Haram rebels led by Bakoura Buduma, a former Shekau lieutenant, fled Sambisa to the territory under his control in Niger's Gegime-Bosso axis of Lake Chad, according to security sources.

Last month Boko Haram suffered heavy casualties in a failed bid to invade Kirta Wulgo where they were beaten back by ISWAP, two sources in the area told AFP.

"This is just the beginning of an internecine battle between the two factions. It'll be a battle to the finish," said the local security source.

Boko Haram may want to assert their presence on the Nigerian side of the lake to get its share of fishing revenues accruing to ISWAP from levies on Nigerian fishermen.

With this sudden setback, ISWAP may look to push out the invading Boko Haram militants.

Boko Haram is now within striking distance from ISWAP's major strongholds of Sabon Tumbu, Jibillaram and Kwalleram, according to a source familiar with the area.

"ISWAP leader Abu Musab Al-Barnawi is known to reside in Sabon Tumbu where high-profile captured Boko Haram commanders are being held," the source said.

Al-Barnawi's deputy lives in Jibillaram along with other high-profile lieutenants while Sigir and Kusuma islands close to Kirta Wulgo house many of the group's senior commanders.

"All these islands are now under Boko Haram threat," the source said.

"ISWAP would use every means to ensure their safety from Boko Haram fighters who would go to any length to see they fall under their control."


Nigeria to become first country in Africa to launch CBDC

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s eNaira website has gone live ahead of schedule.

And, in the 24 hours following the launch, it received more than a million hits.

The CBN stated that eNaira – a central bank-issued digital currency that provides a unique form of money denominated in Naira – would serve as both a medium of exchange and a store of value, offering better payment prospects in retail transactions when compared to cash payments.

eNaira presents itself as the digital form of cash and is a direct liability on the Central Bank of Nigeria while the customer deposits are direct liabilities on the financial institutions.

However, it seems that a lot of its future users in Nigeria are still arguing whether or not it is actually a cryptocurrency.

Olumide Adesina, a CEO of Nigerian analyst firm TM Analytics believes the eNaira can’t replace the crypto market or fight and win Bitcoin. However, he stressed it could complement the crypto market and provide leverage for a growing number of people from Nigeria.

Some praise eNaira’s benefits for financial inclusion, while others are concerned it would give central banks more control over citizens’ financial rights through the removal of intermediaries.

eNaira makes remittance transfers easier

Still, the official website says the eNaira will “cultivate economic growth, provide cheaper remittances, limit fraudulent behaviour, and is secure, among other benefits for its use”.

Rakiya Mohammed, the bank’s director of information technology, recently explained eNaira could make remittance transfers easier for Nigerians working abroad.

South Africa also recently announced a trial of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) for cross-border payments. The central bank said it could motivate other financial institutions around the world to work towards using the technology.

Founder and CEO of cryptocurrency and digital asset exchange platform Botmecash, Oluwasegun Kosemani, said there was a rising interest in the use cases and value Bitcoin offers in Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, Kaduna, Abeokuta, and among the Igbo tribe traders who import and export from China and Turkey.

“This will blow up soon when the eNaira launches in Nigeria,” he said, adding that eNaira “is the beginning and pathway to the end of cash in the country”.

By Teuta Franjkovic

Coin Rivet

Monday, September 27, 2021

Video - Nigeria children face mental health crises

Eleven years of conflict in northern Nigeria have left hundreds of thousands of children traumatised. Doctors and many other caregivers are concerned about the long-term effects on young children - and the impact on their communities as they grow up. Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris reports from Maiduguri, Nigeria.

Related stories: Video - Is Nigeria's kidnapping crisis out of control?

Video - Boko Haram victim recounts time in captivity

Gunmen release 10 Nigerian students after collecting ransom

After captivity, Nigerian students seek overseas education


After captivity, Nigerian students seek overseas education

Emmanuel Benson was planning to get his diploma in horticulture and landscaping from Nigeria’s Federal College of Forestry Mechanization next year. Now, he’s not willing to risk the return to school, after he was kidnapped by bandits with dozens of others earlier this year.

“Our lives are at risk — Nigerian students, especially in Kaduna state where we are,” the 24-year-old said. As much as he wanted to complete his studies “the kidnapping and everything that is going on haven’t stopped yet ... staying here anymore doesn’t benefit anybody.”

Benson is among a growing group of Nigerian students seeking alternative solutions to their education that won’t further endanger them, as bandits in Nigeria’s northern states grow more ambitious, staging increased kidnappings of students for ransom.

At least 25 Nigerian students who spent nearly two months in the custody of gunmen in the country’s troubled northwest region are now putting resources together in the hopes of leaving the West African nation to study in another country, like the U.S., according to teachers and parents at the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization in the state of Kaduna.

Some of the students, as well as parents and teachers at the Kaduna college, told The Associated Press that after spending about seven weeks in captivity before regaining freedom in May, life hasn’t remained the same. They fear pursuing an education in Nigeria, and they are now relying on the help of a school committee overseeing their application process for overseas education.

There are no clear plans yet on how that enrollment would work out, except that they are hoping for scholarship opportunities in the U.S. or elsewhere.

Nigeria is no longer an option for them because “the country is not safe,” according to Paul Yahaya, one of the 25 students.

Many families in Kaduna state say they now stay mostly indoors over fears of attacks. Ransoms are hefty, and in Nigeria, with a national poverty rate of 40%, parents are struggling.

“Even the parents don’t have money, because they have been struggling to pay their (abducted children’s) ransom and they paid (so) much amount to the negotiators (who helped to secure the release of the children),” said Abdullahi Usman, the chairman of the committee of parents and teachers who is overseeing the application process for interested students.

If the students left, that would mean starting tertiary education afresh and losing at least three years spent so far for some.

The 25 students hoping to leave are among 1,436 students who have been abducted in the last year in Africa’s most populous country, according to Peter Hawkins, the U.N. Children’s Agency Nigeria representative. The education of up to 1.3 million Nigerian children has been affected because of the school abductions, he said.

The Kaduna school and many other schools in at least four states remain closed because of insecurity.

Kauna Daniel wants to leave, despite not having the money to do so or a passport, but is still frightened.

“I don’t want to go anywhere again,” her voice rang out angrily over the phone. She said she hasn’t been able to sleep since she was released from captivity in May because of trauma and an eye problem.

“The trauma we are passing through is getting out of hand and it is even now that everything is getting worse,” the 19-year-old said, adding almost as if she is pleading that “it is better for me to stay at home.”

The United Nations estimates that the country of more than 200 million people already has 10 million children not attending school, one of the highest rates globally, with 1 million more afraid to return to classes as schools reopen in the coming weeks. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated those numbers, according to Save The Children Nigeria, which said 46 million Nigerian students have been affected by school closures as a result of the pandemic.

With the school abductions by groups of gunmen who often camp in abandoned forest reserves across the northwest and central parts of the country, some parents are caught in a dilemma. Should they brave the odds and send their children to schools, which are often located in remote areas, or keep them home, away from the prying eyes of the gunmen?

The Kaduna school committee chairman Usman said parents of affected students in Kaduna are “eager” for their admission to schools abroad because their children “are still vulnerable … and can be kidnapped anytime.”

Friday Sani is one such parent. He said his two daughters spent weeks in captivity along with other students of the Kaduna college, and they now await responses from places outside of Nigeria, mentally unable to return to school in the West African nation.

“The government of Nigeria needs to have a plan to better prepare education systems to respond to crises,” said Badar Musa of Save the Children International, Nigeria. “There is need for increased investment in education systems from both government and international donors.”

By Chinedu Asadu


Related stories: Video - This 25-Year-Old Is One of Nigeria’s Best Hostage Negotiators

Video - Boko Haram victim recounts time in captivity

Gunmen release 10 Nigerian students after collecting ransom

Gunmen release 10 more Nigerian students after fresh ransom

Gunmen in Nigeria on Sunday freed 10 students abducted in the northwest Kaduna state after collecting a ransom, a school official told The Associated Press.

The Rev. John Hayab said the students were released on Sunday afternoon, nearly three months after they were seized by the gunmen in Kaduna. Their release comes about a week after 10 of their other schoolmates were also released.

Eleven of the 121 students of the Bethel Baptist High School in Kaduna are still being held, Hayab said, expressing frustration at the refusal of the gunmen to release all the students at once.

“If we have the power, we would have brought them,” he told AP when asked why the gunmen held back 11 students. “The bandits are the ones in control, we now have to play along softly and get our children back.”

He was referring to the gunmen who have abducted at least 1,400 schoolchildren in Nigeria in the last year, according to the U.N. children’s agency.

“Our anger is not with the bandits as it is with the government, because we can’t have a government that is supposed to protect us and the bandits are having a field day. There is no day they have ever released one child for free,” the official added.

In the wake of increasing school attacks in the northwest and central parts of Nigeria, some governors have temporarily shut down schools and imposed phone blackouts in their states as they struggle to contain security challenges in Africa’s most populous state.

The first mass school abduction in Nigeria was carried out by the Boko Haram extremist group in 2014. But the West African nation has witnessed more than 10 other attacks on schools in the last year, a sudden spike that authorities have blamed on outnumbered security operatives in remote communities where the affected schools are mostly located.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, who rode to power in 2015 on a wave of goodwill after promising to end the country’s security challenges, has come under growing pressure over the security crisis, especially regarding the gunmen abducting schoolchildren and the Boko Haram extremists.

Security analysts have told the AP the gunmen and the extremists might be working together.

By Chinedu Asadu 


Related stories: Video - Boko Haram victim recounts time in captivity

Gunmen release 10 Nigerian students after collecting ransomAfter captivity, Nigerian students seek overseas education 

Video - Nigeria children face mental health crises

Friday, September 24, 2021

At least 329 people killed by cholera in Nigeria's northern state

A cholera outbreak in north Nigeria's Kano state has killed at least 329 people since March, a state government official said on Wednesday.

Addressing a media forum on the cholera outbreak in the state capital Kano city, Sulaiman Iliyasu, a disease surveillance officer in the state, said 11,475 suspected cholera cases were reported across the 44 local government areas of the state since March.

Iliyasu said out of the number, 11,115 cases had fully recovered, while 329 people had died, noting that 31 cases were still receiving treatment from three local government areas of the state as of Tuesday.

The officer said Kano ranked second in the country in terms of the number of cholera cases, adding the state government has established cholera treatment centers and intensified social mobilization and community awareness in the state as part of measures to check the disease.

Cholera is a highly virulent disease characterized in its most severe form by a sudden onset of acute watery diarrhea that can lead to death by severe dehydration.

The outbreak of cholera in Nigeria has remained persistent, occurring annually mostly during the rainy season and more often in areas with poor sanitation, overcrowding, lack of clean food and water, and areas where open defecation is a common practice.


Nigerian court orders alleged separatist freed, lawyer says

A Nigerian court on Thursday ordered the immediate release of a woman held in detention since February accused of being a member of a banned separatist organisation, her lawyer said.

The court in Abuja ruled that the police had illegally detained Ngozi Umeadi and ordered it to pay her damages of 50 million naira ($121,500), lawyer Ejiofor Ifeanyi said.

Nigerian authorities routinely detain people for months or years without charge.

Umeadi was accused of being a member of the Indigenous People of Biafra, which campaigns for the southeastern region to secede. Nigerian authorities blame it for attacks on police stations and other targets and have been cracking down on the group, which denies wrongdoing.

IPOB members and supporters accuse the authorities of arbitrary killings and detentions in the southeast, which they deny.

Ifeanyi also represents IPOB's detained leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who is facing trial for treason.

Kanu disappeared from Nigeria while on bail in 2017 after spending two years in jail. The Nigerian authorities announced in June that he had been captured abroad and brought back for his trial to resume, without explaining the circumstances.

Kanu's family and lawyers have alleged that he was illegally transferred from Kenya to Nigeria. Kenya has denied involvement.

Kanu's detention, and the fact that the authorities failed to produce him in court at the last hearing in July, have fuelled tension in the southeast, where a series of mass "sit-at-home" protests have taken place in solidarity with him.

Amnesty International said in August that Nigerian security forces had killed at least 115 people in the southeast this year and arbitrarily arrested or tortured scores of others. The authorities made no comment on the findings.

The southeast, homeland of the Igbo ethnic group, attempted to secede in 1967 under the name Republic of Biafra, triggering a three-year civil war in which more than a million people died, mostly of starvation.


Video - This 25-Year-Old Is One of Nigeria’s Best Hostage Negotiators


The Nigerian government blames ransom payers for this year’s massive spike in kidnappings and accuses them of financing terrorism. But as troops fail to protect civilians, hostage negotiators are the victim's only hope for survival. VICE News follows a 25-year old hostage negotiator as she works to rescue ten hostages in the largest case of her career.

Related stories: Video - Is Nigeria's kidnapping crisis out of control?

Video - Boko Haram victim recounts time in captivity

Gunmen release 10 Nigerian students after collecting ransom



Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Video - Nigeria's Super Falcons Firm Grip On Women's Football In Africa


No team has dominated women's football in Africa like the Super Falcons of Nigeria. The record 11-time continental champions are also one of the few teams in the world to have qualified for every edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup. CGTN's Deji Bademosi has been finding out why Nigeria has held such a firm grip on women's football in Africa.

Nigerians offer artworks to British Museum in new take on looted bronzes

A new guild of artists from Nigeria's Benin City has offered to donate artworks to the British Museum in London as a way to encourage it to return the priceless Benin Bronzes that were looted from the city's royal court by British troops in 1897.

Created in the once mighty Kingdom of Benin from at least the 16th century onwards, the bronze and brass sculptures are among Africa's finest and most culturally significant artefacts. European museums that house them have faced years of criticism because of their status as loot and symbols of colonial greed.

The Ahiamwen Guild of artists and bronze casters says it wants to change the terms of the debate by giving the British Museum contemporary artworks, untainted by any history of looting, that showcase Benin City's modern-day culture.

"We never stopped making the bronzes even after those ones were stolen," said Osarobo Zeickner-Okoro, a founding member of the new guild and the instigator of the proposed donation. "I think we make them even better now."

"Part of the crime that's been committed, it's not just ok, these were looted, it's the fact that you've portrayed our civilisation as a dead civilisation, you've put us among ancient Egypt or something," he said.

The artworks on offer, unveiled in Benin City in a ceremony attended by a member of the royal court, include a 2-metre-by-2-metre bronze plaque with carvings representing historical events in Benin, and a life-size ram made entirely from spark plugs.

Asked to comment on the offer, the British Museum said only that it was a matter for discussion between itself and the parties offering the objects.

Zeickner-Okoro, who travelled from Benin City to London this month partly to advance his initiative, said he had a meeting coming up with curators from the museum's Africa department.

While Germany has said it wants to return Benin Bronzes from its museums to Nigeria, the British Museum, which houses the largest and most significant collection of the items, has stopped short of making a clear commitment.

It says on its website that its director, Hartwig Fischer, had an audience with the Oba, or king, of Benin in 2018 "which included discussion of new opportunities for sharing and displaying objects from the Kingdom of Benin".

But many people in Benin City see no justification for European museums holding onto loot.

"They must bring it back. It is not their father's property. The property belongs to the Oba of Benin," said bronze caster Chief Nosa Ogiakhia.

Zeickner-Okoro, who grew up partly in Britain before moving back to Benin City, acknowledged that the Benin Bronzes' presence in European museums had allowed them to reach a global audience. But he said they should now return to the place and the people that created them.

"The descendants of the people who cast those bronzes, they've never seen that work because most of them can't afford to fly to London to come to the British Museum," he said.

"They have these catalogues, PDF copies of the catalogue from the British Museum, which they use to reference the work of their ancestors, and I think it's so sad."

By Tife Owolabi and Estelle Shirbon


Related stories: The NFT Craze Is Helping Nigerian Artists Go Global

Britain open to loan Nigeria stolen art

Around 20% of Nigerian workers lost jobs due to COVID-19

Around 20% of workers in Nigeria have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19, the government's statistics office said on Tuesday, outlining the impact of the pandemic on businesses in Africa's most populous nation.

The National Bureau of Statistics and the United Nations Development Programme surveyed nearly 3,000 businesses in the formal and informal sectors in Nigeria.

In March, the NBS said a third of Nigeria's workers were out of a job in the fourth quarter of 2020, a situation worsened by the pandemic.

"While there have been promising signs of recovery this year, COVID-19 has had an outsized socio-economic impact on Nigeria," the duo said in a statement.

Businesses complained about revenue declines, higher costs and an inadequate safety net for those in the informal sector, they said, adding that the disruption could leave a lasting impact on enterprises. Only a few in the utilities, financial and health sectors reported gains from the previous year.

The West African nation's economy, the biggest on the continent, was hammered by the fall in oil prices following disruptions caused by the pandemic. The country relies on crude exports for around 70% of government revenues.

Growth in Nigeria has resumed after COVID-19 triggered a recession but it lags the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, with food inflation, heightened insecurity and stalled reforms slowing the economy and increasing poverty, the World Bank has said.

The bank has said that the COVID-induced crisis was expected to push over 11 million Nigerians into poverty by 2022, taking the total number of people classified as poor in the country to over 100 million. The total population is estimated at 200 million.

By Camillus Eboh 


Meet the Nigerian board game creator trying to change an industry

Kenechukwu Cornelius Ogbuagu has been obsessed with playing and building games his entire life.

As a child, he played board and card games including Snakes and Ladders, Whot, and Ludo with the kids in his neighborhood in Enugu, southeastern Nigeria, where he was born and raised.

Yet in a country that loves games such as chess and Scrabble -- even fielding a world champion Scrabble team -- Ogbuagu noticed a lack of Nigerian-made games. In 2013, he decided to create his own game while studying at the University of Calabar in southern Nigeria.

"There was a nationwide strike at government-owned universities in the country at the time, so nobody was going to class," Ogbuagu, now 29, says. With nothing to do, "eventually, we started playing tabletop games."

At the time, he was not sure how to create games, so he used cardboard, stones, and dice from an old Ludo game to make a dice rolling and card drafting game for him and his friends.
Many of Ogbuagu's friends in school enjoyed playing the game, inspiring him to turn his passion into a profession.

Creating made-in-Nigeria games

In 2016, a few years after making his first game, Ogbuagu founded a game production publishing company called NIBCARD, which focuses on tabletop games such as board and card games.

"I eventually learned to make games on YouTube," he says. "I learned how to make boards. I learned about direct imaging printers. I also found stores where I could get material to make the games I wanted."

That same year, he started an annual convention in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city, called the Africa Boardgame Convention, or "AbCon" -- a gathering of tabletop game lovers from across the country, which Ogbuagu says is the first of its kind in West Africa.

"Many Nigerians hold stereotypes about board games. They say, 'oh, it is a woman's game.' The convention exists to cancel those types of stereotypes," Ogbuagu explains. Roughly 500 people attend the convention every year, he adds.

But his big break came in 2017 when charity organization Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) hired NIBCARD to create 2,300 copies of a game called "Luku Luku" for an education project it was running in the country.

Ogbuagu had been working with VSO as a volunteer when the group found out he was into games. "I met British colleagues who liked to play card games. I became inspired by their games and wanted to make something like that in Nigeria," he says.

Since making Luku Luku for VSO, Ogbuagu says NIBCARD has created at least two dozen tabletop games for sale across the country and received grants from organizations including the UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM).

"With the (IOM) grant, we were supposed to, in an artistic way, create an activity that will create awareness on migration," Ogbuagu says. To achieve this, he created a tile-placement game called "My World Trip."

"The game has maps of different countries and the names and continent of the countries," he explains. "As players are jumping from country to country trying to win the game, they are forced to learn new countries that they probably have never heard of."

Nigeria's tabletop gaming industry

According to a report in Dicebreaker, a publication focused on tabletop games, the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown period renewed interest in games and increased the sales of board games in places like the US and UK.

In the same year, tabletop games successfully raised $236.6 million on Kickstarter, accounting for nearly a third of all the money made on the crowd-sourcing platform in 2020.

But in Nigeria, there is hardly any data about the tabletop game industry. While games like chess, Ludo, and Scrabble are popular, the local sector is still largely untapped.

Ogbuagu says one of the reasons the industry is struggling is because there aren't a lot of board and card games designed and produced in the country.

"Many Nigerians don't have access to information about where to get games made in the country. There is also no access to tabletop games cafes and other value chains surrounding these games," he explains.
It is difficult for the average Nigerian to find information about games, he adds: "People will most likely know where to find Scrabble or chess than where to find their local, made-in-Nigeria games."

A home-grown movement

In 2019, as a way of increasing that awareness, Ogbuagu opened a cafe in Abuja.

"The cafe is just a space filled with games. People can come there to play," he says, with 60 Nigerian-made board games and another 300 non-Nigerian games. "Not all the games there are made by NIBCARD," he adds. "We stock games from other people too."

In the next couple of years, another goal is to get more people to appreciate and access locally made games, which starts with visibility.

He says he is currently in talks with filmmakers from the country, encouraging them to swap games such as chess in their movies for Nigerian games like the ones NIBCARD produces.

He's also trying to reach the next generation of tabletop gamers, with "volunteers that take our games to different schools across the country," Ogbuagu says. "They teach children to play these games so that as they are growing up, they know that we have our own Nigerian games." 

By Aisha Salaudeen