Friday, April 28, 2023

Video - Nigeria accounts for 31% of global malaria deaths

According to the World Health Organization, about 200,000 people die of malaria every year in Nigeria. That's about 31 percent of global malaria deaths. And as the world marks World Malaria Day 2023, health experts urge the Nigerian government to do more to prevent malaria's spread. 


Related story: Regulators in Nigeria Grant Approval to Oxford's Malaria Vaccine


Exxon operations resume in Nigeria after labour dispute ends

Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) resumed operations at its facilities in Nigeria after resolving a labour dispute over pay and conditions with its in-house union, a company spokesperson said on Thursday.

The industrial action had forced Exxon to declare force majeure on oil liftings at its terminals in the country.

A spokesperson for Exxon said in email responses that its three ventures, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, and Esso Exploration and Production (Offshore East) Limited were now operating at normal levels.

"This follows the discontinuation of the industrial action earlier embarked upon by our in-house workers union," the spokesperson said.

Earlier, Nigeria's state-owned oil firm NNPC Ltd said in a statement it had helped end the labour dispute at Exxon after a pay adjustment acceptable to the union and Exxon was agreed.

NNPC, which runs joint ventures with oil majors, including Exxon, said the dispute was "effectively constraining 300,000 barrels of oil production daily".

Nigeria is targeting 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) by year-end from 1.6 million bpd. 

By MacDonald Dzirutwe, Reuters

15 People killed by Gunmen in Nigeria, 5 aid workers kidnapped

Gunmen killed 15 villagers and abducted five aid workers in separate attacks in Nigeria’s troubled northern region, authorities said Thursday.

The assailants arrived in Benue state’s Apa area and opened fire on villagers in their homes, according to David Olofu, a senior state government official. He said military personnel were among those shot in the attack and many houses were razed as villagers fled to safety.

The incident in Benue is the latest in a spiral of violent attacks in which armed groups are targeting remote communities across Nigeria’s northwest and central regions, often defying government and security measures.

More than 80 people have been killed in Benue in the past month in such attacks. No group has claimed responsibility for the killings, though authorities have blamed Fulani herdsmen, a group of mostly young pastoralists from the Fulani tribe caught up in Nigeria’s conflict between host communities and herdsmen over limited access to water and land.

In northeastern Nigeria, meanwhile, Islamic extremists abducted five aid workers in Ngala, Borno state, where an insurgency against the government has raged on for more than a decade.

The aid workers included three staff members and two contractors of the international non-government organization FHI 360, all “working to provide lifesaving medical care to the people of Nigeria,” the organization said Thursday, without further details on the incident.

FHI 360 condemned the abduction of the workers and called for their “unconditional, immediate and safe return,” according to a statement from Iorwakwagh Apera, the NGO’s director in Nigeria. “Our priority at this time is to support our team and their families,” said Apera.

The Boko Haram extremist group has been waging a bitter war against Nigeria since 2009, and the insurgency has spread over the years to the neighboring countries of Cameroon, Niger and Chad. A breakaway faction of the group formed in 2016 and became known as the Islamic State in West Africa Province and is notorious for targeting security forces and aid workers.

By Chinedu Asadu And Haruna Umar, AP

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Government in Nigeria struggling to end perennial electricity challenge

The Nigerian government has taken several measures to improve the generation and distribution of electricity in the country. Despite some gains from the measures, the overall state of power supply has not significantly improved and experts say the government must change its approach. 


Related stories: Nigeria runs on generators and nine hours of power a day

Nigerian cities in darkness as electricity grid collapses again




Trial rescheduled for pastor arrested for wielding gun during Church service in Nigeria

A magistrate’s court in Abuja, on Tuesday, rescheduled the trial of a pastor of the House on the Rock Refuge Church, Uche Aigbe, who faces charges of illegal possession of firearms.

The court adjourned the case until 2 May due to the absence of a defence lawyer, who had sent in a letter to request permission to be away.

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) police command had in February arrested Mr Aigbe, after a video clip of him carrying a gun during a Sunday church service went viral on social media platforms.

The images of the pastor showing him welding an AK-47 rifle on the church pulpit caused a stir with many commentators expressing safety concerns about the pastor’s action.

The police subsequently charged the pastor alongside Promise Ukachukwu and Olakunle Ogunleye with criminal conspiracy, illegal possession of prohibited firearms, inciting disturbance and criminal intimidation which they pleaded not guilty to.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that at the resumed trial at the magistrate’s court in Zuba, FCT, Abuja on Tuesday, the magistrate, Abdulaziz Ismail, drew attention to a letter by a defence lawyer, Uche Uzukwu, seeking an adjournment of the trial.

Mr Ismail noted that the adjournment was at the instance of the defence counsel who was absent, citing a matter he had at the election tribunal.

He then adjourned the case until 2 May for hearing.

NAN reports that the police alleged that the defendants, all of House on the Rock Refuge Church, Wuye, Abuja, conspired with an illegal possession of an AK-47 rifle on 12 February.

The prosecution counsel, James Idachaba, said the defendants got the firearm from Musa Audu, a police inspector, attached to Wuye Division and posted on guard duty at the church.

He added that the defendants used the firearm for an illustration while preaching a sermon about faith in the church.

The prosecution counsel said the defendants made inciting and intimidating statements to the church congregation that could cause alarm and breach of peace.

The offence, he said, is punishable under Section III of the Firearms Act CAP F28, LFN 2004 and contravened Section 97, 114 and 397 of the Penal Code. 

Premium Times

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Nigeria health sector under pressure due to mass exodus health workers

The health sector in Nigeria is still grappling with a significant brain drain, as healthcare professionals leave in large numbers to pursue better opportunities overseas.


Related stories: Doctors are leaving Nigeria in droves

Nigeria suffering from medical brain drain

Over 10,000 doctors left Nigeria for UK in last 7 yrs



Monday, April 24, 2023

Nigeria Planning on Evacuating Nearly 3,000 From Sudan

Nigeria plans to start evacuating nearly 3,000 of its nationals, mostly students, from Sudan by convoy to Egypt this week, a top official said on Monday.

Foreign countries are rushing to get their nationals out of Sudan as fighting between forces loyal to two rival generals rages into a second week.

Western nations have sent special forces and military aircraft to help get out embassy staff and other nationals. Others have fled the capital Khartoum by road.

Onimode Bandele, special duties director for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency or NEMA, told Channels TV the plan was to move about 2,650 to 2,800, including families of embassy staff.

"Nobody has been evacuated yet," he said. "There are plans to get buses to start movement tomorrow morning."

Officials say a total of around 5,000 Nigerian nationals could be looking for evacuation.

Since fighting erupted in Sunday, at least 427 people have been killed and more than 3,700 wounded, according to UN agencies, which also reported Sudanese civilians fleeing areas affected by fighting, including to Chad, Egypt and South Sudan.


Friday, April 21, 2023

Nigerian students trapped in Sudan call for help

"We from the IUA and the students that live around IUA experienced the worst day of our lives and this is because the RSF base is right behind the male and female hostels and most of the attacks that were launched were on us. For three days and nights, we have witnessed this rough scenario," he narrated.

Nigerian students have appealed to the Nigerian government to evacuate them from Sudan where fighting between the military and a para-military force has killed hundreds of people.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how fighting erupted in the capital city, Khartoum, on Saturday between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) over political power in the crisis torn country.

The Nigerian students on Wednesday in a memo by their association said they were stranded, with no access to basic needs.

"Fear, panic and desperation are one of the few emotions we are currently feeling. Our lives are not safe," Sumyyah Yusuf, a second year medical student at Sudan International University in Khartoum, said to PREMIUM TIMES.

Ms Yusuf said it had become difficult to access anything, including food, water, and electricity because it is unsafe to go out and most stores are either shut or empty.

She said they (students) were trying to stay in touch with each other through social media. Although they had received a memo from the Nigerian embassy in Sudan reassuring them, she said "we need more action."

Ms Yusuf said she wants Nigeria "to get its nationals out of here (Sudan), swiftly and safely."

Sadiq Haruna, an Islamic Studies graduate from the International University of Africa, Khartoum confirmed the students have no way of confirming if the memo was from the Nigerian embassy in Sudan.

He said the condition where he lives, "is a little bit better" after they had witnessed the worst days of their lives.

"We from the IUA and students that live around IUA experienced the worst day of our lives and this is because the RSF base is right behind the male and female hostels and most of the attacks that were launched were on us. For three days and nights, we witnessed this rough scenario," he narrated.

According to Mr Haruna, female students had been evacuated by the university from their hostels to staff accomodations for safety.

He added that the students had also come under several forms of attacks including theft. He said some students were moving to parts of the country that are relatively peaceful.

According to news reports, the fighting is happening in major cities like Khartoum and Merowe.

Mr Haruna appealed to the government to come to their rescue as it did to Nigerian students in Ukraine.

"It is taking time and we do not want to lose anyone but we are on the verge...," he appealed.

This reporter heard the sound of gunshots in the backgroung while speaking with Mr Haruna.

Nigerian government speaks

However, the federal government through the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), had early Thursday said it received the letter from the students' association.

NIDCOM in a statement signed by Gabriel Odu assured that the National Emergency Management Agency, (NEMA) was consulting with the Nigerian mission in Sudan and other relevant agencies .

It urged all Nigerian Students in Sudan as well as Nigerians living in thecountry to be security conscious and calm.

An official copy of the memo the students spoke about was seen by PREMIUM TIMES in a WhatsApp group "Nigerian Community in Sudan."

It was shared by a user who signed off their messages with 'ambassador' but gave no names.

The Embassy in the letter, appealed to Nigerian nationals to exercise caution and restraint, noting that it is in touch with all the relevant stakeholders in Khartoum and Abuja, respectively, for protection and well-being of Nigerians in Sudan.

"The Embassy is making plans for possible evacuation of Nigerian Nationals with approval of the Federal Government of Nigeria as soon as the situation allows it and you will be communicated in due course," the letter said.

The memo attributed to the ambassador urged nations to stay safe and be wary of fake news circulating in social media, adding that the Embassy will keep a close contact with the leadership of all the Nigerian Union for further consular assistance and updates.

Sudan fighting

The fighting between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary RSF has entered its sixth day after four failed ceasefire attempts.

At least 300 people have died in the fighting and almost 3,200 more have been wounded in Khartoum, the western region of Darfur and other states, Ahmed Al-Mandhari of the World Health Organisation says.

By Chiamaka Okafor, Premium Times

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Video - International airlines struggle to repatriate $800 million from Nigeria

The International Air Transport Association says the amount of trapped funds belonging to foreign airlines operating in Nigeria to repatriate is close to 800 million U.S. dollars. Nigeria is facing a severe shortage of foreign currency, and the issue makes it difficult for airlines to convert local currency to repatriate revenues earned from ticket sales.


Direct flights from Italy to Nigeria in the works

The Italian government will soon launch direct flights from Italy to Nigeria, its Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stefano De Leo, has said.

“We plan to open an Italian trade agency in Lagos and, hopefully, soon launch direct flights between Italy and Nigeria,” De Leo said.

The Italian envoy said this moments after signing a working agreement with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on behalf of the Italian news agency, Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA) in Abuja.

The ambassador said the direct flights from Italy to Nigeria would boost the economic ties between the two countries.

De Leo added that the flights would lay the conditions for opening up other opportunities that would be mutually beneficial to both Italy and Nigeria in the near future.

“We are working closely with my colleague, the Ambassador of Nigeria to Italy, Mr Mfawa Abam. Today is a positive day because it signifies an important step towards improving the already excellent relations between both countries,” the envoy said.

The envoy said that the working agreement signed between NAN and ANSA would see the two news agencies sharing information and knowledge.

According to him, the agreement will also see ANSA providing training to NAN’s newsroom manpower.

He described the agreement as a major development, especially in view of the fact that it involves “a partner such as Nigeria, the giant of Africa”.

Responding, the Managing Director of NAN, Buki Ponle, described the agreement as a step in the right direction as it would unveil great possibilities for news exchange between both agencies.

Ponle added that NAN is the country’s largest content provider and national purveyor of information, with 36 state offices and 26 district offices.

He said that the news agency’s focus was Nigeria, with Africa as the centerpiece of its reportage.

“The signing of the news exchange agreement with ANSA marks another defining phase in our continued engagements with like-minded institutions.

“It is my hope and belief that this landmark event will signal the beginning of a sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship.

“To leverage its octopoidal reach, NAN has news exchange partnerships with leading international wire agencies such as Reuters (UK); Deutsch Presse-Agentur (Germany); Xinhua (China); and Sputnik (Russia).

“Others are Yonhap (South Korea); Asian News International (India); Anadolu (Turkey); and Bulgaria News Agency (Bulgaria).

“This is just a chip of the global experiences we are bringing into the partnership agreement with ANSA aimed at fostering a new and positive order in global reportage,” he said.

NAN reports that the managing director of NAN signed the agreement for NAN while the Italian ambassador signed on behalf of ANSA at the NAN headquarters in Abuja.


Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Video - At least 33 people killed in Nigeria’s Kaduna state

Authorities in Nigeria’s Kaduna state are under pressure from locals to clamp down on rising insecurity following the killings of at least 33 people in Runji village. Investigations by military authorities are underway to establish the motive behind the incident.

Regulators in Nigeria Grant Approval to Oxford's Malaria Vaccine

Nigeria has granted provisional approval to Oxford University's R21 malaria vaccine, its medicines regulator said Monday, making it the second country to do so after Ghana last week.

The approvals are unusual as they have come before the publication of final-stage trial data for the vaccine.

"A provisional approval of the R21 Malaria Vaccine was recommended, and this shall be done in line with the WHO's Malaria Vaccine Implementation Guideline," Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said.

Malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, kills more than 600,000 people each year, most of them African babies and children.

Nigeria, the continent's most populous nation, is the world's worst-affected country with 27% of global cases and 32% of global deaths, according to a 2021 World Health Organization (WHO) report.

It was unclear when the R21 vaccine may be rolled out in Nigeria or Ghana as other regulatory bodies, including the WHO, are still assessing its safety and effectiveness.

Childhood vaccines in the poorest parts of Africa are typically co-funded by international organizations such as Gavi, the vaccine alliance, only after getting WHO approval.

"While granting the approval, the Agency has also communicated the need for expansion of the clinical trial conducted to include a phase 4 clinical trial/Pharmacovigilance study to be carried out in Nigeria," NAFDAC's director-general, Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, said in a statement.

Mid-stage data from the R21 trial involving more than 400 young children were published in September, showing vaccine efficacy of 70% to 80% at 12 months following the fourth dose.

Data from an ongoing phase 3 clinical trial involving 4,800 children in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali and Tanzania are due to be published in the coming months.

Oxford has a deal with the Serum Institute of India to produce up to 200 million doses of R21 annually.

The first malaria vaccine, Mosquirix from British drugmaker GSK GSK.L, was endorsed by the WHO last year, but a lack of funding is thwarting GSK's capacity to produce enough doses.

By MacDonald Dzirutwe, Reuters

Related story: FG taking steps to end Nigeria’s reign as top malaria hob


Flights disrupted in Nigeria due to strike by aviation workers strike over pay

Domestic flights in Nigeria were being disrupted on Monday, local airlines said, as aviation employees in Lagos blocked roads to the country's busiest local airport to begin a two-day strike in protest over working conditions and wages.

The strike is likely to add to problems in a sector that regularly faces jet fuel shortages, which often ground local flights and where international carriers struggle to repatriate revenue from ticket sales due to dollar shortages.

Air Peace, which also flies international and regional routes and has the largest fleet, told passengers that "flights across our network will consequently be disrupted" due to the strike. It did not say how many flights were delayed or cancelled.

United Nigeria said passengers in and out of the commercial capital of Lagos would be disrupted but hoped for a quick resolution to the impasse.

In Lagos, chanting workers blocked roads to the domestic terminal, creating a traffic jam and forcing passengers to finish their journey on foot. International flights were not affected.

Police and army personnel watched from a distance.

Lagos handles dozens of local flights daily.

"It is time for us to release aviation workers from the bondage of this imperialist aviation management that we have been having for years," Abdulrasaq Saidu, secretary general of the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals, said.

The Ministry of Aviation said it was trying to meet the workers' demands and urged them to return to work, adding the strike would "affect flight schedules, lead to economic losses and negatively impact on our rating globally."

Unions for pilots, engineers, control tower operators and other airport workers say they are protesting against unpaid wages, government failure to implement an industry minimum wage and plans to demolish the Lagos offices of some aviation agencies to allow for expansion of the airport.

The workers have threatened an indefinite strike later this month if their grievances are not addressed. 

By Seun Sanni and MacDonald Dzirutwe, Reuters

Related story: Nigeria To Fine Airlines That Don't Sell Tickets In Local Currency

Friday, April 14, 2023

Video - Hospitality industry in Nigeria continues to recover after pandemic setbacks

Nigeria's hospitality industry is making a recovery following major setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The trend has been holding since 2021 when the sector's contribution to Nigeria's economy grew to 3.6 percent, an increase from the 2.8 percent recorded in 2020. Experts say the country's tourism and hospitality industry could reach its full potential if the government implements policies to improve the sector.


Over 4,000 suspected lassa fever infections recorded in Nigeria this year

Nigeria has continued to experience a spread of Lassa fever, with an increase in the number of suspected cases recorded as of 2 April compared to that reported for the same period in 2022.

The latest situation report released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Thursday shows that Nigeria has recorded 4,338 suspected cases in 2023.

According to the NCDC, from week 1 to week 13 2023, 846 confirmed infections and 148 deaths were reported with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 17.5 per cent which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2022 (19.1 per cent).

The week 13 report, spanning 27 March to 2 April also revealed that the number of new confirmed cases decreased from 39 infections in week 12 of 2023 to 23, while the number of fatalities increased from two to four.

NCDC stated in the report that in total for 2023, “25 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 99 Local Government Areas”, of which 72 per cent of all confirmed cases were reported from Ondo, Edo and Bauchi states.

Of the 72 per cent recorded, NCDC noted that Ondo State accounted for 32 per cent, while Edo and Bauchi states reported 29 and 11 per cent respectively.

NCDC added that one new healthcare worker was affected in the reporting week 13.
Lassa fever

Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic (excessive bleeding) illness transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents or contaminated persons.

Its symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pains, chest pain, and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and other body openings.

The NCDC noted in the report that the challenges with response to Lassa fever in the country include late presentation of cases leading to an increase in CFR, poor health-seeking behaviour due to the high cost of treatment and clinical management of the infection, poor environmental sanitation conditions, and poor awareness observed in high-burden communities.

By Mariam Ileyemi, Premium Times

Related story: The deadly virus Nigerians fear more than COVID-19: Lassa fever

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Video - Bug infestation devastating Tomato businesses in Nigeria

A tomato bug infestation has devastated thousands of farms in Nigeria. Tomato is a key ingredient in West African cuisine. But as prices rise, the quality of one of the region's best-known dishes is being affected. Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris has more from Kano, Nigeria.

Al Jazeera

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Video - 74 people killed in two separate attacks in Nigeria

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered security forces in Benue State to increase their surveillance of violence-prone areas following the killing of at least 74 people in the region. The latest clashes occurred in an area where violence between pastoralists and farmers is common. Investigations are underway to establish a motive.


Nigeria placed on UK's red list due to health workers' recruitment

The United Kingdom has put Nigeria on the red list of countries that should not be actively considered for recruitment by health and social care employers.

This review came after the World Health Organisation (WHO) listed 55 countries, including Nigeria facing the most pressing health workforce challenges related to Universal Health Coverage.

In a report by UK Home Office, the UK Government disclosed that Nigeria and other countries on the red list should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers except if there was a government-to-government arrangement.

It was contained from the website of the UK government titled, ‘Code of Practice for the international recruitment of Health and social care personnel in England.’

The information said country identification follows the methodology contained in the 10-year review of the relevance and effectiveness of the WHO global code of practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel.

It read, “Consistent with the WHO Global Code of Practice principles and articles, and as explicitly called for by the WHO Global Code of Practice 10-year review, the listed countries should be prioritised for health personnel development and health system-related support, provided with safeguards that discourage active international recruitment of health personnel.

“Countries on the list should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers, recruitment organisations, agencies, collaborations, or contracting bodies unless there is a government-to-government agreement in place to allow managed recruitment undertaken strictly in compliance with the terms of that agreement.

“Countries on the WHO Health Workforce Support and Safeguards list are graded red in the code. If a government-to-government agreement is put in place between a partner country, which restricts recruiting organisations to the terms of the agreement, the country is added to the amber list.”

It specified if a country was not on the red or amber list, then it is green.

The amber countries where international recruitment is only allowed in compliance with the terms of the government-to-government agreement are Kenya and Nepal.

It added that active recruitment is permitted from green-graded countries where there is a government-to-government agreement with the UK in place for international health and care workforce recruitment.

“Green-graded countries without a government-to-government agreement with the UK are not published in the code of practice for England.

“The government-to-government agreement may set parameters, implemented by the country of origin, for how UK employers, contracting bodies, recruitment organisations, agencies, and collaborations recruit. These organisations are encouraged to recruit on the terms of the government-to-government agreement.

“The green country list will be updated as new government-to-government agreements are signed with the UK. It is recommended employers, contracting bodies, recruitment organisations, agencies, and collaborations regularly check the list for updates prior to embarking on any recruitment campaign.

“Green-graded countries with a government-to-government agreement for managing international health and care workforce recruitment are India, Malaysia, Philippines, and Sri Lanka,” it added.


Related stories: Doctors are leaving Nigeria in droves

Nigeria suffering from medical brain drain

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Video - Oil giant accused of pollution in Nigeria

Oil giant Shell is due in the high court in London next week. It is facing charges over claims it polluted water and soil in the Niger Delta. More than 13,000 villagers are bringing the landmark case. They accuse the company's subsidiaries of destroying their land -- and their way of life. Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris reports from Ogale, Nigeria. 

Al Jazeera 

Related stories: The Criminals Undercutting Nigeria’s Oil Industry

Video - Shell due in court over damages the oil company has caused in Nigeria



Eight students kidnapped in Nigeria

Gunmen in Nigeria’s northern Kaduna state kidnapped eight secondary school students coming from school along with an unknown number of others, authorities said on Tuesday, the latest in a wave of such abductions.

Armed gangs operating mostly in remote parts of northwest Nigeria have carried out violent attacks against villagers, schools and motorists, abducting hundreds for ransom.

Samuel Aruwan, the commissioner for internal security in Kaduna, said gunmen on Monday abducted the eight students from Awon Government Secondary School in the Kachia local government area.

It was not immediately clear where the students were taken to, but the kidnappers often keep victims in the forests and only release them when a ransom is paid.

“The management of the school has submitted the names and classes of the kidnapped students,” said Aruwan.

Insecurity is one of the issues that will confront Nigeria’s president-elect, Bola Tinubu, who is due to be sworn in, in May.

Nigeria’s military has been fighting armed groups like Boko Haram in the northeast, which has left it thinly stretched to tackle the kidnapping gangs known locally as bandits.

Many of the bandits are believed to comprise mostly ethnic Fulanis, including pastoralists and mercenaries from the region as well as neighbouring Chad and the Niger Republic.

On several occasions, they have kidnapped schoolchildren in various parts of Nigeria’s Niger, Kebbi and Yobe states. Other victims of their kidnapping-for-ransom scheme range across all social classes, from politicians and relatives to clerics, security guards and farmers.

Al Jazeera

Related stories: Nigeria pays $11 million as ransom to kidnappers in four years

Attempt to abduct hundreds of schoolboys foiled by security forces in Nigeria

Monday, April 3, 2023

Video - Cash crunch spurs digital payment system in Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria's demonetization exercise has been criticized for many things – but it did spur an aggressive surge in the use of digital payment channels in the first two months of the year. Data from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System indicates that in the first two months of 2023, the volume of transactions being made on mobile phones rose by 70 percent. 


Related stories: Video - Supreme court suspends currency swap deadline in Nigeria

Critical mistakes made by central bank of Nigeria in cash swap



Video - Healthcare start-up takes on drug counterfeiters in Nigeria

The use of counterfeit medicines poses a major healthcare challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria, the most populous country on the continent. Remedial Health, a healthcare start-up in the Nigeria is using technology to help address the challenge. 


Nigeria set to launch in space additional satellites

Nigeria is poised to take a major step in its security and defense capabilities with the launch of additional military satellites. This development will help to enhance the country’s security posture, allowing for greater surveillance and monitoring of potential threats. The satellites will be able to provide Nigeria with detailed images of its land, seas, and airspace, which will aid in the detection of potential security risks. Additionally, the satellites will be able to detect and track the movement of military vessels, aircraft, and other vehicles, allowing for better coordination between military forces.

The Chief of Defence Space Administration, Air Vice Marshall Ayo Jolasinmi, says Nigeria will soon launch Satellites II and III into space, during a visit to the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd.), in Abuja, Jolasinmi stated that the orbit was working perfectly and that his service would need the support of the ministry to service its frequency.

A statement by the Special Assistant to the Minister on Media and Publicity, Mohammad Abdulkadri on Friday read, “The Chief of the Defence Space Administration thanked the minister for approving his appointment and ensuring the timely release of intervention funds which he said was cushioning the effects of the minimal budgetary allocation.

“Jolasinmi said the DSA was better positioned to use Space products with the launch of the first satellite while satellites two and three will be launched soon.

The launch of these satellites will also help to improve communications and coordination between military forces. By providing a secure, reliable link between locations, military personnel will be able to receive and share important information in a timely manner. This will improve the effectiveness of their operations and allow for better decision-making in the face of potential threats. Additionally, the satellites will provide a platform for improved communication between ground forces and the Nigerian government, allowing for better coordination of security-related operations.

Furthermore, the satellites will assist in the identification of potential threats by providing real-time information to Nigerian security forces. The satellites will be able to detect suspicious activities and alert the appropriate personnel, allowing for a swift response to potential threats. Additionally, the satellites will be able to provide images of suspected terrorist camps or hideouts, allowing for more effective counter-terrorism operations.

The launch of these satellites will also help to enhance the Nigerian government’s ability to monitor and respond to natural disasters. The satellites will be able to detect and monitor changes in the environment, alerting the appropriate authorities of any potential threats. This will allow for better preparedness and response to natural disasters, ensuring the safety and security of Nigerian citizens.

Finally, the launch of additional military satellites will help to improve Nigeria’s overall security. By providing real-time monitoring and intelligence, the satellites will enable the Nigerian government to respond swiftly to potential threats, while simultaneously enhancing the country’s ability to protect its citizens. With these satellites in place, Nigeria will be able to stand firm against the threat of terrorism and other forms of violence, ensuring the safety and security of its citizens.

This January, the Federal Government of Nigeria inaugurated an integrated satellite called DELSAT-1 to enhance the operational capacity of the Nigerian armed forces against insecurity.

This will assist in realising the nation’s sectoral strategies that respond to identified threats to Nigeria’s national interests, such as the National Defense Policy, National Counter Terrorism Strategy and the National Policy on Public Safety and Security.

China’s 18-story Long March 3B rocket likely launched DELSAT-1 into space from the Xichang launch base in Sichuan province in southwestern China.

Nigeria’s space ambitions began as early as 2002 when the Assistant General Director of Training and Capacity Building at NASRDA made a presentation paper setting out a 28-year roadmap for the research, developing and launching of satellites from Nigeria by 2030.

A few months after the Nigerian Vice-president Professor Yemi Osinbajo signed the Defense Space Administration Bill into law on February 18, 2017, previously passed by the National Assembly, the Nigerian Military commissioned the Defence Space Administration Office Complex and the Foundation Laying of Defence Cyber Operations Centre, at Obasanjo Space Centre, Abuja.

In 2018, the Nigerian Space Research and Development Agency (NASDRA) – the agency in charge of coordinating all Nigerian space activities claims that its constellation of satellites could be the hub for out-of-space monitoring and tracking of aviation globally. The agency believes that it has the capability to locate any airborne plane within and outside Nigeria.

Recent development includes Nigeria and India signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate in the exploration of outer space for peaceful purposes.

Both countries agreed to sign a supplemental MoU on partnership in use of geospatial technology between the New Space India Limited (NSIL) under ISRO and the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Development and Connectivity.

By Ekene Lionel, Military Africa

Related story: Artemis Accords signed by Nigeria and Rwanda