Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Video - Petroleum subsidies to be phased out in Nigeria

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu declared an end to the country’s petroleum subsidy during his inauguration speech on Monday. Tinubu, however, did not elaborate on how the government will deal with the ripple effects of the end of the subsidy and cushion citizens grappling with a high cost of living.


Related story: Video - Dangote Refinery in bid to end fuel imports in Nigeria


Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Video - New President of Nigeria Bola Tinubu vows reset for ailing economy

Bola Tinubu has been sworn in as Nigeria’s new president. The 71-year-old is the former governor of Lagos. He takes office as Africa's most populous country faces insecurity and slowing economic growth. Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris reports from Abuja, Nigeria.

Al Jazeera

Outgoing President Buhari defends economic record

Muhammadu Buhari says he's leaving the country in good hands. The 80-year-old took office in 2015 after promising to reboot the economy and end corruption and insecurity.


Ex-Oil Minister of Nigeria Seeks $215 Million in Defamation Lawsuit







A former Nigerian oil minister filed a defamation lawsuit against the country’s anti-corruption agency, demanding $215 million in damages.

Diezani Alison-Madueke sued the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on May 26, which was President Muhammadu Buhari’s last working day in office. His administration initiated multiple legal cases against the former minister since coming to power in 2015, in which it accused her of graft during five years at the helm of the West African nation’s key economic sector.

In publications on its website and elsewhere, the EFCC “falsely and maliciously” described Alison-Madueke as a “common criminal who looted public funds” by alleging it had traced hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and property to the onetime official, according to court filings seen by Bloomberg.

Alison-Madueke, who moved to London one week before Buhari took office eight years ago as her tenure came to an end, denies the allegations.

She is challenging several forfeiture orders issued by Nigerian courts and has accused the anti-graft body of blocking her efforts to defend herself in criminal proceedings. After serving as President Goodluck Jonathan’s petroleum resources minister from 2010, Alison-Madueke says she went to the UK to receive treatment for cancer.

The EFCC and Attorney General Abubakar Malami should pay Alison-Madueke 100 billion naira ($215 million) as compensation for their “defamatory” claims, according to her lawsuit registered last week at a court in the capital, Abuja. Bola Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos state, succeeded Buhari as president on Monday following elections held in February.

Spokesmen for the EFCC, Malami and the court didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The US government said in a 2017 forfeiture lawsuit filed in Texas that a pair of Nigerian businessmen bribed Alison-Madueke by funding her “lavish” lifestyle in return for support securing lucrative oil-trading contracts.


Related stories: $21 million seized from Nigeria's former oil minister Alison Madueke

Nigeria former oil minister Alison-Madueke arrested

Monday, May 29, 2023

Tinubu sworn in as the new president of Nigeria











Bola Tinubu, the former Lagos governor who is credited with helping the city-state increase its revenue base, has been sworn in as Nigeria’s new president.

He took the oath of office from Chief Justice Olukayode Ariwoola in a colourful ceremony on Monday in Abuja, the capital.

Tinubu, 71, succeeds Muhammadu Buhari, who was ineligible to run again after two four-year terms that began in 2015.

The new president, the fifth since the return of democracy in 1999, will have to tackle a struggling economy and widespread insecurity in Africa’s most populous country.

Al Jazeera

Friday, May 26, 2023

President Buhari issues $1.18 bln notes to settle judgment debts

Nigeria has issued debt securities worth $1.18 billion to settle various judgment debts, outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari said in a public letter requesting parliament's approval.

Buhari, who is due on Monday to hand over power to President-elect Bola Tinubu, said his cabinet approved on March 29 the settlement of judgment and general debts owed by government by issuing promissory notes.

Courts generally issue judgment debt to award creditors or debt collectors who are seeking to settle debt disputes.

The judgment debts in the sum of $566.75 million, 98.52 million pounds sterling($124.35 million) and 226.28 billion naira ($491.92 million) were incurred by federal ministries, department and agencies, Buhari said without further details.

Nigeria has been borrowing to fund its budgets under the outgoing administration. The government will issue promissory notes to the debtors which it will pay out from its annual budget spending over time, Buhari said.

The promissory notes "will then be redeemed over time through provisions in the budgets of the Federal Government of Nigeria," Buhari wrote in a letter to Senate President Ahmad Lawan requesting approval. The letter was read in the Senate on Wednesday.

The Senate is expected to approve the measure.

Nigeria's total public debt rose to 46.25 trillion naira ($103.1 billion) in 2022, from 39.56 trillion naira a year earlier, as the government ramped up borrowing to fund its budget deficit amid high global inflation.

($1 = 460.00 naira)

($1 = 0.79 pounds)

By Camillus Eboh, Reuters

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Video - Travelers upset over rising cost of flying in Nigeria

Travelers in Nigeria are dealing with the increasing cost of international airfares after the operators raised the rate of exchange three times between the months of March and May 2023. This trend has been linked to the piled-up unrepatriated funds belonging to foreign airlines operating in Nigeria.


Seun Kuti released on bail





A Nigerian Afrobeat star facing trial on charges of assaulting a police officer will embark on a delayed concert tour after being released on bail, his manager said Wednesday.

Seun Kuti, who was in court on Wednesday, has concerts scheduled in more than a dozen countries but his departure had been on hold because of the trial, his manager Ayo Moses told The Associated Press.

The son of Nigerian musical icon and political agitator Fela Kuti, who himself was serially detained by Nigerian military regimes, Seun Kuti had been held for more than a week after he was caught allegedly assaulting a police officer in Nigeria's economic hub of Lagos.

At Wednesday's court hearing, the presiding judge ruled that it was the public prosecutor – not the police – that had the power to prosecute the musician. The judge then adjourned the case until a further hearing on July 3.

"He is on bail and as a responsible citizen, he will continue to enjoy his rights because he is presumed innocent," Femi Falana, his lawyer, said after the hearing.

Viral videos appeared to show an agitated Kuti shouting and pushing the officer along a major road in Lagos last week. It is still not clear what caused the confrontation, though Kuti alleged the officer in question "tried to kill me and my family."

While he was in detention, the police searched Kuti's house, causing an uproar among some Nigerians and his lawyers. But Benjamin Hundeyin, a spokesperson for the Lagos police, defended the search as necessary and approved by the court.

"In the course of our investigation, we stumbled on certain suspicious things that needed to be proven/disproved beyond reasonable doubt," Hundeyin said without providing further details.


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

UK special forces operated covertly in Nigeria for 12 years

The British Special Air Service and the European country’s other special forces have operated clandestinely in Nigeria and 18 other nations over the past 12 years, according to a report by a research organisation, known as Action On Gun Violence, AOAV, accentuated by UK Guardian.

It will be recalled that in 2012, a group of SBS commandos attempted and failed to rescue a Briton and an Italian held by an Islamist group in Nigeria.

The British SAS also operated secretly in Algeria, Estonia, France, Oman, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Cyprus, Pakistan, Somalia, the Philippines, Russia, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen and most recently Sudan.

It gives the impression that the prime minister and defence secretary frequently send personnel of the SAS, Special Boat Service, and Special Reconnaissance Regiment on dangerous operations, usually when Britain is not at war, the Guardian UK reported.

Reacting to this yesterday, a security expert , Major Bone Efoziem, retd, described the action as a breach of Nigeria’s sovereignty as a nation and an indication that the security architecture of the country was near zero. .

He said: “It is an indictment, particularly to the government of the day as at the time the opinion was carried out, for two basic reasons. One, the personnel of an international security agency , came into Nigeria unrecognized; two they carried out these operations bearing arms and ammunitions that were basically prohibited; thirdly they operated within a terrain that is within the confines of a territorial integrity of a nation called Nigeria without being identified.”

Also reacting yesterday, former spokesperson of Nigeria Police Force, CP Emmanuel Ojukwu, retd, said: “Under international law and diplomacy, every country is a sovereign and if the services – military, paramilitary or even the Police of a country want to carry out an operation in another country, there must be prior approval, certification and cooperation with the country they want to carry out such operation.”

If they do not have that permission, it may amount to evasion and the declaration of war against that country , which they can not fight.”

Retired Colonel Gbolwole Majekodunmi of the NDA Regular Course13 , said in his reaction: “Normally, they can’t come in without authorisation of either of the services. If they came in like that and the government was not aware, the implication is grievous.

”Besides, they would have communication gadgets and their internal agents among NGOs working in the north east. It has a grievous implication in the sense that they will know where our military arsenals are located and may use it against us, especially the Francophone countries surrounding us. They may leak it to their colonial masters.” 


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Video - Dangote Refinery in bid to end fuel imports in Nigeria

Africa's largest oil refinery has opened in Nigeria. The $19bn facility will not just meet the country’s petroleum needs but also export surplus to the rest of the continent and beyond. But environmentalists are worried about the effect it is going to have. Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris reports from Ibeju Lekki, Nigeria.

Al Jazeera

Related stories: Video - Aliko Dangote building world's largest oil refinery in Nigeria

Video - Aljazeera speaks with Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote



Africa's biggest oil refiner launched in Nigeria

Africa's biggest oil refinery has been opened in Nigeria, where it is hoped it will alleviate chronic fuel shortages.

Nigeria is a major oil producer but most of this is sent abroad while it has to import the refined fuel used in vehicles and elsewhere.

As a result the country often faces chronic fuel shortages.

This is the problem that the $19bn (£15.2bn) refinery, owned by Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote, is intended to tackle.

"This is a game-changer for the Nigerian people," said President Muhammadu Buhari.

The plant, which is not yet operational, has the capacity to produce about 650,000 barrels of petroleum products a day - more than enough to supply the country's needs. It also includes a power station, deep seaport and fertiliser plant.

Nigeria's existing refineries have been completely shut down for over three years owing to oil theft, pipeline vandalism and structural neglect.

If it works as planned, the plant could make a real change to the lives of Nigerians: "Every time there is fuel scarcity, I don't open my shop because there's no light [electricity] to work and I can't buy fuel for my generator," a young hairdresser from Lagos told the BBC.

At Monday's launch, Mr Dangote outlined his hopes for the refinery: "Our first goal is to ramp up production of the various products to ensure that within this year, we are able to fully satisfy the nation's demand for quality products."

However, it is not clear what impact the plant will have on the price of fuel in a country where retail prices are subsidised. The government says these subsidies will soon be removed - last year they took up at least a quarter of the national budget.

Mr Dangote's plant in Lagos, which took nearly seven years to build, is said to be the world's largest single-train refinery, meaning the plant has one integrated distillery system which can produce a variety of products and petrochemicals, instead of having different units for each type of product.

It is one of the last major projects to be inaugurated by President Buhari, who steps down next week after serving two terms in office.

President Buhari will hand power to Bola Tinubu, who won disputed presidential elections in February.

Oil and gas expert Henry Adigun told the BBC that Monday's launch was "more political than technical".

Nkechi Ogbonna & Cecilia Macaulay, BBC

Related stories: Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote is building the world's largest refinery in Nigeria

Dangote refinery set to be commissioned by the president of Nigeria in 2 weeks

Video - Dangote Refinery in Nigeria nears completion

Friday, May 19, 2023

Video - Rising sea waters in Nigeria threaten coastal communities

One such community dealing with the impact of rising sea levels is Ayetoro in the southwest Ordo state. A substantial part of the land has now been washed away. Scientists say climate change is primarily responsible.


Video - $12 billion needed by Nigeria to clean up decades-old oil spills

Nigeria says it needs 12 billion dollars to clean up decades-old oil spills in southern Bayelsa state over a 12-year period. The Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission says in a report that it started an investigation in 2019 on the impact of spills and looked at evidence from forensic scientists, blood samples from people in affected areas and company data. 


Thursday, May 18, 2023

Video - Gymnastics seeks to grow in Nigeria

Gymnastics is admittedly not a popular sport in Nigeria and not many people take part in it. The country only made its Olympics debut at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games with just one U.S.-based male athlete. Now, the Gymnastics Federation of Nigeria is taking steps to get more people involved in the discipline.


Video - Oil output slumps in Nigeria

Nigeria's oil output slumped in April, which made it lose its status as Africa's largest oil producer to Angola. Data from the organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries indicates the country's oil output declined the most last month among its peers in the Organization, as it dipped below 1 million barrels per day.


Four killed in attack on US convoy in Nigeria

Gunmen in south-eastern Nigeria have attacked a US convoy, killing four people, local police say.

They say two of the victims of Tuesday's attack in the Anambra state were US consulate employees, while the other two were police officers.

The attackers kidnapped three other people, and set their vehicle on fire.

Washington says no US citizens were in the convoy, which was travelling in the state plagued by violence and a separatist insurgency.

Nigerian police say the attack happened on the Atani-Osamale road in Ogbaru region.

Police spokesperson DSP Ikenga Tochukwu says security forces were currently carrying out a rescue and recovery operation.

In a statement to the BBC, the US confirmed that "there was an incident on 16 May in Anambra state", adding that Washington was working with Nigerian security services to investigate the attack.

"The security of our personnel is always paramount, and we take extensive precautions when organising trips to the field," the US state department said.

The Nigerian authorities often blame violent attacks in the region on the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) movement, which is fighting for a breakaway state in the south-east of the country.

Anambra and other parts of the south-east have seen a sharp rise in attacks on security forces since Ipob launched an armed wing in December 2020.

The group has so far made no public comments on the issue.

By Chris Ewokor, BBC 

Related stories: 1,603 killed, 1,774 abducted in violent attacks across Nigeria in three months

Video - Is Nigeria's security crisis out of control?


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Video - Nigeria to boost wheat production to 6 million tonnes by 2032

The West African nation has for years relied on imports to get over 90 percent of its wheat supply, however, the conflict in Ukraine has caused disruptions, leading to a price surge as it affected the wheat supply chain negatively.


29 villagers killed by gunmen in Nigeria

Gunmen attacked villages in troubled north-central Nigeria, killing 29 people and razing houses, survivors and authorities said Tuesday.

Many villagers remained unaccounted for Tuesday evening after the attack in Plateau state, residents said. It was the latest incident in a spiral of violence mainly targeting remote communities in the West African nation.

The gunmen targeted three villages in Plateau state’s Mangu local government area late Monday night and killed several people either with gunfire or after setting their houses ablaze, resident Philip Pamshak said.

“As I am talking to you, they are still attacking people. The tension is still high and there are places the bandits still control, so people are not able to go and check if there are others killed,” Pamshak said.

Plateau Gov. Simon Lalong said he was disturbed by the attack and directed security forces to search for the suspects and prosecute them, according to a statement issued by his spokesman.

“He (the governor) describes this as yet another attempt by crises merchants and criminals to return the state to the dark days of pain and agony,” said Makut Macham, Lalong's spokesman.

Such attacks have become rampant in many parts of Nigeria’s northern region, where several armed groups target villages with inadequate security, either killing or abducting residents and travelers for ransom.

Arrests are rare in such attacks, for which no group typically takes responsibility. However, authorities have in the past identified many of the attackers as former pastoralists who took up arms after decades of conflict with farmers over limited access to land and water.

The security crisis has led to thousands of deaths and defied several government and security measures in the last year.

After the latest killings in Plateau, Lalong directed the emergency response agency to visit the affected communities “to bring succor” to victims and their families, many of whom have either fled the area or have lost their homes, adding to Nigeria’s worsening humanitarian crisis.

By Chinedu Asadu, AP

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Video - Aid groups warn of children in danger of malnutrition in Nigeria

Attacks by armed groups, high food prices and natural disasters are pushing Nigeria's most vulnerable to the brink of starvation. The World Food Programme says cases of severe acute malnutrition in children have quadrupled in less than a year. Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris reports from Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria.

Al Jazeera

Two soldiers from Nigeria killed by Islamist insurgents

Three soldiers from Nigeria and Niger were killed and at least 12 others were injured on Sunday after attacks by Islamist fighters in northeastern Nigeria, two military sources said on Monday.

The troops were part of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) made up of forces from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria that are seeking to end an Islamist insurgency that has killed thousands and displaced millions more.

A Nigerian military source said that two Nigerian soldiers of the MNJTF were killed when their vehicle set off an improvised explosive device while they were pursuing insurgents in the Arege area in northeastern Borno state, the heartland of the insurgency.

Ten troops, including the commanding officer, were injured and another two civilians working with the troops were also wounded, the source added.

A Nigerien soldier was killed when the vehicle he was travelling in detonated another explosive device in a separate part of Arege, while the number of wounded was not immediately known, a source with the Nigerien army said.

An MNJTF situation report seen by Reuters confirmed the attacks.

MNJTF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kamarudeen Adegoke was not reachable for comment.

By MacDonald Dzirutwe, Reuters

Afrobeats star Seun Kuti Arrested in Nigeria Over Alleged Police Assault





Nigerian Afrobeats star Seun Kuti was arrested Monday (May 15) after being accused of assaulting a police officer in the commercial hub of Lagos.

Kuti was detained at the Lagos State police headquarters after turning himself in, according to police spokesperson Benjamin Hundeyin, who tweeted photos of the celebrity in handcuffs.

The son of Nigerian musical icon and political agitator Fela Kuti, who himself was serially detained by Nigerian military regimes, Seun Kuti was “captured on video assaulting a police officer in uniform,” the police said.

Videos posted online appeared to show an agitated Kuti pushing a police officer as the officer stood beside a police vehicle along a major road in Lagos on Saturday.

It was unclear what led to the confrontation, though Kuti tweeted that the officer in question “tried to kill me and my family.” He suggested the officer tried to ram their car.

Inspector General of Police Usman Alkali Baba ordered an investigation into the incident. The inspector general “assures Nigerians that acts of contempt/disdain for symbols of authority will not be tolerated while offenders of such hideous crimes will be surely brought to book,” the police said.

“I welcome the investigation and will give my full cooperation!” Kuti responded on Twitter. 


Related story: 'The system is rigged': Seun Kuti on reviving Fela's political party

Video - Fela Kuti - The father of Afrobeat

Video - Femi Kuti reflects on a life in music and activism

Election-related visa restrictions imposed on citizens of Nigeria

The United States has imposed entry restrictions on more Nigerians for undermining the democratic process during the African nation's 2023 election cycle, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday.

"These individuals have been involved in intimidation of voters through threats and physical violence, the manipulation of vote results, and other activity that undermines Nigeria’s democratic process," Blinken said in a statement.

Additional details were not provided.

The action is the latest in a series of visa restrictions imposed on Nigerian individuals in recent years.

Nigeria's election tribunal this month was to begin hearing opposition petitions challenging president-elect Bola Tinubu's victory in the disputed February presidential vote, court records showed.

Tinubu, from the ruling All Progressives Congress party, defeated his closest rivals Atiku Abubakar of the People's Democratic Party and the Labour Party's Peter Obi, who have alleged fraud and have launched a court challenge.

Atiku and Obi want the tribunal to invalidate Tinubu's victory, arguing that the vote was fraught with irregularities, among other criticisms. Tinubu, who is set to be sworn in on May 29, says he won fairly and wants the petitions dismissed.

There have been numerous legal challenges to the outcome of previous Nigerian presidential elections but none has succeeded.

By Doina Chiacu, Reuters

Monday, May 15, 2023

Video - Government of Nigeria says cow skin or "ponmo" should be worn, not eaten

The Nigerian government is trying to ban the consumption of cow skin in the country. Ponmo, as it's popularly known, is widely enjoyed across the West African nation, especially by those who might otherwise struggle to afford meat. But the government says it has no nutritional value, and the skins would be much better used in the leather industry.


Related story: Video - Nigeria’s ponmo cuisine under threat as the leather sector seeks growth


Hilda Baci from Nigeria breaks Guinness world record for longest cooking time





Nigerian chef, Hilda Bassey Effiong, popularly known as Hilda Buci has broken the Guinness World Record for longest cooking hours.

Hilda broke the record which was previously held by Indian chef, Lata Tondon on Monday morning at 7:45 am.

Tondon had made meals for 87 hours, 45 minutes and 00 seconds.

However, as of the time of filing this report, Hilda has cooked for 88 hours, 19 minutes.

She aims to cook for 96 hours.

She is expected to complete the task at 5pm on Monday.

The chef has been getting massive support, especially from Nigerians, celebrities and politicians in the country.

Nollywood actor, Charles Okocha; actress, Kate Henshaw; singer, Tiwa Savage; media personality, Enioluwa, and many others appeared at the event.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu also visited the venue on Sunday to cheer up Baci.

Baci is not new to cooking competitions, she was a participant in the maiden edition of the Jollof Face-off Competition in 2021. The talented chef made Nigeria proud by winning the competition and walking away with a grand prize of $5000.

Africa News

Friday, May 12, 2023

Naira hits record low after central bank adjusts spot rate

The Nigerian naira hit a record low of 466 per dollar on the official market on Thursday, after the central bank weakened the currency on the spot market and at its foreign exchange auction as it tries to address a backlog of demand for foreign currency, traders said.

Nigeria's central bank has been adjusting rates to manage demand for foreign currency against its level of foreign reserves while at the same time intervening on the foreign exchange market to keep the currency stable after it has weakened.

The central bank adjusted rates on Wednesday to 465 naira from 460 naira per dollar, traders said, while it sold hard currency to businesses for raw materials and other imports at 630 naira at its last auction on Friday.

"Generally, the market impression is that (FX) rates are moving up," one currency trader said.

The naira, which trades within a range on the official market, has fallen to successive lows due to dollar scarcity, coupled with the central bank's adjustments to manage the backlog of demand for foreign exchange.

The currency later recovered some ground to trade at 463 naira per dollar on the official market on Thursday.

"At the current level, clients are not getting funds," the trader said. "The appetite is to seek more dollars to meet obligations."

The naira eased to 748 against the dollar on the black market as individuals and firms channel unmet currency demand to informal sources.

By Chijioke Ohuocha, Reuters

Related stories: Cash shortage in Nigeria due to redesigned currency push

Video - New currency in Nigeria to affect small businesses according to World Bank

Nigeria overtaken by Angola as top African crude oil producer

Angola has now emerged the topmost crude oil producer in Africa, upstaging Nigeria as the latter’s output level hits a new low.

The direct communication data in the April 2023 monthly oil market report (MOMR) of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) shows that Angola recorded 1.06 million barrels per day (mbpd) crude production in April 2023.

Despite initial optimism, Nigeria’s oil output dropped 23 per cent, month-on-month, MoM, to 999,999 barrels per day, bpd, in April 2023, from 1.3 million bpd in the preceding month of March 2023.

Also, on year-on-year, YoY, Nigeria’s output level indicated a drop of 16.7 per cent to 999,999 bpd in April 2023, from 1.2 million bpd recorded in the corresponding period of 2022.

After a steady decline to about 1.1 mbpd in the second half of 2022, due majorly, to oil theft, Nigeria’s oil output began to recover after a nationwide outcry in the fourth quarter of 2022 hovering at 1.3 million bpd in the first quarter of 2023.

At less than 1.0mbpd, this is the lowest production rate Nigeria has recorded in the year 2023 while Angola’s output shows steady increases.

The OPEC figure is close to that of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), the regulatory authority in Nigeria’s petroleum industry, which shows that Nigeria produced 998,602 barrels per day during the period.

The OPEC report further stated that total OPEC-13 crude oil production averaged 28.60 million barrels per day in April 2023, lower by 191,000 barrels per day, month-on-month. Overall, the report showed that crude oil output increased mainly in Saudi Arabia, Angola and Iran, while production in Iraq and Nigeria declined.

OPEC noted in the MOMR that Nigeria’s economy faced challenges in gaining momentum in the first quarter of 2023, with business activity and consumer spending remaining subdued, in addition to high input-cost inflation and lower employment levels compared with 2022.

By Udeme Akpan & Yinka Kolawole, Reuters

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Video - University in Nigeria uses climate-smart methods to increase meat production

The process involves cross-breeding and adaptation of goats and sheep from different parts of Nigeria to come up with a unique breed that's disease resistant, larger, and thus provides more meat, and can survive in difficult environments.


Video - Taxes hiked for telecoms, large motor vehicles and alcohol in Nigeria

Beginning June 1, Nigerians will have to pay a little more for imported goods, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, single-use plastics, and telecommunication services. And imported vehicles, whether new or used, will be subject to an import adjustment tax of 2 or 4 percent.


Gunmen free 25 people from Baptist church kidnapping

Heavily armed gangs known locally as bandits frequently carry out mass abductions for ransom in northwest and central Nigeria, holding their captives in camps hidden in forests that stretch across the region.

Armed attackers on Sunday stormed into the Bege Baptist Church in Kaduna State during morning mass and abducted 40 people.

Fifteen managed to escape, while the gunmen left with 25, Reverend Joseph Hayab, head of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna State said.

Eleven more hostages were released by their captors, bringing the number still detained to 14, Hayab told AFP on Wednesday.

"The number of those kidnapped from the church has reduced 14 after the gunmen set free 11 out of the 25 they took away," said Hayab, who is also a Baptist priest.

"They abandoned or released those they found difficult to manage due to health challenges, fatigue or age," he said.

The latest was a woman who was so exhausted that the abductors mistook her for dead and abandoned her in the bush along with her baby.

The woman regained consciousness, found her baby and returned home, Hayab said.

"To them, it is not the number of the hostages they take that matters because they know even if they take one person they will receive ransom in exchange."

He said they were waiting for the abductors to make their demands.

Kaduna police have confirmed the incident but are yet to provide details.

Abductions for ransom and intercommunal attacks have been on the rise again in the last few weeks after a brief calm period during February and March elections for the presidency and governorship posts.

Nine people, including a local chief, were also kidnapped late on Wednesday in Idon Gida community in nearby Kajuru district of Kaduna State, according to Hayab and a local official.

Bandits burst into the Christian village around 2000 GMT, taking away seven women and two men, they said.

Mass kidnappings and bandit gangs in the northwest are just one of several security challenges facing president-elect Bola Tinubu when he takes the helm of Africa's most populous nation later this month.

Nigeria's military is also battling a grinding jihadist conflict in the northeast that has killed 40,000 since 2009 as well as simmering separatist tensions in the southeast of the country, where gunmen often target police.


Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Video - Nigeria leads in adoption of forex trading in Africa

Despite forex trading being viewed as a high-risk venture, hundreds of thousands of Nigerians are diving in every year, as they explore new ways to earn a living. 


Video - Court in Nigeria starts hearing petitions challenging Bola Tinubu's win

Opposition political parties and their candidates filed challenges against Bola Tinubu's win in the February 25th election back in March. Nigeria's Presidential Election Petition Court has roughly until September to issue a judgment. However, that judgment can then be appealed to the Supreme Court.


Related story: President-Elect Bola Tinubu Leaves Nigeria to Rest in Europe After Campaign

Video - Clip from President-elect Bola Tinubu's acceptance speech



Video - Real estate sector shifts to renewable energy to power homes in Nigeria

In Nigeria, real estate developers are building more properties that use renewables as sources of energy. Despite huge investments in the sector, Nigeria suffers from an acute electricity shortage as capacity stands at an average of just 4,000 megawatts.

15 children dead and 25 more missing in boat accident in Nigeria

Fifteen children drowned and 25 others were left missing when a boat capsized in a river in northwest Nigeria's Sokoto state, a local official told AFP Wednesday. The children were on their way to collect firewood in the bush on Tuesday on the other side of Shagari river when their overloaded boat capsized, Aliyu Abubakar, political administrator of Shagari district said.

"We woke up to a tragedy yesterday morning, where a boat carrying children capsized mid-river," Abubakar told AFP.

"Fifteen bodies, 13 girls and two boys, were recovered by local rescue teams and buried in the village," said the official, who supervised the rescue operation.

River accidents are frequent in Nigeria, often caused by overloading, poor maintenance, heavy flooding in rainy season and disregard of safety regulations.

Divers were working in the Shagari river late on Tuesday searching for more of the children.

In April last year, 29 children from nearby Gidan Magana village in Sokoto drowned in the same river when their vessel capsized while they were also on their way to fetch firewood for their families.

During massive flooding in rainy season in December, at least 76 people drowned when their boat went down in a swollen river in southeast Anambra State.

In one of the country's worst river disasters in May 2021, only 20 people were rescued and more than 150 went missing when a boat transporting people to market broke apart while travelling between Kebbi and Niger states.

Nigeria's waterways authority has tried to ban night-time sailing on rivers to stop accidents, and overloading vessels is a criminal offence, but skippers and crews often flout the rules.

River transport and market trade are common in Nigeria, where roads are often poor. The Niger, West Africa's main river travelling through Guinea to Nigeria's Niger Delta, is a key local trade route. 


Shell wins court case related to oil spills in Nigeria

The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court has ruled that it was too late for a group of Nigerian claimants to sue two Shell subsidiaries over a 2011 offshore oil spill.

On December 20, 2011, an estimated 40,000 barrels of crude oil leaked when a tanker was loaded at Shell’s Bonga oilfield, 120km (75 miles) off the coast of Nigeria’s Niger Delta.

Shell disputed the allegations and said the Bonga spill was dispersed offshore and did not impact the shoreline.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court upheld rulings by two lower courts that found the plaintiffs had brought their case after the six-year legal expiry date.

A panel of five Supreme Court justices unanimously rejected the claimants’ argument that the ongoing consequences of the pollution represented a “continuing nuisance”.

According to the Reuters news agency, the court did not look at the evidence supporting either side’s assertions or make a ruling on the issue. It only decided the legal point of nuisance.

“The Supreme Court rejects the claimants’ submission. There was no continuing nuisance in this case,” Justice Andrew Burrows said as he delivered the ruling.

“The leak was a one-off event or an isolated escape. The oil pipe was no longer leaking after six hours,” he said.

A group of 27,800 people and 457 communities living in the delta have been trying to sue Shell, saying the leftover oil slick polluted their lands and waterways and damaged farming, fishing, drinking water, mangrove forests and religious shrines.

The average life expectancy in the region is 41 years, 10 years lower than the national average.

UK courts have previously ruled against Shell in another case involving pollution in the Niger Delta.

In February 2021, the Supreme Court allowed a group from the Ogale and Bille communities to sue Shell over spills, and that case is currently through the High Court.

At that time, Shell said it was not responsible for most of those spills and said they were caused by illegal third-party interference.

“We believe litigation does little to address the real problem in the Niger Delta: oil spills due to crude oil theft, illegal reining and sabotage, with which SPDC [Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary] is constantly faced and which cause the most environmental damage,” a Shell spokesperson said.

In a separate case in 2015, Shell agreed to pay 55 million pounds ($70m) to the delta’s Bodo community in compensation for two spills after a legal battle in London.

Al Jazeera

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Monday, May 8, 2023

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Dangote refinery set to be commissioned by the president of Nigeria in 2 weeks

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will commission the multi-billion dollar Dangote oil refinery in two weeks, a presidency spokesperson said on Sunday, setting up the plant for its first production since construction started in 2016.

Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer, sees the 650,000 barrels-per-day refinery - being built by billionaire industrialist Aliko Dangote's Dangote Group - as a solution to ending the country's reliance on imports for nearly all of its refined petroleum products.

Spokesperson Bashir Ahmad said Buhari will commission the refinery, near Lagos, on May 22, a week before he is due to leave office after serving the maximum two terms allowed by the constitution.

A spokesperson for Dangote confirmed the timing of the commissioning but did not give details.

The Dangote refinery's cost grew to $19 billion from initial estimates of between $12 billion and $14 billion, after years of delays.

By Felix Onuah, Reuters

Related story: Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote is building the world's largest refinery in Nigeria

Senator from Nigeria jailed for 9 years by UK court for kidney-harvesting plot

A wealthy Nigerian politician, his wife and a doctor were jailed by a London court on Friday for trafficking a street trader from Lagos to Britain to illegally harvest his kidney for a transplant for their seriously ill daughter.

Britain's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Ike Ekweremadu had been sentenced to nine years and eight months in Britain's first illegal organ-harvesting prosecution, while his wife Beatrice, 56, was sentenced to four years and six months.

Nigerian doctor Obinna Obeta, 51 - described by prosecutors as a middle man - was jailed for 10 years, the CPS said. All three were convicted in March of conspiring to arrange the travel of a man in order to harvest his organs.

President of the Nigerian senate Ahmad Lawan said earlier in the week he had written to the British judicial authorities seeking clemency for Ekweremadu - an opposition senator and former deputy president of Nigeria's senate - on behalf of the senate.

He said "it was the first time our colleague is getting involved in this kind of thing".

Prosecutors said the couple had brought the man to Britain in February last year with the offer of a few thousand pounds for his organ and the promise of work in Britain.

The case came to light when the man, who had made a living in Lagos selling telephone parts in a market, went to police saying he had been trafficked and someone was trying to harvest his kidney.

The proposed transplant never went ahead as a consultant at London's Royal Free hospital became suspicious about the circumstances surrounding the proposed donor, aged about 21 who cannot be named for legal reasons, who the family had tried to pass off as their daughter's cousin.

Sonia Ekweremadu, the intended recipient of the organ who has a serious and deteriorating kidney condition and requires dialysis, was found not guilty.

By Muvija M, Reuters

Related story: Nigerian politician Ike Ekweremadu, wife, and a doctor guilty of organ trafficking to UK

Friday, May 5, 2023

Two Chibok girls rescuded by Nigerian Army

The Nigerian Army on Thursday said it had rescued two additional girls from the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, nine years after their abduction by Boko Haram in 2014.

The Theatre Commander, North-East Joint Operation, Hadin Kai, Ibrahim Ali, a major general, disclosed this while briefing journalists at the Maimalari Cantonment in Maiduguri.

Mr Ali said that Hauwa Maltha and Esther Marcus, both serial numbers two and 103 in the list of the missing victims, were rescued on 21 April by troops of 114 Taskforce Battalion Bitta at Lagara, under the 21 armoured Brigade Bama during Operations.

He said that Hauwa Maltha, 26, and Kibaku by tribe from Jila in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, and her three-year-old baby were rescued.

He explained that while in captivity, Hauwa got married at Gulukos, a village in Sambisa forest, to one Salman, a cameraman to Abubakar Shekau.

“Salman later died in Lake Chad. Thereafter, Hauwa Maltha got married to one Mallam Muhammad in Gobara and had 2 children for him who later died due to sickness. Muhammad, her second husband, was killed in Ukuba terrorist enclaves in Sambisa forest during clashes between Boko Haram/ISWAP,” he said.

“Hauwa who was about eight months and two weeks pregnant during the time of her rescue delivered a bouncing baby boy on 28 April 2023 while undergoing thorough medical examination along with her baby Fatima at 7 Div Medical Hospital and Services,” he said.

Mr Ali explained that while in captivity, 26-year-old Esther was forcefully married to one Garba, also known as Garus, a Boko Haram fighter who was killed during troops’ offensive operations on terrorists’ enclaves.

“She was later married off to another insurgent, Abba, in Ukuba terrorist enclaves in Sambisa forest until her rescue by troops of Operation Hadin Kai.

“Since their rescue, they have undergone thorough medical examination along with their babies and are adequately resuscitated and will be handed over to the Borno State Government for further administration.

“These results are evident as troops have rescued about 14 Chibok girls recently.

“The girls rescued so far include; Aisha Grema, serial number 11 on the abducted Chibok girls’ list, Hannatu Musa, number 7 on the list, and Sera Luka, number 38 on the list.

Others are Ruth Bitrus, number 41, Mary Dauda, number 46, Hauwa Joseph, number 18, Falmata Lawan, number 3, Asabe Ali, number 12, Jankai Yamal, number 20, Yana Pogu, number 19, Rejoice Sanki, number 70 and Hassana Adamu, number 35,” he said.

He assured the people of the North-east in particular that Operation Hadin Kai remains resolute and determined in neutralising all vestiges of terrorist elements as well as criminals marauding the North-east and returning total and long lasting peace to the region.

“Our immense appreciation goes to the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, and service chiefs for their strategic guidance and provision of requisite logistics and operational platforms which have spurred the continuous successes,” he said.

Premium Times

Related story: Two kidnapped Chibok girls freed in Nigeria after eight years

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Thursday, May 4, 2023

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Related story: Malaysia, Taiwan recall Indomie noodles over cancer-causing substance starts investigation in Nigeria


Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Manufacturing activity rebounds in Nigeria as cash crisis eases

Nigeria’s manufacturing activity pulled off a sharp growth last month, shaking off successive contractions in the two months preceding April.

The growth was recorded as the squeeze resulting from the central bank’s push to wean Africa’s largest economy off dependence on physical cash softened.

The country’s Purchasing Manager Index (PMI) came in at 53.8 for the month on increased production level and improvement in new business, according to newly issued factory activity data.

A reading higher than 50 points to growth, while any below that threshold implies a shrinking in PMI, which assesses the overall direction that business condition in the manufacturing industry is headed.

Hiring was restrained and employment consequently slowed as companies still grappled with uncertainty in some way, following the crisis.

“The easing of the cash shortage challenge in April saw improvement in both output and consumer demand,” Muyiwa Oni, Head of Equity Research West Africa at Stanbic IBTC Bank, said.

Stanbic IBTC Bank works alongside S&P Global and Nigeria’s statistics office every month to provide the data.

“While the easier access to cash caused business activities to expand across key sectors (Agriculture, manufacturing, services and wholesales and retails sectors), firms however maintained caution in increasing staff head count,” Mr Oni further stated.

His optimism for activity in the near term is measured, considering that sentiment remains relatively weak and given the signals that access to cash will be steady, not dramatic.

The document highlighted a steep jump in input costs for manufacturers in April, not altogether unanticipated as Nigeria’s inflation climbed to 22 per cent in the preceding month, closing in on its 18-year peak.

Even though firms passed on the increased cost to customers, that was done sensitively in order to attract them, leading to the slightest rate of selling price increase in three years.

“Business sentiment remained subdued in April, despite a slight pick-up from March. In fact, optimism was among the lowest seen since the survey began in January 2014,” the report said.

By Ronald Adamolekun, Premium Times

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Monday, May 1, 2023

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Ese Brume wins women's Long Jump at Botswana Golden Grand Prix




Nigerian long jump sensation, Ese Brume, got off to a very bright start in her first outdoor competition on Saturday at the prestigious Botswana Golden Grand Prix.

Brume won the women’s Long Jump event at the star-studded Meet and she did that in style with a world-leading distance of 6.77m.

The reigning African and Commonwealth champion saved her best jump for the last with her final round jump, defeating Burkina Faso’s Marthe Koala, who had led until that moment with 6.69m in the third round.

Brume had jumped into an early lead with her opening round distance of 6.65m but after failing to build on that momentum with subsequent failed attempts, she was overtaken after
Koala registered a leap of 6.69m.

However, Brume in her characteristic way of delivering when it mattered most leapt to a distance of 6.77m in her final jump to the delight of the crowd at the National Stadium, Gaborone.

Saturday’s winning mark took Brume to the top of the world list ahead of India’s Shaili Singh’s 6.76m.

Before her outing in Botswana, Brume has been testing the waters and improving her speed.

She made an appearance at the Texas Relays where she was part of a 4x100m relay team and also raced in the 400m event at the Cameron Burrell Alumni Invitational also in Texas.

Having hit the group running with a winning jump in Botswana, the long jump multiple medallist will be hoping to stay in good shape as she targets another rewarding season that would end at the World Championships in Budapest.

Brume has been improving with every of edition of the World Championship; winning the bronze medal in Doha and stepping up to silver at the subsequent edition in Oregon.

Many will be waiting to see if Brume can go another notch higher in Budapest by winning the gold this time.

By Tunde Eludini, Premium Times

Malaysia, Taiwan recall Indomie noodles over cancer-causing substance starts investigation in Nigeria

The decision by Malaysia and Taiwan to recall Indomie’s “special chicken” flavour noodles has raised some concerns about the safety of the food globally, including in Nigeria.

The development followed the detection of ethylene oxide, a substance known to cause cancer, in the product by the health institutions in the two countries.

Nigeria has also reacted to the development as the agency in charge of standards has set in motion plans to conduct fresh independent tests on the concerned products.

The country’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday morning its plans to ascertain the claim by its Taiwan and Malaysian counterparts.

Malaysian, Taiwan findings

The health department in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, said it detected ethylene oxide in two types of instant noodles, including the Indomie chicken flavour, following random inspections.

It said the detection of ethylene oxide in the product did not comply with standards.

“The Taipei City Health Bureau reminds food industry that our country has not approved the use of ethylene oxide as a pesticide, nor has it approved the use of ethylene oxide gas as a disinfection purpose,” the department said in a statement.

“The industry is sure to implement autonomous management and confirm that the raw materials and products should comply with food safety and health management.”

Following this development, the health ministry in Malaysia said it had examined 36 samples of instant noodles from different brands since 2022 and found that 11 samples contained ethylene oxide.

Ethylene oxide is a colourless, odourless gas that is used to sterilize medical devices and spices and has been described as a cancer-causing chemical.

The Malaysian ministry said it had taken enforcement actions and recalled the affected products.

Indofoods, an Indonesian company and maker of Indomie instant noodles, has denied the allegations noting that all its noodles are produced with standard certification. However, Taiwan and Malaysia have ordered businesses to immediately remove the products from their shelves.

Nigeria’s plans

NAFDAC Director General, Mojisola Adeyeye, a professor, on Sunday, told this newspaper that beginning from Tuesday, 2 May, the agency will commence processes to test randomly selected products to ascertain the claims before reaching out to the public.

Mrs Adeyeye in response to an inquiry by our reporter, said the agency’s official in charge of laboratory services is already on alert.

The director general wrote: “NAFDAC is responding. We plan to randomly sample Indomie noodles (including the seasoning) from the production facilities while PMS samples from the markets. This we will carry out on Tuesday 2nd May (as Monday May 1st is a public holiday).

“The compound of interest is ethylene oxide, so the Director (Lab Services) Food has (is) being engaged, and he is working on the methodology for the analysis.”

Safe for consumption

Reacting to the allegations in a statement on Friday, Taufik Wiraatmadja, a member of the board of directors at Indofoods, defended the safety of the noodles noting that it is safe for consumption.

Mr Wiraatmadja said the noodles have received standard certifications and have been produced in compliance with international food safety regulations.

“All instant noodles produced by ICBP in Indonesia are processed in compliance with the food safety standards from the Codex Standard for Instant Noodles and standards set by the Indonesian National Agency for Drug and Food Control (“BPOM RI”). Our instant noodles have received Indonesian National Standard Certification (SNI), and are produced in certified production facilities based on international standards,” he wrote.

“ICBP has exported instant noodles to various countries around the world for more than 30 years. The Company continuously ensures that all of its products are in compliance with the applicable food safety regulations and guidelines in Indonesia as well as other countries where ICBP’s instant noodles are marketed.

“We would like to emphasise that in accordance with the statement released by BPOM RI, our Indomie instant noodles are safe for consumption.”

Indofoods is one of the world’s largest makers of instant noodles and exports its products to more than 90 countries including Saudi Arabia and Nigeria where they are in high demand.
Implication for Nigeria

Nigeria, a major consumer of Indomie instant noodles, is expected to take a position on the matter in the coming days.

According to data from the World Instant Noodles Association (WINA), Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is currently among the largest consumers of instant noodles with 1.92 million servings as of May 2020.

The country also ranked 11th in the global demand for noodles ranking, with Indomie instant noodles being the most consumed brand in Nigeria.

By Nike Adebowale-Tambe, Premium Times