Friday, December 29, 2023

Video - President of Nigeria says Plateau state attack planners will be apprehended

Attacks in Nigeria's central Plateau state left nearly 160 people dead after gunmen rounded several villages over the weekend. Authorities say the raids were senseless and unprovoked. 


Related story: Video - Why has Nigeria failed to deal with violence in Plateau State?

Villagers missing in Nigeria two days after suspected nomadic herders kill 140

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Video - Why has Nigeria failed to deal with violence in Plateau State?

The Nigerian government says at least 160 people were killed in attacks by armed groups on remote farming communities at the weekend. It's the worst violence in the central Plateau state in more than five years. No group has claimed responsibility but nomadic herders are believed to be responsible. Herders and farmers have been locked in a decades-long conflict over access to land and water. Why has the Nigerian government failed to prevent these attacks? And what does it mean for the country's wider security problem - as it faces challenges on multiple fronts?

Al Jazeera 

Related stories: Video - Over 100 kidnapped from four villages in Nigeria

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


Video - Nigeria mourns the brutal murders of at least 160 people

Communities in Plateau state, Nigeria are in mourning after at least 160 people were killed in a series of attacks by armed groups over the Christmas weekend. The gunmen targeted about 20 villages across the Bokkos and Barkin Ladi areas.


Related story: Villagers missing in Nigeria two days after suspected nomadic herders kill 140


Central Bank of Nigeria Lifts Ban on Crypto Transactions

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has lifted a ban on transacting in cryptocurrencies.

At the same time, the bank said there is a need to regulate virtual asset service providers (VASPs), including cryptocurrencies and crypto assets, Reuters reported Wednesday (Dec. 27), citing a Friday (Dec. 22) circular issued by the bank.

The CBN imposed a ban on banks and financial institutions dealing in or facilitating transactions in crypto assets in February 2021 due to concerns over money laundering and terrorism financing, according to the report.

However, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria published regulations in May last year that aimed to find a middle ground between an outright ban and unregulated use of crypto assets, the report said.

In its circular dated Dec. 22, the CBN outlined guidelines for banks and financial institutions regarding the opening of accounts, designated settlement accounts, settlement services, and acting as channels for foreign exchange inflows and trade for firms transacting in crypto assets, per the report. The guidelines emphasize the need for VASPs to obtain licensing from the Nigerian SEC to engage in crypto business.

The circular also states that banks are still prohibited from trading, holding or transacting cryptocurrencies, according to the report.

Nigeria has witnessed a surge in cryptocurrency adoption, particularly among its young and tech-savvy population, the report said. Many individuals have turned to peer-to-peer trading offered by crypto exchanges as an alternative to traditional financial services.

The volume of crypto transactions in Nigeria grew by 9% year over year to $56.7 billion between July 2022 and June 2023, per the report, which cited data from blockchain research firm Chainalysis.

It was reported in October 2021 that despite the ban from their country’s central bank, people in Nigeria had turned to cryptocurrency to conduct business, send payments and guard their savings.

In November 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria said that it had no plans to make crypto part of its digital asset trading goals until regulators agree to standards that keep investors safe.

The commission said at the time that it would promote investment in “sensible digital assets,” with investment protection while also looking into blockchain technology to drive virtual and traditional investment products.


Related stories: Crypto usage growing further in Nigeria

Video - Nigeria continues to record surge in adoption of cryptocurrencies

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Video - Nigeria revels in successful carnival polo tournament

The nine-day Polo Fiesta in Abuja culminated in a spectacle of luxury and talent. National and international battle-ready players mounted thoroughbred polo ponies, competing for top honors.


Video - Nigerians cut Christmas spending as high inflation persists

Rising inflation has forced many people across Nigeria to slash their spending. Experts have warned that the reduced spending could affect the country's economy.


Video - Nigeria event encourages African women to embrace natural hair

The 2023 African Hair Summit seeks to encourage more African women to embrace their natural hair. Experts say doing that is not only the healthier alternative but will also spur the growth of Africa's natural hair care sector, strengthen economies on the continent, and create jobs.


Villagers missing in Nigeria two days after suspected nomadic herders kill 140

Nigerian mother-of-three Grace Godwin was preparing food on Christmas Eve when her husband burst into the kitchen and ordered her and the children to run and take cover in the bush after gunmen were spotted in a nearby village.

Soon they heard gunfire, starting an hours-long attack by suspected nomadic herders who rampaged through 15 villages in central Plateau state on Sunday, killing at least 140 people with guns and machetes, officials, police and residents said.

It was the bloodiest violence since 2018 when more than 200 people were killed in Nigeria's central region where clashes between herders and farmers are common.

"We returned at 6 the next morning and found that houses had been burnt and people killed. There are still people missing," Godwin said by phone.

"There is no one in Mayanga (village), women and children have all fled."

It was not immediately clear what triggered Sunday's attacks but violence in the region, known as the "Middle Belt", is often characterised as ethno-religious - chiefly Muslim Fulani herdsmen clashing with mainly Christian farmers.

But experts and politicians say climate change and expanding agriculture are creating competition for land, pushing farmers and herders into conflict.

Nomadic cattle herders are from northern Nigeria, which is getting drier and becoming more prone to drought and floods. That is forcing them to trek further south, where farmers are increasing production as the population rapidly expands.

That means less land for nomads and their cattle, supporting the view among local people that the conflict is based on the availability of resources rather than ethnic or religious differences.

"These attacks have been recurring. They want to drive us out of our ancestral land but we will continue to resist these assaults," said Magit Macham, who had returned from the state capital Jos to celebrate Christmas with his family.

Macham was chatting to his brother outside his house when the sputtering sound of a petrol generator was interrupted by gunshots. His brother was hit by a bullet in the leg but Macham dragged him to into the bush where they hid for the night.

"We were taken unawares and those that could run ran into the bush. A good number of those that couldn't were caught and killed with machetes," he said.

Plateau governor called the violence "unprovoked" and police said several houses, cars and motorcycles were burnt.

President Bola Tinubu, who has yet to spell out how he intends to tackle widespread security, described the attacks as "primitive and cruel" and directed police to track down those responsible.

By Hamza Ibrahim and Camillus Eboh, Reuters

Related story: Video - Over 100 kidnapped from four villages in Nigeria

At least 23 killed in Nigeria after herdsmen attack villagers

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Video - Cocoa grown illegally in rainforest in Nigeria heads to companies that supply major chocolate makers

As the world's demand for chocolate grows, cocoa farmers in Nigeria are moving into protected areas of a forest reserve that is home to endangered species like African forest elephants. Over the course of two visits and several days, The Associated Press documented farmers harvesting cocoa beans where that work is banned in conservation areas of Omo Forest Reserve, a protected tropical rainforest 135 kilometers (84 miles) northeast of the coastal city of Lagos in southwestern Nigeria. AP Video/Dan Ikopyi.


Government eases holiday travel costs with free train rides and bus fare reductions in Nigeria

In a bid to alleviate the financial strain associated with holiday travels, the Nigerian government has introduced measures to provide relief to its citizens during the festive season. The announcement, made on Wednesday, includes free train rides and a 50% reduction in public bus fares across the country.

Dele Alake, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development and head of the inter-ministerial committee on presidential intervention, emphasized that the initiative aims to enable domestic travelers to visit their loved ones and hometowns "without stress and the extra burden imposed by the high cost of transport around this period." The move is seen as a gesture to enhance the well-being of citizens during the festive season.

The discounted inter-state fares and complimentary train rides, slated to be in effect from December 21 to January 4, are part of a collaborative effort with companies operating luxury buses across 22 routes nationwide. President Bola Tinubu has given his approval to this initiative, which notably focuses on the masses, as highlighted by Mr. Alake.

Transport Minister Sa'idu Alkali expressed the government's commitment to ensuring that the substantial reduction in bus fares and the provision of free train rides will allow "every Nigerian to partake in the joy of the season without the burden of exorbitant transportation costs." This move is poised to make holiday travel more accessible and affordable for the general population.

Segun Falade, the spokesperson for the National Union of Road Transport Workers, confirmed that bus operators would adhere to the agreed-upon fare subsidy, as reported by local media. This collaborative effort between the government and transportation stakeholders aims to ease the financial strain on citizens during what is traditionally the busiest month for travel in Nigeria, with the highest number of air, road transport, and railway passengers recorded in December.

By Afolake Oyinloye, Africa News

Judge kidnapped in Nigeria and guard killed

Justice Joy Uwanna, a distinguished high court judge in Nigeria, was kidnapped while returning from a court session on Monday night in southern Akwa Ibom state.

The incident occurred along Uyo-Okoboin in Oron town, where unidentified gunmen ambushed the judge's vehicle.

Tragically, the assailants not only kidnapped Justice Uwanna but also fatally shot her police guard during the abduction. The incident unfolded as the gunmen opened fire, targeting the judge's security detail before swiftly taking Justice Uwanna and her driver away.

The police spokesperson in Akwa Ibom state, Odiko Macdon, termed the incident as "unfortunate" and confirmed that security forces are actively investigating the matter.

As of now, no group has claimed responsibility for the abduction. However, it's noteworthy that criminal gangs frequently engage in abductions for ransom in certain regions of Nigeria.

The abduction of Justice Joy Uwanna highlights the ongoing security challenges in the country, prompting intensified efforts by law enforcement agencies to address and prevent such incidents.

Africa News

Related stories: Mikel John Obi recalls his dad’s harrowing kidnappings

Video - Over 100 kidnapped from four villages in Nigeria



Dangote refinery of Nigeria gets 1 mln barrel crude cargo from NNPC

Nigeria's new $19 billion Dangote oil refinery has received 1 million barrels of oil from state-owned oil company NNPC Ltd, its second crude cargo this month, as it steps up preparations to begin operations, a Dangote spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The refinery is years behind schedule but its operations are expected to turn Africa's largest oil producer into a net exporter of fuels, a long-sought goal for the OPEC member that almost totally relies on imports.

The Dangote spokesperson said the crude had been loaded at Bonny Terminal operated by Shell and would be discharged at the refinery outside Lagos on Wednesday. Another 3 million barrels were expected before month end, the spokesperson added.

Dangote has said it expects more cargoes to be supplied by NNPC this month as well as one from ExxonMobil.

Nigeria's OPEC oil quota for next year is 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) but the government says it plans to produce 1.8 million bpd to ensure supplies to the Dangote plant and state-owned refineries that are being upgraded.

By MacDonald Dzirutwe, Reuters


Nigeria $11 bln damages bill for collapsed gas deal thrown out by London court

An $11 billion damages bill against Nigeria for a collapsed gas processing project which was procured by bribery has been thrown out by London's High Court.

The West African country was on the hook for the sum – representing around a third of its foreign exchange reserves – after a little-known British Virgin Islands-based company took Nigeria to arbitration over the deal.

But the High Court ruled in October that the contract was procured by Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) paying bribes to a Nigerian oil ministry official.

Judge Robin Knowles also found that P&ID failed to disclose the bribery when it later took Nigeria to arbitration.

He said in a further ruling on Thursday that the damages award should be thrown out immediately, rejecting P&ID's argument that the case should be sent back to arbitration.

P&ID was also refused permission to appeal against the ruling, though the company can apply directly to the Court of Appeal.

By Sam Tobin, Reuters


Tuesday, December 19, 2023

TotalEnergies pledges $6 billion in Nigeria oil, gas investments

TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA) reaffirmed its commitment to business interests in Nigeria, the French company said, adding that its head Patrick Pouyanne had met Nigeria President Bola Tinubu in Abuja on Monday.

TotalEnergies said it had signed a co-operation agreement with Nigeria's state oil firm NNPC Ltd to carry out methane detection and measurement campaigns using its advanced drone-based AUSEA technology on oil and gas facilities in Nigeria.

TotalEnergies pledged to "invest $6 billion in the coming years," with focus on offshore oil projects and gas production across all terrain, Tinubu's office said in a statement, citing Pouyanne.

Tinubu's meeting with Pouyanne follows similar talks with oil majors Shell (SHEL.L) and Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) as part of moves to attract capital to Africa's top energy producer.

Oil output from Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy, has been in decline for years, hobbled by large-scale theft and sabotage. It has picked up in recent months, helped by offshore production that is less prone to attacks.

Tinubu pledged to remove "anti-investment impediments in the oil and gas industry" and provide incentives to producers to help boost gas output. 

By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Felix OnuahReuters

Related story: Video - Dangote Oil Refinery set to commence fuel production in Nigeria

Monday, December 18, 2023

First black woman appointed Chicago commissioner from Nigeria

A Nigerian, Olusimbo Ige, has become the first black woman to be appointed as Commissioner for Chicago Department of Public Health, in the United States.

Chicagos’s Mayor, Brandon Johnson approved her appointment following the dismissal of Allison Arwady, a former commissioner at the Chicago Department of Public Health.

In an announcement by the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, described Ige’s milestone as “extraordinary”, saying: “History made! Congrats to the first black woman in the History of Chicago Dept. of Public Health to be appointed as Commissioner.”

According to a statement by Abdur-Rahman Balogun, a spokesman of NiDCOM, Dabiri-Erewa was quoted as saying that Ige’s appointment has once again confirmed that Nigerians in the Diaspora are excelling and impacting positively wherever they find themselves.

The NIDCOM chairman urged Ige to live up to expectations while motivating other young Nigerian professionals to also be good ambassadors of the country in their chosen careers.

By Solomon Arowolo, Blueprint

Nigeria Supreme Court blocks release of separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu

Nigeria's Supreme Court on Friday overturned a judgment by a lower court that dropped terrorism charges against separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu, ruling that trial on the charges should continue.

Kanu, a British citizen who leads the banned Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), disappeared from Nigeria after skipping bail in 2017. He was arrested in Kenya in 2021 and charged with terrorism.

Friday's ruling by Judge Lawal Garba reinstating Kanu's seven-count terrorism trial at a lower federal court has effectively extended his detention, which began two years ago after his arrest.

"Even though illegalities were committed with the deployment of brutal force to invade his home after he was granted bail and the extraordinary rendition (from Kenya) into the country, there is no legislation yet that has ousted the jurisdiction of the court to try him," Garba said.

Kanu had denied the charges of terrorism and knowingly broadcasting falsehoods, which are linked to social media posts he issued between 2018 and last year.

Kanu's IPOB campaigns for the secession of a part of southeastern Nigeria where the majority belong to the Igbo ethnic group. Nigerian authorities have labeled IPOB a terrorist organisation.

An attempt by the southeastern region to secede as the Republic of Biafra in 1967 - the year that Kanu was born - triggered a three-year civil war that killed more than 1 million people.

By Camillus Eboh, Reuters

Related stories: Nnamdi Kanu’s brother loses London court challenge

Nigerian separatist Nnamdi Kanu's Facebook account removed for hate speech

Top NFL Players Who Hail from Nigeria

Nigerians have been leaving an indelible mark on the global sports stage for many years. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that numerous Nigerian athletes have become integral parts of football, basketball, and tennis teams in international clubs and leagues.

American football is no exception, and the National Football League (NFL) consistently welcomes Nigerian players into the beloved sport of the United States.

Let's delve into the achievements of some noteworthy Nigerian players in the NFL.

James Ihedigbo

James Ihedigbo was a football safety for the New York Jets, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, and Buffalo Bills from 2008 to 2016. He was born to Nigerian parents who immigrated to the United States.

Prior to joining the NFL, he had an impressive football career at the University of Massachusetts. According to Ihedigbo, his love for the sport started when he was just six years old. Although he dabbled in soccer, he found American football to be far more enjoyable.

Ositadimma "Osi" Umenyiora

Osi Umenyiora is a former defensive end for the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons, and no Nigerian NFL player list would be complete without him. Although born in London, Umenyiora spent a significant portion of his early life in Nigeria before moving to Alabama at the age of 14.

He played football at Auburn High School and later for the Troy State Trojans in college. In the NFL, Umenyiora secured two Super Bowl victories and broke a record for fumbles. Post-retirement, he initiated efforts to facilitate more Nigerians' direct entry into the NFL.

Kenneth Odumegwu

Odumegwu's football journey jump-started with the help of Osi Umenyiora, who encouraged him to make the move from Nigeria to the U.S. to join the NFL at the age of 22. As part of Umenyiora’s program, The Uprise, designed to give African athletes opportunities to be drafted by major NFL teams, Odumegwu signed with the Green Bay Packers as a defensive lineman in 2023.

Prior to that, he spent time as a soccer player, and then a basketball player when he was told his height would make him useful in that sport. However, he is now known as the first player from the International Player Pathway program to ever join the Packers.

Amobi Okoye

Nigerian-born Amobi Okoye is the youngest player to ever be drafted in the first round of the NFL draft, and he was first picked by the Houston Texans in 2007 at the age of 19. After playing with the Texans, he went on to play with the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers through 2012.

However, in March of 2013, he suffered a seizure due to anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a relatively new disease that affects the areas of the brain that control memories and judgments. Since his diagnosis, Okoye has retired from the NFL and made a full recovery for his health.

Haggai Chisom Ndubuisi

Haggai Chisom Ndubuisi didn’t start playing American football until he was 18 years old, while he was still living in Nigeria. He claims to have started playing after just watching a YouTube video of the sport.

In 2023, he was drafted by the Denver Broncos as a defensive lineman. Before his draft, Ndubuisi was an offensive lineman who competed in the Cardinals’ training camp.

Chukwuebuka Jason Godrick

Chukwuebuka Jason Godrick is an offensive lineman for the Kansas City Chiefs, working alongside players like Patrick Mahomes and Prince Tega Wanogho. After being drafted in 2023 at the age of 22, he joined the Chiefs’ training camp with little knowledge of the sport.

Like other fresh international players, he was a basketball player back home in Nigeria.


Nigerian players have undeniably altered the landscape of the NFL, contributing to Super Bowl victories and setting numerous records. Both retired and current players continue to showcase their athletic prowess, serving as inspirations for future generations of Nigerians venturing into American football.

Related story: NFL player-turned doctor starting medical practice in Nigeria

Friday, December 15, 2023

Mikel John Obi recalls his dad’s harrowing kidnappings

Mikel John Obi vividly remembers the moment he was told his father, Pa Michael Obi, had been kidnapped for a second time.

Kidnappings for ransom targeting wealthy family members has become common in Africa’s most populous country and is seen by some criminal gangs as a lucrative endeavour.

The Nigeria and Chelsea soccer player told CNN Sport that he heard the news just two hours before he was set to play a World Cup game against Lionel Messi and Argentina at Russia 2018.

“Just like everybody else, I was excited going into one of the biggest games of my life, playing against [Lionel] Messi and Argentina,” Obi told CNN Senior Sports Analyst Darren Lewis in a recent interview.

“I was in my room getting ready, and all of a sudden, my phone started ringing and it was my brother calling … to say that dad has been kidnapped. I was like, ‘What, again?’”

Obi said it was “heart-breaking” to hear his father was undergoing such an ordeal for a second time in his life.

As Obi tried to process the news, he said he began “shivering” even though it was hot summer’s day in St Petersburg.

“I was sitting there thinking, ‘What am I going to do? Shall I tell the team? Shall I tell the players, tell the manager, tell the [Nigerian] FA?’” said Obi.

“‘What shall I do?’ Because this is the biggest game of our lives. So, I thought to myself, ‘You know what? I’m going to go out there and perform. I don’t want to let these guys [the kidnappers] win.’

“I am the captain. I’m the leader of this team and I have to go out there and be strong for the team and for the country. I decided not to tell anyone,” added Obi.

Despite pushing the Albiceleste to the limit, with a Marcos Rojo 86th-minute goal making the difference, Nigeria went on to lose 2-1 and Obi said that he felt like he “was going to fall down and probably collapse” during the game.

“I went out and performed. I remember in the game, a few times, I thought I was going to throw up. Emotions were running here and there.

“I didn’t know what I was thinking … about the game … about my dad … about my mom who was in tears … my family, my brothers, my sisters. Everybody was in tears.”

After the game, Obi says he told his teammates, the Nigerian Football Federation and the world’s media about the kidnapping, before negotiations began to get his father returned safely.

“I remember my dad saying to me, ‘They’ve got the gun on my head, son,’” said Obi.

“‘I’m an old man. I’m your dad, but you have to decide what you have to do.
It’s the second time it’s happened. I know you could pay a huge amount of money to get me out and to make sure that I come home safely.’

“Of course, I want my dad back. It doesn’t matter what. I want my dad to be home,” added Obi, who in 2018 said the kidnappers had demanded 10 million naira (around $30,000) to release his father.

Through the help of the Nigeria Police Force, Obi’s father was eventually rescued. The Nigeria Police Force did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for more details about the 2018 kidnapping.

The first time Obi’s father had been abducted was in 2011 in Jos, the main city in Plateau State in central Nigeria, when he was on his way back home after work.

“It was a massive shock for me, for the family,” recalled Obi of that first kidnapping.

“I think he was taken for about 10 days. And that’s when we tried to start making phone calls and they got in touch with us.

“Obviously, they wanted to speak with me, so I spoke with them. They made their demands. I spoke to the club [Chelsea]. I spoke to Roman [Abramovich],” added Obi, referring to the Russian oligarch and former Chelsea FC owner.

According to Obi, Abramovich told the Nigerian international he was willing to support him and said: “’If you need me to do anything, if you need me to send my people over to Nigeria to find your dad, I’d be willing to do that.

“You know, you have that option. But if you think you pay the money, then you do it. So I finally had to pay the money. And then my dad got released.”

As in 2018, Obi opted to continue playing despite receiving devastating news. He was scheduled to play in a Premier League match for Chelsea against Stoke City.

“I remember Andre Villas-Boas was the [Chelsea] manager back then,” recalled Obi.

“He [Villas-Boas] spoke to me and said, ‘Listen, you are a very important player for me. I would like you to play the game if you feel like you want to.
If not, I can understand if you don’t want to travel with the team if you don’t want to play.’

“I said: ‘I don’t want these people to win. I don’t want to show them that I’m weak. I have to go out and perform,’ which is what I did. I travel with the team. I went out and I played the game and then, yeah, so that was really, really tough.”

Obi made 372 appearances for Chelsea, winning the Premier League (twice), the FA Cup (four times), the League Cup (twice), and the Champions League and Europa League during his time at the club.

After the first kidnapping, Obi remembers being reunited with his dad who had been beaten up by the kidnappers and dumped in the street like “trash.”

Describing the moment they met, Obi said his father was “bruised, beaten up” and had his “lips broken, head swollen, he can’t walk, can’t move. It was a very heart-breaking moment for me and my family. We suffered a lot.”

CNN has also asked the Nigeria Police Force for more details about the 2011 kidnapping.

When Obi saw from afar what happened to the father of Liverpool star Luis Díaz’s father, who was abducted in October and eventually released by Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group in November, the former Chelsea star reached out to the Colombian international on social media to offer his support.

“I have to commend him and Liverpool. I always say, when you’re in these situations, you need people around you. You need people who care about you. And Liverpool showed that support,” said Obi.

“Liverpool did show him that support, the fans, the players showed him that he is not alone.

“And I’m happy to see that that’s what he got with Liverpool. And eventually his father finally got released.”

By Zayn Nabbi and Darren Lewis, CNN

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Video - Inflation, shortage of foreign exchange causing multinational firms to leave Nigeria

Nigeria is urging multinational companies to remain in the country despite the tough economic conditions that exist there. Some of the companies say inflation and a shortage of foreign exchange have made operating in the country more difficult.


ECOWAS Court rejects US prisoner’s request for transfer to Nigeria

The ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja has rejected a request to order the transfer of a Nigerian convicted of fraud in the United States to complete his jail time in Nigeria.

The court, in a judgement delivered on Thursday, said it lacked jurisdiction to grant Richard Ugbah’s request.

Mr Ughah had told the court he had already served eight years of the 12 years jail time imposed on him, and that he was due for release in May 2026, according to a statement by the court’s communication unit highlighting the key issues decided in Thursday’s judgement.

He approached West Africa’s regional court to order for his transfer to Nigeria, claiming to have satisfied the requirements for such a transfer.

But delivering judgement, a member of the court’s three-member panel, Sengu Koroma, the Judge Rapporteur of the panel, declared that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter.

The court upheld the preliminary objection raised by the Federal Republic of Nigeria, sued as the first respondent, declaring the applicant’s claims as “unfounded and without legal basis”.

The judge also ruled that Nigeria’s Ministry of Justice sued as the second in the case, was not a proper party before it.

The court consequently dismissed all the prayers of the applicant.

The suit

The applicant, a Nigerian citizen and resident in the US, was convicted by the District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin after he pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on 14 February 2017.

He was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.

The ECOWAS Court’s statement said, he additionally, pleaded guilty to another count of conspiracy to commit fraud on 15 November 2017, and judgment was entered on 22 November 2017.

The applicant further told the ECOWAS Court that having served eight years of the sentence, he was due for release on 8 May 2026.

He urged the court to issue the orders for his transfer to Nigeria to complete his jail time, having, according to him, satisfied the necessary conditions in line with the provision of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Handbook on the International Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

He also maintained that the transfer of sentenced persons is considered to be an important means of cooperation to prevent and combat crimes.

He said crimes combatting and preventing crimes are the main purposes of the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotic Substances of 1998, the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime.

The applicant further argued that all three conventions cited refer to the possibility of concluding agreements to facilitate the transfer of persons convicted abroad for the offences covered by the conventions to another state to complete their sentence.

Nigeria opposes suit

The Nigerian government sued as the first respondent in the suit opposed the suit. It filed a preliminary objection contending that the applicant’s initiating application was incompetent by virtue of Articles 9 and 10 of the Supplementary Protocol (A/SP./01/05).

It added that its Ministry of Justice sued as the second respondent, is neither a Community Institution nor a signatory to the Economic Community of the West African States Treaty to be competent to be sued before the court.

The government further claimed that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain this suit. It, therefore, urged the court to strike out the notice of registration for want of jurisdiction and lack of cause of action.


In its decision, the court struck out the second respondent’s name as a party in the suit, based on the agreement reached by both sides in the suit.

The court went on to rule that the applicant failed to show a valid reason for his complaint against the respondent.

Premium Times

Video - Artist Creates AI Fashion Show for Elderly in Nigeria

Images of African senior citizens walking the runway created a buzz on social media, eventually going viral. These AI-generated pictures challenged the typical depictions of elderly Africans, showcasing them in an empowering way. Karina Choudhury has the story. Camera: Samuel Okocha.


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

Digital art thrives among crypto-curious Nigerian artists

Germany has agreed to return Nigeria’s looted treasure. Will other countries follow?

Jumia to shutdown food delivery service in Nigeria

In a decisive move, Jumia is shuttering its food delivery service, Jumia Food, across its operating countries, including Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Uganda, and Algeria, by the end of December 2023. The company will now focus on its core physical goods business and the Jumia Pay platform across its 11 countries of operations.

“The more we focus on our physical goods business, the more we realize that there is huge potential for Jumia to grow, with a path to profitability. We must take the right decision and fully focus our management, our teams and our capital resources to go after this opportunity. In the current context, it means leaving a business line, which we believe does not offer the same upside potential - food delivery," said Francis Dufay, Chief Executive Officer of Jumia.

Despite constituting 11% of Jumia's Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) in the first nine months of 2023, Jumia Food has struggled to achieve profitability since its inception. This means the total value of food sold on Jumia Food stood at $64 million (11% of $581 million) between January and September 2023. An indicator of the massive scale Jumia Food was operating at, but it doesn't necessarily amount to revenue or profitability.

Since its inception, Jumia Food experienced fluctuating fortunes, with a significant 82% year-over-year growth in 2021, reflecting the company's strong foothold in the food delivery segment. However, in 2023, the company saw a marked decline in Quarterly Active Consumers and Orders. A consequence of its shift to drive profitability by focusing on viable categories and reducing consumer incentives.

As for employees focused on Jumia Food, the company says a number of them will transition to the core physical goods segment, suggesting that some could be laid off.
The African food delivery landscape is complex

Parallel to Jumia Food's shutdown, Bolt Food, another significant player in the African food delivery market, announced its exit from Nigeria and South Africa in December 2023. Bolt Food's departure, despite its expansion efforts in major Nigerian cities like Lagos, is attributed to economic downturns, high inflation, and stiff competition from well-entrenched rivals such as Jumia Food, Gokada, and Uber Eats.

In contrast, Barcelona-based startup, Glovo has been deepening its presence in Sub-Saharan Africa with key partnerships with restaurant chains like Chicken Republic and Shoprite.

Chowdeck, another key player in Nigeria's food delivery market, has shown impressive growth, recently celebrating a significant milestone of delivering food worth over ₦‎1 billion ($1.2 million) in a single month. Chowdeck's recent partnership with Shoprite for grocery delivery marks a landmark moment in its expansion strategy.

However, there's a note of caution in interpreting Chowdeck's reported success with food delivery. When placed in context, Jumia's 9-month figure of $64 million amounted to ₦‎5.7 billion monthly, yet profitability was still an issue. This is not unique to Jumia.

Profitability remains a challenge for many players in the global food delivery landscape.

In the US, Doordash and Uber have burned millions in venture capital to control 96% of the on-demand food delivery business while barely making any profit.

With $1 billion in funding to date, Glovo seems to be part of that mould but has differentiated itself with early diversification of revenue and already operates in 25 markets.

A key point in Chowdeck's favour seems to be a capital-efficient model, as the CEO maintained in an interview that its growth to $1.2 million monthly GMV was purely organic.

The African food delivery market, expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.2% from 2023 to 2028, reaching $1.7 billion, presents a landscape of both opportunities and challenges. While partnerships and technological integration offer growth avenues, the path to profitability remains complex. The experiences of Jumia Food and Bolt Food, contrast with the expansion of Glovo and Chowdeck. Both are relatively early in Africa's food delivery landscape and there's still time to chart a different course.

By , Techpoint Africa

Related story: Nigeria's answer to

Jumia is biggest e-commerce website in Nigeria

World Bank says Nigeria needs to curb inflation, stabilize forex to boost growth

Nigeria still needs to control inflation and stabilise its foreign exchange market to boost growth in Africa's largest economy following currency reforms and the removal of a petrol subsidy, the World Bank said on Wednesday.

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has embarked on the country's biggest reforms in decades, unifying the country's multiple exchange rates and scrapping a popular but expensive petrol subsidy, which the World Bank and International Monetary Fund had for years called on Nigeria to do.

The impact has been record inflation, which has risen for 10 straight months, reaching 27.33% in October, the highest in almost two decades.

World Bank lead economist for Nigeria Alex Sienaert said during a presentation in the capital Abuja that "several complementary reforms are needed to support Nigeria's structural agenda and overall gain in competitiveness and economic diversification".

He said that, with the reforms, Nigeria's economy was expected to grow at an average annual rate of 3.5% in 2023-2026, or 0.5% points higher than without the reforms.

The government still needed to remove remaining import restrictions, despite lifting a forex ban on 43 items, improve infrastructure and pursue clear, consistent trade policies, Siernaert said.

Nigeria's central bank should tighten monetary policy, build market confidence around free foreign exchange pricing, phase out "ways and means" advances to the government and discontinue its development finance initiatives, part of a series of unorthodox policies used by former central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele.

New central bank Governor Olawale Cardoso has already begun rolling back Emefiele's policies.

He adopted an inflation-targeting policy, ended all direct interventionist programmes, which he said blurred the lines with monetary policy, and begun clearing foreign exchange backlogs, estimated at $7 billion, that were owed to banks.

"We will be using inflation-targeting and we will ensure that the use of monetary policy actually cascades down and has an impact," Cardoso said in response to Siernaet's call.

The central bank, under Cardoso, has also restarted its Open Market Operations (OMO) to rein in money supply.

Despite unifying its multiple exchange rates, Nigeria has struggled with low oil revenue and foreign exchange shortages, which has dampened investor sentiment and hindered growth.

Finance Minister Wale Edun said the government would scrutinize revenue from oil, its main export and source of foreign currency earnings, and aim to boost output of the commodity ahead of plans "to spend even more".

"What is spent as a proportion of GDP is much lower than in some African countries where government spending as a portion of GDP goes as far as 50% to 60%," Edun said. "If you are willing to do that, you need revenues and the first source of revenue is oil revenue."

By Camillus Eboh, Reuters

Christian mother on bail after 19 months prision time in Nigeria for “blasphemy”

A judge in Bauchi State, Nigeria, has granted bail to Rhoda Jatau. Jatau, a Christian and mother of five, had been imprisoned since May 2022 for allegedly sharing a video on WhatsApp condemning the lynching of Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu, a Nigerian university student who was murdered and set on fire by a mob of her classmates in May 2022 for sharing her Christian faith. ADF International is supporting Jatau’s defence.

Prior to being granted bail, from the time of her arrest over 19 months ago, Jatau was repeatedly denied bail and detained incommunicado, only having intermittent access to legal counsel and family members during court appearances.

“We are glad to see that Rhoda Jatau finally has been granted bail after being denied it for so long,” said Sean Nelson, legal counsel for ADF International. “No person should be punished for peaceful expression, and international religious freedom advocates must continue to speak up on Rhoda’s behalf. We will continue to seek justice for Rhoda, and we are hopeful that the unjust charges against her will be dropped completely.”

The Nigerian ADF International allied lawyer, serving as lead counsel on Jatau’s case, responded: “After 19 long months in prison, we are happy that Rhoda finally has been released on bail. We thank all who have been praying for Rhoda, and we ask for your continued prayers as her case continues.”

Before granting bail, a judge in Bauchi State, Nigeria, refused to dismiss prosecutors’ case in their trial against Jatau. The decision to continue with the prosecution followed a “no case submission” filed by Jatau’s lawyers after the prosecution had rested based on serious evidentiary issues. Jatau’s lawyers raised significant legal failures in the prosecution’s case, and argued that they had not established the basic elements of their case against Jatau.

The grant of bail followed international outcry over Jatau’s imprisonment. Highlighting both Jatau and Yakubu’s cases, and in response to appeals from ADF International and other religious freedom advocacy organizations, United Nations experts sent a joint allegation letter to the Nigerian government earlier this year. The letter emphasized the danger of blasphemy laws as a violation of international human rights and called attention to Jatau’s unjust imprisonment.

Jatau’s trial is currently scheduled to resume on 19 December, but holiday schedules may push her next court date into 2024. Jatau is being charged under sections 114 (public disturbance) and 210 (religious insult) of the Bauchi State Penal Code and faces up to 5 years imprisonment if convicted of the charges against her.

Nigeria’s Persecution of Christians

The cases of Rhoda Jatau and Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu are but two examples of the widespread violence against religious minorities, including Christians in Northern Nigeria, prevalent in Nigeria today.  

Together with other religious minorities in Nigeria, the persecution of Christians in Nigeria is especially severe. Worldwide, over 5,500 Christians were killed for their faith last year. Of those, 90% were Nigerian.   

The criminalisation of blasphemy in Nigeria carries with it dangerous implications for the country as a whole. In a country of more than 200 million, split nearly evenly between Christians and Muslims, blasphemy laws are a significant driver of societal tensions. These laws punish the innocent for expressing their beliefs, silence people from sharing their faith, and perpetuate societal violence. Blasphemy laws throughout Nigeria encourage brutal mob violence and inflict severe harm on minority Muslims, Christian converts, and others. 

ADF International also is supporting the legal defence of Nigerian musician Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, a Sufi Muslim who was sentenced to death by hanging for sharing song lyrics that were deemed “blasphemous” on WhatsApp. With the support of ADF International, Yahaya is appealing his case to the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the hopes of overturning the death penalty blasphemy laws in Nigeria. Yahaya remains in prison awaiting his appeal. Yahaya has been imprisoned for over three and a half years.  

ADF International

Related stories: Woman jailed in Nigeria for ‘blasphemy’ for 18 months over WhatsApp message

Nigerian accused of blasphemy stoned to death

Mob kills student over ‘blasphemy’ in northern Nigerian college

Women in Nigeria lead drive to upcycle plastics

 For years, Maryam Lawani was really pained when it rained. She lived in the Oshodi Isolo area of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, where canals often overflow messily into the streets during downpours.

Additionally, she was always struck by the huge amount of plastic waste on the streets after the rains receded and how this in turn affected mobility or even made the roads deteriorate. After even a little rain in Lagos, the streets get muddy and potholes brimming by the side with broken plastics, gin sachets, pure water nylons, used diapers and other items.

“I felt a strong need to prevent climate crises as a response to a personal pain point,” she told Al Jazeera. So she began to research the recurring problem and then discovered that plastic pollution was a global issue.

According to the United Nations, on average, the world produces 430 million tonnes of plastic every year; wrappers for chocolate bars, packets and plastic utensils. And there are consequences; every day, the equivalent of over 2,000 garbage trucks full of plastic are dumped into water bodies. As a result, plastic pollution is set to triple by 2060 if no action is taken.

UN reports also say that Nigeria generates about 2.5 million metric tonnes of plastic waste annually. Of that, over 130,000 tonnes of plastic make their way into water bodies, putting the country among the top 20 contributors to marine debris globally.

And while Nigeria has several dumping sites for waste, those in the environmental sector like Olumide Idowu, executive director for International Climate Change Initiative, say there is no exact data on their number or capacity to handle large volumes of waste sufficiently.

So waste has visibly caused blocked drainages and pollution, even as climate shocks like floods hit parts of sub-Saharan Africa. This is most obvious in Lagos, the country’s most populated city, with an estimated 24 million people.


Compared to other developing countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, which have banned single-use plastics or are gradually eliminating them, Nigeria hasn’t done much to combat plastic pollution, experts say.

In 2020, the Ministry of Environment launched the Nigeria Circular Economy Policy to help transition the country to a circular economy and promote sustainable waste management. But Idowu says proper waste collection and recycling facilities are still needed for Nigeria to tackle plastic pollution effectively.

“Nigeria may also need to strengthen existing regulations or introduce new ones to address plastic pollution,” he says, adding that the country’s large population could also be a challenge in enforcing them. ”[But] economic constraints and lack of alternative packaging options may hinder the transition away from single-use plastics.”

“As more individuals, businesses, and the government recognize the value of upcycling, it is likely that the sector will grow and contribute to a more sustainable and circular economy in Nigeria,” Idowu says.

Climate Lead’s Oladosu says there is a need to involve as many people as possible in the movement for a cleaner, greener Nigeria.

“We need to make people understand that climate change is real, and it will affect everyone regardless of where they live, Ajegunle or Lekki,” she said. “We can all feel the heat of the sun, the impact of flooding, etc. There are different angles to mitigating climate change and recycling is just one. Another is responsible consumption. There is a need for everyone to be climate and environmentally conscious.”

The recycling mission

During her research, Lawani discovered she could recycle plastics to help clean up the neighbourhood mess. So in 2015, she founded Greenhill Recycling which now recovers an average of 100-200 tonnes of waste monthly, she says.

Her business also provides a means of supplemental income for people around her, by paying them around 100-150 naira ($0.1265) for every kilogramme of trash collected.

“We encourage and sensitise people not to thrash waste but to bag them neatly in their homes,” she told Al Jazeera. “We pick up from their doorstep, their homes and not in dump sites.”

“Waste is a currency to address other issues around poverty, unemployment and the environment. People are able to exchange waste for profitable things like school fees, clothes and even food,” Lawani added.

Like Lawani’s Greenhill Recycling, several other women-led upcycling and recycling companies have sprung up in Africa’s largest economy, in addition to the well-known Wecyclers social enterprise.

In coastal Lagos, RESWAYE (Recycling Scheme for Women and Youth Empowerment) works in communities with women and young girls who are trained to go into schools and estates to retrieve plastics. Their collections go to a sorting hub and from there to upscalers.

Doyinsola Ogunye, founder of RESWAYE told Al Jazeera that it has reached 4000 women in 41 coastal communities in Lagos, while also giving personal hygiene kits to them and providing scholarships for children.

There is also the nonprofit Foundation for A Better Nigeria (FABE) founded by Temitope Okunnu in 2006 to create awareness about climate change in schools. It operates across three states.

“We visit primary, secondary schools and universities to sensitise young children about climate issues,” she said. “Behavioural change is still a big issue in this part of the country which is why we are focused on young children.”

Through an initiative called EcoSchoolsNg, it teaches students skills such as sustainable waste management – by recycling, upcycling or composting – and sustainable gardening.

FABE says it promotes plastic upscaling because according to Okunnu, “plastic is money but only a few people know this”, she told Al Jazeera.

The increasing awareness about recycling plastic into usable products can also be great for keeping youth engaged, says Adenike Titilope Oladosu, founder of ILead Climate, a climate justice advocacy.

The need for more work

Despite the work of these women and numerous non-profits to educate Nigerians on the adverse effects of climate change, ignorance is still widespread.

Passengers in moving vehicles still casually fling sachets and bottles onto the streets just like others sweep household waste into canals.

For Lawani and Okunnu, this is more evidence of the need to ingrain awareness of the environment and related consequences in their fellow Nigerians at all income cadres, from a young age.

“Exposed and enlightened young children are well aware but less privileged children whose concern is how to get the next meal may not be concerned about this so we need to direct our attention to them, sensitise people, help people find a link,” Lawani said. “People can easily relate to blocked drainages so teach people at their level. Help them see these links and connections and how it affects them too.”

Al Jazeera

Related stories: Plastic bottles paying for education in Nigeria

Video - Smart bins to tackling environmental degradation in Nigeria

COP28 'Transition Away' From Fossil Fuels deal brings Mixed Reaction in Nigeria

A deal struck at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to “transition away” from fossil fuels received a less-than-hearty welcome Wednesday in Nigeria, which depends on crude oil sales for most of its budget.

Nigerian leaders said that their nation needs funding if the world wants it to move away from the production and use of fossil fuels.

The United Nations’ COP28 summit closed Wednesday with the signing of a deal to transition away from oil, gas and coal in what the text called a "just, orderly and equitable manner" in hopes of reducing carbon emissions and ease global warming.

It is the first such agreement to move away from fossil fuels since the annual conferences began nearly three decades ago.

The deal also seeks to triple renewable energy capacity globally by 2030 and promote carbon capture technologies that can clean up hard-to-decarbonize industries.

The president of the COP28, the UAE’s Sultan al-Jaber, praised the deal but said its success would be measured by how well it is implemented.

Peter Tarfa, former climate change director at Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Environment, agreed, saying, “This is not the first time that decisions have been taken in climate change discussions ... that they have not been fully implemented. It is actually in the best interest of the climate that all hands should be on deck."

Others are not so pleased with the deal. Members of the OPEC oil-producing countries, including Nigeria, initially resisted calls by more than 100 nations for stronger measures, such as a complete “phase out” of fossil fuels.

Salisu Dahiru, director of Nigeria's National Council on Climate Change, attended a plenary session in Dubai on Wednesday.

"There's no fairness, justice, equity” in asking developing countries to “start ditching fossil fuels,” Dahiru said.

“These fossil fuels are necessary for developing countries to taste the goodness of development,” he said. “What we've always stood for is decarbonizing the oil and gas so that we get cleaner fuels.”

Critics argue that decarbonizing technology is expensive and a diversionary tactic by countries so that they can continue to produce fossil fuels.

Oil accounts for 95% of Nigeria's foreign exchange earnings. Tarfa said authorities must begin to look elsewhere to grow Nigeria's economy.

"There's a lot of investment now going on toward the green economy pathway,” he said. “For Nigeria, we cannot act in isolation. … The phaseout or phase down of fuel consumption will definitely impact the economy, but now the time has come for the government to start diversifying to other sources."

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, writing a column for CNN published Wednesday, said that Nigeria had initiated programs to transition from fossil fuels but that the country needs $10 billion every year until 2060 to achieve its transition plan.

Tinubu also criticized developed nations for failing to honor a pledge to give $100 billion to poorer countries to mitigate the effects of climate change.

By Timothy Obiezu, VOA

Related stories: Environment minister says Nigeria needs to 'be ready' for oil decline

President Tinubu says Nigeria needs quick US funding for energy transition

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Video - Dangote Oil Refinery set to commence fuel production in Nigeria

The refinery recently received its first shipment of crude oil and several more are on the way. The first batch of processed oil products from the refinery is projected to roll out sometime in January 2024.


Related stories: Video - Nigeria sees nearly 80 percent increase in oil revenues

Dangote refinery receives first crude cargo in Nigeria



Video - Nigerians named CAF Men's and Women's African Players of the Year

Victor Osimhen’s goals helped Napoli win the Italian Serie A last season. The 24-year-old scored 31 goals in all competitions during the season and ended the club's 33-year wait for a Scudetto. Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala took the Women's Player of the Year award for a record-extending sixth time.


Related story: Victor Osimhen named African football player of the year


Gunmen kill four soldiers, kidnap two South Koreans in ambush in southern Nigeria

At least four Nigerian soldiers were killed while two South Koreans were abducted during an attack by gunmen in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern Rivers state, authorities said.

The gunmen ambushed a convoy escorting the Koreans on a work trip in the Ahoada East council area, resulting in a shootout, Maj. Jonah Danjuma, an army spokesman, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Troops are currently combing the general area to fish out the perpetrators of this dastardly act. Additionally, efforts are ongoing to ensure that the unaccounted oil workers are found,” Danjuma said.

Abductions for ransom are common in parts of Nigeria, but it has been especially widespread in Rivers and other parts of the oil-rich Niger Delta region where many foreign companies in the oil and engineering sectors operate. The region also struggles with high poverty and hunger despite its natural resources.

Hostages are usually released after the payment of large ransoms, though security forces in the past have succeeded in freeing some.

Danjuma urged locals to provide any intelligence that would help in making arrests.

By Chinedu Asadu, Reuters 

Related stories: Dozens of children kidnapped by Gunmen in Nigeria

Armed men abduct 8 in Nigeria


Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Victor Osimhen named African football player of the year

Napoli’s Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen was named men’s African player of the year on Monday during a ceremony organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Osimhen, who led Napoli to win the Italian League title last season, beat Paris Saint-Germain’s Morocco right-back, Achraf Hakimi and Liverpool’s Egypt winger, Mohamed Salah, to win the top award.

“It’s a dream come true for me,” Osimhen said.

“I appreciate Nigerians for their support. I appreciate Africa for putting me on the map, encouraging me, and defending me, regardless of my shortcomings,” the 24-year-old added.

Osimhen excelled last season for Napoli, after scoring 31 goals in all competitions and contributing to them winning the Italian League title after a drought that lasted 33 years.

Napoli estimate Osimhen’s market value at approximately 200 million euros ($215 million).

Osimhen was spotted by European scouts at the 2015 edition of the under-17 World Cup in Chile and joined German outfit Wolfsburg.

He was loaned to Charleroi and later joined the Belgian club permanently. His next move was to French side Lille in 2019, where he scored 13 goals in 27 appearances.

Napoli signed him one year later for 70 million euros ($75 million), but he contracted Covid-19 during a visit to Nigeria and later suffered a head injury and a fractured skull and eye socket.

Those injuries led Osimhen to wear a protective mask and sections of the media called him the « masked assassin ».

He missed the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon due to the injuries, and Nigeria suffered a shock last-16 loss to Tunisia.
Injury prone

Osimhen was the leading scorer with 10 goals in qualifying for the 2024 Cup of Nations, which the Ivory Coast will host from January 13.

His total included four in a 10-0 rout of Sao Tome e Principe – a record winning margin for a qualifier in the competition.

Injury-prone Osimhen was sidelined again two months ago after suffering a hamstring injury in a friendly match against Saudi Arabia.

The regular absences of the Nigerian angered Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, who reacted by saying he would sign no more Africans unless they agreed to skip the Cup of Nations.

Morocco last year became the first African and Arab country to reach the World Cup semi-finals and goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, his teammates and coach Walid Regragui were honoured in Marrakesh.

Bounou was named goalkeeper of the year, Regragui coach of the year and Morocco the national team of the year.

Barcelona forward Asisat Oshoala completed a Nigerian double by winning the African Women’s player of the year for a record-extending sixth time.

Born in Ikorodu, north-east of commercial capital Lagos, her previous successes came in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2022.

After playing for Nigerian clubs Robo and Rivers Angels, she had spells with Liverpool, Arsenal and Dalian Quanjian before an initial loan move to Barcelona became permanent four years ago.

Oshoala scored in a win over co-hosts Australia that helped Nigeria reach the 2023 Women’s World Cup round of 16, where they lost to England on penalties.


Monday, December 11, 2023

Video - Analysts want modernization of agricultural sector to overcome food insecurity in Nigeria

Efforts to tackle food security crisis have made some progress in Nigeria. However, analysts believe the country will struggle to cope with the effects of conflict, climate and economic downturns unless its agricultural sector modernizes. 


Video - Nigeria sees nearly 80 percent increase in oil revenues

Nigeria's recent crude oil revenue boom is making headlines, and experts attribute it to bold moves like subsidy removal and the devaluation of the local currency. The West African nation has witnessed an extraordinary 80 percent surge in oil earnings, fueled by enhanced production and a crackdown on oil theft. 


Video - West African leaders meet in Nigerian capital Abuja for ECOWAS Summit

Heads of State from the West African Economic Block, ECOWAS, have congregated in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, for a crucial summit aimed at tackling pressing regional issues, security threats and breached sanctions.


Filmmakers in Nigeria turn to YouTube for distribution

For the past five years, Nigerian actor, producer, and director Ibrahim Yekini has released most of his movies exclusively on YouTube. In November, he posted two of the biggest films of his career on the platform, which have garnered over 1.5 million views in total so far. Yekini — who starred in one of Netflix’s most successful Nigerian originals, Jagun Jagun, in 2023 — told Rest of World he has earned thousands of dollars from his YouTube releases.

“We moved to YouTube to escape CD piracy, which has now reduced,” he said.

Another popular Nigerian filmmaker, Seun Oloketuyi, decided to start releasing his movies on YouTube in 2022, after battling piracy for years. “All it takes is just one person going to the market to buy one copy of the CD and send it to the U.K. and the U.S.,” he told Rest of World. “The person in these countries makes multiple copies and sends them to multiple African stores.”

Oloketuyi has since released six films exclusively on YouTube, and plans to release two more before the end of 2023.

He and Yekini are among a growing crop of filmmakers in Nigeria — home to Nollywood, Africa’s largest film industry with around 2,500 films produced annually — who are using YouTube as a movie streaming platform. They told Rest of World they consider it a more democratic alternative to Netflix, Prime Video, and Showmax. Uploading their content on YouTube allows them to control the distribution of their work, without fear of piracy.

Selling movies to Netflix, Prime Video, and Showmax can be challenging as these platforms are too picky, Oris Aigbokhaevbolo, a Nigerian film critic, told Rest of World. “For low-budget productions, YouTube has had the most impact. For those who have built a following on the platform, there’s no real revenue sharing, [unlike] cinemas,” he said. “There are also lower expectations of quality — something Nollywood loves. You don’t have to shoot in multiple locations, even if your script calls for it. Low costs, dollars, obscure revenue sharing. What’s not to love?”

Its popularity among filmmakers has made YouTube a bigger streaming service in Nigeria compared to platforms like Netflix, Godwin Simon, who researches streaming media and the platform economy at the Queensland University of Technology, told Rest of World. “So many of them now produce direct-to-YouTube films so that they could make money and also pay the cast and crew,” he said. Nigeria reportedly has around 31.6 million YouTube users, and about 169,600 Netflix subscribers. YouTube did not respond to Rest of World’s request for comment.

Some filmmakers sell their movies to YouTube channels that aggregate content from the country. These aggregators operate just like streaming platforms, acquiring content or striking profit-sharing partnerships with filmmakers to exclusively release content on their channels.

Some YouTube channels also commission original content made exclusively for them. Rest of World found at least 10 Nigerian film channels on YouTube that post new releases at least once a week.

“We have a lot of people submitting their content, but we have a policy of screening all the content and making sure they are all on par with what our subscribers will want to watch,” Lekan Wasiudeen, a network engineer-turned-film producer who runs the Libra TV channel on YouTube, told Rest of World. Libra TV, launched in August 2015, now has more than 550,000 subscribers, and over 100 million views across 400-plus videos. The channel uploads at least three new movies each week.

ApataTV+, a Nigerian YouTube film channel with 1.69 million subscribers, has racked up more than 479 million views since its launch in September 2015, creator Olusola Akinyemi told Rest of World. “We publish and delete [movies] based on the contracts with our partners,” he said. “We procure movies and also do profit-sharing with our producers.”

Oloketuyi said the prospect of earning in U.S. dollars makes YouTube attractive to Nigerian filmmakers. He said he once made a film with a budget of 1 million naira ($1,200), and received $3,500 in his first check from YouTube.

But earnings from YouTube are still limited, Oloketuyi said.

In Nigeria, YouTube ads are not very sought-after, according to Olawale Adetula, founder of TNC Africa, a Lagos-based film production company. TNC Africa started out by making drama series for YouTube, and now produces original content for Netflix.

YouTube makes money from the ads that run before, during, and after videos, and shares those earnings with creators. For premium users who don’t see ads, YouTube shares a fraction of the viewers’ subscription fees with creators. Some Nigerian creators are now looking for ways to target YouTube viewers in the U.S. and the U.K. as they believe that would improve their earnings.

“If I make a video and … get a million views and all my viewers are from Nigeria … I’ll probably get paid $1,000 or maybe $1,500,” Nigerian YouTuber Tayo Aina told Rest of World. “If that same video had 1 million views from America, [I would] probably make like $10,000 to $15,000.” Anita Eboigbe, a Nollywood critic and co-founder of trade publication Inside Nollywood, believes targeting global audiences will give local filmmakers more room to diversify their income on YouTube. “You need to create demand for your content so people are going to stumble on it,” she told Rest of World. “It comes down to expanding your market, which is now equal to influence, money, and impact at a bigger scale than what you’d have if you limit it to just Nigeria.”

The shift to YouTube has helped Nigerian filmmakers fight piracy, which is rampant in the country. The illegal distribution of movies is so widespread that there are organized groups controlling the industry, Adetula said. Before YouTube became a popular option, producers often had no alternative but to sell their films at cheaper rates to piracy platforms. “[Those were] some of the compromises producers were making back then because of the limitation of distribution channels,” Adetula said. “Platforms like YouTube reduce piracy.” 

By Damilare Dosunmu, Rest of World

Related stories: Daughter of Richard Pryor Shooting Nollywood-Hollywood Film In Nigeria

Video - Netflix Hit The Black Book examines Justice in Nigeria

Friday, December 8, 2023

Video - Activists in Nigeria alarmed over increasing desertification


In northern Nigeria, climate change is reshaping the landscape. More frequent heat waves as well as heavier and prolonged rainfall have led to increased challenges for the locals. Climate activists want the government and other stakeholders to devise a plan to address the issue.


Dangote refinery receives first crude cargo in Nigeria

The Dangote oil refinery in Nigeria on Friday received its first cargo of 1 million barrels of crude oil from Shell International Trading and Shipping Co (STASCO), bringing the start of operations closer after years of delays.

Once fully running, the 650,000 barrel-per-day refinery funded by Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote will turn oil powerhouse Nigeria into a net exporter of fuels, a long-sought goal for the OPEC member that almost totally relies on imports.

Dangote Group said in a statement seen by Reuters on Friday that the cargo of 1 million barrels of crude from Agbami - a deep water field run by Chevron (CVX.N) - was the first of 6 million barrels that would enable an initial run of the refinery.

That will kick-start output of diesel, aviation fuel and Liquefied Petroleum Gas, before the refinery later starts producing Premium Motor Spirit.

A Dangote Group spokesperson said the STASCO cargo arrived on a chartered vessel and was discharged into the refinery's crude oil tanks.

The next four cargoes will be supplied by state oil firm NNPC in two to three weeks and a final cargo will come from ExxonMobil (XOM.N), Dangote Group's statement said.

Nigeria's state oil firm NNPC Ltd signed an agreement in November to supply the Dangote refinery with up to six cargoes of crude starting this month. NNPC has a 20% stake in the refinery.

Despite being Africa's biggest oil producer, Nigeria experiences repeated fuel shortages. It spent $23.3 billion last year on petroleum product imports and consumes around 33 million litres of petrol a day.

"Our focus over the coming months is to ramp up the refinery to its full capacity," Dangote was quoted as saying in the statement.

Nigeria commissioned the refinery in May, after it ran years behind schedule. At a cost of $19 billion, the massive petrochemical complex is one of Nigeria's single largest investments.

By Macdonald Dzirutwe, Reuters

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

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

Dangote oil refinery to help solve fuel shortage in Nigeria

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Top Foreign Movies That Were Filmed in Nigeria

Nollywood may be the heart of the Nigerian film industry, but it's not just local talent that has fallen in love with the vibrant landscapes and rich culture of Nigeria. In recent times, foreign filmmakers have also been drawn to this country to capture its beauty and authenticity on the big screen.

If you're a movie enthusiast and want to explore Nigeria from a different perspective, here's a list of foreign movies that you shouldn’t miss.

Foreign Movies Filmed in Nigeria

Black Is King

Black Is King was written and directed by Beyoncé. This 2020 American musical movie was filmed in Lagos, Nigeria and five other countries. The film received praise for its cinematography and depicts the story of an African prince.

After his father died, the prince was exiled from his kingdom. Later, as he grows into a man, he receives guidance from an ancestor, played by Beyoncé.

Nigerian Prince

NFL fans may be reminded about the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanogho when reading the title of this movie. While watching Wanogho’s journey from Delta State, Nigeria to Alabama might have been fun, this movie from director Faraday Okoro focuses instead on a Nigerian-American teenager sent to Nigeria by his mother.

While there, he joins his cousin, who is operating an online scamming business, to get enough money to fly back to the United States. This movie was filmed in Nigeria and the US.
The Mark of the Hawk

This 1957 American drama film stars Earl Cameron in the lead role. Partially shot on location in Nigeria, it tells the story of the brother of an indigenous resistance leader who gets caught in a hostile environment when African villagers decide to reclaim their land from British colonists.
The Price

The Price is a 2017 American drama movie focusing on a young Nigerian-American man struggling with prescription drug dependency. While he has high ambitions, he chooses to follow a criminal path, leading him in the wrong direction.

It was filmed in Nigeria and the United States and received positive reviews from critics after its initial release.

Mister Johnson

Mister Johnson is said to be the first American movie to be shot on location in Nigeria. Based on the 1939 novel by Irish author Joyce Cary, this movie was released in 1990 and stars Maynard Eziashi as Mr. Johnson.

The film explores the challenges faced by Mr. Johnson due to his African heritage while working for the British.

Foreign Movies that Depict Nigeria But Were Filmed Elsewhere

Tears of the Sun

Tears of the Sun, released in 2003, stars Bruce Willis as a Navy SEAL officer sent to Nigeria on a rescue mission to retrieve an American doctor. She operates a mission hospital, which is located in the Nigerian jungle.

Contrary to expectations, this movie was not filmed in Nigeria. It was mainly shot in Hawaii, with some parts shot in Los Angeles and Virginia. The movie depicts the horrors of war.

Black Panther

Black Panther is an American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character. It debuted in 2018, starring Denzel Washington. Filmed in the United States, it is set in the fictitious African area known as Wakanda.

However, while the location isn't real, several inspirations for the movie were taken from Nigeria. In many scenes, specific text appears on the screen, which is inscribed on walls in a throne room. The text’s script is derived from Nsibidi writing which comes from an area in southeast Nigeria.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a 2009 superhero film that is part of the X-Men film series. Directed by Gavin Hood, the movie serves as a prequel to the X-Men series and explores the backstory of one of its most iconic characters, Wolverine, also known as Logan, played by Hugh Jackman.

Lagos, Nigeria is depicted in the movie's first scenes when Major William Stryker travels to the area. However, it isn't the actual city. The production primarily utilized Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, as a stand-in for Lagos. Additionally, some scenes were shot in New South Wales, Australia.

Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War is the third instalment in the Captain America film series and a crucial chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The movie explores the complex dynamics within the superhero community and the moral dilemmas that arise when the Avengers are divided over the Sokovia Accords, a government initiative designed to regulate and oversee their activities.

In one of the scenes, the action appears to be happening in a market in Lagos, Nigeria. However, keen viewers will recognize that it was shot elsewhere (apparently in downtown Atlanta and Puerto Rico).

These foreign movies offer a fresh perspective on Nigeria’s diverse culture, history, and landscapes. From intense war dramas to gripping thrillers, poignant historical narratives, and action-packed adventures, each film provides a unique cinematic experience.

Grab some popcorn, immerse yourself in these captivating stories and take a virtual journey through the heart of Africa's most populous nation.