Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Video - Nigeria leather industry earnings projected to hit $1 billion by 2025

Leather sector players in Africa’s largest economy say the industry remains untapped despite its huge economic potential. They are calling on the government’s support.


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

Nigerians warned against eating ponmo due to Anthrax outbreak




Monday, January 29, 2024

Video - Nigeria box office revenue soars as popular releases draw crowds to cinemas

Nigeria's cinemas have announced cumulative revenue of 21.5 million dollars over the past three years. Analysts attribute the strong performance to a combination of popular film releases and a surge in ticket sales


Related story: Top Foreign Movies That Were Filmed in Nigeria


Nigeria naira reaches record low of 1,421 per dollar on official market

Nigeria's naira dropped to a record low against the dollar on the thinly traded official market on Friday, FMDQ Exchange data showed on Monday, as the currency swung widely to overshoot the unofficial parallel market rate.

The naira fell as low as 1,421 to the dollar, during trading on Friday, FMDQ data showed, compared with around 1,400 naira quoted on the parallel market. The currency later closed at 891.90 naira on the official market.

The latest fall occurred after central bank Governor Olayemi Cardoso last Wednesday said the bank was trying to improve liquidity in the foreign exchange market.

Kyle Chapman, FX markets analyst at London-based Ballinger & Co. said the naira has overtaken the record low level it hit on the parallel market which could hamper the influx of capital needed to stabilise the exchange rate.

"The downwards spiral is becoming self-perpetuating at this point. The further it falls, the less investors want to enter Nigeria, and the deeper the risk premium embedded into the naira rate," Chapman said.

The naira's official exchange rate has been drifting towards the parallel market level as the central bank is yet to clear outstanding amounts owed in forward deals, worsening a shortage of foreign-currency in the West African nation. 

By Chijioke Ohuocha, Reuters

Top Visa-Free Countries that Nigerians Can Travel To

If you're a Nigerian with a strong case of wanderlust, there's a world of destinations where your passport is your golden ticket to adventure.

Let's dive into some of the most enchanting destinations that do not require travellers to go through the hassle of getting a visa.

Top Visa-Free Countries


Barbados, an island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, embodies the very essence of Caribbean charm and beauty. This destination is a treasure trove for Nigerian travellers seeking a perfect blend of sun-kissed beaches and culturally rich experiences.

Picture yourself on Crane Beach, where the sand is tinged with a delightful pink hue, and the crystal-clear waters beckon you for a refreshing swim. But this beach is not just about relaxation; it's also a gateway to various exhilarating water sports.

History enthusiasts will find delight in UNESCO-listed Bridgetown and its historic Garrison, providing a fascinating glimpse into the colonial past. Meanwhile, the St. Nicholas Abbey plantation house and rum distillery serve as a testament to Barbados' deep ties to sugarcane and rum production.

And let's not forget the culinary adventure that awaits. From the national dish, Cou-Cou and Flying Fish, to street-side delicacies like fishcakes and pudding and souse, Bajan cuisine offers flavours that are as diverse as they are tantalising.

Some famous personalities from Barbados include singer Rihanna, cricketer Sir Garfield Sobers and NFL player Ramon Harewood of the Baltimore Ravens.

Cape Verde

Cape Verde, an archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa, beckons Nigerian travellers with its unique blend of African, Brazilian, and Portuguese cultures. The islands themselves offer a kaleidoscope of experiences, from the lunar-like landscapes of Sal to the lush, rugged terrains of Santo Antão.

Sal's Santa Maria Beach, with its powdery white sands and turquoise waters, is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Meanwhile, the cultural town of Mindelo on São Vicente is renowned for its vibrant music scene, particularly the morna music, often likened to the blues. Cape Verde's rich history comes alive in Cidade Velha, a UNESCO World Heritage site on Santiago Island, providing invaluable insights into the country's colonial past.

Don't miss the chance to savour Cachupa, Cape Verde's national dish, a slow-cooked stew of corn, beans, and fish or meat.

Cook Islands

The Cook Islands, a paradisiacal destination in the South Pacific, offer a serene escape for Nigerians seeking a harmonious blend of adventure and tranquillity. Rarotonga, the largest of the Cook Islands, is embraced by a stunning lagoon, inviting snorkelling and scuba diving enthusiasts to explore vibrant coral reefs.

Aitutaki, another gem in the archipelago, is renowned for its breathtaking lagoon and uninhabited islets, perfect for a romantic getaway or a day of exploration. However, these islands are not just about picturesque beaches. The lush trails of the Takitumu Conservation Area provide eco-tourism enthusiasts with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich flora and fauna.

The Cook Islands' culture, deeply rooted in Maori traditions, adds an extra layer of fascination. From spirited drum dances to intricate craftwork, the islands' cultural heritage is vibrant and engaging. Be sure to partake in the traditional umu feast, where food is cooked in an earth oven, offering a unique culinary experience that combines communal spirit with delicious flavours.


Kiribati, a sovereign state in Micronesia in the central Pacific Ocean, offers a unique destination for Nigerian travellers seeking off-the-beaten-path adventures. The country's 33 atolls, straddling the equator and the International Date Line, boast pristine beaches and an abundance of marine life, making it an ideal spot for fishing, diving, and snorkelling.

Tarawa, the capital, offers historical insights into World War II battles, with relics and memorials dotting the landscape. For those seeking tranquillity, the outer islands like Abaiang and Tabuaeran offer untouched beauty and an opportunity to experience the traditional I-Kiribati way of life.


Montserrat, a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, is known as the 'Emerald Isle of the Caribbean,' offering a unique blend of natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. The Soufrière Hills Volcano is a major attraction, with the Montserrat Volcano Observatory providing a safe vantage point for viewing the still-active volcano.

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Kitts and Nevis, the twin-island nation in the Caribbean, is a captivating destination for Nigerian travellers looking for a rich blend of history, nature, and culture. Saint Kitts boasts breathtaking scenery, including the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a well-preserved fortress and a UNESCO World Heritage site offering panoramic views of the surrounding islands.

Nevis, the smaller of the two islands, charms visitors with its laid-back atmosphere and natural hot springs, a testament to the island’s volcanic origins. For beach enthusiasts, the powdery sands of Frigate Bay and the tranquil Oualie Beach offer idyllic settings for relaxation and water activities.


Vanuatu, an archipelago nation in the South Pacific, is a hidden gem for Nigerian travellers seeking a unique blend of adventure, culture, and natural beauty. The islands offer a range of experiences, from the adrenaline-pumping land diving on Pentecost Island, known as the origin of bungee jumping, to the serene blue holes of Espiritu Santo, perfect for swimming and snorkelling.

Tanna Island's Mount Yasur, an accessible active volcano, provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the raw power of nature.

Top Visa-on-Arrival Countries: Explore Further

While Nigerians can travel to the above countries without a visa, there are some countries that offer a visa on arrival – a convenient facility that gets you a visa after entering the respective country by providing valid documents.


Imagine a place where overwater bungalows are your home, and the ocean is your backyard. That's the Maldives for you! This island nation, located in the Indian Ocean, is renowned for its luxurious resorts, coral reefs, and crystal-clear waters. As a Nigerian traveller, you'll be captivated by the allure of the Maldives.

The Maldives boasts an enchanting underwater world with some of the best snorkelling and diving spots on the planet. Dive into the depths of the ocean and swim alongside exotic marine life, including colourful corals, manta rays, and even whale sharks.

Maldives offers a visa valid for 30 days.


Mauritius, located in the Indian Ocean, is a paradise for nature lovers and culture enthusiasts alike. Its diverse landscapes range from pristine beaches and lush forests to dramatic volcanic craters.

One of the most iconic natural attractions is Chamarel's Seven Colored Earths, a geological wonder where sand dunes of seven different colours create a breathtaking sight. For a dose of adventure, hike to the summit of Le Morne Brabant, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and enjoy panoramic views of the island.

A Mauritius travel visa for Nigerians is valid for 14 days.


Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, is a haven for beach enthusiasts and nature admirers. It's known for its white sandy beaches, granite boulders, and lush tropical forests.

Anse Source d'Argent on La Digue Island is often cited as one of the world's most beautiful beaches, with its unique rock formations and shallow turquoise waters. Nature lovers can explore the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve on Praslin Island, home to the rare coco de mer palm and the black parrot.

Nigerian travellers can explore Seychelles without a visa for 90 days.

Central bank of Nigeria to replace policymakers as shakeup continues

Nigeria’s central bank is set to replace the external members of its monetary policy committee who say they have been sidelined ahead of a meeting in February. This comes amid an ongoing shakeup of the institution.


Saturday, January 27, 2024

Friday, January 26, 2024

Video - Farmers in Nigeria plead with government over insecurity

In Nigeria, farmers are calling on the government to make their communities safer so they can help relieve a food-security crisis in the country. The plea comes as village leaders complain they are not able to spend time tending to their crops because they fear being attacked.


Related story: Video - At least 30 people killed in the latest violence in Nigeria

Video - More security personnel deployed to Plateau state in Nigeria after December attacks 

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


Nigerian company begins operating $1.3 billion Chinese-funded power plant

LAGOS, Jan 25 - Nigeria's Mainstream Energy, which already runs two of the country's biggest hydroelectric plants, has begun operating a new Chinese-funded facility, nearly a year after winning the concession, the utility said on Thursday.

Mainstream Energy Solution Ltd said its subsidiary Penstock Energy Ltd is running the new 700 megawatts plant in Zungeru, central Nigeria, which has been built with a $1.3 billion loan from China.

Nigeria's privatisation agency, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), last February awarded the concession to Mainstream Energy, which will pay the Nigerian government $70 million annually over three decades to operate the plant.

"This is where the real work starts in ensuring that the asset is managed in accordance with international standards," Mainstream Energy CEO Audu Lamu, said in a statement on Thursday.

Over the last decade, China has been active in Nigeria, providing finance through its development bank to build infrastructure including rail, airports, and power generation plants.

The Mainstream Energy-run Kainji and Jebba hydroelectric plants have a combined output of 1,338 megawatts which accounts for about 33% of Nigeria's current 4,000 megawatts power generation.

Much more is needed as millions of households and businesses suffer frequent blackouts. 

By Isaac Anyaogu, Reuters

Related stories: Video - Nigeria grapples with higher electricity prices amid supply constraints

Nigeria to sell power distribution firm over $130 million debt



Thursday, January 25, 2024

Video - At least 30 people killed in the latest violence in Nigeria

Authorities say assailants stormed a village in the Mangu Local Government area and two additional nearby communities on Tuesday. In addition to the deaths, several buildings, including a market and worship centers were destroyed.


Related stories: Video - More security personnel deployed to Plateau state in Nigeria after December attacks

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



America determined to remain strong security partner for Nigeria

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday said the United States is determined to remain a strong security partner for Nigeria, whose military is backed by the U.S., Britain and other allies in a long war against Islamist insurgents.

Blinken also discussed challenges to democracy and security in the region during his meeting on Tuesday with Nigerian President Bola Tinubu in a visit that comes after last year's coup in neighboring Niger, one of a series of coups or attempted power grabs over the past few years in West and Central Africa.

"The United States is determined to be and remain a strong security partner for Nigeria," Blinken told reporters.

Blinken added that he discussed how it is vitally important there be a focus on ensuring civilians are protected and humanitarian considerations.

Observers have noted a pattern of deadly aerial assaults by the Nigerian military that have killed civilians, which was the subject of a Reuters special report last year.

The U.S. faced a setback in its fight against militants in the Sahel when military officers toppled Niger's President Mohamed Bazoum, a key ally, in July last year.

The coup in Niger was one of a series of military takeovers or attempted power grabs that occurred in West and Central Africa over the past three years.

The instability has raised concern, particularly as juntas have cut ties with traditional Western allies such as the European Union and France, which withdrew thousands of troops from the Sahel last year.

Blinken, speaking in Abuja as part of a four-nation tour of Africa taking him to Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Angola from Jan. 21-26, also said repatriation of capital and corruption were among challenges that need to be tackled for companies to invest in Nigeria.

Africa's biggest economy has about $7 billion in forex forwards that have matured, a major concern for investors as foreign currency shortages continue to weigh down the naira currency, despite assurances by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to clear the backlog.

So far, about $2 billion of the backlog across sectors such as manufacturing, aviation, and petroleum have been paid, CBN spokesperson Hakama Sidi Ali said in a statement.

By Chijioke Ohuocha and Felix Onuah, Reuters

Related story: Video - Secretary Blinken joint press availability with Nigerian Foreign Minister Yusuf Maitama Tuggar

Video - Nigeria recruits nearly 30,000 police officers to tackle insecurity

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Video - Lagos state government bans single-use plastics and Styrofoam

Environmentalists have welcomed the move to ban single-use plastics and Styrofoam in Nigeria’s most populous city. The ban takes place immediately. Environmentalists welcome the action but question how the ban will be enforced and whether it will have any impact.


Related story: Women in Nigeria lead drive to upcycle plastics


Video - Secretary Blinken joint press availability with Nigerian Foreign Minister Yusuf Maitama Tuggar

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken holds a joint press availability with Nigerian Foreign Minister Yusuf Maitama Tuggar in Abuja, Nigeria, on January 23, 2024.


Video - Nigerian oil spills agency investigates pipeline leak in Niger Delta

Local communities reported the incident to the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd and the Nigerian Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency. The Niger Delta region has for decades suffered from oil spills with Shell facing legal battles for many of those leaks.


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Shell's Trans Niger pipeline spill under investigation by Nigeria

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




UNICEF Urges Immediate Action to Bolster School Safety in Nigeria

Abuja, 24 January 2024 - On this International Day of Education 2024, UNICEF acknowledges the significant progress made in providing access to education for 7.2 million children in humanitarian settings across Nigeria, thanks to collaborative efforts with the government, donors and partners. However, alongside this recognition, the children’s agency highlights the need for concerted efforts to enhance school safety in Nigeria.

A recent evaluation indicates that, on average, only 43% of the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools are being met in about 6,000 assessed schools. This finding particularly highlights challenges in ensuring the safety of school infrastructure and in mitigating risks such as violence, conflict, and natural hazards.

Ms. Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, notes, “While Nigeria has shown a commitment to creating safe school environments through endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration and developing the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools, there is room for further progress. On this important day, we are reminded of the collective responsibility we share in safeguarding the educational environment for every child.”

The theme of the 2024 International Day of Education, 'learning for lasting peace,' reminds us of all of the crucial role that education plays in promoting peace and stability. It serves as a reminder to all stakeholders – including federal and state governments, development partners, civil society, communities, and educators – of the importance of providing safe, secure learning environments.

“Education is a key driver of gender equality, economic growth, and social development, sadly it remains inaccessible to many Nigerian children. Their educational journey is often disrupted by attacks on communities and schools, including the abduction of students. These challenges are particularly acute for adolescent girls, potentially stalling the progress made in girls’ education in Nigeria.” Munduate added.

Recent attacks on schools, particularly in the North-East and North-West regions in 2021, have led to learning disruptions for over 1.3 million children, necessitating precautionary school closures. This highlights the urgency of addressing school safety comprehensively.

UNICEF calls for a multi-sectoral approach to improve school safety, informed by the performance of states on the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools. This approach should include comprehensive planning, coordination, and adequate resource allocation, especially in states with higher risks.

To complement these efforts, UNICEF emphasizes the importance of alternative learning platforms, such as the Nigerian Learning Passport. This digital platform, with over 750,000 users, offers curriculum-aligned materials and is crucial for ensuring continuity of education, especially during school closures.

UNICEF remains committed to working with the Nigerian government, donors and all partners to ensure that every child has access to a safe, inclusive, and quality education.


Related stories: Video - Nigeria recruits nearly 30,000 police officers to tackle insecurity

President Tinubu says ‘massive education’ of youth will help end kidnappings threatening the capital

Escalating attacks targeting children endanger right to education in Nigeria

Nigeria "essential" to global future according to U.S. Secretary of state

Yusuf Tuggar tweeted Anthony Blinken's visit focused enhancing trade relations and deepening democracy in West Africa.

Nigerian president Bola Tinubu held discussions with the US secretary of state ahead of a press conference.

The US top diplomat said Nigeria had an essential part to play in how Africa could shape the global future.

"Nigeria as Africa's largest country, largest economy, largest democracy, is essential to that effort [Editor's note: referring to the role Africa has in shaping the future globally]."

"We are doing a lot of work together already to drive in a positive direction. We're we're we're driving climate action. As partners in the Global Methane Coalition, we're pushing for permanent representation for African voices in the U.N. Security Council, in other international organizations."

"The United States is committed to strengthening genuine partnerships on the continent, to work to solve shared challenges, and also to deliver on the promise and the fundamental aspirations of our peoples," Blinken said.

His trip is part of President Biden's attempt to tout the USA as Africa's key economic and security ally.

Nigeria is Blinken's third stop on his tour of African nations, following Cape Verde and Ivory Coast. He will travel next to Angola.

Africa News

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Nigeria police did not free them, we paid ransom for the sisters, family says








Nabeeha, pictured second from left, was killed by the kidnappers 


Nigerian police had no role in rescuing four sisters and their cousin from kidnappers, an uncle of the girls has told the BBC.

They were taken from their home in Abuja earlier this month, along with another sister who was later killed.

The uncle said a ransom was paid and the kidnappers dropped the girls in a forest for them to be collected.

On Sunday, police said they had "successfully rescued the victims", reuniting them with relatives.

Sheriff Al-Kadriyar, the girls' uncle, said the family went to collect them after a ransom was paid.

"There's nothing like rescue on this matter, we paid ransom - even though I can't disclose how much for security reasons," he told BBC Yoruba.

The Nigerian police spokesperson has not responded to a BBC request for comment.

The case has shocked the country, with people donating to a crowdfunding initiative to help raise the money.

In total five sisters were taken hostage in the Abuja suburb of Bwari on 2 January, along with their father Mansoor Al-Kadriyar, who was later released to raise the ransom.

Sheriff Kadriyar clarified that contrary to earlier reports that six Al-Kadriyar sisters had been abducted, one of the girls was in fact their cousin who had been staying with them over the school holidays.

Twenty-one-year-old Nabeeha, a final-year university student, was killed a few days after her father's release as a warning that the ransom of $68,000 (£53,000) must be paid.

Nigeria's defence minister had urged the family not to pay the ransom, but the Al-Kadriyars said they had no choice.

A controversial law that criminalises ransom payments was passed in 2022 aimed at tackling the country's spiralling and lucrative kidnapping industry.It carries a jail sentence of at least 15 years for anyone who pays a ransom, however no-one has been arrested, and a former minister is among those who said he had helped organise the payment to the kidnappers of the Al-Kadriyar sisters.

Sheriff Kadriyar, who said he was involved in negotiating with the kidnappers, explained that the money had been handed over to them on Wednesday.

His account backs up two others given by relatives to Nigeria's Daily Trust newspaper.

They all say that the girls were released on Saturday. One of them then called the family in the early evening, giving their location.

"The kidnappers chose the day and the location we were to pick up the girls about four or five days after ransom payment," the uncle said.

A group of male relatives then headed to the Kajuru Forest in neighbouring Kaduna state to find them. Along the way they chanced upon an army unit and requested help.

These army officers escorted them to find the girls - afterwards taking them all home by around 23:30 local time (22:30 GMT).

"We are happy and we thank God that the girls were found alive," the uncle said.

His brother and nieces were now being treated at a medical facility, he said.

Kidnapping has become rife in Nigeria, with hundreds of people abducted in recent years, largely by criminal gangs who see it as an easy way to make money. It has been particularly bad in the north-west of the country.

There has been an outcry that the insecurity has reached the capital, prompting Abuja's police force to launch a special squad to tackle the kidnapping gangs last week.

The family did not want to discredit the police but wanted to make it clear how they had managed to free the girls, Sheriff Kadriyar said.

By Mansur Abubakar, BBC 

Related stories: Kidnapped sisters rescued in Nigeria

President Tinubu says ‘massive education’ of youth will help end kidnappings threatening the capital

First lady of Nigeria 'devastated' by death of kidnapped student

Lagos state bans single-use plastics

Nigeria’s Lagos State has announced a ban on the usage and distribution of styrofoam and other single-use plastics with immediate effect.

The Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab announced on Sunday, January 21 adding that the decision was reached, following the menace which the single-use plastics, especially the non-biodegradable Styrofoam, were causing on the environment.

He said most drainage channels in the state were daily clogged up by styrofoam through indiscriminate distribution and usage, despite the regular cleaning and evacuation of the drains.

Commissioner Wahab directed the State Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, and the Kick Against Indiscipline, KAI, to immediately commence implementation of the ban.

He asked the two agencies to clamp down on all the production companies and distribution outlets for styrofoam in the state to prevent further distribution.

The commissioner advised producers, distributors, and end-users of styrofoam packs to take the ban seriously and find alternatives or risk heavy fines, and other penalties, including sealing of their premises.

He warned that they could also be made to bear the costs of the daily cleanup of their products from roads and drainage channels which runs into tens of millions of naira daily.

“Our state cannot be held hostage to the economic interests of a few wealthy business owners, compared to the millions of Lagosians suffering the consequences of indiscriminate dumping of single-use plastics and other types of waste,” he stated.

He advised consumers and residents to boycott styrofoam packs and single-use plastics and imbibe the practice of using reusable food containers and water bottles for their food and drinks. 

Africa News

Related story: Women in Nigeria lead drive to upcycle plastics

Monday, January 22, 2024

Video - Guinea-Bissau vs Nigeria - AFCON 2023 HIGHLIGHTS

Nigeria won 1-0 against Guinea-Bissau to secure their spot in the Round of 16 as the second team in Group A.


Kidnapped sisters rescued in Nigeria

Nigerian police on Sunday said that five kidnapped sisters have been rescued after their abduction, and the death of another sister triggered a public outcry. The sisters were seized at the start of the year by armed men who burst into their home just 15 miles from Abuja city center, according to the family.

One of the victims, 21-year-old Nabeeha Al-Kadriyar, lost her life when the ransom deadline passed.

Federal Capital Territory (FCT) police and the army successfully rescued the remaining sisters on Saturday night in the Kajuru forest in Kaduna State, a neighboring area.

“The FCT Police has rescued the victims and reunited them with their families,” a police statement said.

The incident highlights the issue of kidnapping for ransom in Nigeria, where criminal groups target various locations, including highways, residences, and even schools, causing widespread concern.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu condemned the “recent spate of kidnappings and bandit attacks.” Since assuming office in May of the previous year, Tinubu has made addressing insecurity a major commitment.

(Story compiled with assistance from AFP) 

By Halligan Agade, CGTN

Related stories: President Tinubu says ‘massive education’ of youth will help end kidnappings threatening the capital

First lady of Nigeria 'devastated' by death of kidnapped student



Friday, January 19, 2024

Video - Ivory Coast vs Nigeria AFCON 2023 Highlights

After a foul against Victor Osimhen inside the box, Nigeria defeated Hosts Ivory Coast to qualifiy to the Round of 16!


Video - Nigeria grapples with higher electricity prices amid supply constraints

Consumers of locally-produced goods in Nigeria are facing higher prices due to unreliable electricity supplies. Poor and irregular power is causing businesses to use costly alternative sources of energy which in turn, impact production outlays. Experts say Nigeria's government must address its electricity problems to spur economic growth and development. 


Related story: Nigeria to sell power distribution firm over $130 million debt


Video - Expectant mothers in Nigeria turning to home births amid high cost of maternal Care

Expectant mothers in Nigeria are increasingly choosing home births due to the high cost of maternal care. Some are also opting for traditional birthing methods.


Related stories: Video - Nigeria skilled labor force leaving to other countries

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



US emphasizes 'accountability and transparency' in Nigeria security operations

Senior U.S. diplomat Victoria Nuland met Nigerian National Security Adviser Nuhu Ribadu and discussed "promoting accountability and transparency" in the aftermath of security operations in Nigeria, the State Department said on Thursday.


Observers have noted a pattern of deadly aerial assaults by the Nigerian military that have killed civilians, which was the subject of a special Reuters report last year.

Nigeria's military is backed by the United States, Britain and other allies in a long war against Islamist insurgents in the northeast.


"They further agreed on the importance of protecting civilians, safeguarding human rights, and promoting accountability and transparency in the aftermath of security operations," the State Department said in a statement on Thursday.


Civilians were killed n Nigeria's northern Kaduna state following a military drone attack targeting insurgents and bandits in December. The death toll in the attack was at least 85, including women and children.

The Boko Haram and splinter Islamic West Africa Province have waged an insurgency in Nigeria's northeast for more than one decade and continue to carry out sporadic attacks against civilians and the military.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Nigeria in the coming week as part of a West Africa trip. 

By Kanishka Singh, Reuters

Related story: Video - Nigeria recruits nearly 30,000 police officers to tackle insecurity


Thursday, January 18, 2024

Video - Nigeria recruits nearly 30,000 police officers to tackle insecurity

Nigeria Security agencies have been struggling to contain a 14-year insurgency by militants that has led to the death of over 350,000 people. Analysts have welcomed the recruitment of additional police officers but insist that the welfare of security personnel across the country needs to be improved.


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


Wednesday, January 17, 2024

President Tinubu says ‘massive education’ of youth will help end kidnappings threatening the capital

Nigeria’s leader said Tuesday that his government will embark on “massive education” of youth as one way to tackle the increasing kidnappings for ransom now threatening the capital city along with the rest of the country’s conflict-hit north.

President Bola Tinubu won last year’s election after promising to rid the West African nation of its security crisis. However, deadly attacks particularly in the north have persisted, with the capital of Abuja recording a spike in abductions along major roads and in homes in recent weeks.

Tinubu condemned the abductions as “disturbing, ungodly and sinister” and touted education as “the antidote to the troubles agitating the nation,” according to a statement from presidential spokesman Ajuri Ngelale.

“There is no weapon against poverty that is as potent as learning,” the statement said. “Security agencies are acting with dispatch to immediately address the current challenge (while) all required resources, policies and plans will be rolled out soon for the massive education of Nigerian youths.”

Nigeria’s security forces already are battling jihadi rebels in the northeast in addition to armed groups that often carry out mass killings and abductions in remote communities across the northwest and central regions.

Now residents on the outskirts of the capital are beginning to relocate amid a surge in abductions for ransom suspected of being carried out by gunmen from volatile neighboring states.

Analysts said Tinubu has not done much to address the security crisis.

“Nigeria is drifting towards a failing state (with) non-state armed groups challenging the state authority,” said Oluwole Ojewale, a West and Central Africa researcher with the Africa-focused Institute for Security Studies.

Although Tinubu had promised that his government will “mobilize the totality” of Nigeria’s assets to protect citizens, there has been “no tangible improvement in (the) security situation yet,” Ojewale said.

By Chinedu Asadu, AP

Related stories: First lady of Nigeria 'devastated' by death of kidnapped student

Video - Over 100 kidnapped from four villages in Nigeria

Deadly blast in Nigeria affects several suburbs

A massive explosion in the Nigerian city of Ibadan killed two people and injured 77 others overnight.

Rescue and recovery efforts are ongoing in seven suburbs of Nigeria's third most-populous city.

The cause of the blast is still unclear, but the authorities suspect that it may have been triggered by mining explosives stored in a house.

Photos show buildings reduced to near rubble and vehicles destroyed by shells.

Dramatic videos have been shared on social media, with one witness describing a mall being destroyed in Bodija, a residential district of the city.

"We hear a loud bang around 07:30pm. Dominoes Pizza and Ace Mall in Bodija were destroyed," he said.

Police have promised a swift inquiry into the explosion.

"Preliminary investigations by the security agencies revealed that illegal miners occupying one of the houses in Bodija had stored explosive devices there which caused the blast," the regional governor Seyi Makinde said.


Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Video - Central Bank of Nigeria gives guidelines on cryptocurrency

The Central bank in Nigeria has released guidelines for banks opening cryptocurrency accounts after it lifted its ban on crypto assets. However, there are calls for the government to embark on crypto-awareness campaigns among young people as a way to boost the economy. 


Related stories: Central Bank of Nigeria Lifts Ban on Crypto Transactions

Video - Nigeria continues to record surge in adoption of cryptocurrencies



Nigeria set to recover £6.9m looted during Boko Haram incursions

Nigeria will receive some of its stolen assets believed to be worth £6.9m ($8.9m). This is following the verdict of an American court, which ruled that the source of the funds is ambiguous and believed to have been looted. Negotiations with the Nigerian government would precede the return of the stolen loot.

According to a report by the BBC, funds valued at £6.9 million ($8.9 million) were looted from Nigeria’s coffers and deposited in a Jersey bank in 2014. The crime is said to have been perpetrated by some members of the Nigerian government at the time.

“The transfer of money was disguised as government-sanctioned contracts for arms purchases during incursions by Boko Haram in Nigeria between 2009 and 2015,” the BBC report reads in part.

According to the report, Jersey’s government disclosed that the fund, which was originally intended for legitimate arms deals was rerouted via “foreign bank accounts to and from shell companies.”

Based on the statement from the office of the Attorney General, the money was thought to have gone to family members of the administration in question and was distributed among its party members during the 2015 Nigerian general elections.

Representing the Nigerian people’s interest, the Nigerian government has been working closely with Jersey officials to retrieve the stolen property, as disclosed by Mark Temple KC, His Majesty's Attorney General.

"This case again demonstrates the effectiveness of the 2018 Forfeiture Law in recovering the proceeds of corruption and restoring that money to victims of crime,” the Attorney General stated,

"I now intend to negotiate an asset return agreement with the Federal Republic of Nigeria," he added.

By Chinedu Okafor, Business Insider Africa

Nigeria seeks operators for state-owned Port Harcourt oil refinery

Nigeria's state-owned oil company NNPC Ltd on Monday tendered for operators of its Port Harcourt oil refinery in the Niger Delta, which is expected to begin production in the first quarter of this year, the company said.

The refinery, which is undergoing an upgrade, will begin by processing 60,000 barrels per day (bpd), and NNPC expects to operate at the full capacity of 210,000 bpd later this year.

NNPC said in a public notice that it wanted to engage reputable and credible operations firms "to operate and maintain one of its refineries, Port Harcourt Refining Company, to ensure reliability and sustainability towards meeting the nation's fuel supply and energy security obligations".

The oil company said prospective operators should have a turnover of at least $2 billion since 2019, evidence of their latest credit rating and experience in running refineries.

NNPC said on Jan. 4 that it would complete test runs at the Port Harcourt refinery this month before resuming production.

The refinery, which was shut five years ago, is among state-owned refineries that have been mothballed for years, but which the Nigerian government is trying to revive to end the country's reliance on imported refined products.

By MacDonald Dzirutwe, Reuters

Shell to Sell Nigeria Onshore Oil Business for $1.3 Billion

Shell Plc agreed to sell its Nigerian onshore oil business to a consortium of local companies for more than $1.3 billion.

If approved by the government, the transaction would fulfill Shell’s long-term goal of extracting itself from a challenging operating environment in the Niger Delta region, while retaining a presence elsewhere in the country. Beyond the initial price tag, Shell said it will receive additional cash payments of as much as $1.1 billion on completion.

“This agreement marks an important milestone for Shell in Nigeria,” Zoe Yujnovich, integrated gas and upstream director, said in a statement on Tuesday. The deal is “simplifying our portfolio and focusing future disciplined investment in Nigeria on our deepwater and integrated gas positions”

The buyer of the asset, known as Renaissance, is formed of exploration and production companies ND Western, Aradel Energy, First E&P, Waltersmith and Petrolin, all of which are based in Nigeria, according to the statement.

The announcement comes after a labored sales process that had to be halted in 2022 after a court ruling ordered Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd. to pause its divestment plans pending the outcome of a court case related to allegations of pollution. Earlier this month, Nigeria’s Supreme Court upheld Shell’s appeal against this ruling.

Shell has pumped oil in Nigeria for more than half a century, but almost three years ago then-Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden signaled the company’s intention to exit its onshore oil positions. These operations have become increasingly difficult, with accusations of environmental pollution by local communities, as well as persistent oil theft that caused damage to infrastructure.

Following the sale, Shell will continue operating in the country through its deep-water oil business, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd. Another unit that provides gas to domestic industrial and commercial customers, Shell Nigeria Gas Ltd., will continue operating as will solar firm Daystar Power Group. Shell will retain its 25.6% stake in Nigeria LNG, which produces and exports liquefied natural gas.

By Laura Hurst, Bloomberg

Eight dead, several missing after ferry capsizes in Nigeria

At least eight people were confirmed dead and many were missing after a wooden ferry carrying 100 people capsized in northwest Nigeria, local emergency services said on Tuesday.

The accident happened on Monday in Niger state as residents of Dugga village were travelling to a market in neighbouring Kebbi State to sell grain and sugar cane.

Boat accidents are common on Nigerian waterways, and are often blamed on overcrowding and poor maintenance.

Ibrahim Hussaini, spokesperson for Niger State Emergency Management Agency, said a sudden change in wind direction sank the overcrowded boat.

Eight bodies were recovered and five people were rescued but many others were missing, added Hussaini.

By Ahmed Kingimi, Reuters

Related stories: At least 20 feared dead in Nigeria boat accident

Boat carrying 20 fishermen capsizes in Nigeria

Video - 17 bodies recovered after boat capsizes in eastern Nigeria




Monday, January 15, 2024

First lady of Nigeria 'devastated' by death of kidnapped student

Nigeria's first lady has joined the chorus of voices condemning the killing of a student abducted along with her five sisters, calling it a "devastating loss".

Nabeeha Al-Kadriyar, 21, was "super-bright, smart and kind", her cousin Asiya Adamu told the BBC on Monday.

Nabeeha also loved to write poetry and read books by the American author Jodi Picoult - and she was days away from graduating with a science degree from Ahmadu Bello University.

"On the day the kidnapping happened, I asked Nabeeha if we were going to the [graduation ceremony] together, and she said yes," recalls Ms Adamu. It was the last time she saw her alive.

That evening, on 2 January, Nabeeha was abducted along with her father and sisters from their home in the outskirts of the capital, Abuja.

Nigerian police have not confirmed what happened next. Witnesses say Nabeeha's uncle ran to find help but was ambushed and killed, as were three police officers. It is not known why the family was targeted.

The kidnappers demanded to be paid a huge sum of cash by 12 January, and when they did not get it they killed Nabeeha as a warning, according to a member of the family who spoke to the BBC on condition of anonymity.

Nabeeha's kidnappers handed over her body and, in accordance with Islamic rites, she was swiftly buried by her family on Saturday.
A national reckoning

News of Nabeeha's plight began to circulate over the weekend, prompting widespread grief and indignation that Nigeria's kidnapping crisis rages on despite government promises to bring it to an end.

This moment of reckoning has moved the president's wife to speak out and confirm Nabeeha's death, even though police had not yet officially done so.

Security agencies must "intensify their efforts" to end Nigeria's kidnapping and security crisis, said First Lady Remi Tinubu on Monday, demanding a "swift return of the Al-Kadriyar sisters".

Their father Mansoor Al-Kadriyar, who was freed days ago in order to fetch the ransom money, now faces an agonising wait for their return. His daughters' captors are demanding a higher sum of 65m naira ($68,000; £53,000), to be paid by Wednesday.

Hundreds of Nigerians have been kidnapped for ransom in recent years, largely by criminal gangs who see it as an easy way to make money. Close to 20 people were abducted in in the first week of 2024 alone.

No matter how desperate the circumstances, Nigerian law prohibits the payment of ransom money. However, many victims pay up because they do not trust authorities or their track record.

Even a former minister appears to share this scepticism of the Nigerian state's ability to bring the abducted back.

"I am personally not in support of paying ransom to criminals. However... I spoke with a friend who offered to pay the remaining 50 million naira," says ex-Digital Economy Minister Isa Ali Pantami, who is now a professor in cybersecurity, and a Muslim cleric.

He was one of the architects of the policy of registering all mobile phone Sim cards, in order to make life harder for kidnappers and extortionists, but says he is "frustrated" that it has not been better implemented despite allegedly enduring "threats to my life".

Nabeeha's cousin, Asiya Adamu, has also crowdfunded money from well-wishers online to help pay the ransom. She did not respond to the BBC's request to disclose the total raised, saying security officers had advised her not to so.

While she prays for the safe return of the rest of her cousins, Ms Adamu is haunted by the thought that she narrowly avoided the same fate. She tells the BBC she was due to spend time at their house that day but later changed her mind.

"My favourite memories of Nabeeha was mostly when we were in the kitchen together," Ms Adamu recalls.

"Losing her has left a void one cannot explain with words. She was a source of comfort and understanding and I've lost that," she adds.

"She had plans of going to Morocco for her Masters because she liked the place.

"I guess we make plans and Allah has the last word."

By Chris Ewokor & Natasha Booty, BBC

Related stories: Judge kidnapped in Nigeria and guard killed

Video - Over 100 kidnapped from four villages in Nigeria

Video - Nigeria vs Equatorial Guinea Highlights | AFCON 2023

Nigeria kicks off its journey in AFCON 2023 against a giant slayer like Equatorial Guinea.


Friday, January 12, 2024

Video - Central Bank of Nigeria dissolves boards of three lenders over non-compliance

Nigeria's Central Bank has sacked the boards and management of three lenders due to what it called regulatory infringements and acts that pose a threat to financial stability. The affected lenders are privately-held Union Bank, Keystone Bank and Polaris Bank.


Video - Nigeria clamps down on govt officials' foreign trips to ease public spending

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has slashed his travel budget and that of other senior government officials as part of his government's cost-cutting measures. His office says that the president has directed that the number of aides accompanying him on foreign trips should not exceed twenty.


Soldiers arrested in Nigeria after viral torture video

The Nigerian army has arrested two soldiers after a viral video allegedly showed them torturing a civilian.

In the footage, a man in military fatigues and another in civilian clothing repeatedly kick and whip a third shirtless man, as he repeatedly pleas for mercy.

"No, no sir, abeg! [I beg]. I will confess sir, abeg!" the man cries out.

The army has expressed "utmost dismay" at the "unprofessional conduct" allegedly displayed by the officers.

"It is instructive to mention that the soldiers involved in that unprofessional conduct have been clearly identified and arrested," the army added in a statement on Wednesday.

The alleged assault took place in Nigeria's Rivers state, but the date is unclear.

The circulation of the video on social media platforms earlier this week prompted widespread condemnation of the soldiers and Nigerian army, with one user on X describing the soldiers' behaviour as "highly cruel, barbaric and nothing but abuse of power".

The army has assured that it will conduct a thorough investigation to address the incident and promised to "sanction those involved".

International human rights groups have previously criticised Nigeria's army for alleged rights abuses, including torture, arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings.

Nigerian soldiers used to have a reputation for acting with impunity - for many years it was rare for soldiers to face disciplinary action if they attacked civilians.

But this has changed in recent years. Army chief Taoreed Lagbaja vowed to make the army more disciplined and professional when he was appointed last year.

By Gloria Aradi, BBC

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Video - Nigeria destroys elephant tusks

Wildlife officials in Abuja Nigeria on Tuesday destroyed 2.5 tons of elephant tusks valued at 11.2 million dollars. Officials say the powder will be used to create a monument symbolizing the importance of elephants in the ecosystem.


Related story: Nigeria destroys record $11.2 million in seized elephant tusks

China jails gang for smuggling pangolin scales from Nigeria


Video - Nigeria sugar prices soar

Consumers in Nigeria are complaining about the rising cost of living, with essential goods like sugar seeing a significant hike. The west African country does produce some sugar locally, but it mainly relies on exports to meet demand.


Video - Nigeria battles lassa fever outbreak

Nigeria is dealing with an outbreak of lassa fever, an illness caused by consuming food contaminated by rats.The government says the country recorded more than 1,200 cases and 219 deaths from lassa fever in 2023 only.


Related stories: Diphtheria outbreak kills 600 in Nigeria

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



At least 20 feared dead in Nigeria boat accident

At least 20 people are feared dead in an accident involving two passenger boats travelling from Andoni to Bonny island in Nigeria's coastal Rivers State, local officials said on Wednesday, the first such accident to hit the region this year.

Erastus Awortu, chairman of Andoni local government area, said the incident occurred on Tuesday night along the Andoni waterways.

"When we learned of the tragic development, we immediately dispatched our team to join the first responders on a rescue mission at the scene of the incident," Awortu said in a statement, without providing further details about survivors.

Overcrowding and poor maintenance are responsible for most boat accidents on Nigerian waterways.

Last year, almost 200 people died in boat accidents across Nigeria. One such disaster in June killed more than 100 after an overloaded boat capsized in the north-central Niger State.

Rivers Governor Siminalayi Fubara, in a statement, expressed condolences to the affected families and pledged to "ensure that such threats against safe traveling on our sea routes are tackled."

By Ahmed Kingimi, Reuters

Related stories: Boat carrying 20 fishermen capsizes in Nigeria

Video - 17 bodies recovered after boat capsizes in eastern Nigeria

Video - Search ends, recovery efforts intensify after tragic boat accident in Nigeria

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Video - Nigeria seeks to increase grain production to address food security

In 2024, Nigeria plans to produce 31 million metric tonnes of grain to address its food security problems. The government says the increased grain output will help deal with food inflation - which stood at 32.8% in November - while creating much needed jobs in the country of 200 million people. 


Video - Nigerian President Tinubu suspends humanitarian affairs minister

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has suspended the country's humanitarian affairs minister, Betta Edu, over her alleged involvement in corruption. President Tinubu has also ordered a thorough investigation to establish the accuracy and validity of the graft claims leveled against the minister.


Related story: President Tinubu suspends humanitarian minister in corruption scandal


Nigeria destroys record $11.2 million in seized elephant tusks

Nigeria on Tuesday destroyed 2.5 tonnes of seized elephant tusks valued at over 9.9 billion naira ($11.2 million) in a push to protect its dwindling elephant population from rampant wildlife traffickers.

Over the past three decades, Nigeria's elephant population

has declined drastically from an estimated 1,500 to less than 400 due to poaching for ivory, habitat loss and human-elephant conflict, according to conservationists.

Minister of State for Environment Iziaq Salako said the government crushed the tusks and will use the powder to build a symbolic national park monument as a reminder of the importance of elephants in the ecosystem.

The pulverization of the tusk in the capital Abuja follows a similar event in October where officials destroyed four tonnes of seized pangolin scales valued at $1.4 million.

Thousands of elephants are killed each year for their tusks despite a 1989 ban on the trade of ivory by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Despite being a signatory to CITES, Nigeria is considered a hub for gangs sending illegal African wildlife parts including tusks and pangolin scales to Asia, according to law enforcement and wildlife experts.

But the large West African nation has stepped up counter-smuggling efforts in recent years, partnering with British, U.S. and German officials as well as international organizations to make its biggest seizure of illegal wildlife parts in August 2021.

Last month, officials began an investigation after a video posted on social media showed a soldier shooting two elephants that strayed into farmlands, sparking outrage among citizens.

In 2022, Nigeria customs officials seized 1,613 tonnes of pangolin scales and arrested 14 people.

By Isaac Anyaogu, Reuters

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Video - Dubai looking to boost trade with Nigeria

Dubai International Chamber recently opened its seventh office in Nigeria. The wider oil-rich Gulf region is seeking to leverage its unique geography with sound investment opportunities in the region.


Video - Nigeria eyes restart of four oil refineries by end of 2024

The Nigerian government says it is determined to not only end petrol imports but to also make the country a net exporter of petroleum products by the end of this year. It says its two other refineries will come back on stream by the last quarter of the year.


Nigeria to sell power distribution firm over $130 million debt

Nigeria's electricity regulator has put up for sale the sixth largest power distribution utility over a $130 million debt, less than two years after the lenders who took over the company failed to turn it around and make it profitable.

Africa's biggest economy, Nigeria, has 11 power distribution companies but they are struggling to remain profitable because of lack of capital and sub-economic tariffs imposed by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

Kaduna Electricity Distribution Plc (Kaduna Electric) is one of 18 successor companies created following the privatisation of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria in 2013 and sells electricity in four northern states.

The utility owes 110 billion naira ($130 million), NERC said in a notice on Monday, to companies including the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader and power generation firms. The regulator said it now considered the company a 'failing licensee', allowing NERC to dissolve its board using a law passed last year.

Kaduna Electric was taken over by African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and local lender Fidelity Bank in July 2022 but they have struggled to improve its financial performance. The Nigerian government through its Bureau of Public Enterprises also owns a 40% stake.

NERC said it had appointed an administrator and special directors to manage Kaduna Electric in the interim and sell its assets to the highest bidder.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation of more than 200 million people, produces a fraction of its installed power generation capacity of 12,500 megawatts, leaving millions of households and businesses reliant on private generators for electricity. 

By Isaac Anyaogu, Reuters

President Tinubu suspends humanitarian minister in corruption scandal

Nigeria’s president on Monday suspended the country’s minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation over the use of a private bank account for ministry financial transactions in the government’s social welfare program.

Betta Edu was suspended with immediate effect while Nigeria’s anticorruption agency carries out a “thorough investigation” of all ministry financial transactions,” presidential spokesman Ajuri Ngelale said in a statement. It said the investigation would extend to the entire framework of Nigeria’s social investment programs.

President Bola Tinubu came to power last year promising to crack down on graft in Nigeria despite longstanding question marks around his source of wealth and educational records. Within a month of his inauguration, he suspended the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) indefinitely for abuse of office.

His government said the suspension follows his commitment “to uphold the highest standards of integrity, transparency and accountability” in how Nigeria’s resources are managed.

Edu’s suspension comes days after local media cited an official memo in which she directed that 585 million naira ($663,000) worth of grants meant for vulnerable groups should be paid into a private account — a decision that the minister’s office said followed due process. The minister has denied any wrongdoing.

In a country where the government’s austerity measures have further squeezed millions of people facing extreme levels of poverty, many Nigerians criticised the use of a private bank account for the grants program and called for the minister to be fired.

The office of Nigeria’s Accountant General of the Federation said in a statement that such funds are meant to be sent directly from government accounts to the beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, Edu’s predecessor, Sadiya Umar Farouq, reported to the EFCC on Monday as it investigated alleged corruption in the disbursement of public funds during her time as minister. Farouq said on social media that she was at the commission’s office to “offer clarifications in respect of some issues that the commission is investigating”.

Al Jazeera

Related story: Court grants bail to central bank chief of Nigeria facing fraud charges

Monday, January 8, 2024

Video - Analysts in Nigeria call for increased new foreign investments

Nigeria faces forex shortage due to reduced capital investments, with capital importation dropping to 650 million U.S. dollars in the third quarter of 2023, prompting analysts to call for increased foreign investment efforts.


Dead evangelist TB Joshua accused of sexual abuse

 Before his death in 2021 at the age of 57, TB Joshua was one of Africa's most influential televangelists.

The Christian preacher attracted followers from all over the world by claiming to perform miracles, like curing blindness and HIV.

However, an investigation by the BBC has uncovered more than a decade of allegations of rape and torture by him inside his compound in Lagos.

Joshua amassed great wealth throughout his career, possessing a fleet of cars and travelling via private jet.

But his beginnings were far more humble. Born Temitope Balogun Joshua to a poor family on 12 June 1963, he was raised by a Muslim uncle after his Christian father died.

One of the claims he made was that he had been in his mother's womb for 15 months.

He also said that during his early days, he experienced a three-day trance in which he was called to serve God.

"I am your God. I am giving you a divine commission to go and carry out the work of the heavenly father," Joshua declared.

It was then that he started the Synagogue, Church of All Nations (Scoan), with eight members.

Joshua and Scoan rose to prominence in the late 1990s, amid an explosion of "miracle" programmes performed by pastors on Nigerian TV.

Tens of thousands of followers from Nigeria and around the world would regularly attend his services in Lagos, Nigeria's biggest city, in an attempt to be healed and hear the preacher's "prophecies".

Joshua also took his ministry on tour, visiting other African countries, the UK, US, and nations in South America.

In testament to his vast reach, the Lagos state government turned to Joshua in an effort to control the spread of Ebola during the 2014 outbreak in other West African countries.

Officials asked Joshua to tell infected followers in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone - the worst affected countries - not to travel to Joshua's Lagos church for healing.

He agreed to suspend some of the church's healing programmes but is also said to have sent 4,000 bottles of "anointing water" to Sierra Leone, falsely claiming they could cure the disease.

Joshua's anointing water was always in high demand - in 2013 a rush for the bottles at his church in Ghana led to the death of four people in a stampede.

Many criticised the preacher following the incident but police in Ghana said it was difficult to apportion blame.

In an even deadlier case the following year, one of Joshua's churches collapsed in Lagos, killing at least 116 people.

The preacher never faced charges, despite a coroner in a Lagos court saying that "the church was culpable because of criminal negligence".

Although thousands packed his churches, Joshua always struggled to be accepted by his peers.

Ostracised by both the Christian Association of Nigeria (Can) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), he was described as an "impostor" who belonged to a group of "occults" that had infiltrated Christianity.

"He was rough. He was crude. His methods were unorthodox," Abimbola Adelakun, assistant professor in the African Studies Department at the University of Texas, told the BBC in 2021.

While the growth of the internet and social media helped him spread his message, it also revealed increasing opposition to Joshua and other wealthy mega-church pastors.

Some critics took issue with Joshua - known as "the prophet" by his followers - claiming to have predicted numerous events, from the death of Michael Jackson, to the disappearance of the Malaysian plane MH370 in 2014.

Before Jackson's death in 2009, TB Joshua told his congregation : "In his own area he is famous. He is known everywhere. Great. Too great. Because I see something will begin to happen to that star and that will likely end in him to pack his load and go to the journey of no return but I don't know when that journey [is]."

Six months later, Joshua used the star's shock death as proof that he could supposedly see the future.

Despite making such outlandish claims, Joshua had numerous high-profile followers.

South African politician Julius Malema, Malawi's former President Joyce Banda, long-time Zimbabwe opposition leader, the late Morgan Tsvangirai and the former president of Ghana, the late John Atta Mills, are among the prominent Africans who paid homage to Joshua while he was alive.

Joshua career really took off when he began preaching on Emmanuel TV, a television station run by Scoan.

Along with being a platform for his sermons, the station broadcast accounts of people who said their lives were changed for the better because of the preacher's ministry.

Testimonies included stories about financial prosperity, inexplicable recoveries from illness and even people supposedly being awakened from the dead.

Joshua was also known for his charity work, for which Nigeria's former president, the late Umaru Yar'Adua, awarded him the Order of the Federal Republic, one of the country's highest honours.

When the preacher died - of a cause that was never made public - mourners travelled from across the globe to Lagos for his burial service.

His wife, Evelyn Joshua, took over as head of the the church. They had three children.

But that legacy now lies in tatters.


Related stories: TB Joshua: Nigerian televangelist to be buried in Lagos

Controversial Nigerian pastor TB Joshua dies aged 57

YouTube shuts down prominent Nigerian megachurch preacher's channel for 'gay curing' claims

Nigeria central bank pays nearly $2 billion towards Foreign Exchange backlog

Nigeria's central bank has paid nearly $2 billion in outstanding foreign exchange forwards in the last three months in a bid to clear a backlog of dollars, a spokesperson has said, but forex shortages continue to hobble the country's naira currency.

Africa's biggest economy has nearly $7 billion in forex forwards that have matured, a major concern for investors, but the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has promised to pay up to boost confidence in the foreign exchange market.

"In the past three months, the CBN has also redeemed outstanding forward liabilities amounting to almost USD 2 billion," acting spokesperson Hakama Sadi Ali said in a statement late on Sunday.

"This underscores the Bank's commitment to the resolution of pending obligations and a functional foreign exchange market."

Nigeria's foreign currency shortages have been worsened by declining oil production, which is the country's largest export, accounting for more than 90% of dollar inflows.

Ali said the CBN had recently paid $61.64 million to foreign airlines, who sold tickets in the local naira currency but have not been able to get their money out of the country.

Foreign airlines were owed more than $700 million at the end of November.

"These payments signify the CBN's ongoing efforts to settle all remaining valid forward transactions, with the aim of alleviating the current pressure on the country's exchange rate," Ali said.

President Bola Tinubu has promised to boost foreign currency inflows into Nigeria by attracting new investment, ramping up oil production and reforming the foreign exchange market. 

By Camillus Eboh, Reuters

Friday, January 5, 2024

Video - More security personnel deployed to Plateau state in Nigeria after December attacks

The additional deployment follows attacks by gunmen who invaded communities in Plateau state on Christmas Eve, killing over 150 people. Analysts believe the government needs to employ more than just a heavy hand to bring peace to the area.


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

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



Port Harcourt oil refinery to complete test run this month

Nigerian state-owned oil firm NNPC Ltd will complete test runs at the Port Harcourt refinery in the south this month, in a major step towards resuming operations five years after the plant was shut, the company said on Thursday.

"Testing will conclude shortly, ensuring the refinery's efficient operation. That phase will be completed this month," NNPC spokesperson Femi Soneye said.

The refinery, which is undergoing an upgrade, will begin by processing 60,000 barrels per day, and NNPC expects to operate at the full capacity of 210,000 barrels per day later this year.

Port Harcourt is among Nigerian state-owned refineries that have been mothballed for years, but which the government is trying to revive to end the country's reliance on imported refined products. 

By Isaac Anyaogu, Reuters

Anti-graft body of Nigeria visits Dangote Group in forex probe

Nigeria's economic and financial crimes agency on Thursday inspected Dangote Group's books as part of investigations into possible past misuse of foreign currency sourced from the central bank, two sources at the agency said.

The Dangote Group, which counts cement and fertiliser manufacturing and sugar refining among its businesses, is owned by Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote. Dangote is also readying a 650,000 barrels per day oil refinery that cost $20 billion to build.

Under former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele, the bank had multiple exchange rates and sold dollars cheaply to some businesses, including Dangote, to help them import raw materials.

A Dangote spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Two people at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said Thursday's search at Dangote offices in Lagos, was part of an investigation set to be expanded to other companies.

"We went to the head office of Dangote Group today to look into their books on the ongoing investigation on the abuse of the extant laws that govern the foreign exchange transaction during the tenure of Godwin Emefiele as CBN governor," one of the sources told Reuters.

"Here, we are talking about multiple exchange rates and others. It is an ongoing investigation and it was the turn of Dangote Group today," said the source, who declined to be named because he is not authorised to speak on the issue.

EFCC spokesperson Dele Oyewale declined to comment.

A second source confirmed the investigation, adding that at least one other listed Nigerian conglomerate would be targeted.

By Camillus Eboh, Reuters

Related stories: Dangote refinery receives first crude cargo in Nigeria

Dangote oil refinery to help solve fuel shortage in Nigeria

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Video - Consumers affected by high import costs in Nigeria

Nigerians love their cars-- but it’s hard to keep them on the road these days. The loss of their currency's value and expensive import tariffs have led to high inflation. That's forcing some Nigerians to wean themselves off imported goods. Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris reports from Nigeria's business capital, Lagos.

Al Jazeera

Related stories: Video - Nigerians cut Christmas spending as high inflation persists

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



Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Video - 12 killed in Nigeria by suspected Boko Haram militants

Heavily armed assailants suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents randomly shot at people on Monday. Authorities launched investigations into the incident two weeks after bandits killed two people. Chibok is widely known for attacks and kidnappings, most notably the 2014 abduction of 276 teenage girls at a secondary school.


Wilfred Ndidi out of Nigeria side for Cup of Nations

Midfielder Wilfred Ndidi has withdrawn from Nigeria’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations through injury and been replaced by Belgian-based Alhassan Yusuf, the country's football federation said on Wednesday.

Ndidi, 27, was injured during his club Leicester City’s 2-0 win at Cardiff City on Dec. 29, although details of the injury were not made clear by either his club or Nigeria.

Leicester team mate Kelechi Iheanacho is also struggling with injury but was still being assessed at Nigeria’s training camp in Abu Dhabi, the federation added in a statement.

Iheanacho, also 27, had missed the last two matches for his club, who are runaway leaders in the Championship in England.

The 23-year-old Yusuf is uncapped but helped Royal Antwerp to the Belgian league title last season and competed in all their Champions League group matches between September and December.

Nigeria open their Cup of Nations campaign on Jan. 14 with a Group A game against Equatorial Guinea. They also meet hosts Ivory Coast and Guinea Bissau in their group matches.

By Mark Gleeson, Reuters

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Nigeria to begin passport application automation on January 8, 2024

The minister revealed this during an inspection of facilities of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) alongside the Comptroller General (CG) of the Service, Wura-Ola Adepoju.

Nigerians will now have the convenience of applying and completing their passport application online, eliminating the need for in-person interactions.

The minister had previously announced in December that the Federal Government was actively working towards the complete automation of the passport application system in the country.

During that announcement, the minister stated that the automated application system was "99% done," and it would encompass processes such as uploading passport photos and supporting documents.

What the minister said:

“We are good to go live. We are starting the training and on January 8, the solution will be live and direct for Nigerians to have a good feel, a sweet experience based on the Renewed Hope of Mr President,"

“We have been able to reduce human contact in passport acquisition to the minimum.”

He stressed that this initiative would enhance the country's security architecture by enabling swift detection of fake passport applications and reducing bureaucratic bottlenecks.

As part of this effort, he revealed the deployment of document verification officers across all local government areas in the country. These officers will play a crucial role in meticulously scrutinizing passport applications, ensuring a more secure and reliable application process.

The minister had earlier cleared the backlog of over 200,000 passports awaiting processing within Nigeria.

In a bid to address concerns raised by Nigerians living abroad regarding the slow pace of passport renewal and collection procedures, the Nigerian Government had unveiled plans to establish passport front offices in key cities across the United Kingdom.

This initiative, set to launch in February 2024, would streamline and expedite the passport renewal and collection processes for the Nigerian diaspora, particularly in cities such as Manchester, Birmingham, and Cardiff (Wales).

By Adekunle Agbetiloye, Business Insider

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