| Africatime
Thursday 27 April 2017
(Bloomberg 04/25/17)
Nigeria’s central bank will let the market determine the naira’s rate in a new foreign-exchange window for portfolio investors as the nation struggles to revive its economy amid a dollar shortage. Naira forward contracts and banking stocks rose. Governor Godwin Emefiele told senior bankers that he would tolerate the naira weakening in the window, which started today, according to a person who attended meetings with the policy maker over the past two weeks. While that may cause the currency to depreciate to its black-market level, the central bank probably won’t devalue the interbank exchange rate, the person said, declining to be identified because
(Reuters (Eng) 04/25/17)
Aid organizations working to stop the famine in Nigeria will run out of money by June if donors do not give the cash they pledged at a conference in February, worsening an already difficult situation, a U.N. official said on Monday. The famine in the northeast of the West African country is one of four hot spots, together with South Sudan, Yemen and Somalia, that constitute the worst humanitarian crisis the world has faced since 1945, the U.N. said in March. In Nigeria, 4.7 million people, many of them displaced by the conflict with Islamist insurgency Boko Haram, need rations to survive. Of these, an estimated 43,800 people already experience famine, the U.N. said. Two months ago international donors pledged...
(AFP (eng) 04/24/17)
Four people were killed in two separate suicide attacks in northeast Nigeria on Monday, local militia members said, in the latest violence blamed on Boko Haram Islamists. Babakura Kolo, who assists the military with security against the jihadist insurgents, said the first incident occurred in Mammanti village, 15 kilometres (10 miles) east of Maiduguri. "Three female suicide bombers were intercepted by the vigilantes while trying to sneak into the village around 5:00 am (0400 GMT), just as the morning prayers were about to start," he told AFP. "Two of the bombers blew themselves up while the third was shot dead by a soldier before
(AFP (eng) 04/24/17)
A new malaria vaccine will be tested on a large scale in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi, the World Health Organization said Monday, with 360,000 children to be vaccinated between 2018 and 2020. The injectable vaccine RTS,S could provide limited protection against a disease that killed 429,000 people worldwide in 2015, with 92 percent of victims in Africa and two-thirds of them children under five. "The prospect of a malaria vaccine is great news. Information gathered in the pilot will help us make decisions on the wider use of this vaccine," said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's regional director for Africa. The vaccine should be used alongside other preventative measures such as bed nets, insecticides, repellants and anti-malarial drugs, the WHO...
(AFP (eng) 04/23/17)
Nigerian commander Remi Fadairo points to the roiling plume of black smoke blotting the morning horizon in the Niger Delta -— the unmistakable sign of an illicit oil refinery. "Let's see if we can go eat them for breakfast," he says with an ominous chuckle. The 44-year-old colonel, a man with broad shoulders wearing his fatigues tucked into gumboots, is standing in the middle of a destroyed illicit refinery in Kana Rugbana, an area in the swamplands some 20 nautical miles from Port Harcourt. Fadairo is part of the Joint Task Force Operation Delta Safe, a coalition of Nigerian security forces tasked with protecting the country's oil and gas infrastructure. Last year, militant attacks cut oil production to 1.4 million...
(AFP (eng) 04/22/17)
Two Turkish construction workers abducted by gunmen earlier this month in oil-rich southern Nigeria have been freed, police said Friday. The workers for BKS Construction Company were released Wednesday and "have been reunited with their colleagues after medical assessment," police commissioner Donald Awunah told reporters. The pair were seized on April 9 at a hotel in Eket, an industrial city serving as a base to the Nigerian subsidiary of US oil giant Exxon. Nigerian authorities scoured the vast Niger Delta and negotiated with kidnappers before recovering the men on a lagoon near the town of Calabar, some 60 kilometres (37 miles) east of where they were taken, Awunah said. Five arrests have been made and police are continuing their investigation,...
(Bloomberg 04/22/17)
A smartphone manufacturer has set up its first factory in Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos to provide Africa’s biggest mobile market with low-cost smartphones amid an economic recession. AfriOne’s devices, using the Android operating system, will cost from 29,000 naira ($92) to 33,000 naira, targeting middle-income buyers in a country of about 180 million people, according to Lekan Akinjide, director of strategy and government coordination at the company. Its first factory has an installed capacity to produce 120,000 units per month, with one other factory planned, he said Friday at an event in Lagos. Parent company Contec Global invested $10 million in the project. Cheaper smartphones are pushing internet penetration in Nigeria, with most people getting online via mobile devices...
(AFP (eng) 04/21/17)
At least seven football fans were killed and 11 injured when an electric cable fell on a building where they were watching a Europa League match, Nigerian police said Friday. The incident happened in the southern port city of Calabar on Thursday during a quarter-final between Manchester United and Anderlecht being shown on satellite television, the police said. "We received a report of the incident around 10:00 pm and on getting there were able to recover the bodies of seven people who had been electrocuted when a high tension cable fell on them," Cross River state police spokeswoman Irene Ugbo told AFP.
(AFP (eng) 04/21/17)
Nine Nigerian soldiers were killed and 14 others are missing feared abducted after an attack this week by suspected Boko Haram jihadists in the violence-torn northeast, security sources said Thursday. Authorities had on Tuesday said five soldiers were killed and five others injured in the raid on a military post near the village of Sabon Garin Kimba about 140 kilometres (90 miles) from Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram. "The number of fatalities on our side has risen to nine with the discovery of four more bodies of our troops," said a military officer with knowledge of the incident. "Since the attack 14 other soldiers remain
(AFP (eng) 04/21/17)
Nigerian prosecutors have charged 53 men with conspiracy to organise a gay wedding and related crimes punishable by up to 14 years in jail, a court clerk told AFP Thursday. The accused, aged 20 to 30, appeared at a magistrates court in the northern city of Zaria, Kaduna state, Wednesday after being arrested at a hotel where they allegedly attended the wedding, clerk Mahmud Bello said The suspects were arrested on April 15 and have been charged with conspiracy, unlawful assembly and belonging to an unlawful society, the clerk said. Bello added that the couple managed to escape. The suspects, mostly students, pleaded not guilty and were released on bail while the judge adjourned their case until May 8. "Information...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/20/17)
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday ordered an investigation into corruption allegations against a senior civil servant related to the use of funds intended for handling a humanitarian crisis in the northeast of the country. The director general of the National Intelligence Agency was also ordered to be suspended after the discovery of more than $43 million in an apartment complex in Lagos in what the presidency described as a "related development". Buhari suspended David Babachir Lawal, secretary to the Nigerian government, and ordered a probe into contracts awarded under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE), his spokesman said in a statement.
(Bloomberg 04/20/17)
Wheat growers in Nigeria’s northeast have abandoned their farms under the onslaught of the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency, a setback for the country’s efforts to cut imports by boosting local production, a research agency said. “Wheat production in the zone has declined to just 20 percent of what it used to be due to insurgency,” Oluwashina Olabanji, executive director of the Lake Chad Research Institute, said in an interview in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital. Borno, which used to account for about a quarter of Nigeria’s production, currently grows no wheat, he said. Nigeria produced an average of 80,000 metric tons of wheat a year for decades until the introduction of a new variety in the...
(Premium Times 04/20/17)
The World Bank, Wednesday, said Nigeria needs to reform its finance to avoid any future foreign exchange crisis. According to the World Bank Chief Economist for Africa, Albert Zeufack, exchange rate adjustments could lead to higher inflation. Reuters news agency quoted Mr. Zeufack as saying that making fiscal adjustments in the country’s second year of recession would be “extremely challenging ”. The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in its effort to stabilise the Naira, has been injecting liquidity into the market. Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, has been battling to move out of recession, its first in twenty five years. The value of its local currency, the Naira, had also ebbed in the money market, stifling business initiatives and investment. But...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/20/17)
The Nigerian army on Wednesday launched a month-long operation to reduce violence in the center of the country, as ethnically charged fighting pressures a government already tackling Boko Haram in the northeast and militants in the oil-rich south. Hundreds are thought to have died in clashes that often carry religious overtones in deeply divided Nigeria, with Muslim herders facing off against Christian farmers in a country almost evenly split between the two faiths. Precise figures for deaths are hard to come by, but the incidents threaten a political backlash for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, himself a Muslim. "The operation is aimed at addressing the issue of insecurity in southern Kaduna state and parts of Kano, Plateau and Bauchi...
(CNN 04/20/17)
Nigeria's spy chief has been suspended amid reports that a $43 million stash seized in a widely trumpeted apartment raid belonged to his agency. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Ayodele Oke, director-general of the National Intelligence Agency, over the April 12 raid, Buhari aide Femi Adesina said. When Nigeria's anti-corruption agency raided an upscale apartment in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city, agents found more than $43 million as well as 23.2 million naira (Nigerian currency worth about $76,000) and £27,800 (about $35,000). At the time, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said the funds were suspected to be linked to unlawful activity. But according to local media reports, Oke eventually admitted his agency was responsible for the cash, saying it was...
(BBC News Africa 04/20/17)
Prosecutors in the northern Nigeria state of Kaduna have charged a group of 53 people with conspiring to celebrate a gay wedding. The accused, arrested last Saturday, have denied the allegations, with their lawyers saying they were illegally detained. The court released the group on bail and the case was remanded to 8 May. Homosexual acts are banned in socially conservative Nigeria and are punishable by up to 14 years in jail. During a court appearance in Chediya-Zaria, the group pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, unlawful assembly and belonging to an unlawful society. Defence lawyer Yunusa Umar said most of the accused were students and had been illegally detained for more than 24 hours, the local Premium Times...
(Financial Times 04/20/17)
Top civil servant suspended over humanitarian crisis contracts. Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president, has ordered an investigation into a senior civil servant linked to missing funds meant to avert famine in the north-east of the country. Mr Buhari, who pledged to fight widespread corruption when he won elections two years ago, suspended David Babachir Lawal, his cabinet secretary, pending the outcome of the probe into allegations that he had broken the law in awarding contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East. The initiative was established by Mr Buhari to co-ordinate the government’s response to the humanitarian crisis but legislators claim the body was used as a vehicle to divert the funds. A committee led by Yemi Osinbajo, the vice-president,...
(Bloomberg 04/20/17)
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari suspended two senior administration officials linked to graft allegations and ordered an investigation, the presidency said. David Lawal, secretary to the government, is being probed for alleged violations of “law and due process” in the award of contracts, presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said Wednesday in an emailed statement. Ayo Oke, head of the National Intelligence Agency, is facing investigation over the discovery of $38 million and other currencies in cash said to belong to the agency in a private residence. A committee including the attorney-general, the national security adviser and the vice president will carry out the investigations and report to Buhari within 14 days, Adesina said. Bolaji Adebiyi, a spokesman for Lawal, wasn’t immediately available...
(Bloomberg 04/20/17)
WorldRemit Ltd., a British money-transfer operator, sees revenue from transactions involving Africans doubling by 2020 as more people on the continent access mobile-payment platforms and expatriates send cash home. The seven-year-old company, in which Facebook Inc.-backer Accel Partners LP invested $40 million in 2014, will this year open a regional office in South Africa, its largest market on the continent in terms of money-transfer value, founder and Chief Executive Officer Ismail Ahmed said in an interview. Another site will start operating in Kenya, where the London-based business sees Africa’s highest number of individual transactions. “In the next two years we should be doubling our volume every year,” Ahmed said in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The continent accounted for half the company’s...
(AFP (eng) 04/19/17)
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday suspended two key aides over an alleged contract scam and for keeping an unauthorised stash of cash in a private home, his office said. Buhari "has ordered an investigation into the allegations of violations of law and due process made against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr David Babachir Lawal, in the award of contracts" in the north-east, the presidency said in a statement. The Nigerian leader also directed that Lawal be suspended from office "pending the outcome of the investigations." Last year, Lawal, a top-ranking member of the administration and a Buhari confidant, was alleged to have awarded contracts running into millions

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