Sunday 21 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Idris Anjorin believes his life changed in 2009 when he turned up for work -- late as usual -- distracted and stressed after more than three hours stuck in Lagos traffic. "I wasn't happy I came late again. A coworker who noticed my mood advised me to try a boat ride," the retired banker told AFP. "The next day, I arrived at Bayeku jetty at 6:00 am and within an hour I had made it to the office. That was a turning point in my life." Bayeku is one of several ferry terminals run by private boat operators in the Ikorodu area of Lagos, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) by road to Anjorin's old office on Victoria Island. Making a...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
ABUJA/LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - By rewarding whistleblowers, boosting prosecutions and challenging beliefs in black magic, Nigeria is ramping up its crusade against human trafficking, backed by millions of pounds of British aid, anti-slavery and government officials said. Thousands of Nigerian women and girls are lured to Europe each year, making the treacherous sea crossing from Libya to Italy, and trafficked into sex work, the United Nations says. The number of female Nigerians arriving in Italy by boat surged to more than 11,000 last year from 1,500 in 2014, with at least four in five forced into prostitution, according to data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). To tackle this rise, Nigeria’s anti-trafficking agency NAPTIP is stepping up efforts...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/06/17)
LONDON (Reuters) - A Dutch law firm has asked the public prosecutor in the Netherlands to file a case against Royal Dutch Shell, its CEO and former executives of over what it says were criminal actions relating to a 2011 oilfield purchase in Nigeria. The Dutch authorities are already investigating the oilfield deal, alongside Italian prosecutors, who want to take Shell and Italy’s Eni to trial over alleged corruption on the same oilfield. Shell and Eni have denied any wrongdoing. Shell said on Tuesday it did not believe there was any basis to prosecute the company or any current or former employee. Prakken d‘Oliveira, a law firm specializing in human rights cases, filed its request in September on behalf of...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Conflicts, violence and disaster across Africa forced some 15,000 people to flee their homes every day in the first half of the year, international monitors said Wednesday. A total of 2.7 million Africans were internally displaced within their own countries in the first six months of 2017, a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) found. They join the estimated 12.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) living in African countries at the end of 2016. That number does not include those who have fled across borders to seek refuge, with UN figures showing there were more than 5.6 million refugees in Africa by end of last year. Internal displacement has soared in a...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Nigeria's Super Eagles are set to play England in a World Cup warm-up game in June, the general secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Mohammed Sanusi has said. "We plan to play a friendly against England in June, before the World Cup," he said, adding that the venue and other details of the match were still to be worked out. Both Nigeria and England will feature at next year’s World Cup in Russia. The Super Eagles are drawn in Group D along with Argentina, Croatia and Iceland, while England are in Group G with Belgium, Panama and Tunisia. Both countries have clashed once at this level, in November 1995, when England won 1-0 at Wembley courtesy of a David...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
Nigeria's former president Goodluck Jonathan was a "vital witness" in the corruption case of his party's spokesman, a court was told on Tuesday. But officials have made three unsuccessful attempts to serve the former head of state with a summons to appear at the trial of Olisa Metuh, the Federal High Court in Abuja heard. Metuh is charged with receiving 400 million naira ($1.1 million, 940,000 euros) from Jonathan's national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki. Dasuki is accused of using some $2 billion in defence funds earmarked for the fight against Boko Haram to help fund Jonathan's re-election bid in 2015. The Dasuki case is the highest-profile prosecution of President...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
Around $321 million in public funds stolen by former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha will be returned to the African country, Switzerland said Monday. The money, originally deposited in Luxembourg, was confiscated by a Swiss court in late 2014 and in March last year the two states signed an agreement on its repatriation. "In accordance with policy on repayment of national assets taken illegally, Switzerland has agreed with Nigeria and the World Bank to return nearly US$321 for the benefit of the Nigerian people," the Swiss government said in a statement. Military ruler Abacha, in power from 1993 until his death in 1998, is suspected...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/05/17)
ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland will return to Nigeria around $321 million in assets seized from the family of former military ruler Sani Abacha via a deal signed with the World Bank on Monday, the Swiss government said. Transparency International, a corruption watchdog, has accused Abacha of stealing up to $5 billion of public money during the five years he ran the oil-rich country, from 1993 until his death in 1998. In 2014, Nigeria and the Abacha family reached an agreement for the West African country to get back the funds, which had been frozen, in return for dropping a complaint against the former military ruler’s son, Abba Abacha. The son was charged by a Swiss court with money-laundering, fraud and...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
It has been ranked among the happiest places in the world despite widespread unrest, political crisis and recession. Now one Nigerian state has a minister in charge of contentment. The commissioner for happiness and couples' fulfilment is the brainchild of Rochas Okorocha, governor of the southeastern state of Imo. Okorocha, who was previously widely criticised for using public funds to erect statues of prominent African leaders, on Monday appointed his sister to the post. Ogechi Ololo now takes up the first such portfolio in Nigeria. She previously served as Okorocha's deputy chief of staff and special adviser on domestic matters, in charge of Christmas decorations. The governor's spokesman, Sam Onwuemeodo, could not provide exact details of Ololo's responsibilities when contacted...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
The head of the UN's AIDS agency on Monday urged African countries to protect young women and children who are bearing the brunt of the continent's AIDS epidemic. A sharp rise of people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has now slowed, "but now is not the time to drop our guard," Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, told the start of a six-day conference on HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases in Africa. "The many changes under way in our world should not threaten the sustainability of our great achievements in the AIDS response," he warned. "We cannot afford to lose our gains. If we want to end this epidemic, we must act now and act differently." About 36.7 million...
(AFP (eng) 12/04/17)
Six police officers were killed in northeast Nigeria, police said on Monday, in an attack blamed on cattle herders following deadly clashes with farmers over land. "We lost six policemen in an ambush by suspected Fulani herdsmen," Othman Abubakar, a spokesman for the Adamawa state police, told AFP. "The police were on their way to Dowaya village, outside Numan (district), with the intention of disarming Fulani herders, who reports said were carrying arms." No arrests had been made in connection with the ambush, which occurred on Friday, but it comes as the state is on heightened alert because of rising tensions between herders and farmers. On November 20, at least 30 people were killed when farmers from the Christian Bachama...
(AFP (eng) 12/04/17)
Nigeria's former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, announced Sunday that he had rejoined the country's main opposition party, the latest sign he aims to run for the presidency in 2019. In a live video broadcast on his Facebook page, Abubakar said he was again joining the People's Democratic Party (PDP) because the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) had failed to deliver on its promises since coming to power in 2015. "It is clear that the APC has let the Nigerian people, and especially our young people, down," he said. "Today I want to let you know that I am returning home to the PDP." It is not the first time Abubakar has switched his political allegiances; he previously quit the PDP...
(AFP (eng) 12/02/17)
At least 13 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in a dual suicide bomb attack at a busy morning market in northeast Nigeria on Saturday, according to local sources. The attacks occurred in the town of Biu, about 185 kilometres (115 miles) south of the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, which has been at the epicentre of Boko Haram's Islamist insurgency. "Two female suicide bombers infiltrated and gained entry into Biu," a local police spokesman said. "One of the bombers detonated an IED (improvised explosive device) strapped to her body within Biu's main market, while the other one detonated outside...
(AFP (eng) 12/01/17)
Leaders at an EU-Africa summit called Thursday for the immediate evacuation of nearly 4,000 distressed African migrants in Libya under a new drive to fight slave traders and traffickers. Wrapping up a two-day summit in Ivory Coast's economic capital, a top African Union (AU) official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans stranded in Libya, where many have suffered atrocities and even been sold into slavery. He said a fact-finding mission had seen one camp in Tripoli where all the residents, numbering several thousand, were "living in inhumane conditions" and were desperate to return home. "We have agreed, along with the EU and the UN, to set up a task force for repatriating at least 3,800 people," Moussa...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
A summit gathering European and African leaders from more than 80 countries drew to a close Thursday with plans for the immediate evacuation of some 3,800 African migrants stranded in Libya. Wrapping up the summit in the Ivorian capital, a top African Union official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans trapped in Libya, where many have suffered attrocities and even been sold into slavery. The two-day summit of the African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) was showcased as a project to boost development in Africa as it faces a population crunch.
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Three children were killed and a teacher was injured when a man armed with a machete stormed a primary school in northeast Nigeria, two residents told AFP on Thursday. The attack happened at about 9:30 am (0830 GMT) during breaktime at the Jafi Primary School in Kwaya Kusar, in the southwest of Borno state. Kasimu Ibrahim, who lives near the school, said the attacker -- described as being in his 30s and with a neat beard -- headed to the nursery section of the school. "He entered a class and began attacking pupils. He hacked two boys to death, aged about five and seven," he told AFP by telephone. A third victim -- an eight-year-old girl -- died on the...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/30/17)
LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria’s president said on Wednesday the government had started bringing stranded citizens home from Libya after a global outcry over reports that migrants there were being sold into slavery. Muhammadu Buhari’s comments came days after CNN aired footage that appeared to show men being auctioned as farm hands in Libya after being smuggled across the Sahara. Libya’s U.N.-backed government has said it is investigating. “The situation in Libya, of people being sold into slavery, is appalling and unacceptable. We will do everything to protect our citizens wherever they might be,” Buhari wrote on his Twitter account. Nigeria had “started bringing back home all Nigerians stranded in Libya and elsewhere,” he added. The U.N.’s International Organization for Migration...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Blessing wanted to believe the advert on Facebook that promised "a cure for AIDS". Infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), she felt the ad was her only hope -- so against her better judgement, she clicked on the link. The 30-year-old Nigerian had created a fake profile on the social networking site in the hope of contacting a traditional healer who would be familiar with modern technology. For 100,000 naira -- about $280 (230 euros) and more than five times the monthly minimum wage -- she was promised a plant-based potion that would completely eradicate the disease. Sceptical, Blessing asked for more time and a face-to-face meeting. Instead, her would-be benefactor asked for her bank account details. That was...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/30/17)
DAKAR/LIBORE, Niger (Reuters) - Mabingue Ngom, the head of the U.N. Population Fund in West Africa, knows that if he wants to cut birth rates he can’t ignore religion. Population experts like Ngom are worried that if West Africa’s population continues to grow at its current pace - the region has the highest birth rate in the world - it will drive fiercer competition for scarce water and farmland, and fuel malnutrition, conflict and ever more economic refugees. West African governments, U.N. agencies and charities also want to cut maternal mortality rates, which are higher in West Africa than anywhere else in the world, according to U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) figures. But imams who follow the puritanical Wahhabist form of...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Twenty-five asylum seekers from Africa arrived safely in Rome Thursday, using a Christian "humanitarian corridor" set up for Syrians fleeing the war in their homeland. "It was just a project but it became THE project, the way of the future," said Mario Morcone of the Italian interior ministry. The 25 men, women and children from Somalia, Eritrea and South Sudan arrived in Rome before dawn on a flight from Ethiopia. They will be moved to centres across the country. "We want to ensure that people do not risk their lives in the desert and at sea," Morcone said. "This is an important turning point in the politics of our country. You are witness to this turning point and we will...

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