Sunday 28 May 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 05/05/17)
Two Nigerian officials were sentenced to two years in jail on Thursday for taking and selling about 300 bags of rice meant for people fleeing severe food shortages and fighting. The pair were also ordered to pay 1 million naira ($3,280) each to northeastern Borno State for diverting the food that the court heard had been donated by an international aid group. Around 4.7 million people need rations to survive in Nigeria's northeast, according to the World Food Programme (WFP), where around 2 million have fled an insurgency that militant group Boko Haram is waging. The convictions of Umar Ibrahim, a counsellor for agriculture, and Bulama Ali Zangebe, a member of a camp feeding committee, were the first documented in...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/05/17)
A Nigerian village has filed a lawsuit in Milan against Italian oil company Eni demanding compensation for damage caused by an oil pipeline explosion in 2010, an Italian lawyer representing the village said on Thursday. The village of Ikebiri in the Niger Delta is asking Eni for 2 million euros ($2.2 million) in damages along with a commitment to clean up the area covering more than 43 acres (17 hectares), Luca Saltalamacchia told a news conference. "The explosion that happened near a river caused an environmental disaster that polluted water and land," Saltalamacchia said. Mining and energy firms around the world have battled a spate of cases brought in international courts against their subsidiaries in other countries. Anglo-Dutch oil company...
(Agence Ecofin 05/05/17)
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has announced that the first set of the three newly planned gas-fired power plants to be constructed in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano will be completed by 2019. NNPC's Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru (photo), who disclosed this at the ongoing 2017 edition of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, U.S.A, explained that the three plants will collectively generate up to 3,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity. According to him, the corporation at present has interests in two power plants, one in Okpai, Delta State and the other in Afam, Rivers State. These two plants were built together with its Joint Venture (JV) partners, Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and Shell, and collectively generate up...
(Voice of America 05/05/17)
As Africa grapples with a severe drought, and famine threatens millions of people, experts at the World Economic Forum on Africa this week in the South African city of Durban say food security needs to be a major part of discussions on advancing the continent economically. The annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland is usually a high-powered event, but at this week’s Africa meeting of the international organization, the continent’s big players are welcoming the humble farmer, now known as the “agripreneur.” Agricultural economist Paul Makube, with South Africa’s First National Bank, told VOA it makes sense to talk about farming when discussing building competitive markets, and boosting innovation and technology. “For business to prosper, you need a situation where...
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
Nigerian officials on Wednesday played down fears about the health of President Muhammadu Buhari, despite his third consecutive absence from cabinet and assurances from his wife there was no cause for concern. Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo chaired the meeting instead of the 74-year-old Buhari, who has made few public appearances since he returned from medical treatment in London in early March. The devout Muslim was also absent from Friday prayers last week and failed to attend his grandson's wedding on Saturday. His spokesman said he had undergone "a long period of treatment" for an undisclosed illness in London earlier this year and needed rest. He was said to be working from his private residence.
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
A flamboyant Nigerian televangelist appeared in a South African court on Wednesday facing 22 charges of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Tim Omotoso, 58, was arrested on April 21 when he landed in the southern city of Port Elizabeth, initially facing two charges of sexual assault and two of trafficking. But by Wednesday, 18 more people had laid charges. "He is facing numerous charges of human trafficking and sexual exploitation," National Prosecution Authority spokesman Tshepo Ndwalaza told AFP. "He is facing about 22 charges, but this figure can increase again as more people are coming forward to testify against him," added Ndwalaza.
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
The Nigerianarmy calls it "New Banki City", an optimistic name conjuring up visions of modern housing. The reality is an overcrowded camp for 32,000 desperate people made homeless by Boko Haram. In this ravaged corner of northeast Nigeria, the Islamists frequently launch attacks on military convoys, unleash suicide bombers and litter the surrounding roads and arid bush with mines. Even the most mundane tasks are treacherous. Desperate for firewood to cook food, 25-year-old Bulama Zarami didn't make it far out of the camp before he triggered a mine. Shifting from side to side in pain, Zarami says he still feels shrapnel from the explosive in his wounded left leg, which is swollen at the knee and wrapped with blood-stained gauze...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/04/17)
When he heard that the Nigerian army had declared his family's home town of Banki free from Boko Haram militants and safe to return, Bukar Abdulkadir did all he could to bring his family back to the place they had fled three years ago. It took nine months of hunger, selling most of the food rations they received at their refugee camp in Cameroon, to save up for the cost of a two-day journey in a lorry container back across the border into northern Nigeria. But instead of returning to till the familiar fields of home, they came back to a desolate wasteland littered with the rubble of destroyed buildings and burnt cars, where they were herded into a crowded...
(Xinhuanet 05/04/17)
The World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa Competitiveness Report 2017 released in Durban Thursday called for urgent policy reforms if the continent intends to create more jobs for its growing young population. According to the report issued at the 27th WEF on Africa, fewer than one-quarter of the 450 million new jobs required in the next 20 years will be created if current policies remain unchanged. The report called for structural reforms in the economies to create more jobs for the youth entering the market. African countries have to prioritize improving infrastructure, skills and adoption of new technology and quality of institutions. To improve competitiveness in the short term Africa needs to increase housing construction through investment, better urban planning and...
(AFP (eng) 05/03/17)
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's wife has sought to play down fears about her husband's health, as he faces calls to go on extended medical leave. Aisha Buhari said the head of state's health was "not as bad as it's being perceived", without specifying the nature of his illness. "He continues to carry out his responsibilities during this period," she wrote on her Twitter account on Tuesday evening. Buhari, 74, has been under growing pressure to disclose his state of health since he returned from London in early March after nearly two months away. He missed two out of the last three cabinet meetings in April, was absent from Friday prayers last week and failed to attend his grandson's wedding on...
(AFP (eng) 05/03/17)
Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau has been injured and one of his deputies killed in an air strike in northeast Nigeria, civilian and security sources told AFP on Wednesday. Two Nigerian Air Force jets bombarded fighters who had gathered for prayers in Balla village, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Damboa, on the edge of the Sambisa Forest, last Friday. "Shekau was wounded in the bombings and is believed to be receiving treatment near the Nigerian border with Cameroon around Kolofata," said one source with contacts within Boko Haram. "His deputy, Abba Mustapha, alias Malam Abba, was killed in the attack along with another key lieutenant, Abubakar Gashua, alias Abu Aisha," he added. Babakura Kolo, a member of the civilian...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/03/17)
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's health is not as poor as assumed, his wife said on Tuesday, trying to assuage growing concerns in the oil producer over her husband's ability to work. Buhari, 74, did not attend a cabinet meeting last Wednesday, choosing to rest and work from home, his second consecutive absence from the weekly meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. "I wish to inform everyone that his health is not as bad as it's being perceived," his wife Aisha Buhari tweeted. "Meanwhile he carries out his responsibilities during this period." She did not discuss what Buhari was suffering from, which officials have declined to reveal. She said her husband was meeting the head of the state oil company...
(Bloomberg 05/03/17)
Nigeria may lift a ban that’s prohibiting the importers of certain goods from accessing foreign currency on the country’s interbank market, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said. The West African nation’s government will consider “policy-driven restrictions” to promote local manufacturing of 41 items such as rice and toothpicks, Osinbajo said in an emailed copy of a speech on Tuesday. Ending the ban could be the latest easing of foreign-currency trading restrictions by the Central Bank of Nigeria after it removed a naira peg in June and introduced a window for portfolio investors to trade at a market-determined exchange rate last month. While many importers of listed items have sourced foreign currency from the black market at a premium as high as...
(Bloomberg 05/03/17)
Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari will preside over Wednesday’s weekly cabinet meeting after having been absent from the previous two, Abuja-based Daily Trust newspaper reports, citing an official document showing the president’s schedule. The presidency said April 28 that he is resting and working from home. The 74-year-old leader stayed in the U.K. for more than seven weeks earlier this year to receive treatment for an undisclosed ailment, triggering speculation about the severity of his condition. He returned to Nigeria on March 10, but the presidency said in April he was expected to fly back to London for further care. Sophie Mongalvy
(Bloomberg 05/03/17)
Rob Shuter used his first quarterly report as chief executive officer of MTN Group Ltd. to commit the wireless operator to major investments in its biggest markets of Nigeria, South Africa and Iran. The spending plan “is expected to support further market share gains,” Shuter said in a statement on Wednesday. Africa’s largest carrier will also strive to take advantage of the continent’s relatively low data use and increase the range of services, he said. “While we still have work to do to meet our full-year targets, we continue to leverage off the progress made during 2016 and are encouraged by the progress,” said the former Vodafone Group Plc executive. The announcement comes less than two months after Shuter began...
(Punch 05/03/17)
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said a major challenge with the anti-corruption drive of the Federal Government is the lack of successful prosecution of high-profile corruption cases involving ‘Politically-Exposed Persons’. Obasanjo added that despite the efforts of successive governments, corruption still posed a challenge to the progress and development of Nigeria. The former President said this while delivering an inaugural lecture organised by the National Open University of Nigeria, in Abuja, on Tuesday. The lecture was titled, “Leadership, Governance, and the Challenges of Development in Nigeria: The Way forward.” Obasanjo, who admitted that Nigeria’s poverty and seeming lack of direction was caused by leadership, said the institutions in the country needed to be strengthened to ensure transparency and accountability. He...
(Premium Times 05/03/17)
An escalating spate of arrests of journalists and intimidation of bloggers as well as the violent crushing of peaceful protests across Nigeria shows the authorities’ determination to suppress the right to freedom of expression, said Amnesty International, Wednesday, on World Press Freedom Day. The organisation is urging the federal and state governments to respect international human rights law and the Nigerian constitution by protecting the right to freedom of expression and press freedom including by ensuring that state machinery is not used to harass and intimidate anyone simply for expressing opinions that those in power dislike. “Escalating arrests of journalists and violent disruption of peaceful protests since the start of 2017 shows staggering decline of freedom of expression and assembly...
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
African military expenditures have finally slowed down after more than a decade of steady increases, according to a new report on global defense spending. The main reason, the report found, is a drop in oil prices. “The sharp decreases in oil prices has affected quite a number of African countries, namely South Sudan and Angola. This has kind of driven almost the entire regional trend,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Arms and Military Expenditure Program, the organization that authored the report. The SIPRI report found military spending in Africa in 2016 was down by 1.3 percent from the previous year and totaled about $37.9 billion. Despite the drop, Africa’s military spending remains...
(AFP (eng) 05/02/17)
Nigerian civil society activists called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take long-term medical leave Tuesday, adding to mounting pressure on the 74-year-old over his health. The ailing head of state spent two months in London earlier this year, officially on vacation and to have routine medical tests for an undisclosed illness. But he has missed two out of the last three cabinet meetings, was absent from Friday prayers last week and failed to attend his grandson's wedding on Saturday. Buhari himself has disclosed he had blood transfusions and other tests in London and disclosed he "couldn't recall being so sick".
(Reuters (Eng) 05/02/17)
Nigeria's ailing President Muhammadu Buhari, who had nearly two month's medical treatment in Britain earlier this year, should take medical leave immediately, civil society leaders have said in an open letter. The 74-year-old president returned home in March and said he would need more rest and health tests. Details of his medical condition were not disclosed. In a letter titled "President Buhari should take medical leave immediately", a group of political activists noted his absence from the last two weekly cabinet meetings and speculation about his ability to run Africa's most populous nation and biggest economy. "We are compelled to advise him to heed the advice of his personal physicians

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