Friday 15 December 2017
(AFP (eng) 11/06/17)
In a constantly changing country where all eyes are fixed on the future, Nigerian artist Johnson Uwadinma is fixated by the past. "If you do not know where you are coming from, how then do you know where you are going to?" he asks. For his project, "Amnesia", he has stuck together hundreds of balls made from old crumpled up newspaper and painted in bright colours, like a mass of strange molecules. The piece -- symbolising the many unresolved crises Nigeria has faced over decades -- was on show last weekend at the contemporary art fair, "Art X Lagos". "The media constantly repeats the same stories about corruption, war, violence, deceit," said Uwadinma. "We never learn from our past." -...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa’s mobile internet connections are set to double in the next five years, a study showed on Monday, thanks to affordable smartphones and the roll-out of high-speed networks. A report by research and consulting firm Ovum in London estimates that mobile broadband connections will rise from 419 million at the end of this year to 1.07 billion by the end of 2022. “Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services, and the Internet of Things,” said Matthew Reed, Practice Leader Middle East and Africa at Ovum. “But as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
Nigeria's former national security adviser on Friday denied illegally channelling money meant for the fight against Boko Haram to fund Goodluck Jonathan's failed re-election campaign. Sambo Dasuki told the Federal High Court in Abuja that he "did not enter into an unlawful act with respect to any transaction" with Olisa Metuh, who is on trial for corruption. Metuh, the former spokesman for Jonathan's Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is accused of receiving 400 million naira ($1.1 million, 955,000 euros) from Dasuki before the 2015 vote.
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
US politicians are voicing concern over America's growing military presence across Africa, where they worry the Pentagon is getting ever more embroiled in a secretive campaign against a shifting enemy. Last month's killing of four US soldiers in a Niger ambush has thrust the issue into the spotlight, with lawmakers calling for greater transparency on what is going on in Africa. "The footprint in Africa is much bigger than the American public understands," Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said this week. The Niger ambush has also rekindled debate over the legal authorities the Pentagon uses to fight jihadist groups overseas, particularly in Africa where about 6,000 US troops are deployed across the vast continent. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this week faced...
(AFP (eng) 11/02/17)
Thousands of people have fled Cameroon's violence-hit anglophone regions into neighbouring Nigeria in recent weeks, the UN said Tuesday, adding it was preparing to help 40,000 refugees from the unrest. The UN refugee agency and Nigerian authorities have so far registered some 2,000 Cameroonians who have fled into southeastern Nigeria since October 1, while another 3,000 were awaiting registration. Even more people are believed to be trapped in forests on the Cameroonian side. "We are preparing to help up to 40,0000," UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told AFP, stressing though that the number of people fleeing into Nigeria could easily surpass that figure.
(AFP (eng) 10/31/17)
Nigeria's former president Goodluck Jonathan should be given the equivalent of $2.7 million to testify at the corruption trial of his party's former spokesman, his lawyer said on Tuesday. The money would cover costs to enable him to attend the case, Mike Ozekhome told reporters outside the Federal High Court in Abuja. Olisa Metuh is accused of fraudulently receiving 400 million naira ($1.1 million, 945,000 euros) from Jonathan's former national security advisor, Sambo Dasuki.
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria’s cabinet will be expanded to bring in “more people and fresh ideas, for the ultimate benefit of the people of Nigeria”, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday. Government officials have privately raised the prospect of Buhari reshuffling his cabinet since he returned from medical leave in Britain in August, but the presidency had not discussed any changes until Tuesday’s comments on Twitter. However, Buhari did not immediately provide any further details, nor mention any potential reshuffle of ministers’ current portfolios. The president’s relationship with his cabinet has at times been tense. It took him six months to appoint his initial team after he was inaugurated in May, 2015. Ministers have struggled to get access to Buhari...
(AFP (eng) 10/31/17)
Nigeria has agreed to pay compensation to victims of the country's civil war, 47 years after it ended, and clear former conflict zones of abandoned bombs and landmines. Court papers made available on Monday showed the government had accepted to 88 billion naira ($245 million, 210 million euros) in damages. Of that, 50 billion naira will be paid to victims in 11 states in the southeast, south and north central region, which were the epicentre of the conflict. The remainder will go towards clearing land of ordnance and the construction of schools, courts, churches and mosques.
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
ABUJA (Reuters) - A court on Monday ordered Nigeria to pay 88 billion naira ($288 million) in damages to victims of the 1967 civil war for failure to fully de-mine and clear the land of other weaponry after the end of hostilities. The ruling calls on the government to pay 50 billion naira directly to war victims in 11 states and put 38 billion naira toward de-mining and the construction of schools, courts, churches and mosques in the affected areas. A judge for the Economic Community of West African States Court of Justice ruled that there remain “large quantities” of live bombs deprived communities of farmland since the civil war ended in 1970. Sovereign states do not have to respect...
(AFP (eng) 10/31/17)
Four people, including a mother and her two children, were killed on Monday when a vehicle hit a mine planted by Boko Haram islamists near the town of Banki on the Nigerian border with Cameroon, sources told AFP. The vehicle was part of a convoy heading to Maiduguri under military escort when it hit the mine as the insurgents opened fire a "few kilometres" from the border town of Banki, they said. "The explosion killed four people including a mother and her two children while nine people were severely injured," a militia assisting the military in fighting Boko Haram in Banki told AFP. "The injured were taken to a Unicef-run health facility in Banki where they are receiving treatment," he...
(AFP (eng) 10/31/17)
At least 20 people were killed in a series of attacks in Cameroon and Nigeria on Monday, in the latest violence blamed on Boko Haram Islamists. A civilian militia member said 11 people had been "slaughtered" overnight Sunday-Monday in the village of Gouderi, in the Kolofata region of Cameroon's Far North. "Boko Haram's incursion in Gouderi was an act of revenge," said the militia member, who asked not to be identified for security reasons. "The jihadists acted after the arrest in the area of some of their colleagues," he added. Civilians were also the target of a suicide bomber at a mosque in Ajiri Yala, 15 kilometres (10 miles) north of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, in northeast Nigeria. The...
(AFP (eng) 10/31/17)
Developing economies such as Nigeria, India, Thailand and El Salvador have made the largest strides in improving their business climates while New Zealand and Singapore retained their top ranks for ease of doing business, the World Bank said Tuesday. In an annual report on 190 countries' efforts to encourage investment and job creation by cutting red tape and reforming regulations, the global lender also said Sub-Saharan Africa was again the region which saw the most progress -- but countries there varied widely in performance. "It is particularly gratifying to see that many of the reforms are being carried out in economies and sectors where they are most needed," Rita Ramalho, acting head of the bank's Global Indicators Group, said in...
(Bloomberg 10/31/17)
Russia has signed agreements with Nigeria to build and operate a nuclear power plant in the oil-rich West African nation that has a deficit of reliable power and faces security challenges by Islamist militants in the far northeast. Feasibility studies for the plant and a research center construction will include site screening, capacity, financing, and time frames of the projects, state-owned Russian nuclear company Rosatom said in an emailed statement. Representatives from the firm and the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission signed the deal. The nations in 2009 signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of the peaceful usage of nuclear technologies. Nigeria in 2015 was in talks with Rosatom to build as many as four nuclear power plants...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a good harvest and recovery in oil output in Nigeria would contribute more than half of the growth in the region this year while an uptick in mining and a better harvest in South Africa as well as a rebound in...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
Two senior Nigerian government officials have been sacked, six months after they were suspended on corruption allegations, the presidency said on Monday. The appointments of top civil servant Babachir Lawal and Ayo Oke, director-general of the National Intelligence Agency, were terminated with "immediate effect", a statement said. Both men had been suspended since April. Lawal, who as Secretary to the Government of the Federation was Nigeria's most senior public official, was accused of a contract scam for rebuilding the conflict-scarred northeast. He is alleged to have awarded deals for reconstruction in areas hit by Boko Haram's Islamist insurgency to companies in which he had a personal interest.
(Reuters (Eng) 10/30/17)
ABUJA (Reuters) - President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday sacked Nigeria’s most senior civil servant after an investigation into graft allegations, the highest profile casualty of the anti-corruption pledge that helped bring him to power. He ordered an investigation into Babachir Lawal, an ally and one of his first appointments, after lawmakers in a separate probe alleged that he inflated the value of contracts for humanitarian aid projects in parts of the northeast ravaged by Boko Haram as part of a suspected kickback scheme. “The president accepted the recommendation of the panel to terminate the appointment of Mr Lawal,” presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement. Secretary to the government of the federation Lawal, who has denied wrongdoing, did not...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
At least five people were killed on Monday when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque in northeastern Nigeria, a militia member assisting the military against Boko Haram jihadists said. The leader of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Ajiri Yala, some 15 kilometres (10 miles) north of Maiduguri, said the attack happened at about 4:30 am (0330 GMT). "A male suicide bomber disguised as a worshipper entered the mosque while people were gathering for the morning prayers," he told AFP by telephone. "He detonated his explosives. He killed five people and injured several others." Boko Haram typically never claims responsibility but has used suicide bombing as a frequent tactic in its eight-year insurgency to establish a...
(AFP (eng) 10/27/17)
Seven more bodies have been found after a Boko Haram raid on a military camp in northeast Nigeria, a security source told AFP on Friday. Militant fighters stormed the base at Sasawa village, some 45 kilometres from the Yobe state capital, Damaturu, on Tuesday, in the third such attack on the military in two weeks. The Nigerian Army has confirmed the attack and said only there were "casualties on both sides". But a military source said: "So far, 15 bodies of soldiers killed in the attack at Sasawa have been recovered, including that of an officer. "Seven more bodies were found in the course of search and rescue operations by 27 Brigade and 233 Battalion. More (soldiers) are still missing...
(AFP (eng) 10/27/17)
Muhammadu Buhari was elected as Nigeria's president on a promise to root out rampant corruption in government that has seen billions of dollars of public money stolen over decades. But since his landmark election win in 2015 he has yet to secure a high-profile conviction for graft while the main opposition accuse him of mounting a political witch-hunt. Now, a growing scandal involving an indicted civil servant has engulfed the presidency, giving Buhari's detractors fresh ammunition and raising questions about his grip on power. Last weekend, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) announced that the interior ministry had reappointed Abdulrasheed Maina to the civil service. Maina headed a task force on pension reforms during the last administration but fled...
(AFP (eng) 10/27/17)
Ibrahim Aminu launched his first clothing line eight years ago when he designed a dress for his sister. Before he knew it, the orders began flooding in and House of Kaya became the first -- and so far only -- haute couture house in conservative, mainly Muslim northern Nigeria. Lagos Fashion and Design Week, the annual festival which runs until Saturday, is in full swing. Champagne corks are popping, beer is flowing and Aminu's collection stands out. On the catwalk, where designers from across Africa are showcasing their latest collections, there are see-through dresses and models parading without bras. Necklines are sometimes so plunging, they fall below the chest. It's impossible to imagine such a sight in Aminu's home state...

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