Sunday 22 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/30/18)
Lagos, Nigeria's thriving economic capital, was on lockdown Thursday for President Muhammadu Buhari's first official visit to the city as campaigning for next year's presidential polls heats up. In front of the cameras, it was all smiles between Buhari and Bola Tinubu, a political grandee who played a pivotal role in securing the key region surrounding Lagos for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party in 2015 but has since been sidelined. Buhari, from Nigeria's mostly Muslim north, has not formally declared if he is running for re-election, but if the 75-year-old hopes to win, he will need to have the support of the prosperous southwest, and -- by extension -- Tinubu. "I'm happy to...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Nigeria's economic capital Lagos was on a lockdown Thursday as President Muhammadu Buhari makes his first official visit to the city of 22 million inhabitants since coming to power in 2015. The president rarely travels outside of Abuja, home to the government seat, and has only visited a few of Nigeria's 36 states over the past three years. For Thursday's visit, many businesses including banks, shops and markets were shut in the fifth largest economy on the continent. Hundreds of commuters and workers were stranded at bus stops to allow for a hitch-free visit, with many forced to trek several kilometres to their destinations as commercial buses were off the roads. "I left home around 5:00 am to enable me...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari received the released Dapchi girls on Friday in a meeting clouded by the absence of a Christian student still held by Boko Haram for refusing to convert to Islam. "We entered into negotiation solely to make sure that no single girl was hurt. This strategy paid off as the girls are being released without any incident," Buhari said to reporters at the presidential villa in Abuja. The girls, dressed in brightly coloured hijabs, enthusiastically sang the...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari promised on Friday to free the remaining Christian schoolgirl still held by Boko Haram, as he prepared to meet the other Dapchi students released by the Islamist militants. Buhari is to meet the girls in Abuja later on Friday, after which they will undergo medical checks and counselling similar to that given to other former captives released by Boko Haram. A total of 104 of the 110 students seized from the school in Dapchi, in the northeastern state of Yobe, on February 19 were dropped off by the jihadists on Wednesday morning. Five other girls died on the day they were abducted, while the last one...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/22/18)
KIGALI (Reuters) - Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, signaled its opposition to a continental free trade zone, saying it would defend its own businesses and industry. The $3 trillion continental free-trade zone encompassing 1.2 billion people, was accepted by 44 countries on Wednesday, but Nigeria and South Africa, the second-biggest economy, did not sign up, diminishing its impact. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Pretoria would sign up once domestic legal requirements had been satisfied. However, his Nigerian counterpart, former military...
(AFP (eng) 03/19/18)
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will not attend the African Union summit in Rwanda this week, an official statement said Sunday, in a blow to plans to launch a major free trade treaty across 54 countries. The meeting in Kigali is intended to formally launch the African Continental Free Trade Area Treaty, which Nigeria's cabinet endorsed last Wednesday. Buhari was scheduled to leave Abuja on Monday ahead of Wednesday's launch but pulled out to allow for more consultations. "Mr President will no longer be travelling to Kigali for the event because certain key stakeholders in Nigeria indicated that they had not been consulted, for which reasons they had some concerns on the provisions of the treaty," the statement said.
(AFP (eng) 03/15/18)
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday visited the northeastern town of Dapchi, nearly a month after Boko Haram militants kidnapped 110 schoolgirls in a chilling echo of the Chibok abduction four years ago. Buhari was given a red carpet welcome at the Government Girls Science and Technology College, which was attacked on February 19, before meeting parents, teachers and residents. He told them the military and security services were working around the clock to bring back the girls and vowed...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/14/18)
DAMATURU, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigeria will not rest until the last girl kidnapped by Islamist militants has been released, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Wednesday. Buhari was speaking on a visit to Yobe, the northeastern state where some 110 girls were kidnapped from their school in the town of Dapchi by suspected members of Boko Haram last month, the most high-profile mass abduction since the 2014 kidnap of more than 270 schoolgirls from Chibok. “There will be no rest till...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/14/18)
ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari sacked the head of an amnesty programme for former militants in the country’s oil and gas-producing heartland, amid allegations of graft. Funding of the former Niger Delta militants under the 2009 amnesty has been key to maintaining relative stability in the southern region and preventing attacks on energy facilities in Africa’s biggest oil producer. Crude oil sales make up two-thirds of government revenue. But attacks resumed in 2016, contributing to pushing Africa’s biggest...
(AFP (eng) 03/13/18)
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson brought his truncated maiden Africa trip to a close on Monday, promising the full backing of the United States to two countries on the frontline of the war on terror. Washington's top diplomat has been on a five-country tour of east and west Africa but was forced to cut short his visit "due to demands in (his) schedule", the State Department said. After stops in Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya, which were overshadowed by US President...
(AFP (eng) 03/12/18)
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday was to shorten his maiden tour of Africa because of work, aides said. "Due to demands in the secretary's schedule he is returning to the US one day early, after concluding official meetings in Chad and Nigeria," Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein told the press. Tillerson, making his first trip to Africa as the senior-most US diplomat, has visited Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya since last Wednesday. He is due to fly from...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
"Sir, we're going to handcuff you," a coast guard from Sao Tome tells a man accused of fishing illegally in the archipelago's waters. But the "fisherman" is really a French navy seaman disguised in a T-shirt, cap and sunglasses -- a member of an unusual multinational training exercise to combat crime in the Gulf of Guinea. Illegal fishing, piracy and hostage-taking haunt the vast bay lying off West Africa, whose coastline runs from Liberia in the west to Gabon in...
(AFP (eng) 03/05/18)
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, under fire because of mounting security threats, including Boko Haram, is to tour states worst-hit by the violence, his office said Monday. "From today, March 5, he will visit Taraba, and subsequently Benue, Yobe, Zamfara and Rivers states," the presidency said in an emailed statement. Yobe, in northeast Nigeria, is where Boko Haram abducted 110 schoolgirls in the town of Dapchi on February 19, nearly four years after a similar abduction caused global outrage. Then, more than 200 girls were seized from their boarding school in the remote town of Chibok in Borno state, bringing world-wide attention on the insurgency.
(AFP (eng) 03/02/18)
Another Boko Haram mass kidnapping has cast doubts on Nigeria's claims to have virtually defeated the jihadists, putting the government under scrutiny as elections approach next year. Heavily armed Islamist militants abducted 110 girls from their school in Dapchi, in Yobe state, northeast Nigeria, on February 19. Parallels were immediately drawn to the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014, which captured world attention and contributed to the ouster of Goodluck Jonathan. The man who defeated him in elections in 2015, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, campaigned hard on security, lambasting Jonathan's record and vowing to defeat the rebels.
(AFP (eng) 03/01/18)
A judge in Lagos on Wednesday ordered the confiscation of two multi-million-dollar penthouses in the latest seizure of assets linked to Nigeria's former oil minister. Diezani Alison-Madueke -- who was also the first female president of OPEC -- served under former president Goodluck Jonathan until 2015. She has been linked to a string of money laundering and bribery cases and investigations in several countries. Judge Mojisola Olatoregun, sitting at the Federal High Court in the city, said she had "no...
(AFP (eng) 02/24/18)
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said Nigeria had suffered a "national disaster" over girls who went missing after Boko Haram jihadists attacked their school in northeast Nigeria. "This is a national disaster. We are sorry that this could have happened," said Buhari in a statement, issued five days after the attack in the town of Dapchi, in Yobe state. "We pray that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return your missing family members. "Our government is sending more...
(AFP (eng) 02/20/18)
The treason trial of Biafran separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu resumed on Tuesday but the defendant again failed to turn up in court. The former London estate agent's populist rhetoric has tapped into lingering separatist sentiment for a breakaway state among the Igbo people who dominate the region. Prosecutor Shuaibu Labaran told the Federal High Court in Abuja that the absence of the head of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement was "frustrating the trial". Judge Binta Nyako ordered the trial of Kanu's three co-defendants without him on March 20 and prosecute him separately. Kanu, who also runs Radio Biafra, was first arrested in October 2015, sparking a wave of demonstrations...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
Nigeria's authorities need to disclose the whereabouts of pro-Biafran leader Nnamdi Kanu or risk a mass boycott of next year's election, his wife said in an interview broadcast Monday. Uchechi Kanu said her husband, who has not been seen for six months, should be "the number one issue" in the run-up to the February 2019 vote for a new president and parliament. "Where is he? You need to provide him, at least tell us where he is," she told the...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday warned about the dangers of political unrest as he met the new envoy from Togo, where there has been a wave of anti-government protests. Buhari did not specifically mention Togo as he received the newly appointed ambassador, Lene Dimban, at the presidential villa in the capital, Abuja. But according to his office, the president said "peaceful transitions" in Africa were now non-negotiable, because political crises had a drastic effect on the economy and people. The West African bloc ECOWAS was working "to prevent political transitions from snowballing into crisis so that citizens in the region can focus their energies and resources rather than trying to survive political upheavals"...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
The African Union's chairman dismissed during a visit to Beijing on Thursday a French newspaper report alleging that China had spied on the continental body as "lies" intended to derail cooperation. The report published by Le Monde in January claimed technicians at the AU's Chinese-built headquarters in the Ethiopian capital discovered last year that the contents of their computers had been regularly copied to servers in Shanghai since 2012, citing unnamed AU sources. "I don't see it is in the...

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