Monday 19 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
Five Nigerian police officers who were accused of killing Boko Haram's founder Mohammed Yusuf while in their custody have been reinstated, a police oversight body said on Monday. The officers were charged with committing a terrorist act and unlawfully killing the Islamist group's spiritual leader during days of unrest in the northeast city of Maiduguri in July 2009. The clashes, in which about 800 Boko Haram followers were killed, prompted an escalation in violence that has since left at least 20,000 dead and made over 2.6 million more homeless. A judge in Abuja in late December 2015 acquitted the police on the grounds the prosecution could not establish a case against them. The ruling attracted...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
A Catholic bishop in southern Nigeria has resigned after the Vatican failed to quell fierce objections over his nomination because he did not belong to a local clan of the Igbo ethnic group. The Vatican announced the resignation of Monsignor Peter Ebere Okpaleke on Monday, six years after Pope Francis's predecessor Benedict XVI named him to the post. Okpaleke, who hails from neighbouring Anambra state, was never able to take up the post because the priests and laypeople of the diocese insisted that their bishop belong to an Igbo clan native to Ahiara's Imo state. Pope Francis initially took a firm stand in defending the nomination, summoning Ahiara clergy to the Vatican in June last year. He demanded "obedience" and...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
Nigeria has freed another 475 Boko Haram suspects following a series of mass trials in which most cases were dropped for lack of evidence, the justice ministry said Sunday. Over the course of the week, hundreds of suspected Boko Haram extremists have appeared before a court at the Kainji military base in central Niger state. The release order was issued on Friday, with the 475 suspects to be returned to their home states for "proper rehabilitation" before being sent back...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
The BBC this week launches its new Igbo and Yoruba services in Nigeria, as part of an expansion in local languages aimed at more in-depth reporting of countries around the world. The digital-only services go live online and on social media on Monday, joining a platform for Pidgin speakers that was launched last year and has attracted widespread interest. All three are among 12 new language services set up across the world with the help of £291 million ($408 million,...
(AFP (eng) 02/17/18)
Three suicide bombers killed 19 people at a fish market in northeast Nigeria, civilian militia leaders said on Saturday, in an attack blamed on Boko Haram jihadists. Friday's deadly attacks came in the week that hundreds of Boko Haram suspects went on trial at civilian courts at a military base. One fighter involved in the 2014 abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls from the Borno state town of Chibok was jailed for 15 years. The suicide blasts happened at about...
(AFP (eng) 02/16/18)
Dozens of people were killed when an armed gang opened fire on traders and locals in northern Nigeria, residents and police said on Friday. The carnage happened in Birani village, in the Zurmi area of Zamfara state, where previous bloody clashes have been blamed on cattle rustlers and kidnapping gangs. Rural communities in the region have long been plagued by cattle thieves, who kill villagers, loot and torch homes, prompting locals to form vigilante groups to defend themselves. Police said 18 people died in the violence but according to locals more than twice as many people lost their lives. "We buried 41 people yesterday (Thursday) as a result of the attack from bandits...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/18)
Twenty-two students and their driver were Tuesday killed when their bus collided with a truck in northern Nigeria, a road safety official told AFP. The students from a public secondary school in Bauchi state were on their way to the city of Kano for an excursion when their driver lost control while trying to dodge a pothole, Kabiru Daura, spokesman for the federal road safety corps (FRSC) in Kano said. "Twenty-two students died in the crash along with their driver...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/18)
A Nigerian police officer was killed and mutilated in an attack blamed on herdsmen, a police chief said on Tuesday, in the latest violence to hit the country's contested central region. The officers were ambushed on Saturday in the Logo area of Benue state, where nomadic herders and farmers have clashed in an increasingly bloody battle over land. "One of our personnel was found brutally slaughtered with his two eyes, ears and nose removed," Benue police commissioner Fatai Owoseni told...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/18)
The prosecution only called one witness against Abba Umar. He said the defendant, if released, would likely go back to Boko Haram's hideout in Sambisa Forest in northeast Nigeria. But Umar had already done himself no favours. He had pleaded not guilty yet described himself as an "Islamic warrior" and a "commander of the Islamic army". Curious faces peered around the door or through the window to catch a glimpse of the defendant, who like the hundreds of others was...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/18)
Madu Maji sits on a bench at the cattle market in Makurdi, central Nigeria, dragging his bare feet through the dust to stave off boredom. In the pens, the few cows that remain are little more than skin and bone. "Our cows can't go grazing in the bush, they are dying now. Herdsmen don't come here anymore," said the elderly Maji, who operates the biggest cattle market in Benue state. Because of violence in recent months, only about a dozen...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/14/18)
LONDON/YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) - The Court of Appeal in London ruled on Wednesday that two Nigerian communities cannot pursue Royal Dutch Shell in English courts over oil spills in Nigeria’s Delta region. The split decision upheld a High Court ruling last year that was a setback to attempts to hold British multinationals liable at home for their subsidiaries’ actions abroad. The court rejected the appeal from law firm Leigh Day on behalf of Nigeria’s Bille and Ogale communities, and upheld...
(AFP (eng) 02/13/18)
A man involved in the 2014 kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok in northeast Nigeria has been jailed for 15 years, the government confirmed on Tuesday. The conviction of Haruna Yahaya, 35, is the first in relation to the mass abduction, which triggered global outrage and sparked a worldwide campaign for the girls' release. A total of 276 students were seized from the Government Girls Secondary School in the remote town in Borno state on the evening of...
(AFP (eng) 02/13/18)
Customs officials in Nigeria on Tuesday said they had seized banned drugs, including the powerful pain killer tramadol popular with jihadists such as Boko Haram. Nigeria Customs Service spokesman Joseph Attah said it was discovered in four containers of controlled and prohibited pharmaceuticals that arrived in Lagos from India. The head of customs at the seaport, Jubrin Musa, said the drugs were not certified by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control as they exceeded required limits...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
Hundreds of Boko Haram suspects were due back in court Monday to hear if they will be prosecuted, sentenced or released, as proceedings resumed at a military base in central Nigeria. The first major prosecutions of people arrested during the insurgency began last October, involving 1,669 suspects held at the facility in Kainji, Niger state. The justice ministry has said 468 were released after it was found they had no case to answer; 45 were sentenced to between two and...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
Jihadist group Boko Haram has released 13 hostages, including a group of oil explorers and policewomen, that it held captive for more than half a year, the Nigerian presidency said on Saturday. The three oil explorers are lecturers from Maiduguri university, in northern Borno state, who were kidnapped while searching for oil in July last year. Their exploration team was ambushed by Boko Haram in an attack that killed at least 69 people, one of the bloodiest assaults of 2017...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/18)
Three people were shot dead in central Nigeria, police said on Friday, with suspicion falling on cattle herders after a wave of communal violence that has heaped pressure on the government to act. Unknown gunmen opened fire on the men on Thursday evening in Anyiin, in the Logo area of Benue state, where early last month more than 80 people were killed. Benue state police chief Fatai Owoseni said the identity of the gunmen had not yet been established. But...
(AFP (eng) 02/09/18)
A Nigerian government official found with 86 new luxury cars was charged with fraud on Thursday, court papers show. Ibrahim Tumsah, finance and account director at the Power, Works and Housing Ministry was arraigned at Abuja Federal High Court along with his brother Tijani Tumsah, a member of a presidential committee on initiatives in the country's north east. Both were accused of "refusing" to declare the assets "without reasonable excuse" and after being given notice by a special presidential investigation panel tasked with the recovery of public property. Besides the cars, their assets include four houses and a quarry plant in Abuja.
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
The UN on Thursday said more than $1 billion in funding was needed this year to help millions of people affected by Boko Haram's Islamist insurgency in northeast Nigeria. The humanitarian co-ordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said "life-saving emergency assistance to the most vulnerable" in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states was the "immediate priority". Funding would also go towards improving the quality of programmes already in place and increasing the ability of local agencies to respond in the longer term,...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
Six children drowned when two boats collided and capsized in northwest Nigeria, the emergency services said on Wednesday. A passenger boat on the River Niger collided head-on with another vessel carrying onions to a market in the fishing town of Yauri in Kebbi state on Tuesday evening. Sani Dodo, head of the Kebbi state emergency management agency, told AFP: "We have recovered six bodies of children -- five boys and a girl between the ages of five and eight. "Sixty passengers were rescued and 13 of them have been taken to hospital for treatment from various injuries."
(AFP (eng) 02/07/18)
Nigeria's army on Wednesday said it would send troops into the country's volatile central states to quell violence between farmers and herders that has killed hundreds in recent weeks. Major General David Ahmadu said the deployment from February 15 would crack down on "herdsmen/farmers clashes and attacks on innocent members of our communities, particularly in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa state by armed militias". The operation will also target "armed banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling" in Kaduna and Niger, plus other crimes in Kogi, he added. Ahmadu, who is the army's head of training and operations, said criminal activities had "continued unabatedly in these states despite the efforts ...

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