Tuesday , 16 July 2019
Latest
Home » Tag Archives: NIgeria

Tag Archives: NIgeria

BREAKING: Nigeria beats South Africa 2-1..through to semis

Nigeria has defeated South Africa in a gruelling match ..2-1 to qualify for the Semi Finals of the African Cup of Nations football competition holding in Egypt.

Details later

Senate demands investigation into death of CIIN boss, other Nigerians killed in South Africa

 

The Senate, on Wednesday, called on the South African government to investigate the death of Elizabeth Ndibuisi-Chukwu and other Nigerian citizens who have died in suspicious circumstances in South Africa.

The Senate also urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue travel alerts to Nigerians travelling to South Africa.

The call was made after the lawmakers deliberated on a point of order by the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, on the need to investigate the death of Mrs Ndibuisi-Chukwu.

Mrs Ndibuisi-Chukwu was the Deputy Director-General of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN). She was allegedly murdered at Emperor’s Palace Hotel and Convention Centre, South Africa on June 13 where she lodged.

She was attending the conference of the African Insurance Organisation (AIO). Initially, it was suspected that she died of cardiac arrest.

In his lead, Mr Abaribe said the insinuation that she died of cardiac arrest was proved wrong following the autopsy report released on June 20 by the South African Department of Home Affairs which indicated in a death certificate that the death was unnatural and suspected to be murder.

He said the suspicion that she could have been murdered was further confirmed in a separate document issued by the South Africa, Department of Health on June 27 where it corroborated the autopsy report and revealed that she was strangled.

“In a curious twist, the hotel allegedly was reluctant to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies to unravel the circumstances surrounding her death. This is not the first time Nigerians have died in suspicious circumstances in South Africa,” he said.

More in News

Senate asks foreign airlines to provide records of Nigerians in their employment

Senate to liaise with Reps over Edo Assembly Crisis

Mob kills man wrongly accused of stealing phone, throws body into lagoon

Buhari may appoint ministers this week – Senate President

Two IMN members allegedly killed, police officers shot as Shiites protest at National Assembly
Lawmakers who took turns to condemn the incident stressed the need for prompt investigation. Some senators also suggested that the South African Ambassador and the Nigerian Consulate be summoned for an explanation.

Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP, Anambra) urged the Senate to invite representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to explain how much investigation has been done. He also asked the Senate to send a “strongly-worded” letter to the South African government seeking details of Nigerians that have been killed in the country.

On his part, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, recalled that a similar issue was debated in the eight Senate and an ad-hoc committee sent to visit South Africa with a message that Nigeria as a country was tired of the killings.

“We believe that the relationship between the two countries must be better. There must be respect for each other.

“South African businesses flourish more than most Nigerian businesses. South Africans are safe and are protected in Nigeria. There is no need for any South African to take the life of a Nigerian or any citizen. Nigeria is a frontline state. We deserve respect and understanding.

“Our next set of contingents in the Pan-African Parliament must ensure that this issue is brought to the fore. We don’t take the law into our hands in the word of retaliation but we should not be taken for granted. We have taken these killings for too long and we are not going to take it anymore,” he said.

The Senate commended the federal government for its prompt action in seeking South Africa’s explanation of the death of Mrs Ndubuisi and urged the government not to relent in its efforts to unravel the circumstances of her unfortunate demise.

Nigeria beat Cameroon 3-2, qualify for quarter-finals

Odion Ighalo scored twice and teed up Alex Iwobi’s winning goal as Nigeria eliminated defending Africa Cup of Nations champions Cameroon after a thrilling 3-2 victory in Alexandria on Saturday.

China-based forward Ighalo bundled home a scrappy opener but Clarence Seedorf’s Cameroon hit back through Stephane Bahoken and Clinton Njie with two quick-fire goals before half-time.

Nigeria drew level as Ighalo volleyed in his second just past the hour and he then turned provider to play in Iwobi to steer home three minutes later and set up the prospect of a highly anticipated quarter-final clash with hosts and favourites Egypt.

AFCON 2019: INigeria faces Cameroon in round of 16

Nigeria will confront Cameroon in one of the Round of 16 matches of the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations finals ongoing in Egypt.

Nigeria who finished second will now meet second placed Ghana from Group F in Alexandria on Saturday by 5pm Nigeria time.

This fixture was accomplished on Tuesday evening after a 0-0 draw with Benin Republic, and Ghana’s 2-0 defeat of Guinea Bissau.

Cameroon defeated Nigeria in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 1984, 1988 and 2000, but most painful for the Super Eagles was that agonizing penalty shoot-out loss in front of home fans at the National Stadium, Lagos on February 13, 2000.

In 2004, Jay Jay Okocha spearheaded a sweet 2-1 defeat of then Cup holders (as they are now) Cameroon in a quarter final match at the Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet in Monastir, Tunisia.

In the 2018 FIFA World Cup African qualifying series, the Super Eagles lashed the Lions 4-0 in Uyo and were forced to a 1-1 draw in Yaounde.

Nigeria and Cameroon share eight African titles between them.

While the Indomitable Lions have won five times (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002 and 2017), Nigeria were champions in 1980, 1994 and 2013.

Saturday’s game is indeed a titanic battle, and the Super Eagles would be expected to pick themselves up from Sunday’s stunning defeat by Madagascar and battle the bitter rivals the way they should.

Uproar as UK agency says Nigerians respect wealthy prostitutes

The Home Office, a UK ministerial department responsible for immigration, says trafficked women from Nigeria who get wealthy from prostitution are held in high esteem upon their return to the country.

In the June edition of its country policy on the trafficking of women in Nigeria, it said: “Nigeria is a source, transit and destination country for the trafficking of women and girls for forced labour and sexual exploitation”.

Making reference to the 2018 UK annual report on modern slavery published by the Home Office, it said Nigeria is the 5th most common country of origin of potential victims of modern slavery.

It said while the victims are subjected to reprisals when they return home, those who get wealthy “enjoy high social-economic status”.

The statement irked members of parliament and anti-trafficking/anti-slavery activists in the UK who berated the department, asking it to tender an apology.

“Some female victims of trafficking who return to Nigeria may be subject to reprisals or re-trafficking, particularly those who have been trafficked for sexual exploitation and have an outstanding debt to traffickers,” the report read.

“The person’s family may also be subject to intimidation, threats and attacks. In some cases, a person’s family or community may have been complicit in the trafficking or put pressure on them to pay any outstanding debt or provide an income, which may raise the risk of her being re-trafficked. A person may also be shunned by her family and experience societal discrimination and stigmatisation.

“However trafficked women who return from Europe, wealthy from prostitution, enjoy high social-economic status and in general are not subject to negative social attitudes on return. They are often held in high regard because they have improved income prospects.”

But Charlotte Proudman, a human rights lawyer, said home office’s report is different from what she has seen while defending women in immigration courts.

According to her, most of the women are destitute and are often rejected by their family, while asking home office to issue an apology.

“The Home Office’s deplorable policy on the trafficking of women in Nigeria shows the hostility that women victims face in claiming asylum in the UK. Suggesting that trafficked women are wealthy and enjoy a [high] socioeconomic status is fundamentally wrong,” The Guardian quoted her as saying.

“The women that I represent in immigration courts often suffer from PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] and are always destitute. They have usually been raped repeatedly and beaten and their family have disowned them. Some even face the risk of violent reprisals on return home. The abuse they experience is akin to slavery.

“The picture painted by the Home Office is far from reality and serves only to further myths about prostitution and sex trafficking. The policy will no doubt encourage decision-makers on behalf of the home secretary to refuse even more asylum claims.

“The Home Office needs to issue an apology and immediately amend the policy.”

AFCON 2019: Madagascar beat Nigeria to top group B

Madagascar pulled off one of the great shocks of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after defeating the Super Eagles of Nigeria to finish top of group B.

The newcomers, who had never scored against the Super Eagles, defeated the three-time champions 2-0 on Sunday at the Alexandria Stadium to advance to the knockout stages.

The Super Eagles had the bigger share of possession and had an effort on goal in the early stages.

Odion Ighalo was fouled metres away from the box. Ahmed Musa took the free kick which went off target.

The Indian Ocean islanders raced in front after a mix up at the back in the 12th minute. Leon Balogun was slow to John Ogu’s diagonal pass and Lalaina Nomenjanahary stole the ball, rounded past goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa before firing to the empty net.

The Eagles surged forward in numbers and searched for the equalizer. Samuel Kalu tried a shot from the edge of the box but his effort went inches wide.

Musa also wasted the chance to equalize. Oghenekaro Etebo stole the ball near the Madagascar box, his pass found Ahmed Musa who couldn’t score.

It was 1-0 in favour of Madagascar at halftime.

Madagascar scored their second goal from a free kick in the 52nd minute through Carolus Andriamatsinoro.

Substitute Wilfred Ndidi tried a shot from inside the box but the goalkeeper saved it.

Madagascar finished top of the group in their first ever appearance at the AFCON while Nigeria qualified as runners-up.

 

AFCON 2019: Rohr makes five changes as Super Eagles face Madagascar

Coach Gernot Rohr has rung five changes in the Super Eagles’ line-up as the three-time African champions look forward to a Group B encounter against Madagascar in the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.

Both sides clash at the Alexandria Stadium with contrasting pictures in their heads before kick-off.

Nigeria are comfortable and already have a ticket into the round 16 with six points from their first two matches in the group phase, while Madagascar have four points and must record a positive result to be sure of a place in the last 16.

Super Eagles coach Rohr will deploy 4-2-3-1 formation against the well-organised Madagascar team.

Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong will play as centre-backs while Ola Aina and Chidozie Awaziem will operate as left and right backs respectively.

John Obi Mikel, Oghenekaro Etebo and John Ogu are the three midfielders named for the game.

Odion Ighalo will lead the line for the Eagles and will be ably supported by Samuel Kalu and Ahmed Musa.

Nigeria’s six points have come from wins over Burundi and Guinea.

 

AFCON 2019: Rohr makes five changes as Super Eagles face Madagascar

Airtel to sell shares to Nigerians at N454 per share

Airtel Africa Plc, the second largest telecommunications group in Africa is set to sell its shares to Nigerian investors at between N363 and N454 per share.

The company in an offer prospectus obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos said the shareholders’ offer was part of its global offer to raise 750 million dollars.

The company said the shares would be offered to high networth investors and institutional investors through book building.

Book building is a process used by companies to raise capital through public offerings, both initial public offers (IPOs) or follow-on public offers (FPOs), to aid price and demand discovery.

The offer price is determined after the bid closure based on the demand generated in the process.

It said the company’s shares would be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and London Stock Exchange (LSE) after the book building.

NAN reports that the company plans to offer 501.125 million and 716.406 million shares to Nigerians.

The directors, according to the prospectus, believes that offering the shares in Nigeria and listing on the NSE would encourage operational discipline through the establishment of an independent capital structure and governance framework following the successful turnaround of the Group’s operations.

It added that it would introduce an optimal capital structure and enable improved leverage for greater flexibility in pursuing growth opportunities going forward.

The prospectus stated that listing on the exchange would provide access to the capital markets and diversification of the Group’s capital base to support its continued growth.

The company noted that the net proceeds of the offer would principally be for debt reduction.

The issuing houses for the offer are Barclays Securities Nigeria and Quantum Zenith Securities Investments Limited.

It said the application had been made to the NSE for the Ordinary Shares to be admitted to the official list of the NSE.

“An application for the Ordinary Shares of the Company to be listed on the official list will be done pursuant to the cross-border listing requirements of the NSE.

“It is expected that the Nigerian Admission will become effective on 4 July 2019 and that unconditional dealings in the Ordinary Shares will commence on The NSE on 4 July 2019.

“The Nigerian offer is subject to the satisfaction of conditions, which are customary for transactions of this type including Nigerian Admission becoming effective on 4 July 2019.

“There shall be no underwriting arrangement for this offering,” it said.

NAN reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on June 18, confirmed that the company had filed an application for listing on the exchange.

A senior management source who pleaded anonymity confirmed the development to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He noted that the application was filed by the company this June, adding that, the commission was presently looking at it in line with its rules and regulations.

The source said SEC would continue to protect the interest of investors in the market in line with its mandate to regulate and develop the capital market.

Insecurity: 154 killed, nine kidnapped in separate attacks across Nigeria last week

At least 154 people were killed in different attacks across Nigeria last week. Another nine people were kidnapped in separate incidents, according to Newspaper reports.

The various attacks were confirmed by the security agencies or families of the victims. They were perpetrated by various non-state actors including the Boko Haram and suspected armed herdsmen.

According to a Premium Times review, the various reported attacks across the country last week were as follows:

Sunday:

Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto attended the funeral of 25 persons killed in an attack by bandits.

The presidency had announced the death of “scores of people” in the attack in “three communities in Rabah Local Government Area (LGA) of Sokoto State.”

The statement by Garba Shehu, who signed as President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesperson, stated that Mr Buhari “expressed deep shock and sadness” over the incident.

The bandits who were in large numbers raided Kalhu, Tsage and Geeri villages near Gandi.

The attackers were said to have engaged in indiscriminate shooting from around 5 p.m. on Saturday till early Sunday morning, after which they carted away hundreds of cows, sheep and other valuables.

Also, some students of Plateau State University were attacked by suspected herdsmen on Sunday, killing one undergraduate and raping another female.

In a separate incident, a woman, Olawumi Adeleye, and her stepson, Destiny Paul, were abducted on the Airport Road, in Osi town in Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State.

The victims were said to have been kidnapped by armed persons on their way from church on Sunday evening.

According to a family member, suspected herdsmen blocked the road with cows, forcing the victims, who were in a Lexus car, to stop. They were thereafter abducted and taken to an unknown destination by the bandits.

A family source stated that after some hours, the kidnappers contacted the woman’s husband and demanded N10 million ransom.

Also, the Ebonyi State Police Command confirmed the killing of two children in the Umuogoakpu-Ngbo community, Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state, by yet-to-be-identified persons.

The assailants attacked the family of Benjamin Oke and butchered his seven-year-old son, Chinonso, and his other four-year-old son, Chukwudi, in the presence of their mother on Sunday.

The Ebonyi State Police Command’s spokesperson, Loveth Odah, said two persons were arrested in connection with the incident.

Tuesday

The Ondo State Police Command, on Tuesday, arrested a herdsman, who was said to be among a team of kidnappers, who attempted to abduct the monarch of Osi in Akure North Local Government Area of the state, David Olajide.

On the same day, gunmen stormed Rigasa Community of Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State and abducted four women including a nursing mother.

The police later said all victims apart from the nursing mother had been rescued.

Also, the village head of Garin Labo in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State was also abducted at about 1 p.m. on his farm.

Wednesday

Gunmen on Wednesday attacked travellers on the Ife-Ibadan Expressway at Ikire and shot dead an employee of the Atakumosa West Local Government Area of Osun State, Samson Adenipekun.

The deceased was travelling to Ibadan, Oyo State, in an unregistered Toyota Corolla car driven by one Ismaila Olayiwola, when the incident happened.

The gunmen fired shots at the vehicle, one of which hit Mr Adenipekun in the head.

Also, the police in Ekiti State confirmed beheading of a lady in Ilasa Ekiti, Ekiti East Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday, by a herder believed to be the deceased’s husband.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Caleb Ikechukwu, who confirmed the killing, said the suspect had been arrested while investigations into the incident had commenced.

On same day, a Nigerian Army lieutenant colonel and at least 20 other soldiers were killed in action after Boko Haram insurgents attacked a military formation in Borno State on Wednesday.

 

The 158 Task Force Battalion in Mobba Local Government Area came under attack by the rampaging terrorists as the country was celebrating its new Democracy Day on June 12.

Several casualties, including human and equipment, were reportedly inflicted on the military during the firefight. The Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Thursday

Gunmen in the early hours of Thursday kidnapped the wife of the State Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Abigail Gambo.

The Polic Public Relations Officer in Taraba State, David Misal, confirmed the report.

The spokesperson also said Emeka Okoronkwo, the Chief Executive Officer of Our Nation Bread company, was also abducted from his house at Magami area of Jalingo around 1:00 a.m on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, no fewer than 70 people were confirmed killed by bandits that attacked eight communities in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.

The invasion of various communities started last Sunday and spread gradually to other villages, unabated.

Friday:

At least 34 people were killed after suspected bandits attacked three villages in Shinkafi local government of Zamfara State on Friday.

The affected villages are Gidan Wawo-Katuru, Tungar Kaho-Galadi and Kyalido-Katuru.

The attackers reportedly came on motorcycles, set many houses on fire and shot at those within their sight.

Mohammed Shehu, the police spokesperson in Zamfara, confirmed the attack but said normalcy had been restored in the villages.

Nigeria sold crude oil worth N85trn in 5 years

Nigeria made about N85 trillion ($236.2 billion) from oil between 2014 and 2018, the 54th edition of Annual Statistical Bulletin by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has revealed.

The revenue earned in the five-year period is almost 10 times the 2019 budget of N8.91 trillion signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in May.

The figure puts Nigeria in 6th place and the highest oil revenue earner in Africa among the 14 OPEC member countries surveyed in the report.

The highest revenue in the review period was N27.1 billion ($75.2 million) recorded in 2014, followed by 2018, when N19.6 billion ($54.5 million) was earned.

N14.8 billion ($41.2 million), N9.8 billion ($27.3 million) and N13.7 billion ($38 million) were earned in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Saudi Arabia topped the earners table with $194.4 billion followed by United Arab Emirates’ $74.9 billion, Iraq’s $68.2 billion, Iran’s $60.2 billion and Kuwait’s $58.4 billion.

On volume of crude oil exported, the report said OPEC member countries sold an average of 24.67 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2018, a slight increase of about 14,000 b/d, or 0.1 %, compared to 2017.

The bulk of sales were made to countries in Asia and the Pacific, followed by Europe and the least exports to North America.

According to the OPEC bulletin, Nigeria’s daily crude oil production in 2018 was 1.601 million b/d, a 4.3% increase from the 1.535 million b/d recorded in 2017.

The largest oil producer in Africa had agreed to cap its output at 1.685 million b/d after reaching agreements with OPEC in January to regulate oil supply in order to drive up prices.

Some other reports have however said Nigeria has been producing above the OPEC quota, although the output still falls short of the 2.3 million b/d target the 2019 budget is benchmarked against.

According to S&P Global Platts survey, Nigeria’s production in May was 1.86 million b/d, a drop from the 1.95 million b/d recorded in April.

This could mean a reduction in estimated revenues for 2019 budget, especially if oil prices remain at the benchmark $60 per barrel or falls in 2019.

UN alarmed over rising insecurity in Nigeria

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has expressed concerns over the deteriorating state of security especially in the north-western parts of country which according to them has forced an estimated 20,000 people to seek safety and security in Niger since April.

Addressing a press briefing yesterday at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, the UNHCR spokesperson, Babar Baloch, said the UN Refugee Agency is working closely with authorities in Niger to provide basic assistance as well as register the new arrivals as over 18,000 people have already gone through the initial registration process so far.

According to a statement from the office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the latest upsurge in violence in the north-western parts of Nigeria is not only linked to Boko Haram but due to multiple reasons, including clashes between farmers and herders of different ethnic groups and many more.

“Recent spike in violence in north-western parts of Nigeria has forced an estimated 20,000 people to seek safety and security in Niger since April.

“People are reportedly fleeing due to multiple reasons, including clashes between farmers and herders of different ethnic groups, vigilantism, as well as kidnappings for ransom in Nigeria’s Sokoto and Zamfara States.

“People leaving Nigeria, and arriving in Niger’s Maradi Region, speak of witnessing extreme violence unleashed against civilians, including machete attacks, kidnappings and sexual violence. The majority of the new arrivals are women and children.

He noted that the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency has already spilled over into Niger, where it has affected its Diffa region since 2015, adding that Niger has continued to be a leading regional example in providing safety to refugees fleeing conflict and persecution in many countries.

“The region currently hosts almost 250,000 displaced people – including refugees from Nigeria and locals being displaced inside their own country.

“Niger continues to be a leading regional example in providing safety to refugees fleeing conflict and persecution in many countries. It has kept its borders open for refugees despite the ongoing violence in several regions bordering Nigeria, Mali and recently Burkina Faso.

“Many of the newly arrived are located very close to the Nigerian border, where there remains a high risk of armed incursions. UNHCR with sister UN agencies and partners is discussing with the government the possibility of relocating them into local towns and villages further in land.

“As well as providing aid to Nigerian new arrivals, UNHCR also plans to support host families, who despite lack of adequate resources and access to basic services, have always shown solidarity towards the displaced and welcomed people into their homes.

“Since the beginning of 2018, violence within the Diffa region perpetrated by elements of Boko Haram has also significantly escalated with a record number of civilian casualties and unprecedented secondary movements within the region.”

Furthermore, Baloch revealed that Niger is currently hosting over 380,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Mali and Nigeria as well as its own internally displaced population, adding that the country has also provided refuge to some 2,782 asylum seekers airlifted from insecurity in Libya, while awaiting durable solutions.

Nigeria shouldn’t bring its problem to AU, says Obasanjo on AfCTA

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says the African Free Continental Trade Area (AfCTA) agreement will not be hindered by Nigeria’s reluctance to sign up to the process.

Obasanjo spoke in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the opening session of the stakeholders’ dialogue on continental trade and strengthening the implementation of the AfCTA.

The dialogue was organised by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA).

The former president was reacting to concerns raised by one of the discussants, on the need for stakeholders to look into the implications of AfCTA without Nigeria, the continent’s biggest economy.

He said Nigeria should resolve its “domestic problems” and not bring such to the AU.

Nigeria, Benin and Eritrea are the only countries on the continent yet to sign the AfCTA agreement.

The agreement has, however, achieved the minimum number of ratification, 22 countries, needed for its implementation.

Obasanjo, who recalled that Nigeria took over the processes leading to the AfCTA agreement from Egypt, wondered why it suddenly halted signing the agreement.

“It is nobody’s fault if your country cannot resolve its domestic problem,” Obasanjo said.

“If you (Nigeria) is not signing the agreement, it is unfortunate. AfCTA will go on without Nigeria. You will recall that this is the first time since 1976 that Nigeria is not at the table of a major continental process. Nigeria should settle its problem at home and not bring it to the AU.”

Obasanjo also said feelers from the AfCTA remain positive, adding that meetings would be extended to other stakeholders, including Africa’s central banks, customs and security agencies.

He said the removal of trade barriers does not mean the removal of other statutory agencies at various national border posts.

He, however, commended the issuance of visas at the point of entry by some African countries, saying the gesture was a positive step in the direction towards the movement of people across the continent.

AfCFTA is a trade agreement between 49 AU member states, with the goal of creating a single market followed by free movement and a single-currency union.

The AfCTA is expected to help African countries eliminate high tariffs and enhance intra-African trade.

The Gambia was the 22nd country to ratify the agreement, a year after it was first introduced while Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, has not reached a decision on its participation in the agreement.

President Muhammadu Buhari had backed out saying the country he could not sign agreements without understanding the terms.

“Already, some of the treaties we are party to have been significantly abused, resulting in massive smuggling which has crippled many of our local industries and destroyed millions of jobs,” Buhari had said.

“To avoid these past mistakes, we conducted vast consultations across the country in which the LCCI participated. The responses have been mixed.”

FG shuts its missions in Czech, Sri Lanka, Serbia

The Federal Government has closed three of the nation’s foreign missions and reduced the number of staff in Ukraine “due to insufficient funds”.

Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja while speaking on activities of the ministry in the last three years.

He said the countries where Nigeria closed its missions are Sri Lanka, Czech Republic and Republic of Serbia while Ukraine was drastically downsized.

Before the closure, Nigeria had 119 foreign missions.

Onyeama added that the reduction of Nigeria’s foreign missions remains one of the agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

He explained that the closure of the missions was occasioned by inability of the ministry to maintain them due to insufficient funds.

“Every embassy has written to us about their huge financial demands and when we go to these embassies we see clearly very unattractive state that does not reflect well on the country,” he said.

“Very often the staff of the embassy really find things extremely difficult. Clearly, if we want to operate on the scale and scope in which we are at the moment with over a 100 missions around the world, we need to spend a lot more.”

He said though Nigeria has spent a lot, it was not enough, compared to what other countries around the world spend

“What I am saying is that rather than having this terrible circle of inadequate funding for missions, headquarters and so forth we have to reduce the scope,” he said.

“We should have foreign missions that we can fund, we might not necessarily close the embassies per se, it might be reducing the number of staff in the embassies.

“Because what we found out is that it is more expensive to close the embassies than operating them.”

In April, Mustapha Suleiman, permanent secretary of the ministry of foreign affairs, had said there was no budgetary provision for 80 foreign missions.

He said there was a 64 percent cut on the capital votes proposed for the missions in the 2019 budget, when compared to the N11.3 billion earmarked in 2018.

US charges man who brokered $2b illegal arms deal with Dasuki

Ara Dolarian, the illegal arms dealer contracted by Col. Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria during the Goodluck Jonathan administration, has been charged to court by the government of the United States of America for allegedly brokering the sale of arms and munitions to the Nigerian government without acquiring compulsory US Department of Commerce and Investment licenses.

According to Sahara Reporters, Dolarian who is 58, is also charged with conspiracy and money laundering, the Attorney’s Office said.

On the 6th of October 2014, the South African government confisticated US$5.7 million arms money from Nigeria, nearly three weeks after seizing $9.3 million in cash transported by two Nigerians and an Israeli for arms purchase allegedly brokered by Dolarian.

The transaction was between Cerberus Risk Solutions, an arms broker in Cape Town, and Societe D’Equipments Internationaux, said to be a French/Nigerian company based in Abuja contracted by the office of the national security adviser.

The money is part a $2 billion arms deal by the federal government which was embezzled by the office of the National Security Adviser under the leadership of Colonel Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser.

The money which was transported in a private plane with US registration number N808HG and owned by popular Nigerian Pastor, Ayo Oritsejafor, was designated for the purchase of helicopters, unmanned aircraft, rockets and ammunition.

A criminal complaint filed against Dolarian on Monday in the US, alleged that he attempted to broker an $8.5 million transfer of bombs, rockets, military-grade firearms and aircraft-mounted cannons from Eastern Europe and South Africa to the government of Nigeria in the 2013-14 period.

Dolarian, without certification from the US government accepted approximately $8.3 million from Societe D’Equipments Internationaux, SEI, a French arms brokering company acting on behalf of Nigeria, and from the Nigerian National Security Advisor’s office, through a purported Hong Kong-based furniture company.

Reports show that the money was routed to several shell accounts held by Dolarian and his associates, the US attorney claims, and were immediately used by the arms dealer to pay off his federal and state tax debts and buy a sports utility vehicle.

Dolarian faces 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine if he is convicted of unlicensed arms deals. He could also receive five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy, and a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 for money laundering, the indictment says.

In Nigeria, however, apart from Col. Sambo Dasuki who was arrested and detained on 1 December 2015 by the Department of State Security Services, others connected to the deal such as Chief Raymond Dokpesi, chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, Attahiru Bafarawa, the former Governor of Sokoto State, and Bashir Yuguda, the former Minister of State for Finance have all been granted bail with no real milestones or move to convict them despite overwhelming evidence.

Facebook bans Israeli firm ‘using fake accounts’ to post news about Nigeria

Facebook has banned Archimedes Group, an Israeli company, for using fake accounts and pages to post political news about Nigeria.

Archimedes Group is a political consulting and lobbying firm that boasts of its ability of wining elections worldwide.

In a post, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy,  explained that the accounts and pages were identified through “internal investigations”.

He accused firm of coordinated inauthentic behaviour, saying so far, Facebook has removed 265 fake accounts.

“Today we removed 265 Facebook and Instagram accounts, Facebook Pages, Groups and events involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Gleicher said.

This activity originated in Israel and focused on Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger and Tunisia along with some activity in Latin America and Southeast Asia. 

“The people behind this network used fake accounts to run pages, disseminate their content and artificially increase engagement. They also represented themselves as locals, including local news organizations, and published allegedly leaked information about politicians. The Page administrators and account owners frequently posted about political news, including topics like elections in various countries, candidate views and criticism of political opponents.

“Although the individuals behind this network attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found that some of this activity was linked to an Israeli commercial entity, Archimedes Group. It has repeatedly violated our misrepresentation and other policies, including by engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior. This organization and all its subsidiaries are now banned from Facebook, and it has been issued a cease and desist letter.”

Facebook said it is constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because it does not want its services to be used to manipulate people.

Assuring its users of its commitment to continually improving to stay ahead, the social media giant said it is investing heavily in building better technology, hiring more people and working more closely with law enforcement, security experts and other companies.

In February, Facebook had partnered with Dubawa, a fact-checking website in Nigeria, to help assess the accuracy of news and reduce the spread of misinformation.

Trade by barter still thriving in Nigerian community

The Esuk Mba community market in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River is still practising trade by barter as a means of exchange for food items since it was established in 1956.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the market, which is located in a remote village in Esuk Mba in Akpabuyo, is a weekly market that starts from 7.am in the morning and ends at noon every Saturday.

Villagers usually move their consumable items to the market in exchange for the ones they are in need of.

This practice had been in peaceful existence among members of the community on every market day since 1956.

The Community’s Youth Leader, Mr Asuquo Effiong, said the market which serves as a tourists site to visitors, was in dire need of a facelift.

He said that the practice was still in existence because the market was handed over to them by their fore fathers; hence they cherish and preserve it.

According to him, the market is also significant because it was also a point of activities during the period of the slave trade in Nigeria.

“We grew up to meet this market. We hold it so much in high esteem and we want to sustain it. We use it to remember our fore-fathers and to sustain our culture.

“As you can see, they are varieties of food items on this section for exchange. In this market, you can bring your palm oil and exchange it for garri, yam, fish or plantain as the case may be.

“The market is close to the river side and our people here are predominantly fishermen. The community is not comfortable with the size of this market; there have been no expansion of the market since inception.

“In addition, we don’t have any good school here, no portable drinking water and health post. We need government intervention in this community,’’ he said.

A market woman, Mrs Eno Etim, who brought in yams for exchange for palm oil, said that the tradition had been with them for ages.

According to Etim, she had no palm oil in her house, hence she brought in four tubers of yam to exchange for a four litre of palm oil.

Also, Mrs Grace Okon brought in periwinkle, popularly called `mfi’ in Calabar language for exchange for garri.

She said that system has helped them over the years to safe cost in view of the scarce financial resources.

NAN observed that the most of the roofs in the thatched houses inside the market had already fallen off, while the woods that usually give the houses a standing position were lying on the ground.

A youth in the village, Mr Cyril Asuquo, who conducted NAN Correspondent through the slave trade route behind the market, up to the creeks where the slaves were been transported through the sea to other countries, said the route was called a `Point of no Return’.

He explained to NAN that the bank of the creeks was called a `Point of no Return’ because any slave that ever got to that point never came back to their families.

“This route is the Point of no Return as we heard from our fore-fathers; it used to be a slavery ground. When they take you to this point as a slave, it means no mercy, no return.

“We lost our fathers, mothers and relatives that were taken through this point. But in all, we thank God that the practice of slavery has been abolished,’’ he said.

Asuquo who also showed NAN the thatched house that used to serve as a resting point for the slave after a long distance trekking, urged the state government to make the spot a tourism site. (NAN)

Nigeria’s population hits 201 million: UNFPA

With an average population growth of 2.6 per cent between 2010 and 2019, Nigeria now has a population of about 201 million.

The United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) unveiled this estimate in its 2019 State of the World Population report.

The report said that Nigeria’s population grew by about 5 million people from 2018 when the country’s population was 195.9 million.

The country has witnessed a population growth from 54.7 million in 1969 to 105.4 million in 1994 and 201.0 million in 2019.

According to UNFPA, the age distribution of 15-64 years is the highest population composition in the country with 54% of Nigerians falling between the age range.

Forty four per cent of Nigerians are within the age distribution 0-14 while 32% of the population is between 10 and 24 years and a paltry 3% are 65 and above.

The low percentage of those within the 65 and above age distribution is not entirely surprising with the life expectancy of Nigeria at 55 years old, one of the lowest across the world.

However, the estimate of life expectancy is higher than that given by the National Population Commission. Its chairman, Alhaji Hassan Bashir told the 52nd Session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development in New York early this month that the overall life expectancy of Nigeria stands at 52.2 years.

He said Nigerians “60 years and over currently represents less than five per cent of the entire population, while overall life expectancy is 52.2 years”.

The UNFPA report indicates a slight drop in the fertility rate from 2018’s 5.4 births per woman to 5.3 births per woman. It continues the trend of dropping fertility rate over the years from 6.3 in 1994 to 5.3 in 2019.

The World population grew to 7.7 billion in 2019 while the life expectancy rate is 72 years.

UNFPA supports reproductive health care for women and youth across the world.

The report also indicated that 51% of women aged 15-49 years who are married (or in union) make decisions on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.

UNFPA has also committed to its agenda 2030. The bold agenda of UNFPA seeks to protect and promote human rights.

“Leave no one behind and reach the furthest behind first; strengthen link between development, humanitarian action & sustaining peace; reduce risks and vulnerabilities and build resilience.

“Ensure gender-responsive approaches at all levels of programming and Improve accountability, transparency and efficiency.’’

According to UNFPA, “it is important that we act now. A bold agenda requires bold action. To achieve these objectives, we must work together to leave no one behind.’’

Ngige: We have enough doctors, those who want to work abroad can go

Dr. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Productivity, says there is nothing wrong with doctors leaving Nigeria as the country has “more than enough” medical personnel.

Speaking during a Channels TV programme on Wednesday, the minister defended the doctors searching for green pastures elsewhere, saying “if you have surplus, you export.”

Ngige’s comment comes weeks after Saudi officials stormed Nigeria to recruit medical doctors, an opportunity that was highly sought for.

One of the programme anchors had asked him if he was worried about the rate doctors leave Nigeria to which he responded: “No, I am not worried (about doctors leaving the country). We have surplus. If you have surplus, you export.

“It happened some years ago here. I was taught chemistry and biology by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.

“There are surplus in their country and we also have surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. In my area, we have excess.

“Who said we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough. You can quote me. There is nothing wrong in them travelling out.”

Ngige, who himself is a doctor, added that the medical personnel relocating from Nigeria also contribute to the country’s foreign exchange earnings, and that some of them do set up medical centres back home.

He said: “When they go abroad, they earn money and send them back home here. Yes, we have foreign exchange earnings from them and not just oil.

“Will you call that brain drain? I know a couple of them who practise abroad but set up medical centres back home. They have CAT scan, MRI scan which even the government cannot maintain. So, I don’t see any loss.”

Statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed that as of 2013, there were 3.8 doctors for every 10,000 Nigerians, far below the organisations’s recommendation of one doctor to 600 patients.

Recent data from the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) also showed that as of December 2017, Nigeria had 39,912 registered medical doctors. This means with a population of 193 million in 2016, there was just one medical doctor for every 4,845 Nigerians.

IMF ranks Nigeria second worst in the world in use of sovereign wealth fund

 

The International Monetary Fund has ranked Nigeria as the second worst country in the world in the use of sovereign wealth funds.

According to the Fiscal Monitor report released on Wednesday, Qatar was the only country worse than Nigeria on the index.

The Bretton Wood institution said the index was compiled using the corporate governance and transparency scores of the sovereign wealth funds and the size of assets as a percentage of 2016 GDP of the countries considered.

The fund said it used data compiled by the Natural Resource Governance Institute and Worldwide Governance Indicators.

“It is critical to develop a strong institutional framework to manage these resources—including good management of the financial assets kept in sovereign wealth funds—and to ensure that proceeds are appropriately spent,” the report read.

“This remains a significant challenge in many resource-rich countries that, on average, have weaker institutions and higher corruption

“The governance challenges of commodity-rich countries— that is, the management of public assets— call for ensuring a high degree of transparency and accountability in the exploration of such resources.

“Countries should develop frameworks that limit discretion, given the high risk of abuse, and allow for heavy scrutiny.”

Explaining that sovereign wealth funds have to be transparent, the IMF advised that countries should ensure that the natural resources of countries should be channelled properly to the people that need them.

Of the 10 African countries considered, Ghana was ranked the highest.

World Bank says Nigeria’s economy is performing poorly

The World Bank Group, on Monday, said Nigeria’s economy has performed below par since 1995.

In a classification of growth performance included in the 14th edition of Africa’s Pulse, Nigeria was ranked in the bottom tercile alongside Angola, South Africa and 16 other countries saying these economies did not show any progress in their growth performance.

“These countries did not show any progress in their economic performance from 1995–2008 to 2015–18,” the report read.

Explaining the methodology used in the classification, the report said: “The taxonomy compares the average annual GDP growth rates during 1995–2008 and 2015–18 against predetermined thresholds.

“These thresholds correspond to the bottom and top terciles of the annual average growth rates across 44 Sub-Saharan African countries between 1995 and 2008 (that is, 3.5 and 5.4 percent, respectively).

“If a country’s economic performance declined from 1995–2008 to 2015–18, the country is categorized in the bottom tercile, which includes “falling behind” and “slipping.”

“If a country’s growth rate remained invariant over time, between 3.5 and 5.4 percent in both periods, it is categorized in the middle tercile (or “stuck in the middle”).

“If a country’s economic performance improved from 1995–2008 to 2015–18, with a growth of more than 5.4 percent per year, the country is categorized in the top tercile, which includes the “improved” and “established” groups.”

According to the report, the indices used were:

  • Convergence, as proxied by the level of income per capita of the countries in each tercile
  • Structural transformation, as captured by sectoral value-added share and sectoral employment share
  • Capital flows (aggregate value and composition)
  • Level and composition of public sector indebtedness, as captured by: (i) the general government gross debt and its currency composition, and (ii) the outstanding external public debt (and its composition, by creditor)
  • Governance indicators, namely, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, control of corruption, voice and accountability, political stability, and absence of violence and rule of law

The World Bank also cut its growth projection for Nigeria from 2.2% to 2.1%, saying policy distortions and stagnant oil production levels limit investments.

“Growth in Nigeria is projected to rise from 1.9 percent in 2018 to 2.1 percent in 2019 (0.1 percentage point lower than last October’s forecast),” the Bretton Wood institution said.

“This modest expansion reflects stagnant oil production, as regulatory uncertainty limits investment in the oil sector, while non-oil economic activity is held back by high inflation, policy distortions, and infrastructure constraints.

“Growth is projected to rise slightly to 2.2 percent in 2020 and reach 2.4 percent in 2021, as improving financing conditions help boost investment.

“In Nigeria, although the manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMIs remained above the neutral 50-point mark—which denotes expansion—they fell further in February, due to weaker rises in output and new sales orders across firms.

“Household consumption in Nigeria has remained subdued, while multiple exchange rates, foreign exchange restrictions, low private sector credit growth, and infrastructure constraints have continued to weigh on private investment.”

In a chat with journalists on Monday, Isaac Okorafor, spokesperson of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said the bank has shown ingenuity in managing the economy.

“You know the crisis that we’ve faced in the past three years. The bank has shown ingenuity in managing the situation and ensuring that everything is stable.”