Tag Archives: Nigeria

Nigeria – Bring Back Girls campaign warns Buhari

Vanguard

#BBOGmarchesToVilla

CHIBOK GIRLS: No more excuses, #BBOG tells Buhari

AUGUST 23, 20161:28

ABUJA—The Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG, movement pointedly told President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday that he no longer had any excuse not to rescue the 218 Chibok school girls, saying the time to act was now. #BBOGmarchesToVilla File photo Charging the President to fulfill one of his electioneering campaign promises, the #BBOG said it was time for  President Buhari to lead his troops from the frontlines and invade the Sambisa forest where the girls are believed to be held by the Boko Haram terrorists. Addressing the gathering, Chairman of Chibok community in Abuja, Mr Tsambido Hosea, recalled that his people had never voted for the opposition party, but decided to vote for Mr Buhari in the last general elections as a result of his firm pledge to rescue their daughters.

“Chibok people had often voted for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, but in the last election, they voted wholeheartedly for the current President because of his promise to rescue our girls. “Prof. Osinbajo promised us during campaign that Gen. Muhammadu Buhari would lead and go to the Sambisa Forest and rescue our girls, but nearly two years later, they have not done anything. Is that not corruption? If this government is not willing to bring back our girls, let them tell us and declare us non-Nigerians so that the world can rally round us.

“Let them declare Chibok people non-Nigerians so that the world can help them. People are ready to help us. We regret our votes for Buhari. If they cannot help us, let them tell us so that we would go for our girls. If we perish, we perish,” he said. The protesters displayed various placards with inscriptions such as, “Mr President, #LeadFromTheFront. #GoToBornoNow.” “Mr President, Act Now, we want results.” Police, NSCDC, DSS bar #BBOG from entering Aso Villa Meanwhile, a full complement  of security operatives drawn from the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, as well as the Department of State Services, DSS, had earlier barred the Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG, advocacy movement from accessing the presidential villa. Unlike before when they were allowed access into the first gate of the State House, the protesters were stopped at the popular Bullet Junction, near the Head of Service building.

As part of its strategic engagement, the BBOG had declared a 14-day line-up of activities to force President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to act fast and more decisively in rescuing the 218 Chibok school girls. Leading the protest The protest was jointly led by Oby Ezekwesili and Aisha Yesufu, while the police detachment was led by CSP Chuks Obasi, even as his superior, ACP Dantawaye C.G, watched quietly. Both Ezekwesili and CSP Obasi were involved in a shouting match as the officer insisted that the protesters would not cross the human barricade put together by the security operatives. Ezekwesili expressed sadness that security operatives could be used to truncate a peaceful protest, saying #BBOG protesters had never been associated with violence since it began the advocacy over two years ago. She said: “Let it be known that contrary to expectations that we shall be able to lay our agitation before the President, officers of the Nigeria Police stopped the citizens from putting forward their agitation to the President. But we shall place our tables here.

“As you can see, we have been stopped from proceeding further. We had written, requesting for a meeting with President Buhari, following the plea for rescue video in which we had Maida Yakubu begging that our Chibok girls be rescued from terrorists’ grip. ‘’That video was released on August 14. Today is August 22 and we have seen no clear action for rescue and that is why we are here, having written already to Mr President that we needed an audience.” We are poor, but we’re citizens, cries mother of identified girl Speaking on behalf of the Chibok parents, Dorcas Maida’s mother, Mrs Esther Yakubu, who addressed the protesters in an emotion-laden voice, said although the Chibok parents were poor, they were citizens of the global community who should be accorded the necessary assistance in the circumstance. She berated the government for attempting to divert attention from the main issues regarding the rescue of the girls, saying government now has a lot of credible intelligence to rely on in rescuing the girls.

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/08/chibok-girls-no-excuses-bbog-tells-buhari/

Nigeria – Boko Haram kill scores in ambush of immigration officials

allAfrica/Daily Trust

Maiduguri — Scores of Boko Haram militants and civilians might have been killed when insurgents ambushed Immigration officials on United Nations assignments along Maiduguri – Dikwa road in central Borno state, Immigration sources said.

The incident occurred at a remote area of Gwajibo village in Dikwa Local Government, while convoy of vehicles carrying Nigeria Immigration officials and some civilians was returning from Gamboru Ngala to Maiduguri on Monday at 2:30pm.

The convoy was ambushed by insurgents; some militants were killed as well as civilians but 3 Immigration officials were also wounded.

An Immigration source who was not officially authorized to speak to Journalists confirmed the incident to Daily Trust.

“After Our officials have completed two weeks exercises assigned by United Nations to register thousands of Nigeria returnees from neighbouring countries to Gamboru border town, on their way to Maiduguri they came under heavy attack from insurgents, our personnel exchanged gun fire with them, killed some Boko Haram militants and civilians lost their lives,” an Immigration source told our reporter.

He said the three injured officials are currently receiving treatment at emergency unit of University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.

He further said “I cannot ascertain the number of civilian casualties but there was none on our side except three personnel that suffered gun wounds.”

Nigeria – defence chief says why Bokjo Haram detainees can’t be swapped for Chibok girls

Premium Times

Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonishakin

Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonishakin

The Nigerian military says releasing Boko Haram fighters in exchange for abducted Chibok schoolgirls is a “political decision” beyond its powers.

The defence chief, Abayomi Olonishakin, said on Monday that the military was “going ahead” with its operations against the sect.

His remarks came two days after Boko Haram released a new video showing the girls that were kidnapped over two years ago.

A Boko Haram fighter who spoke in the video said some of the girls had been killed by military airstrikes, while some were either seriously wounded or married off.

The video showed some 50 girls of the over 200 girls believed to still be under Boko Haram’s captivity.

The armed fighter said the girls would only be released if the government sets free detained Boko Haram militants across the country.

Mr. Olonishakin, a lieutenant general, told journalists after a meeting of service chiefs at the presidential villa that swapping the militants was an entirely “political decision”.

“The military decision is that we are going ahead with our operations. The operation is being conducted appropriately,” he said.

He also denied that the military had turned away any of the three persons it declared wanted on Sunday on allegation of having ties to the sect.

“Nobody reported to my men and was turned back,” he said.

He said the military was still “analysing” the video released by Boko Haram and would make appropriate comments at the right time.

Information minister, Lai Mohammed, who also spoke at the villa Monday, said the government was in talks with Boko Haram sect for the release of the girls.

He said the government was careful to ensure it was speaking with the right group as the sect had been factionalised.

“The government’s position is clear that we are in touch with them. We are just being careful and cautious to ensure that we are talking to the right people especially with the news that there is a split in the leadership. But what is important is the safety and security of these girls,” Mr. Mohammed said.

On the planned match by the BringBakcOurGirls to Aso Rock presidential villa, the minister said the government appreciated the group’s commitment to the return of these girls but “there are few things we need to do behind the scene. What we are saying is that the government is committed to do everything to rescue these girls”.

“We are engaging them. By saying we are talking to them, I am talking from a point of knowledge. It does not matter what other people say. I know that the government is in touch with the group,” he said.

He said the government had not relented on efforts to find and recover the girls.

“For us, it is not just because of the release of the video but because of our belief that there will be no final closure to Boko Haram until we are able to resolve the issue of these girls,” he said.

Nigeria – indigenous people of Abuja ready to resist land grabs

Al Jazeera

The indigenous people of Nigeria’s capital say they could take up arms if the government tries to displace them again.


Kpaduma is a low-income community in the Nigerian capital of Abuja that is populated by some of the original inhabitants who claim the city as their ancestral home [Chika Oduah/Al Jazeera]

Abuja, Nigeria – Ten years ago, Bala Iyah and his family left their home in the Nigerian capital of Abuja never to return. He says the Nigerian government forced him and hundreds of families to leave their ancestral homeland.

They resettled in another neighbourhood of the capital, Kpaduma. There was no running water and no electricity, but Iyah and the others had to make the place habitable.

“We were never compensated [for our land],” the 49-year-old farmer says. “[The government] just told us to go, and that’s why we are here now.”

Iyah and the Kpaduma community dwellers are among the indigenous people of the Nigerian capital. Nine ethnic groups, numbering at least a million, claim Abuja as their ancestral homeland.

Abuja was designated as the new Nigerian capital in 1976, replacing Lagos, which had become highly congested and over-populated. It was considered an ideal alternative because of its central location and the fact that it did not belong to any of Nigeria’s three largest ethnic groups: Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa-Fulani. As such, it was perceived as a neutral area that wouldn’t cause any unrest.

Bala Iyah, a 49-year-old farmer, says Abuja is his ancestral land [Chika Oduah/Al Jazeera]

Not a no-man’s land

But thousands of the original inhabitants of Abuja were displaced to make way for the construction of Nigeria’s new capital. Many of these people are angry at the way the only home they’ve ever known has been portrayed as a “no-man’s land”.

Under Nigerian law, the government can revoke land ownership from its citizens. Abuja indigenes say they are frustrated by what they see as an injustice.

After pressure from the residents of Kpaduma, the government provided them with electricity, which, according to locals, is intermittent. Open sewage runs through their yards, and rough dirt roads rise and fall on the crevices of rocky hills.

There is no hospital, the primary school is falling apart and the community is pleading with the government to build a secondary school. The community’s older children must trek several kilometres outside of Kpaduma to attend the nearest secondary school, crossing busy roads en route.

At least three youths from Kpaduma have died this year in road accidents on their way to school. Iyah says that the number of children in Kpaduma who have been hit by cars in the past decade is too many for him to remember.

‘Ready to take up arms’

Abuja indigenes pride themselves on their non-violent culture. They refer to themselves as a “peace-loving people”, but say that their ongoing displacement means they must become more aggressive in their protests.

Abuja’s original inhabitants are farmers. Having been displaced from their ancestral land, they farm on smaller plots near their new homes [Chika Oduah/Al Jazeera]

“It’s now clear that the federal government has never given attention to unarmed citizens,” says Yunusa Yusuf, the spokesman of the Coalition of the Federal Capital Territory of Indigenous Groups.

“Now, our people have sworn due to the continuous marginalisation, deprivation and exclusion from the government, our people are ready to take arms if that is the only solution for dialogue.”

READ MORE: Gbagyi fight for compensation over Abuja land

The members of the Coalition of the Federal Capital Territory of Indigenous Groups are planning to protest and demand that the government stop the forced displacement and compensate families for past dislocations.

They say they have sacrificed much to make way for one of Africa’s modern cities.

Today, Abuja is still expanding, rapidly. It is one of Africa’s fastest growing cities and property is a hot commodity. Across the city, building sites dot the landscape. Several high-rise buildings, shopping complexes and residential estates are under development.

Kpaduma is surrounded by multimillion-dollar mansions owned by Nigerian politicians. Just off Kpaduma’s bumpy, unpaved roads are luxury cars driving along new tree-lined streets.

Poor among the rich

“Yes, it’s true that we live among the rich, but we’re the poorest people ever,” says Yusuf.

Abuja’s original inhabitants traditionally made a living by farming, but the displacement has taken them away from their farmland. Now, they grow produce on smaller plots of land, conscious not to cut down trees protected by the government. Poverty and illiteracy among indigenous communities in Abuja is relatively high.

The city’s continuous expansion means more and more indigenous people are being pressured to leave their land.

The low-income community of Kpaduma overlooks new residential estates in Abuja [Chika Oduah/Al Jazeera]

Iyah may have to move, again.

He says government representatives come to Kpaduma these days to tell them they must leave.

“Without our knowledge, the government has allocated this place to individuals and now they are forcing us to leave without compensation. We were not even informed about their plans to take this place,” he says.

But Iyah says he will not move. He has no place to go, he says, so if need be, he is ready to fight.

Source: Al Jazeera

Nigeria – dollar scarcity could lead to petrol price rise

Punch

Fidelis Soriwei and Okechukwu Nnodim

Nigerians should prepare for another increase in the pump prices of petrol, due to the continued scarcity of foreign exchange to finance the importation of the product, oil marketers have said.

According to them, the United States dollar hit an all-time high last week, as it exchanged for N400 at the parallel market.

Worried by the development, the marketers say if not urgently addressed, the pump prices of petrol will not remain at the approved rates.

The Federal Government liberalised the downstream sector of the petroleum industry on May 11, 2016, and announced an increase in the pump prices of petrol from N86 and N86.5 per litre to between N135 and N145 per litre.

It also stated that the market was to be driven by the factors of demand and supply, as it was now largely in the hands of private sector players.

But oil marketers told our correspondent on Monday that despite the competition in the business, they were struggling to retain the price of the Premium Motor Spirit within the approved range.

“The truth is that Nigerians just have to brace for higher PMS price; there are no two ways about it. The government cannot fund this market; the money is not just there. Even if the government wishes to assist, it does not have the wherewithal to do. So, Nigerians should brace for higher rates,” an official of one of the notable oil marketing companies, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said.

He added, “We are all aware that the price of crude has been falling in the international market and it is the dollar the government gets from crude sale that it uses to solve forex problems. So, there’s no fast rule or solution to it than for all of us, both users and marketers, to just prepare for a price hike.

“For marketers, they should know that the days of higher profits are gone. Before now, if you want to import petrol, you’ll have to wait for months and possibly bribe some people to get an import licence. But those days are gone; nowadays, every interested dealer can get the licence and this has created room for competition, which is why you still get the product at around N140 to N145 per litre. We only hope that this will continue as the dollar availability improves.”

A member of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria stated that the ex-depot price of the PMS had remained at N133.28 per litre because the marketers were doing their best to manage the situation.

The marketer, who also pleaded to remain anonymous because of the sensitive nature of the subject, said the PMS dealers hardly got forex at the rate that the government initially promised them.

He said, “It is very logical for the PMS price to rise any moment from now, for there is no way somebody can import at the rate of N400 to a dollar and you expect him to continue selling at the official ex-depot price. And mind you, the government promised to facilitate forex provision to marketers at N287 to a dollar, because you cannot buy at N400 and expect to continue selling at the prevalent rates you see at filling stations today.

“However, most depots are still managing the situation and are selling at the recommended price of N133.28 per litre to filling stations. It is when it goes above this price that you will notice the eventual increase in the pump prices of the PMS. So, if the trend of forex unavailability continues, then the situation may go out of the control of the marketers.”

On whether oil dealers have a peculiar channel for sourcing forex outside the official and parallel markets, the source said, “There’s no other way for sourcing it. Although outside the parallel market, there is still an autonomous market where you may get the dollar at rates that are less than what you get from the parallel.

“There are usually two prices at the market and marketers look at the one with the lower price, which is mostly the government regulated rate. However, the difference between the two prices is marginal most times.”

A senior official of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Dibu Aderigbigbe, had earlier told our correspondent that the forex crisis might lead to a further hike in petrol price if it persisted.

“The dollar is the major legal tender used for the importation of petroleum products; so, any crisis in forex will definitely affect the prices of these commodities in the long run. However, we hope the situation is addressed in earnest,” he said.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, recently made it clear that the government had liberalised the downstream oil sector, stressing that the refined products and their prices were in the hands of private sector players.

When contacted, the spokesperson for the CBN, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, said since the flexible foreign exchange rate regime commenced, the apex bank made it clear that all transactions would be based on the prevalent forex market rate.

He said, “As soon as we introduced the new flexible foreign exchange market, it was made clear to everybody that all transactions must go through that market. The only concession we made was that, yes, we agreed that the IOCs will sell dollars to petrol importers, but it must be at the prevailing rate of the market on the day of the transaction.

“What we have done for transactions concerning oil importation is that the IOCs are allowed to sell their foreign exchange to petrol importers, because oil is a very important commodity to the nation. But the IOCs must sell at the ruling exchange rate from the market for that day and this means the prevalent rate for the day.

“For instance, today, the market closed at N311 to a dollar, which means if they (IOCs) are selling, they have to sell to the marketers at that rate. The CBN never promised anybody a lower rate; it is the market that determines the rate.”

However, the spokesperson for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Garba-Deen Mohammed, did not answer calls made to his mobile telephone number.

He also did not respond to a text message sent to his telephone on the matter as of the time of filing this report around 9.20pm.

But the General Secretary, Nigeria Labour Congress, Peter Ozo-Eson, said the removal of the fuel subsidy in an import-driven regime for petroleum products was the beginning of crisis.

Ozo-Eson said the NLC had warned Nigerians during the last protest it organised against the increase in the pump price that the subsidy removal would result in an uncontrollable increase in the price of the commodity.

He stated that a look at the current prices of diesel and kerosene showed that the government was only managing the current pump price of petrol to prevent people from losing faith in the decision to remove subsidy on the product without first ensuring local refining.

The labour leader argued that with an exchange rate of N400 to the dollar, the pricing template would be higher than the recommended pump price, which would result in a crisis.

Ozo-Eson stated, “If you recall what led to our strike and protest the other time, then we said that it was the beginning of a crisis to do what they had done under an import regime for petroleum products and that it would lead to a spiral that we would have no control over. And so, I do not see how the price of the PMS will remain at N145 or thereabout with the pressure on the naira, and we predicted that.

“As a matter of fact, when you look at what is happening to the prices of diesel and kerosene today, then you will realise that for now, they are just managing and holding on to the price of the PMS in order for people not to lose faith in what they have done.

“But with time, we are going to face the reality that if the naira is 400  or more to the dollar, and you now go down through the template, you are going to find that the recommended pump price will be much higher and there will be a crisis.”

He said that the government had the option to either allow the market to collapse or bring in some form of support to address the situation.

According to him, it is up to Nigerians to either endure it or mount pressure on the government to take steps to protect them.

Copyright PUNCH.

Nigerian soldiers missing after clash with Boko Haram

Premium Times

Nigerian soldiers missing after Boko Haram ambush

FILE PHOTO: Recapture of Mubi Town

An unknown number of Nigerian soldiers are yet to be accounted for after an ambush by Boko Haram insurgents in a community in Borno State, the army has said.

The army said it was battling to save the lives of 19 other soldiers injured during the clash on Thursday.
Operatives of the Civilian-JTF, embedded with the military squad, were also badly injured in the deadly encounter in a village called Nguro Gongon.

The spokesman of the Nigeria army, Sani Usman, said the injured soldiers have been evacuated to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, while a rescue team was deployed to go searching for the missing soldiers.

He did not say how many soldiers were missing.

“Today morning, troops on clearance patrol at Guro Gongon village and environs to rout out remnants of Boko Haram terrorists hibernating therein, destroyed the terrorists’ makeshift camps and recovered quite a number of weapons, equipment and foodstuff in the process,” Mr. Usman, a colonel and acting director of army public relations, said.

“The recovered items include 1 Gun truck mounted with an Anti-Aircraft Gun, a MOWAG Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), 1 Rocket Propelled Grenade Tube, 1 Light Machine Gun, 3 AK-47 rifles and motorcycles.

“However, the gallant soldiers basking on the recorded success, returning to their defensive locations, ran into an ambush by a group of Boko Haram terrorists who came to reinforce their fleeing comrades. The troops fought back gallantly killing several of the insurgents.

“Sadly however, 19 soldiers and 3 civilian JTF members were wounded in action while a few others were missing in action.

“The wounded have been evacuated and are responding to treatment, while a search and rescue party comprising of Special Forces personnel has since been dispatched to establish contact with the missing in action troops, some of whom, as at the time of filing this report, have started returning to their defensive location.

“It is pertinent to state that, no stone would be left unturned until every person involved in the operation has been accounted for,” he said.

Nigeria’s house of representatives vote to make late payment of salaries an offence

Punch

John Ameh, Abuja

The House of Representatives on Wednesday began debating a bill seeking to make non-payment or late payment of salaries by employers a criminal offence.

The bill covered both the public and private sectors.

It was sponsored by the Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila.

However, the House stepped down the bill after ta brief debate for further consultations.

This came after some members observed that what the bill sought to achieve was already captured by existing labour laws.

The long title of the bill read, “A Bill for an Act to Prohibition Late Payment, Non-Payment and Under-payment of Workers’ Wages, Pensions and other Emoluments in Nigeria and Prescribe Penalties for Violations and other Related Matters.”

But, earlier, Gbajabiamila defended the bill,saying that news of workers being owed salaries for months was troubling.

He argued that the affected workers were being denied their rights.

He added, “It infringes on the right to life, which is determined by the quality of that life.

“It infringes on the right to dignity because the person goes begging from neighbours, family and friends to feed his children.”

He also noted that the workers lost their self esteem.

Gbajabiamila explained, “It builds resentment. You cannot tell a child who sees the effects of his parents not being paid, to be patriotic.

“It encourages criminality; if we talk about security, we must talk about prompt payment of salaries.”

One member from Ebonyi State, Mr. Linus Okorie, noted that the Minimum Wage Act also took care of the provisions of Gbajabiamila’s bill.

The Chairman, House Committee on Rules/Business, Mr. Orker Jev, shared the same view as Okorie, saying that an option was to amend the the Minimum Wage Act.

The speaker of the House, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, who presided over the session, advised Gbajabiamila to step down the bill, having read the mood of members.

The majority leader reluctantly stepped down the bill, but he agreed to consult further with his colleagues before presenting it again.

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