Nigeria

  1. Cambridge to return looted bronze cockerel to Nigeria

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    The bronze cockerel at Jesus College, Cambridge.

    A Cambridge University college has announced that later this month it is to hand back a sculpture that was originally seized by British troops from the Kingdom of Benin in present-day Nigeria.

    The bronze cockerel was one of thousands of artefacts looted during a punitive expedition in 1897.

    It was then gifted to Jesus College by the father of a student who was studying there in 1905.

    The current king or Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, welcomed the move and said it gave hope that others would expedite the return of artworks.

    In recent years there have been growing calls for the plundered artifacts from across the world to be returned.

    Germany and France have pledged to hand over hundreds of the Benin Bronzes which also include ivory carvings.

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  2. West Africa facing inequality crisis, Oxfam warns

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    West African governments are planning to “slash and burn” their way out of Covid-19 induced economic loss, a new report from Oxfam says.

    The development charity says that the policies could bring new levels of inequality.

    Its report singled out Nigeria as the worst performing West African country when it came to tackling inequality going into the pandemic.

    It said that the country’s health spending is the third-lowest in the world at 3.6% of GDP, and that 40% of its population does not have access to healthcare services.

    The new financial analysis by Oxfam and Development Finance International also scored Sierra Leone low on its index of countries committed to reducing inequality in Africa.

    The report warned that any massive cut on public finances could push millions more West Africans into poverty and hunger.

    Oxfam is calling for urgent large-scale investment in education, health and social protection.

  3. Nigeria to bar unvaccinated civil servants from offices

    Ishaq Khalid

    BBC News, Abuja

    A person gets a Covid-19 vaccine
    Image caption: Nigeria has so far fully vaccinated just 1% of its population

    Authorities in Nigeria have announced that government workers who have not received Covid-19 jabs will not be allowed into their offices from December.

    This effectively makes covid vaccines mandatory for federal civil servants across the country - a policy the government has been considering for several months.

    Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19 Boss Mustapha said proof of a negative Covid test done within 72 hours will be the only other option for government employees.

    The government has not made any mention of visitors to its offices.

    Nigeria has so far fully vaccinated just 1% of its population of more than 200 million.

    Inadequate vaccine doses and hesitancy by the citizens are blamed for the low vaccination rate. But millions of doses it has received in recent months through the Covax facility are expected to boost the vaccination campaign.

    The government has also announced the lifting of travel restrictions for passengers from South Africa, Turkey and Brazil. But it has not announced any lifting of restrictions for travellers from India.

    The ban was imposed in May following a spike in Covid-19 cases in those countries.

  4. Nigeria senate approves electronic transmission of results

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    A man raises a ballot paper in Lagos as counting begins
    Image caption: There was public outcry when lawmakers rejected the proposal initially

    Nigerian lawmakers have approved the electronic transmission of election results.

    The upper house made the approval while considering amendments to the country’s electoral law on Tuesday.

    This will now require the support of MPs in the lower chamber, the House of Representatives.

    There was public outcry in July when the Electoral Act was amended with the lawmakers refusing to allow the electronic transmission of results.

    Many Nigerians feel that citizens may be disenchanted with the electoral process and refuse to vote, if they think that the process would not be transparent.

    Experts say transmitting election results electronically would make elections more transparent and accountable ahead of the 2023 general election.

    They say the measure will put an end to fraudulent collation processes.

    The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would be empowered to determine the "best mode" in the transmission of election results, when the amendment is signed into law by the president.

    However INEC would have lack of power supply, and poor internet penetration to contend with, while preparing to adopt the electronic process in the coming elections.

    A gubernatorial election is due in November in the south-eastern state of Anambra.

    But it’s unclear if the president will give his assent to the amendment before the governorship polls.

  5. Three students abducted in north-western Nigeria

    Ishaq Khalid

    BBC News, Abuja

    At least three students have been abducted and many other wounded in an attack by gunmen on a Catholic seminary in Nigeria's north-western state of Kaduna.

    This is the latest violence targeting schools as armed gangs carrying out killings and kidnappings for ransom step up attacks in the region, despite ongoing operations against them by security forces.

    A police spokesperson in Kaduna state told the BBC the gunmen on motorbikes stormed the Saint Albert Seminary in the town of Kagoma on Monday night opening fire, abducting students and then fleeing.

    Those wounded have been taken to a nearby hospital while a search for the abductees has began in a nearby forest.

    Kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs have become common in Nigeria with around 1,500 students abducted from schools and universities since December last year.

    Most of them have been released after negotiations with the gunmen but dozens of girls taken from a college in the town of Birnin-Yauri in Kebbi state four months ago are still in captivity.

    The authorities have deployed thousands of troops as well as blocked internet and mobile phone services in parts of north-western Nigeria - in an effort to track down the armed gangs behind the wave of killings and kidnappings there. But the gangs have continued to carry out deadly attacks.

  6. Nigerian stars share misogyny stories online

    Nigerian celebrities have taken to Instagram to share their experiences of misogyny and discrimination under the banner #NobodyLikeWoman.

    The challenge – started by Nigerian singer Simi – has led to countless women sharing hurtful comments people have made to them regarding marriage, their career and appearance.

    Nollywood celebrity Adesua Etomi-Wellington shared a post which read: “Is she pregnant yet?”

    Actress and model Efe Irele posted a picture which shared a negative career experience: “We are filming all night. Not like you have husband and children waiting.”

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    The hashtag has also gained traction beyond the celebrity world, with regular people opening up about discrimination towards women in Nigeria.

    One woman - Lateefah Jim - wrote on Instagram: “I saw this challenge and it pricked some emotions. It is always the woman. Single (nobody wants her), divorced (can’t keep a man), childless (barren) or even widowed (she get bad luck) #nobodylikewoman.”

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  7. Nigeria outrage over Islamic school lashing

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    The government in Nigeria's north-central Kwara state says it has suspended the head of an Islamic school after a video emerged showing a group of students being repeatedly lashed.

    The students, who included some males and a female, were accused of drinking alcohol at a birthday party of one of their colleagues.

    Islam forbids the drinking of alcohol.

    The students said they were only having yogurt.

    They were severely beaten by other students on the instruction of their teacher.

    One of the videos circulating on social media showed a female student on her knees being beaten with sticks by several male students while other students watched.

    The student's father told BBC Pidgin that he approved of the punishment given to his daughter.

    But the incident has caused public anger.

    Education officials say the matter is being investigated and the affected students have been taken to hospital for a proper medical examination and treatment.

  8. Nigeria police rescue dozens from 'torture house'

    Mansur Abubakar

    BBC Pidgin, Kano

    A man showing his beaten back

    Police in Nigeria have rescued 47 people from what they describe as a "torture house" in the northern state of Kano.

    The property, in Kano city, was supposed to be a rehabilitation centre. In other words, a privately run facility where parents send their children who they believe are addicted to drugs or engage in criminal behaviour.

    When the police raided the compound on Thursday, they found the 47 inmates, all male between 14 and 35 years old, chained up. They also showed signs of being beaten.

    People in leg irons

    Police spokesperson Abdullahi Haruna told the BBC that the owner and manager have been arrested and will soon appear in court.

    These so-called rehabilitation centres were banned by the state government 10 months ago after several raids revealed the maltreatment, but some are still operating secretly.

    Relatives and parents say they send children to the centres as there is a lack of adequate government-approved facilities.

    The people being rescued are now being treated in hospital.

  9. Tiwa Savage blackmailed over a sex tape

    Nigeria's songstress Tiwa Savage has said she is being blackmailed over a sex tape featuring her and her current boyfriend.

    Speaking to US radio station Power 105.1 Savage said she would not pay any money to her blackmailer.

    "I am not going to allow anyone to blackmail me for doing something that is natural," she told interviewer Angie Martinez.

    The video was first sent to her road manager on Wednesday who alerted her as she was leaving another radio station after an interview.

    Savage's current boyfriend is also "going crazy", she said.

    But she decided that the blackmailer could not be trusted.

    "I pay it now and then two months down the line you're gonna come back... and then who knows if I do sent you the money you probably will release it anyway."

    Here is an excerpt from Savage's radio interview:

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    The shaming of women over sex tapes and explicit images has left many humiliated and harassed.

    The BBC's The Comb podcast has in the past covered a Ugandan songstress Desire Luzinda who was a victim of revenge porn at the peak of her career.

  10. Nigerian army confirms actor's arrest over Ipob outfit

    The Nigerian army has confirmed that it arrested actor Chiwetalu Agu for wearing an outfit bearing the flag of the proscribed group Ipob and inciting people to join it.

    The Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) is a group that wants a breakaway state in south-east Nigeria.

    The army denied reports that the actor was assaulted during the arrest saying "he attempted to put up some resistance".

    He will be questioned as investigations go on.

    Ipob was banned in Nigeria and the army said Agu's activities to popularise it were in contravention of the law.

    The army says it recognises the freedoms enshrined in the constitution as long as they do not threaten national security.

    The army shared a photo of Agu being questioned while wearing the outfit;

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  11. Nearly 200 kidnap victims rescued in Nigeria

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    Signboard of the Government Girls Secondary School is pictured after over 300 schoolgirls were kidnapped by bandits in Jangebe, a village in Zamfara State, northwest of Nigeria on February 27, 2021
    Image caption: Kidnappings for ransom have been on the rise

    Police in north-west Nigeria say they have rescued 187 villagers abducted from their homes by criminal gangs.

    The victims, who had spent several weeks in captivity, were freed by security forces following an operation in Tsibiri forest in Zamfara state, police spokesman Mohammed Shehu said.

    They include the young and elderly people. Some are nursing mothers with their infants.

    They looked hungry and emaciated - an indication of the harsh conditions they had been through before they were rescued.

    They have been handed over to the state government for medical checks before they can rejoin their families.

    Last month, the authorities in Zamfara and neighbouring Kaduna state shut down phone communications to enable the security forces to fight armed gangs.

    The gangs have been responsible for a wave of violence that has included killings and kidnappings.

    Some of those targeted were schoolchildren.

  12. Buhari to ramp up spending and borrowing - Bloomberg

    Stacks of naira notes

    Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari plans to "ramp up" spending and borrowing as the government grapples with "reviving an economy that shrank by the most in a quarter century last year due to the coronavirus pandemic".

    That's how a leading finance news agency, Bloomberg, has reported about Mr Buhari's budget speech in parliament.

    Another agency, Reuters, has described it as "a record" budget of 16.39tn naira ($39.8bn; £29.2bn), with a "projected 25% year-on-year rise in government spending as the economy struggles with the impact of the pandemic".

  13. Nigeria to borrow $10bn to finance budget

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    Muhammadu Buhari
    Image caption: President Buhari is under pressure to tackle high unemployment and rising living costs

    Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari says the government plans to borrow more than $10bn (£7.3bn) to help finance his 2022 budget of nearly $40bn.

    There has been a public outcry about the government's frequent borrowing, but Mr Buhari - in a presentation to parliament - said that Nigeria’s debt level was still within sustainable limits.

    Presenting the budget is an annual ritual, but there aren't enough reports about how the money is spent.

    Nigeria’s economy is plagued by high inflation as the local currency continues to lose value against major foreign currencies like the US dollar and pound sterling.

    Nigeria is mainly dependent on the export of crude oil for its revenue.