Nigeria

  1. President Buhari meets governors over cash crisis

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has met the state governors from his ruling All Progressives Congress party (APC) over the challenges arising from a scarcity of local currency in the country.

    At the meeting held in the presidential palace, the governors expressed their disapproval of the government's policy of redesigning some of the country's currency notes and the consequent scarcity of new notes.

    Some of the governors who spoke to journalists at the end of the meeting said that they explained to the president the inappropriateness of taking such a step at this time and the problems the measure has caused the nation.

    They therefore suggested that the president should rethink the policy and allow the new and old naira notes to coexist for some time, to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians.

    A lot of people are complaining about the lack of access to cash. The new banknotes seem to be unavailable at banks, which have seen an influx of customers.

    Protests are happening outside the banks and people have also been seen fighting at ATM points in their attempts to get cash.

    There are also complaints that online bank transfers aren’t going through.

    There are indications that the policy of redesigning the local currency and current fuel scarcity have increased the Nigerians’ dissatisfaction with the ruling party ahead of the general elections later this month.

    The governors seem to fear that the situation could affect the APC's chances at the polls.

    In a statement at the end of the meeting, President Buhari acknowledged the cash shortages and hardship being faced by people and businesses on account of the naira redesign and sought to assure Nigerian the government would get the situation under control, as we reported earlier.

    The deadline to exchange old notes for the new ones was supposed to have been 31 January, but it was extended by 10 days to give more people in rural areas time to get the new notes, the central bank's governor said.

  2. Two dozen rescued from Abuja building collapse

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    Rubble from building collapse
    Image caption: Rescue workers have been working hard to rescue people

    Emergency agencies in Nigeria say 24 people have been rescued from a collapsed building in Abuja and three people have died after suffering fatal injuries.

    The three-storey structure with a basement was under construction when it came down on Thursday morning trapping an unidentified number of people, many of them workers.

    The building is believed to have been planned for a commercial complex in Gwarinpa, a sprawling residential suburb of the Nigerian capital.

    A combined team of emergency and security agencies, including some construction companies with heavy duty equipment, was mobilised to the scene of the incident, and worked overnight digging through the rubble to try to save people trapped in the collapsed building.

    Abbas Idris, head of the Federal Capital Territory’s Emergency Agency in Abuja, told the BBC that it had been a battle to rescue the people and that the building was poor quality: "We discovered that a lot of corners have been cut, there are substandard materials used in this construction."

  3. President Buhari vows to tackle Nigeria's cash crunch

    People queuing to get cash
    Image caption: There have been long queues as people wait to get cash

    Nigeria's outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to deal with the cash crunch in the country which is causing chaotic scenes as people try to get their hands on new naira notes.

    After 10 February the old notes will become worthless but can be exchanged for a further seven days at the country's central bank.

    "I am aware of the cash shortages and hardship being faced by people and businesses, on account of the Naira redesign," President Buhari tweeted.

    "I want to assure that we are doing everything to resolve these issues. Nigerians should expect significant improvements between now and the February 10 deadline," he continued.

    One video showed people fighting at an ATM to get money. Another showed a man stripping down to his underwear as he was waiting at the bank, as we reported on Thursday.

    The deadline to exchange the money was supposed to have been 31 January, but it was extended by 10 days to give more people in rural areas time to get the new notes, the central bank's governor had said.

    When the bank announced in October that the 1,000 ($2.18; £1.75), 500 and 200 naira notes were to be replaced, it said 80% of the notes in circulation were outside banks.

    The central bank believes that with the redesigned currency it will have a better understanding of the money circulating in the economy so it can better manage inflation.

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  4. ‘Women are not respected in Nigeria’

    The only woman running to be president of Nigeria in this month's elections has told the BBC’s Peter Okwoche that women “are not respected” in the country.

    Chichi Ojei from the Allied Peoples Movement said people have told her she must be “out of” her “mind” to be running and that having a female president in Nigeria is “not possible”.

    Ms Ojei said that the answer to Nigeria’s problems can be solved with a female president, despite the fact women are treated as “the underdog” in the country.

    Ms Ojei is not expected to garner a large amount of support in the 25 February vote.

    Nigerians are currently battling a struggle to get fuel and access to new naira bank notes ahead of the crucial vote.

    More about Nigeria's elections:

  5. Nigeria elections: UK agency disowns letter on Tinubu

    Chiagozie Nwonwu

    BBC, Lagos

    People walk past an electoral campaign poster of All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu

    The UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) has disowned two letters making the rounds among social media users in Nigeria on the alleged activities of presidential candidate Bola Tinubu.

    The agency said the two letters were forgeries.

    The first letter surfaced on Twitter in late January and is a purported reply to an enquiry to the agency on the alleged activities of Mr Tinubu.

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    It was viewed hundreds of thousands of times by Twitter users in the country.

    The NCA told the BBC that it had denied the letter when it was drawn to their attention.

    The second letter appeared to “challenge” the first letter.

    It suggested that the NCA was threatening to take legal action against a rival presidential campaign team, which it claimed, forged the first letter.

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    The NCA has confirmed to the BBC that the second letter did not come from them.

    The NCA is a law enforcement agency in the UK that focuses on local and international cybercrime, human trafficking, drug trafficking, organised crime, economic crime and weapons trafficking.

    A recent investigation by the BBC disinformation unit found that political parties and campaigns in Nigeria were using social media influencers to spread disinformation to discredit their political rivals.

    Nigerians will go to the polls on 25 February to elect a new president.

  6. Nineteen rescued from collapsed building in Nigeria capital

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    Emergency agencies say efforts are ongoing to rescue unidentified number of people trapped in a building which collapsed on Thursday in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

    The three-storey building, which was under construction, is in Gwarinpa, a residential suburb.

    Nkechi Isa, spokesperson for the Federal Capital Territory Management Agency, said in a statement that at least 19 people had so far been rescued with one fatally injured.

    She said the victims, mostly construction workers, had been taken to hospitals around the city centre.

    A combined team of emergency and security agencies went to the scene to help with the rescue. Some construction companies with heavy duty equipment have also moved in to help in the rescue efforts.

  7. Nigeria cash crunch tensions spark viral posts

    There's growing anxiety for some in Nigeria as they desperately try to swap their old naira notes for the new ones before the 10 February deadline.

    After that date, the old cash will be worthless but can be exchanged for a further seven days at the country's central bank. But it seems that there are not enough of the new notes to go around which has sparked anger and some spontaneous protests at banks.

    Videos and pictures of some people stripping to their underwear are being shared on social media.

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    A video of people fighting over access to an ATM has also got a lot of attention.

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    The deadline to exchange the money was supposed to have been 31 January, but it was extended by 10 days to give more people in rural areas time to get the new notes, the central banks' governor had said.

    When the bank announced in October that the 1,000 ($2.18, £1.75), 500 and 200 naira notes were to be replaced, it said 80% of the notes in circulation were outside banks.

    The central bank believes that with the redesigned currency it will have a better understanding of the money circulating in the economy so it can better manage inflation.

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  8. Thousands of Nigerians file pollution cases against Shell

    Mayeni Jones

    BBC News, Lagos

    Polluted water
    Image caption: Law firm Leigh Day has shared pictures of what it says is the result of pollution in the affected communities

    More than 13,000 people from two communities in Nigeria have filed individual claims against the oil company Shell at the High Court in London.

    Residents from the Ogale and Bille communities in the Niger Delta want Shell to clean up oil spills and compensate them for the damage to their land.

    The claims, which were filed on Friday, are the latest development in a seven-year legal battle.

    A spokesperson for the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) told the BBC that the majority of spills referred to in the Ogale and Bille claims were caused by third-party interference, including pipeline sabotage, illegal bunkering and other forms of oil theft.

    Abimbola Essien-Nelson added that the illegal refining of stolen crude oil also happened on a large scale in these areas and was a major source of oil pollution.

    Regardless of the cause, she said: "SPDC has and will continue to clean up and remediate areas affected by spills from its facilities or pipeline network."

    But the British law firm representing the communities says that no clean-up has taken place and that there have been 55 new oil spills in the Ogale community since September 2011.

    A press release from the Leigh Day firm states Shell has filed a legal defence claiming that the communities do not have the legal right to enforce a clean-up against Shell.

    Both communities are in Ogoniland, one of the most polluted regions in the world.

    Despite a 2011 UN report recommending that the area be cleaned up immediately, residents still don’t have access to clean water and farmland.

    In 2021 Shell announced it was leaving Nigeria and selling its onshore assets in the country after operating in the country for 80 years.

    Shell has reported record annual profits after energy prices surged last year following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It made $39.9bn (£32.2bn) in 2022, the highest in its 115-year history.

    More on the oil industry in Nigeria:

  9. Nigeria polls: Gunmen destroy ballot boxes in attack

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    Nigeria’s electoral body says nearly 800 ballot boxes and over 200 voting cubicles were destroyed during an attack on one of its offices in the south-eastern state of Anambra.

    The attack comes less than a month to the country’s general elections.

    The police in Anambra state said gunmen invaded the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) in Ojoto in the early hours of Wednesday.

    Police spokesman Tochukwu Ikenga told journalists that the group also attacked a police station and a residential building located within the same vicinity.

    He said that a teenager was killed and another sustained injury and was taken to hospital.

    It is the latest in the series of attacks on the electoral commission’s offices in the region – where the separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, is active.

    The attacks targeting the electoral body's offices have raised questions on the security of election officials and materials in the run-up to the polls.

    Two weeks ago, the European Union said the elections may not be held in some parts of the country due to a “hostile security climate".

    EU official Rudolf Elbling said such an eventuality would raise “a lot of legal implications for the entire process”.

    The electoral commission has previously said there will be no delays to the elections despite insecurity in some parts of the country.

    A map of Nigeria

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  10. Video content

    Video caption: Nigeria Elections 2023: PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar interview

    Atiku Abubakar, one of Nigeria's presidential candidate has told the BBC that he is confident this time.

  11. Fuel shortages threaten preparations for Nigeria elections

    Yemisi Adegoke

    BBC News, Lagos

    People gather at petrol stations to buy fuel
    Image caption: People gather at petrol stations to buy fuel

    The electoral authority in Nigeria is concerned that ongoing fuel shortages in the country could affect preparations for the country’s elections on 25 February.

    Overnight queues have become a familiar sight at petrol stations in Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, as many spend hours in line hoping to buy fuel.

    Millions in Nigeria rely on petrol, not just for transportation, but for generators to power their homes and businesses.

    These costs have skyrocketed over the last few months, with the price of fuel going up around 100% in the black market.

    The government has denied increasing the price of petrol and maintains there is enough supply to meet demand.

    But it blames the independent oil marketers, who are responsible for selling and distributing the product, for worsening the crisis.

  12. Atiku Abubakar says 'nothing new' in corruption allegations

    Azeezat Olaoluwa

    BBC News, Lagos

    Atiku Abubakar

    One of the leading opposition candidates in next month’s presidential elections in Nigeria has dismissed a recent attempt to get him disqualified over corruption allegations.

    Atiku Abubakar has told the BBC that there was “nothing new” in an extract of audio leaked to the media in which someone can be heard allegedly discussing ways to divert state funds.

    It had been reported that the voice belongs to Mr Abubakar, who is the candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party.

    While he did not directly answer the question of whether or not it was him speaking, he said: “That audio has disclosed nothing new.”

    Mr Abubakar has faced several allegations of corruption, none of which have been proven and he has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

    This time the governing All Progressives Congress has started legal proceedings to get him off the ballot paper for the 25 February vote.

    Talking to the BBC about his plans to address insecurity in the West African nation, Mr Abubakar said he would create state police, plus provide more equipment and more training for security officers.

    He believes this would have a positive impact on the country’s economy.

    “Every investor wants a secure environment. In my five-point programme, security is topmost. First of all, we must make sure we restore security,” he told the BBC.

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  13. Nigerian artist Rema sets new YouTube record - report

    Tarik Habte

    BBC News

    Nigerian rapper and singer, Rema, has set a new YouTube record with his song 'Calm Down' which is now the most-viewed Afrobeats music video on the streaming platform, according to Nigerian music company, TurnTable Charts.

    The video has been watched over 355 million times, so far, and is also the fastest Afrobeats song to reach 100 million in views, hitting that number in less than three months.

    A remixed version of the song featuring American popstar Selena Gomez has also been released, debuting on YouTube four months ago and has already racked up over 260 million views.

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    Rema tweeted his thanks to fans on Monday, with a selfie that has already been liked over 38,000 times.

  14. Lorry crushes Nigerian passenger bus in Lagos

    Scene of the rescue operation at Ojuelegba bridge, Lagos, Nigeria - 29 January 2023

    A lorry pulling a 20ft (6m) shipping container has toppled over, crushing a passenger bus on a bridge in the Nigerian city of Lagos.

    Lagos state’s emergency management agency (Lasema) said nine people, including two children, had been killed in the accident at Ojuelegba bridge on Sunday afternoon.

    “The bus was picking up passengers when it [the lorry] lost control and fell over the side of the bridge,” Lasema head Dr Olufemi Damilola Oke-Osanyintolu said in a series of tweets.

    One woman was rescued alive after a forklift truck was able to the suspend the container allowing the top of the bus to be cut off, he said.

    The traffic authorities tweeted some photos of the rescue operation:

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    Driving in Nigeria is notoriously dangerous. Roads in Lagos are jammed with traffic and many drivers do not have licences, with vehicles that are often poorly maintained.

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