Kidnapped Nigerian nuns released

Kidnapped Nigerian nuns released

Four religious sisters who were kidnapped while on their way to Mass Aug. 21 have been released, according to their order.  Sisters Johannes Nwodo, Christabel Echemazu, Liberata Mbamalu and Benita Agu were kidnapped Aug. 21 in Nigeria’s Imo state, located in the south of the country.  After two days of seeking “intense prayer” for their “quick and safe release,” the Sisters of Jesus the Savior announced the abductees’ “unconditional and safe release” in a statement.  “Today is a memorable day for us; therefore, we wish to share this joy with all men and women of goodwill who in one way…
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Gunmen in Nigeria kidnap four Catholic nuns on highway

Gunmen in Nigeria kidnap four Catholic nuns on highway

LAGOS, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Gunmen abducted four Catholic nuns on a highway in Nigeria's oil-producing Imo state in the southeast, a local convent said on Monday, in the latest sign of widespread insecurity making road travel unsafe. Armed gangs have been kidnapping people, including priests, for ransom from villages and on highways mainly in the northwest and the practice has spread to other parts of the country, increasing insecurity in Africa's most populous nation. Zita Ihedoro, secretary general of Sisters of Jesus, the Saviour Generalate, said the four were abducted while travelling from Rivers state to Imo for a…
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Kidnapped Nigerian Catholic priest found dead, another escapes

Kidnapped Nigerian Catholic priest found dead, another escapes

LAGOS, July 19 (Reuters) - A Nigerian Catholic priest abducted last week was found murdered while his colleague managed to escaped from his captors in the northern state of Kaduna, the local diocese said. Fathers John Mark Cheitnum and Donatus Cleophas were seized in the town of Lere when attending a parish function at Christ the King Catholic Church, Yadin Garu last Friday. On Tuesday, the body of Cheitnum was found, the Kafanchan diocese said in a statement, adding that he was "brutally killed on the same day of his abduction." His burial is on Thursday. No one has claimed…
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OPEC’s Secretary-General Barkindo dies

OPEC’s Secretary-General Barkindo dies

ABUJA, July 6 (Reuters) - OPEC's Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo has died, Mele Kyari, the chief executive of Nigerian National Petroleum Corp said on Wednesday. Barkindo, who was 63 years old, was due to step down at the end of this month after six years as OPEC's secretary-general. "We lost our esteemed Dr Muhammad Sanusi Barkindo," Kyari said on Twitter, adding that he died late on Tuesday. The death was a "great loss to his immediate family, the NNPC, our country Nigeria, the OPEC and the global energy community," he added. Kyari said Barkindo died hours after meeting Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and giving…
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Catholic priest abducted in Nigeria, diocese says

Catholic priest abducted in Nigeria, diocese says

KANO, Nigeria (Reuters) -A Nigerian Catholic priest was abducted from his rectory in the town of Zambina in the northern state of Kaduna in the early hours of Monday, the local Catholic diocese said on Monday. It said parishioners went to look for Father Emmanuel Silas after waiting in vain for him to conduct the morning mass. It is not clear who carried out the abduction. Armed gangs are rife across Nigeria's northwest where they rob or kidnap for ransom, and violence has been increasing, where thinly stretched security forces often fail to stop the attacks. The latest kidnap comes…
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Police recover explosives following massacre in Nigerian Catholic church

Police recover explosives following massacre in Nigerian Catholic church

Survivors of an attack by unknown assailants on a Catholic church in Nigeria lay weeping and writhing in pain at a local hospital on Monday after suffering what a doctor described as lacerations, bullet wounds and blast injuries. At least 50 people including children were killed, according to media reports, during the attack on St Francis Catholic Church in the town of Owo, which took place during Sunday mass as worshippers were celebrating the Christian holiday of Pentecost. Police, who have yet to release a death toll, said they had recovered unexploded improvised explosive devices and shells from AK-47 ammunition. "Some of…
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Gunmen kill worshippers during Catholic church service in Nigeria – media

Gunmen kill worshippers during Catholic church service in Nigeria – media

ABUJA (Reuters) -Gunmen attacked a Catholic church in southwestern Nigeria's Ondo state during mass on Sunday, killing several people, local media reported. A doctor at a hospital in Owo, a town in the state in Nigeria's southwest, told Reuters that "several worshippers were brought in dead". Funmilayo Ibukun Odunlami, police spokesperson for Ondo state, said "there was an incident today at the Saint Francis Catholic Church in Owo" and police would issue a statement soon. Local media said gunmen had fired at worshippers and detonated explosives at the church.  Africa's most populous country has witnessed attacks and kidnappings for ransom…
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Microsoft collaborates with the Nigerian government to accelerate digital transformation in the country

Microsoft collaborates with the Nigerian government to accelerate digital transformation in the country

In a joint announcement with the Government of Nigeria, Microsoft has detailed several projects aimed at intensifying the nation’s move to become a more digital economy.After extensive consultations with the government, Microsoft identified three key pillars that will help to build strong foundations for a digital economy in Nigeria: connectivity, skilling and digital transformation. “We believe in the future of Nigeria, and we are excited as a company to add to our investments,” says Brad Smith, Microsoft President. “Together, we have an enormous opportunity to put technology to work, create jobs, to foster the technology ecosystem across Nigeria, and to…
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Explosion at illegal oil refining depot in Nigeria kills over 100

Explosion at illegal oil refining depot in Nigeria kills over 100

YENAGAO, Nigeria, April 23 (Reuters) - An explosion at an illegal oil refining depot in Nigeria's Rivers state killed over 100 people overnight, a local government official and the NGO Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) said on Saturday. "The fire outbreak occurred at an illegal bunkering site and it affected over 100 people who were burnt beyond recognition," the state commissioner for petroleum resources, Goodluck Opiah, said. Unemployment and poverty in the Niger Delta have made illegal crude refining an attractive business but with deadly consequences. Crude oil is tapped from a maze of pipelines owned by major oil companies and…
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About 200 dead in attacks in northwest Nigeria

About 200 dead in attacks in northwest Nigeria

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - An estimated 200 people or more have been killed in villages in the northwestern Nigerian state of Zamfara during deadly reprisal attacks by armed bandits following military air strikes on their hideouts this week, residents said. Residents gained access to the villages on Saturday after the military captured the communities to organise mass burials, they told Reuters. The state government said 58 people had been killed during the attacks. Ummaru Makeri, a resident who lost his wife and three children during the attack, said around 154 people had been buried including several vigilantes who were killed.…
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Nigeria working on COVID-19 vaccine

Nigeria working on COVID-19 vaccine

Nigeria is working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, President Muhammadu Buhari said in a televised interview, as the country battles growing cases of the virus. Health experts say Nigeria needs to triple its vaccination drive from just over 100,000 doses a day to meet its target of inoculating more than half its population by the end of next year. The West African country has been exploring options to acquire or purchase vaccines through the COVAX facility to enable it to inoculate at least 70% of its population. It received vaccine donations some of which had a shelf life that left…
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Nigeria destroys 1 million donated AstraZeneca vaccines with short shelf life

Nigeria destroys 1 million donated AstraZeneca vaccines with short shelf life

Nigeria destroyed more than a million doses of expired AstraZeneca  vaccines in a bid to assure a wary public that they have been taken out of circulation. The destruction came more than a week after health authorities said some COVID-19 doses donated by rich Western nations had a shelf life that left only weeks to administer the shots. Reuters reported on Dec. 7 that around one million COVID-19 vaccines were estimated to have expired in Nigeria in November without being used. At a dump site in Abuja, a bulldozer crushed AstraZeneca shots that were packed in cardboard boxes and plastic…
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Nigeria plans reciprocal flights ban on four countries over Omicron

Nigeria plans reciprocal flights ban on four countries over Omicron

Nigeria plans to ban flights from Argentina, Britain, Canada and Saudi Arabia from this week in retaliation for being added to those countries' red lists over the detection of the Omicron coronavirus variant last month, the aviation minister said. Several countries have restricted the movement of people from some African nations since the Omicron variant was first detected in southern Africa and Hong Kong. It has since spread to at least 57 countries. In recorded comments shared with journalists on Sunday, Nigeria's aviation minister Hadi Sirika said he had recommended that the four countries should be placed on a COVID-19…
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Up to 1 million COVID vaccines wasted in Nigeria last month

Up to 1 million COVID vaccines wasted in Nigeria last month

Up to one million COVID-19 vaccines are estimated to have expired in Nigeria last month without being used, two sources told Reuters, one of the biggest single losses of doses that shows the difficulty African nations have getting shots in arms. Governments on the continent of over one billion people have been pushing for more vaccine deliveries as inoculation rates lag richer regions, increasing the risk of new variants such as the Omicron coronavirus now spreading across South Africa. In Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and home to more than 200 million people, fewer than 4% of adults have been…
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Nigeria plans booster shots after first cases of Omicron variant

Nigeria plans booster shots after first cases of Omicron variant

Nigeria will start vaccine booster shots from next week for COVID-19, a senior official said, after the country confirmed its first cases of the Omicron variant among two travelers who arrived from South Africa last week. Faisal Shuaib, executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, said booster shots will be available from Dec. 10 to those that have been fully vaccinated. Only 2.9% of Nigerians eligible to get vaccines have been inoculated so far. First reported in southern Africa a week ago, Omicron -- the mutated coronavirus variant that poses high risk of infection -- has highlighted…
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UPDATED: Nigeria says found Omicron variant from October samples

UPDATED: Nigeria says found Omicron variant from October samples

ABUJA, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Nigeria said on Wednesday it had confirmed its first cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, among them a sample from travellers who came to Nigeria in October, suggesting it had turned up weeks before it was reported in southern Africa. "Retrospective sequencing of the previously confirmed cases among travellers to Nigeria also identified the Omicron variant among the sample collected in October 2021," Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said in a statement. It did not give any details on the traveller. First reported in southern Africa a week ago, Omicron has highlighted the disparity…
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Nigeria unlikely to reach ‘impossible’ 40% Covid vaccine target

Nigeria unlikely to reach ‘impossible’ 40% Covid vaccine target

It will be “impossible” for Nigeria to meet its target of vaccinating 40% of its population by the end of the year because Covid is not being taken seriously, health experts have warned. Fewer than 1.5% of the country’s 206 million population has been fully vaccinated. But with more people killed in conflict last year and substantially more recorded deaths from malaria than Covid in Nigeria, experts believe it is further down the list of concerns for many in the country. In September, the World Bank’s International Development Association approved a $400m (£300m) credit to speed up Nigeria’s Covid vaccination…
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Nigeria races to find survivors as 22 die in building collapse

Nigeria races to find survivors as 22 die in building collapse

LAGOS, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Rescuers in Nigeria on Wednesday raced to find survivors, two days after a high-rise building under construction collapsed and trapped scores of people in the commercial capital Lagos, as the death toll rose to 22, an emergency official said. Anxious family members and large crowds gathered near the site of the incident hoping to hear news on the fate of those still trapped under chunks of masonry and mangled steel where the building once stood. National Emergency Management Agency coordinator for Lagos Ibrahim Farinloye told Reuters via text message that the death toll had climbed…
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Nigeria to launch digital currency on Monday, central bank says

Nigeria to launch digital currency on Monday, central bank says

ABUJA, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Nigeria will on Monday launch a digital currency, the eNaira, the central bank said, months after it barred banks and financial institutions from dealing in or facilitating transactions in cryptocurrencies. Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele has said the eNaira would operate as a wallet against which customers can hold existing funds in their bank account. "The eNaira therefore marks a major step forward in the evolution of money and the CBN is committed in ensuring that the eNaira, like the physical Naira, is accessible by everyone," the bank said in a statement.…
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World Championship bronze medallist Tirop found stabbed to death

World Championship bronze medallist Tirop found stabbed to death

(Reuters) - Kenyan distance runner Agnes Tirop, a two-times World Championship bronze medallist, was found stabbed to death at her home, Athletics Kenya said on Wednesday. The 25-year-old represented Kenya in the 5,000m event at the Tokyo Olympics and finished fourth in the finals. "Tirop was found dead at their home in Iten after she was allegedly stabbed by her husband. We are still working to unearth more details surrounding her demise," Athletics Kenya said in a statement. Local police said Tirop's husband was a suspect. "We received a message from the family of Tirop's husband that the husband had…
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Nigeria orders civil servants to show COVID-19 vaccination or negative test from December 1

Nigeria orders civil servants to show COVID-19 vaccination or negative test from December 1

Nigeria will require civil servants to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test for the disease to gain access to their offices from the beginning of December, a presidential committee said. The presidential committee said unvaccinated government workers will need to present a negative test result done within 72-hours before they are granted access to their offices across the country and its embassies abroad. "An appropriate service wide advisory/circular will be issued to guide the process," Boss Mustapha, chairman of the presidential steering committee on COVID-19, said in a statement. Nigeria has administered some five million vaccine…
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Boko Haram moves into north-central Nigeria in apparent expansion – officials

Boko Haram moves into north-central Nigeria in apparent expansion – officials

Boko Haram insurgents have taken over multiple communities in Nigeria's north-central Niger state, offering villagers money and incorporating them in their ranks to fight the government, a local government official and the state's information commission told Reuters. The Islamist group is typically concentrated in the northeast of Africa's most populous nation, and its presence in Niger, a state that borders the federal capital territory, could indicate a concerning spread at a time the military says its counter-insurgency efforts are working. Suleiman Chukuba, chairman of Shiroro local government area in Niger state, which borders Abuja, said Boko Haram fighters were now…
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One million Nigerian children to miss school due to mass kidnappings, UNICEF says

One million Nigerian children to miss school due to mass kidnappings, UNICEF says

At least one million Nigerian children could miss school this year as the new term begins amid a rise in mass school kidnappings and insecurity, the United Nations children's agency UNICEF said this week. Schools have become targets for mass abductions for ransom in northern Nigeria by armed groups. Such kidnappings in Nigeria were first carried out by jihadist group Boko Haram then later its offshoot Islamic State West Africa Province, but the tactic has now been adopted by criminal gangs. So far, there has been 20 attacks on schools in Nigeria this year, with more than 1,400 children abducted…
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Nigeria signs military cooperation agreement with Russia

Nigeria signs military cooperation agreement with Russia

Nigeria and Russia have signed a military cooperation deal providing a legal framework for the supply of equipment and the training of troops, the Nigerian embassy in Moscow said. President Muhammadu Buhari had expressed interest in such a pact with Russia as far back as 2019, when he met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at a Russia-Africa summit. The Nigerian ambassador to Russia at the time said Buhari felt Russia could help defeat the Boko Haram Islamic insurgency in the northeast of the country, which remains a major problem. "The Agreement on Military-Technical Cooperation between both countries provides a…
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Desperate Nigerians sell homes and land to free kidnapped children

Desperate Nigerians sell homes and land to free kidnapped children

TEGINA, Nigeria, Aug 24 (Reuters) - After armed men snatched seven of Abubakar Adam's 11 children in northwestern Nigeria, he sold his car and a parcel of land and cleaned out his savings to raise a ransom to free them. He sent his 3 million naira ($7,300) into the bush, together with payments from other families in his town of Tegina. The kidnappers took the money, seized one of the men delivering it and sent back a new demand for more cash and six motorbikes. "We are in agony," the 40-year-old tyre repairman told Reuters, still waiting for any sign…
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Chibok schoolgirl freed in Nigeria seven years after abduction

Chibok schoolgirl freed in Nigeria seven years after abduction

One abducted girl from the Nigerian town of Chibok has been freed and reunited with her parents seven years after Boko Haram militants kidnapped her and more than 200 of her classmates, Borno state's governor said. The raid on the school in the northeastern town one night in April 2014 sparked an international outcry and a viral campaign on social media with the hashtag #bringbackourgirls. Governor Babagana Zulum said the girl and someone she said she married during her captivity surrendered themselves to the military 10 days ago. Zulum said government officials had used the time since to identify her…
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Pandemic disruptions push millions of Nigerians into hunger

Pandemic disruptions push millions of Nigerians into hunger

Shehu Ismaila Gbadebo has worked as a barber for two decades. The money he made at his rented stall in a bustling suburb of Nigeria's megacity, Lagos, used to be plenty for him to pay bills and set aside some savings. Now, he relies on donated food and sometimes skips meals to feed his family. Since COVID-19 hit Africa's most populous nation and biggest economy, prices for some staples such as eggs, onions and palm oil, have risen by 30% or more. Fewer people can afford a haircut, and those who can are demanding discounts off Gbadebo's 500 naira ($1.22)…
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Nigeria’s Lagos state faces “potential third wave” of COVID-19

Nigeria’s Lagos state faces “potential third wave” of COVID-19

Nigeria's Lagos state faces a "potential third wave" of coronovirus infections, its governor said in a statement. He warned of fines or even imprisonment for those who break rules to contain the virus and said Lagos state would step up its vaccination campaign, following the detection of the highly infectious Delta variant in an incoming traveller. Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, has not been as hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic as other parts of the continent, with just over 168,000 cases and 2,124 deaths confirmed since the outbreak began. But Nation Centre for Disease Control officials last week confirmed…
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Over 120 students missing after Nigeria school raid- church official

Over 120 students missing after Nigeria school raid- church official

About 125 students were still missing on Wednesday but 28 others had been re-united with their families after an attack by armed men on a boarding school in Nigeria's Kaduna state, the head of the Kaduna Baptist conference said. Gunmen raided the Bethel Baptist High School overnight on Monday, the 10th mass school kidnapping since December in northwest Nigeria. Parents told Reuters that 180 students typically attend the school, and that pupils were in the process of sitting exams. Nigerian authorities have attributed the kidnappings to what they call armed bandits seeking ransom payments. "Search and rescue operations (are) ongoing…
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Gunmen kidnap staff and baby from northwest Nigerian hospital

Gunmen kidnap staff and baby from northwest Nigerian hospital

Gunmen kidnapped up to eight people, including the one-year-old child of a nurse, from a hospital's staff residential quarters in northwest Nigeria, while assailants simultaneously attacked a nearby police station, police and hospital officials said. Kaduna state has been hit by a wave of kidnappings for ransom by armed men. Zaria, where the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Centre hospital is located, has been particularly hard hit, and the attack was the third on the hospital. The attack in the early morning hours of Sunday lasted for roughly an hour, hospital spokesperson Maryam Abdulrazaq told Reuters. She said six people had…
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Nigeria could launch pilot digital currency by year-end

Nigeria could launch pilot digital currency by year-end

Nigeria's Central Bank is preparing a digital currency pilot that could launch as early as the end of this year, its director of information technology said in a recording heard by Reuters on Friday. Nigeria barred its banks and financial institutions from dealing in or facilitating transactions in cryptocurrencies in February after exponential growth in monthly cryptocurrency transfers to and from Africa. Central Bank director of information technology Rakiya Mohammed said the project to create some form of digital currency had been in the works for two years, and more announcements were likely in the coming weeks. "We're all aware…
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Another attack on a Nigerian school, 80 students abducted

Another attack on a Nigerian school, 80 students abducted

Gunmen killed a police officer and kidnapped at least 80 students and five teachers from a school in the Nigerian state of Kebbi, police, residents and a teacher said. The attack is the third mass kidnapping in three weeks in northwest Nigeria, which have authorities have attributed to armed bandits seeking ransom payments. Usman Aliyu, a teacher at the school, said the gunmen took more than 80 students, most of them girls. "They killed one of the (police officers), broke through the gate and went straight to the students' classes," he told Reuters. Kebbi State police spokesman Nafiu Abubakar, said…
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Photo Story – Fashion for the Homeless in Lagos

Photo Story – Fashion for the Homeless in Lagos

Artist and organizer Abolore Sobayo (C-R, white shirt) looks on as a homeless girl (C) participates in a mini fashion show along train tracks, organized by the Abolore Sobayo Art Foundation, at the Oshodi district in Lagos, Nigeria . Oshodi is a congested part of Lagos city and is known for large numbers of homeless boys and girls sleeping along the railway track. The Abolore Shobayo Art Foundation engages with homeless children in learning arts and fashion as part of its community responsibility to take them off the streets. EPA-EFE/AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE
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Nigeria’s Buhari tells youth to ‘behave’ if they want jobs

Nigeria’s Buhari tells youth to ‘behave’ if they want jobs

President Muhammadu Buhari told young Nigerians on Thursday that they must "behave" in order to attract jobs and investment. Buhari, speaking on Arise TV, said security was essential in order for investment in the country, where unemployment rose to 33.3% in the fourth quarter. "Nobody is going to invest in an insecure environment. So I told them, I said they should tell the youth that if they want jobs, they will behave themselves," Buhari said. "Make sure that the area is secure. So that people can come in and invest." Nigeria has struggled with high unemployment and rapid population growth…
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ISWAP militant group says Nigeria’s Boko Haram leader is dead

ISWAP militant group says Nigeria’s Boko Haram leader is dead

The Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) militant group said in an audio recording heard by Reuters that Abubakar Shekau, leader of rival Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram, was dead. Shekau died around May 18 after detonating an explosive device when he was pursued by ISWAP fighters following a battle, a person purporting to be ISWAP leader Abu Musab al-Barnawi said on the audio recording. "Abubakar Shekau, God has judged him by sending him to heaven," he can be heard saying. Two people familiar with al-Barnawi told Reuters the voice on the recording was that of the ISWAP leader.…
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Nigerian telecoms firms suspend Twitter access after directive

Nigerian telecoms firms suspend Twitter access after directive

Nigerian telecoms firms have shut down access to Twitter after a regulatory directive, an industry body said on Saturday, a day after the government said it would suspend the U.S. social media giant indefinitely. Nigeria said on Friday it had indefinitely suspended Twitter's activities, two days after the company removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish regional secessionists in the West African country. "We, the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) wish to confirm that our members have received formal instructions from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to suspend access to Twitter," it said.…
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Nigerian state government confirms 136 children abducted in Niger state

Nigerian state government confirms 136 children abducted in Niger state

Gunmen abducted 136 students from an Islamic school in the north-central Nigerian state of Niger on Sunday, a state official said, lower than the estimate of 200 previously offered by the federal government. An armed gang on motorcycles attacked the town of Tegina in the state on Sunday. State government officials in the following days said they were contacting parents to ascertain the exact number of missing children. Nigeria's president, in a statement issued late on Monday, said security agents were searching for around 200 students. Niger state's deputy governor, Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, told reporters the number of missing children…
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Gunmen abduct more students from school in Nigeria

Gunmen abduct more students from school in Nigeria

An armed gang abducted students from an Islamic school in the north-central Nigerian state of Niger on Sunday, police and state government officials said. Armed groups carrying out kidnapping for ransom are blamed for a series of raids on schools and universities in northern Nigeria in recent months, abducting more than 700 students for ransom since December. A spokesman for Niger's state police said in a statement that gunmen on motorcycles attacked the town of Tegina, in the Rafi local government area of the state, at around 3 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Sunday. He said the attackers were "shooting indiscriminately…
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Nigeria’s investigates reports of Boko Haram leader’s death, Nigerian army chief dies in plane crash

Nigeria’s investigates reports of Boko Haram leader’s death, Nigerian army chief dies in plane crash

Nigeria's military is investigating reports that the leader of militant Islamist group Boko Haram may have been killed or seriously injured following clashes with rival jihadists, an army spokesman said. Abubakar Shekau has been the figurehead of an Islamist insurgency that has since 2009 killed more than 30,000 people, forced around 2 million people to flee their homes and spawned one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. A number of reports published on Thursday in Nigeria media, citing intelligence sources, said Shekau was seriously hurt or killed after his insurgents clashed with members of Islamic State in West Africa Province…
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Nigeria bans travellers from India, Brazil, Turkey over COVID-19 fears

Nigeria bans travellers from India, Brazil, Turkey over COVID-19 fears

Nigeria will ban travellers coming from India, Brazil and Turkey because of concerns about the rampant spread of coronavirus in those countries, a presidential committee announced. "Non-Nigerian passport holders and non-residents who visited Brazil, India or Turkey within Fourteen (14) days preceding travel to Nigeria, shall be denied entry into Nigeria," Boss Mustapha, chairman of the presidential steering committee on COVID-19, said in a statement. The ban will take effect from May 4, the statement said. Nigeria announced 43 confirmed new coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing its total to 165,153, with 2,063 deaths. Indian hospitals, morgues and crematoriums have been…
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Parents of Nigeria kidnap victims plead for government help

Parents of Nigeria kidnap victims plead for government help

When Linda Peter last spoke to her daughter, the brief phone call left her relieved the teenager was alive but distraught because she could not pay any ransom demanded. Peter's 18-year-old daughter, Jennifer, was among 39 students abducted by gunmen on March 11 from a forestry college in the northwestern Nigerian state of Kaduna. The captors, who called from the teenager's phone, threatened to kill the male captives and force females into marriage, but did not specify the ransom sum sought. "The government is not doing anything to help these children," said Peter, a widow and mother of five who sells vegetables for a living…
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Major prison break in Nigeria as more than 1,800 inmates flee

Major prison break in Nigeria as more than 1,800 inmates flee

More than 1,800 inmates escaped from a Nigeria prison after an attack by gunmen carrying rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, explosives and rifles, the BBC reported on Tuesday. The attackers used explosives to blast the administrative block of the prison in the southeastern town of Owerri and enter the prison yard, the BBC said. Owerri is about 400km (260 miles) southeast of Nigeria's largest city, Lagos. The Nigerian Correctional Service confirmed to BBC that 1,844 inmates escaped after the attack early on Monday. Nigerian police blamed the attack on the banned separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, the BBC said.…
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Beaten and cowering, kidnapped Nigerian students beg for help

Beaten and cowering, kidnapped Nigerian students beg for help

KADUNA, Nigeria, March 13 (Reuters) - A video of some of the students kidnapped from a college in northwest Nigeria emerged on Saturday, showing them cowering on a forest floor as armed captors hit them with sticks. Thirty nine students are missing after gunmen stormed the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization in Kaduna state overnight on Thursday, the fourth school abduction in northern Nigeria since December. Video footage shared on social media showed roughly two dozen students begging for help in English and Hausa. One says the captors want a 500 million naira ($1.31 million) ransom. "If anybody comes to…
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More students kidnapped in Nigeria

More students kidnapped in Nigeria

Gunmen in northwest Nigeria kidnapped around 30 students overnight from a forestry college near a military academy, three students said on Friday, in the fourth mass school abduction since December. The Federal College of Forestry Mechanization sits on the outskirts of Kaduna city, capital of Kaduna state, in a region roamed by armed gangs, who often travel on motorcycles. Kaduna state’s security commissioner, Samuel Aruwan, confirmed the attack but did not say how many students had been taken. Sani Danjuma, a student at the college, said those abducted were all female students, but authorities were unable to confirm this. Other…
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Nigerian security forces continue search for 300 abducted girls

Nigerian security forces continue search for 300 abducted girls

Relatives of more than 300 girls abducted by gunmen from their boarding school in northwest Nigeria endured an agonising wait for news amid rumours that they had been released, while security forces continued their search. An armed gang kidnapped 317 girls from the Government Girls Science Secondary School in the town of Jangebe, in Zamfara state, at around 1 a.m. on Friday. Two Reuters’ correspondents saw a heavy military presence in state capital Gusau on Sunday, with army trucks moving in convoy and police checkpoints on major roads. A broken window of a dormitory after gunmen abducted more than 300…
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Nigeria losing 200,000 barrels a day to theft, vandalism

Nigeria losing 200,000 barrels a day to theft, vandalism

Nigeria is losing 200,000 barrels of crude oil a day because of theft and vandalism, the head of the state oil company said, underscoring how insecurity is causing vast financial losses for the West African country. With Brent Crude oil prices hovering around $66.70, the losses would amount to more than $13 million a day and more than $4.8 billion a year, at a time when Nigeria needs funds to tackle poverty, improve security and boost the economy, which shrank 1.92% in 2020 in part due to the pandemic. The group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC),…
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UPDATED: Another mass kidnapping of school children in Nigeria

UPDATED: Another mass kidnapping of school children in Nigeria

Unidentified gunmen kidnapped a number of schoolgirls, estimated to be more than 300, from the town of Jangebe in northwest Nigeria early on Friday, the second such kidnapping in little over a week. "Unknown gunmen came shooting sporadically and took the girls away" in a midnight raid on the Jangebe Government Girls' Secondary School, Sulaiman Tanau Anka, information commissioner for Zamfara state, told Reuters. "Information available to me said they came with vehicles and moved the students, they also moved some on foot," Anka said, adding that security forces were hunting through the area. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)…
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Nigerian air force passenger plane crash kills 7 people – UPDATE

Nigerian air force passenger plane crash kills 7 people – UPDATE

ABUJA (Reuters) - A small Nigerian air force passenger plane crashed just outside Abuja airport after reporting engine failure on Sunday, killing all seven people on board, the air force said. The plane, a Beechcraft King Air 350i, was on its way to the city of Minna, 110 kilometres (68 miles) northwest of the capital, said air force spokesman Ibikunle Daramole in a statement. The aircraft “crashed while returning to the Abuja Airport after reporting engine failure,” said Daramole. “First responders are at the scene. Sadly, all 7 personnel on board died in the crash.” The chief of the air…
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Gunmen kidnap students in school attack in Nigeria

Gunmen kidnap students in school attack in Nigeria

Students and teachers were abducted from a school in Niger state, Nigerian media reported on Wednesday. A state spokeswoman confirmed the kidnapping to Reuters news agency. The attack comes on the heels of another kidnapping at the end of last year, where 344 schoolboys were abducted by gunmen in Katsina state. The early-morning attack took place at the Government Science College in the town of Kagara in Niger state. At least one student is believed to have been killed after gunmen opened fire at the school, sources told news broadcaster "Channels" and the Leadership newspaper. An exact number of students detained is not…
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Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala makes history as head of WTO

Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala makes history as head of WTO

GENEVA, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Three months after the Trump administration rejected her, former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala received unanimous backing on Monday to become the first woman and first African director-general of the World Trade Organization. A self-declared "doer" with a track record of taking on seemingly intractable problems, Okonjo-Iweala will have her work cut out for her at the trade body, even with Donald Trump, who had threatened to pull the United States out of the organisation, no longer in the White House. As director-general, a position that wields limited formal power, Okonjo-Iweala, 66, will need to broker international trade talks in the…
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Nigeria’s candidate closes in on WTO top job after rival withdraws

Nigeria’s candidate closes in on WTO top job after rival withdraws

Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a step closer to becoming the first African and first woman to lead the World Trade Organization, after a South Korean rival withdrew on Friday following months of uncertainty over the body's leadership. Okonjo-Iweala faced opposition from the U.S. administration of former President Donald Trump after a WTO selection panel recommended her as chief in October. The decision required consensus. South Korea's trade minister Yoo Myung-hee's withdrawal clears the way for Okonjo-Iweala to be director-general of the global trade watchdog. Okonjo-Iweala said she was looking forward to the conclusion of the race. "There is vital work ahead to do…
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New virus variant appears to emerge in Nigeria, Africa CDC says

New virus variant appears to emerge in Nigeria, Africa CDC says

Another new variant of the coronavirus appears to have emerged in Nigeria, Africa’s top public health official said Thursday, but he added that further investigation was needed. The discovery could add to new alarm in the pandemic after similar variants were announced in Britain and South Africa, leading to the swift return of international travel restrictions and other measures just as the world enters a major holiday season. “It’s a separate lineage from the UK and South Africa,” the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, told reporters. He said the Nigeria CDC and the…
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344 kidnapped Nigerian schoolboys released

344 kidnapped Nigerian schoolboys released

A total of 344 kidnapped Nigerian schoolboys have been handed over to government security forces, Katsina state Governor Aminu Bello Masari told public broadcaster NTA on Thursday.  More than 800 students were at the Government Science Secondary School, in the northwestern town of Kankara, when it was attacked by armed men on December 11. Hundreds escaped but more than 330 were thought to have been abducted. The militant Islamist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the raid. Masari said most, if not all, the boys had been freed in neighboring Zamfara state. They will be medically examined and reunited with their families on Friday. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari took…
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Parents pray for hundreds of students kidnapped in Nigeria’s Katsina

Parents pray for hundreds of students kidnapped in Nigeria’s Katsina

KANKARA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Parents converged on a secondary school in Nigeria's northwestern Katsina state on Sunday, begging authorities to save hundreds of boys abducted by gunmen. More than 300 students from the all-boys Government Science school in Kankara taken Friday night remained missing on Sunday.  "We will not rest until we see the end of this," state spokesman Abdul Labaran told Reuters. Labaran said military and intelligence chiefs were in Kankara to lead the rescue. While 321 students were missing, he said some could have gone home to other states.  All state schools in Katsina were ordered to close…
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Nigeria buries 43 farmers killed by militants, dozens missing

Nigeria buries 43 farmers killed by militants, dozens missing

Villagers in northeast Nigeria's Borno state on Sunday buried 43 farmers killed in an attack by suspected Islamist militants while security forces searched for dozens still missing. Around 30 of the men were beheaded in the attack, which began on Saturday morning in the village of Zabarmari, while residents said 70 people in all are feared dead. While there was no claim of responsibility, such massacres have been carried out in the past by Boko Haram or the Islamic State West Africa Province which are both active in the area, where Islamic militants have killed at least 30,000 people. Nigerian…
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Nigerian general dismisses bloody Lagos protest videos as fake

Nigerian general dismisses bloody Lagos protest videos as fake

 A judicial panel investigating claims that Nigerian soldiers shot dead peaceful protesters in Lagos viewed videos on Saturday appearing to show people hurt or saying that they were being fired on, but an army general dismissed the footage. Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo, who heads the army's 81st Division in Lagos, also said soldiers had been deployed to the protest with both live rounds and blanks, having previously told the panel only blanks were used.  The panel is looking into allegations that the army and police last month opened fire on and killed people protesting at the city's Lekki Toll Gate…
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Burned-out buildings and armed gangs in Lagos despite president’s plea

Burned-out buildings and armed gangs in Lagos despite president’s plea

Gangs armed with knives and sticks blocked major roads in Lagos on Friday, with many on the streets angered by a speech in which the president called for calm but failed to condemn the killing of protesters demanding an end to police brutality. The unrest is the worst street violence since Nigeria's return to civilian rule in 1999 and the most serious political crisis confronting President Muhammadu Buhari, a former head of a military regime who came to power at the ballot box in 2015. A highway leading to the international airport was obstructed by blockades manned by groups of…
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