Monday, December 7, 2015

Nigerian couple jailed for forced slavery in the UK

A Nigerian couple who kept a man as a slave for 24 years after illegally bringing him to Britain have both been jailed for six years. Former NHS obstetrician Emmanuel Edet, 61, and midwife Antan Edet, 58, kept fellow Nigerian Ofonime Sunday Inuk as a 'houseboy' after smuggling him into the UK aged 14.

Over the next quarter of a century, he worked unpaid up to 17 hours a day looking after the couple's two sons, cooking, cleaning and gardening.  He was also forced to sleep on a piece of foam on a hall floor under the stairs. Sentencing the couple at Harrow Crown Court today Judge Graham said their treatment of Mr Inuk, now 40, left him 'conditioned' to his plight.

Judge Arran told them: 'The most serious aspect of your behaviour towards him was that it went on for an exceptionally long period of time, robbing him of the opportunity of leading a normal life. He suffered as a result of that treatment and has found it difficult to adjust (to) a normal life.'

He was hired by the Edets as a 'houseboy' and taken first to Israel before the family moved to the UK when Dr Edet landed a post as a gynaecologist in Chatham, Kent. The Edets changed Mr Inuk's name and added him to their family passport as their son when they first brought him to Britain. Mr Inuk believed they would pay him for his work. But he was forced to keep their family home in an immaculate condition, polishing the floors every fortnight, and was prohibited from speaking to anyone else.

The Edets confiscated his passport and stopped him from finding a job or receiving an education, forcing him to complete menial household chores for little or no money. Mr Inuk continued to be refused an education when the couple moved to Scarborough in North Yorkshire, and was subjected to taunts including 'riff raff' and 'gutter trash'.

To the outside world, they claimed he was their adopted son, but while their other sons went on to successful careers a City analyst and a supply teacher, Mr Inuk had to stay at home. The court was told how there were almost 1,000 pictures of the couple's two sons - but only had four of Mr Inuk, including one where he was peddling the boat in Flamingo Land, in north Yorkshire. When the family moved to Walsall in the West Midlands, Dr Edet lost his General Medical Council certificate and was told to leave the UK. But the family then moved to London in 1994, where Mr Inuk was still treated as a 'houseboy' despite entering adulthood.

He was rarely allowed out of the house, and only to complete tasks like shopping. He was also told not to speak to anyone. The Edets monitored Mr Inuk's post, and he eventually lost touch with his mother and family back in Nigeria.They also kept his name off the electoral roll, and he was not allowed to enter the lounge in the family home.  

source: dailymail

Monday, November 23, 2015

The passing of a political giant: Abubakar Audu (1947-2015)

Prince Abubakar Audu bestrode the political landscape of Kogi State from its creation in 1991 till his death yesterday when he was about to make it a triple as governor of the Confluence state. Born 68 years ago into a royal family in Ogbonicha, Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State, the late politician showed signs of greatness at a tender age. His late father, HRH Pa Audu Oyidi, Orego Attah of Igalaland was the paramount ruler of Ogbonicha-Alloma.

Prince Abubakar Audu was the first elected governor of Kogi State in 1992 on the platform of the defunct National Republican Convention. He was responsible for the laying of the infrastructural foundation of the state. He was responsible for the establishment of the Kogi State University, Kogi State Polytechnic, Kogi State Broadcasting Corporation and many other institutions in the state. His first spell as governor ended with General Sani Abacha’s dismantling of the structures of the Third Republic on November 17, 1993.

In 1999, Audu contested and won the governorship election for the second time on the platform of the defunct All Peoples Party, APP having defeated the late Arc. Stephen Olorunfemi of the People’s Democratic Party. He was a politician cherished by the Igala people of Kogi State.
His bid for re-election was truncated in 2003 when he lost to PDP’s Alhaji Ibrahim Idris. The 2003 loss heralded a chain of loses in 2007, 2008 and 2011. He was cruising to victory in his sixth governorship contest conducted on Saturday, against the incumbent governor, Capt. Idris Wada. Audu was believed to have died yesterday morning before the election was declared inconclusive yesterday evening.

Prince Audu was a charismatic and flamboyant leader who was never afraid of confronting authorities in his lifetime. For many years, he was the leader of opposition politics in Kogi State, sinking his resources into nurturing parties such as the National Republican Convention, the defunct APP, the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and lately, the All Progressives Congress. He will be sorely missed by the political community in the confluence state.

His socio-economic contribution in the state is to date a point of reference to the generality of the people and many aspiring leaders. Some of his major achievements during his first two stints in office include the establishment of three different housing schemes for public officers consisting of over 1,500 housing units in Lokoja, the transformation of Lokoja township with asphalt roads, street lights, aesthetic roundabouts, the construction of inter-township and rural roads, over 75 electrification schemes and 50 water projects.

Others include the founding of Kogi State Polytechnic, the establishment of a television station, radio station (both AM and FM), a state newspaper, the transformation of the colonial residence of Lord Lugard into an Ultra-Modern Government House Complex, the construction of office blocks for ministries as the new state had no office accommodation, the construction of shopping arcade complex to enhance commercial activities, among others. He was regarded as the father of development in Kogi State.

source: Vanguard

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Covenant Voices of South Africa win international accolades

Covenant Voices, a South African mass gospel choir, have become an International multi award winning group after they won the Akademia Music Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Video for ‘Children’ in the November 2015 Akademia Music Awards, adding to their previous success three months ago when they won, 'Best Gospel Song' at the August 2015 edition of Akademia awards in Los Angeles, United States of America.

Covenant Voices was founded and named in 2007 by Rev. Tim Omotoso, after he hosted gospel music auditions, a first for the organization in Durban. 

This became the first initiative of the Youth Empowerment Project (Y.E.P.) of Tim Omotoso Global Outreach. They are based in Durban, South Africa, and their music has Traditional Zulu, Jazz, R&B and Contemporary influences.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Images of Veterans day

America honored its greatest heroes today as Veterans Day parades and commemorations took place across the country, paying homage to the sacrifices made by those in uniform. President Barack Obama led tributes in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns - a poignant tribute to all those killed in conflicts whose remains could not be identified - as New York held its annual Veterans Parade, the largest to take place in the country.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Monday, November 9, 2015

Virgin Atlantic ditches Nigerian based Cabin Crew

Virgin Atlantic Airways has announced that it will be discontinuing with the services of Nigerian based cabin crew in its operations. Reacting to unconfirmed reports that the airline was withdrawing its services from Nigeria, its Nigerian Sales Agent, Chief John Adebanjo; "We have decided that we will no longer have crew based in Lagos.  This is by no means a reflection on our Lagos-based cabin crew. 

The primary purpose of our locally based cabin crew has been to provide cultural expertise and customer feedback has shown us that this is no longer a requirement on the Lagos route”.

He further stated; ‘’The additional complexity required to operate an international crew base where there are no foreign language requirement means it is no longer sustainable going forward. 

This announcement has no impact on our flying programme and we plan to continue flights between Lagos and London. ‘’After 14 years of flying the route, we remain committed to servicing the Nigeria people, whether it be for business, family or education.’’

New anti-corruption czar named for Nigeria

President Muhammadu Buhari has named a former operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu as the new Chairman after the sack of Ibrahim Lamorde. During his time at the EFCC, he led investigations into the affairs of officials including former Delta Governor James Ibori and current Senate President, Bukola Saraki.  Magu is a recipient of USG and London Metropolitan Police institute training.

He reportedly worked with Ribadu to jail his brother-in-law and former Bank of the North chief, Shettima Bulama. Bulama was later pardoned by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

He is a member of the investigative committee convened by National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the procurement of arms in the Armed Forces from 2007 till now. He is a Chief Superintendent of Police.

Monday, November 2, 2015

5 things Buhari must do to define ‘CHANGE’

President Muhammadu Buhari, who was inaugurated May 29, is the antithesis of the stereotypical Nigerian politician: incorruptible, soft-spoken, self-effacing and deliberate.  He embraces the nickname “Baba Go-Slow and Steady.” Buhari’s unhurried style has its downsides, however: It took him an unprecedented four months to name a solid but un-extraordinary cabinet.  His reform agenda appears to be sauntering out of the gates, according to the civil society-run Buharimeter.
In the meantime, the challenges facing Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy continue to grow: Oil revenues are down, currency value has slipped and Boko Haram has killed more than 1,700 since June.  Nigerians nevertheless expect their new president’s reform agenda to show tangible results, and soon. Given these imperatives, here are five things Buhari can do to get the ball rolling:

1. Carefully clean house. Buhari’s reform agenda probably faces its greatest threat from corrupt, old-school politicians within his own All Progressives Congress (APC) party.  Buhari should neutralize some of the APC’s shadiest figures, who could emerge as “veto players,” as described in Carl LeVan’s recent book. 
Examples of these kleptocrats are not hard to find.  The U.S. Department of Justice has accused one sitting APC governor of helping former dictator Sani Abacha steal at least $458 million from state coffers.  Likewise, both APC candidates in the upcoming Kogi and Bayelsa State governorship elections have been indicted by Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency.
Admittedly, housecleaning carries political risks for Buhari. After all, his victorious electoral coalition included powerful defectors from former president Goodluck Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP).  If he unduly antagonizes these establishment figures, they could derail his party’s newfound dominance by joining their former comrades in the opposition PDP.

2. Pare down the parastatals.  Buhari has an opportunity to realize immediate savings by eliminating or merging some of Nigeria’s more than 500 federal parastatals and boards. Parastatals are government-operated companies or commercial agencies.  Pundits allege that past presidents used parastatal appointments to cultivate national political allies and provincial cronies.  These institutions, which range from the lucrative to the modest to the moribund, have long been a cornerstone of corruption in Nigeria — a complicated topic expertly explained by Daniel Jordan Smith.
Buhari may also want to disband some nice-to-have but non-essential parastatals in light of competing priorities and current fiscal constraints.  Does Nigeria need to spend more than $4 million annually on a Center for Space Transport and Propulsion? Is there an effort underway to rescue the supposedly stranded Nigerian astronaut featured in this legendary scam letter?
President Muhammadu Buhari
3. Tame the white elephants.  Buhari’s apparent determination to revive two “white elephant” economic sectors — domestic oil refineries and steel mills — worry industry experts.  Nigeria is replete with these kinds of investment projects where state-owned enterprises are funded for long periods even if they incur huge losses.  For decades, Nigerian leaders have thrown good money after bad at these projects because, as Robinson and Torvik argue, white elephant projects yield short-term political gains.
Buhari, like any of the rest of us, could stumble into a sunk cost dilemma where his efforts to maximize future returns of Nigeria’s white elephants only increase their cumulative losses. Instead, he should address the graft, inconsistent policies and opaque privatization deals that experts say turned these industries into white elephants in the first place.

4. Rein in subnational debt.  As Buhari tries to put Nigeria’s public finances back in order, the balance sheets of the country’s 36 states are sinking deeper into the red.  In a decentralized federal system like Nigeria’s, state budgets typically affect the lives of ordinary citizens more than federal spending does. Since taking office, Buhari has already bailed out 27 cash-strapped states to the tune of $2.1 billion.  States’ borrowing trends are risky and need to be addressed, according to a recent report by the African Development Bank.
All but a few states generate minimal revenue outside of their monthly allocation of Nigeria’s anemic oil income.  While Nigeria’s national debt is still relatively low by global standards, fiscal federalism means that if states default on their debts, the federal government foots the bill.  Buhari’s reasons for watching state borrowing should also be personal: One of the stated reasons for the 1983 military coup that first brought him to power was runaway borrowing by state governors.

5. Legislate for the long run.  Nigeria will need to feel the “Buhari Effect” (the sense, evident in a recent New York Times article, that there is a new sheriff in town) long after the president’s tenure is over.  The best way for him to protect his legacy is to partner with the National Assembly to enact legislation enshrining key reforms.  With few other politicians like him on the horizon, Buhari should put his legacy in writing.
A good place to start would be an act prohibiting the use of “security votes.” Both a definitive article by Uche et al. and a 2007 Human Rights Watch report illustrate how these secretive budgetary line items are used by officials at all levels of government as slush funds. Even Nigeria’s leading anti-corruption agency had a $1,000,000 security vote included in its 2014 budget. Buhari has his work cut out for him.

Matthew Page is an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. You can follow him on Twitter at @MatthewTPage.

NCC MTN fine will impact the Nigerian Economy

Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator-NCC recently fined MTN $5.2 billion, wiping almost 20 percent off its market value over the space of four days. The incident has brought to light the high level of risk when doing business in Nigeria. Many observers wonder how NCC arrived at the staggering fine which is the total National budget for most African countries. Some media commentaries also speculate that it may be a calculated attempt to halt the Nation’s largest GSM operators operation in Nigeria. 

MTN Nigeria is currently the largest employer of Labour in the communications sector and is also the single source of income for hundreds of telecom service start-ups across Nigeria. It has millions of dollars in infrastructure and has also invested largely in the booming Nigerian entertainment industry. Such a fine will definitely have a trickledown effect on thousands of Nigerians.
MTN Nigeria MD, Mike Ikpoki
While Johannesburg-based MTN is in talks with Nigerian authorities over the penalty, imposed for failing to disconnect customers with unregistered SIM cards and having incomplete data, failure to negotiate a lower sanction means the company will be paying away more than double the group’s estimated net income for 2015. It also exceeds sales of almost 54 billion rand ($3.9 billion) that the operator made in Nigeria in 2014, about 37 percent of total revenue.

After buying one of four Nigerian mobile-phone licenses for $285 million, MTN went from handling its first call in the West African country in 2001 to being the market leader with more than 62.5 million customers. Over the same period, its share price on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange soared more than sixfold as the company expanded from its home base into more than 20 countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and in Cyprus.

A full payment would exceed the revenue the Nigerian government made from oil in the second-quarter, and be more than double the state’s non-crude proceeds, according to central bank data.
Trading in MTN’s shares was halted more than three hours after rebounding from a decline of as much as 9.7 percent.  The dispute with MTN also comes as the economy struggles to cope with sliding oil prices, currency restrictions and no finance minister, with growth at its slowest pace this decade. The dispute couldn’t come at a worse time for MTN, with the company’s 15-year license up for renewal.

Source: Bloomberg

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Liberian Screen Star nominated for Movie Competition in Nigeria

Liberian superstar Esau Owusu Dahnsaw; aka Flomos has been nominated for the 11th edition of the Next Movie Star Competition, a Digital Interactive Media (D.I.M) production. Dahnsaw is the only representative from Liberia.

Dahnsaw is a proud son of the Bassa Tribe whose dexterity on screen has earned him many admirers and fans in Liberia and around the world, and has placed him among the list of highly sought after actors in Liberia. Dahnsaw came to prominence in 2014 in the movie DUGBOR MAR in which he acted a humble young lady who was sought after by the illiterate Dugbormar, a girl who causes trouble here and there.
Queen V, one of Liberia's hottest female musician and Actress represented Liberia at this competition in 2009 and won it with flying colors. Dahnsaw is expected to repeat history by making his country proud with accolades and awards from the 2015 event.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

UK suspends VISA issuance in Cameroon

The British High Commission announces to general public in Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon that due to unforeseen circumstances, the UK Visa Application Centre at the British High Commission in Yaoundé will be closed this week until further notice.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause our customers. This closure is temporary and UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) is working to restore normal operations as soon as possible. We hope to reinstate appointments from Monday 12 October 2015.
Please continue to monitor this website page for updates. Customers in Cameroon who had a confirmed appointment to lodge an application in Yaoundé this week, or who are required to collect their documents from the British High Commission, will be contacted directly by UKVI officials.

UPDATE: UK has resumed issuing Visa's in Cameroon.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British High Commission - Yaounde.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Explosions Rock Abuja

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has confirmed that multiple explosions rocked the twin districts of Nyanya and Kuje at the Federal Capital Territory killing an unconfirmed number of persons and destroying property. Scores of persons were said to have died in the explosions which unconfirmed sources said happened between 9.30 and 10pm on Friday night. 

The blast at Kuje was said to have occurred between the Market and the Local Council headquarters.
NEMA however disclosed that it was yet to ascertain the number of persons that died in both incidents even as it said rescue services ambulances had ferried several injured to hospitals in Abuja. 

This comes just days after a series of explosions rocked the city of Maiduguri in northeast with casualties feared. It was not immediately clear how many blasts hit the Borno state capital but one police officer said as many as seven went off and locals reported at least two bombs were strapped to teenage girls.

Acting director, army public relations, Colonel Sani Usman confirmed the multiple explosions at Sajeri, Maiduguri and he stated that at least 14 persons were killed and 39 injured. Boko Haram Islamists have increasingly used suicide bombers to target civilians, including in Maiduguri, where on September 20 at least 117 people were killed in a wave of attacks.

source: Vanguard/PMnews

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Nigerian firms in trouble as central bank measures backfire

ABUJA, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Nigerian companies making anything from soap to tomato paste could run out of raw materials and be forced to shut down as Africa's top oil producer has effectively banned the import of almost 700 goods to prevent a currency collapse.

Selected luxury items such as make-up or brown bread imported from Europe have become scarce in some shops as the central bank denies importers dollars, seeking to stem the fallout from a crash in vital oil revenues hammering Africa's largest economy.

The central bank has restricted access to foreign currency to import 41 categories of items to stop a slide of the naira but the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) said this in fact amounted to about 680 individual items.

The foreign exchange bans are part of a long-term plan by President Muhammadu Buhari to encourage local manufacturing, but they run the risk of pushing the economy closer to recession after growth halved in the second quarter compared with the same period last year.

Many items on the central bank list - ranging from incense and toothpicks to plywood, glass and steel products -- are not available in Nigeria in sufficient volumes.

While Nigeria grows a lot of tomatoes, transport is poor and it lacks facilities to produce the concentrate needed by factories making tomato paste, a staple in the West African nation.

"We've taken this matter up with the central bank and the highest authority in this country ... Fiscal authorities will also be involved, they weren't before," Remi Ogunmefun, the director general of MAN, said.

MAN had told the central bank 105 items should be removed from the list, but the bank said it could not afford to do so and agreed to look into removing 44 items.

MAN also suggested 93 finished items that should be added to the list because Nigeria produces enough of them.

The economic crisis is a blow to Buhari who wants to end dependence on oil revenues but faces criticism for failing to name a cabinet four months after taking office.

Since the central bank unveiled its controls in June, executives have had to deal with foreign suppliers worried they won't get paid. They also struggle to convince banks to approve dollar payments.

"It takes minimum 10 days now to get dollars, before it was 24-48 hours, and sometimes when you request like $100,000, you only get $80,000 and it's getting worse," said an executive at a large furniture company, asking not to be named.

It's not clear which imports are still allowed as the central bank lists only categories. He can still bring in beds and chairs to be assembled in Nigeria, but not sofas.

Some firms have defaulted on contracts and lost credit lines. "Many companies have defaulted on fulfilling foreign obligations ... even blue chip companies ... for the first time," said Muda Yusuf, director general of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce.

According to the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Nigeria is short of 600,000 tonnes a year of palm oil, that is used to make soap, detergents and cosmetics that have also been restricted. Pharmaceutical firms lack bottles, and glass manufacturers do not have the glass to make them.

Julia Payne (Reuters)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Two in every 100 Syrian migrants may be ISIS recruits

Two in every 100 Syrian migrants smuggled into Europe are Islamic State-trained fanatics, David Cameron was warned yesterday.  Lebanese education minister Elias Bousaab, who met the Prime Minister during his lightning visit to the region, said the extremist group is sending trained jihadists ‘under cover’ to attack targets in the West.

If true, it could mean up to 400 of the 20,000 refugees Britain has promised to accept by 2020 have been radicalised. ‘It’s becoming a danger because they are recruiting kids from schools, they are recruiting everywhere. ‘It’s a very dangerous situation and the world should wake up and do something about that.

‘Isis will not stop at the border with Lebanon, before you know it Isis will be in Europe.’ Mr Bousaab’s warning came as Mr Cameron visited refugee camps to see how Britain’s £1billion aid spending is used. 

curled from Dailymail

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The depth of Nigeria’s Electricity Problem

There's no end in sight to the daily blackouts that the government says are costing Africa's largest economy about $100 billion a year in missed potential and that President Muhammadu Buhari calls a "national shame." Gas shortages, pipeline vandalism, inadequate funding, unprofitable prices and corruption mean fixing the electricity cuts two years after a partial sale of state power companies to private investors won't be easy.

Generated output has never risen above 5,000 megawatts, which is about a third of peak demand, and if it did the state- owned transmission system can't deliver any more than that before it starts breaking down. South Africa, with a less than a third of Nigeria's population of about 180 million, has nine times more installed capacity and it too is grappling with blackouts.

Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer, ranked the worst of 189 countries after Bangladesh and Madagascar on the ease of getting electricity connected to businesses, costing almost 7 percent of lost sales each month, according to a 2015 World Bank Doing Business report.

The power bottleneck comes on top of a slump in oil prices and currency that are threatening Nigeria's role as a destination for investors. Economic growth slowed to 2.4 percent on an annual basis in the second quarter from 6.5 percent a year earlier.

About two-thirds of Nigeria's people have no access to electricity, and at the current plant commissioning rate, supply will barely meet 9,500 megawatts by 2020, according to a 2014 World Bank project document. Demand is expected to increase 10 percent each year. Buhari's party promised before he won power in March's election to generate 40,000 megawatts within four to eight years.

For years the industry's poor performance has spawned jokes about the former state electricity company's name. Nigerians called the National Electric Power Authority "Never Expect Power Always," and when its name was changed to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria a decade ago, they mocked it as the "Problem Has Changed Name."
Hopes that the power situation would improve after former President Goodluck Jonathan partially sold off 15 state generation and distribution companies for more than $3 billion to private investors two years ago have been dashed.

The buyers included locally owned companies such as Forte Oil, Sahara Group and Transnational Corp. of Nigeria, along with foreign technical partners such as Korea Electric Power Corp.
They found the companies they bought weren't financially viable, and the distribution firms mounted with debt started hemorrhaging cash. Last year, "the financial flows in the sector came close to collapse,'' Britain's Department for International Development said in a December 2014 report.

"There wasn't much due diligence done" because strikes during the sale period blocked access to the utilities, said Dolapo Kukoyi, a partner at Lagos-based Detail Commercial Solicitors, which advised investors looking to buy the distribution companies. "People basically bought blind -- this was across the board."

Nigeria's central bank designed a 213 billion-naira ($1.1 billion) bailout package to cover revenue shortfalls and help the companies meet debt-service obligations on bank loans of almost 500 billion naira.

The power industry still requires as much as $20 billion of investment in the next six years, according to Benjamin Dikki, the director-general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, which led the sales.
Even after the sales, bribery of electricity workers by some diesel generator and fuel suppliers to organize household and business blackouts in order to boost sales is continuing.

Diesel generation costs 30 cents to 50 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared with the average grid tariff of 13 cents, according to the World Bank. Timothy Oyedeji, a spokesman for the Power Ministry, didn't answer two calls and a text message seeking comment.

The generation companies have battled with chronic gas shortages used by 70 percent of the plants, despite Nigeria holding Africa's biggest reserves of more than 180 trillion cubic feet. From December to June, rampant pipeline attacks reached levels last recorded at the peak of a 2006 to 2009 militant insurgency in the oil producing Niger River. They've slowed since then.

Government-set tariffs have also hampered the distribution companies. Just before the elections, the regulator banned them from charging consumers for losses caused by billing mistakes, effectively cutting the tariff by more than half in some areas. This caused most of the distribution utilities to declare force majeure, claiming they couldn't pay for their power supply.

Up the chain, generating companies say they haven't received payments from state-owned Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading, which acts as a middle man between them and the distribution companies.
And because the distribution utilities haven't paid about 20 billion naira owed since February, payments to the power plants have slowed, said Rumundaka Wonodi, chief executive officer of NBET in Abuja.

While NBET has enough cash to make the market payments for five months, the money is there to cover breakdowns and the company doesn't want to deplete the funds without the agreement of the power minister, Wonodi said. Problem is, Buhari hasn't filled that position more than three months after taking office.

The generation companies are also feeling the pinch. The 30-year-old Egbin plant in Lagos, which is owned by Sahara and Korea Electricity, is owed almost 44 billion naira for December to June, along with 22 billion naira of past debt costs.

"We've never broken even in 2 1/2 years," Egbin Chief Executive Office Dallas Peavey Jr. said in an interview at the plant. "If it wasn't for Sahara to be quite honest we would have shut down about three months ago.''

The national grid is another bottleneck. It needs about $40 million a year just for maintenance, compared with the $1 million now allocated by the government, Peavey said. Nigeria's aggregate technical, commercial and collection losses are 35 percent of total generation, according to the World Bank.

Buhari said last month that he recognized that transmission was a greater problem than generation and his administration was taking action to boost supply.

curled from the Chicago Tribune

Friday, August 28, 2015

Nigerian Ambassador to the US, Adefuye Passes

Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Adebowale Adefuye, is dead. Adefuye, a former History professor died on Thursday August 27th, 2015 at an undisclosed hospital in Washington DC. Late Ambassador Adefuye was appointed the head of the Nigerian mission to the U.S. in 2010 by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Prof. A. Adefuye (1947-2015)
He was born in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State in 1947. He was a graduate of the University of Ibadan where he bagged his first degree in 1969. He was also a Fulbright Scholar and embarked on further studies and research work at the Columbia University in New York, the University of North Florida, and the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Adefuye explains a point during a recent visit by President Buhari to DC

Adefuye (L) at the White House

Prior to his being named Nigeria’s ambassador to the US, he served as ambassador to Jamaica, and deputy high commissioner in the U.K.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

List of illegal Educational institutions in Nigeria

The National Universities Commission recently released a list of illegal degree awarding institutions operating in Nigeria. The list of these illegal universities was made available to the public in a NUC’s weekly bulletin dated August 24. In the bulletin, the NUC Executive secretary, Julius Okojie, warned that Certificates obtained from these universities and colleges will not be recognized for the purpose of NYSC, employment and further studies.”
Full list:
1. University of Accountancy and Management Studies, operating anywhere in Nigeria.
2. Christians of Charity American University of Science and Technology Nkpor, Anambra State or any of its campuses.
3. University of Industry, Yaba, Lagos or any of its other campuses.
4. University of applied Sciences and Management Port Novo, Republic of Benin or any of its other campuses in Nigeria.
5. Blacksmith University, Awka or any of its campuses.
6. Volta University College, Ho, Volta Region, Ghana or any of its other campuses in Nigeria.
7. Royal University Izhia, P.O. Box 800, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State or any of its other campuses.
8. Atlanta University, Anyigba, Kogi State or any of its other campuses.
9. Sunday Adokpela University, Otada Adoka, Otukpo, Benue State or any of its other campuses.
10. United Christian University, Macotis Campus, Imo State or any of its other campuses.
11. United Nigeria University College, Okija, Anambra State or any of its other campuses.
12. Samuel Ahmadu University, Makurdi, Benue State or any of its other campuses.
13. UNESCO University, Ndoni, Rivers State or any of its other campuses.
14. Saint Augustine’s University of Technology, Jos Plateau State or any of its other campuses.
15. The International University, Missouri, USA, Kano and Lagos Study Centres, or any of its campuses in Nigeria.

16. Columbus University, UK operating anywhere in Nigeria.
17. Tiu International University, UK operating anywhere in Nigeria.
18. Pebbles University, UK operating anywhere in Nigeria.
19. London External Studies UK operating anywhere in Nigeria.
20. Pilgrims University operating anywhere in Nigeria.
21. Lobi Business School Makurdi, Benue State or any of its campuses in Nigeria.
22. West African Christian University operating anywhere in Nigeria.
23. Bolta University College Aba or any of its campuses in Nigeria.
24. JBC Seminary Inc. (Wukari Jubilee University) Kaduna Illegal Campus.
25. Westlan University, Esie, Kwara State or any of its campuses in Nigeria.
26. St. Andrews University College, Abuja or any of its campuses in Nigeria.
27. EC- Council University, USA, Ikeja Lagos Study Centre.
28. Atlas University, Ikot Udoso Uko, Uyo Akwa Ibom State or any of its campuses in Nigeria.
29. Concept College/University (London) Ilorin or any of its campuses in Nigeria.
30. Halifax Gateway University, Ikeja or any of its campuses in Nigeria.
31. Kingdom of Christ University, Abuja or any of its campuses in Nigeria.
32. Acada University, Akinlalu, Oyo State or any of its campuses in Nigeria.
33. Fifom University, Mbaise, Imo State or any of its campuses in Nigeria.
34. Houdegbe North American University Campuses In Nigeria.
35. Atlantic International University, Okija, Anambra State.
36. Open International University, Akure.
37. Middle Belt University (North Central University), Otukpo.
38. Leadway University, Ugheli, Delta State.
39. Metro University, Dutse/Bwari, Abuja.
40. Southend University, Ngwuro Egeru (Afam) Ndoki, Rivers State.
41. Olympic University, Nsukka, Enugu State.
42. Federal College of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Abuja.
43. Temple University.
44. Irish University Business School London, operating anywhere in Nigeria.
45. National University of Technology, Lafia, Nasarawa State.
46. University of Accountability and Management Studies, Mowe, Lagos Ibadan Expressway and its Annex at 41, Ikorodu Road Lagos.
47. University of Education, Winneba Ghana, operating anywhere in Nigeria.
48. Cape Cost University, Ghana, operating anywhere inNigeria.
49. African University Cooperative Development (AUCD), Cotonou, Benin Republic, operating anywhere in Nigeria.
50. Pacific Western University, Denver, Colorado, Owerri Study Centre.
51. Evangel University of America and Chudick Management Academic, Lagos.
52. Enugu State University of Science and Technology (Gboko Campus).
53. Career Light Resources Centre, Jos.
54. University of West Africa, kwali-Abuja, FCT.
55. Coastal University, Iba-Oku, Akwa-Ibom State.
56. Kaduna Business School, Kaduna.
57. Royal University of Theology, Minna, Niger Delta.
The NUC listed another eight illegal institutions as currently undergoing investigations and court actions. The commission said the action will lead to the prosecution of the proprietors and recovery of illegal fees and charges on subscribers.
The Universities are:
1. National University of Nigeria, Keffi, Nasarawa state.
2. North Central University, Otukpo, Benue State.
3. Christ Alive Christian Seminary and University, Enugu.
4. Richmond Open University, Arochukwu, Abia State.
5. West Coast University, Umuahia.
6. Saint Clements University, Iyin Ekiti, Ekiti State.
7. Volta University College, Aba, Abia State.
8. Illegal Satellite Campuses of Ambrose Ali University.

Friday, August 14, 2015

U.S. Pilot killed in Lagos Helicopter Crash

The bodies of the two remaining persons missing from Wednesday’s Bristow helicopter crash in Lagos have been recovered by the search and rescue team. The bodies recovered at about 10.25 a.m. yesterday were that of a white American, Captain Jay Wyatt, who was the pilot and a black, who was the co-pilot. The two-man crew perished when the twin-engine Sikorsky 76C+ plunged into the water north of the city as it was heading back from an oil rig on Wednesday.

Marine police and fishermen delivered the bodies of Capt. Joseph "Jay" Wyatt of Oklahoma and First Officer Peter Bello of Nigeria, according to the helicopter's owner, Bristow Group of Houston, Texas. A statement from the company did not give Wyatt's home town.

According to a report by LASWA Managing Director, Mr Yinka Marinho,  submitted to the state government; ’At 9.30am yesterday, a joint effort by the Nigerian Navy and LASWA rescue teams retrieved the bodies of the Captain and co-pilot from the cockpit of the crashed helicopter. The bodies were handed over to the police station at Oworonshoki. The Lagos State Police Command’s spokesperson, DSP Patricia Amadin, had confirmed that after the crash, six persons were rescued alive on Wednesday and four dead.

The police also confirmed that the ill-fated helicopter which plunged into the Lagos Lagoon at Oworonshoki, was carrying 12 passengers when the accident occurred at about 3.10 p.m.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

20 Senior Pastors Retired from RCCG

TWENTY senior pastors of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, who have attained the age of 70 had bowed out of active service in obedience to the church’s constitution which pegged retirement age at 70. The announcement of retirement was made at the conclusion of this year’s ministers’ conference, ahead of the convention, by the General Overseer of the church, Pastor Enoch Adeboye.

Six of the pastors received awards of excellence while the 14 others got the award of “Fruitful.”
Moreover, they all received the General Overseer’s handshake, plaques and undisclosed sums of money. The church thanked the retirees and prayed for them.
In a similar development, the church gave awards to some of its pastors who have served the church for 20 years and more. They are in the categories of 20, 25 and 30 years.

Source: Vanguard

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ghana Oil Woes

When the Ghana shipped its first barrels of crude oil in 2010, then-president John Atta Mills pledged to build new roads and a deep-sea port, expand the power grid and create an aluminum industry.
Five years later and Ghana’s economy is sinking. The government was forced to seek an emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund of almost $1 billion, the currency was the worst performer in Africa against the dollar in the first half of the year and power cuts of 24 hours at a time are crippling businesses.

The promise of an oil windfall led Ghana on a borrowing spree. Feted by donors for its stable democracy in a region known for coups and civil conflict, the West African nation attracted investors hunting for high yields. Spending controls weakened at the same time as gold and cocoa prices fell. Soon Ghana went from being almost debt-free to being downgraded by credit-rating companies.
“It’s clear that Ghana did fall prey to the oil curse in the sense of the expectation that oil money was going to solve all its problems,” Philippe de Pontet, Africa director at Eurasia Group, said from Washington. “That had a perverse impact on government planning, spending and behaviors.”

After posting the fastest economic growth in Africa in 2011, Ghana’s expansion of 4 percent in 2014 was the slowest in 20 years. This month it raised its 2015 deficit target to 7.3 percent of gross domestic product to account for lower-than-expected revenue from oil.
Ghana is among producers from Iran to Russia to Nigeria that are struggling with lower-than-expected crude revenue. They are whipsawed by a global supply surplus that caused the price of Brent crude to drop about 50 percent in the past year.

It’s a long way from 2007, when Ghana rode a wave of optimism after London-based Tullow Oil Plc discovered a large offshore reserve. The World Bank estimated in 2009 that the oil boom would boost government revenue by a third and transform an economy that stood at $16 billion at the time.
When Mills opened the first oil tap in December 2010, he pledged to avoid the mistakes of other African oil producers and save revenue for future generations. The resource comes with “serious responsibilities” and the government “must ensure oil is a blessing, is not a curse,” he said.
Ghana began racking up foreign debt less than two years after it was one of a group of highly indebted poor countries granted large write-offs. 

The government sold its first global bond of $750 million in 2007 and, following the oil discovery, received a $3 billion loan from China in 2011.
Authorities have sold $1 billion in Eurobonds in each of the past two years and plan to auction at least another $1 billion this year. The yield on the Ghana’s dollar debt maturing in 2023 is up 130 basis points, or 1.3 percentage points, to 9.286 percent since it was sold in July 2013.
Public debt has almost doubled since 2007 to reach 68 percent of gross domestic product. The country may be headed for default in the next few years, Bloomberg Intelligence’s Mark Bohlund wrote this week.

“Government has borrowed and borrowed,” said Mohammed Amin Adam, head of the Accra-based African Center for Energy Policy. “If you look at borrowing and spending behavior, it quickly reached unsustainable debt levels on the back of oil expectations.” Part of that borrowing was used to pay higher wages after Mills implemented a new salary structure for more than 600,000 civil servants in 2010. The wage bill more than doubled to 5 billion cedis ($1.5 billion) in 2011 and increased by 47 percent the year after that. Mills died in office in 2012. He was replaced by John Dramani Mahama, who has failed to stem debt levels or solve the energy crisis.

His government has blamed falling commodity prices for much of the crisis as it cut budgeted revenue, while pointing to oil prices for the cedi’s decline. Two phone calls and a text message to the mobile phone of Finance Minister Seth Terkper weren’t answered.

The IMF loan, agreed to in April, has provided the government with some breathing space and given investors reason to come back as authorities pledge to keep spending under control. The cedi has recouped all its losses of the first half of the year. And it has gained 26 percent against the dollar since June 29, when the IMF gave a positive assessment of Ghana’s budget targets.

 “With the IMF coming in, the government is being more cautious in terms of borrowing,” said Bernard Anaba, a policy analyst at the Integrated Social Development Centre, an Accra-based research group. “I’m optimistic that the accumulation of debt will slow down.”
The cedi has plunged 58 percent against the dollar since the beginning of 2011, reaching a record low of 4.49 on June 29. Inflation reached 17.1 percent in June. Santiago Cuneo, an economist at RVX Asset Management based in Miami, said he had owned Ghanaian debt before but wouldn’t jump at it now.

“Since the IMF deal, there has been some improvement in the numbers but I’m afraid we’re going to see a weakening cedi,” he said. “Even if there’s progress on the fiscal side, the price of oil and the falling commodity prices are not going to help.

Source: BloombergBusiness