Nigeria: Death toll in Boko Haram funeral attack rises to 65

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF AL-JAZEERA NEWS)

 

Nigeria: Death toll in Boko Haram funeral attack rises to 65

Dozens of more bodies discovered following Saturday’s assault on mourners by Boko Haram fighters, say officials.

Nigeria: Death toll in Boko Haram funeral attack rises to 65
Officials said the attack could be a retaliation for the killing of 11 Boko Haram fighters two weeks ago [Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters]

An attack this weekend by Boko Haram fighters on a funeral in the northeastern state of Borno in Nigeria has left 65 people dead, almost three times the initial toll, a local official said.

Dozens of more bodies were discovered on Sunday following the assault a day before by gunmen on a village close to the regional capital, Maiduguri.

“It is 65 people dead and 10 injured,” said Muhammed Bulama, the local government chairman.

Bulama added that more than 20 people had died in the initial attack on a funeral gathering. Dozens more were killed as they tried to chase after the attackers.

The leader of a local anti-Boko Haram militia confirmed the death toll, giving a slightly different account of the attack.

Bunu Bukar Mustapha told AFP news agency that 23 people were killed as they returned from the funeral and “the remaining 42 were killed when they pursued the terrorists”.

Aisha: Boko Haram Huntress (25:07)

Bulama said he thought the latest attack was in retaliation for the killing two weeks ago of 11 Boko Haram fighters by local residents when the fighters approached their village. The residents also captured 10 automatic rifles.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday condemned the attack and directed the country’s air force and army to begin air patrols and ground operations to hunt down the attackers, a statement released by the president’s office said.

Boko Haram fighters have repeatedly attacked the surrounding Nganzai district.

Boko Haram has waged a decade-long  in northeast Nigeria that has killed around 27,000 people and displaced more than two million.

The group has splintered between the Boko Haram faction loyal to historic leader Abubakar Shekau and an affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) group.

Shekau’s group tends to hit softer targets including civilians, while the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) has since last year ratcheted up its campaign against the military.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

From Nigeria to Zanzibar, Africa quietly played a critical role in US moon landing 

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

From Nigeria to Zanzibar, Africa quietly played a critical role in US moon landing 

In Kano, Nigeria, a boy rides a camel against the backdrop of NASA’s space station, one of 18 Project Mercury space stations strategically placed along the Earth’s orbital track. The stations were part of a vast global communication network necessary to track spacecraft and relay information back to Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. Picture released by NASA on May 21, 1962.

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 made world history when it landed on the moon. But to this day, few people know about the space stations in Kano, northern Nigeria, and Tunguu, Zanzibar, that helped lay the groundwork that ultimately made the Apollo 11 mission possible.

The Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States played out dramatically in the great space race. Before a successful moon landing could happen, the US needed to test manned and unmanned spacecraft. In October 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched Project Mercury, a five-year, $400 million project designed to test the viability of human space travel.

Launching a spacecraft into orbit required ground controls in countries located along the Earth’s orbital track. NASA built a total of 18 stations in strategic, global locations including Nigeria, newly independent from British rule, and Zanzibar, then governed by the Omani Sultanate along with a British administration.

Figure 8-1. Map showing the locations of the selected Mercury stations, NASA archival records.

Project Mercury vetted seven astronauts known as the “Mercury 7″ and ultimately completed several orbital flights in the early 1960s: 20 unmanned, including the Mercury-Atlas-4, two with chimpanzees onboard (“Ham” and “Enos”), and six manned orbits including MA-6 through MA-9) — proving that human space travel was possible.

In 1960, NASA constructed the satellite tracking space station in Tunguu, Zanzibar, just under 10 miles outside of Stone Town, the capital. The following year, they completed the last of 18 stations in Kano, Nigeria, each at an estimated cost of $3 million.

The British, along with then-Sultan Khalifa bin Harub, showed great support for the American space station and approved the sale of rural land in Tunguu for the project site in 1960.

Throughout the project, the US processed more than 1,000 tons of cargo through specially-designated US depots that organized shipments to Nigeria and Zanzibar, along with the other sites, including two on ships. Stations housed electronic equipment, cooling towers, water chillers, hydropneumatic tanks and diesel generators for power backup.

NASA Satellite Tracking Space Station, Tunguu, Zanzibar, 1961. Photo via the collection of Torrence Royer, used with permission.

NASA contracted with US and British engineers as well as local specialists and builders in Kano and Zanzibar, surveying the land to establish the most precise angles for radar antennae used to communicate with spacecraft as they passed above and below the horizon line, according to NASA historical records.

Kano, home to the ancient Kingdom of Kano, and Zanzibar, the hub of Indian Ocean trade for millennia, were now vital links in a global network to reach the stars.

World’s first global communication network

Before there was the internet, there was Project Mercury. The race to space demanded that the world’s first global communication network have the ability to communicate between and among space stations, spacecraft and astronauts. The Mercury communications network included 102,000 miles of teletype lines, 60,000 miles of telephone lines, and 15,000 miles of high-speed data lines, according to NASA historical archives.

NASA equipped stations with “telemetry, tracking, and computation functions” as well as “flight control and monitoring” capabilities and  “a multi-frequency air-to-ground reception and remoting provision.” An intercom system allowed several people to talk while others listened.

Communication between space station staff and the spacecraft was a highly orchestrated dance. After a spacecraft launched, 5 to 90 minutes would elapse before the vessel passed over a station, depending on the location. The Mercury Control Center at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, USA, would send a teletype message to stations with the time and coordinates, using data crunched from the spacecraft’s passage over a prior station.

Figure 8-20. MA-9 orbital charts via NASA archival records.

Torrence Royer, an American whose stepfather, Roger Locke, worked at the Zanzibar space station and who spent a few years in Zanzibar as a young boy, writes:

The high-tech equipment, and the ‘reach-for-the-stars’ attitude’  intrigued many young Zanzibaris. I recall students in my school learning the schedules of the satellite launches and I remember young people would lay on the beach at night, on schedule, looking up, waiting for the spacecraft to pass overhead. One friend who had just heard about this phenomenon joined the beach-watchers … only to be somewhat disappointed by the small, slow-moving, star-like object that he witnessed. He expected a close fly-by of a ‘flying saucer’ perhaps.

Revolution — and change

Leading up to Zanzibar’s 1961 general elections, doubts about the intentions of the US space station began to surface and a small resistance against its presence began to brew. Some feared Zanzibar could become a potential target for nuclear war.

In Zanzibar, graffiti shows a rooster (associated with the now-defunct Afro Shirazi Party) pushing an American cowboy (representing American imperialism) off the island, shouting “I have no need whatsoever [for you]! Get out of here!” in Swahili. Photo via the collection of Torrence Royer, used with permission.

Yet, the space station remained open, and on May 15, 1963, the final Mercury-Atlas 9 mission launched from Cape Canaveral, completing 22 Earth orbits lasting a harrowing 34 hours before landing in the Pacific Ocean, piloted by astronaut Gordon Cooper. The unprecedented success of this final mission essentially completed Project Mercury and set the stage for more ambitious projects like Gemini and, later that decade, Apollo.

That year, Zanzibar had a brief moment of independence when, in December 1963, the British left the islands as a constitutional monarchy under the Sultans of Oman.

But on January 12, 1964, a violent revolution in Zanzibar overthrew the Sultans, ending over two centuries of rule. When the dust settled, the new revolutionary government claimed the US-funded space station indeed posed a national security threat and demanded its removal.

Anti-Project Mercury protests on the streets of Stone Town, Zanzibar, April 12, 1964. Photo via thecollection of Torrence Royer, used with permission.

On April 7, 1964, the US government announced that it would shutter the space station in Zanzibar upon the new Zanzibari government’s request. “We regret very much this necessity since the station was used strictly for peaceful purposes which would further man’s scientific knowledge,” said NASA, adding they would look for new locations in East Africa along the Earth’s orbital track. They settled on Madagascar.

After years under British and Arab influence, Zanzibar had begun to consider alliances with ChineseEast German and Soviet Union governments — and its socialist leanings became a diplomatic flash point. At the same time, newly independent mainland Tanganyika merged with Zanzibar in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania, with Zanzibar as a semi-autonomous region.

Today, the former space station is a rusted, graffiti-filled shell with no important markers to indicate its global role in the space race. But Zanzibar’s spot along the Earth’s orbital track means that star-gazers can still sneak peeks at the International Space Station as it passes over the island. The last sighting was on Tuesday, July 23, 5:11 a.m., and was visible for one minute.

The abandoned Project Mercury space station in Tunguu, Zanzibar, 2004. Photo via the collection of Torrence Royer, used with permission.

Kano space station remained open for two more years and closed in December 1966. But the Nigerian government went on to launch its own space program with satellites in space since 2003.

Nigeria plans to send an astronaut into space by 2030.

India will be most populous country by 2027: UN

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

India will be most populous country by 2027: UN

According to a UN report, India will overtake China to become the world’s most populous country in 2027.

INDIA Updated: Jul 11, 2019 05:50 IST

Sanchita Sharma
Sanchita Sharma
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
population explosion,population boom,india population boom
The world’s population is projected to increase by 2 billion people, from 7.7 billion now to 9.7 billion in 2050, according to the UN report.(AFP File Photo)

India and Nigeria will host the two fastest growing populations over the next three decades, with India adding 273 million people and Nigeria 200 million by 2050, the rapid pace fuelled by vastly different factors, according to the United Nations World Population Prospects 2019 report.

India will overtake China to become the world’s most populous country in 2027, according to the report. The world’s population is projected to increase by 2 billion people, from 7.7 billion now to 9.7 billion in 2050, according to the report.

While India’s population will increase because of a large cohort of young people who will enter their reproductive age over the next three decades, which will add “population momentum” even if births fall to two children or less per woman, Nigeria’s population will be driven by women having many more children.

India’s total fertility rate (TFR, the average number of children a woman has in her lifetime) ) is 2.2, with half of the country’s population in 24 states having reached “replacement TFR” of 2.1 or less, which is number of children per woman at which a population replaces itself and stops growing. In Nigeria, the TFR is 5.4.

“Even if the TFR across all states were to fall immediately to two births or less per woman, India’s population would continue to grow, as it will in countries and regions where fertility has declined recently. In India, Latin America and the Caribbean, virtually all of the projected population growth till 2050 will be driven by the population momentum from a largely young population,” AR Nanda, former secretary, Union ministry of health, and trustee, Indian Association for the Study of Population, said ahead of the World Population Day on Thursday. “The National Population Policy 2000 had projected TFR will reach around 2.1, which will show when the Sample Registration System data comes out in 2020. Contraceptives and spacing methods, including male contraception, have to be made widely available, especially to adolescents and young adults, who get missed,” said Nanda.

Addressing high TFR in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar must remain a priority, say experts. “People must have access to uninterrupted quality services and social development support, such as nutrition, health, sanitation and infrastructure, to ensure they have the tools and the information to have the desired family size,” said Rajib Acharya, senior associate, Population Council of India.

Budgetary allocation for health went up by 15% this year, from ₹56,045 crore in 2018-19 (revised estimates), to ₹64,559 crore in 2019-20. But while the allocation for the National Health Mission went up by 8% over the previous year to ₹32,995 crore, the share of the Reproductive and Child Health flexipool out of the approved NHM funds has halved in four years, from 40% in 2016-17 to 20% in 2019-20, which some demographers find worrying.

“A major chunk of the increased allocation for NHM is driven by health system strengthening, which increased by around 12% over last year…,” said a health ministry official, who did not want to be named.

First Published: Jul 11, 2019 05:43 IST

African Union Dispatches Delegate To Sudan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

African Union Dispatches Delegate to Sudan

Monday, 29 April, 2019 – 09:15
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi poses for a photo with heads of several African states during a summit to discuss Sudan and Libya, in Cairo, Egypt April 23, 2019. (Reuters)
Nouakchott – Al-Sheikh Mohammed
The African Union (AU) has sent special envoy Mauritanian diplomat Mohamed El-Hassan Ould Labbat to Sudan following the political crisis the country has seen since the toppling of former President Omar al-Bashir.

The Union said that the new envoy is tasked with providing African assistance to the efforts of the parties in order to lay the foundations for an urgent democratic transitional phase in the country.

The AU stressed that this phase must end with the establishment of a democratic system and civil governance in Sudan.

By choosing Labbat as the envoy, the AU wants to keep abreast of developments in Sudan, facilitate the transition and establish communication between all parties.

AU Commissioner Moussa Faki Mahamat had visited Khartoum and held intensive meetings with the leaders of the ruling transitional military council and the opposition forces.

Mahamat had previously granted the council 15 days to hand over power to civilians.

The AU had held a summit in Egypt on Tuesday and agreed to give Sudan’s ruling military council two weeks to six months to hand over power to a civilian government – a key opposition demand.

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who holds the rotating AU presidency, said that the meeting agreed on the need to deal with the situation in Sudan by working to “quickly restore the constitutional system through a political democratic process led and managed by the Sudanese themselves”.

“We agreed on the need to give more time to Sudanese authorities and Sudanese parties to implement these measures,” he added.

The presidents of Chad, Djibouti, Rwanda, the Congo, Somalia and South Africa, the AU commissioner and representatives of Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria participated in the Cairo summit.

Mahamat warned that if Sudan’s military rulers fail to hand over power to a civilian government by the end of the deadline, the country’s membership in the Union will be suspended.

Global Warming Shrank India’s Economy By 31%

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Global warming shrank Indian economy by 31%: Study

The study from 1961 to 2010, global warming decreased the wealth per person in the world’s poorest countries by 17 to 30 per cent.

WORLD Updated: Apr 23, 2019 11:46 IST

Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Boston
global warming,Indian economy,nigeria
Global warming shrank Indian economy by 31%: Study(AFP)

Global warming has caused the Indian economy to be 31 per cent smaller than it would otherwise have been, according to a Stanford study which shows how Earth’s temperature changes have increased inequalities.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that growing concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere since 1960s have enriched cool countries like Norway and Sweden, while dragging down economic growth in warm countries such as India and Nigeria.

“Our results show that most of the poorest countries on Earth are considerably poorer than they would have been without global warming,” said climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh, from Stanford University in the US.

“At the same time, the majority of rich countries are richer than they would have been,” Diffenbaugh said in a statement.

The study from 1961 to 2010, global warming decreased the wealth per person in the world’s poorest countries by 17 to 30 per cent. Meanwhile, the gap between the group of nations with the highest and lowest economic output per person is now approximately 25 per cent larger than it would have been without climate change.

While the impacts of temperature may seem small from year to year, they can yield dramatic gains or losses over time. “This is like a savings account, where small differences in the interest rate will generate large differences in the account balance over 30 or 50 years,” said Diffenbaugh. After accumulating decades of small effects from warming, India’s economy is now 31 per cent smaller than it would have been in the absence of global warming, he said.

Although economic inequality between countries has decreased in recent decades, the research suggests the gap would have narrowed faster without global warming.

The study builds on previous research in the team analysed 50 years of annual temperature and GDP measurements for 165 countries to estimate the effects of temperature fluctuations on economic growth. They demonstrated that growth during warmer than average years has accelerated in cool nations and slowed in warm nations.

“The historical data clearly show that crops are more productive, people are healthier and we are more productive at work when temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold,” said Marshall Burke, a Stanford assistant professor of Earth system science. “This means that in cold countries, a little bit of warming can help. The opposite is true in places that are already hot,” said Burke.

Researchers combined data from more than 20 climate models developed by research centres around the world. Using the climate models to isolate how much each country has already warmed due to human-caused climate change, the researchers were able to determine what each country’s economic output might have been had temperatures not warmed.

“For most countries, whether global warming has helped or hurt economic growth is pretty certain,” said Burke. Tropical countries, in particular, tend to have temperatures far outside the ideal for economic growth. “There’s essentially no uncertainty that they’ve been harmed,” he said.

It’s less clear how warming has influenced growth in countries in the middle latitudes, including the US, China and Japan. For these and other temperate-climate nations, the analysis reveals economic impacts of less than 10 per cent.

First Published: Apr 23, 2019 11:46 IST

(MAKE THE WORLD GREAT AGAIN SEND ALL THE POLITICIANS ON A ONE WAY TRIP TO MARS) (oldpoet56)

OPEC Warns of Oil Surplus in 2019

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

OPEC Warns of Oil Surplus in 2019

Wednesday, 14 November, 2018 – 10:45
A worker checks the valve of an oil pipe at Nahr Bin Umar oil field, north of Basra, Iraq. Essam Al-Sudani | Reuters
London – Asharq Al-Awsat
OPEC sees demand for its own crude falling even faster than expected in 2019 as a slowing global economy crimps demand and rival supplies surge.

For 2019, demand will likely grow by 1.29 million barrels per day to 100.08 million bpd — some 70,000 million barrels per day less than in the September report. Meanwhile, the cartel now sees the output from non-member nations increasing by 2.23 million bpd next year, up 120,000 bpd from its last forecast.

“Although the oil market has reached a balance now, the forecasts for 2019 for non-OPEC supply growth indicate higher volumes outpacing the expansion in world oil demand, leading to widening excess supply in the market,” the group wrote.

“The market now increasingly looks concerned about the prospects of too much supply,” said Norbert Ruecker, head of commodity research at Swiss bank Julius Baer.

“Hedge funds and other speculative money have swiftly changed from the long to the short side,” he added.

Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid al-Faleh said Monday that OPEC and its allies have agreed that technical analysis of the energy market shows a need to cut oil supply from 1 million barrels per day (bpd) from October levels.

“Hopefully, Saudi Arabia and OPEC will not be cutting oil production. Oil prices should be much lower based on supply!” US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter.

Nigeria Increases Output

Nigeria will raise its crude oil production to 1.8 million bpd in 2019 from around 1.6 million bpd currently, head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Dr. Maikanti Baru told Reuters on Tuesday.
Baru added that the country currently produces 1.6 million bpd of oil and 0.4 million bpd of condensate.

“The expected deals are to be signed this month. We are almost done,” he stated. The NNPC boss hinted that the corporation could also sign crude-for-product agreements with Shell and ExxonMobil.

Nigeria: The People, Facts And The History Of This West African Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Nigeria

Introduction British influence and control over what would become Nigeria grew through the 19th century. A series of constitutions after World War II granted Nigeria greater autonomy; independence came in 1960. Following nearly 16 years of military rule, a new constitution was adopted in 1999, and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed. The government continues to face the daunting task of reforming a petroleum-based economy, whose revenues have been squandered through corruption and mismanagement, and institutionalizing democracy. In addition, Nigeria continues to experience longstanding ethnic and religious tensions. Although both the 2003 and 2007 presidential elections were marred by significant irregularities and violence, Nigeria is currently experiencing its longest period of civilian rule since independence. The general elections of April 2007 marked the first civilian-to-civilian transfer of power in the country’s history.
History Early History

The Nok people in central Nigeria produced terracotta sculptures that have been discovered by archaeologists.[6] A Nok sculpture resident at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, portrays a sitting dignitary wearing a “Shepherds Crook” on the right arm, and a “hinged flail” on the left. These are symbols of authority associated with Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, and the god Osiris, and suggests that an ancient Egyptian style of social structure, and perhaps religion, existed in the area of modern Nigeria during the late Pharonic period.[7] In the northern part of the country, Kano and Katsina has recorded history which dates back to around AD 999. Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem-Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa.

The Yoruba people date their presence in the area of modern republics of Nigeria, Benin and Togo to about 8500 BC. The kingdoms of Ifẹ and Oyo in the western block of Nigeria became prominent about 700-900 and 1400 respectively. However, the Yoruba mythology believes that Ile-Ife is the source of the human race and that it predates any other civilization. Ifẹ produced the terra cotta and bronze heads, the Ọyọ extended as far as modern Togo. Another prominent kingdom in south western Nigeria was the Kingdom of Benin whose power lasted between the 15th and 19th century. Their dominance reached as far as the well known city of Eko which was named Lagos by the Portuguese traders and other early European settlers. In the 18th century, the Oyo and the Aro confederacy were responsible for most of the slaves exported from Nigeria.[8]

Post Independence

On October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained its independence from the United Kingdom. The new republic incorporated a number of people with aspirations of their own sovereign nations. Newly independent Nigeria’s government was a coalition of conservative parties: the Nigerian People’s Congress (NPC), a party dominated by Northerners and those of the Islamic faith, and the Igbo and Christian dominated National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) led by Nnamdi Azikiwe, who became Nigeria’s maiden Governor-General in 1960. Forming the opposition was the comparatively liberal Action Group (AG), which was largely dominated by Yorubas and led by Obafemi Awolowo.[9]

An imbalance was created in the polity by the result of the 1961 plebiscite. Southern Cameroon opted to join the Republic of Cameroon while northern Cameroon chose to remain in Nigeria. The northern part of the country was now far larger than the southern part. The nation parted with its British legacy in 1963 by declaring itself a Federal Republic, with Azikiwe as the first president. When elections came about in 1965, the AG was outmanoeuvred for control of Nigeria’s Western Region by the Nigerian National Democratic Party, an amalgamation of conservative Yoruba elements backed heavily by the Federal Government amid dubious electoral circumstances. This left the Igbo NCNC to coalesce with the remnants of the AG in a weak progressive alliance.[9]

Map of Nigeria

Military Era

This disequilibrium and perceived corruption of the electoral and political process led in 1966 to several back-to-back military coups. The first was in January and led by a collection of young leftists under Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna & Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, it was partially successful – the coupists overthrew the embattled government but could not install their choice, jailed opposition leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo,[10] General Johnson Aguiyi-ironsi, then head of the army was invited by the rump of the Balewa regime to take over the affairs of the country as head of state. This coup was counter-acted by another successful plot, supported primarily by Northern military officers and Northerners who favoured the NPC, it was engineered by Northern officers, which allowed Lt Colonel Yakubu Gowon to become head of state. This sequence of events led to an increase in ethnic tension and violence. The Northern coup, which was mostly motivated by ethnic and religious reasons was a bloodbath of both military officers and civilians, especially those of Igbo extraction.

The violence against Igbos increased their desire for autonomy and protection from the military’s wrath. By May 1967, the Eastern Region had declared itself an independent state called the Republic of Biafra under the leadership Lt Colonel Emeka Ojukwu in line with the wishes of the people. The Nigerian side attacked Biafra on July 6, 1967 at Garkem signalling the beginning of the 30 month war that ended on January 1970.[11] Following the war, Nigeria became to an extent even more mired in ethnic strife, as the defeated southeast and indeed southern Nigeria was now conquered territory for the federal military regime, which changed heads of state twice as army officers staged a bloodless coup against Gowon and enthroned Murtala Mohammed; Olusegun Obansanjo succeeded the former after an assassination.

During the oil boom of the 1970s, Nigeria joined OPEC and billions of dollars generated by production in the oil-rich Niger Delta flowed into the coffers of the Nigerian state. However, increasing corruption and graft at all levels of government squandered most of these earnings. The northern military clique benefited immensely from the oil boom to the detriment of the Nigerian people and economy. As oil revenues fuelled the rise of federal subventions to states and precariously to individuals, the Federal Government soon became the centre of political struggle and the centre became the threshold of power in the country. As oil production and revenue rose, the Nigerian government created a dangerous situation as it became increasingly dependent on oil revenues and the international commodity markets for budgetary and economic concerns eschewing economic stability. That spelled doom to federalism in Nigeria.[12]

Beginning in 1979, Nigerians participated in a brief return to democracy when Obasanjo transferred power to the civilian regime of Shehu Shagari. The Shagari government was viewed as corrupt and incompetent by virtually all sectors of Nigerian society, so when the regime was overthrown by the military coup of Mohammadu Buhari shortly after the regime’s fraudulent re-election in 1984, it was generally viewed as a positive development by most of the population.[13] Buhari promised major reforms but his government fared little better than its predecessor, and his regime was overthrown by yet another military coup in 1985.[14] The new head of state, Ibrahim Babangida, promptly declared himself President and Commander in chief of the Armed Forces and the ruling Supreme Military Council and also set 1990 as the official deadline for a return to democratic governance. Babangida’s tenure was marked by a flurry of political activity: he instituted the International Monetary Fund’s Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) to aid in the repayment of the country’s crushing international debt, which most federal revenue was dedicated to servicing. He also inflamed religious tensions in the nation and particularly the south by enrolling Nigeria in the Organization of the Islamic Conference,[15]

After Babangida survived an abortive coup, he pushed back the promised return to democracy to 1992. When free and fair elections were finally held on the 12th of June, 1993, Babangida declared that the results showing a presidential victory for Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola null and void, sparking mass civilian violence in protest which effectively shut down the country for weeks and forced Babangida to keep his shaky promise to relinquish office to a civilian run government.[16] Babangida’s regime is adjudged to be at the apogee of corruption in the history of the nation as it was during his time that corruption became officially diluted in Nigeria.[17]

Umaru Yar’Adua of the People’s Democratic Party is the current president of Nigeria

Babangida’s caretaker regime headed by Ernest Shonekan survived only until late 1993 when General Sani Abacha took power in another military coup. Abacha proved to be perhaps Nigeria’s most brutal ruler and employed violence on a wide scale to suppress the continuing pandemic of civilian unrest. Money had been found in various western European countries banks traced to him. He avoided coup plots by bribing army generals. Several hundred millions dollars in accounts traced to him were unearthed in 1999.[18] The regime would come to an end in 1998 when the dictator was found dead amid dubious circumstances. Abacha’s death yielded an opportunity for return to civilian rule.

Recent History

Nigeria re-achieved democracy in 1999 when it elected Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yoruba and former military head of state, as the new President ending almost thirty three-years of military rule (between from 1966 until 1999) excluding the short-lived second republic (between 1979-1983) by military dictators who seized power in coups d’état and counter-coups during the Nigerian military juntas of 1966-1979 and 1983-1998.

Although the elections which brought Obasanjo to power in 1999 and again in 2003 were condemned as unfree and unfair, Nigeria has shown marked improvements in attempts to tackle government corruption and to hasten development. While Obasanjo showed willingness to fight corruption, he was accused by others of the same.[who?]

Umaru Yar’Adua, of the People’s Democratic Party, came into power in the general election of 2007 – an election that was witnessed and condemned by the international community as being massively flawed.[19]

Ethnic violence over the oil producing Niger Delta region (see Conflict in the Niger Delta), interreligious relations and inadequate infrastructure are current issues in the country.

There have been bogus claims of a Nigerian astronaut program that have made the news.

Geography Location: Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Benin and Cameroon
Geographic coordinates: 10 00 N, 8 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 923,768 sq km
land: 910,768 sq km
water: 13,000 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly more than twice the size of California
Land boundaries: total: 4,047 km
border countries: Benin 773 km, Cameroon 1,690 km, Chad 87 km, Niger 1,497 km
Coastline: 853 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate: varies; equatorial in south, tropical in center, arid in north
Terrain: southern lowlands merge into central hills and plateaus; mountains in southeast, plains in north
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Chappal Waddi 2,419 m
Natural resources: natural gas, petroleum, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc, arable land
Land use: arable land: 33.02%
permanent crops: 3.14%
other: 63.84% (2005)
Irrigated land: 2,820 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 286.2 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 8.01 cu km/yr (21%/10%/69%)
per capita: 61 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: periodic droughts; flooding
Environment – current issues: soil degradation; rapid deforestation; urban air and water pollution; desertification; oil pollution – water, air, and soil; has suffered serious damage from oil spills; loss of arable land; rapid urbanization
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: the Niger enters the country in the northwest and flows southward through tropical rain forests and swamps to its delta in the Gulf of Guinea
Politics Nigeria is a Federal Republic modelled after the United States, with executive power exercised by the president and with overtones of the Westminster System model in the composition and management of the upper and lower houses of the bicameral legislature.

The current president of Nigeria is Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who was elected in 2007. The president presides as both Chief of State and Head of Government and is elected by popular vote to a maximum of two four-year terms. The president’s power is checked by a Senate and a House of Representatives, which are combined in a bicameral body called the National Assembly. The Senate is a 109-seat body with three members from each state and one from the capital region of Abuja; members are elected by popular vote to four-year terms. The House contains 360 seats and the number of seats per state is determined by population.

Ethnocentricism, tribalism, sectarianism (especially religious), and prebendalism have played a visible role in Nigerian politics both prior and subsequent to independence in 1960. Kin-selective altruism has made its way into Nigerian politics and has spurned various attempts by tribalists to concentrate Federal power to a particular region of their interests.[22] Nationalism has also led to active secessionist movements such as MASSOB, Nationalist movements such as Oodua Peoples Congress, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and a civil war. Nigeria’s three largest ethnic groups have maintained historical preeminence in Nigerian politics; competition amongst these three groups, the Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo, has fuelled corruption and graft.[23]

Due to the above issues, Nigeria’s current political parties are declaredly pan-national and irreligious in character (though this does not preclude the continuing preeminence of the dominant ethnicities).[24] The major political parties at present include the ruling People’s Democratic Party of Nigeria which maintains 223 seats in the House and 76 in the Senate (61.9% and 69.7% respectively) and is led by the current President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua; the opposition All Nigeria People’s Party under the leadership of Muhammadu Buhari has 96 House seats and 27 in the Senate (26.6% and 24.7%). There are also about twenty other minor opposition parties registered. The outgoing president, Olusegun Obasanjo, acknowledged fraud and other electoral “lapses” but said the result reflected opinion polls. In a national television address he added that if Nigerians did not like the victory of his handpicked successor they would have an opportunity to vote again in four years.[2]

Like in many other African societies, prebendalism and extremely excessive corruption continue to constitute major challenges to Nigeria, as vote rigging and other means of coercion are practised by all major parties in order to remain competitive. In 1983, it was adjudged by the policy institute at Kuru that only the 1959 and 1979 elections witnessed minimal rigging

People Population: 138,283,240
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 42.2% (male 29,378,127/female 28,953,864)
15-64 years: 54.7% (male 38,466,129/female 37,172,355)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 2,046,309/female 2,266,456) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 18.7 years
male: 18.8 years
female: 18.6 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.382% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 39.98 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 16.41 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.25 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 93.93 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 100.87 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 86.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 47.81 years
male: 47.15 years
female: 48.5 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.41 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 5.4% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 3.6 million (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 310,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria and yellow fever
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
aerosolized dust or soil contact disease: one of the most highly endemic areas for Lassa fever
water contact disease: leptospirosis and shistosomiasis
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008)
Nationality: noun: Nigerian(s)
adjective: Nigerian
Ethnic groups: Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups; the following are the most populous and politically influential: Hausa and Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, Igbo (Ibo) 18%, Ijaw 10%, Kanuri 4%, Ibibio 3.5%, Tiv 2.5%
Religions: Muslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10%
Languages: English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 68%
male: 75.7%
female: 60.6% (2003 est.)

31 killed in Eid suicide bombing, grenade attacks in Nigeria town

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

31 killed in Eid suicide bombing, grenade attacks in Nigeria town

Two blasts ripped through the town of Damboa in Nigeria’s Borno state targeting people returning from celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, in an attack bearing all the hallmarks of Boko Haram.

WORLD Updated: Jun 17, 2018 17:44 IST

Press Trust of India, Kano (Nigeria)
The toll is expected to go up as many of the injured may not survive, officials said.
The toll is expected to go up as many of the injured may not survive, officials said.(Reuters)

Suspected Boko Haram jihadists killed at least 31 people in a twin suicide bomb attack in a town in northeast Nigeria, a local official and militia leader said on Sunday.

Two blasts ripped through the town of Damboa in Borno state on Saturday evening targeting people returning from celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, in an attack bearing all the hallmarks of Boko Haram.

Following the suicide bombings, the jihadists fired rocket-propelled grenades into the crowds that had gathered at the scene of the attacks, driving the number of casualties higher.

“There were two suicide attacks and rocket-propelled grenade explosions in Damboa last night which killed 31 people and left several others injured,” militia leader Babakura Kolo told AFP.

Two suicide bombers detonated their explosives in Shuwari and nearby Abachari neighbourhoods in the town around 10:45 pm (2145GMT), killing six residents, said Kolo, speaking from the state capital Maiduguri, which is 88 kilometres from the town.

“No one needs to be told this is the work of Boko Haram,” Kolo said. A local government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the death toll. “The latest death toll is now 31 but it may increase because many among the injured may not survive,” he said.

“Most casualties were from the rocket projectiles fired from outside the town minutes after two suicide bomber attacked,” he said.

The jihadist group has deployed suicide bombers, many of them young girls, in mosques, markets and camps housing people displaced by the nine-year insurgency which has devastated Nigeria’s northeast.

On May 1, at least 86 people were killed in twin suicide blasts targeting a mosque and a nearby market in the town of Mubi in neighbouring Adamawa state.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari came into power in 2015 vowing to stamp out Boko Haram but the jihadists continue to stage frequent attacks, targeting both civilians and security forces.

The militants stormed the Government Girls Technical College in Dapchi on February 19, seizing over 100 schoolgirls in a carbon copy of the abduction in Chibok in 2014 that caused global outrage.

At least 45 people killed after bandits attack Nigerian village

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

At least 45 people killed after bandits attack Nigerian village

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)At least 45 people were killed when armed bandits attacked a remote village in northwest Nigeria, officials said.

The attack occurred on Saturday at Gwaska village in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State, a police spokesman said.
Women and children were among those killed in the attack, according to local media reports.
There has been a spate of attacks in the area blamed on armed bandits who are stealing cattle and property from the villagers.
Nigerian military forces have been deployed permanently to the area, Samuel Aruwan, spokesperson to Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, said in a statement.
The statement said the governor was “concerned by the incessant banditry attacks in the area.”
“The Kaduna State Government has received with sadness reports of the murder of our citizens by armed bandits in Birnin Gwari. The government has sent a message of condolence to the people of Birnin Gwari Emirate,” the statement said.
“Kaduna State Government is deeply committed to overcoming the unfortunate criminality and banditry being carried out against innocent citizens in Birnin Gwari local government.”
The attack comes after local media reported that 14 miners were killed by gunmen in the Birnin Gwari area last month.

Nigeria’s Basic Education System Is Failing Their Citizens And Businesses

(This article is courtesy of the Abuja Nigeria Inquirer News Paper)

Despite concerted efforts towards improving primary and secondary education in the country, the newly appointed Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, Dr. Hameed Bobboyi, has said basic education has suffered serious neglect.
Bobboyi, who spoke in Abuja while assuming duty, called on relevant stakeholders to play an active role towards revamping the sub-sector as there is no alternative to fixing the nation’s basic education.
In a statement by the Public Relations Officer of the Commission, Mrs. Helen Okoro, the UBEC boss, noted that for the country to achieve the needed quality education and production of critical mass of manpower to drive Government’s development agenda, the foundation of basic education must first be established.
He acknowledged that there were multiple challenges confronting basic education sector in Nigeria but expressed confidence that with all relevant stakeholders working together, the much desired quality basic education would be achieved.
“We cannot get it right without properly laying a solid foundation for the growth and development of basic education. Yes, basic education is on the concurrent list, we all need to work collectively to revamp the sector.
“I understand that the Federal government has done a lot through UBEC. We will sustain that and we will also meet with the state governments and relevant stakeholders in this regard,” he said.
Bobboyi pledged to give priority attention to the welfare of staff of the Commission while also urging them to continue to discharge their duties with utmost level of patriotism, honesty and hard work.
Also speaking, the former Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Suleiman Dikko, said the inability of some state governments to pay in matching grants to access UBEC allocations for the development of basic education in their domains, was a major challenge to the Commission. – See more at: http://www.theabujainquirer.com/?page=1597&get=1597#sthash.ZxWiKdZK.dpuf