Nigeria

  1. Nigerian lawyer dresses up to make case

    A barrister turned heads at Nigeria’s highest court on Thursday when he appeared in the attire of his traditional religion.

    Malcolm Omoirhobo’s mixture of a wig, robe, a white patch around his right eye, a gourd around his neck, a feather and a red cloth around his waist was not your usual court-day appearance.

    With a hint of sarcasm, he remarked that he wore the attire to show “gratitude” to the Supreme Court which last Friday, ruled in favour of female Muslim students using hijab in government-owned schools in Lagos.

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    The court had ruled that the ban on the use of hijab in public schools in the state was discriminatory against Muslim pupils.

    Mr Omoirhobo said with the ruling the Supreme Court had reaffirmed the “freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.

    “I am a traditionalist and this is the way I worship. Based on the decision of the Supreme Court, this is how I will be dressing henceforth in court because I am a strong adherent to ‘Olokun’, the god of rivers,” he said.

  2. Suspects held over Nigeria church massacre

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    A view inside the church
    Image caption: Ondo state Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (3rd L) called the killings a "vile and satanic attack"

    Suspects linked to the killing of at least 40 people in a church in south-west Nigeria have been detained by a regional security force, the authorities there say.

    Gunmen stormed the St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo state, during a service earlier this month and opened fire.

    The suspects are being held by a force set up by the south-west state governors, known as Amotekun. It is a separate organisation from the police.

    Amotekun commander Adetunji Adeleye told the BBC that the suspects were at different stages of interrogation.

    He did not give any details about those being held but said a vehicle and some weapons were recovered.

    Amotekun will need to hand the suspects over to the police if they are going to be prosecuted as it does not have the power to take people to court.

    As well as the at least 40 people who died on 5 June, more than 100 others were injured during the attack.

    The Nigerian government blamed the killings on the militant group, Islamic State of West African Province (Iswap). But the jihadists have not said that they carried out the attack.

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  3. Dozens of kidnapped Nigerian wedding guests freed

    Ishaq Khalid

    BBC News, Abuja

    Jafar Kanoma
    Image caption: Jafar Kanoma was among those who had escaped the original attack

    Twenty-nine wedding guests abducted nearly two weeks ago in the north-western Nigerian state of Zamfara have been freed.

    They were kidnapped by gunmen who ambushed a convoy of their vehicles while returning home from neighbouring Sokoto state where they had attended the wedding of one of their colleagues.

    The victims were mobile phone dealers from a popular phone market known as Bebeji Plaza in Gusau, the capital of Zamfara state.

    The head of the market, Ibrahim Kado, was among those who received the released abductees on Thursday evening.

    He told the BBC the victims were in a "pathetic condition" because they looked exhausted and not well fed.

    He said one of the captives was seriously ill that he had to undergo a blood transfusion and given intravenous fluids in hospital when they were freed.

    Mr Kado said "no matter how inhuman a person might be, they must feel moved" on seeing see the freed hostages.

    The market leader however expressed happiness that the captives had finally been freed. He declined to comment on whether a ransom payment was made.

    But another colleague of the victims told the BBC that a ransom had been paid after negotiations with the abductors.

    The authorities have not yet commented on the release of the hostages.

    Soon after their kidnap, a police spokesperson told the BBC that a search-and-rescue effort had been launched.

    Killings and kidnappings for ransom by armed criminal gangs have become common across Nigeria - especially in the north-west region - with thousands either seized or killed since the beginning of this year alone.

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  4. Police rescue eye-gouging victim in northern Nigeria

    Ishaq Khalid

    BBC News, Abuja

    Nigerian police have rescued a 16-year-old boy whose eyes were gouged out in the northern state of Bauchi.

    In a statement, a police spokesperson Ahmed Mohammed Wakil said the boy was "found in his pool of blood" with both eyes removed.

    Officers then took him to a hospital where he is receiving treatment.

    The police say that on Thursday the victim was lured to a farm in Dutsen Jari - an area on the outskirts of Bauchi city - by a man with a promise of a menial job on the farm.

    But when they arrived the farmer allegedly strangled the boy with a wire and forcibly removed his eyes.

    Police said Investigations were under way on the "dastardly act".

    It's unclear whether any suspects have been arrested but police say they will ensure the "culprits’" are punished.

    It’s not clear why the victim’s eyes were removed. But there have been reports of similar cases in Nigeria involving removal of human parts to be used in preparing charms.

  5. Accused Nigerian senator recently made visiting prof

    Nigerian senator Ike Ekweremadu, who has been charged along with his wife with conspiring to transport a child to the UK in order to harvest organs, last tweeted about being made a visiting professor at the University of Lincoln.

    The tweet from 12 June includes photos of him receiving the gift of a copy of the Magna Carta, a document from 1215 regarded as the basis of many English laws:

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    A University of Lincoln spokesman said: "Visiting professors are often, as in this case, non-resident at the university, unpaid and advisory.

    "We are deeply concerned about the nature of these allegations but as this is an active police investigation, we cannot comment further at this stage."

  6. BreakingTop Nigerian senator charged over organ-harvesting plot

    Ike Ekweremadu pictured on June 2016
    Image caption: Ike Ekweremadu served as deputy president of Senate from 2007 to 2019

    A top Nigerian senator and his wife have been identified as the couple who have been charged with conspiring to transport a child into the UK in order to harvest organs.

    Ike Ekweremadu’s spokesperson confirmed to BBC Igbo that the senator had been charged in the UK over the case.

    The 60-year-old lawyer and politician has been a senator since 2003 and belongs to the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP).

    He served three terms as Nigeria’s deputy president of the Senate from 2007 to 2019.

    His wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, is expected to make an appearance with him later at the Uxbridge Magistrates' Court in the UK.

  7. Video content

    Video caption: Asuu strike: Unilag student interviews union president

    Student Temiloluwa asks The Academic Staff Union of Universities president why lecturers have been on strike.

  8. Nigerians charged over child organ harvesting bid

    Richard Hamilton

    BBC World Service Newsroom

    British police have charged two people from Nigeria with trying to bring a child into the UK to harvest their organs.

    Police in London said the man and woman - Beatrice and Ike Ekweremadu - had been remanded in custody and would appear in court later on Thursday.

    The force said a child had been taken into care.

    It said the investigation was launched after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation last month.

  9. Gunmen behead another abducted Nigerian politician

    Ishaq Khalid

    BBC News, Abuja

    Nelson Achukwu leaves after casting his vote during the presidential primary of the People's Democratic Party, at the Eagle Square venue of the convention in Abuja 16 December, 2006.
    Image caption: Nelson Achukwu's decapitated body was found two weeks after his capture

    A second Nigerian politician has been beheaded by abductors in the south-east of the country, the authorities say.

    Police in Anambra state say the decapitated body of a former local MP, Nelson Achukwu, was found two weeks after he had been kidnapped by gunmen for a second time.

    On both occasions, his family is reported to have paid a ransom for his safe return.

    It is not clear who abducted and subsequently killed the disabled politician.

    One month ago, a serving member of the state assembly, Okechukwu Okoye, was also abducted and beheaded.

    A military officer and his female partner were also decapitated recently.

    There has been a series of gruesome murders in the south-east as the country prepares for elections.

    Some officials have blamed the separatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), but it has always denied carrying out violent attacks.

  10. Suspected Nigerian internet fraudster skips bail

    Ishaq Khalid

    BBC News, Abuja

    Mompha
    Image caption: One of the charges Mompha faces relates to alleged internet fraud of nearly $15m

    A court in the Nigerian city of Lagos has ordered the immediate arrest of a prominent suspected internet fraudster.

    It follows the failure of Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as "Mompha", to appear before the court for the continuation of his trial on fraud and money-laundering charges. One of the charges relates to alleged internet fraud of nearly $15m (£12m).

    Mompha had pleaded not guilty in the case brought by Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which arrested him in January.

    He was subsequently released on bail and had deposited his Nigerian passport as part of the bail conditions.

    But he has failed to appear in the Special Offences Court at successive hearings.

    The anti-graft agency’s lawyers told the court that the suspect had travelled to Dubai from Ghana using a new passport in violation of his bail conditions.

    The court has now revoked the bail and ordered for his immediate arrest. It is not yet clear where he is currently located.

  11. Shock after Nigeria medical watchdog bans Ukraine degrees

    Chris Ewokor

    BBC News, Abuja

    Stock image of woman graduating
    Image caption: The Medical and Dental Council says online courses from other countries are not up to scratch

    In a shock announcement, Nigeria’s Medical and Dental Council said it will not recognize degrees from Ukrainian universities obtained since the start of the country’s war with Russia.

    The regulator for professional health services in Nigeria will also not accept medical and dental programmes offered online.

    The announcement follows the conversion of in-person courses to online courses for many students who were studying in Ukraine who are yet to complete their programmes.

    Some of those students who spoke to the BBC say it is a huge blow to their studies and careers, especially for those who had spent more than five years studying and only have a few months left until graduation.

    They call the policy discriminatory, arguing that students who studied online during the pandemic were allowed to graduate and practise.

    Student have also criticised the government for failing to keep Nigerian universities open amid recent rolling strikes by lecturers, forcing them to study elsewhere.

    Hundreds of Nigerian students were evacuated from Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.

    The Medical and Dental Council, which regulates Nigerian doctors, dentists and alternative medicine practitioners has recently rejected online training from other countries, saying it falls short of acceptable standards.

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  12. Mining giant Glencore admits to bribery in Africa

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    The Swiss headquarters of Glencore.
    Image caption: The court heard bribes were paid in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and South Sudan

    A British subsidiary of the mining company Glencore has pleaded guilty in a UK court to corruption offences, after being accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes to secure access to crude oil in Africa.

    The UK's Serious Fraud Office said Glencore had, via its employees and agents, paid bribes of more than $28m (£22.8m) in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and South Sudan.

    Sentencing will take place in November.

    The Swiss-based multinational has already said it expects to pay up to $1.5bn to settle allegations of bribery.

  13. Long queues amid fuel shortage in Lagos

    Andrew Gift

    BBC Pidgin, Lagos

    Long queues in Lagos amid fuel shortage

    Long queues have been witnessed at petrol stations in most parts of Lagos state in south-west Nigeria after a decision by some fuel marketers to shut their operations.

    The queues that surfaced on Monday continued on Tuesday morning causing panic buying of fuel and black market sales.

    It comes as some members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) say they can no longer operate in an unconducive environment.

    The association chairman, Akin Akinrinade, told journalists that while the government had fixed 165 naira ($0.40; £0.30) for a litre of petrol, the current realities showed that the minimum price should be 180 naira to profitably sell the product.

    He cited the high cost of transporting the product and the diesel used in running the petrol stations as another reason for the withdrawal of services.

    This development had added more pain to the suffering of Lagosians.

    The long fuel queues have led to more traffic jams that the city is known for.

    The cost of transportation has also doubled and most business premises are shut due to their inability to access fuel to power their electricity generators.

    Many Nigerians use generators for power as electricity supply is not steady in the country.

  14. Kidnapped ex-Nigeria football officials freed

    Ishaq Khalid

    BBC News, Abuja

    Nigeria police emblem
    Image caption: Nigeria has witnessed a wave of kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs

    Three former Nigeria football officials who were kidnapped by gunmen on Saturday night have been freed, a police spokesperson has confirmed without giving details.

    The kidnappers had demanded a ransom before setting the trio - including a former secretary-general of the country's football federation - free.

    Ahmed Sani Toro spent six years in his role at what is now known as the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) between 1993 and 1999.

    He was kidnapped alongside former Nigeria under-23 assistant coach Garba Ila and Isa Jah while driving from the capital Abuja to Bauchi, having attended the wedding of former NFF president Aminu Maigari's son.

    It was not immediately clear whether the kidnappers were paid ransom before the release of the captives.

    Nigeria is facing a worsening spate of kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs who frequently attack travellers and rural communities.

  15. Nigeria church attacks: We have no ransom money

    Rhoda Odhiambo

    BBC West Africa correspondent, Lagos

    The head of a Nigerian village where criminals attacked two churches and kidnapped 36 people on Sunday says people have nothing left to sell to raise ransom money demanded by the kidnappers.

    Elisha Mari, head of Rubu village in the north-western Kaduna state, was one of the abductees released on Monday.

    He was freed and was asked to mobilise the community to pay ransom for their abducted relatives, according to local media outlets.

    He told the BBC that the attackers did not give a timeline for the payment of the ransom.

    "This is the third time that they have attacked my village. I told them that we are tired of their attacks and that it is better for them to kill all of us since they have stolen all our cattle and looted our shops," Mr Mari said in a phone interview.

    "We do not have anything that we can sell to raise that amount," he added.

    The police have neither confirmed nor denied the ransom demand.

    The commissioner of internal security, Samuel Aruwan, said three people were killed and two others sustained injuries during the attacks.

    Eyewitnesses told the BBC that one of the churches was ambushed by a convoy of more than 30 motorcycles - each one had between two and three gunmen.

    The church was conducting its morning mass when gunmen opened fire and worshippers started running for safety.

    A similar attack was carried out in another church where a Sunday school class was ongoing.

    The authorities say most of those kidnapped were women and children.

    Locals claim that police officers from a nearby police station did not respond to the attacks.

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  16. Attackers target church in north-west Nigeria

    Rhoda Odhiambo

    BBC West Africa correspondent, Lagos

    Three people have died and two others injured after an attack on two churches in Kaduna state, north-west Nigeria.

    The state's Commissioner of Internal Security Samuel Aruwan said an unknown number of criminals on motorcycles entered four villages in co-ordinated attacks robbing people and later targeted Maranatha Baptist and St. Moses Catholic churches.

    Mr Aruwan added that several people had also been kidnapped.

    “The bandits looted shops and stole some valuables from villages. Police officers are patrolling the area. Investigations are ongoing.” he said in a statement.

    Kaduna state acting governor Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe has condemned the attack and called on the police to speed up their investigations.

    Nigeria is struggling to curb a deadly wave of kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs who frequently target unprotected rural communities, schools and motorists on highways.

    Earlier this month, attackers targeted a church in the south-west of the country killing 40 people.

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  17. Insecurity in Nigeria

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    Video caption: Living in fear of the violent attacks which have become commonplace in Nigeria

    Living in fear of the violent attacks which have become commonplace in Nigeria.