Entries in Nigeria (31)


Bomb Strikes United Nations Building in Nigerian Capital

U.S. Department of StateUPDATE: At least 16 people are dead following Friday's bomb attack on the United Nations building in Abuja, Nigeria, the Nigerian Red Cross reports.

(ABUJA, Nigeria) -- The United Nations building in Abuja, Nigeria was struck by a suicide bomber Friday morning, causing significant damage to the structure and raising fears over the number of fatalities.

According to a Nigerian reporter who was at the scene and spoke to ABC News, police believe the bomber drove his car past the barriers in the rear entrance of the building -- where security is lighter -- rushed out of his car, and blew himself up on the ground floor near the reception area.

The reporter told ABC News that nearly all of the glass in the building had shattered and that the first three floors were completely gutted.  The reporter also said bodies were seen being carried out of the building and many people were being taken to nearby hospitals.  The total number of fatalities is not yet known.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pfizer Pays Families of Children Who Died from Experimental Drug

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(LAGOS) -- Pharmaceutical company, Pfizer paid compensation to four families in Nigeria whose children died due to a controversial meningitis drug trial.

According to BBC News the families received $175,000 each for the loss of their children in a 1996 meningitis drug trial which left 11 children dead and dozens disabled. Pfizer reached an out-of-court settlement with the families in 2009.

The state government of Kano, where the trials took place, fought the drug company which initially denied that the experimental meningitis drug called Trovan, caused the deaths and injuries. The company maintained that a severe meningitis epidemic in the region was to blame.

Pfizer set up a $35 million fund for victims as well as agreeing to sponsor health projects in Kano. A review process is being conducted to identify and compensate the remaining victims.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Explosion in Nigerian Capital Kills At Least Two

ABC News Radio(ABUJA) -- On Thursday, a suspected suicide bomber died in an explosion at the police headquarters in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

According to NEXT, a car that was following the convoy of Inspector General of Police Hafiz Ringim into the headquarters parking lot exploded after a traffic warden redirected it away from the convoy.

Two people including the warden are confirmed dead. The number of fatalities is expected to rise; dozens were injured and the number of people who were in the parking lot at the time of the explosion is unknown. A Red Cross spokesperson informed the BBC that they recovered four bodies at the scene. Police said at least 33 cars were destroyed and 40 others received minor damage.

No group has claimed responsibility, however, BBC reports that officials say they believe that Islamist group Boko Haram is involved. The group claimed responsibility for bombings on the day of President Goodluck Jonathan's inauguration in May. On Tuesday, the Nigerian police chief said he would send more troops to the group's base in the north of the country.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Nigerians Cast Ballots in Presidential Elections

Stockbyte(ABUJA, Nigeria) -- Nigerians headed to the polls Saturday to vote in the country's presidential elections. Many are hoping that it will be the first credible presidential election in decades.

President Goodluck Jonathan is the front runner with two main challengers: former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari and former anti-corruption chief Nuhu Ribadu.

Jonathan took office in May, breaking a tradition of alternating power between the Christian south and mostly Muslim north every two terms. Jonathan hails from the southern portion of the nation.

The divergence from that pattern has spurred demands for a leader from the North.

There were no serious spats of violence as of midday Saturday, but two explosions in Maiduguri prompted increased security measures. No one was reported injured.

Nigeria is scheduled to hold state level elections on April 26.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Nigeria Claims Dick Cheney Guilty of Bribing Officials While Halliburton CEO

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ABUJA, Nigeria) -- The head of Nigeria's anti-corruption body says the country has charged former vice president Dick Cheney with bribery to send a message: "Nobody is above the laws of the land."

Farida Mzamber Waziri, the executive chairman of Nigeria's Economic Financial Crimes Commission tells ABC News the country will never end its culture of corruption and impunity until it starts prosecuting  everyone guilty of breaking the law. Even if it means charging a former vice president of the United States.

"It's not about profile," says Waziri. "It's about breaching the laws of the land."

The charges were filed Dec. 7 and center around  Cheney's activities as the chief executive of Halliburton and its one-time subsidiary KBR before he became the vice president in 2001. Last year, both companies pleaded guilty in a U.S. court to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying more than $180 million in bribes to Nigerian officials prior to 2007. The companies were fined $579 million, the largest fine ever paid under the act.

Though the Department of Justice and the Security and Exchange Commission conducted an extensive investigation, Nigerian officials have been conducting their own and want the case prosecuted in the country where the crimes were committed.

"Monies were taken to off shore accounts at the expense of the poor masses of Nigeria," says Waziri. "The monies meant for development projects are the ones that are carted away, so we are the victims."

Cheney's lawyer, Terrence O'Donnell, issued a statement calling the charges "baseless." O'Donnell points to the fact that the U.S. investigation "found no suggestion of any impropriety by Dick Cheney in his role of CEO of Halliburton.""Any suggestion of misconduct on his part, made now, years later, is entirely baseless," says O'Donnell.

Nigeria's EFCC has charged Cheney and three other executives personally, along with the company, for violating Nigeria's anti-corruption laws.

"Dick Cheney was head of Halliburton," says Waziri. "There's no way such amount of money would've been moved to bribe Nigerians without his approval and without his knowledge, this is what we're saying."

Nigeria has a global reputation for corruption. In 2010 the anti-corruption watchdog group Transparency International ranked Nigeria as one of the 50 most corrupt countries in the world. Multi-
national corporations and small businessmen operating in Nigeria often say the same thing, that it is impossible to conduct business in a completely transparent and legitimate way.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Gunmen Take American Hostages Near Nigerian Coast

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LAGOS, Nigeria) -- Gunmen reportedly attacked an oil platform off the Nigerian coast Monday, taking several people hostage.

Officials say the hostages include two American citizens, one of whom was shot and treated for injuries.  One other person was shot.  However, no one was killed during the attack.

The platform was apparently owned by Transocean, an American company, although it may have been operated by a London-based company, according to officials.

Although the Niger Delta is full of militants who regularly attack oil installations, sources were uncertain about the identities of the gunmen.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


United States Issues Nigerian Travel Advisory to Americans 

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(WASHINGTON) -- The United States has cautioned Americans traveling to Nigeria about the increased danger in the country.  The new travel warning, issued by the State Department, cited the recent bombing in the country's capital during Nigeria's 50th anniversary celebration.

A rebel group from Nigeria’s oil-rich south has claimed responsibility for the bombing and has threatened to carry out further attacks.

The travel warning also cites the escape of 150 members of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, based in northeast Nigeria.  The group has carried out recent attacks on government institutions and is considered hostile to western foreigners.

Although this year marks the 50th anniversary of independence for the West African country, increased violence, kidnappings and continued political wrangling ahead of next year's hotly contested election have many Nigerians wondering what there is to celebrate. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


FIFA Suspends Nigerian Football Association

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(ZURICH) -- On Monday, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) decided to suspend the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) with immediate effect due to government interference.

FIFA has strict rules about the role government can play in determining or undermining leadership or coaches for football associations. 

"This decision follows the latest events linked to the NFF, such as the court actions against elected members of the NFF Executive Committee preventing them from exercising their functions and duties, the stepping down of the acting NFF General Secretary on the instructions of the National Sports Commission, the decision of the Minister of Sports to have the Nigerian League start without relegation from the previous season, and the fact that the NFF Executive Committee cannot work properly due to this interference," FIFA said in a written release."

The suspension will be maintained until the court actions have ceased and the duly elected NFF Executive Committee is able to work without any interference.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Nigerian Child Hostages Freed

Image Courtesy - ABC News(NIGERIA) -- A group of 15 children kidnapped after their school bus was hijacked by gunmen on Monday are now free, according to local authorities. The children were rescued during a police raid on a hideout outside of the city where they were captured. The kidnapping sparked nationwide outrage, with President Goodluck Jonathan ordering a federal manhunt. Authorites have told reporters that the children are unharmed and will be returned to their parents.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


15 Children Kidnapped in Nigeria

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News Radio(NIGERIA) -- The hunt continues in Nigeria for the 15 elementary and pre-school children kidnapped on Monday after their school bus was hijacked by gunmen. There are reports that the abductors are in ransom negotiations with the school principal and are now asking for an amount close to $130,000. Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has called the act “utterly callous and cruel” and has vowed that government will do all it can to help free the children. Kidnapping in the oil-rich Niger Delta region is commonplace, and the Nigerian parliament is considering a bill that would make the act punishable by death, hoping the sentence will curb the problem.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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