Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sharia law is a legal code based on the Koran and its teachings. In Nigeria, it is practiced in only 12 northern states, and is best known in conjunction with the 2002 Amina Lawal case. Amina Lawal was a mother sentenced to death by stoning because she became pregnant outside of wedlock. It resulted in domestic and international outrage and her sentence was eventually overturned.

Read more!


Monday, March 29, 2010

One week after firing all Ministers picked by the now-incapacitated President Yar'Adua, acting President Jonathan submitted his list of cabinet members to Nigeria's Senate. Some on the list are fired Ministers getting another opportunity, many have served as politicians or technocrats in the past and at least one individual has 'Yar'Adua' as a last name. Certain international media outlets have called the list of potential new cabinet members "pro reform" and stated that it signals stability to the international community. However, the key issue is how Nigerians are reacting to the list and what a new cabinet under Jonathan could mean for citizens in the months before elections.

Read more!


Friday, March 26, 2010

The folks at The Economist created a list of the best and worst cities to live in. Based on an exacting and rigorous process, they decided that Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital, is the 5th worst city out of 140 featured in a 2010 Global Liveability Report. On this list, Lagos was only surpassed by the 4 following cities - Ports Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Algiers, Algeria, Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Harare, Zimbabwe. In the 2006/2007 version of the report, Lagos ranked as the 3rd least liveable city. So, technically, one could say that moving up 2 spots since then is a good thing.

Read more!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Nigerian Curiosity of 2009 is someone or something, who for better or for worse, has had an extensive impact on Nigeria and Nigerians over the course of the last year. Given that Nigeria is a large country with constantly revolving issues and matters, deciding who should be recognized as the Nigerian Curiosity of any year is a difficult task.

2009 was a momentous year chock full of headlines. The country witnessed electoral violence in Ekiti State, a Nigerian writer's book being selected by the Oprah Book Club, a Grammy nomination for a Nigerian artist and similar international recognition for other Nigerians. Even a young Nigerian new media entrepreneur made it onto the Oprah show, and through fuel shortages and electricity outages, the economy grew by 6.9%. But, not much could top the shock and dismay caused by the Christmas day suicide bomb attempt by a Nigerian on a plane.

Read more!


Monday, March 22, 2010

On Wednesday, March 17th, Goodluck Jonathan dissolved Nigeria's Federal Executive Council (FEC). The FEC is the collection of Nigeria's Ministers. Since then, there has been great speculation on which former Ministers would be asked to return, and what new individuals will get an opportunity to become Ministers. There are also various prospective lists of a possible new FEC floating around in Abuja.

While many continue to speculate, below is guest blogger T's fantasy picks for Ministerial positions in the Jonathan cabinet.

Read more!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Long time readers of Nigerian Curiosity will know that I have a fascination with Patrick Obahiagbon. Although I have been chided for giving Obahiagbon attention, the fact is he has not been featured here since 2008 and the time has come for him to be a focus once again. He is a member of Nigeria's House of Representatives and frankly one of the most interesting politicians in the entire country. The reason for this is his manner of speaking which has earned him many nicknames such as the House of Assembly Parrot, the Big Grammar Speaker and a host of other colorful appellations.

Read more!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Some Nigerians have chosen this day, March 16th, to march in protest in Abuja, Nigeria. They march to demand the things many in other parts of the world take for granted. Like, a President, for instance. Don't get me wrong, Nigeria has a President and his name is Umar Yar'Adua, but, in case you are unaware, he has not been seen since November 23rd, 2009.

In almost any other country that alleges itself a democracy, the disappearance of a President would never occur. Not only that, but if it dared happen, a remedy would be swiftly applied so as to prevent political uncertainty and public alarm. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, a nation used to the incredible, this very thing happened. While most well-meaning Nigerians wish President Yar'Adua and his family the best, it is unconscionable to expect that their patience will not wear thin after the President has been absent for 16 weeks. Especially considering that Nigerians have been waiting for decades to reap the benefits of the promise Nigeria entails - a nation large in cultural diversity, intellectual capacity, natural resources, and ingenuity.

Read more!


Monday, March 15, 2010

The last few months have been tough for Nigerians. The 3 month absence of President Yar'Adua led to a political vacuum and constitutional crisis. A promised target of increased electricity supply was not achieved. A Nigerian based in the UK tried to blow up a plane creating diplomatic problems and difficulties for Nigerians. Yet, despite these and many other issues, the nation's economy managed to grow in 2009.

Read more!


Friday, March 12, 2010

A recent rash of fighting near Jos left a death toll now numbering 500 and growing. Women, children and the elderly were the main victims and according to reports, most of the dead are Christians. The governor of Plateau State (of which Jos is the capital), has laid the blame for the violence and resulting massacre on Nigeria's military, but who is really to blame?

Nigeria burnt homes 

Read more!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Although Nigerian forces have been a part of humanitarian projects from the Congo to Sudan, it is  common knowledge that Nigeria's military forces act with impunity when it comes to civilians at home. Take the Apo Six incident where six individuals where murdered by police officers. Till this day, none have faced justice for their acts. Or, the Odi Massacre where 2500 civilians were murdered. Given these and other incidents, there was little surprise when word spread that armed officers carried out extrajudicial killings shortly after the 2008 Boko Haram unrest in Bauchi State. Now, there is video evidence of these extrajudicial killings and it is very graphic.

Read more!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Since November 2008 when at least 300 people lost their lives, there have been far too many incidents of violence in Jos, Plateau State. In January 2010, there were at least 200 deaths as a result of fighting in Jos. The violence forced many to flee their homes to camps in neighboring Bauchi State. That incident was apparently sparked by inciting text messages and spurred the creation of a committee to to review the causes of the violence and create a map for lasting peace, and resulted in the arrest of 108 suspects.

Injured person being treated at hospital. Picture from Stefanos Foundation
Source: BBC

It seems that the city of Jos is once again the epicenter of religious and tribal violence in Nigeria because, once again, fighting has erupted nearby with women and children apparently the main victims. According to reports 300 people might have been killed in fighting between Muslims and Christians. Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the military to prevent the entrance of weapons into and around Jos so as to stem the violence.

Read more!


Friday, March 5, 2010

On January 27, 2010, Malaysian authorities arrested ten individuals suspected of having ties to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to blow up a plane on Christmas Day 2009. Those arrested included four men from Syria, two from Nigeria and one each from Yemen and Jordan. Malaysia is now set to extradite the Nigerian men arrested for allegedly having terrorist ties. This raises many questions as to why these men were arrested, whether they are really connected to terrorism and what exactly will happen to them once they arrive in Nigeria.

What Makes a Terrorist

Read more!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Below is a revealing and candid interview given by Nigeria's Minister of Information, Dora Akunyili, to a Nigerian news channel, Channels TV. Some will recall that Channels TV was once shut down by President Yar'Adua and its broadcasting license was initially revoked but later reinstated.

Akunyili reveals that the Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, is yet to see Yar'Adua. She goes on to emphasize that this and may other blunders by Yar'Adua and/or his handlers is "not just a slight on the acting Pres it is also a slap on the faces of almost 150 million Nigerians."

I tend to agree with Akunyili, particularly on her stance that is not too late to remedy the situation, but I am curious to know what you think.

What do you think of Akunyili's comments? And, what do you think is going to happen next in the 'Nollywood epic' that is the current political crisis?

Read more!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Recently, it was revealed that Nigerian students boost the United Kingdom's GDP to the tune of N246 billion. With regard to the United States, many Nigerian students are apparently paying an average of $21,000 per year on tuition. Because of the high regard Nigerians place on education, Nigerian students can be found in every corner of the globe studying far away from home. Educational fairs with institutions of learning from across the African continent, and indeed the world, are very commonplace, and lucrative money makers, in Nigeria.

Read more!