Sunday, 21 January 2018
Items filtered by date: June 2017

The Super Eagles are expected to depart for Uyo from Abuja today to continue their preparation for the Cameroun 2019 African Nations Cup (AFCON) qualifier against South Africa. The match is billed for the Godswill Akpabio Stadium on June 10.

The Eagles were in France in the last two weeks preparing for the game some friendlies against Corsica and Togo. And now the team, together with some of the players that did not make the Paris camp, are expected to continue their build up to the game tomorrow.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Super Eagles’ Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye said the invited players, who could not make it to France, were expected to join their colleagues in their Abuja camp last night to enable the team depart for Uyo this morning.

He said: “The Eagles will leave for Uyo from Abuja Monday. All the remaining players are to be in Abuja on Sunday evening. The Eagles are ready to face South Africa and Coach Gernot Rohr has advised the boys to show him in training why they must be picked in the team against South Africa.

“The players will be training twice daily in Uyo,’’ he said.Meanwhile, Super Eagles Muslim stars, Ahmed Musa and Shehu Abdullahi have insisted on observing the Ramadan fasting even during preparations for the upcoming AFCON qualifier against South Africa.

This is despite pleas by coach Rohr they should at least defer it.Alhassan Ibrahim ‘Muazzam’ and fresh call-up Moroof Youssef of Zamalek are the other players on the 23-man squad who also insist on the Ramadan fast.

According to SCORENigeria, a team official said Ahmed Musa and Shehu fasted during the friendly against Togo in Paris and an unhappy Rohr hauled them off after the first half.

Interestingly, Ahmed Musa still scored twice within the first 17 minutes to give the Eagles a healthy lead.Both players are expected to start against South Africa on June 10 in Uyo, but they may well have limited game time because Rohr does not expect them to last the distance as a result of the fast.

Published in Sports

Nigeria’s total debt rose to N19.15 trillion ($62.91 billion) as of March 2017, from N17.36 trillion at the end of last year, the Debt Management Office said on Monday.

Africa’s biggest economy, which slipped into recession last year for the first time in 25 years, raised $1 billion in February and $500 million in March from Eurobond sales.

The government intends to use the money raised to plug its budget deficit and fund infrastructure development. The record N7.44 trillion 2017 budget was passed by lawmakers last month but is yet to be signed into law by the presidency, Reuters reports.

The government planned to spend N6.1 trillion last year as part of its bid to increase capital expenditure, but struggled to fund its budget. The 2017 plan projects a deficit of 2.21 trillion naira, implying a deficit equivalent to 2.18 percent of Nigerian GDP.

The external component of Nigeria’s debt stood at $13.80 billion at the end of the first quarter, against $11.40 billion at the end of December, the debt office said on its website.

Local debt fell to N11.97 trillion, against N13.88 trillion last year.

Published in Business and Economy
Tuesday, 06 June 2017 00:58

Two London attackers named by police

Two of the three men who carried out Saturday night's terror attack in London have been named by police.

They said Pakistan-born Khuram Butt, 27, of Barking, London, had been known to police and MI5 but there had not been any intelligence about an attack.

The other attacker was Rachid Redouane, 30, from Barking, who police said had claimed to be Moroccan-Libyan.

The attackers were shot dead by police. All 12 people arrested after the attack have now been released without charge.

The seven women and five men were arrested in Barking on Sunday following the attack in which seven people were killed and 48 injured.

The attackers drove a hired van into pedestrians on London Bridge before stabbing people in the area around Borough Market.

A vigil was held at Potters Field Park near London Bridge on Monday evening to remember the victims.

NHS England said 36 people remained in hospital, with 18 in a critical condition.

Redouane, who was a chef, also used the name Rachid Elkhdar. He had not been known to police.

Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said: "Inquiries are ongoing to confirm the identity of their accomplice."

He said the investigation into Butt had begun two years ago but "there was no intelligence to suggest that this attack was being planned and the investigation had been prioritised accordingly".

He added: "Work is ongoing to understand more about them, their connections and whether they were assisted or supported by anyone else."

Vigil in Potters Field ParkImage copyrightREUTERS
A vigil was held in Potters Field Park, close to London Bridge

Butt featured in a Channel 4 documentary last year about Islamist extremists with links to the jailed preacher Anjem Choudary.

The attacker, who had older siblings and was married with at least one child, could be seen in the programme arguing with police officers in the street.

An online CV seen by the BBC shows that Butt had achieved an NVQ Level 2 in business administration.

Khuram Butt was shown in a documentary about extremists

He went on to work in an administrative role for a company called Auriga Holdings, based in East Ham, which manages Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets.

He had also worked for London Underground for just under six months as a trainee customer services assistant, before leaving in October last year, Transport for London said.

And Butt was the sole director of a now-dissolved company called Kool Kosmetics.

At the vigil

Badeiyah Islam, 14, Hanyah Casam, 14 and Zahra Salamut, 15 from Eden Girls School in Walthamstow
(L to R) Badeiyah Islam, 14, Hanyah Casam, 14 and Zahra Salamut, 15 were among the crowd at Potters Field Park

By Jennifer Meierhans, BBC News

The vigil began as a sombre and quiet gathering under the trees in Potters Field Park, where people stood in quiet contemplation looking out over the Thames.

So many spoke of their desire to stand together with others and show love.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan's speech roused the quiet crowd of thousands into hearty applause when he spoke of his disgust and defiance over the horror of Saturday's events.

After a minute's silence, many went forward to lay flowers beneath the flagpoles of City Hall.

It was a dignified show of solidarity and strength in the face of fear and hate.


BBC home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani said two people in Barking had raised concerns about Butt.

One man called the anti-terrorism hotline in 2015, while a woman went to the local police station because she was scared Butt was trying to radicalise her children.

Security officials made him a lower priority than other targets because of a lack of information that he was involved in attack-planning, our correspondent said.

Sources in Dublin said Redouane was understood to have been carrying an identification card issued in the Republic of Ireland when he was shot dead, the Press Association reported.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said he was not a member of a "small group" being monitored by Irish police in respect of radicalisation.

Floral tributes have been building up at a number of locations around the scene of the attackImage copyrightPA

Canadian national Chrissy Archibald, 30, was the first victim to be named. Her family said she had died in her finance's arms after being struck by the attackers' speeding van.

The sister of 32-year-old James McMullan, from Hackney, east London, said he was believed to be among those who died, after his bank card was found on a body at the scene.

James McMullan and Chrissy ArchibaldImage copyrightFAMILY HANDOUT/REUTERS
Image captionJames McMullan is believed to have been killed in the attack, as well as Chrissy Archibald

A French national was also killed in the attack, according to foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Among other developments:

  • There will be a minute's silence on Tuesday at 11:00 BST in memory of those who lost their lives and all those affected by the attacks
  • Barriers have been installed on Westminster, Lambeth and Waterloo bridges following the attack to stop vehicles from mounting the pavement
  • The Independent Police Complaints Commission said 46 shots had been fired at the three attackers by eight police officers - three from the City of London force and five from the Met
  • The Met Police has set up a casualty bureau on 0800 096 1233 and 020 7158 0197 for people concerned about friends or relatives

It is the third terror attack in the UK in three months, following the car and knife attack on Westminster Bridge in March, in which five people were killed, and the Manchester bombing on 22 May, in which 22 people were killed.

Map of attack scene
Published in Headliners

The Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, has redeployed the Rivers State Sector Commander, Ayodele Kumapayi, who was recently recalled to Abuja for allegedly cutting the hair of two female officers.

Kumapayi now heads the Corps Safety and Transport Office at the National Headquarters, Abuja.

The redeployment also affected 70 other senior officers, a statement on Sunday by the media aide to the Corps Marshal, Mohammed Sani, said.

The former Zonal Commanding Officer of Zone 7 Abuja, Assistant Corps Marshal Kingsley Agomo, was moved to Zone 6, Port Harcourt, while the erstwhile Zonal Commanding Officer of the Zone, Assistant Corps Marshal, Jonas Agwu, was transferred to Zone 4 Jos.

The Zonal Commanding Officer, Zone 4 Jos, Assistant Corps Marshal, Oludare Fadogba, would oversee Zone 7, Abuja as the new helmsman.

In addition, Assistant Corps Marshal, A.A. Nwaka, who recently completed a course at the National Defence College, Abuja has been posted to the National Headquarters, Abuja where he would oversee the Administrative section.

The Corps Public Education Officer at the FRSC National Headquarters, Abuja, Corps Commander Imoh Etuk, is now the Rivers State Sector Commander, while Bisi Kazeem, who was the Head of Media Relations and Strategy at the Corps Headquarters Abuja, takes over as the new Corps Public Education Officer.

The postings, which involved 71 officers took immediate effect, while handing and taking over process is expected to be completed by June 10, 201

Published in News & Stories

Forbes Africa has released one of the most anticipated list of 30 “of the brightest, hungriest and most successful entrepreneurs under the age of 30” in Africa.

The average age of the Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 #ClassOf2017 is 27 and 33% of those on the list are women. 53% of the honourees are from Southern Africa with 9 from South Africa, while West and East Africa make up 23.3% each. The average age of women is 28.2 while the average age of men on the list is 26.4

Five Nigerians – Nasir Yammama, 27, Shakeela Tolasade Williams, 29, Muktar Onifade, 26, Edikan Udiong, 29 and Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, 26 – also made the list.

See the full list below:

Knight Ganje, 29 (Zimbabwe), Founder, H&G Advertising Group
H&G Advertising, the Botswana-based ad agency, counts Unilever, Emirates, Coca-Cola and Samsung among its clients. It operates in Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe; has 80 permanent employees and 600 temporary staff and turns over $38 million a year.

Jean Bosco Nzeyimana, 24 (Rwanda), Founder, Habona Ltd
Habona Ltd offers affordable and environmentally friendly services and energy fuels in the form of biomass briquettes and biogas waste. The company is also diversifying into the installation and operation of clean power plants, ranging from waste to energy, such as solar, biomass, hydro, and wind, as well as climate-smart farming.

Rupert Weterings, 28 (South Africa), Founder, Allied Insurance Brokers
In 2011, he founded Allied Insurance Brokers (AIB) in Angola and in just two years the company grew to become one of the largest Angolan property, casualty, life and medical insurance and reinsurance brokerage companies.

Eugene Mbugua, 26 (Kenya), Founder, Young Rich Television Limited and My Yearbook Kenya Limited
Young Rich Television Limited has produced several popular television shows, among them; Young Rich; Get InThe Kitchen; Stori Yangu and Our Perfect Wedding. These reality shows have aired on multiple stations across the continent, including K24, Maisha Magic East, Kwese, Trigger, Iflix and ShowMax. My Yearbook Kenya Limited, a company that produces yearbooks for schools, companies and governmental organizations.

Sandra Mwiihangele, 29 (Namibia), Founder, Kiyomisandz Beauty Products
Kiyomisandz, a cosmetic and toiletry manufacturing company based in Namibia’s capital, Windhoek. The company manufactures its own products and offers contract manufacturing services to people who want to make their own.

Nasir Yammama, 27 (Nigeria), Founder, Verdant Agri-Tech
Verdant AgriTech is a social enterprise to support rural farmers with mobile technologies for sustainable farming and improved food production.

Sean Drake, 29 (Ghana), Founder, The Wealth Project Holdings
The Wealth Project Holdings is a sustainable investment holding company focused on social impact through financial services and education in Africa. Drake also runs the Wealth Project Institute, an educational, entrepreneurial and investment institution which aims to empower hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors in Ghana.

Shaleen Manhire Nullens, 29 (Zimbabwe), Founder, Conquered Events
In 2014, Nullens was getting married. She couldn’t find a wedding planner so she founded Conquered Events. As part of her marketing strategy and love for media, Nullens also founded Conquered TV, an entertainment online TV channel. Under Africa Petroleum, her new company based in Mozambique, she has also recently invested in fuel tankers she hires to companies. She is also the founder of Celebs 4 Change, an NGO that encourages African A-listers to give their time to charity.

Shakeela Tolasade Williams, 29 (Nigeria), Founder, Sade Hair
In February 2013, she branded her company and sold her car, borrowed money from family and invested all her initial earnings into a boutique store after quitting her job at a bank to pursue a career in the ever-growing hair extension industry.

Zameer Verjee, 30 (Kenya), Founder, Studio AZ
With the £400 he saved at university, Verjee founded Studio AZ, an interior and exterior design firm based in Nairobi, in 2012. Almost five years later, Verjee claims the company turned over just shy of $500,000 last year, has 11 full-time staff and employed 75 subcontractors.

Harun Elias, 25 (Tanzania), Founder, Javis International Trade Co.
Javis International Trade Co., is a global supplier of transport and trade solutions. It employs 40 people, 27 in Tanzania and 23 in China. Elias made $9 million last year.

Muktar Onifade, 26 (Nigeria), Founder, VIZUVLGVDS
VIZUVLGVDS, (pronounced visual gods) is a fashion brand that focuses on contemporary African art. Onifade has released three collections since founding in 2013. All garments are handmade in his Lagos and Detroit studios. By day, Onifade is an engineer at General Motors.

Elijah Lubala, 27 (DR Congo/South Africa), Founder, Naserwa Real Estate
In 2013, he founded Elie Technologies, which specializes in solar-powered wireless routers that act as mobile WiFi hotspots. In 2014, he started Naserwa Real Estate, a construction and rental management company. It has a portfolio of over 25 properties between Johannesburg and Kinshasa.

Mwayi Kampesi, 28 (Malawi), Founder, In-House Interiors
While working as an architect, she saved up about 70% of her salary every month to start the business. It took three and half years. In 2011, she founded In-House Interiors, an architectural, interior décor and space accessories company in Malawi. She makes interior accessories like side lamps, coffee tables and chandeliers out of recycled materials.

Godfrey Magila, 25 (Tanzania), Founder, Magilatech
He taught himself to code and won $200 at a countrywide hackathon. The prize came with a tech mentoring program. In 2012, he registered Magilatech, a software development and security auditing company. Magilatech launched Tigobackup, a mobile security application performing full content backup on mobile device and antitheft commands. It has recovered more than 3,600 lost and stolen devices. Magila employs 14 people, has seven contract employees, made over $1 million last year, has app contracts with Airtel, Vsomo, Maxcom, Selcom and DayOne Softcom.

Alloysius Attah, 27 (Ghana), Founder, Farmeline
In his final year at university, he co-founded Farmerline. It provides information and technology to farmers in Ghana’s most unconnected corners. Through its Mergdata platform, it provides data analytics and through Paytime, a credit scoring and lending app, the company uses alternative data sources for farmers with no credit history.

Jennifer Glodik, 29 (South Africa), Founder, Diva Slimming and Aesthetics Centre
Diva Slimming and Aesthetics Centre has two head offices, one in Sunninghill, Johannesburg and the other in Garsfontein, Pretoria. They have also opened 65 salons across South Africa in the last five years.

Rushil Vallabh, 29 (South Africa), Founder, Secha Capital
Secha Capital is an impact investing holding company that provides patient capital to established African SMEs via innovative strategies. Secha Capital addresses the management gap in SMEs by aligning the interests of investors with business owners through sweat equity and performance-based vesting options.

Mike Chilewe Jnr, 27 (Malawi), Founder, Chilewe Brands
Chilewe Brands Global is a pan-African diversified company involved in financial services, manufacturing, agriculture commodity trading and commercial properties. The company makes $2 million a year and employs 20 people.

Corbyn Munnik, 26 (South Africa), Founder, Sliide
Through Sliide, a technology company with offices in Lagos and London, Munnik helps address this problem by sending targeted news, entertainment and sponsored content to the lock screen of its users’ mobile phones. Seventy percent of all advertising revenue is used to buy mobile data and airtime for users, enabling them to spend more time online for free.

Jishan Ahmed, 30 (Zambia), Founder, Arete Steel
Arete Steel has a 3,000-square-meter workshop space, state-of-the-art machines from Germany and Japan worth more than $150,000, three 20-ton trucks, one crane truck and three five-ton canters, employs over 80 people and turns over $700,000 a year.

Allegro Dinkwanyane, 27 ( South Africa), Founder, Orgella Media
Orgella Media started as an entertainment blog and has now diversified into public relations (PR), charity and property divisions.

Jokate Mwegelo, 30 (Tanzania), Founder, Kidoti Company
Five years ago, Mwegelo used her personal savings and a soft loan from Africa’s youngest billionaire and FORBES AFRICA cover, Mohammed Dewji to found Kidoti Company, a lifestyle brand. It designs and manufactures synthetic hair extensions, sandals and bags. She also launched ‘Be Kidotified’ a campaign which empowers young girls by building sports facilities in public schools, and promoting education and entrepreneurship. She also launched ‘Msusi Wao’, translated ‘their hairstylist’, which connects hairdressers, financiers and customers.

Sibusiso Ngwenya, 25 (South Africa), Founder, Skinny Sbu Socks
There is little more satisfying than a simple solution to an annoying problem, especially when it makes money. Thomas Edison created the long-lasting lightbulb that everyone could afford; Henry Ford did the same with the family car; in South Africa, Ngwenya has invented an item to cover the gap between his pants and shoes.

Edikan Udiong, 29 (Nigeria), Founder, Oleander House
Udiong watched her sister and friends search far and wide for a particular weight loss supplement. Their search came to a dead end. The supplier of that product was no longer in business. She saw an opportunity.In 2012, Oleander House was born. She took advantage of social media advertising to promote the business.

Upendo Shuma, 28 (Tanzania), Founder, Lavie Makeup Studio
In 2013, she resigned from her job and founded Lavie Makeup Studio. After a year, they moved to a bigger place and she employed three more people. A year and a half later, they moved to an even bigger place and added another three people. Lavie Makeup Studio has 40 to 60 brides per month during peak season and 20 to 30 brides when business is slow. Shuma has also developed her first line of products. She says they have sold 3,000 pieces since inception in 2015.

Thato Kgatlhanye, 24 (South Africa), Founder, ‎Rethaka
At 18, Kgatlhanye founded Rethaka, which produces recycled schoolbags that double up as solar-powered lights that children can use to study at night. The company employs 20 people, has many volunteers, and supplies its products to the likes of Standard Bank, Red Bull, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Unilever. It also exports to Namibia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Brazil. The aim is to expand to 24 African countries.

Lulo Rubushe, 23 (South Africa), Founder, RNDM Network
RNDM Network is a clothing and media lifestyle company which integrates youth through fashion, music, lifestyle events and brands. Rubushe employs 10 people and hopes to keep growing the business. His love for sport led to a partnership with Enhanced Sports, a sports development and coaching company. He plans to supply quality and affordable sporting gear to underprivileged schools.

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, 26 (Nigeria) Founder, Flutterwave
In 2016, Aboyeji left Andela, a talent accelerator that recruits and trains software developers and connects them with employers, to start Flutterwave, a provider of technology and infrastructure solutions for digital payments across Africa. The company processes over $760 million through 7.5 million transactions for merchants in partnership with financial institutions.

Khethi Ngwenya, 26 (South Africa), Founder, School Media
School Media is a company that connects brands with schools by helping clients rent advertising space in schools, in 2010. Khethi also founded Xhuma, a company that uses USSD codes to connect parents with schools. Khethi employs eight people, turns over $375,000 a year and counts Orlando Pirates and the Gauteng Department of Education among his clients. In 2011, Ngwenya founded a Going Green Project which has managed to educate 100 schools on environmental awareness and planted 4,500 trees in schools across South Africa.

Published in Headliners

Nigerian rapper Eva Alordiah has finally confirmed that she is now single, ending her relationship with her fiance, Caesar. She shared a message on her Instagram page yesterday evening revealing the split happened a day ago and she just wants to focus on writing. She wrote:

Single Again and not quite sure I was ready for the other side. Feels so familiar, this Single life, yet so new.
I have been single for only 1 Day and I already feel ?

My friends always used to Tease me and tell me I love ‘Love’.
I have finally accepted this is True. I do Love Love. What LEO Woman doesn’t?

#ThatWasAReallyGoodMan and I may be silly to let him go but it’s okay cause now #YouCanHaveHimSisters?? My head feels wobbly.
I write a great deal don’t I ?
Maybe this happened so I can find a way to get back in my head and stroke the balls of my sleeping muse.
I want a Cat.
I have had dogs all my Life and they made for best of Friends those years I was Single.
Should I get a Cat?
I feel like If I finally do get a Cat it would be an all black one with Eyes that Gleam in the Darkness.
Darkness: What lies in the wake of a Love never to be felt again.

I want a Cat and I want to Write.
No not Write Rap. Not that.
It would be so wonderful to write a new Novel.
I’d think about this in the coming days and let you know what I decide.

Hey don’t feel sad for me. I let a Good man go, that must be a good thing no?
I want to write a Novel.
I have to write.
I am going to Write.
I need to Write.
I am Writing.
Don’t Ask about me, I have gone to Write.
I AM a Writer, First.
2:22 NEW

Published in News & Stories

LAGOS, Nigeria — Forcing a smile, Seyi Shay, a music star in Nigeria, stood for hours under the hot lights of a film studio to record a video. Three changes of clothes, two wigs and multiple touch-ups later, she was still at it, singing snippets of the song over and over.

“More energy,” a producer called out from behind a camera inches from her face.

“How am I supposed to be happy? It’s not a happy song,” Ms. Shay sighed into the lens.

“A little more attitude,” the producer said.

“Attitude?” Ms. Shay asked.

“Yes. Sassy, sexy, all that.”

Ola Mide, center, a vendor in the Computer Village market in Lagos, Nigeria. He sells music that he downloads from the internet. CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

Across town, her painstaking efforts to build a following over the years were paying off — for someone else.

At a sewer-side market, dozens of customers lined up with their smartphones and flash drives, eagerly handing over cash to pirates with laptops to load up on Ms. Shay’s songs. She earned nothing from the sales.

“Out here, nobody cares about the rules,” Ms. Shay said. “Everything is kind of cowboy.”

Artists across the world battle illegal sales of their work. But Nigeria’s piracy problem is so ingrained that music thieves worry about rip-offs of their rip-offs, slapping warning labels on pirated CDs to insist that “lending is not allowed.”

In Lagos, Africa’s biggest city, legitimate music stores are rare, streaming services haven’t caught on and fans are flocking to markets like Computer Village, with its rows of yellow umbrellas shading young men selling illegal downloads. Throughout the city, thousands of pirated CDs are churned out each day, and some artists even pay to appear on them, hoping the exposure will somehow be worth it.

Bootlegged Nigerian music and thousands of other counterfeit CDs are sold at the popular Alaba International Market in Lagos. CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

But now, members of the country’s music industry are trying to put a stop to all the pilfering, hoping they can finally turn the growing popularity of Nigerian music to their advantage.

Nigerian music — Afrobeat in particular — is having a moment. It blares in hotel lobbies, airport lounges, nightclubs and the dozens of bedroom recording studios where young men and women dream of stardom in this clogged, overheated city.

While many countries have courts or jurists focused on intellectual property cases, artists in Nigeria have only in recent years begun to pursue copyright protection. They complain that laws to protect them are so seldom invoked that some judges don’t even know they exist.

Recording artists are pressing cellphone companies for more money to use their songs, the Nigerian government recently announced a new push to protect intellectual property, and the national copyright commission created an institute to train musicians, and judges, about artists’ rights.

“We’re trying to change people’s perception about the use of music,” said Chinedu Chukwuji, chief executive of the Copyright Society of Nigeria. “Music is everywhere, but they don’t know it’s proprietary.”


Industry executives are trying to use Nigeria’s economic malaise as a rallying cry, arguing that legitimate sales not only benefit musicians, but could also help an economy that has plunged into recession amid low oil prices.

“We’re no longer getting revenue from oil, so we’re arguing that content is the new crude,” said Aibee Abidoye, general manager at Chocolate City Group and 5ive Music, which seeks royalties on behalf of three Lagos-based record labels.

In recent decades, music from abroad — mainly American and British hip-hop and R&B — often dominated the Nigerian scene. Yet international music distributors largely ignored the nation and its nascent middle class as a potential market. With few ways of buying the overseas music that was so popular here, illegal sales flourished.

Sam Seyi, center left, a singer and songwriter whose stage name is SamSeyi Yango, during a performance at an Episcopal church in Lagos. CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

“American artists would come here to do a show and were stunned to find thousands of people singing their songs back to them,” said Efe Omorogbe, owner of Now Muzik, a local label.

The open piracy, and few meaningful efforts to stop it, left little incentive for anyone to set up legitimate music sales or invest in streaming services. Local musicians, struggling to be heard above the international competition, often gave away their work.

“The music industry has been its own biggest enemy,” said Mr. Omorogbe, a business partner of the musician 2face Idibia. “It’s descended to a point where people who use your material almost feel like you should celebrate them. They’re doing you a favor.”

The appetite for Nigerian music is clear. International labels such as Sony Music Entertainment are setting up shop in Lagos. Musicians like Ms. Shay, who spent much of her childhood in Britain with her Nigerian parents, are being lured back.

Last year, Wizkid, one of Nigeria’s most popular artists, reached the top of the American singles chart for an Afrobeat collaboration with the Canadian rapper Drake. They released another track this year.

But for many artists, the more popular they become, the more their music is stolen. Bootlegged Nigerian music is stacked alongside the thousands of other counterfeit CDs at the Alaba International Market in Lagos.

Mr. Seyi, right, and Robin Emmanuel, left, his manager and producer, en route to a recording studio on Snake Island in Lagos. CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

“There isn’t exactly a proper structure for us to make money,” said Falz, a Nigerian rapper and songwriter.

Apple Music offers streaming in Nigeria, but the service has been plagued with problems because of the nation’s currency crisis. Even concerts, profitable for artists anywhere, are being pared back here as corporate sponsors feel the pinch of the souring economy.

In Nigeria, musicians have rarely sought royalty payments. Artists complain that even the nation’s Nollywood film industry routinely uses songs in movies without permission or payment.

“When you create your content and put it out, it’s scattered,” said Harrysong, a Nigerian singer known for his hit, “Mandela.”

Many musicians pay to have their music heard. Popular music blogs collect as much as $120 from unknown musicians to promote a single song. Budding musicians also pay to have their songs featured on “latest mix” CDs hawked on the streets. A collection called “Mega Mix” contained new pirated songs from well-known musicians like Davido and Wizkid, along with songs from 43 less-known singers.

The sellers of pirated music know the artists receive nothing.

“To get the songs off the internet, it’s free,” said Ola Mide, who stared into his laptop at Computer Village as customers lined up behind him for songs from local artists like Tiwa Savage, D’Banj and Ms. Shay. “Then people come to me and give me money for them.”

Equipment being delivered to a makeshift recording studio on Snake Island. CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

Henry Onunary, another vendor of illegally downloaded music, explained how the musicians might benefit, if at all. “What they get from us,” he said, “is popularity.”

The Copyright Society of Nigeria has filed lawsuits, staged protests, hosted conferences and handed out fliers to businesses explaining copyright law. Its leader, Mr. Chukwuji, said the group was currently battling the nation’s major mobile phone company, MTN, which pays artists to use snippets of their songs.

Mobile phone use in Nigeria has exploded in recent years, and ringback tunes — the few bars of music paid for by customers that play while a call is being connected — are hugely popular. As a result, MTN, with its skyscraper headquarters in Lagos, has become one of the biggest sources of revenue for Nigerian artists. In fact, Nigerian ringback tunes like Harrysong’s “Mandela” are more popular than songs by Snoop Dogg or other American artists, according to MTN.

“Music has always been part of the fabric of Lagos. What has changed is the ability to monetize it,” said Richard Iweanoge, general manager of consumer marketing at MTN, considered the largest distributor of online music in Nigeria. “It’s a privilege for us as a Nigerian company to support local artists.”

But the copyright society has accused MTN of not giving artists a fair cut from the sales. MTN officials acknowledged that the company recently renegotiated ringback deals to better favor the artists.

“Things change,” Mr. Iweanoge said. “It’s always in our interest to make sure the artist gets a fair share.”

Mr. Seyi, second from left, preparing to record a track at his manager’s studio. CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

Plenty of musicians in Lagos are still willing to sacrifice money to get noticed. Across a polluted channel from the Lagos mainland, past a sugar refinery belching smoke, is Snake Island, a serpent-shaped piece of land dotted by tilting tin huts.

Inside one of them, Sam Seyi, 24, was dreaming of stardom, sitting on a bed with Winnie the Pooh sheets as he sang into a microphone. Friends filed into his generator-powered bedroom studio as babies screamed and chickens clucked just outside the open window.

“You’ve got to believe in yourself,” he sang, eyes closed and arms pumping. “This is my time to make it.”

Mr. Seyi, whose stage name is SamSeyi Yango, has paid music blogs to feature his songs, and spent $16 this year to be allowed onstage to perform before a small audience.

“I’m paying my dues,” he said. “You can’t expect them to pay you a million dollars when you’re not a superstar.”

Nigeria’s huge appetite for music has lured artists like Ms. Shay, who spent much of her childhood in Britain with her Nigerian parents. She packed recently for an overnight trip to Abuja for a show. CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

Across the water, on Lagos’s affluent Victoria Island, already famous artists were getting ready to perform in a chandeliered banquet hall at the luxury Eko Hotel. Some of Nigeria’s biggest music stars gathered in the green room: Harrysong, Falz, Lil Kesh, Vector and the hip-hop duo Skuki.

None of them were being paid, even though the audience included hundreds of paying fans. The local comedians onstage were the big draw, and the musicians agreed to perform for free, hoping to be exposed to a new market.

Upstairs in a hotel room, a makeup artist was layering foundation on Ms. Shay, the room a mess of glittery blue eye shadow, shimmery lotion, fake eyelashes and a pair of Oscar de la Renta flowery high-heeled shoes carefully positioned on a shelf. She sneezed inside a tiny cloud of powdered makeup.

Even Ms. Shay has paid to be heard, forking over cash to various music blogs. She once allowed her song to be used for free as the soundtrack for a popular video game.

Ms. Shay taking a selfie at the Eko Hotel before a performance, the lights of Lagos in the reflection. CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

But now fans fawn over Ms. Shay when she walks into a nightclub, taking selfies and cooing over her. She lives in an apartment in a gated community, and a driver ferries her around town.

Her entourage includes a personal assistant who calls himself a “body man” and a wig stylist. She recently flew to South Africa for performances and has scored an endorsement deal with a Chinese telecom company. Her face has been on Pepsi billboards along main roads in Lagos. Not long ago, she was signed to the British-American label Island Records.

Trying to relax at a Tex-Mex restaurant in Lagos after a recent show, Ms. Shay was sipping a margarita when a bartender interrupted repeatedly to ask how his music could get noticed. She told him to email her a demo.

“You have to put in the work,” she advised. “Nobody is going to do it for you.”

Published in Entertainment

The President of Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN) Dr Frank Jacobs says the spiral effect of the proposed five Naira levy on imported petroleum products will be “unprecedented” on the economy.

The Senate Committee had recommended a five Naira levy, chargeable per litre, on imported petrol and diesel products and on other non-locally refined petroleum products.

The levy is expected to be used to fund roads projects, and maintenance in the country.

Jacob disclosed that though MAN was yet to officially meet over the issue, the proposal was not bad in its entirety.

The president however said the proposal was ill-timed and that the lawmakers should reconsider the appropriateness of the timing of the bill and the choice of products like PMS and diesel.

He noted that its implementation would drive up inflation, further erode the purchasing power of Nigerians and frustrate the growth of the manufacturing sector.

“On the face value, the five Naira levy appears harmless but a critical examination of the transmission mechanism of its economic and political implications revealed enormous resultant challenges

“This is not because the bill is not well taught out but the timing seems inappropriate in view of the prevailing economic circumstance of the country.

“The spiral effect of a levy of five Naira on every litre of fuel imported into the country on the economy, especially in this time and season will be unprecedented,” he said.

According to him the economy is still in the negative growth region and currently on a journey out of recession.

“Capacity utilisation is a little above 50 per cent, cost of production is pretty on the high side with expenses on self-generated power using diesel responsible for about 36 per cent of the total cost profile.

“Interest rate is still hovering around the 28 to 30 per cent mark and inflation is still double digit oscillating within the 17 percentile range.

“The introduction of the five Naira levy will erode the purchasing power of Nigerians and trigger high inventory of unsold manufactured products,” he said.

The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) also did not support the proposal.

President of the ACCI, Mr Tony Ejinkeonye , said it will worsen the plight of the masses.

Ejinkeonye submitted that the proposal, if implemented, would cause untold hardship on people.

The president agreed that budgetary allocations were not enough to fund road infrastructure in the country.

He said though several federal roads across the country were in very bad shape but imposing five Naira levy was not the right approach.

He said: “this levy should not be imposed now as Nigerians are already encumbered with lots of burden.

“This levy if imposed will worsen the plight of the masses because fuel plays a vital role in the life of an average Nigerian.

“Thus, any increase in the price of fuel which the levy will create, will have adverse implications on all other sectors of national life.

“It will lead to sharp increase in cost of transportation, food and other services that depend on fuel for running.

“And, Its multiplier effect would have grave implication for the economy and worsen the inflation rate”.

He said that the fuel levy no doubt would be exploitative and burdensome, therefore, government should spare the citizens the suffering that this fuel levy will impose’

He advised the government to look at other ways of saving money for roads infrastructure such as the reduction of corruption, as well as cut in the cost of running government.

Also, the President National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) Mr Ken Ukaoha said though the idea was good but the timing was also wrong.

Ukaoha said that the nation was in crisis of economic recession already and there was no need of adding to the burden.

While noting the country needs other sources of revenue to augment the depleting oil revenue, he said there was need to combine oil and non-oil revenue sources and tax as a way to survive.

Ukoaha therefore advised the government to deduct five Naira from the present pump price of petroleum products and use it to finance road maintenance instead of collection of extra five Naira for the purpose.

“We must dissect it properly; government should deduct five Naira from the N145 been collected on a litre, instead of adding extra five Naira, and use it to finance road maintenance.

“So that you are not taxing the masses again.

“So, if the government deducts five Naira from that amount and allocates it to the sector to finance road maintenance, everywhere will be calm and everybody will be OK,” he said

Published in Headliners

Players of Lagos-based Ikorodu United FC have complained of the club’s inability to pay their salaries for the past six months.

The players, who expressed their disappointment, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the unpaid salaries had affected their morale and those of the staff of the club.

They said that the dwindling fortunes of the club in their campaign in the Nigeria National League (NNL) was the result of the high indebtedness of the club to its officials and players.

NAN reports that Ikorodu United was relegated to the lower league after their unsuccessful campaign in the 2015/2016 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Ikorodu United was demoted after coming last on the NPFL log with a measly seven wins, 11 draws and a huge 18 losses with just 32 points.

However, things have continued to go from bad to worse as Ikorodu United is now battling relegation from the NNL.

The Oga Boys currently sit second from the drop zone in the Southern Conference of NNL that has 18 teams.

The team occupies 16th position with a paltry three wins, three draws and 10 losses with 12 points from 15 matches.

Complaining about the team’s plight, a reliable source said that the management was to blame for its precarious position in the NNL.

“The management has to be blamed, they are not paying and expect us to play with empty stomach. Aside that, we also have families who depend on us.

“It is a tough time for the club as some of the sponsors have also withdrawn their sponsorships. It is highly discouraging.

“The club need to do something fast so as not to lead the club to its extinction,’’ he said.

A player said anonymously that he was being owed six months’ salary arrears and that had affected his morale.

“Currently, I am not happy at all, I am indebted to many people whom I have promised to pay after our salaries are paid.

“Till now, we have not been paid for six months, I am just managing myself.’’

However, commenting on the players grouse, the Media Officer of the Club, Tunde Babalola, said that the management was working to improve their lot.

“We will get better as the days go by, the club’s management is working towards the success of the club, hence, there will be improvement soon,’’ he said.

Published in Sports
Sunday, 04 June 2017 15:42

By Molara Wood: Surviving Jos

‘After They Left’, the debut novel by Edify Yakusak, opens with a family at dinner – Mafeng, her husband and her children, Kim and Jugu. A scene of domestic bliss, then a sudden hike in tension, as a murderous horde descends on the family home. This is Jos, a city that promises “emotional stability” alongside something “one could not quite place”. Nothing quite prepares anyone for what follows, and by the end of the first chapter, several family members are feared dead.

“Living in Jos can best be described as living by the foot of an active volcano that could blow up at any minute,” the narrator says. As the horror unfolds, “A crimson tide bloomed from under Samuel’s uniform, as he crumbled to the floor.” The ethno-religious violence leaves a trail of death all over the community; and we learn that some three hundred people have lost their lives.

Such is the madness of the terror unleashed, it falls to psychiatric patients to bear grave testimony. “I turned around and behind me was a boy, a young boy, with a raised cutlass, ready to cut my neck. I raised my hand to block him and the blade cut my hand instead,” recounts one woman. “I saw people screaming, shouting, running, dying; a gory fiasco,” says a man who goes out to avenge his loved ones. He is mistaken for one of the marauders and is given a better weapon, like a charitable act. “This one cuts better,” he is told.

The author underscores the inadequacy of language in capturing the enormity of such savagery. When a doctor refers to the killings as an “incident”, Mafeng thinks, “An incident occurs when the plantain you are frying gets burnt. This was a calamity.” Yet these “incidents” happen frequently enough, as evident in the news and in some characters’ recollections of narrow escapes in 1987 and 2001.

The stories harden Mafeng’s instinct for survival and the determination to find her children, who have not been seen since the night of the attack. ‘Over the Rainbow’, Dorothy’s song from ‘The Wizard of Oz’, becomes a motif for the quest for home and reunion. Mother and daughter sang the song together in happier times, and now they sing it in different places, as they battle all odds to find themselves again.

The novel weaves in the back-story of Mafeng’s first marriage to a politician, and some incisive commentary on corruption and its discontents. “Although she had not siphoned the money, she felt guilty by association. How ironic that she would end up here – the hospital her husband was supposed to have fixed but did not.”

Believing that their mother is dead, Kim and her brother Jugu flee into the hills. They arrive at a waterfall with a bad guy in hot pursuit, as the narrative morphs into an adventure story of two kids struggling to evade dangers, from the terrain as well as adults with evil intent. The young girl will have to use all her resourcefulness to protect her little brother, and to outwit those who will do anything to ensure they never find their way home.

Yakusak ensures the reader always knows more than the characters, but doesn’t spare us from the genuine sense of alarm that characterises many episodes. The children arrive at an Internally Displaced Persons’ Camp, but their travails are far from over. The camp is run by Madam Mati, an almost cartoonish villain who typifies the opportunistic nature of some IDP camp initiators and workers in Nigeria today.

‘After They Left’ tells a riveting tale. The plot is strong and the two main characters are vividly portrayed, so that the reader gets a keen sense of their determination of spirit. “Her slender figure and kinky hair made her look like a mop standing up” – is the description of Kim in one scene. Not yet a teenager, she will become a tiny hero by the novel’s end, all the more heartening since it’s a girl child. Of the mother that will not rest until she finds her children, we read, “Mafeng was no quitter. She was as persistent as a mosquito.” 

The novel is unfortunately underserved by the editing. There are a few too many instances of tense mix-ups and words used wrongly. The story is told through the eyes of Mafeng and Kim, but the point of view strays into other minor characters’ heads occasionally. Some descriptions would not pass the sensitivity check. For example, there is reference to someone speaking “in his crude Berom accent”, and the omniscient narrator twice refers to a mentally ill patient as “the deranged man”. More’s the pity, since the man in question bears some of the most eloquent testimony in the novel. There is the singling out of a “black woman”, which is unfortunate in a novel populated entirely by black people. The word the author needed, clearly, was “dark”. Some sentiments also fly in the face of logic: Alice objects to Mafeng ending up with the poor Samuel but apparently has no objection to the presumably chaste daughter passing the night in the man’s house. “You were stabbed,” one character is told, “but it is not completely fatal.” Evidently not.

All in all, this is a promising debut by Edify Yakusak. The novel is an affecting story of the bond between mother and daughter – Mafeng and “Her dear Kim, full of gallantry and wonder.” Concerned with the relentless killings in places like Jos and the havoc they wreak on ordinary lives, the novel goes further to indict the system that does nothing about the senseless waste of human beings. As the man on the psychiatric ward says of the dead, “They were killed by our country. A system so abysmal, so wicked, that a good chunk of its population would be killed and nothing would be done. Nothing concrete would be done.”

‘After They Left’ by Edify Yakusak; 244 pages; Kurdan Publishing (2016).

Published in Parliament
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