Estelle Shirbon

Nigerian delta gets VP, but will it get peace?

The people of the oil-rich Niger Delta see the rise of one of their own to vice-president (VP) as an opportunity to reduce poverty and violence, although activists say time is tight. Goodluck Jonathan, governor of Bayelsa State in the delta and running mate of president-elect Umaru Yar'Adua, will carry the hopes of many in a region troubled by militancy.

Nigeria’s Obasanjo steps down — or does he?

No matter how many times Olusegun Obasanjo speaks of his plans to retire to his chicken farm after stepping down as president of Nigeria, millions still wonder whether he really means to relinquish power. Many Nigerians suspect the 70-year-old retired general intends to continue dominating the affairs of Africa's most populous nation and biggest oil exporter.

No fast forward for Nigeria’s poor despite oil boom

A short drive away from Nigeria's capital Abuja, with its air-conditioned villas and ministers in luxury cars, life for many in the town of Maraba is a daily struggle to eat. On streets lined with rotting garbage and ramshackle stalls, Aminu Ladan polishes shoes to scrape out a living.

Nigerian kidnappers release 24 Filipino hostages

Nigerian kidnappers have released all 24 Filipino seamen they had been holding captive in the creeks of the oil-producing Niger Delta since January 20, the men's employer, German shipping firm Baco-Liner, said on Tuesday. The kidnappers said they had freed the men ''on humanitarian grounds'' without receiving any ransom.

Prosecutors want Nigerian militant barred from trial

Nigerian militia leader Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, whose release is demanded by armed groups causing havoc in the oil-producing Niger Delta, should be barred from his own trial because of bad behaviour, prosecutors said on Monday. Asari's treason trial started a year and a half ago but the court is yet to hear a witness.

Force no solution for Nigeria’s oil delta

The Nigerian government faces a new challenge from spiralling crime in the oil-producing Niger Delta, but wants to avoid turning Africa's oil heartland into a battleground, Energy Minister Edmund Daukorua said. Violence, which surged in the southern delta in 2006 forcing thousands of foreign workers to flee, worsened this year.

Gunmen kidnap Chinese workers in Nigeria

Gunmen in Nigeria's volatile southern Niger Delta abducted five Chinese workers in the early hours of Friday in what appeared to be a kidnapping for ransom, authorities and security sources said. The Chinese embassy in Abuja said it was in contact with authorities in Rivers state, where the kidnapping took place, to try and secure the release of the men.

Nigeria militants claim to foil plan to free hostages

A Nigerian militant group said on Wednesday it had foiled a plan by Italian oil company Agip to free four foreign hostages who have been held in the creeks of the oil-producing Niger Delta since December 7. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said Agip had paid middlemen to try and get its four workers out.

Nigerian militants threaten further oil-hub attacks

A Nigerian militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend), has claimed responsibility for a raid on an oil-export terminal on Thursday in which four expatriate workers were kidnapped. Mend, which staged a series of attacks on the oil industry in February, threatened to launch more attacks within days.

Nigerian prostitute returns broke after long ordeal

Gloria left Nigeria hoping to make enough money in Europe to lift her family out of poverty. Three years later, she came home a penniless ex-prostitute. The nightmare began when a family friend offered to help her get from Benin City to Italy.

Hostage death raises stakes in Nigerian oil crisis

The death of a British hostage in Nigeria's oil-producing south in a shootout between kidnappers and troops raises the stakes for oil workers but is unlikely to change much for the industry. Abductions of oil workers are frequent in the lawless delta but this was the first time a foreign hostage has died.

Nigerian plane crash report blames weather, crew

Bad weather, no runway lighting and a poor decision by the crew caused the December crash of a Nigerian plane that killed 106 people, more than half of them children, investigators said. The DC9 broke into pieces and burst into flames on December 10 as it was trying to land at the international airport at Port Harcourt.

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