Ola Awoniyi

Opec welcomes first new member since 1975

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) decided on Thursday to enlarge its membership for the first time in 30 years by admitting African producer Angola, a decision aimed at reinforcing the cartel's grip on world oil resources. Angola was one of three possible new members waiting to join Opec.

Abuja: A rich man’s capital, say city’s poor

Whether one sees Abuja, Nigeria's 30-year-old federal capital, as an urban paradise or a place where survival is a constant struggle depends largely on one's income bracket. Set on the dry plateau in the centre of this West African country, Abuja is the Nigerian authorities' attempt to build a world-class city from scratch, an urban centre far removed from the deafening, refuse-strewn chaos of the commercial capital, Lagos.

Nigeria sets date for elections

Nigeria announced on Tuesday that state and presidential polls ushering in a new government to succeed President Olusegun Obasanjo will be held in April next year. The former army general, who came to power in May 1999 to end more than 15 years of military rule, has vowed to organise credible, free and fair elections when his two terms expire in May 2007.

Nigeria deports Taylor to face charges

Nigeria captured former Liberian leader and warlord Charles Taylor on Wednesday and deported him towards Monrovia, where United Nations peacekeepers were waiting to arrest him on charges of crimes against humanity. West Africa's most notorious fugitive was flown out of the northern city of Maiduguri on board a Nigerian presidential jet.

African Union to launch last push for Darfur peace

African Union officials were to launch a final round of peace talks in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Thursday to bring an end to slaughter and starvation in the war-torn western Sudanese region of Darfur. AU mediator Sam Ibok told Agence France Presse that the opening ceremony would be held at around 6pm (5pm GMT) but could not confirm whether all the delegates had arrived.

Obasanjo in France on debt-relief mission

Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo set off for France on Monday on a mission to win debt relief and greater inward investment and to push his country's case for a seat on an expanded United Nations Security Council. Most importantly, Obasanjo will urge Paris to cancel Nigeria's -billion external debt.

Africa is a ‘fertile ground for investment’

African leaders pitched on Monday for more trade and investment from Asia, saying they were pushing through economic and political reforms that will open up business opportunities in the continent. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo told the opening of the two-day conference in Tokyo that the continent of more than 750-million people was rich with resources for Asian investors.

Nigerian troops set off for Darfur

A 155-strong company of Nigerian infantrymen arrived at Abuja aiport on Monday, ready to depart to the war-torn western Sudanese region of Darfur as part of an African Union force protecting ceasefire monitors. ''You are going to Sudan purely to assist our brothers and sisters in restoring a hope that is fast diminishing in them,'' said Brigadier General Shekari Biliyak.

Charles Taylor snubs Nigerian court

Former Liberian leader Charles Taylor failed to attend a court hearing on Monday to defend himself against a bid by two Nigerian amputees to force their government to hand him over to international justice. The amputees allege that Taylor had a role in their ordeal and have asked for a judicial review of Nigeria's decision to grant him political asylum.

Nigeria probes officers amid coup warnings

Nigeria has launched an investigation into claims that a large number of military officers have been canvassing support for a coup d'état in the oil-exporting West African giant, officials said on Friday. They played down fears that Africa's most populous country was at risk of its sixth military takeover since 1966.

Nigerian fuel tax battle goes to court

Nigeria's government and trade unions took their battle over a controversial fuel tax back to court on Monday, five days after labour leaders suspended plans to launch a crippling general strike over the levy. The case has become a key battle for President Olusegun Obasanjo as he strives to push through wide-ranging economic reforms.

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